Friday, March 28, 2008

A Day Without My Camera

As the time nears for groups to to start coming, Marc has to decide where houses will be built. So many people need houses and it is a tough job to decide. We have a friend here in Honduras that is a doctor and does a lot to help us in our ministry. He had three potential sites he wanted us to see. Then we were going to the fruit market. Normally, I would never even consider not taking my camera, especially when we are going to look at potential house sites. But we always need to be flexible in Honduras.

A couple of folks needed to be picked up at the airport. Marc was going to leave me at the airport this morning, I was going to meet the folks, eat across the street, and wait on Marc to come back for us later in the day. So, I put my book in my backpack and rationalized I do not need my camera to sit in the airport nor to go to the fruit market. The fruit market was the big thing. I do not like to carry my camera there. On the way to Tegucigalpa, I discovered someone else was meeting the folks at the airport and I would be going with Marc after all. I was glad to see the house sites, but knew immediately I was already sorry I did not have my camera.

We went to the hospital to meet our friend. Again, several things changed. He had too many patients to see and could not go, but was sending his assistant, Michelle, with us, a very delightful young lady. Also, he had asked us to bring some clothes from the warehouse. Which we did. Before we saw the house sites, our friend wanted us to take these boxes of clothes to central park. I thought he had lost his mind. Take seven boxes of clothes to central park. What we found at central park was the mayor's wife hosting a benefit for some families that had lost everything to fire. There was bands playing and people milling about everywhere. Michelle jumps out of the car and finds a policeman to tell him what we were doing and he found a parking place for us and directed us into it.

We have driven by the park many times and I have thought everytime how I would love to take picture, but because of trees and electrical wires and such knew I could not get good pictures from the car. Here I stood in central park without a camera. There stood this grand old church. I love to photograph churches, bells, and crosses. Often where there is one, there is all three as was the case this time. Massive bell towers with massive bells to fill them. The front of the church was covered with pigeons. While I am not particularly fond of pigeons, it would have made a good picture. Not to mention all the happenings in and around the park.

We took the clothes to a tent that had some of the families sitting inside. Then we were off to the first house site. We were not on El Hatillo, but in that direction. We were fairly high on a mountain and off to the right of the Jesus statue. We had to climb steps, hundreds of steps to get to this house site. Steps are normally better than walking up a slope that steep. Some of the steps were a yard tall, at least. The more of them I climbed, the taller they became. I think the last few were ten yards tall. We were very near Jesus. The way I was panting climbing those stairs, I thought I might be near Jesus, literally. When we finally arrived, not only did I need a camera to take a picture of the house site, there were some of the most beautiful views of the city I have ever seen. If I have to climb those stairs again, I may not ever have the chance to take those pictures. Of course, there were a couple more churches.

The house site was a burnout. The man had cleaned his lot already, ready for a new house.

Then we drove to San Miguel, a community in which we have already worked. I learned a new way to San Miguel, a useful thing to know. And I saw a new part of San Miguel. This country is so dry. This was a very dusty drive. We stopped and everyone got out of the car. Everyone except me that is. I was not sure my heart rate was back to normal from the last hike. Two little boys walked up to the car window and asked me how I was. I told them and asked them how they were. They told me how they were. They stood at the car window smiling and watching me read my book. That did not last too long. I am sure I bored them. Then I saw three little girls standing by their house, all three in nothing but panties and the streaks of blond in their hair, a sure sign of malnutrition. This makes me sad everytime I see it. Everyone came back and Marc said it was probably a good thing I didn't take that hike. Michelle was wearing heels, but she was also a lot younger than me. Marc bought me a bag of coke. I was more than ready. This house was a burnout, also.

Then we drove a long way out on the San Pedro Sula highway to the third site. It was in a community called Capital. We have never worked there, but have worked in one near there. There were a lot of bad houses in this community. The roads were steep and rocky and awful. Marc said for a moment I thought we were back on the first road we took to Copan.

This third site was not a difficult walk at all. Another burnout. The lot had not been cleaned yet. The family's few possessions were in the yard completely burnt. Seeing those few possessions touched me from deep within. Marc told the man we could not build until June. He was just grateful we were going to build.

Again, there were beautiful views, there among all that poverty. It would have been a perfect place to try out my new zoom lens.

