Monday, June 30, 2008


Since this year is a presidential election year in the United States, the political antics of Obama, Hilary, and McCain are widely known, even in Honduras. But political antics are not limited to the United States.

In Honduras, the presidential election is not until next year. I try to not comment on the current president of Honduras. At least not to Hondurans. This is their country and their government and they do not need an outsider telling them how to do things.

We has pretty much known this all along, but its now official. The airport in Tegucigalpa is remaining closed because of political antics of the Honduran president. A study was done last week showing the airport could be reopened but the president refuses to do so. Another announcement whether the airport will reopen or remain closed is to be made tomorrow. This announcement was suppose to have been made last week and the week before that and the week before that. I will believe it when I hear it tomorrow.

This president is choosing to keep the airport closed for his own political reasons. Everyday the ariport remains closed, it hurts hundreds of people. The luggage handlers, the money changers, all the little shop owners and many others are completely out of work. Some of them have told us they are hungry, their children are hungry. They do not know how much longer they can survive. One Torch group packed some food and took to some of these people. Beyond that, nothing is being done to help these people. It makes me angry that so many people are out of work needlessly.

Please everyone pray for this government and that many people will no longer be out of work.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Waterfall

There has already been 5 groups that have come and gone. Another one is here now. Everyone was beginning to feel the strain of not having any time off. Marc and I, Matt and Nicole, the AIM team and the TORCH interns decided to go to the waterfall today. It is about three hours from here.

After we arrived, we had communion and prayer.

Matt, Nicole, and I walked to the bottom of the waterfall. The waterfall is beautiful. Real God art. Others played in the water, rode the zipline, and relaxed. I even found a place to take a short nap. It was a pleasant day.

As we started home, we stopped by the lake to eat fish. The restaurant was right on the lake. With no wind blowing, as we looked out over the lake, it almost appeared as if we were gazing at a mirror, with the mountains reflected on the glassy surface. A few little fishing boats were securely tied, waiting to begin another day of fishing in the morning. The clouds rested on the mountains, making the mountains appear endlessly high. Sitting that near the lake as we ate and visited was peaceful and serene. I think I could have stayed there for hours.

The fish is fried whole. I love fish, but I just could not do it. I could not eat that fish with the tail, the fins, and the head still intact. With that little eye looking back at me. I ate french fries.

If being at the waterfall and lake did as much good for everyone else as it did for me, we all will be ready to start working tomorrow refreshed.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

A House for Juan

Tuesday afternoon Marc knew the Tupelo group was going to build a house in Santa Ana. He did not really know for whom the house was going to be built. He found out Juan, one of the guards at Casa de Esperanza, was renting a house and that he owned a piece of property. Marc decided Juan and his family would receive the house.

I walked over to see the site. It was a very small lot and there was much activity there. Juan was all smiles. I could not stay long. The building site was near enough that I could here the hammers and the chainsaws all day. What a pleasant sound. The team said the house went up easily, which has not been the case on some houses lately.

When I saw the house this morning, it seemed as if it was sitting on the little lot smiling. I smiled, too.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


As previously mentioned, the closing of the airport has created havoc with groups coming and going. Every group is feeling this. Some are losing a day on each end of their trip as they have to travel to and from San Pedro Sula or El Salvador. Yesterday one group had to cancel as details got to complicated and expensive to overcome.

I can't imagine the disappointment they are feeling this morning. The group has planned, prepared, and anticipated this trip for a year. Money has been raised, not only for their trips, but for houses and food as well. Yesterday one person said is this God's will that we don't go, or is this satan's darts? No one knows the answer to that question.

To our dear friends in Columbus, we are so sorry this happened. We feel your pain and we will miss you not being here. As I am sure you do, we hope and pray things work better next year.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Expanding on the idea from the Topeka group of adding one cucumber to food bags, Marc took the Tupelo group to buy fresh fruits and vegetables to distribute. In groups of two and three, they set out to buy an assigned item. One group bought 200 heads of cabbage, one 400 pounds of potatoes. I met them to help pack food bags. They had planned on spending $1000.00. They spent $300.00 and Marc's truck was overflowingly full. They need at least two more trucks to haul the food in if they had spent $1000.00.

In addition to cabbage and potatoes, they purchased carrots, cucumbers and mangos. We assembled the bags and we all drove to Nueva Oriental. There we distributed the food bags. It is always fun to deliver food bags to hungry people. But when people began to open the bags and see fresh food, we heard squeals of delight and peals of laughter from all over this little village.

We are now in the process of trying to put a plan together to make food bags that include a few of the staples, like beans and rice, as well as the fresh fruit and vegetables.


