I wish we had been able to keep track of them all. Through the social media such as Facebook and Linkedin, we have renewed contact with some of our old friends. Now I am back in touch with some of my former high school and college classmates that I have not seen for nearly four decades. Whenever we are back in the States, we even occasionally run across people who ask me, "Aren't you Larry? I thought you were in Honduras." Thats not so strange because I grew up in a rural community and I do recognize them once I realize who they are.
On the other hand, who would have imagined that a rather insignificant pair of photos taken 27 years ago of someone we only knew casually would have such significance today? We had no idea at the time that the little baby in the picture would one day be such an important partner in ministry.
Lately, I’ve been reminiscing over some of our old pictures from the early years of our ministry in Honduras. Some of the pictures hold memories as if they had happened just days ago instead of decades ago. Some pictures are of students whom I can no longer remember their names. Some pictures are of people we really never even knew at the time.
One picture in particular stirred my memory and caused my imagination to begin working. I knew that this was a picture of Maribel's mom who had died when she was just 11 years old. The girl holding the baby is Maribel's sister Carmen. But, could the child in her arms be Maribel? Even though Maribel has no photos of herself to compare it to we are all certain that the baby in this picture is Maribel.Maribel's brother had worked in the garden with me when he was a student at El Sembrador. Carlos was like a son to us and we kept in touch with him after he graduated and left the school. We never got to know Carlos' parents or his 11 siblings very well since they lived up in the mountains a couple of hours away from the school.
Eventually, Carlos ended up in Choluteca working in a local factory using his education from El Sembrador in Industrial Mechanics. After Carlos and Maribel's mother died Carlos arranged for Maribel to come to the capital city of Tegucigalpa to continue her education. Then, after Hurricane Mitch, Maribel moved to Choluteca where she continued her high school education.
We arrived in Choluteca in September 2000 and immediately renewed our friendship with Carlos, and began getting to know his sister Maribel. Carlos moved from Choluteca, but Maribel decided to stay and finish her education.
Maribel moved into an extra room in our house and became like a daughter to us. Once she graduated from high school, she entered the university to study for a masters degree in microbiology. Maribel was instrumental in helping start the Shalom Church in February 2009.