Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Terror-Filled Night

Shortly after 9:00 last night I decided to call it a day. I took my new Grisham book and thought I was going to read a bit. I climbed in bed and was working to get the pillows and the covers just right, when I happened to glance up and see something sitting on the top of the mirror of the dresser. A reddish-brown something. I let out two blood-curdling screams. I expected Marc to come running to see what was wrong with me. He wasn't there so I began to scream his name. He did come running then. He says oh it is just a little mouse. I didn't think it was a mouse and it wasn't very little. The thing then turned and ran down the back of the dresser.

I was still screaming and saying I just know I won't be able to sleep at all tonight. What if it gets in bed. Marc say it is not going to get in our bed. I wasn't so sure. If it could climb to the top of the mirror, I was sure it could get into the bed. The bed is not near as high off the ground as the mirror. He said the police were going to come knocking at the door to see if spousal abuse was happening. Then he said if anyone heard me screaming, today they would be looking for bruises on my arms and legs. Marc was laughing at me as he left the bedroom closing the door behind him.

I surely did not like that. I was now trapped in the bedroom with the thing. I could not read and I could not sleep. I soon realized my heart was pounding and I was sweating more profusely than I had during my workout yesterday morning. I should have stopped and been thankful that at least I was burning calories.

Marc was watching a movie and when he finally came to bed, I said I cannot believe you left me in here by myself with it. I said don't turn out the light. I want to go to bathroom. Since Marc's side of the bed is a straight shot to the door, I crawled over there, got out of bed and ran as fast as I could to the bathroom. I came running out of the bathroom and made a flying leap back into bed.

I finally went to sleep. At exactly 4:07 a.m., Marc sat straight up in bed. I said what is wrong. His answer was you don't want to know. I rolled over and was still and quiet for a moment, maybe a few seconds, although it seemed much longer to me and I said it was in bed, wasn't it? And he said yes, there's nothing quite like being woke up by a mouse running across your face.

Marc got up and turned the light on and I made another run for the bathroom. After I jumped back into bed, I was sitting there with my knees drawn up and tucked under my chin, and the covers pulled over me. Marc was crawling around on the floor with a flashlight looking for it. Now to everyone reading this blog, that may sound ridiculous. But trust me, there was nothing ridiculous about my husband crawling around on the floor try to find the uninvited terrorist that had invaded my home.

Marc had to get up at 5:15 and just decided to not go back to bed. I don't normally take Saturday off, but I don't normally get up at 5:00 like I do the rest of the week either. I said I don't guess I will go back to sleep either. Marc suggested I move to the sofa. I grabbed my pillows and went running for the sofa, slamming the bedroom door behind me. I was sure he was trapped in there until Marc could get something to kill him.

I did not go back to sleep until after Marc left. He surely did not walk over and kiss me good-bye. I know he thought if he touched, I would begin screaming and think it was on me. I slept a short while and then got up to begin my day. I had some errands to run in town and was suppose to meet Marc before noon. I remembered my phone, my book and my shoes were in our bedroom. It took me 20 minutes to get brave enough to open the door and jump onto bed. I crawled all over the bed and stood or stretched so that I could reach my stuff. The book and the phone were easy. The shoes on the floor were not quite so easy.

I was feeling so brave. Almost immediately, Marc called to say that the beast left the bedroom a few minutes before he left. I thought I had him shut in my bedroom and then I find out, it is loose somewhere in the rest of the house. I got myself in gear and got out of this house in just a few minutes. Marc also said it was reddish-brown (like I said earlier) and it had a furry tail. Maybe a squirrel, not a mouse.

Marc has told everyone today about my terror-filled night. Mr. Squirrel or Mr. Mouse or whatever is still in my house, but you can bet my feet aren't touching the floor.


Friday, January 30, 2009


Fernando asking where his parents are

Katty, Monica, Doris, Fernando and parents
Johnny, Mom and Grandmother

Brayan, Mom and little brother

Catchin a few winks on the way home.

The last Friday of every month is visitation for the children. They get dressed up and are taken to town and have a two hour visit with their moms, and dads too, if there is a dad in the picture. After visitation is over, the children are taken to Wendy's to eat.

