Saturday, June 18, 2016

Making A Difference, For 10 Years

Today is June 18, 2016.  Casa de Esperanza received the first children on June 30, 2006.  Just 12 days short of being 10 years.

Many prayers have always covered Casa de Esperanza.  Always.  Ground was broken on July 24, 2005.  Prayers were said as those shovels turned the soil.  I cried.  Others did, too.

Prayers were said daily as the ground was cleared and the weeks of construction.  Construction went fairly rapidly.

Many of us came from the States in December, 2005 as the building was dedicated.  The building was not completely finished, but we prayed in each room for the children that would be living here.  We also sanded and painted and whatever else needed to be done.

That weekend was full of love, prayers, tears, and anticipation.  Anticipation as we eagerly waited for children to fill this house, which would become a home.

And, trust me, there were prayers and prayers as we waited for that last document to be signed.  And, as we waited some more.  And waited.

Then finally, on June 30, 2006, the first little one came to Casa de Esperanza to live.
Nicole and others greet the first five that called Casa de Esperanza home.  Again, prayers were said.  Prayers of gratitude.  Prayers for wisdom.  Karen Vaughan and Jenn Wright were here and helped this home to become what it is.

There was not a single one of us that knew what we were doing.  Opening a children's home in a third world country.  The things that we have learned.  It is humorous now how much we did not know.  But, God is good and He led us through.  Through the mistakes and the learning curves.

These first five were brothers.  They are no longer at Casa de Esperanza.

The second five came in October 2006.

Who is that Jenn is holding?  That is none other than our sweet little Katy.  My, how she has grown.  Oh, that one can charm you to death.  Or manipulate you to death.  Her sassy little attitude is what makes Katy, Katy.

More kids came.  And some left.  Our hearts broke each time one left.

At one time, we had 23 kids.  Today, we have 19.  We still cover these kids, and ourselves, in prayer.  We still make mistakes.  We still do not know everything about running a children's home in a third world country.

We are trying to meet the spiritual, emotional, physical and educational needs.

These little ones were so cute 10 years ago.  So cute.  They are still cute, in a different kind of way.  But they are teenagers now.  They came from extreme poverty.  Some were abandoned, abused in the worst possible ways.  They have a lot of baggage.  And, they need a lot of love.  We have one cutting herself.  One has symptoms of an eating disorder.  These kids have some serious problems. 

From the beginning, Casa de Esperanza has been covered in prayers.  Please do not stop now.  We covet your prayers.  For these children and wisdom for ourselves.  Please stop right now and say a little prayer for Doris, Rosy, Reina, Ana, Sisi, Daniela, Katy, Nohemy, Maryuri, Guadalupe, Any, Fernando, Jackson, Jose, Josue, Cris, Yair, Olman and Josue., for all the employees that work with these children and for Nicole and I as we try to make the best decisions for each child.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Victory Dance

Last year on June 1, one year and one day ago, I wrote a blog called Hopes, Dreams and Reality.  I was very honest because Casa de Esperanza was in the worst financial shape that we had ever been in.  I did not know if we could make it.  I was not ready to just throw in the towel.  I prayed.  The board prayed.  People at the children's home conference prayed.  A lot of people prayed.  Matt, Nicole, the board and I all give credit to God for hearing and answering those prayers.

Many people, too many to even begin to name, made one time donations.  A children's home cannot run on one time donations, but without those we might have had to shut the doors and put these children back on the street.  There was enough in one time donations to get us through until we could find some new monthly donors.  We still welcome one time donations.

Our board raised a lot of money.  Again, some of those were one time donations and some were new monthly donors.  We appreciate every one of our donors, one time or monthly.  2015 ended in a much better financial position.

In 2016, we have been able to turn some of our dreams into reality.  Praise God.