Sunday, June 22, 2008


I normally go the fruit market for Casa de Esperanza every other Friday. Since Friday was a wild and crazy day, Matt, Nicole and I left here at 5:30 Saturday morning. Nicole convinced me, without too much effort, that we should stop at Dunkin Donuts after we finished at the market. After an uneventful trip to the market, we stopped at the Dunkin Donuts near Hospital Escuela. We ate our donuts and sitting there visiting. We were not in a hurry. We had a couple of small errands to run before meeting Marc and the Tupelo group.

While we sat there, a young man about Nicole's and Matt's age walked up and asked for money. I am not real big on handing money over to anyone. His name was Wilson and he lives in Sabana Grande, which is about 10 miles further from here. We asked questions and found his mother was very ill. She had an infection in her stomach and needed some tubing and things to help drain the infection. There was a hole and there nothing more than a bag over the hole in her stomach. I told him I would buy what his mother needed. The four of us walked to the pharmacy. Wilson walked with a limp and his right foot was swollen to at least twice its normal size. After asking, he told us he hurt it playing soccer. I don't think it was broken, but probably badly sprained. Wilson really did not seem to be concerned about himself or the pain to his foot.
His only concern was for his mother.

We got to the pharmacy and he didn't really know what he needed. We told him to go back to the hospital and get a prescription and we would wait on him. He asked if we would go back to Dunkin Donuts so we could at least sit down while we waited. He limped back to the hospital and found a nurse, but still needed to see the doctor. He came hobbling back in Dunkin Donuts to tell us it was taking longer than expected. While we waited, we decided he probably had not had anything to eat in a while. Most people haven't that are at the hospital with a sick family member. Matt took care of getting him a sandwich. When he returned, he said he did not need the sandwich and we asked if he was hungry and he said yes. He, then, readily accepted and ate the sandwich.

We all walked back to the pharmacy and bought what was needed for his mother. We said we would pray for his mother. Nicole spoke up and said lets do it right now. The four of us held hands and Nicole began to pray. Wilson prayed at the same time. After the prayer, he was weeping. Honduran men don't show any emotion, especially one that involves tears. He hugged us all repeatedly and thanked us many more times than was necessary.

I thought about this incident the rest of the day. We have never had to send one of our kids out to beg for money to pay for our medical care. Even, if a few people shared a few limpira with him, it would have taken a long time to get enough for what was needed. Aren't we blessed and sometimes we do not even know it.

With all the Dunkin Donuts in Tegucigalpa, there is no logical reason that we would have stopped at the one near Hospital Escuela. It is not where Marc normally stops and I tend to go wherever Marc has stopped. Perhaps, God knew we needed to run into Wilson. I will not forget his determination to help his mother, nor his compassion for everyone around him. I pray this morning Wilson's mother is better.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Another Great Day in Honduras

This morning Marc and Nolan left for San Pedro Sula to meet the group from Tupelo, Mississippi. I was so excited that some of our friends from Mississippi would be here tonight. Marc told Matt and I to be out front in the car at 8:00. Our only task for the day was to lead the wood truck up to a job site. Two houses were to be built today and they were near each other and supposedly, the wood for the first house was delivered yesterday. These house crews were going to have wood for both houses before they even got to the job sites and be ready to roll. Wrong.

Matt and I were still sitting in front of the clinic at 9:00. Shortly after, the wood truck appeared. Matt asked me an interesting question. If he delivered wood for the other house yesterday, why doesn't he know the way to this house? I didn't give it much thought. Getting to this site was an experience in itself. But, we got there. The truck was unloaded, I paid the truck driver and he left. Matt walked up to the other house and guess what? There was no wood. We had no cell service where we were.

Matt and I left and got back in cell phone range and I began to call about the wood. By the time we got back to Santa Ana, Mark Connell knew the wood had been delivered to a site in Santa Ana. He began to scramble to locate a truck to move the wood from one site to the other. He asked me to lead the bus to the job site. Matt and took off again, with the bus behind us. All I can say about this, is I think my friends from Topeka are glad they were not on the bus for this ride. We got back to the sites and Matt was showing the group where the wood that was there needed to be moved. The wood truck could not get all the way to the house site and the wood had to be carried a ways further.

I found out there were a few more problems and I told someone to tell Matt I would be back. I turned around and headed back to Santa Ana and, again talking to Mark Connell on what we could do. Mark Connell, Tim Hines and I were scrambling to get these things worked out. Mark found a dump truck to haul the wood to the job site. He asked if I could wait and lead the dump truck to the job site. The wait was much longer than anyone expected because loading wood into a dump truck is harder work than anyone expected.