After viewing the house sites all over town, it was too late to go to the fruit market. One of the reasons I did not take my camera this morning. That is not really important. Three families will soon have new houses. That is important.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Snack Time

Dorian had promised the kids he would buy them chips. He came walking into the yard about 4:30 this afternoon with a bag of chips for each child. They all sat on the steps as he handed each child a bag of chips. Some stayed on the steps to eat and some got up so they could eat and play.
I didn't have a bag of chips so Marvin gave me two of his (two chips).

Bet you can't tell from all the orange on his face that Francisco had chee-tos. Isn't he cute?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Maryuri had a virus. She seems to be back to her old self. No more fever and no more seizures. Praise God.

Yesterday Marc and I had several errands in Tegucigalpa. We regularly went through the part of town where Rudy was seen on Saturday night. Again, we talked to someone who had seen him yesterday morning. As many times as we drove through and looked for him, we did not see him. We are not giving up on him.

Little Isabel is still in the hospital. In addition to cerebral palsey, it has been determined she has chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease which was transmitted through the birth canal. Chlamydia causes babies to be born low birth weight. Low birth weight is a high cause of cerebral palsey and also causes babies to be more prone to pneumonia. The poor baby now has all three of those things. Add the severe malnutrition and the child is extremely ill. We are trying to find somewhere that can adequately and properly care for her needs, of which the precious one has so many.

Please keep Rudy and Isabel in your prayers.


Sunday, March 23, 2008


Rudy is an eleven year old little boy that has lived at Casa de Esperanza for almost a year. He was a street kid before he came here. None of us can imagine a home life so bad that it would make a six year old kid choose the streets instead of home. This is what happened in Rudy's case. He chose to become a street kid because home life was so terrible.

Rudy was rescued from the street life. He has received love, food, clothing, bed, toys, a chance at an education. A chance at life. Along with the good things came rules, consequences, and giving up what Rudy viewed as freedom in not answering to anyone but himself.

Rudy has run away from Casa three times, but always returned before dark. Yesterday, he left again during nap time. Only this time he was not angry, not in trouble, and did not come home before dark. Some of the neighbors reported to us that he came to their doors asking for money and that he had two pairs of pants with him. Fortunately, no one gave him money. In spite of that, he managed to find, beg, borrow, or steal enough for bus fare to Tegucigalpa. Someone saw him getting on the bus around 4:00 or 4:30. We were taking all the employees home and went on into Tegucigalpa to look for him. Marc knew where some of his old hangouts were. But where do you really look for an eleven year old in a city of a million or more? Can you even imagine an eleven year old on the streets of a city of a million or more? It was getting dark. It was Saturday night and there were people out everywhere. We did not have any luck. I was not sure I could sleep last night. All of us here are praying and praying for Rudy.

We took the preachers back to Tegucigalpa after church. We looked some more. We talked to another little boy that had seen Rudy. He got inside the car and told us where to go. We drove back to the Applebee's parking lot. That is where Rudy was last seen. We think the little boy said last night. We guess he was begging for food. We drove around the area and could not find him.

We cannot even begin to comprehend why a child would want to leave a secure home full of love, where he is fed three times a day and has a warm bed. But we cannot comprehend the mentality of a street kid either, or from what he might be running.

Please pray for Rudy. Pray that he is safe and that he is warm and that he is found soon.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Zoom Zoom Zoom

I am not referring to my new camera lens.

There are enough vehicles at Casa to meet our needs. Most of the time. Here was the plan for today. I was going to leave at 7:00 this morning, go get three of our employees, and be back at 8:30. Marc was going to leave at 8:15, take Janet Hines to the airport and meet the Alabama group. Jen was going to get Heather at the airport. I was going to leave at 4:00, take the employees home and meet the group for dinner.

Things do not usually go as planned in Honduras and then add sick babies to that and you get everyone running everywhere. Last week, when it was time for little Isabel to be released from the hospital, there was no place for her to go and not much chance of finding anyplace with the beginning of Holy Week. INFA gave Casa de Esperanza temporary custody until other arrangements could be made. We are not really equipped or staffed to take care of her special needs. Yesterday she began to run a fever and Ashley and Jen took her back to the hospital. Ashley came back last night and Jen stayed at the hospital with Isabel. There's one vehicle.