When school started in February, for the first time ever, we were able to enroll 5 of our kids in a special needs school.  It is a 45 minute one way drive from here.  The morning logistics are crazy and if someone stumps their toe, there can easily be a domino effect.  We do have a back up plan.  I know all the glory goes to God, but Higher Focus Ministry in Amarillo and Lakehoma Church of Christ played a large roll in making sure these little ones could go to school in an environment that best suits their needs.  We appreciate it.  It has long been a dream of mine to see some of these kids in a special needs school.

Another dream has been that all the children will leave here with some sort of skill or trade.  A few have worked in the store and learn to make change and wait on customers and such, but most were not being trained.  We recently hired a new employee.  The board raised the money for this.  This woman can do everything.  She speaks Honduran sign language fluently.  That is huge since we have a deaf child.  She taught in a special needs school.  She can teach the beauty courses; hair, nails, etc.  She is teaching the girls beauty and the boys barber.  She can plant and garden and will be teaching that as well.  There are so many things that she will be teaching that it is amazing.  Funny, how much better the girls get their chores done of a morning when they want to go to beauty classes.  I feel with this that we are better preparing them to leave here in a few years.  And survive.

A couple of the kids are now in counseling.  Sisi is a different person since she began.

Again, I give thanks to God and again, I thank every single donor, no matter how large or small your donation.  We are doing a victory dance to see what God has done and is doing.  He made it clear to us that He wanted us to continue taking care of these children.

I am not saying that all our dreams have been fulfilled and that we no longer need money.  Many hopes and dreams remain.  I would like to see more kids in counseling.  We kind of assess needs and decide who gets to go to counseling.

Running a children's home and meeting the kid's need is very expensive.  If you wish to make a one time donation or become a monthly donor you can mail a check to:
 Casa de Esperanza
P.O. Box 9222
Columbus, MS 39705

or go to

Please consider continuing to make dreams become reality.

If you have any question about Casa de Esperanza, you can email at

Thank you all for your continued support

Monday, May 16, 2016

Soup's On

My job is at Casa de Esperanza.  I rarely leave except to do Casa errands.  I do think it is good for me to see other aspects of the ministry from time to time.  Today, I decided to go to the feeding center with Matt.  It has been a really long time since I have been out there.

Matt and I arrived at 8:15.  The two women that cook were already there, working away.  Today was soup day.  Vegetables were being washed and chopped.  I was fascinated by the whole process.  There is not a lot of work space, but everything runs efficiently.

A while back, we bought eco-fogons on which to cook.  They burn less wood and are more efficient than what we had before.

The rice was being cooked there, but the soup pot is too big for the eco-fogon.  It was being cooked over a handmade fire near the ground.  When it was done, it took two people to carry it.

Moms and children begin to arrive around 10:00.  Grateful mom.  Sweet kids.  Happy kids.  Hungry kids.  Dirty kids.  Really dirty kids.

A portion of your Dump Day dollars goes to keep this feeding center open in the community of Buen Samaritano, a very poor community right outside of the dump.  These children are fed five days a week.  We are in the process of adding electricity so that we can have a refrigerator in the feeding center.

Thanks to everyone that donated to Dump Day 2016.  You are making a difference in the lives of the children in Buen Samaritano.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day Programs

In Honduras, Mother's Day is a big holiday.  All of the schools and all of the churches have programs.  The Casa kids are in five schools.  It was a busy weekend.

Emma's program was Wednesday.  Nicole and Paige went to that one.  I did not.

Olman's kindergarten program was Friday morning and Mercedes went to that.  Rosy's is this coming Friday and Nicole is going to that.

The franticness began on Friday afternoon.  The program at the high school was at 1:30 Friday afternoon.  There are six kids in the high school and they were all excited that Nicole and I were going. 
Baby Paige got dressed up to go, too.

We got to the high school and were walking in when Nicole went down.  She had the baby and protected her, but Nicole's ankle was not so good.  I took the baby and we got inside and sat down as quickly as possible.

The salon was nicely decorated.

