Friday, July 31, 2009

Work In Honduras

While I am in Baton Rouge being Grammy, Marc is still in Honduras. And the work continues. Marc is driving Rosy back and forth to the bus and other errands for Casa that I normally do. He is trying to help Karen.

Marc, Jonathan, Luis and Milton have built two houses and will be building another one soon. One container of beans has been unloaded. Another container is expected out any day. After missing two weeks of feeding at the dump because of the political situation, Marc resumed the weekly feeding on July 15. Everyone was glad to see him. Marc says that feeding is going well.

I am sure other things are being accomplished of which I am not aware. Please keep the work in Honduras in your prayers.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Being Grammy

Isn't she sweet?
Last night Matt's parents and grandad came over for supper. Matt and Nicole dressed Haley for dinner. As you can tell, she didn't even know she had company. She slept the whole evening.

A little angel.

I guess as long as I am at Matt and Nicole's, my blogs will be about Haley Grace. Which, by the way, is a very good subject about which to blog. She is so sweet.

There is nothing like a little bitty baby. This little precious baby can turn intelligent and semi-intelligent adults into oohing, aahing, babbling, have-your-camera-ready-at-all-times sillies. That would be me. Sometimes it would appear as she is the only baby, or the only baby since Camille, to be so cute. I just love being a grammy.

Some times, Nicole and I are so tired. Neither one of us is getting enough rest, but I am enjoying every minute of my time here. I am glad I can be here to help Matt and Nicole, especially since Nicole had a c-section.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Strange what the excitement of having a new granddaughter and being totally exhausted does to one's mind. My new granddaughter's name is Haley Grace Fitzgerald not Tindall. I corrected that in last night's post. I apologize to Matt and his family. I was wanting to let the whole world know about Haley's birth and get to bed. I did not even read over what I wrote.

Thanks to all of you who emailed me with the correction. I am sure I would have realized my mistake this morning.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Presenting... Haley Grace Fitzgerald

Last night we left here around 9:00, stopped at Wal-Mart, and got to the hospital shortly before 10:00. Nicole was shown to her room and it was determined she was already in labor with contractions coming about five minutes apart. She probably had been in labor most of Sunday. She was still dilated on 1 cm. An IV was inserted and her pitossin drip was started by midnight.

At 2:00, she was only dilated 2 cm. And at 9:00, she was still dilated only 2 cm and the doctor started talking c-section. By 12:30, she had dilated to 9 cm. We were so happy. At 2:00, we began pushing and pushed for 3 hours. And I do mean we pushed. Matt and I grabbed a leg each time and pushed almost as hard as Nicole. She worked so hard and never gave up. The baby was moving down and moving down and all of a sudden could move no more. After 17 hours of labor, 17 counting from midnight, the doctor said the baby was just too big to come any further and a c-section had to be done. The hospital staff was scurrying around as quickly as possible to make this happen. Both Matt and I got to go into the surgery room with her.

I had no idea a c-section could be done so quickly. It was an awesome experience to watch my little granddaughter born, even by c-section. Miss Haley Grace Fitzgerald made her debut into this world at 5:53 p.m. this afternoon. And the doctor certainly had big right. Miss Haley weighed in at 8 pounds an 13.8 ounce and was 21 1/4" long. She is perfect. She definitely is in a five way tie for the most beautiful baby in the world.

I know Nicole is absolutely exhausted and hope she rests well tonight. I am exhausted. I had no sleep last night and plan on staring at the back of eyelids soon.

Thanks for all the prayers and words of encouragement. Mother and Baby are doing well. Daddy and Grammy, too.


Friday, July 17, 2009

We Have A Date

This morning the nurse from Nicole's doctor's office called and said they had a time at the hospital that Nicole could be induced. Ten p.m. on Sunday night. Yes, I typed that correctly. P.M., not A.M. Nicole said, "of course, I will be there."

