On the night of October 26th three couples arrived at the church building to become legally married. There is a law here that if two people live together for a certain period of time they are to be considered married. The only problem with that is that it has developed into a culture that if one of them wants out of the marriage, they just walk away. There is no legal process to go through to dissolve the marriage. It happens here a lot. It’s similar to what happens in the States, where couples live together “in preparation” for marriage. This is developing into a culture where people just live together until one walks away and then they get with someone else and do the same thing. We’ve met people here and listened to them tell who their siblings are and it makes your head spin just hearing the explanation of who is who’s kid and which is their father and on and on. I feel sorry for children that grow up in that kind of situation because they never know when one of their parents are going to up and leave. This is the reason we want these couples to be legally married. The cycle of abandonment needs to stop.
So, the church building was full of relatives of these three families plus most of the church members. The first part of the service is a civil ceremony. A lawyer is there and performs the ceremony, gets the couples to sign a lot of paperwork and has them take legal vows of marriage. This took way more time than it should. Then the “religious” ceremony comes next. Well, there was a short sermon in between the two on the importance of marriage in God’s sight. The religious ceremony was very touching as each couple was asked to say their vows. Some of the couples had rings, others didn’t. They were all dressed beautifully. The situation was different than what you would see in the States but it still had a wonderful, moving tone to it all.
The ladies of the church had spent hours and hours decorating and also prepared the food, so we all had a good meal to celebrate and we ended the night by heading home. Two of the couples were on the church bus with us. One couple lives a few blocks from us, so we all walked together. It was a good night.
We had the three couples over to our home the following Saturday night. We want to work with them to help in building a lasting marriage. I gave a short lesson on love and respect using some of the ideas from the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. We had a pretty good discussion afterword. We were pleasantly surprised at their willingness to open up and talk. We also began a book lending program – I had 2 books we had bought on marriage in Spanish and they will read this and bring them back to swap out for the next … this was a really big hit! We then introduced them to Jacob’s Wii and had a good time bowling in the TV room. (Those of you who don’t know what a Wii is, just ask your grandchildren).
Did I mention that before the wedding we had just returned from a four day trip to Belize? Because we don’t have residency papers yet we have to travel out of the country for a few days then return so we can get another three month stamp in our passport. We can pay $60 toward the end of the three to get an extra month but if we don’t leave before that fourth month is up we have to pay some hefty fines. We can’t travel to any of the bordering countries as they have some kind of pact. So, it has to be Belize (the closest) or Costa Rica or any place else. We could have gone to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Spirit Airlines but there were two problems – we didn’t have a thousand dollars to spend and we don’t know anyone in Ft. Lauderdale to stay with, so it was off to Belize.
One of the missionaries from Teguc has made the trip so she wrote down the directions and e-mailed them to me. The trip involved eight buses and four boats so I have to say I was a bit “concerned” about the trip. Robin tells all about it on our blog site (see above). Did I mention that Robin and I each had a backpack of about 30 or 40 pounds to carry?
Reflections from Robin –
Our trip to Belize was wonderful, crazy, energy-sapping, educational and necessary. It will be a blessing to someday have residency and I know God will bless us in this working out.
Our work here in Santa Rosa involves primarily making friendships that will build trust and confidence and then we go on from there with the teaching and living examples. We talk with our neighbors daily – chatting with this one and that one up and down our streets. It is so precious to me to use our home as an outreach for the Lord’s church and it happens multiple times a week. Already we have seen Christ glorified in so many ways through the body that meets here in this city – the church grows week by week – numerically and spiritually. Not having a vehicle means we walk every where which is wearing but rewarding. We love meeting new people and telling why we’re here. I don’t think I can think of a time that we’ve gone into ‘el centro’ and not seen members of the church – what a blessing!
With all the great things that are happening Satan is trying his best to see it all destroyed. Just when attendance is up in one area it will be down in another … consistency is a challenge. One couple backed out of marrying just hours before – they’ve come around now and will ‘do the deed’. Just know this is a mighty step to take and it is one of courage and commitment. Please pray for these and the 10 or so others we are working with.
All this to say something very important to us – with God’s help and the help of an awesome team of people here – we are working hard to make a difference for eternity’s sake. We know it is of utmost importance to feed the hungry and shelter those who struggle to keep a roof over their heads, but the crux of the matter is – they need Jesus in their lives and have to be shown The Way. I am so happy and proud to be a part of His Body here in Santa Rosa – a body of Hondurans helping Hondurans see light for this challenging path before each of us.
Our wish list (I thought I would include this here so you would know our needs): a vehicle, $3,200 for our 5 year residency papers which would keep us from having to travel out of the country every four months, someone who will purchase and ship Spanish books on marriage, parenting, dating and sexual abstinence.
May God continue to bless each of you as you seek for and find the will of God for your life
– Lowell, Robin and Jacob White
Our phone number: 011-504-3341-5864 (Lowell’s cell) 615-752-2986 (MagicJack number)
Remember to send any contributions to:
Wilkesboro Church of Christ
P.O. Box 81
Wilkesboro, NC 28697-0081
Make the check out to Wilkesboro Church of Christ, put Honduras on the “for” line on your check and enclose a note that it’s for the Lowell White family. Also, tell us if its for something particular.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)