A big advantage of being a cook and having to shop everyday down there is knowing where all the good shops are. Hopefully the guy who owns the fabric store is still in the same location ~ I've saved up sewing money! This guy is from Honduras and worked in the states for several years, so he speaks English really well ~ I'll look for him when I go in.
They have some fantastic bakeries down there at very reasonable prices. We buy all our desserts to serve at night.
The grocery stores are "interesting". The Maxi Bodega is clean, modern, very upscale for the area, guarded, and supposed to be owned by Walmart. The grocery part of the store is large and there are 3-4 aisles of housewares, clothing, school supplies etc. You have to put your bag/backpack/purse in a locker. You can carry in notebook/pen, calculator, & cash. There is a guard on the outside and several guards on the inside ~~~shoplifting in the country is a problem. I will buy meat in this store. Then there is the Super Mercado ~ the outside appearance is deceptively small but when you walk in the guarded doors the store sprawls out over a whole city block. It seems to be the store where the locals shop daily. There are tons of employees constantly stocking the shelves with everything. This is where we buy spices, vanilla extract, etc. I don't like to buy meat here ~ it just doesn't appear clean to me.
We go in Jan. because thats school break down there. The parents will stand in line for hours to see the dr., dentist, eye doctor ~ everyone will have the opportunity to hear the gospel (the evangelists talk to everyone while they are in line). Many will respond however its difficult to determine if they are responding because the Lord touched their heart or because they think the evangelist expects them too and they want to please him, or because they are getting helped & they are grateful. Only the Lord knows their hearts.
The city we are staying at is relatively large, very crowded, and really loud. Car horns honk all the time ~ could be a hello greeting, a get out of my way greeting, a I'm racing this cab warning, etc. Red lights are just a suggestion. The haves spend money to keep/protect their stuff, the have nots are trying to survive and provide for their family any way possible. It is a common site to see heavily armed guards on rooftops, at doors, the bank ~ doing their job of protecting the whatever. The have nots, HAVE NOT! To our knowledge there is no gov. assistance or any kind of aid except when mission groups are there.
Our jobs as cooks for the team brings fringe benefits. We "share" our leftovers from dinners to whoever wants to eat. Once you give out the first cup or cracker or piece of candy ~ children & adults come out of the woodwork for more. After the first day or so, we will have cab drivers waiting to drive us back to the church ~ its cheap (about $1.50) and they unload the groceries and carry them into the kitchen...thats a deal! They also like Greg's tips! We get to see the teams off in the morning with a good breakfast, packed lunches & coolers, and welcome them back at night with a big dinner ~ that means the daytimes are ours to explore, visit, cook, plan, shop, & since I am with my best friend, its a win/win for me!
There are several American restaurants down there ~ Pizza Hut, Wendy's, Popeyes, and KFC. They deliver to businesses on bikes with baskets attached to the back fender. I've eaten at one local place down there (besides the bakeries) ~ a Honduran Steak House...good food. Greg & I will usually slip into Wendy's for a frosty since its across the street from the Maxi Bodega. And its refreshing after walking the 5-6 blocks from the church to the store (we only do the taxi's on the way back when we are loaded down with groceries).
My favorite all time, gotta have drink down there is Mirinda (a pepsi product) ~ orange flavor only! Oh my goodness, I love it (not an exaggeration). I am greatly looking forward to my first sip ~ Fanta Orange is anemic compared to this drink. The drinks down there are made with cane sugar not HFCS ~ you can taste the difference...even in their coke. While cokes/pepsi's are popular down there, fruit nectars (juices) are very popular also. Another favorite of mine is all the fresh fruit ~ straight off the farm ~ juicy, delicious, fresh cantaloupe in Jan. Gotta quit talking about this ~ I'm getting hungry/thirsty.
Our prayers are for travel safety, safety while there, lives to be touched and changed, that we would recognize opportunities to minister, and that the Lord would be glorified in all.
Ephesians 1:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we would walk in them.
Matthew 25:35-36 For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothes Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to me".
25: 40 And the King will answer and say to them "Assuredly, I will say to you, inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."
Luke 10:2-4 The He said to them "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few, therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Romans 12:10-13 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving, the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to go back to this country. I will come back with a renewed sense of thankfulness for the blessings of the Lord on our country and my family.