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Teacher Conference (see pictures)
November 25-27 was the 9th annual Discovery School teacher conference. This year’s theme was, ‘The Joy of Teaching.’ There were 450 teachers. Kjell attended many sessions as well as taught an afternoon session on ‘Teacher-Generated Games.’ The whole family stayed at the hotel in Tegucigalpa for two nights. Katarina and Mikayla were part of the opening ceremony, singing with the Discovery School choir. Kjell also made some contacts for future teacher trainings. And a teacher that attended Kjell’s session last year, stood up before the session, and announced how awesome Kjell’s sessions are!
Residency (see picture)
In January, we will have lived in Honduras for three years. And just last week, we finally got residency! Residency does not mean we are a citizen of Honduras, it just means we are allowed to stay in the country (we are US citizens and we are residing in Honduras).
NOTE: When you enter Honduras, your passport gets stamped for 1-3 months (meaning you can stay for that long). Before that date expires, you need to leave the country for 72 hours (3 days) before you can return. It used to be you could go to an adjoining country, but now you need to go two countries over. There are stiff fines for not updating your passport However, if you enter Honduras and begin the residency process, this not only allows you to stay in the country legally during the process, but requires you pay every month or two months.
When we entered the country, we were using a lawyer to get residency (under a missionary status). We had to obtain a lot of documents and were missing some ministry documents they needed. So, a year and a half later, when Kjell received a teaching job and the residency still had not be finalized, we switched to obtaining a work visa through Kjell’s work (Discovery School). However, with the political situation last year, the paperwork was not being processed. Then, the new president had to be sworn in (January of 2010) and when a president changes office in Honduras, so do all the governmental workers (even in immigration) of the opposing political party - it's like a sweeping political change. So, from January until November, the office began filing immigration papers from the last year.
Praise God, our papers came up and last week we went to the immigration office (all six of us) to get our fingerprints (all 10, an additional 3 together and then an extra of each thumb) and get a picture taken. We have temporary papers stating we can get our residency ID cards in 30 days.
This means no more monthly trips to immigration and no more fees (for two years anyways)! We will begin the renewal process before it expires and continue residing here under the work visa. After 5 years of living here (unfortunately the first three years of our being here will not count towards this), then we can apply for migratory status (which just means we don’t have to be part of an organization to stay in the country - I guess you ‘prove’ yourself by then).
My friend Maribel shared with me and invited me to an upcoming all-nighter ( praise and worship) with her church and its sister church. They do these all-nighters every so often, alternating who goes (women, men, families, youth, etc.). Last Saturday, the ladies rode with me about 20 minutes towards Tegucigalpa to a retreat center. Though, in the regular Honduran way, we had to wait for service to get started (4 hours to be exact), it was incredible. We had worship and then a time of games (kind of like a retreat setting). Then, it was prayer, worship, message, worship, message, prayer, etc. People were entering into worship, dancing, laughing, slain in the spirit, etc. It was powerful. I only looked to see what time it was twice (once at 2 am, the other at 6 am). I had some frustrating Spanish moments, but a good 12 hours of Spanish interaction (without any translation help!).