There was some local entertainment and some native Honduran dancing.  I really enjoyed watching the dancing.  That is until one of the guys grabbed me to dance.  As he swung he into the number, Nicole grabbed my camera and was shooting away.

Nicole won one of the canastas.

Everyone wanted to show off Paige

Daniela kept the flies off of the cake

After the entertainment, each grade was suppose to go to different rooms for refreshments.  I did 8th grade, Nicole did 7th and 9th.  Daniela grabbed cake and chips for Nicole from the 8th grade refreshments and Jackson brought me cake from the 9th grade room.  They were really glad we were there and wanted to make sure we got our refreshments.

We got home around 3:30 and had to leave for El Faro at 5:00.

A few minutes before 5:00, we are ready to go.
Again, everyone wants to be with Paige.

I love El Faro.  I am glad that some of our kids have the opportunity to go there.  The teachers helped each child as needed and everyone was a star.

Any did a great job
Josue entered late and left early, but he tried.

The girls were in some cute dance numbers
Nicole can always be found with a lap full of kids, hurt ankle and all.


Saturday morning was the program at the elementary school.  We got to the school at 8:30.  It was a long wait until it began.  Nothing starts on time in Honduras, but this school always takes it to a whole new level.

The decoration were pretty.  I got to look at them for a long, long time.

Katy wanted to run around with the baby.
But, Baby got tired of all these programs

Josue's class did 2 song and dance routines.

And, this one from church yesterday.

We have had a rough time at Casa lately.  Nicole and I have wondered if we were making a difference in these kids lives.  All three programs gave us reason to think that we are.  At the high school, Ana is on the student council.  She was required to stay and clean up.  Sisi and Daniela stayed and helped as well.  That was their choice.

El Faro is 45 minutes away.  It was night.  The kids were tired and hungry.  Those kids get up at 5:00 and leave for school at 6:00.  We did not have one behavior problem that night.  That is not always the case with these kids.

At the elementary school, there are always suggestive and provocative dances.  Katy was asked to be in a dance number and she declined saying that it was not appropriate..

In each of these situations, I was proud of the kids.

I can tell you for sure that the kids were not the only ones tired.  I was in bed asleep before 8:00 Saturday night.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

It has been less than three weeks since my mom died.  I am still raw. I miss her.  I want to talk to her again. I do not want her back in the form she was the last few days of her life.  But, I miss her terribly.

My mom was a great mom.  The best mom.  She loved God with all of her being and she wanted my sister and me to love Him also.  For both of us, our very first outing after birth was to church.

She loved my daddy more than any other person on earth.  She was the most devoted and loving wife.  And, she loved my sister and me.  Passionately.  With reckless abandon.  She was a mamma bear when it came to protecting us.  There is no doubt in my mind that she would have given her life to safe one of us.  She went to bat for us.  And, in going to bat for us or protecting us, she, at times, might not have been the nicest person on earth.  But, it was because of a mother's love.

She loved family.  Her family and my daddy's family.  Both families were equally important to her.

She cooked for all church members and neighbors when they were sick or grieving a lost family member.  She helped everyone in every way that she could.  We now know, there were many things she did for people that no one knew about but my mom and the person for whom she did it.  I think everyone of my cousins told us a story of something she had done for them when no one else knew.

She made very special memories for us.

I was blessed to be raised by her and blessed to call her mom.

In 1980, I became a mom for the first time.  My mom was so happy when I told her I was expecting a baby.  And, when Ryan was born, she was running through the hospital saying, "we got us a boy.  We got us a boy."

We were living in Amarillo when Ryan was born, an easy hour from Borger.  My first child did not like to sleep.  Ever.  He had colic.  Mom was working at T.G.& Y.  She had Thursdays off..  She drove to Amarillo on Wednesday after work and stayed Wednesday night and Thursday night with me so that I could sleep.  She drove back every Friday morning to work.  I know she must have been exhausted.  I appreciated that little sleep more than she will ever know.

