Thursday, October 20, 2016

Planes, hurricanes, and tropical diseases

Wow - this blog has certainly been quiet, recently! I am here now, however, prepared to offer explanations/excuses.

Back at the end of September, with my departure date (for my trip to the US) unexpectedly moved forward, I was rushing to prepare, and then it was time to travel! Though you can get from Gracias to San Pedro Sula in three hours and you can fly from San Pedro Sula to Orlando in about that same amount of time . . . for various reasons my travel day started at 4:30am, and ended at midnight! I was one tired missionary at the end of that day!

Immediately upon my arrival in Florida the concerns regarding a hit from Hurricane Matthew began reaching a high intensity. Coincidence? Some may think otherwise  . . . hmmmmmm? We decided we'd better make some preparations, and we hunkered down while the storm approached and passed on to the north.

We were staying in Orlando, where things weren't likely to get very bad, though there was still some risk. Because the storm track shifted to the east, Orlando was spared any significant problems. However, we had intended to spend time with friends and supporters over on the east coast of Florida, and those folks, while praising God that the situation wasn't worse, still had a significant amount of damage and mess to clean up. It wasn't a good time for them to visit with us, so . . .

We packed up on the spur of the moment, traveled all the way across Florida to the other coast, and spent a few days mixing delight with frustration, as we visited with my parents and two of our kids, and also prepared and filed our taxes. Yuck! (In case you're wondering about the timing - US citizens living internationally get an automatic filing extension.)

None of this left much time for working on the blog!

This past Saturday, the 15th, we scheduled a return trip back across Florida - leaving the Gulf Coast early, traveling to Lakeland, where we met up with friends of the ministry who'd collected a pallet-load of spiral-bound notebooks for us, caravanned with them to Winter Springs, to pick up toothbrushes, toothpaste, and blankets donated by other friends, and continued on to New Smyrna Beach. There we added these items to the rest of the donations which had previously been collected, to ship to Honduras. That was a big day; we were already feeling the pressure to make the most of the remainder of our available days in Florida. But then . . .

Sunday night I became very sick - a recurrence of an illness I've had multiple times over the past few years. The high fevers and chills usually abate within about a week, so we decided to lie low for a few days while Allen nursed me and continued working on ministry arrangements, involving dozens of phone calls. (We believe the recurrent illness is a form of malaria - not anything contagious by contact. No one else in my family ever gets it, just lucky me. I'll try to get a blood test done, and meds to kill whatever-it-is for good, the next time I'm sick with this while in Honduras. It's hard and expensive to get it done in the US.)

Today (Thursday), as Allen travels to Gainesville Florida to pick up additional boxes (for the feeding centers) to ship in the container, I am finally feeling much better - enough so that I'm even writing a blog post!

I won't guarantee that the blog won't go quiet again - we're keeping busy, and we'll spend a part of this next week loading a container, and another part driving from Florida to Maryland - but I am hopeful that there will be no more incidents involving huge named storms or strange tropical diseases to disrupt things! Please pray with us that this will be the case!

- posted by Trish

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