We can tell by looking at Nicole that the baby has dropped. Nicole could easily go into labor anytime before Sunday night, but just in case she doesn't, the end is definitely in sight. Nicole and Matt are excited. Grammy, too. Just think, in no time I will be holding that little bundle of joy.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baby News

No, we do not have a baby yet.

We went to the doctor today. The doctor said the baby has dropped and some changes have occurred since last week. She had said last week, if Nicole had not delivered by today, we could set a day for inducing. We thought we could say tomorrow or Friday and everything would be great. Silly us. The nurse called the hospital and there was no time for inducing tomorrow, Friday, or even Monday. The nurse will continue to call and see if something opens up. In the mean time, we will continue to wait and hope that Nicole goes into labor by herself.

After leaving the doctor's office, we went to the mall. Had we gone to shop, we might have given new meaning to shopping til you drop; but we went to walk. I wanted to do five laps. Nicole said three. So three we did. Nicole was walking fast. I guess she wants that baby girl here.

Then we stopped for pizza. Pepperoni with jalapenos. I thought for sure those jalapenos would do it.

And we wait some more. Not only is today not over, but tomorrow is a brand new day.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Former President And A Credit Card

On June 28, the president of Honduras was removed from office and sent into exile. Even though he had committed several crimes, he was not arrested, but left to travel wherever he wanted and say whatever he wanted. While he was traveling the world and portraying what a victim he was, he had a credit card issued by the Honduran government. The card was canceled on July 1. In that brief four days, he managed to spend $80,000.00. EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. Mel has acquired fine suits, hats, boots, shirts, and neckties. He also hosted banquets in luxurious hotels and while in Bethlehem stayed in the presidential suite of the Horseshoe Hotel. This was done with the intent of someone in Honduras paying for this. Who?
The government. Poor people that can't afford to feed their children. Missionaries that are there to help. I don't know who was going to pay for it.

After the card was canceled, Hugo Chavez graciously said the Venezuelan government would pay for all these charges. In other words, the taxpayers of Venezuela will pay for this shopping spree.

As I read this article, I scrolled down to read the comments as well. One comment was written by a former civil servant of the former president. He said now that he no longer had a paycheck to protect he could be honest. His comment said that Manuel Zelaya was the worse president in the the history of Honduras. This former employee of the former president claims that more has been robbed from the country than any other time in history.

And yet, the world thinks this criminal should be restored to power and that he is a victim. Sounds to me like the whole country is the victim.


Saturday, July 11, 2009


I am angry about the events in Honduras. I have no control over any of it, but I am still angry.

This former president has broken the law and the constitution. Money was found in his house. Three point one five million DOLLARS was found in his house that he stole from the country when school teachers and sometimes the policemen do not get paid. The infrastructure is crumbling and thousands do not receive any kind of aid for food or education for their children. And that kind of money was found in his house.

His greed and his lust for power has created the current crisis in Honduras. And not just a little power. He wanted to do away with the constitution, the national congress and the supreme court and become a dictator. He is backed by Hugo Chavez and Castro and Ortega. And the United States is siding with these dictators and the former president. That makes me angry as well. I am sure there is some good reason the United States is taking the side of dictatorship and not the one of democracy. I just don't know what it is. I may never know.

One hundred and fifty people in our Overland Park/Topeka group and Terry Reeves' group had to be sent home early. At least that many more people in the next five groups have cancelled and are not coming to Honduras at all. And that is only the Torch groups. Thousands of people have been sent home early or are not coming at all. Not coming because of the political unrest that exists in Honduras. Not coming to build dozens of houses. Not coming to feed hundreds. Not coming to give medical and dental care to thousands. Not coming to share the good news of Jesus. The people at the dump are not being fed. The feeding center has not even been started because it is too near the Nicaraguan border and much too dangerous to go work down there.

