I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like being wrong. What I like worse than realizing I am wrong is admitting that I am wrong. While my sense of pride is hurt when I realize and admit to myself I am wrong, it gets hurt a little more when I have to admit openly to others that I was wrong about something.
There is nothing to like about being wrong, especially at first. But when I move quickly through the recognition and admission phase, successfully push down the ugly part of my natural self that wants to rationalize, make excuses, cover up, and pretend that I wasn’t really wrong, learning and growth take place.
In April 2015 I wrote an article titled “Winding Roads” and in that article I told you the story about how we found a village called Caiquin and that Caiquin was at the end of the road. I was wrong about that. The road goes further.
During a meeting with Pastor Jorge last August I asked him if he knew of any other communities where we could begin new outreach that would hopefully lead to the raising up a of new pastor, congregation, and church building. He thought about that for a few moments and then told me that there were actually three more communities that fit this description.
This always excites me because one of the things I love to do most serving in missions is to jump in the truck and head deeper into the mountains to visit new communities. I asked him where these communities were located and he told me they were in the mountains above Caiquin on the road leading out of town. This was my realization that the day was coming for me to admit in another article that I was wrong-the winding road to Caiquin actually goes through Caiquin.
From my perspective at the time the road did not really appear to go much further than Pastor Jorge’s house. That combined with not asking the right question and jumping to a conclusion led me to draw the wrong conclusion. Maybe one day I will stop jumping to conclusions and learn to ask the right questions first instead. Now that we have all of that out of the way lets continue on with the story.
In late August last year Pastor Jorge, Jean, our friend and interpreter Lourdes, and I went up to visit the first community he mentioned called Coalaca. We met a young man named Pastor Arnoldo and the leaders of the house church and outreach activities taking place in Coalaca under the guidance of Pastor Jorge.
While sitting on some rocks under a tree Pastor Arnoldo told us the story of how he heard the Lord during prayer one day tell him to donate the property we were sitting on to the church. This property was a piece of his family’s land that had been given to him for his future home and family. He told us about how he was afraid to do this because he did not have a lot of money and couldn’t just go and buy another piece of land. But he chose to be obedient and donated the land.
After hearing his story and learning about the ministry that was already taking place in Coalaca we were sure that the Lord was leading us to help build a new church building there in 2016. So we continued on in this direction and a team from Kentucky came to Honduras and spent a week helping our brothers and sisters from Caiquin and Coalaca build the new church in March of this year.
After we finished our meeting in Coalaca we continued on to Arcamón which is another 20 minutes or so up a very steep and rocky road to the top of a mountain. The views are breathtaking from up there. We learned that this has been a very difficult community to reach. Pastor Jorge had visited here once or twice before but had become discouraged and stopped going. We talked about that and just spent some time there that afternoon planning and praying.
Afterwards we went part of the way back towards Coalaca and Pastor Jorge pointed out a steep, muddy, heavily rutted trail that went up another mountainside. I asked what was up there and he said that a small community named Mataras was up there. He had not spent much time at all in this community but asked if we wanted to go visit. Of course I said yes even though the trail was very intimidating. We had a brand new set of mud tires on the back so we put the truck in four wheel drive and headed up to Mataras for the first time.
Like Arcamón the views are absolutely stunning. We only spent a little time there because it was getting late in the afternoon and we needed to start making our way back to Caiquin and La Campa. Since these visits we have been working very diligently in Arcamón and we are starting to see some fruit from our labor. We have not yet started any outreach in Mataras but we plan to do so once things are further along in Arcamón.
Since we have our hands full with the work in Coalaca and Arcamón, and we have plans to begin work in Mataras soon I have not yet inquired much about the roads and communities beyond these places. The road narrows significantly and goes at least a little ways out of Arcamón in one direction; there is one very small community close by that we will visit one day. But for now I am not making any definitive statements about where roads end. While there is plenty more I will be wrong about in the future I do at least try really hard to not repeat the same mistakes over and over.
In the case of Caiquin the road went further even though that did not appear to be the case at first. That may be the case in these other locations too. But sometimes the road does not go further, at least as a road. Earlier this year we drove out to Nuevo Cedros while on another one of these adventures. We reached a point where the road came to an end, however, a trail continued on in the same direction. Perhaps one day we’ll set off on foot to see who and what we find along this trail.
All of this recently got me to thinking about the end of the road in a sense other than geography. Often throughout our lives we reach points where it looks like we are at the end of the road. It looks as if there is no way to go forward. The road has turned into a path and the path has narrowed and become dimly lit and very difficult to traverse. Perhaps we press ahead a little further until we can’t see anything at all and are completely out of options. We know we can’t turn back, and yet we can’t go forward either. What do we do then?
These are the moments where, if we will trust Him, God will show us that the road does indeed go further. Oftentimes it takes us getting to this point of desperation that will allow God to step in and show us the way. God loves us so much that He will not ever force himself into our lives. Think of that. God loves and respects us so much that He will patiently wait and let us reach the end of the road, the end of ourselves, before He will step in and shine His marvelous light revealing that we were not at the end of the road at all. As a matter of fact, it turns out that we had only reached the beginning of His road that He had already planned for us.
While the end of our road brings us to the beginning of His road, His road may not necessarily go further in a direction that we would choose to go on our own. But when God is leading us we have nothing to fear. When we are in a right relationship with God the Father through Jesus we have promise after promise in the Bible that God is with us, that He is leading us, and that He is guarding us from behind so that nothing can overtake us. Even though there will be experiences not of our choosing on God’s road, He allows them for our benefit. If we trust and follow Him He will, either in this life or in the life to come, allow us to see and understand better what He was doing.
“…Just as I have been with Moses I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”Joshua 1:5b, NASB
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9, NASB