Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Unsung Heroes

As you know, Marc and I are missionaries in Honduras. There are a lot of unsung heroes that make that happen.

First and foremost are all of the people that pray for us. We appreciate that more than you will ever know. And for all the people that support us, Casa de Esperanza, Los Pinos, Santa Ana, the dump and all the other ministries, we would not be able to stay in Honduras without your support. For the encouragers, whether by email, facebook, or snail mail, you keep us going.

A second group of unsung heroes are our group leaders. We bring a lot of groups to Honduras. The group leaders organize and collect money and communicate with us. Groups would not happen without group leaders that are willing to do these things. You, too, are appreciated.

Every single one of the above mentioned people is vital to what we do and we appreciate every single one of you, but there are a couple of people to whom I would like to give special thanks.

It did not take us long to realize that the paperwork was overwhelming. I try to do most of this paperwork. I am not ever completely caught up. But some of that is lessened as Earl and Beverly Arndt take care of most of the banking. They pick up the mail and make deposits into the ministry accounts. This is a huge job and it is always done efficiently. I could not survive without them.

I would also like to thank Jeff and Sherry Hubright. We send a newsletter from Casa de Esperanza six times a year. Mostly this is done my email. But there are some that need to go by snail mail. Jeff and Sherry print the newsletters that need to be mailed. Then they address and mail them. Again, this is a tremendous help to us and enables us to get the mailed newsletters out quicker than if they had to be mailed from Honduras.

The Arndts and the Hubrights do not do these things for public recognition. They do it because they are servants. Not only do they lessen my workload, they are my heroes. You are making a difference.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

On The Road Again

We used to say that was Marc's theme song because he traveled so much. When we are in the States, it is our theme song.

We have enjoyed the time with our Texas families, but the best is yet to come. Tomorrow we leave for Little Rock. Tuesday we will go get Camille and Tuesday night Matt, Nicole and Haley will drive into Little Rock. We will celebrate Christmas, Camille's birthday, and just being together for a few days. It has been too long since Marc and I and the kids and grandgirls have been together. It will be fun and I am thankful for this time.

We then will be on the road again as we go to Columbus. We will be in four different churches in Columbus, Starkville, and Tupelo before we make our way to Baton Rouge and Panama City Beach. There are many churches to visit. Many friends to see. Many cups of coffee still to be drunk. Some more mexican food. And who knows what else. We look forward to the next two weeks.

Please pray for us as we travel.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beans Hijacked

The heavy rains in September destroyed the bean crop in Honduras. When given an opportunity to bring some beans into the country, we jumped at it. These two containers of beans have been a headache from the word go.

The beans arrived at the port on the 26th of November. Containers are usually shipped to arrive at our warehouse. These were shipped to the port, meaning we were responsible for getting them from the port to the warehouse.

When they arrived, no one would believe they were to give away to the poor. The people at the port insisted that no one brings that much food into the country to give away. They must be to resell. Even when the president's office got involved, it did not speed things up in getting the beans release. Marc was working on this and Milton was working on this, and, of course, the president's office. Once they could finally be released, they had sat in port so long that there were bugs in them and had to spend another four days being fumigated, all the while accumulating demurage charges.

At one time, Marc thought they would be to the warehouse and delivered before we left on the 11th. Maybe in a perfect world.

Last night around 7:00, a very tired Milton called and said the beans were on their way to Tegucigalpa and Campimento. Marc was still sure they could be delivered before Christmas. No rest for Milton.

This morning the phone began ringing early. One truck, full of beans, had been stolen. Missing in action. The truck had been hijacked. As the truck was stopped in some road construction, the highjacker jumped on the truck and held a gun to the driver. The driver willingly gave up the truck. I am quite sure I would have done the same thing. A short while later, the phone rang again and Milton said the truck had been recovered and the driver was ok. Praise God for those two things. The beans were gone.

Those beans were to be given to the poor. We can only hope the beans will still feed poor people. They may be sold at an exorbitant price, but hopefully, they will still feed the poor in one way or another. We will never know what happens to that one container of beans. And with the other container, many people will still be fed. They will only receive half as much as originally planned.

The truck belonged to the head of the Honduran police. He is one angry fellow that his truck loaded with beans for the poor was stolen. He plans on finding the highjackers. And too bad for them if he does.

I cannot close this blog by saying, "it has been another great day in Honduras," when in fact it has been a pretty bad day in Honduras. But a lot of people will still have beans on their tables for Christmas, and for that we give thanks.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Taking A Break

We arrived in Illinois Thursday night and tomorrow we will head back to Texas via Joplin. We have had a wonderful time in this place we called home only three and a half year ago.

We have visited with friends. And laughed and cried and prayed and had fun. Lots of fun. I had a pedicure. How wonderful that was. We ate at Fortel's Pizza Den after church yesterday, one of our all time favorite pizza places. Saturday night we were treated to dinner at Vito's Italian restaurant in St. Louis and the Mannheim Steamrollers Christmas concert in the historic Fox theater, a beautiful theater that is far more elaborate than the Orpheum in Memphis. It was a great concert. And as a bonus, we got to see a few people making very interesting fashion statements.