The second poorest country in the western hemisphere is not receiving help this summer because of the greed and selfishness of one person. And many that have jobs at the airport, such as the luggage handlers and the money changers and the shop owners, are once again wondering how they are going to feed their children. With no one flying into the country these people are not making any money.

This one person could say it is over. Let us do what is best for the country. But no. He wants to be in complete power. To come back to power and continue his plan to become dictator, The majority of the people support the new government. That does not seem to matter to him. He wants his way, while the country suffers.

Marc and I prayed and cried as we had to make the decision to cancel the big group in July. While it was a very difficult decision, we know it had to be done.

And while I am so angry, let me include the airlines. We did not create this mess. Our people would rather be in Honduras working than canceling their tickets. Are the airlines being helpful at all? No. Even though, the state department is advising no travel to Honduras until at least July 29, the airlines are not refunding money for tickets purchased. They have so graciously, they think, waived cancellation fees and issued travel vouchers good for one year. With so many restrictions that we probably cannot meet all those restrictions. We may eventually lose some of those tickets or have to pay more to change the names of them or have to pay more if ticket prices go up or have to pay more for a number of other reasons. If the country is in a bigger crisis and the airport closed, the airlines may refund some money. We don't want a bigger crisis in Honduras to get money refunded.

The former president is saying he will come back to Honduras and be president again. Chavez is saying, Honduras will be invaded to assure that happens. Please continue to pray for a quick and peaceful end to this. Pray that mission groups and others will soon be back helping those people that so desperately need help.


Friday, July 10, 2009

St. Francisville

I am kind of a nerd. I love history. Especially the history of the grand old south. I know it has been romanticized in movies and novels, but I still love it, to read about it and to see it up close and personal. Matt and Nicole wanted to take me to St. Francisville to see some of the old plantation homes.

St. Francisville is about forty five minutes from Baton Rouge. We left around 11:00, planning to do lunch as soon as we arrived. We had heard rave reviews of the Magnolia Cafe, so that was our choice for lunch. A charming little place with much the same atmosphere of Proffitt's Porch in Columbus served burgers and sandwiches and some fine southern cuisine and desserts. We opted for crawfish and corn chowder. It was delicious.

We went to the visitor's center/museum and got the maps we needed. Matt drove to two of the three old churches. I took pictures while Matt and Nicole waited in the car with the air conditioner running. The churches were beautiful and I hope to see the inside of both churches some day. The grounds of the Episcopal church were also beautiful. The ancient oak trees draped in spanish moss make a beautiful setting and are so Louisiana.

We then drove to some of the plantations and I took pictures of some of the houses. Again, the houses and the grounds were beautiful. We chose two or three that we hope to tour in the future.

I enjoyed spending the day with Matt and Nicole and appreciated the fact that they wanted to do something they knew I would like when it was so hot, but today I think we will stay in out of the heat.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Kansas Group

Painting the church building
Building forms for the bicycle path

Working concrete

With the events of last week dominating my thoughts, I almost forgot to mention our Kansas group. The group that had to be sent home early because of the events of last week.

The day the president was removed from office we had forty eight eager people arrive ready to work. Most of these folks were from Topeka and Overland Park, Kansas. Over two thirds of them had never been on a TORCH trip. Even so, they came ready and willing to work.

In the few days they were in Honduras, much work was accomplished. Monday morning we could hear many excited voices as Scott Souder led a group in repairing all the bicycles at Casa de Esperanza. I am not sure who was more excited, the children or Scott. Another group went to the front of the property and painted the inside of the church building. Marc thought that would take the better part of the day. With workers as eager as these Kansas people were, it took a couple of hours, leaving more people to work on the bicycles. Others in the group built two houses that day.

By Tuesday morning, we knew we were going to have to change tickets and start sending them home. Nothing stopped them. They built another two houses on Tuesday. By the time they left, they had built six houses, distributed some food and made a nice area at Casa de Esperanza for the children to ride their newly repaired bikes. Of course, they mixed and poured concrete the Honduran way. And without complaining.