By the time the dump truck full of wood is headed up the mountain led by me, many people's patience had been tried and most of us were feeling the stress of the welcome to Honduras day. When I drive up, there stands Matt with a big smile on his face. He runs over to the car and says guess what there was a baptism while you were gone.

That truly made everything else seem trivial. This was great news. While some of us were scrambling to make things work, Matt and Richard, the preacher in Ojojona were sharing the best news of all with a lady. As it turns out, it was the lady for whom a house was to be built. The house was the one the wood had been delivered to Santa Ana instead the other side of Ojojona. This one event in a wild day made me stop and think about what is important.

The rest of the day, most other things did not run any smoother than the beginning of the day, but it was definitely another great day in Honduras.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

An Humbling Experience

I will be the first to admit my spanish is not where I had hoped it would be at this time. But I am doing better all the time. I understand more than I can speak. I have done well in some situations, which gives me a little confidence. Eventually, I can make myself understood in a lot of situations.

Today, I had a most humbling experience. Every Wednesday, the coke man comes and takes an order and then the drinks are delivered on Thursday. With the groups here and buying lots of drinks, I had a big order to place. I thought I did so well yesterday. When the drinks were delivered today, the order was no where near what I thought I ordered. I asked and asked if they could bring some more before next Thursday. I just kept getting the same answer, "next week."

It is what it is and I can assure you, I will have the order written next week.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Buying Gasoline

Buying gasoline is often an experience, a Honduran experience. Gasoline and diesel both continue to rise and many times the stations are out of regular. Or so they say. Perhaps, they just see an opportunity to take advantage of a gringa. I do not know that for sure, just perhaps.

Tonight, as I started up the mountain, I needed to buy gasoline. Most stations close some of their lanes at night and every station has people working that fill your tank. You are not even suppose to get out and fill your own tank. I pulled into a station and obviously, some lanes were closed. I pulled into a lane and released my gas cap. Nicole was with me and had her window down and the attendant told her that lane was closed. I pulled into another lane that had cars waiting in it. I also needed my oil checked, so I popped the hood. I was holding my credit card and the man said this was a cash only lane. Nicole kept telling him I wanted to fill my tank and needed my oil checked. He said go to another lane, this is cash only. Nicole said to me we should go to another station, not another lane. It sounded like a great idea to me. I pulled out of the lane and Nicole jumped out to slam down the hood.

We pulled into a station where I regularly buy gas. Most lanes were closed and the lines in the ones that were open were not too long. I thought because they had regular all would be well. Nicole kept telling the guy to check my oil. While he was putting the gas into my car, the line behind me got quite long. This man told us he could not check the oil because the line was too long. Nicole asked again and this time he said "no, my love, I cannot check the oil. The line is too long. Neither one of us thought too much of his answer.

Normally, they take my card, run it and bring it back for me to sign. The man took the card, and told Nicole to go inside and sign it and bring it back to me. The line was too long for him to wait on my card to be run.

I was sitting there thinking this is so Honduran. But I did learn a valuable lesson tonight. I need to buy gas during the day. And I definitely need to check my oil in the daylight hours.

I guess every day is a good day when I can say I learned something.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


For quite some time I had been struggling with a decision to go to Texas for a family reunion. Oh yes, I wanted to go, but it was right in the middle of our busiest time of the year. We were all so disappointed when my mom did not get to come to the kids' graduation. I struggled with the decision all the more. I purchased a ticket and thought that was that. Then the crash happened and everything is being routed through San Pedro Sula, making everything a bit more difficult. I struggled some more on whether I should go or not.

Thursday morning at 4:00 a.m., Matt, Nicole and I left for San Pedro Sula. Since it was daylight this time as I drove, I realized just how bad this road is. As I sent Matt and Nicole on their way back to Tegucigalpa, I just kept saying, "please be careful" and my prayers for safety were with them.

Being a Texan by birth, I swell with pride from deep within as I arrived in Texas, even Houston. To Nathan and Nicole, I did not sing the "Eyes of Texas". I just thought about it. I reserve that lovely item for when I am with you, since you both enjoy it so much.

It stays daylight much longer in the Texas panhandle than it does in Honduras. As we approached Amarillo, I could see all the small towns along the highway, causing me to recall many sweet memories. I arrived in Amarillo and got my luggage and thought I would get to see the sun set over the Texas panhandle. I am convinced when God created sunset, He was in the panhandle of Texas. I missed the sunset as I opted for Wal-Mart instead.

As the next day dawned, I ran my errands and almost redeemed myself at spades. I could not help but notice how many big five lane streets with car-width shoulders on both sides there were. Even in the little town in which I grew up. I never noticed that before. I kept remembering the major highway between the two most important cities in Honduras that I had driven the day before. The one that was two lanes, full of potholes and with no shoulder as it snakes through the mountains.

