In preparing to write this blog, Ernie mentioned that I should look up the automatic weapon AK-47 on the internet to make sure that was correct. Well I did, and maybe it is not the one most of the guards, military, and police
in Honduras carry, but it sure looks close! When we first moved here, I was struck by the sheer number of folks that carry these large automatic weapons. From the moment you land in the airport in San Pedro Sula, they abound. I somewhat expected the police and maybe military to carry them, but not the guy at my favorite Taco restaurant or the hardware store. But now, it has become second nature, I only notice when we have visitors with us who nervously laugh or get wide eyed upon seeing it.
Soon after we first moved to Honduras 3 years ago, our little village was in the midst of a struggle for control from rivaling gangs. Gangs are a huge problem here in Honduras, as well as in most of Latin America and the US. We knew we had to be diligent in the city, but were suprised when our little village was under assault. It was a crazy time, one where we learned quickly to depend on God.
One night, about 3 am Ernie and I awoke to what we determined was a full on automatic weapon gun battle near our mission house. We had a predetermined, pre-discussed emergency plan for our family. Ernie grabbed the machete ( not sure how this was going to help against assault rifles, but it made us all feel better for him to have it!) and we woke the kids and huddled for two hours in one of our bathrooms. The “gun” battle raged on for over an hour, we even could see muzzle flash. We emerged from our hiding place at first lignt and cautiously proceded out of the house. At our staff meeting that morning, we expected to hear all about the terror that had gripped our village the night before. Instead, we were told that it was the 25th anniversary of something or another in our little village and that heated gun battle was really a mesmerizing firework display.
Good grief! Were we really that inept? Could we not tell the difference between gun fire and fireworks? Well, the answer is “NO”. We still can’t. About three weeks later, Graham and I were in our back yard and heard what we thought were fireworks (well we weren’t at all sure, but after the fiasco previosly, we decided it was probably fireworks). As we stood there reassuring ourselves all was well, we saw a young man get shot in the leg. Clearly, you do not want the Sizemore family around to be discerning for you AK-47 or Firework. We still have some work to do!
I planned to write these little blogs just to share some of the funny (and not so funny) observations we have had in our time in Honduras, but a lesson so perfectly arises from this story, I can’t not share it. I am not sure if I will ever be able to distinguish the difference in weapon fire and fireworks, but thankfully, as Christians, God has given us the perfect, infallible, living Word on which to make choices in our lives.
A precious friend sent me the most wonderful gift for my birthday yesterday. She sent me scripture that she picked out just for me and prayed over me. I will close this blog with one of the scriptures she sent. This is from Isaiah 41:10; “So, do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ( Even when you don’t know an automatic weapon from a firework)