“The house always wins” means that no matter what you do, the system is rigged and you will always end up losing. What if the inverse were true? What if the cards were always stacked in your favor? You might chalk up the first few winning hands to random chance, but you’d eventually start to suspect that something else was at work.
Leaving our old life, taking a leap of faith, and moving to Honduras to become missionaries has felt just like that. Waking up each day without a clue as to how to accomplish the things we need to get done has been incredibly rewarding. This is not because we’re the type of people who enjoy spelunking without a flashlight, but rather because we know that our trust is well placed when it’s in God instead of in our own limited capabilities. He’s confirmed this time and again, especially when we’ve faced difficulties from without and doubts from within.
Construction on our house continues. It’s dragged on far longer than we would have liked, both because overseeing the minutiae of construction takes time away from ministry, and because we’re now squarely in the rainy season. We’ve run into all kinds of issues, from shortages of certain types of building materials, to finding a qualified electrician. I’ve had to learn more about roof design than I’d ever have thought necessary. Through it all, God is the one who is really making things happen. Our prayer is that the work on the house, the ministry, and in fact everything we might set out to accomplish be His. (Psalm 127:1)
The church we’ve been serving in has had some struggles lately. The pastor and his wife left and started up a new church in the same area. Unfortunately instead of twice the number of churches in the vicinity, we now have one whose congregation has been divided due to the drama. The positive thing is that we have a dedicated person who is working with the youth, and are starting to see more kids and adolescents attend. As we pray for a new pastor, I’ve been blessed to be able to handle most of the teaching on Thursday afternoons and preaching on Sundays. We continue to look for ways to disciple and to nurture our congregants. Who knows? Maybe the next pastor will come from within the church.
One of the things I felt specifically called to do when we came to Honduras was to work with future pastors to help equip them for ministry. Many people can’t afford to go to seminary, so I’d wanted to help provide them with a basic, mini-seminary training to help them get established. I still have this on my heart, but haven’t been able to get this project off the ground yet. I did recently come across a promising free seminary curriculum in Spanish, and am going through it myself now. If and when God is ready for me to teach it, I want to be ready too. Another thing we love doing is visiting churches where congregants can’t afford a Bible, and handing out copies of God’s word. We’ve been too busy to travel, but have had the privilege to provide some Bibles to some local pastors, who saw that they got into needy hands.
We’ve had lots of ups and downs over the past six months. We’re a long way away from being able to move into a house of our own, but construction is moving along even in the rainy season. Our church has had some struggles, but we now have opportunities to focus on a youth group we’d never had before. We are painfully aware of the fact that we’re foreigners (and will probably always feel this way), but at least I am learning to haggle over vegetables at the market like a native.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18