It was with eager anticipation I waited for the start of my family reunion. From Keller and Kenya, Houston and Honduras, and points in between we all came together. We spent the weekend in sweet, precious time together. Laughing, sharing, catching up, remembering. Remembering the grandmother that loved God so dearly and ultimately touched everyone of her sons' and daughters-in-law's lives. And everyone of her grandchildren's lives. I know she played a part in everyone of us being who we are today.

I am thankful I decided to make this trip, even in the midst of our busyness. I am thankful for Marc, who encouraged me to go and kept saying, "everything will be ok while you are gone."

If you have the chance this summer, don't pass up that precious family time.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tienda de Esperanza

The outside of the store

Andrea taking care of some finishing touches.
For many months a dream has been in the making. A dream for a little store to supplement the income of Casa de Esperanza. Many people have worked hard over the last few months to make this dream a reality. Karen and I have picked out merchandise. Painting had to be done. Furniture moved. Many little details that probably nobody thought of months ago.

Last week Tienda de Esperanza (Store of Hope) became a reality as we opened to the first group. To date we are pleased with the sales. Everything in our store is Honduran made, thus helping some Honduran woman feed her kids as well.

Our friend Nathan came out and painted the mural on the side of the building and he was the one that thought of the name for the store.

Drop in and see us sometime. Perhaps we have that perfect Honduran made item for which you are looking.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Doris and Jonny


Jonny on the bike

Casa de Esperanza has two new kids, Doris and Jonny. Doris came home with Karen the day the five brothers left. Jonny got here on Thursday night, June 5.

Doris is twelve, a bit older than we normally take. She has lived in abject poverty. She has never been to school. We thought she could not talk, but soon found out she can say quite a few words and understands almost everything. She did not know how to eat with a fork. When her food is put before her, she digs right in. With her hands. There are so many basic things she does not know how to do. She has a beautiful smile with near perfect teeth, which is unusual since she probably has never seen a dentist. Most of the time, her laugh rings across the playground. Other times it is just a guttural noise. Already, she is making amazing progress here. While she is twelve, she has never experienced anything and is still a little girl in many ways. She does not like her picture made. I had to use the zoom lens and shoot when she could not see the camera. Doris is so sweet.

Jonny is seven years old and was found begging for food on the streets. It is hard to imagine a seven year old on the streets. He came Thursday night and had a head full of curly hair. Those beautiful curls had to be shaved since they were lice infested. Thursday, he would only go to Dorian. Saturday, the first white person he hugged was Nicole. Sure made Nicole's day. He is warming up to all of us. He had never been on a swing or a bicycle. Today, he taught himself to ride a bike. He did not want help from anyone and was determined to master this, which he did. He worked diligently all day on that bicycle. He is so cute. When I look at him, I just want to give him another hug. I am sure he needs many hugs.

Please pray for Doris and Jonny as they begin a new life filled with love, warmth, food and clothes.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cucumbers and Smiles

Last week we had nineteen people here from Topeka, Kansas. Not one of them had been here before. Sunday we worshipped at Sector Ocho. It was great. The church building in Sector Ocho was built by a Torch team several years ago. Over the years, the building has aged and weathered and not quite as tight as it use to be. The group came with money to replace this building with a block building. Bright and early Monday morning the walls of the wooden building came down and digging began on the footers. I took a group of people up there to work and then left. When I got back Monday afternoon, I could not believe the footers were not only dug put mostly poured.

Construction continued all week on the new church building. The roof was put on yesterday so church could be held in the new building this morning. In addition to a new church building, this awesome group built 4 houses, distributed food, worked in a feeding center, did a clothing give away, and visited the hospital, blind school and Mi Esperanza house.

Friday was my regular day to go to the fruit market for Casa de Esperanza. Some of the ladies from Topeka were joining me on this fun outing. The clothing give away and the construction of the last house were happening in Los Pinos. Timoteo had asked if we could bring some food as well as he knew several that needed food in that community. Since Friday was the last work day for the group, there really was not time to buy food in bulk and repack. Marc asked if we could stop at Dispensa and buy rice, beans, spaghetti and sauce.

Before we headed for the fruit market, we stopped to buy 100 bags of rice, 100 bags of beans, 100 packages of spaghetti and 100 packs of sauce. This was an experience in itself. Five gringas counting all of this food and placing it all in carts. At the checkout, the checker had to scan everything and then we had to get it in the car. Of course, we had to stop at another store to complete the buying of the rice and beans. We are in Honduras and nothing is simple.

