Hi guys, my name is Ashley, and my husband, Justin, and I serve as missionaries in Roatan, Honduras, with our two sons, ages 5 and 8. We’ve been serving in Honduras for the past nine years and have had a lot of different experiences. This year has certainly been a strange one, and we are still trying to find new ways to adapt. The government here has enacted very strict policies concerning the coronavirus. We are only allowed to circulate one day every two weeks according to our ID numbers. Even then, there are only a few types of businesses that are allowed to open and at a low capacity. We have to wear masks everywhere, even in our cars. We have to have our temperatures taken and use hand sanitizer before entering any stores. So, on the few days we do get out, life looks very different, to say the least!
Our days at home have changed drastically as well. We were used to the boys attending a great, local school, and having the day to do lots of work. But, since March 15, we’ve all been home together, every day. Work is harder to complete, and also looks different. Our in-person Bible Studies, group meetings, and Classes have had to be put on hold. We are very thankful for Zoom, Whatsapp, and Marcopolo, which allow us to stay in contact with our local and distant friends. I’ve been able to continue giving English classes through Zoom, which has been such a blessing for me. I am an extrovert and have a deep need to serve, so it has been very satisfying to my soul to still feel like I have a purpose!
While it has been a challenge to be even more isolated, we already faced some of that before the pandemic since we were so far from family and friends. This has offered us several new opportunities to feel more connected to our home church in Bowling Green. We’re able to be a part of small groups, which was never a possibility before, and watch church online just like everyone else! In some weird ways, it’s helped the world feel smaller and more connected.
Overall there have been several things that I think have made the biggest difference for me. Communication tools such as WhatsApp, MarcoPolo, Messenger, and Zoom to stay connected and engaged.
I’m often tempted to scroll through Facebook or Instagram but I find that the personal connection helps infinitely more. Reaching out, even just to tell someone they’re on your mind, often leads to a wonderful conversation that is soothing to the soul!
It may not be the solution for everyone but I don’t know where we’d be without our schedule. Although it can be hard to get work done with all of us on top of each other, we have found that a schedule has been a lifesaver! We make the schedules with the boys’ input to include educational games, reading, art/music, building, free play, Spanish, and outdoor play. A lot of these, they do on their own with a little guidance from us, which frees us up to get some work done. Outdoor play is especially useful for this as the house is blissfully quiet for a few precious minutes!
Additionally, regular exercise has made the biggest difference in my daily mood. Many days I’m tempted to skip it, but it is something that makes such a difference to my day that I try my best to make it a priority. Personal Bible study is the final thing that has made a huge difference for me. I’m currently using Beth Moore’s study “Breaking Free” and highly recommend it. Making sure I’m healthy spiritually and physically makes a huge difference in my mental health. When I take the time to study and exercise my whole day and attitude are changed and we’re all better for it! I know these times can feel overwhelming, but I hope you’re all able to find ways to feed your body and your souls and find peace amidst the uncertainty.
Ashley is so humble in her blog post. Her family is doing amazing work in Roatan. Being a missionary is not easy and even more challenging during a pandemic. Here is a post she recently shared on Facebook.
The crisis here in Honduras is dire. Here are the numbers being shared.
48%- number of small businesses that have closed permanently.
600,000- number of employees that have been let go from their jobs.
67%- unemployment rate throughout the country
6,600,000- the approximate number of people living on $2 or less every day.
This is the new reality for many in Honduras. It was reported that it would take 5 years for the country to return to pre-COVID levels economically.
Please remember Honduras in your daily prayers because it will be 5+ years to get back to the “normal” level of poverty that we battled before the pandemic hit this beautiful country.
I imagine the unemployment numbers are even higher here on the island where nearly all jobs revolve around tourism. We are ready to get back to making a dent in these numbers, but for now, we’ll continue to provide necessary relief as long as we are in this time of crisis. We are so appreciative of those who have contributed so far! If you’d like to give, you may do so at https://www.wgm.org/project/roatan-ministry Thank you for joining in this necessary work!