Pamela, Fito, and Daniela's mother does not have visitation rights, but they usually get to go to town with the others. Two days ago, Cindy and Maryuri's mom called and said she would not be at visitation this month. We decided, Marc and I would take eight of the kids to town and leave the other five with the houseparents. We gave Brenda enough money that she could walk with the kids up to Los Arcos and have pupusas for lunch. That seemed to satisfy everyone since they knew the others would be eating in town.

Marc and I and the eight kids left at 9:00. Everyone had on their best clothes and hair was neatly done. Eager anticipation filled the van. Brayan had drawn pictures for him mom and had them neatly folded and held them as we rode to town.

When we arrived, Brayan's mom was the only one there. They found a spot where they could share a brief two hours. Fernando was anxious, asking where is parents where. All we could say is wait, Fernando. Jackson's mom and grandmother came in around 10:30. Closer to 11:00, Monica, Doris, Fernando and Katty's parents arrived. They have to ride a bus from Sabana Grande. They hugged and hugged on their parents. These children were removed from the home because of abject poverty. Yet, the parents brought tacos for their children. Sisi and Rosita just made that their family.

Guess who else showed up? Cindy and Maryuri's mom. She was so mad that her kids were not there. I do not know curse words in spanish, but I am quite sure she was using some.

Sometimes some of the moms don't show. Can you imagine being dressed up and watching the others with their moms and yours not being there. How horrible that must be.

We sat and watched the interaction. There was none between Jackson and him mom and grandmother. None. They all just sat there looking at each other.

This is the first time I have ever been to visitation. The first time I have met the kids' parents. Most of these moms are 30 or younger. Jackson's mom and Monica's mom look fifty or older. Some have no teeth. Some can't sign their names in the visitation book. But they still love their kids. They travel long distances and, for them, pay large sums of money for bus fare or treats for their kids.

We have to leave at 12:00. There were lots of hugs and kisses. The parents asked me to take pictures of them and their children. I will print the pictures and take to them next month.

Then, it was on to Burger King. Burger King today, not Wendy's. Marc and I walked in with eight kids and the employees ushered us to our seats and said they would take our order and bring it to us. We gave the kids no choice in what they ordered. Marc ordered the same for everyone. We thought we were treating them. They really don't like hamburgers as well as chicken. The toys in the happy meal bags were great. And everyone received a crown. At my table, I made everyone eat before they could open the toy.

Fernando spilled his drink. Monica ate her fries and then sucked the ketchup cup dry.

Marc began to take some of the kids to the playroom. He rushed backed with Katty in tow, saying she has to go to the bathroom. I took her little hand and escorted her into the bathroom. I nearly lost my lunch when I realized her shoes were still in the playroom and she was in the bathroom in her sock feet. Katty was saying poo-poo. Poo-poo. I was hurrying, but it was too late. She had already poo-pooed. Oh my! It was everywhere. And the toilet paper in Honduras is not exactly made for cleaning messes like that. I did as adequate job as possible. I told Marc it was definitely time to go home as she no longer had any underclothes on.

We loaded the van. It was a subdued trip back up the mountain. I know some were tired, as evident by the picture. But there is no telling what some of those kids were thinking. Maybe about seeing Mom or waiting another month to see Mom again.

I am glad I went to vistiation today. It helps me better understand where some of our kids have been.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

La Luciernaga (The Firefly)

Last year the sales from Tienda de Esperanza (the Casa de Esperanza store) far surpassed our hopes and dreams for the first year of operation. Karen and I began much sooner this year to plan and buy items to have in the store when those April groups come. One thing we both wanted in the store was candles. We did not have a clue where we were going to find candles, but that was our desire.

Many times in the last couple of weeks we have heard about a candle shop in Tegucigalpa that is operated by victims of domestic violence. We had to go see this place.

Karen's mom and a friend are here from Ohio. After we went to the dump and fed people, our goal was the candle shop. Marc said if you are coming down El Hatillo, where the green dumpster use to be that was our landmark to turn left, you go straight there instead of turning. Only someone from Mississippi or Honduras could understand those directions, but I knew exactly what he meant.

When we walked in and saw the candles, I think my first reaction was, "oh, my!" I have never seen so many candles. Beautiful candles. They were in all shapes, sizes and colors. And they will do anything for us that we can dream up and describe to them. As we were asking for first one thing and then another, one of the ladies took us to the back, into the workroom and storeroom. No one was currently working, but we saw the molds, the huge propane stove and the work table.

