The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Holidays and Culture Shock

Sometimes I wonder exactly how to communicate our lives and the way we live down here. Why is it so hard you ask? Because unless you've struck out and done something COMPLETELY different from the way you were raised (or where you were raised) it's very difficult to communicate the vast differences in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I hope you don't look at our blog as my personal whining spot. I am trying to give sight, sound, and touch to how we live. And of course, eyes to see the work we try and do in the process. Forgive me please if I come across as whining. It is NOT my intent.

This is a funny story, really it is. Please don't feel sorry for us. We are fine. Now. :)

Some background -

We were in Santa Rosa doing a bijillion errands, trying to get the truck fixed (yes, it is having issues....these roads, ya know; we were told my the Honduran mechanic, "you REALLY need to get this fixed. You KNOW it's serious then...), and doing some last minute shopping. (stuff is coming on a shipment - it just won't be here 'till next month...)

I have a little one who has developed a thing for cherry pie. It's the main thing she's been asking for for our Christmas dinner. Not much else is registering on her radar (even presents) but cherry pie is a 'want'. I'd found (and spent a ridiculous amount of money on) chocolate, real butter, brown sugar (or at least the closest thing we've seen in 3 years) and powdered sugar for our cookie baking. Tradition ya know. So we've had the baking day although the cookies waited in the fridge to cook during a not so hot time. Okay, on to dinner and desert.

I went to one of the bigger shopping stores in town and was picking up a few things to finish our 'dinner'. First 'lose it' moment. Well - the turkey was over $2.50 USD per pound. The smallest one I could find was going to cost us over $30 USD and I wasn't sure I could even fit the thing into my oven. I have a small oven. I seriously sat there numb as to what to do about the turkey and my son is just looking at me wondering why I have a blank look on my face. Logistically, I'm telling myself 'this is NOT worth having a moment over' but there I was, having a moment. My dh came over and said it's not a big deal - we'll have something special and cheaper like steak. Fine. (NOT REALLY - I just needed him to tell me no I guess...)

So we go to the check out line. "OH MY GOODNESS - I forgot to grab the cans of cherry pie filling! Honey, run and grab me two cans." "Sure. Be right back." I get the rest of the groceries, make chit chat with the checker guy and just as he's totaling things up, Alan comes up with the pie filling. "Great! Add those in please." The guy runs the total and asks for the money and I sit there wondering WHY he wants so much. I hand it to him then as I'm looking at the receipt I see..........................................Second lose it moment coming...

245.00 for pie filling.

Now granted, this is in Lempiras, but GOOD GRIEF. That equates to like $12 USD in pie filling - 2 CANS, small ones at that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My breathing becomes very shallow and the room starts to look small. I'm just standing there, looking every bit like a fool. The checker guy is looking at me and asking what the matter is. I'm staring at the receipt and then look at my husband, then ask the guy if that's a mistake. "Let's check. No - look here. The price tag reads..................................

122.25 PER CAN."


My breathing becomes even shallower as I see what is happening. I CAN'T pay that much for a can of pie filling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - no WAIT, my Janelle has only asked for cherry pie for Christmas. I HAVE to make cherry pie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I seriously can't move at this point. Alan is grabbing the bags and saying 'let's go'. I'm still standing there with the receipt in my hand and a 'deer in the headlights' look. Alan finally steers me out of there.

I don't think I breathed normally until THE NEXT MORNING.

This is such a dumb thing to be so worked up over but I seriously had an eye twitch for two days remembering it. How can I be a good missionary and spend $12 on PIE FILLING?????????

As I sit here remembering this episode, I'm struck by a few things. One is that as Janelle's mom, I wanted and needed to provide that special something for her no matter what the cost. Interesting and shocking as I think of the correlation of God to me. Two, I hope and pray that our kids see that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and loves on us in so many big and small ways; I WANT us to have eyes that see and focus on the blessings that are surrounding us because they are here. Three, as we share what we have, we are provided for - even some of those 'wants'. It is not possible to out-give God. That is my new year's resolution of sorts - to be renewed in my mind for this purpose. To give and share out of complete devotion and realize that God will turn it into what he wants it to be. Can he use my culture shock moments? I don't know, but as I have them I do my best to retain my sense of humor, no matter how belated, and turn it into an object lesson for stretching our faith.

Our Christmas dinner was wonderful. Steak, vegetables, AND cherry pie. Plus the acute vision that it was a gift -albeit an expensive one. But then it is fitting because God's Christmas gift to us was an expensive one too.

I hope your Christmas was filled with the joy of knowing that you are provided for and watched over. And that you are filled with the peace that comes with knowing that he is with us every step of the way each and every day of the year. I know that is what sustains us.


MiPa said...

I love this story, not because of what it cost but because of what it teaches. God as our parent wants to give us amazing gifts, and willing to pay the cost to do so. Thanks for the reminder!

(I'm finally delurking after following you from the SL board).

Live Simply Love Strongly said...

As I read your post I was waiting and waiting for the whining, but it never came. I think your worries were understandable(paying $12 for pie filling is a big deal when you are a missionary on a fixed income). Your husband sounds more laid-back than you. It's the same in our household. My husband (the Latino) helps me to see that if things don't turn out exactly as I planned, it's ok. I'm glad your dinner turned out nice. Remember to look for that balance between giving of yourself and your resources and to know when to let yourself enjoy the good things that come to cherry pie!

Missus Wookie said...

But what a wonderful gift you received to FIND pie filling just when it was needed so it could be part of your very special Christmas dinner :)

So glad you enjoyed it all.

mary grace said...

O.k.--that does it. Give me your address, lady. There's a care package I've been wanting to send you, and I'm thinking it's time. :-) (You can email me at my blog's name at gmail.)

iris said...

Thanks so much Faith for sharing your story...God is concerned about every aspect of His kids lives...even Cherry Pie!

Love to all of you!