We were not expecting bad news, but I knew it must be coming because I had several messages on my Whatsapp saying to call my dad as soon as possible. I imagined my worst that someone was in a car accident, or had gone to the hospital. I did not expect to hear that my step-father, Tim Caffarella, had passed away. I have seen and helped with the death of many in Honduras, and have lived through the deaths of my Ruark grandparents, but unlike those, Tim's death changes our normal life. It has been our custom the last several years to visit my mom and Tim and stay with them in San Diego. Tim was a strong supporter of Rina and me, of Cocal Gracias and had visited Honduras many times over the years. He had so many friends here, from the ministry and from Agua Caliente who were sad to hear about his death.
After the news, we kept working like normal. I taught classes the following few days, but on Saturday, knew I should probably go home. After discussing it with Rina I started to look for a flight. Aeromexico had good flights from San Pedro Sula to Mexico City to Tijuana, where I could take a sky bridge to cross the border and my mom could pick me up. I picked a Tuesday to return, affording me to only cancel one Wednesday class and worship service. I don't like to miss worship, and I try not to cancel classes if it can be avoided. The date seemed the most logical for my return to be home for service. I decided on a departure date and was about to purchase the ticket, but I had no peace. I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to stay another day. "But if I stay another day, I miss class and worship," I thought. Yet, I could not shake the disturbance in my spirit over a Tuesday flight. I told Rina what I was feeling and she encouraged me to stay the extra day saying that everything would survive. I clicked Wednesday and in peace, bought my ticket. I prayed that God would let me know in the course of the trip why staying one more day was so important.
The day I flew to San Diego, Rina had taken the kids to see a doctor, because they had been coughing a lot. To our surprise, the doctor said Angie had pneumonia. She was immediately admitted and I was 2,500 miles away. Rina did a great job taking care of her and soon took her home to continue treatments with our nebulizer.
I had a good trip, seeing not only my mom, Tim's half of the family, cousins and friends I have not stayed in close contact with, but also my dad, who was in town visiting my brother. Most of the time was taken up trying to help my mom clean out the house and adjust for the coming days. We had a great celebration service for Tim with music, and stories, and lots of friends. I saw many Cocal supporters at the service. Linda knew of Cocal from working with Tim, and was one of the first church donations we received for Honduras, even before Cocal, or MLV existed. In fact, Joel and I were still working on the video at the time. I saw my old neighbor Jannette and Marie, who came to Honduras on several mission trips. I spent some time with close friends, my grandmother Tucek and uncle Bob, and with the McGinty's, Joel's parents.
As the week came to a close and I was getting closer to leaving, I still did not know why the Lord would want me to fly home late and miss, what I consider, my important responsibilities. My flight would have taken me to Mexico City where I would have had a five hour layover before continuing to Honduras. Tuesday afternoon, the news started to announce a terrible earthquake in Mexico City that crumbled many buildings and killed many people. My Wednesday flight was canceled and I re-scheduled for Thursday. It was only then that I realized, had I not purchased a Wednesday ticket, but instead had followed my original plan, I would have been sitting in the terminal during the earthquake. I would have still had my flight canceled, and would have been stranded in the airport with nowhere to go. I am thankful to the Lord for urging me to obey him. My heart is with the Mexicans who lost family members or were injured in the quake and I pray for them.
My return Home was anything tranquil. No sooner had I arrived home, and we got word that Javier, from our worship service had also passed away. He had gone to Progresso, his home town, about a month ago to work, and we had stopped hearing from him. It turned out that he was probably in the hospital for asthma and when he got out, had an attack in the center and died. His family had a funeral and buried him, but never let his wife, Albertina, know. She got a call at 9 p.m. a week later and was shocked. She cried all that night and left for Progresso in the morning.
No sooner had she left to find out what had happened to him, we got a call that Pastor Nephtali, our old pastor, was in the hospital. He had severe stress and it was crippling him. Then Albertina fell ill of her broken heart and went to the hospital in San Pedro. Shortly after, Maria from our service said her elderly father was hit by a motorcycle and having memory problems.
Honduras was hit with a pink eye epidemic, and many of our students were infected and missed classes. But God has been faithful. Pastor Nephtali is getting better and now home. After a week, Albertina has started to eat again, and Maria's father will be released from intensive care and will get some tests done. Pray for our worship service. It seems each member has had or is having a crisis this month. It has been a difficult month for so many, not to mention the thousands affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorists. We have a great opportunity to show the world the love of Christ in light of all the destruction and hate.
In a positive light, my kids are better. We have not had any pink eye. Belkis celebrated her 15th birthday and had a small quiencenera party at her house. Welding has advanced with the new classroom construction. Mario is painting a third mural in the ministry, a French café scene, and we just finished our big fundraiser for the end-of-semester party. Our student body cooked 200 grilled lunches, packaged and sold them and we made about $300. The student body really worked well together this time and several students took leadership over the event. Best of all, David Pavon from English class gave his life to the lord last Saturday and is really excited about it. Please pray for him.
My prayer is for all of you to be strengthened in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts in faith.