The lady asked us why we were so interested in stars. We explained about Casa de Esperanza, the starfish story, and making a difference one child at a time. She then explained that La Luciernaga was also a nongovernmental organization started by a group of Menonites to rescue women who were victims of domestic abuse. They wanted to teach the women to do something to earn some money. They chose to make candles because they wanted the light from the candle to be symbolic of the hope they had after being rescued from the desperate situations from which they had come.

We were also told the women do not live at the shop, just work there. The place they live has to be more private so no one can find the shelter or the women.

While our main goal with the store is to raise money for Casa de Esperanza and our children, we were more than happy to be able to help other people that have been rescued from, what at one time seemed hopeless situations.

We are very pleased to offer candles in our store this summer.


Monday, January 26, 2009


Pamela's surgery went well on Friday. The doctor was able to put a heel pad back on her heel. This should help her to walk again without pain. She has to take it easy for two weeks which is quite hard for an active little girl, especially when everyone else is playing and having fun. Marc will take her back to the doctor tomorrow for a followup.

Thank you for the prayers offered in Pamela's behalf.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two Adventures in One Day

While in the states, we made a promise to a friend that we would visit someone that lives in La Paz. La Paz is about two hours from here. Early in the week, we decided we would drive to La Paz today, go to church and do what we needed to do. We left here around 7:15 this morning.

The drive to La Paz was uneventful, always a good thing. We got to La Paz and could not find the church. The person we needed to see was suppose to be at church as well. La Paz is not that big and we thought this would not be difficult. We asked someone where the iglesai de Cristo was. The man gave us directions to a church, just not the one for which we were looking. We asked someone else and they gave us directions to a church, again not the right one. This happened several times to the point, not only was I laughing every time someone gave us directions to another church, that I am sure we found every church in town except the one we wanted to find.

At 10:00, I am thinking it is still acceptable to walk in church that starts at 9:30. At 10:45, I am not so sure and at 11:00 I know it won't be ok. But we were still determined to find that church and hopefully, that person. We drove up and down every bumpy road in La Paz and never did find that church. I donned a dress and heels to bounce up and down dusty, rutted roads. As we were going up one paved road, we both noticed we were going the wrong way on a one way street and Marc quickly turned. I said that taxi was going the same way we were. We made a block and got back on the street going the right way this time. We met several cars going the other direction. Maybe they don't know what one way means in La Paz.

Finally, we gave up and drove on into Comayagua and grabbed a pizza. While eating, we decided to take a different route home, just to see the sights. Marc pulled out his Honduran road map. Why do I keep thinking things will be different when he pulls out this trusty friend of his.

We headed north out of Comayagua. As we wound high into the mountains and back down into the valleys, with my window down and the wind blowing through my hair, I found myself relaxing. Totally relaxing. And forgetting everything that was currently on my mind. If there is one thing Honduras is not lacking, it is natural beauty. A rugged natural beauty. I enjoyed every inch we travelled today.

There were several people walking. There always is in Honduras and most have a long ways to walk. Marc let any and everyone that desired, get in the bed of the truck. They knock on the window when they want us to stop.

The first town we came to was El Rosario. I am sure it was straight from any old western you care to name. Horses tethered on the main street. Aged, weather-beaten men in their big hats.

We climbed high, high into the mountains, most of the time creeping along on the mountain ridge. The views were breath taking. Sometimes the thought of being on that ridge was more than breath taking.

El Rosario and the next town on the map, San Jeronimo were easy to find. The third one not so. We had to find this third one to get back to a highway. I am quite thankful for the riders. There were so many forks in the road. There were no signs or anything to show us which way to go. We would ask the riders which fork to take and they would tell us. I was sure one of the riders told us the way he needed to go. But he didn't. He really did tell us the right way.

We did get to a point we did not have a clue which way to go. And we really wanted to be back to the highway before dark. When we left Comayagua, we had no idea we would not be back to a highway before dark. A truck driver comes driving down this little narrow dusty road. Marc asked him which way to the highway and he said follow me. I am so thankful for that truck driver.

When he got us safely on the right road, he told us to go on because he would be going so slow. We got to what we thought was the Olanchoe-Tegucigalpa highway right at dark. Thank you, Lord. We were at km 39. We drove the 39 kilometers and found out whatever highway we were on connected with the Tegucigalpa highway. We were still 56 kilometers from Tegucigalpa.