I am blessed to be called Mom by Nathan and Nicole and to have been called Mom by Ryan for almost 20 years.

 Bless their hearts.  I did not have a clue what was I doing.  I made mistakes.  Big mistakes.  I was not always correct.  I was not always fair.  I was not always patient.  I think I was always tired.  I did not know what I was doing.  I did not know how to handle some situations, but I believe in a great big God.  I spent a lot of time on my knees talking to Him.

There were fun times and endearing times.  Sad times and happy times.

No matter what my shortcomings were and are, you guys always made me feel like, and still do, I could do anything, even when I could not.  We loved each other through the hard times.  And, in spite of me, in spite of my shortcomings, God took over and created beautiful adults with beautiful spouses and beautiful grandchildren.  I am proud of all of you.

I am blessed that God entrusted me to be your mom.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Work Here, But It Helps

And, if you are not crazy when you get here, it won't be long until you are full blown looney tunes.

Last night at 11:30, there was a loud pop, followed immediately by a fire.  An electrical wire was on fire.  It went out quickly on its own.  Thankfully.  The power went out in Matt and Nicole's apartment, the big house and the office.

We thought there would be an electrician this morning.  And, then we thought there would be one this afternoon.  We think there will be one in the morning.

About 7:00, I heard a knock on my door, followed by a sweet "Grammy."  I went to the door and Haley said that she needed to do her homework because she could not see the words at her house.  In a few minutes Emma and Nicole came down because Emma needed something from my house.

Haley read about some animals.  I guess that was probably science.  The she said she had to read 10 minutes in English and10 minutes in Spanish.

She read about 2 minutes and there was another knock on the door.  The guard said that Doris needed me to come up.  I told Haley she would have to go with me.  I was holding her hand as we walked toward Casa.  The sidewalk really is narrow and we were having trouble both of us staying on the sidewalk.  Haley says, "we are both a bit wide.  I will walk in front.  This is a one passenger sidewalk, not a two passenger sidewalk.

It is the first of the month.  Meat and chicken have just been purchased for the month.  I made the PriceSmart run on Monday and milk and bread for two weeks came yesterday.  The freezers are full.  The power has been off for 20 hours.  Things were beginning to thaw.

I told Doris that everything would have to be moved to the dorm first and then, when that was full, to my house.  Normally, I help with these things, but I said, "sorry I can't help this time.  Haley has to finish her homework."  She gets up at 5:00 every morning.  She did need to finish her homework and get to bed.

The girls started moving all the things.  Haley and I walked back down the one passenger sidewalk.

Haley and I sat down and she began reading again.  I could hear the girls yelling and screaming and laughing.  They were having so much fun moving things from one freezer to the other in the dark.

Poor Haley was about to fall asleep before she finished reading.  But she got it done.

This is our life.  Craziness.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dump Day 2016

Tomorrow, May 4 is Dump Day.  That is what we call our annual fundraiser that raises money so that we can feed a hot meal every Wednesday to the people that live and/or work in the Tegucigalpa dump.  It also helps us feed 200 children 5 days a week in a community called Buen Samaritano, just outside of the dump.  Most of the these children's parents work in the dump. 

We have been feeding people in the dump since 2008.  Once in a while, we feed more than once a week.  Rarely, do we not go on Wednesday.  One Wednesday, Matt got rear ended on the way to the dump.  It rained beans and rice.  No one made it to the dump that day.  There have been 2 or 3 other times someone did not make it to the dump to feed.

The feeding center has been open for 2 1/2 years.  Matt and Luis do an outstanding job taking care of the feeding center.

None of this would be possible without donations.  If you are interested in making a donation, you can mail your check to:
 Honduras Hope
 P.O. Box 9222
 Columbus, MS 39705 and write dump in the memo line or you can use this link to donate online

These people were actually living in this house of tires inside the dump.  That little girl was really glad to get the beans and rice we gave her.  Most of us, thankfully, do not know this kind of desperation.  Please consider making a donation.