Hasta la Proxima

Everyone else has gone to the beach at West Bay, but as beautiful as it is I’ve elected to stay back and relax. The last two weeks on the mission trip to Roatan have been exhausting, but amazing.

Still, I know there will be work to be done as I get VoiceGoals up and running. And at beIN, Copa Libertadores is already back and the start of the new European season isn’t far away. So, a day enjoying the breezes and the scenery is a needed luxury before getting on the plane home.

While I am looking forward to returning to my reality, I have also come to realize that my time in Roatan is more ‘real’ than anything I do back in the States. I’m already looking forward to next year!

One of the curious things about Roatan is the popularity of country music, especially among the older islanders. More modern music, English and Spanish, is also popular, but it’s not unusual to hear some Merle Haggard or Alan Jackson rubbing up next to reggae and calypso. The latter two are actually newer introductions, designed to make the tourists feel more ‘islandy’.

On our first trip to the Rock, Miss Darla, the Roatan Alive matriarch, explained that with so few local radio stations to listen to, islanders listened to the country music carried across the waves at night from Texas. It was also a popular staple of the AM station from neighboring Belize, while visiting American fishermen made sure country music was loaded on the jukeboxes when they came ashore.

Nowadays, in addition to the Caribbean rhythms you will hear the latest trends, from hip hop to reggaeton. Roatan also has its own local music scene and while I might be a bit old to hit the dancehalls, ahem, I can attest to the talent on the island, and not just on the soccer field.

Listening to the spectacular voices of Shana and Erick from Pandy Town is one of my best memories of the trip. Watching near 90-year-old Miss Kay sing and dance the roof off West End Baptist will be impossible to forget. So will watching 200 young boys storm the soccer field for an afternoon of fun, with more than half of them stepping forward in faith before the day was done.

Almost every time I turned around, there was my wife, comforting another baby in her arms, sometimes two – the love shining through the haze. And from wondering whether the Bell’s Palsy attack on the eve of the trip would keep me from even getting on the plane, to emceeing the marriage conference and teaching during the week of camp, I can never underestimate His power, or that of a praying wife.

Watching increasing numbers of kids and dwindling supplies, it brings to mind the five loaves and two small fish. And just like Elijah told the widow, when our energy seemed exhausted, we kept pouring ourselves out until the mission was done. It’s been an inspiring trip.

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