Marc and I enjoy getting off the beaten path and seeing God's creation. I had a great, great day today, but I was really glad to see Tegucigalpa and even more so to see my house.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Misplaced Backpack

Today, being much braver than I am, Marc took twelve of the kids to lunch and a movie. Karen and I thought it would be a good idea to take Sandra as well. The kids listen to and mind Sandra.
This turned out to be a better idea than anyone imagined.

Marc and the kids returned here 5:oo. Marc wasn't all the way to the house and I heard him saying "Terri, I have got to go to town. Do you want to go with me?" Of course, I wanted to go. I had spent another full day doing paper work and a trip to town seemed like a welcome break. I did ask why he needed to go to town since he was barely back from town. His reply stunned me. He said I left my backpack in the movie theater. His life is in his backpack. His passport, the money to pay for two houses that were built this week, his notebooks. Receipts. He hates it when he has to go back to places and ask for a copy of his receipt. (I am the receipt Nazi). There are other important things in that backpack as well. I could not believe what I was hearing.

If you have ever been on a Torch trip led by Marc Tindall, you have heard him say more than once not to leave your camera or your backpack or anything else where you can't see it. In this country of hungry, impoverished people, they might not steal your backpack, but if someone finds it laying around, they may think, "Look what the Lord has given to me" and feel free to take it.

Marc immediately called Milton to go to the movie theater since he was already in Tegucigalpa and we were not. I said a prayer about the backpack and Marc already had. Even though I prayed about it, I figured the backpack was gone long before Marc missed it and we prayed over it. Milton called shortly after we were out the gate and said he had Marc's backpack and it looked like everything was in it. Thank you Lord.

We met Milton. We did not even have to go all the way to town. Milton gave the guy a reward. I would have done the same thing. Milton was really generous giving reward money with someone else's money. That was really ok. Really ok since everything else was returned untouched.

Again, I say thank you, Lord.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Making Payroll and Having The Cars Repaired

I have said it before and I will say it again, "nothing is simple in Honduras." And I mean nothing.

Every other Friday we pay our employees. They have to be paid in cash. From the minute I pay them , I beging thinking how I will have the exact change to pay them the next time. This is no easy task.

When I pay for deliveries here or I am in town at the market or grocery store or wherever, I always try to pay for everything with a 500 lempira bill so that I will get some change. Five hundred lempira is roughly $25.00. The 100 lempira bills are what I never have enough of.

Sometimes, when I try to pay with a 500, the vendor cannot make change and I have to use smaller bills. Knowing I had to make payroll today, and knowing I did not have enough change, yesterday I was trying everything to come up with the change I needed.

Marc stopped to cash a check. I gave him four 500 lempira bills and asked him to get hundreds for me. When he came back, he had ten one hundreds, not twenty. Ten is all the bank had. Then I thought I would pay the phone bill. If I paid the phone bill with a 500, I would get three one hundreds and some other change. I went to one of the banks where I can pay the phone bill and found it was closed until February 16. I can't go into just any bank and ask for change. If I do that, and don't have an account there, they won't give me change. I can't see what difference that makes, when I have 3 or 4 500s in my hand. I wasn't sure what I was going to do then, but I was out of options for yesterday.

All things worked out today. A few employees had worked different hours than they normally do. I only had to pay one with tens and twenties. Of course, I am already thinking how I can get some more hundreds before February 6.

And then there are the car repairs. Driving in this country is hard on all vehichles and they have to be maintained and repaired often. When a car is taken to the shop and it is determined what is wrong with the car, you get to go buy your own parts and take back to the shop. You can well imagine that we don't always find the part we need at the first parts store at which we stop. Sometimes we have to go to as many shops as we need parts and buy one part from each shop. After all the parts are purchased, they are taken back to the mechanic and he does his thing. The mechanics always give us every used and broken part they removed from the car.

As we try to find parts for the cars and hundreds for the employees, we always try to make it an adventure, sometimes a frustrating adventure. But I think of the people who have their only car in the shop and have to ride the bus to town and then to all these different parts shops. I think that would really try my patience.

Aren't you glad, really glad, that when you take your car to the shop, the shop is responsible for finding the parts?


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The First House of 2009

Today Marc, Mark Connell, Milton and Luis and a few others will build the first house of 2009. Yesterday we went to the house site because the lumber was being delivered. Imagine that. The wood is already there and the site is cleared and levelled. The old house will not be torn down, but will be used as a kitchen.