We love every group that comes. We bonded with this group in a way we have never bonded before as we watched the political crisis unfold. They got a real taste of "it is what it is" and had to stay out of the city. We found plenty to do in Santa Ana and Ojojona. I am really sad this group had to leave early. I hope they return next year and I hope they get to stay the whole week.

Thanks Kansas for coming and giving of yourselves, for falling in love with Honduras, and for encouraging us.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Few Days of Baton Rouge

I am having a grand time while waiting the baby's arrival. I have already had crawfish. Been to Sonic and Target. Eaten bacon. Matt and Nicole are treating me like an honored guest.

Last night, we went to the levee and watched fireworks. I love the Mississippi River and I love fireworks. We went early and found a good place to sit. Matt and Nicole had a snowball. There was a band playing. When that one finished, another band started. The second band played a lot of patriotic and march music. I was loving every minute of it. A men's chorus sang "God Bless America." My heart swelled with pride. I love the fourth of July celebrations. I have been by myself the last two years on the fourth. It was wonderful to be with part of my family, celebrating the independence of this great country. Perhaps, a bit more wonderful given the current events in Honduras.

This morning we went to church. Matt and Nicole's church has one of the largest Chinese ministries in the country. Today was China Sunday, celebrating 22 years of this ministry. About one third of the congregation was Chinese people that formerly went to church there or still do.
Over the years, over 200 Chinese people have been baptized because of this ministry. Many have gone on to reach out to friends and family in China. Four different men spoke about their faith in God. All have PhD's from LSU, are very intelligent and very passionate about their faith.
Most live in different parts of the country and returned to Baton Rouge for this weekend. They are continuing to share their passion of their faith in the place in which they now live. One man is returning to China with his family to preach the gospel. It was a very meaningful service. At the end of the service, four Chinese students were baptized. Praise God.

While I am having a grand ol' time here in hot, humid Baton Rouge, we returned home from church to learn that the Tegucigalpa airport is closed, many of the roads around the airport are barricaded. Military and police are carrying riot shields as riots are anticipated if the former president enters the country. He is flying in a Citgo plane, owned by Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan government. The former president is now expected to land in San Salvador. I don't know what will happen.

I am glad I am in Baton Rouge.and that all of our team got our safely. Marc and the children are still safe. We have every reason to think they will remain safe. Please keep crying out to God on behalf of Honduras. There needs to be a quick and peaceful resolution to this.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Thoughts On Leaving Honduras

Yesterday was a very long day.

After breakfast, we had the group on the bus on the way to the airport by 8:00. Marc knew they were wanding and frisking everyone at the airport and wanted to be there early. They did not start wanding and frisking until 9:00. We arrived before that and were able to walk right in and get in line. It wasn't long before there were long lines outside the airport as each person had to be wanded and frisked. We had 17 of our group confirmed on Delta and 6 on Continental. We had a long stand-by list and were able to get about six more out that way. Everyone else is now confirmed to leave Saturday morning.

My emotions were all over the map yesterday. It is really hard to describe the conflicting emotions. I love Honduras and the work we do and I could not believe political unrest was causing us to send a group home early. We shed a lot of tears. And I mean a lot. The group did not want to see part go home and part stay. No one wanted to leave unfinished work.

Personally, I could not believe I would leave before we got our group out. But on the other hand, I have missed Nicole's entire pregnancy. And her shower. I had no desire to not be with her when this baby is born. And if I had to leave early then I had to leave early. I would have been inconsolable if I wasn't with her in time. For months, I would have been inconsolable. It still didn't seem right that I would leave before some of the group. And it didn't seem right to stay and maybe not get out next week.