About 10:30 last night, little Maryuri spiked a fever and had a seizure. Marc took her to the local hospital and arrived back here around 12:15. Her fever went up again and she had another seizure. Karen called the same doctor and he said take her to Teguicigalpa. Karen and Dorian left with her in the middle of the night. That is two vehicles.

I got ready to leave at 7:00 and wasn't sure what I was going to drive. I decided I would take the van. I could do this. I know I could do this. The van is much larger than anything I am accustomed to driving, but I could do this. I could picture myself creeping slowly down the mountain. And I only had to turn around once. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That has been my motto as of late. Karen called and said they were on their way back, 15 minutes away. I decided I would wait and drive the vehicle with which I am most familiar. I mean if I am going to creep down the mountain anyway, what is waiting 15 minutes.

I hugged little Maryuri and Karen and I talked business a few minutes and I was off. Forty minutes behind schedule. I saw a huge fire and prayed that it was just brush and not people's homes. I got to Reina's neighborhood, which is out on the Valley of Angels highway and could not find Reina. I was driving in this neighborhood with narrow streets, thanking God that I was not in the huge van. I saw a man in the trash dumpster looking for food and I had nothing in my car to give him. In just a few minutes Reina came running toward my car. Of course, the other ladies were waiting, and had been for quite some time, when I arrived. We got back to Casa at 9:20.

With Jen at Vierra with Isabel, I now needed to go to the airport to get Heather. I left again at 11:00. I got to the airport and, as luck would have it, the Continental flight was late. So, I had a mochaccino supreme. We arrived at Casa at 2:30. I had to shower and change into some clean clothes.

I left again at 4:00, on schedule this time. And I thought when Nicole turned 16, my taxi driving days were over. If I could burn calories by driving, I would have lost a couple of sizes today. Maybe not, considering the mochacchino supreme.

I could see the fire was still burning. I hope people are safe.

Seriously, we love it when people come work at Casa, or come visit us, or come see our work. And we don't mind going to the airport to get them. Our employees have been worrying about the buses not running since Monday. I didn't mind helping them today either. I am here to do what needs to be done. It has been a long while since I did that much driving in one day, though.

I do not think we will make as many trips tomorrow, but this is Honduras.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008


This morning Dorian was out with another preacher. Little Isabel began running a high fever so Ashley and Jen took her back to the hospital. Sandra and Reina both have the day off, leaving Dilcia, Elbia, and Karen. I asked Karen if there was anything I could do to help her. She said she was fine until naptime and she would need some help. After lunch and making sure all the girls went to the bathroom, we all got ready for a nap. I was in between Maryuri and Daniela. I wanted to say " first one to sleeps wins." Wins what I do not know, but I knew I would be the winner. Everyone was a bit chatty and squirmy at first. I had to sssssh a few times. It was quite hot in the girls room. Cindy got out of bed to turn on the fan. Daniela thought it was too loud and got out of bed and turned off the fan. Cindy got out of bed and turned on the fan. That ended that. With the fan going, everyone began to setlle down and drift off to sleep. I know at least Maryuri and Daniela went to sleep before I did. I was not required to go to sleep, just the girls. The next thing I knew it was an hour later, and all the girls were sound asleep. I carefully and quietly left their room feeling most refreshed after having that little nap. Perhaps I will help with naptime more often.



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Week

In the United States, our national and religious holidays have become so commercialized that sometimes we do not even slow down to think about the reason for the holiday. Imagine my surprise this week when I realized the whole country shuts down for Holy Week. Pleasantly and refreshingly surprised. Stopping to reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Isn't that what our religion is about, serving a living God.

Oh yes, I have been caught off guard as the bank is closed all week. Many other places are closed all week as well. Some are open through today and will be closed the rest of the week. The buses will not be running from Thursday through Sunday. We are making our arrangements to transport our employees to and from work. Traffic in the city is almost nonexistent, a very wonderful thing. Getting to and from the city, there has been more than the usual traffic as people take this opportunity to head to the coast.

I have been inconvenienced some, and will know next year to plan better. I still think this is a wonderful reason to shut down.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Planting Bamboo

When all the groups come in the summer, they stay in a place called Villa Gracia. We call it the mission house. The mission house is at the top of El Hatillo. El Hatillo is a mountain where many of the rich people of Tegucigalpa live. As we drive up and down everyday, we see a squatter village. Trust me, no one is rich in this village. Little shacks have been constructed in which people live. Marc decided a few years ago we would do a food distribution in this squatter village. How could we not? After we had worked all day and were driving up to have a hot meal, a hot shower, and a warm bed, how could we drive past this village and do nothing?