I got to meet the children of the family that will live in the house. They were sweet. A bit shy. Many children are. Praise God. They will be sleeping in a warm house tonight.

The house is in Villeda Morales. We will be doing a lot of work in Villeda Morales this year as a new church is planted and several houses built.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Adventures After Dark

With the construction of the new cottage complete, there is scrap wood and scrap tin and scrap everything left. It has been gathered and piled in one huge pile near our garbage bin. People in Honduras, especially poor people, don't waste anything. Yesterday one of the guards, Jose Francisco asked Marc if he could have some of that wood. Of course, Marc said yes. And Marc said he would drive Jose Franciso home with the wood.

As 6:00 arrived, Marc said he was going to take Jose Francisco home and asked if I wanted to ride with him. Since I had been parked at the computer all day trying to catch up on some paperwork, I said I would like to ride along.

Jose Franciso lives several miles out of Ojojona. The road out of Ojojona climbs up into the mountains, much higher than we are in Santa Ana at more than 4000 feet above sea level. At different times, Marc and I both have taken Jose Franciso up and he got out of the car on the main road at the turnoff that takes him home. Last night, with the wood, we were taking him all the way home.

After we turned off the road, at first the road was not bad. It was dirt, of course, but not too bad. The further we went the worse the road became. And we had not gone too far before the road began to deteriorate. In fact, I am not sure it was a road. A wash might be more appropriate. A place, where in September and October during the heavy rains, through which the water rushes.

It is dark, but way off in the distance, we can still see the fireyness of a sunset sky. I was sitting in the back seat with my mouth open and trying not to be bounced through the window. I really thought I was going to burst out laughing that we were on a road like this after dark. I would not have laughed in front of Jose Franciso for anything.

When we got to Jose Francisco's house, we were not even at the end of the road or the wash or whatever we were on. We unloaded the wood and left it at the side of the road. I am sure he carried it all to his house before he called his day done.

This little jaunt took us 10 minutes by car to get from the road to his house. It was an adventure for us. But Jose Franciso has to walk this road every day when he goes to work and everyday when he returns. The buses don't drive down the wash. I am not sure any other car has driven down to Jose Francisco's house. This would not have been an easy walk for anyone.

As we neared Ojojona, we saw the bus on which Jose Franciso would have been had we not taken him home. It would have been at another 30 minutes at least before he would have stepped off the bus on the road, with that difficult walk still ahead of him. And I thought driving it after dark was difficult. I cannot even imagine walking it after dark. After getting off at 6:00 p.m., it would have been at least 7:30 before Jose Franciso arrived home. And that would be without the wood.

I am glad we took Jose Francisco all the way home. It is good for me to see where our employees live and how difficult it is for them to get to work and to get home.

I forget how blessed I am.


Monday, January 19, 2009

The New Minimum Wage, Up Close and Personal

In Honduras, all the gas stations still have people to fill your gas tanks and check under your hood. I like it. When I buy gasoline, I always gave a tip to the guy that filled my tank. I quickly discovered that if I went to same station every time and gave a tip every time, that the guys took really good care of my car. If I asked one to check the oil, he would check all my fluids. He would bring the dipstick to the window to show me that I did or did not need oil. He would tell me the level of all the fluids. If I did need oil, and had a quart in my car, he would put it in for me. If I had to buy oil, he would show me the bottle had never been opened. He was learning to adjust to my Mississippi spanish. He took my money or credit card and took it inside. He would bring my change and receipt. He knew that if he gave me good service, he would get a good tip.

Last night Marc and I pulled into our favorite station and most of the pumps were now self-serve, as in the states. We knew it was because of the new minimum wage. I teared up. This was personal. People we knew were losing jobs because the employer cannot afford to pay them. When Marc when inside to pay, he asked about all the people that were not there. He was told six people lost their jobs so two could receive the new minimum wage. Again, I tear up as I write this.

We are going to see more and more people losing their jobs so a few can receive this new minimum wage. It will happen in gas stations, restaurants, stores. One of the doctors told us it is happening in the hospital. There won't be as many street cleaners. The list is endless. And it will be up close and personal, not only as we see people we know lose thier jobs, but to the people that lose their jobs.