At the fruit market, we walked around and had a coke. After our fruits and vegetables were purchased and packaged, the cart boy was trying to figure out how to get all the packages on the cart. The lady I had purchased from was waiting on another customer and was selecting the best cucumbers. The cucumbers are so big and pretty and they taste so good. The ladies here at Casa de Esperanza can use cucumbers in many different things. I began to think out loud and say we never buy anything fresh for food give aways. All of a sudden, the ladies with me were asking how much cucumbers cost. I looked at my receipt and saw cucumbers only cost three limpira each, or fifteen cents. We were all reaching in our pockets and combining our resources and then ordered 100 more cucumbers.

When we got back to Los Pinos, Timoteo was happy to see we had food to pack. When he realized we had one cucumber for each bag, he was extremely happy. We quickly put these bags together and Timoteo and a lady that is a member of the church in Los Pinos were distributing the bags. People that are hungry are always grateful for food, no matter what it is, but Friday when they realized there was rice, beans and a cucmber, there were many smiles.

One cucumber. Such a simple thing. I think we can easily start including cucumbers or carrots a bit more often.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Insanity Reigns

I have been without internet for over a week and only have it today because I am in town. There is no way to tell everything that has happened in the last week. I am not sure I can even hit the highlights.

On Thursday, it began to rain. And rain and rain. I thought we should start constructing another ark. That is the day we lost the internet. It is hard to have much news without the internet, but we learned a tropical storm or a hurricane named Alma was the reason for the torrential rains. Alma dumped rain for three days. Silly us. We thought when the rain stopped, we would have internet again. Welcome to Honduras.

Friday, May 30, Matt, Nicole and I were headed to town to run some errands and get two of our interns from the airport. We were stopped by the police and told not to go near the airport as a plane had crashed. We knew by the time of day it was that it was the first TACA flight that had crashed. My first thought was to get word to our friends in Illinois that it was not the American flight on which their children were flying to Tegucigalpa. I did not have any US numbers stored in my phone but managed to come up with one from a recent call. I called Donna and asked her to let everyone know.

I came to the Mi Esperanza house to get on the internet. Many people were at the house, using the phone, the internet and watching the television coverage. I opened my email to find an email from Illinois that the plane from Miami to Tegucigalpa was delayed. I knew the news of the crash had reached CNN, but it had not reached everyone. For that, I was thankful. After many calls back and forth to the states, our interns were able to fly into San Pedro Sula Friday night at 7:45. I called Marc and asked him if he wanted Matt, Nicole and I to drive over there and he said yes. He was dealing with other problems and issues.

At the same time I was learning of the plane crash and trying to call Illinois, Karen also called. She also had bad news. The parents of the five brothers had requested to regain custody of their children and it had been granted. These five boys, Yovani, Marvin, Mario, Francisco, and Antonio were the first five children that came to live at Casa de Esperanza. They had been there for two years. The father was in prison. He is now out of prison. We only hope and pray this is the best decision for the boys. Nicole was here in Honduras and got to go pick the boys up and bring them to Casa de Esperanza. She was beyond consolation, as we all were. We were being allowed a chance to tell them goodbye. We went to where they were before we left for San Pedro Sula. Yes, there were many tears from everyone, including the boys.

We left for San Pedro Sula and it took an hour and a half to get across town. With all roads that led to the airport closed, trafffic was the worst kind of nightmare. The highway from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula is a curvy, mountainous one. In addition, it was rainy and foggy and getting dark. It goes without saying, it is only two lane. It was a challenging drive and I was thankful I was not alone. We got to San Pedro Sula and found only one of Nolan's bags came and none of Karis's. I drove all the way back except for the last hour and let Matt take over. It was 3:00 a.m. before we arrived safely home. With the airport closed, Marc was having to leave for San Pedro Sula to get our group that arriving from Topeka, Kansas. I like to meet our groups as they arrive, but since Marc was leaving at 6:00 a.m., I politely declined.

There have been many phone calls and trips to the airport about the luggage. I retrieved all three pieces this morning from the Tegucigalpa airport.

The arrival of the Topeka group began our busy summer season. Most flights are being diverted to San Pedro Sula. At this point, we do not know the logistics of getting everyone from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa. I think this is going to be a great summer and God is going to do great and awesome things and satan is quaking in his boots and throwing as many darts as possible to keep God from reigning supreme.

Yes, many crazy things have happened and we all feel like we are going insane, but we forget who is in charge. God had to remind us it certainly is not us.

Pray for the boys that are no longer at Casa de Esperanza, the new children that will soon be coming, the summer groups and the logistics of getting them here.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.