One time I was standing on the road, looking down on the village as our group distributed food. We heard this woman, after she received food, weeping with joy and saying gracias a dios (thanks to God). Each year there are more and more people in this village, all of them hungry and with very few possessions.

Last year we did a food distribution. But before the end of the trip, we saw something happening and it angered me. The rich people were planting bamboo along the road side. I guess they did not want to look at that squatter village and the poverty and the unpleasantness that comes with seeing. Today I drove up El Hatillo and I noticed the bamboo was growing well. I was angry again. It won't take too long before the bamboo grows tall enough that no one will have to look at this village again.

But as I thought about that bamboo, I realized so many times we all plant bamboo, if not literally, at least figuratively. Don't we plant bamboo, or wish we could, when we drive by East St. Louis, or West Pittsburg, or south Columbus? Don't we plant bamboo when we see a child with AIDS or is hungry? Don't we wish we could plant bamboo and hide all the unpleasantness this world has to offer? I hope I quit planting bamboo and really start seeing the needs that God wants me to see and then do what I can to help with those needs.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Morning Routine

I have a morning routine. I get up and start my day spending time with God through prayer and Bible study. I then walk for 45 minutes, have a cup of coffee and attend morning devo with the children. I like my routine and do not vary from it very often. The last two days has been far from routine.

I have spent my time with God, not walked, and not gone to morning devo. I have been helping with the morning routine at Casa de Esperanza getting kids ready for school. When I had to get three kids ready for school, things got pretty chaotic at times. Can you imagine getting twelve kids ready for school?

Yesterday Dilcia was up there by herself when I walked in. She was trying to get everyone ready for school and feed them and get snacks ready. She actually was trying to get kids ready, mostly the girls. She had oatmeal cooked and watermelon sliced for breakfast and oranges peeled for snack. I got the bowls and glasses and starting serving oatmeal and pouring juice. When all kids were dressed and eating, Dilcia and I bagged the oranges. I began to put the bagged oranges in the backpacks. I had a simple little system, until one of the kids began to help me. Then one backpack had two oranges and one had none. So we opened the backpacks until we found the one with two oranges. A slight delay, but nothing compared to the things to come.

I loaded the eight older kids into the trooper and drove them to school. I came back and walked the four kindergarteners to school. I came in and sat down, noticing that Dilcia was on the phone, but not thinking it might in anyway concern me. Maryuri was in floor playing and wanted me to play with her. I plopped into the floor, knowing once I got down there, it might take a tow truck to get me back up (aging knees). Dilcia got off the phone and began telling me Rudy was in trouble and I was going to have to go get him. I think she was a bit worried about me talking to the teacher with my not so great spanish. I thought Dilcia was saying Rudy had stolen some pencils and some money.

I drove to the school and found the teacher waiting outside for me. Usually not a good sign. I got out of the car and explained I was from Casa de Esperanza and that I did not speak much spanish. I understood nearly everything the teacher said. I was really pleased about that. It is against the rules to have money at school and each student is to only have one pencil at school. Rudy had money, which he had stolen from Casa de Esperanza and he had several pencils, some pick-up-sticks, and a few other items. In itself, that probably was not a major enough offense to be sent home even though it has happened several times with a warning each time. This is where I did not completely understand the teacher. I know Rudy said bad words. I don't know if he just said bad words or if he called the teacher bad words. Anyway, I definitely got the drift that she was upset. That is not all. He began to throw rocks at the teacher and the other students.

While I understood most of what she said, I did not do quite so well speaking spanish to her. I did ask if he was being sent home for that day only or forever and learned that it was for yesterday and today. I found out he can't come back until Karen or Dorian bring him back. This isn't exactly what I was wanting to be doing, but someone had to do it.

I spent the rest of the morning playing with the three younger kids. Dilcia sent Rudy to bed for the rest of the day. He got up and managed to sneak out and leave the property. Of course, he came back when he got hungry. Since he didn't get to go to school today, he got to spend the whole morning studying.