Don't get we wrong. I am for bettering the lives of the people here. I think it needs to be done gradually so that so many don't have to be out of work with no way to feed their families.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pamela's Surgery

After redtape, paperwork and waiting, Pamela's surgery has been scheduled for this Friday at noon. Pamela is eleven. Long before she ever came to live at Casa de Esperanza, she was hit by a bus. The heel of her foot was damages. A skin graft was done then. She often has pain and cannot wear certain shoes. We are thankful this surgery is finally going to be done, and before school starts again.

Please remember Pamela in your prayers as she has this surgery on Friday.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Minimum Wage

As you all know, most people in Honduras live in poverty, a poverty that we in the United States have never seen. I am all for improving the way the Hondurans are forced to live.

Believe it or not, there are minimum wage laws and other labor laws. The system is very hard to figure out, as Karen and I well know. The minimum wage does not apply to everyone. For instance domestics have no rights. The minimum wage is much higher in the large cities than in the rural areas. The minimum wage changes once each year.

This year the president, unilaterally decided to almost double the minimum wage. That may sound good in theory, but hundreds have already lost their jobs because employers cannot afford to double wages. Hundreds more will lose their jobs as well if this minimum wage stays in effect. Marc and I both have lost sleep worrying how we could pay all of our employees at Casa de Esperanza without having to lay some of them off. We only have ten employees and we try to be very fair with our pay, paying more than minimum. Some of the employees that have worked here a long time are making fairly nice wages, nice for Honduras. Under the new law, not one of them would be making minimum wage. That kind of increase in expenses would hurt all nonprofits and all businesses.

Wednesday we heard the new minimum wage would be rescinded until the end of the month. For the rest of the month, there would be negotiations until a more fair wage could be agreed upon. A wage that would not cause thousands to lose their jobs. Then yesterday, it was published in the paper that the president said this was the law and it would be enforced.

There is much uncertainty in this country now. A country that has 30% unemployment and thousands starve to death each year. Where malnourished children stare at you with hollow eyes. Where there are already hundreds living in the city dump. Yes, there is uncertainty and fear among people that they, too, may lose what little income they have.

Please pray for the leaders of this country. Please pray for the people. Pray that the minimum wage issue will be resolved satisfactorily and that no one else will lose the jobs and income. Pray that no more children have to go hungry and that no more people have to resort to scavaging for food with the buzzards inside the dump.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Internet Withdrawal

I love the internet, mostly my email. I can live in Honduras and stay in touch with all my family and friends. And take care of most of the business of our ministry and our personal business. Saturday afternoon our internet went down. This happens some in Honduras. I was ok without internet on Saturday. I was even ok on Sunday. Dorian called the lady to whom we pay our internet bill and she said the whole system was down. She said we should have our internet back by Monday afternoon. This lady lives in Roi Tan or somewhere far far away from Santa Ana. She does live in Honduras, but not close to here.

Monday morning, I was starting to get a bit antsy, not having had my email for so long. But, I thought if we had internet by Monday afternoon, I could surely wait this out. I always forget that things take much longer in Honduras than originally stated. Monday afternoon, Dorian called Suyapa again and was told for sure we would have internet back by Tuesday afternoon.

By the time Monday evening rolled around, I was having severe internet withdrawal. I was twitching and jerking. I began making a list of errands that had to be done in town on Tuesday. Errands that could not wait any longer.

As I left for town on Tuesday, of course, I had my laptop with me. I already know most of the places in town that have free internet. I went to Mi Esperanza. I opened my email and found one from my insurance company about a claim. I printed that sheet and filled it out and emailed it back. That was important. And it had had to wait a couple of days. I was sure there was other important stuff there, too. I really didn't have much time because some of my errands needed to be done as well. I was sure I would get home and find our internet had been restored.

Wrong. Still no internet.

Yesterday Marc and I went to the dump to feed the people. We both had our computers in the truck. It was late afternoon before we got to Church's. There was a lot of information I had to sit down and email to our lawyer's office. While I was working on it, I talked to Karen. She said we still had no internet and that she had called the lady. She said I got really stern with her and told her we were going to find another internet provider, immediately. Since she lives in another part of the country, she did not know we had no other option. But the threat of losing a customer sure got her going.

While I was on free internet, I was going to get the information to the lawyer, blog, and start trying to catch up on email. I was not even through typing the email to the lawyer when my battery went dead. Getting that information to the lawyer was essential, but so was my email. I thought I was going to cry, sitting there in Church's, because my battery died.

