Birthday breakfast with my advanced class
April brought a wonderful gift. Sarah, my daughter, and Rebekah, my sister, came for a one week visit. I asked Sarah to share her perspective with you.
I only spent a week on this small island. Only a week to cram in as much as I could – to explore a place for which I (honestly) had low expectations. It’s not that I wasn’t excited. It’s just that I didn’t think I would get attached. But I did.
Extremely Extreme Pirates of the Caribbean Zip Line
Maybe it was something about the beach nearby or the fresh mangos each morning. Maybe I just really loved not having to be at work. But as I reflect on the wonderful seven days I got to spend with my mom on this small island, I began to realize that what truly made it special were the people who crossed my path. After all, without the people, it really is just an island, an island with tourists and hibiscus plants and dukas on every corner. I admit, this was what I expected. I expected an island and at first had a difficult time justifying why my mom was doing “mission” work there. But then the plane touched down and I began to see and feel, taste and touch the truth of the island.
Making sugar cookies
Roatan is place of stark contrast. There is extravagance just minutes away from poverty and glimmering cruise ships only steps away from gang graffiti. There are hurting people who have found it hard to trust outsiders because they’ve been used so many times. There are those who want to bring change to the many broken hearts, lives, families, and political systems on the island, but who feel alone. And there are those who simply need a friend. In just a few short months, my mom (despite her … elementary … Spanish) has succeeded in developing genuine friendships and relationships with so many of the people I’ve just named. Her classes have brought influential, passionate people together. Her sacrifice has shown the outsiders that they are loved. Her unselfishness has shown that she is giving without condition. And the truth is, the way she lives her life lets those around her see the hope of Jesus each day. Yes, there is work to be done on this small island — mission work, heart work, life-change work — and my mom is doing it. And in the short amount of time I spent watching her interact with her students and friends, I began to realize that she is right where she belongs, touching the lives she is supposed to touch.
Yes, it’s an island — a gorgeous, tropical island like so many others. But it’s more than just an island. It’s a place that is representative of the reality so many of us go to islands to escape. My mom, though, has chosen not to escape the reality, but to immerse herself in the dirty, crazy, amazing, rewarding, beautiful work of loving people and meeting them where they are ready to be met. And that’s what makes Roatan more than an island. And that’s what makes Roatan special. And that’s what makes me so proud of my mom. And hopefully someday soon, she’ll let me come back and show me more of her new island home, but even more than that, show me how she’s sharing Jesus.
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