This morning I walked up to Casa at 6:25. Nadia was only duty this morning until around 7:00. At 6:25, she had the kids in devo and they were happily singing. She had breakfast on their plates, and snacks made and in all the backpacks. I thought this was going to be a piece of cake and went back to the house to have my coffee. When I returned at 7:00, Nadia was gone and Jen's mother was there. I am not sure either one of us knew exactly what to do. I noticed some boys coming out to eat, dressed for school, but not a single girl. Sometimes we need to light a fire under these girls to get them moving.

It was gym day for the big kids. I only knew that because I saw the boys and then Pamela in gym clothes. And then I saw Cindy in gym pants several sizes too big. I went to her room and we looked and looked for gym pants to fit her, or gym pants that would come closer to fitting her than the ones she had on. The kids are great about helping me with my spanish. Almost everything I said, Cindy corrected the way I said it. We were both laughing. Marc went to the clothesline to look fo gym pants. Cindy and I began to look for some in the boys room. The first pair we found were wet and not from water. We finally found some that would do.

By the time everyone was dressed for school, had eaten breakfast, brushed their teeth and combed their hair, that girls' room looked like a small tornado had hit. There were several pairs of clean jeans, dirty pjs, shoes, etc. I don't think they are suppose to leave for school with the room looking like that.

Marc drove the big kids and I walked the younger ones. When Dilcia, Reina, and Sandra walked in, I was covered with sweat. They all commented on it. I helped Dilcia hang those clothes on hangers. I walked back to the house and just collapsed in the chair.

After a few minutes rest, I was walking back up to Casa and Marc was leaving to go back to the school to get Pamela. She was sick.

I may not be back in my regular routine tomorrow either. But I am so enjoying spending morning time with these kids.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thirty two Years of Rollercoastering

Today, March, 13, 2008, Marc and I have been married thirty two years. That is a long time. I was naive, really naive. I thought we would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. In retrospect, I am choosing for my marriage the analogy of an amusement park.

Thirty two years ago, as we entered the amusement park, I headed for the carousel. I really thought I would get on the carousel and go round and round, up and down, doing essentially the same things everyday for the rest of our lives. As I paused to get on the carousel, Marc gently took my hand and led me right past the carousel. He took me to the biggest, baddest rollercoaster ever created. All the while, he was saying this is going to be so much fun. I wasn't sure how much fun this rollercoaster would be. It did not take me long to realize this rollercoaster had the highest climbs, the deepest plunges and the worst loop-de-loops, even worse than anything at Great America.

We have shared the thrills of the births of three children. their baptisms, their high school graduations, two weddings, the birth of a granddaughter. We have ridden the slow climbs as there were successes in school and jobs.

For someone that did not know anything existed beyond the borders of Texas, this rollercoaster has loop-de-looped through not only Texas, but four other states and now one foreign country. No matter how scared I was to move to a new state or to do anything out of my comfort zone, which was very small, Marc was there laughing saying this is going to be so fun. And even though I doubted him, sometimes he was right

We plunged to the deepest depths when we lost our son and, in the aftermath of that tragedy as Nathan completely unraveled. It wasn't always ok, but Marc kept telling me it would be. We held onto each other for dear life as we reached those depths. I don't know how I would have survived some of that without Marc. Yes, those were deep dark days. We began another slow climb as we have watched Nathan transform from a lost, confused boy to a good husband and daddy and productive citizen of society. As we have seen Nicole try so very hard to make every decision in a way that is pleasing to God and will bring honor to His name. Realistically, as this rollercoaster continues on its path, I know we will have to make some plunges. I hope we never have to plunge to those depths again.

I would have gladly chosen the carousel. I would still be living on 76th street in Lubbock, Texas. Instead here I am driving around Honduras and trying to learn a new language. I have friends I would never have met. Except for those really deep plunges, it has been a great ride so far and I hope we just keep rollercoastering for many, many years.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Maria Isabel

Some things deserve a post even if I have already posted once today.

Yesterday an extremely poor, destitute family was brought to the attention of Jen and Ashley. This family consists of a grandmother and her four grandchildren, three siblings and a cousin. The entire family was starving and living in a horrible situation. The youngest of these four children is a little girl named Maria Isabel, called Isabel. She is four years old and weighs 19 pounds. To say she is severely malnourished and severely dehydrated would be an understatement. I know situations like this exist. I just haven't seen them yet. This precious child began having seizures four months ago. The grandmother has no money and no transportation and no way to get her to the hospital and no way to help her. How very sad that this child was receiving no care. The grandmother was trying to feed her, but, due to the seizures, she was unable to swallow. Her little arms and legs are atrophied and she is curling up into a fetal position. Her head is lice infested. There was no food in the house. The grandmother and the other children are malnourished also. Not as bad as little Isabel. In another few days, little Isabel would have starved to death.