Marc said he had an hour of power left and 5 minutes of work to do and that I could use his compter when he finished. Twenty or twenty five minutes later I finally was handed his computer. Almost immediately, the battery low light came on. I was not a happy camper.

We found the one and only plug in Church's. We knew our cord would reach, but an employee brought us an extension cord. I could not believe that. We had had ice cream and tea, not even a full meal and had been sitting there in a booth and had plans to stay. That is one of the good things about Honduras. You can sit in a booth or at a table all day long and no one will ever say one word to you, except is there anything you need.

I finished my letter and did a couple of short emails.

Today several different people have been on the phone to the lady in Roi Tan since 10:00, on and off all through the day. Tonight at 8:30 internet was restored. Karen, Marc and I all got on immediately. We have probably overloaded the system.

Tomorrow I will start on this backlog of emails. Promise.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lessons From the Dump

Today is Wednesday. The day we feed at the dump. Today, it was just Marc and I. We got Pamela, Fitto, and Brayan to help us make the sandwiches, then we loaded the car and headed to the dump. Unfortunately, not much has changed there. Buzzards, dogs, cattle, and people are still fighting through the same garbage. Since there was just Marc and I, we had to do things a bit differently today. I handed out sandwiches from the truck and Marc handed out the bananas. When the bananas were gone, Marc started pouring the water.

I was standing in the truck handing sandwiches to starving, filthy people. I was having to bend over to get each sandwich. I was literally just putting a sandwich into a hand. I hate that. I really like to look into the faces of the people. I was able to see and speak to a few people, but mostly all I saw was hands. Everyone waited patiently.

After Marc finished with the bananas, he was pouring the water and asked me for the rest of the cups. The rest of the cups had been taken from the truck. People at the dump are always so thirsty. The ones that had cups drank and drank. As they finished, they threw their cups on the ground. I saw many other scramble for those discarded cups and get in line for water. A few began to even get the used sandwich bags and have Marc fill those with water. It made me so sad to think that people would get any used container off the ground in the dump in order to have a drink of water.

One man walked up shortly after the last of the sandwiches were gone. He started to turn and walk away, when another man graciously shared his sandwich. A man who was probably literally starving to death shared what little he had. And I, who have never known hunger, don't even like to share my cashews. Would I share a little bit of food when I was truly hungry with another who was truly hungry. I hope so. I hope so. I hope I don't ever have to find out.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Taking The Long Way Home

In December, when we left for the states, Marc said when we returned home, he got a great deal on our tickets and we would be overnighting in Miami. I had visions of getting to Miami around 8:00, Marc and I grabbing a bite to eat, getting a hotel and taking one more long hot luxurious bath before returning to Honduras.

And then I discovered that is what dreams are made of.

We left Nathan's around 11:00 on Wednesday and drove to his office. He then took us to the Little Rock airport on his lunch hour. We checked in, cleared security and waited for three hours. We filled the time by eating lunch and I got on my computer since free internet was available. When our plane left Little Rock at 3:30, we made a quick one and a half hour flight to Chicago.

In Chicago there was snow on the ground and even the walkways were bitterly cold. We found our gate and had another two hours of waiting. In that time, we had one gate change and ate again, filling the rest of our time with reading and working puzzles. Due to the weather our two hour layover became three and a half or four.

I said there probably won't be too many people on a flight this late in midweek, thinking we could spread out on the plane. Marc agreed. Wrong. The plane began quickly fill with people wearing Sooner shirts. Oops! I did not think about the national championship being played the next day between Florida and Oklahoma. So much for spreading out, the plane was packed.

Marc had already been talking of staying in the airport because of the time we would arrive in Miami and the time we had to be back at the airport the next morning. Weather delays were just what he needed to decide by the time we landed got off the plane and out of the airport to a hotel would take at least an hour and we would barely get to a hotel before we had to be back at the airport. So, at 1:30 a. m. we walk off the plane and into the gate area and set our stuff down. I think we must have been on the very last plane landing in Miami for the day. The gate agent knew what we were doing and graciously walked back onto the plane and got some blankets for us.

I noticed we weren't the only people sleeping in the airport. I am not sure the other people had blankets, though. Marc took his blankets and went to find a spot on the floor. Not me. I knew if I got on the floor and tried to sleep, it would take a tow truck to get me up again. I opted for the chairs in the gate area.

