Sunday, November 1, 2015

Defining Moments

The first time we went to the dump to feed, I was scared to death.  I had seen the dump from the car.  I saw the conditions.  I saw the people race toward the car when we did not even get out.  I cannot adequately describe how scared I was.  Nicole and I were in the back seat.  I did not say a word to anyone.  Anyone, but God.  I prayed.  And prayed. 

When we got to the dump, it took everything I had to get out of the truck and crawl in the back to start serving food.  The people swarmed us.  It did nothing to ease my fears.  But, I kept praying and kept serving food.  I was thankful when we were through.  I do not feel that way now about the dump, but I did the first time.  And, maybe the second and third, too.

It was several months later that I realized that was a defining moment for me and my work in Honduras.  I chose to trust God to protect me and I chose to get out of the back seat and into the back of the truck to serve the people in the dump.  Had I chosen to let fear rule, fear could have paralyzed me and the work I came to do.

There was another defining moment on Friday evening.

Donna Griffith was here all week sewing with the girls again.  The power went off about 4:30.  This is a normal event.  I continued to work in the office and she continued to work with the girls.  She came back to the house at 5:45 and I decided to go give the 6:00 meds.  I had my lantern with me so that I could see to give the correct amounts.  I gave the meds and went back into the office.  Then I stopped to talk to Nicole a minute.   Matt had brought home Popeye's and they were giving me what was left so that Donna and I could have supper, too.  Since Nicole is on bed rest, I am doing her laundry.  Haley normally brings the dirty laundry down to my house, but there was four of five pieces and Emma wanted to carry it to Grammy's house.  I had the lantern and the chicken.  Emma led the way with the laundry. 

I opened the door and Donna was sitting there reading by flashlight ( a person after my own heart).  Emma walked in.  I walked in.  And, Donna's eyes widened.  Emmy and I were laughing and talking.  She put the laundry down.  I said I would walk her back up because it was too dark to go by herself.  I turned around to leave and there were two men in my house.  They were wearing masks and camo clothing.  Silly me.  I thought since it was the 30th of October that it was someone playing a joke on me.  A not very funny joke, but nonetheless, a joke.  One stepped back outside to stand guard and the other one removed his mask for just a second.  I did not know this person.  I began to scream in hopes that Matt and Nicole could hear me.  They had their door shut since it was dark.  Little Emma began to scream.  The one in my house said "money", not dinero, but money.  I continued to scream.  And Emma continued to scream.  He hit my face several times.  Then pushed me down.  Donna started toward him.  I had no idea what she was doing and I was screaming her name to stop.  She was trying to blind him with her flashlight.  He swatted at her phone, but missed.  He kept saying money.

He began to search the bedrooms.  The only light in the house is my lantern and it cast an eery glow.  But it was enough light that I could see where he was.  He then went into the bedroom in which Donna was sleeping.  He grabbed the coffee she had purchased from the store, but soon dropped it.

He came charging across the house.  I had just found my glasses and was getting off the floor.  Little did I know that after Donna could not blind the guy, she sat down and began praying. 

He went into my bedroom.  I do not know what I was thinking.  I ran in there behind him saying "you can't go through my things" as he was pulling my underwear from the drawer.  I sincerely doubt he understood since I spoke in English.  But he stopped.  And turned and ran out the door.  I slammed the door behind him.  I do not even know which direction they went. 

I could not get Matt and Nicole to answer their phones.  I finally called an employee and told a few details and told her to tell Matt to get down here.  She went to the apartment.  She was afraid of putting Nicole into labor and told Matt he needed to go to my house.  Thankfully, the lights came back on before Matt got to my house. 

Donna had been holding Emma and I took her.  She just kept saying, " I want to go back to my house."  Matt took Emma and, without going into too much detail in front of Emma, I told Matt what happened.  Matt and Emma left.  Emma told Nicole " bad men in Grammy's house.  I no like it."  At this point, Nicole did not know what had happened and asked Emma if they hit Grammy.  Emma said, " I no talk about it."  I was so hoping that Sweet Emma had not seen all of that.

And our guardian angel may have been Tibby, Haley and Emma's golden retriever.  Dogs are smart and protect their people.  Tibby would not ever harm a person under normal circumstances.  But she was sitting at my front door when Matt arrived and she was barking, something she hardly every does.  As the night wore on, the dog remained unusually agitated.

Once Matt left, I fell apart.  And stayed apart for a long time.  Some time later, Donna and I prayed.  All I could say was thank you, God. Thank you.

I called Mark Connell and then Luis.  Luis was back out here as fast as he could be.  With a posse of people.  He had people to walk the property that night.  I now have a guard again.  Luis took care of everything he possibly could, both Friday night and all day Saturday.  Once again, I do not know what we would do without Luis.

And, Matt was great help, too. He stayed here at my house until he knew a guard was here.

Even though my face still hurts, I am thankful for many things.  My face is not bruised, just hurting.  Emma and Donna were not hurt.  No money was taken.  God is my protector and He protected me big Friday night.  

I am scared.  I feel violated. I feel invaded.  I am jumpy and nervous.  I was in PriceSmart today.  I saw someone I knew.  He is a delivery person and I do business with him.  He reached out to touch my shoulder in a friendly way.  He wanted me to meet his family.  I jumped and flinched.  I hate being that way.  But, I guess it is going to be that way for a while.  After I give medicine at 6:00, I ask the guard to walk me back to my house.  I hate that, too.

I hate that Emmy is now afraid to come to my house.  That sweet baby should not have had to see this.

I now understand the bond my dad shared with his army buddies.  

This is a defining moment.  I can retreat.  I can flee.  If I choose to flee, there is no one that can promise me the same thing would not ever happen to me in the States.  I am scared and nervous and jumpy.  I am here for these kids.  I do not want to live in fear.  I do not want to lock myself in this house.  I do not want to flee.  How I handle this and how I overcome this is a defining moment for me and for the work in Honduras.

Both of these events are defining moments, but there is a huge difference.  One I was afraid to face people when I had something to give to them.  Tonight that fear seems silly and unreasonable.  When uninvited people enter my home and want something that is not theirs, hit me and scare my grandchild and my friend, that fear is one I have never known before and hope to never know again.   Yet, God protected me both times.

I need prayers.  Lots of prayers.

I have the best family, friends and supporters in the whole world.  Once again, I thank you for your prayers, love, and support. 


Horton Prather said...

We will be praying for you Terri.

Laura Templeton said...

Terri, we prayed for you tonight in my ladies Bible class--prayers for protection, comfort, peace, strength and courage. Much love to you and appreciation for your gifts.

VIC'S PLACE said...

You and Honduras and the mission are always in my prayers!