Jen and Ashley took Isabel to Hospital Viera. This is a private hospital and the doctors there are good doctors. Jen and Ashley are taking turns sitting round the clock with this little one. Marc and I went in today to see her and take diapers and baby food. She had to have the baby food with no chunks. Jen was giving her a medicine dropper of juice. With that and the IV, from yesterday until today she was, at least, rehydrating a little bit.

The pediatriciain came in this afternoon and said she has cerebral palsey. Marc is going to contact the special needs orphanage and see if they have room for her. We are all praying she can go there.

How very sad to see this little one in such a horrible condition. Please pray for little Isabel and that we can find a home for her that can care for her special needs.


Never Forgetting

I have shared almost every emotion on this blog. I decided I was not going to post today. Not share the pain and sadness of March 12. But here I am anyway.

I do not like March 12. I wish it could be erased permanently. On March 12, 2000 our precious Ryan, our firstborn, was killed in a tragic auto accident. He was only six weeks short of being 20. A life so full of promise and hope. Big dreams. We were watching some of those big dream starting to come true. He was loved by so many, not only family, but a host of friends.

I don't do well this time of year. We were in Columbus over the weekend with our kids. When I am in Columbus this time of year, I usually have a complete meltdown. I did remarkably well this time. Eight years ago on March 11, we were traveling home from California. Since Marc and I were traveling yesterday, I expected to come undone at the seams. Again, I did quite well. I thought, and hoped, today I would hold it together as well. That is not to be. Some things are too painful. Some things never go away.

I never forget the life he lived and the joy he brought to others. And, I thank God for the almost 20 years we were blessed to have Ryan.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Wedding

Back in August, a very special friend asked if we could arrange to come to the states for her wedding 0n March 8 and, if we could, would Marc be able to read the scripture. Alice has been a close friend to all three of our kids and to Marc and I as well. Living in Honduras means we can't make all the weddings and funerals and events we were once able to attend. After some consideration, we said yes. As the time came to buy our tickets, we knew this had to be a quick trip, a very quick trip.

We left Honduras on March 7 and flew into Little Rock. We leave our car at Nathan's house and always fly into and out of Little Rock. Before Matt and Nicole left for Honduras, they drove our car to Little Rock and left at our niece's apartment.

We have been busy, but as the time got closer to leave, I was filled with eager anticipation. Seeing all our kids and sweet Camille. Being in Columbus. Seeing the beautiful southern spring. I checked the weather forecast early in the week. Saturday, the day of the wedding was suppose to be high of 45 degrees. That didn't sound like the beautiful southern spring I was anticipating. In spite of that, I still decided to take a spring dress and shoes instead of winter dress and shoes.

We got to Houston and, because of weather, were an hour late leaving for Little Rock. It was in Houston that we heard Memphis was expecting 7 to 8 inches of snow. That is impossible in March that far south. The longer we sat in Houston, the worse the forecast became. We weren't sure we could drive from Little Rock to Columbus. I was already exhausted and began to cry. I just could not believe we were coming that far in that short of time for a wedding we might not even get to attend. Because of the bad weather, Nathan and Julia left for Columbus on Friday and got there safely.

Matt and Nicole rode a bus from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula to catch a 2:00 a.m. flight to Ft. Lauderdale and then on to Atlanta. They were to arrive in Atlanta in plenty of time to drive to Columbus and get there before the wedding.

On Saturday morning we left Little Rock at 7:00 a.m. for, under normal conditions, a 5 hour drive to Columbus. I-40 from Little Rock had basically been cleared of snow and ice and we were driving along for about 40 miles when traffic slowed considerably, almost to a complete stop. We had no idea why, but guessed an accident. We crept along the rest of the way to Memphis. The interstate was littered with overturned big rigs. The interstate probably should have been closed until some of those accidents were cleared. Not long after we got into the slow traffic, Nicole called and said they were detained in Ft. Lauderdale because of weather in other parts of the country. Nathan kept calling from Columbus to see where we were. Not much further than when we last talked to him. Camille got on the phone and said " I go wedding. I see you at wedding. Does Pop go wedding?", making the desire to get there even greater.