I was exhausted both physically and mentally. When I am tired, I cry easily. I was buying exit fees for part of the group and six of my friends went through security before I had the chance to say good-bye. I cried. I watched as the planes landed and no one got off. No one got off the planes when July is the busiest month of the year for mission groups to come and help the poor of Honduras. I cried as I thought what this mess is doing to the country and how many won't be helped. As the 17 flying Delta began to go through security, I hugged each one. And cried. They cried, too. No one wanted to leave under the circumstances in which we were leaving. I hugged the ones that were not leaving yesterday. And cried. I hugged Marc, knowing I was going to be with Nicole and he wasn't, and cried. I cried when I kept thinking I would soon be with Nicole.

I did pretty good after I cleared security and waited on my plane. There was a mission group leaving with whom I visited as we waited. They were not leaving early. They were scheduled to leave July 2. But as my plane left, the tears began to flow again. The thought of why I, and others, were leaving before we planned and all the people that aren't getting the help they need, brought those tears again. And the thought, I am on my way to be with daughter caused more tear.

Landing in the U.S., even if it was Miami, brought a few tears of joy. The grumpiness of the customs agents in Miami could have easily brought more tears. The thought of how long my layover was, did make me cry again. But when it was announced that my flight was delayed until 1:00 a.m, I took a real Honduran attitude and thought it is what it is. I cried at the thought of Matt and Nicole waiting on me all that time. I found an internet phone and left a message on Nicole's phone. The long hike to another gate, as tired as I was, threatened tears.

My flight continued to be delayed and I handled it well. When we finally, left for New Orleans after 2:00 a.m., there was gratefulness. I landed in New Orleans at 3:30 a.m. When I saw my beautiful 8 1/2 month+ pregnant daughter and my sweet son-in-law, I cried hard. And I didn't want to stop.

We got to Baton Rouge, stopped for donuts, and got to Matt and Nicole's at 5:30. I am so glad I am here and that I will be with Nicole when she has her baby. I am glad that I can spend the 4th of July in this country.

As we celebrate our independence day, tomorrow, lets not forget the problems in Honduras. I don't know details, but Marc says the next 24 or 48 hours there may be stuff happening. Many are fearful of what that stuff may be.

Just as I had mixed emotions yesterday about leaving Honduras earlier than expected, I still have mixed emotions. I would not be anywhere else except here with Nicole. At the same time, I am sad for the group that was forced to leave early, the groups that cannot come and for the state of affairs in Honduras.

I thank you all for your encouragement and prayers. Please don't stop those prayers. What happens this weekend in Honduras might be critical.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Honduran Situation

I live in a third world country and my internet regularly goes out. Like every time it rains. It rains every afternoon. It usually comes back on at 8:00 the next morning. It went out yesterday and came back on just a few minutes ago. And it is raining again. I hate being without communication during this time, but I have no choice.

The former president was supposed to come back into the country tomorrow and he would be arrested. We have half of our group leaving tomorrow and I am leaving tomorrow. We are working on getting everyone out of here. It was announced today that the former president would return Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. A surprise visit. This has the potential to keep things stirred up a few more days.

By far, more than a majority of people are supporting this new administration and against the old one. It is the same party. It is the former president's vice-president. This was not a coup. It was similar to our impeachment.

We have heard this new president has already sent aid to the earthquake victims of last month, where none had been sent by the former president.

Even though the people want this and want to be free of the yoke of Venezuela, does not mean all the trouble and tensions are over. We don't know what will happen and need your continued prayers.

In Santa Ana, we are still safe and have every reason to believe, we will stay that way. Dorian got to town and bought groceries for the children's home for the next month and the meat delivery came today. That is good. Our children will be fed.

I am talking to the airline and other people daily about the groups still scheduled to come. They are working to help us. I will let my group leaders know something, when I know something. No refunds are being issued yet for dates beyond July 10. It may be a day by day thing, similar to the way it was last summer when the airport was closed.

As long as my internet holds, I will try to post as I know something. I will be answering all of my emails, one by one, also if my internet holds.

We appreciate your prayers and support.