At first, I was wired and could not even think of settling down to sleep. More time with the puzzle book. I finally felt sleepy and got myself into a position where my leg or my arm was touching both my computer bag and my camera.

There was a chime that sounded every quarter hour, with a lady's voice piped in telling us the time. I did not hear her every single time, that meant I actually slept some of the time. Someone came through running the vacuum cleaner. Of course they have to do that at that time of the morning. He bumped into me, waking me. I started to get up and let him vacuum under and around me and he said no need. He already woke me, I thought he should have vacuumed where I was. Then the floor machine came through. By 5:00 a.m., the gate area is filling with people on the first flight out. More than once I reminded myself how much money we saved on this flight.

I didn't get much sleep, but there were nights in the states I got less than I got in the airport. Right, Susan.

I was so ready to be here when that plane finally landed in Tegucigalpa. I really was energized to plunge back into the work that awaits us here.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Looking Backward And Forward

Marc and I are finishing our business in the states. We have been in six churches in four states. Our journey has taken us through nine states and over 3000 miles. We have been in many homes. Enjoyed time with friends and family and made new friends along the way. It has been fun. I would be lying if I said I was not tired. I am exhausted, but I am so ready to get back to Honduras and get to work.

This last year has been a great one. Thanks be to God. And to each one of you. Without your love, support, prayers, and encouragement we could not do what we do. It is easy to make a list of what was accomplished in Honduras in 2008. But you are the ones that sent a container of school supplies. You sent money for spanish bibles, for bunk beds, for houses and for food. You visited the dump, or saw the pictures, and were touched deep within, just as we were, and sent money for that new ministry. You came and brought magi boxes for those people that seem to have no hope. You responded when we told of families being burned out or flooded out of their homes. You built houses and school builings and a church building and a foot bridge. You supplied the needs of our children at Casa de Esperanza. You gave a check for someone else to be able to come to Honduras. You lifted our names before the Father, both daily and in our times of crisis.

Thank you. Your gift made a difference to us and to the people of Honduras.

God has big plans for 2009. There will be two church plants and a feeding center. Money has already been pledged for one of the church buildings. The food has been promised for the first year after the feeding center opens. Money has started coming in to build the feeding center. Again, Praise God. Marc and I will be leading 8 groups. Again, the homeless will be housed and the hungry fed. The sick will have their needs tended. A mobile medical clinic van will arrive.

We don't really know what else will happen in 2009. We pray, and ask that you pray with us, that we have our eyes open to the things God wants us to accomplish.

No matter what God plans for us, it will be another great year in Honduras.


Friday, January 2, 2009

A Soldier On His Knees

What an honor to be called a
Soldier of the Cross,
An army that has never
Turned back, never suffered loss.
Our weapons are not carnal
Our strongholds you can't
See, the army becomes mighty by the time spent on our knees.

I'm not ashame for you to see this soldier on his knees.
You might even see a tear or hear a humble plea.
Some may call it weakness, some may question my strength.
Oh but you must see the power's not me,
I prepare for battle on my knees.

- The Crab Family-

As Marc and I were driving along, listening to our new Crab Family cd, I heard this song. I like this song.

I think life could easily be compared to battle. Sometimes, life is all out war. I hope all soldiers spend time preparing for their daily battle by spending time on their knees.

I desire for myself, as we enter a new year, that I wear my knees completely out as I prepare for the daily battles of life.

Lets pray for each other as we battle through 2009.


Smokey and the Birthday Cake

Yesterday we celebrated Camille's fourth birthday. It was a fun day, all day. She was showered with presents.

On Tuesay, Camille was allowed to go choose the birthday cake she wanted. She chose a Disney princess cake. After she blew out the candles, she began to remove the princesses from the cake. The icing stuck to each one. She licked the icing off of two of the princesses.

After she had her cake and a few others of us had our cake, everything was put away but the cake. The cake was left sitting on the kitchen table. Camille was watching a movie. Some of us were watching the football games. It was just a nice peaceful, enjoyable evening.

After some time had passed, Matt went back into the kitchen. He laughed and said "no, Smokey." Smokey is 65 pound Weimerainer puppy. He had his front paws on the table and was eating birthday cake. All of it. Has Camille had earlier in the day, Smokey had cake all over his face.

Smokey is rather hyper anyway. We thought he surely would be on a sugar high. He didn't seem much worse than usual.

Never dull a moment with kids and pets, especially Smokey.