It took us five hours to get to Memphis, which is usually an easy two hours. I was frequently talking to Debbie, my friend and Alice's mom. Plan B was made.

Once we got to Memphis, and roads and traffic, were all clear, we were driving fast, and I do mean fast. The last time we drove that fast was December 31, 2004 when Miss Camille decided to make her appearance into this world. And we made it there for that special event. If Marc had been stopped, it probably would have been jail, not just a ticket. I will say this, Marc's expert Honduran driving paid off in more than one instance. Some things were funny and some were not so funny. I changed my clothes in the car. Interesting to say the least. After we got through Tupelo, Marc changed his clothes in the car. Yes, while driving. He said he use to do it all the time when he was traveling for business. That was interesting as well. He even tied his tie. I was impressed. We knew we were not going to be there at the start of the wedding. But if we got there, before the reading of the scripture, Marc was still going to read. I had everything marked in his Bible. The wedding lasted 20 minutes and as we screeched to a halt in front of the chapel, Alice and Jeff were walking out of the chapel. We missed the whole wedding. We did get to go to the reception, though.

Poor Matt and Nicole drove up as the reception ended.

Definitely a disappointing day. But we got to see Alice and Jeff. We spent time both yesterday and today with our kids. We have had Camille with us the last two nights. We saw a lot of friends in church this morning.

Our kids all went back to Searcy today and we will head that way tomorrow after taking care of a bit of business in Columbus in the morning. We will be back in Honduras on Tuesday and get back to work immediately.

Here's wishing Alice and Jeff a lifetime of happiness.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Returning to the Dump

Those images of the people at the dump, fighting the vultures for food, have not left me since I first went to the dump a couple of weeks ago. It is really our job to take action on needs we see. More action than just praying the God blesses these people or hoping that someone else takes them food.

A man that is a janitor at Harding, and is a friend of Matt's and Nicole's, gave them a hundred dollars to help someone in need while they were in Honduras. They chose to buy food for the dump people. As gross as this sounds, refried bean sandwiches are loved by many Hondurans. Yesterday we bought enough beans and bread to make 250 sandwiches. This morning the four of us made the sandwiches. We had a good system and it did not take too long. We started down the hill and stopped to buy four stalks of bananas to go with the sandwiches.

As we headed toward the dump, I was quite nervous and a bit scared. I was afraid when we showed up with food we might get mobbed. I have heard the dump is dangerous. I silently prayed about my fears. We took off our rings and watches and, along with our cell phones and walllets, locked them in the glove box before we got to the dump.

We drove up and got out of the truck and locked it. We had decided to hand out the food out of the bed of the truck. At first, no one paid us much attention. When they realized we had food, they began to quickly make their way to us. There was really nothing of which to be afraid. Marc asked them to form one line and they did. One of the dump men helped keep them in that line and, at times, handed out some of the bananas.

I went to dump a few weeks back, but did not get out of the car. I thought I was prepared to go hand out food. I made a point of looking into the eyes of every person to whom I handed a sandwich and a banana. There were no smiles, no joy in their eyes. They were grateful. Oh yes, they were grateful. Each person said gracias. Some got their food and walked to the back of the line to get another one. We did not care.

These people were filthy and smelly. Some of their hands had so much black filth on them that I cannot imagine them ever being clean again, no matter how much scrubbing was done. There were small boys, about 8 - 11 years old. There alone, with no family. There was one little girl with her mommy. I think she was about our sweet Camille's age. Some of the ladies wanted to hug me and I did hug them.

I saw a few of the dump people making sure that everyone received both a sandwich and a banana. How Christlike is that?

Not knowing if the dump was safe or not, I chose to leave my camera behind. I did not want to have my camera stolen. But an even greater consideration in that choice was being respectful of these people. I would not want someone taking my picture if I was in the same circumstances. Therefore, my only picture is of making the sandwiches.

I maintained by composure while I was at the dump handing out food. But when we got back inside that car and drove away, I was crying my eyes out; so was Marc.

I am so thankful for a janitor at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas that wanted to help someone. And with that hundred dollars he sent, we can feed the dump people bean sandwiches and bananas one more time.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Never a Dull Moment

Those of you who know me well, know that is the story of my life...never a dull moment. And living near 15 children you would think that to be the case anyway, but these events do not involve the children.

