I decided to start a series of blogs from stories down at the farm. Instead of giving a running account of all that happens down there, which is a lot of manure (haha, get the joke?), I will just give random stories. So, here is the first of many of Scott’s Saddle Stories…
Thankfully, I was able to work at the farm this past week. When I went on Monday, I said I was only going to work in the corral and not ride any horses to give my leg a little longer to heal. But, after being asked everyday if I would go out on horseback, I finally broke down on Friday and agreed (since it sounded as if Chele really needed help).
I wasn’t nervous about getting back on horseback until Chele picked the two stallions that caused my accident for us to ride. Luckily, this time there was not a mare to lure them in, so the horses were not a problem.
We started riding toward the river—a route we often took last year and this year. However, before we even made it to the river, Chele stopped to open up a gate into a field I had completely missed because of its overgrown plant life. I tell you all now that my Spanish is good enough to get by (more often gets me into more trouble then out of) but seldom good enough to know completely what is going on. I oftentimes just follow Chele blindly trusting him with everything. After a half dozen times of being in a situation like this, I have reflected on how this is often what our walk with Jesus is like. During these times I am anxious and nervous, but the reward that comes with obediently following always amazes me in the end, as you will see if you read on…
As I entered the field, I laughed to myself thinking, “Here comes a Honduran jungle cattle drive where shrubs and grass are as tall as my horse,” but I just followed. Within moments we were crossing through the water to the other side of the river. We rode a few feet only to cross back to the other side and continued doing this several more times as either the banks were too steep or the coverage was too thick. It was at this point that the thought occurred to me that people would pay a wad of money to go on a trail ride like this. All of a sudden out of nowhere, a field opened up. Here Chele asked me if I wanted some Pepsi. I laughed and said I was fine but wondering where he would even get it in the first place. He was persistent and told me that he wanted some and he wanted me to have some. He told me to go gather up the cattle (about 10), and he was going to get Pepsi. He said to meet back here at the gate. Chele took off on horseback one way, and I went the other way. When I arrived at the field with the small herd, one cow had managed to get on the other side of the fence and there was no gate to let him back in. I drove the nine cows to the gate and the one followed on the other side of the fence until the coverage was too thick, and he could not pick his way any further.
In Honduras, two things are really popular: pay-as-you-go cell phones and pop. There are small tiny stores (tiendas) that sell cell phone minutes and pop, and it is often joked that you can find one of these stores anywhere you go. Sure enough there must have been one nearby! Chele returned with a 2 liter of Coca-Cola (they didn’t have Pepsi). With the cows I just herded wandering somewhere through the jungle, Chele and I each relaxed with a liter of Coca-Cola while I explained that one cow was on the other side of the fence. After the pop, we set off in search of the one cow. I thought we were in the jungle before, but now I knew we were for sure as we rode through deeper river water, saw plants I never knew existed, and oftentimes had to get off the horse to walk under low branches. The whole time I kept on thinking this is a crazy jungle trial ride that people would pay big bucks to do, and I was sold on the thought when we came upon a troop of monkeys in the trees.
Never finding the stray cow, we turned to go back up the river and spotted fresh hooves going up a muddy embankment along the river. We set off going up the long and steep hill leading out of the river in search of our cows. Soon we found the 10 cows together and drove them up to the top of the hill. When we came over the crest, I was taken aback in amazement at the beauty before my eyes. In front of me was a massive field with over 300 cows and beyond the cows were the beautiful mountains of Honduras. I love mountains! Though my jungle trail ride was fun, I was thankful to escape the bugs, to escape the snakes (I just knew they were there!), and to not be so lost and confused. The next several moments were a blast as Chele and I galloped on our horses across the field gathering up all the cows. The time of curiosity and anxiousness in the blindness of the jungle was well worth the fun of gathering up all the cows surrounded by the mountains.
As I reflect on this experience, I am reminded that our Heavenly Father has great things for us, but we must be patient during the times of feeling lost in the jungle. If we will just trust Him and follow Him one step at a time, as I did with Chele, the joy that comes in the end is unimaginable.