Yesterday, Marc took a small group out to build a house, I bought the monthly groceries for Casa de Esperanza and Matt and Nicole stayed here to help with the kids all day. I had more than my share of Honduran experiences and was hot, tired, and thirsty when I got home just before 5:00. Matt and Nicole came in around 5:45. Matt jumped in the shower. Nicole and I were sitting here visiting and kind of zoned out. We both could here water running and hitting a floor, but Matt was in the shower. No big deal, or so we thought. Matt came out of the bathroom and Nicole says honey, I don't think you turned the shower off. He went back into the bathroom and says the shower is off. Remember, my house at one time was a duplex. When Matt turned the shower on, water began to come up through the pipes where the kitchen sink in the other side of the duplex had been. Oh my, what a lot of water there was since Nicole and I sat there all that time listening to the water. I have a huge load of towels to wash this morning.

Poor Marc. From shingles to blackeye. He got hit with a board yesterday on the housebuilding site. He looks bad today. He is delighting in telling everyone I did that. He upset little Daniella this morning at devo when he told her that.

And then, this morning just before 5:30 I started to walk. I noticed there was only one car here. I came running down the hill and back into this house. "Marc, Marc I am sorry to wake you, but the trooper is not here. Marc sort of screamed when I woke him and when he realized what I was saying, he says oh yeah, I forgot to tell you Karen had to take Dorian to town at 4:30 this morning.

When nothing is really going on around here, we just make our own excitement.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

This Morning in Santa Ana

Since Dorian became the minister here in Santa Ana, we have seen some growth. Every week Dorian is working really hard in visiting church members and in Bible studies. Recently, a Baxter student and his family and another family from Tegucigalpa have been out here on Saturday and Sunday working in this community. What a great team Dorian, Jose, and Fernando make. God is using them and the results are amazing.

This morning there were more Hondurans in this little church than there has ever been since this church was planted. There were over 90 Hondurans, that is counting adults and children, and several gringos as well. The singing was awesome and, at times, downright emotional. When the children left, I am sure those Sunday school classrooms were packed.

Last weekend we saw two adults accept Christ and be baptized. This morning we had the pleasure of seeing another sweet lady named Marta accept Christ and be baptized. I love watching baptisms in Honduras. Everyone is so happy and not concerned if the Baptists are going to beat us to Barnhill's or Golden Corral or Ginger or whatever. After this lady was baptized, everyone sang "I've Been Redeemed." I love that song and I have got to learn the words in spanish.

What a great way to start a new week.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Absolutely Unbelievable

Early this morning, or late last night, depending on how you look at it, Matt and Nicole arrived in San Pedro Sula. They were the first ones off the plane and through immigration and customs. I was so glad to see them both. They left at 4:00 yesterday morning and were exhausted. Marc and I don't do midnight very often anymore and we were exhausted also. Everyone was ready to call it a day and we did not spend much time visiting. We got up early, ate breakfast, and headed home.

We were all enjoying each other's company. Riding along, visiting, sharing, just having fun. All of a sudden we saw the very worst village we have ever seen. I have seen one house here and there like these, but never had any of us seen a whole village with houses like these. Except for the dump people, I have not seen anything this bad and we have seen some really bad houses. We pulled off the road and I took pictures. We had nothing in the car to eat except one bag of unopened chips. We drove up to one house and discovered two people lived there, and had lived there two months. We gave them the chips. There was one house in which 5 people were living. There was not a one of us that could utter a sound. We have already arranged to get some food out there.

Last night in the motel room in San Pedro Sula, there was no hot water. And during the night, I got cold and there was not another blanket. I did not sleep well. After we left that village, I kept thinking how ungrateful I was. I had food, I had a bed in which to sleep, I had a blanket. How could a house made out of cardboard boxes or plastic keep anyone warm. Of course, there was no running water. I didn't get to go inside any of these houses, but I cannot imagine there were any beds. I am so spoiled, but I can't imagine how anyone survives a day living in those conditions, much less two months or more.

After we were once again on the road, we rode along in silence for quite some time. I do not know if I will ever get use to seeing things like this. I hope I don't. When I see it and it does not bother me and make we want to help these people, then it will definitely be time to do something else.