There have been several cups of coffee consumed at St. Louis bread company and few more to go before we leave. Catching up with friends as we sip on our coffee.

I have been uplifted and encouraged, something I desperately needed. And I have not done any work. I always have work to do and need to be working on year end stuff, but I think a few days break from work has been a much needed thing also.

I am thankful for this time in Illinois, thankful for good friends and good memories.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Jesus Banquet Expanded

Two years ago a small group of our friends from Tupelo, Mississippi came to help us feed the hungry people at the Tegucigalpa dump and bring small gifts to the children in the dump. It was a very good day. Later that night, sitting in our house, we talked and dreamed about serving the people in the dump a sit down dinner. The Jesus banquet was born that night. It took a lot of prayer and hard word to make the first Jesus banquet a success. But any thing done in God's name and to His glory is always a success.

Again, our friends from Tupelo came to be apart of this. Others came also. From Childress, Shawnee, Atlanta, Nebraska and other places.

This year as we planned for the second Jesus banquet, we knew our friends from Tupelo were not coming. I was very thankful for the seventy plus people that came to serve at the Jesus banquet. It took every one of us and I now have several new friends. As I worked and fellowshipped with people and thanked God that every single one of them was there, there was a vacancy that our Tupelo friends were not with us. They helped launch this idea.

And why were they not in Tegucigalpa helping us with the Jesus banquet this year? They were in Tupelo serving their own Jesus banquet to the homeless and hungry in Tupelo. How awesome is that? This year they served 175 people. Just like we plan to do in Tegucigalpa, they plan to make this an anual event.

And in February, Maria Phillips is planning a Jesus banquet in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Wouldn't it be cool if there could be Jesus banquets all over the United States?


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


That would be me and I am not even blond.

I like to read. In fact, I love to read. Once upon a time, I kept up with what books were on the bestselling list. I knew a lot about different authors, even the ones of which I was not particularly fond. Saturday, as we had a fairly long layover in Atlanta, I strolled through a bookstore in the airport. I haven't seen the best seller list in months or years. There were author's names I had never heard of, much less knowing anything about what they wrote.

Yesterday, I went shopping in Amarillo. I just went a couple of places, but I was shocked at the new gadgets and electronic devices. I did not even know what some of them were for. I am guessing I don't need one.

I went into the music department at the Christian bookstore and, again, did not recognize several new artists' names. And other music, I sure had never heard of some of those names. And movies, I haven't seen one in ages. Couldn't even begin to name even one major hit this year.

I never meant to live in my own little world. I had every intention of keeping up with what was being read, and being watched and being listened to and being worn and being played with in America. I just run out of time before I get around to these things.

I guess if it is not happening at Casa de Esperanza, then I don't know it is happening at all, thus leaving me pretty clueless.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Things I Do Not Take For Granted

Marc and I arrived in Oklahoma City at 11:00 Saturday night. We got to our friend's house at 1:00. Marc preached in Shawnee yesterday morning and Wheeler last night. We then drove on to Borger.

After living in Honduras for over three years, there are things I used to take for granted that now I am very thankful to be able to enjoy the next five weeks.

Being able to flush the toilet paper
Knowing there is enough water to flush the toilet every single time
When I go into a restroom in a restaurant or gas station, I know there will be toilet paper, soap and paper towels. And lots of places have hot water with which to wash my hands.
Nice wide highways with shoulders.
Ice in my soda, tea and water.
When I decide to go to Wal-Mart later today, driving will not be like entering a war zone.
Singing praises to God in English
Having electricity all day, every day
Showers with hot water and lots of pressure at the same time (In Honduras, I get one or the other. I always choose the hot water and a drizzle)
High speed internet
That special time with family and friends.

Count your blessings today. I am.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

USA Bound

We are getting to spend this Christmas in the States with family and friends. We leave in a few hours. I slept fast. Really fast. I still have a few things to do, but I can get it done without rushing. As I pack, it is nice to not think about packing toilet paper and a flashlight to use in case of a power outage.

Marc will be speaking in many churches. We will be spending time with family and friends. We will see our kids and grandgirls. I already know there will be warm fellowship, no matter how cold it is.

I am excited about leaving this morning. I am really ready this time. I am tired and hope I rest some. And in a few weeks, I will be equally as excited to return. And, I will be tired and hoping I rest when I get home.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Second Jesus Banquet

What started as a dream two years ago has become a reality, providing a banquet for the poorest of the poor, those that live and work in and around the Tegucigalpa city dump.

Yesterday 1 bus load, 1 van load and 3 pick up loads of people left here at 5:30. We were headed to the soccer field near the dump. Upon arrival, we picked up the trash off the soccer field and then waited for the tables and chairs to arrive. They came at 8:00, only one hour late. Not too bad for Honduras. Tables and chairs for 1000 were unloaded and set up.

We chose the soccer field this year instead of the dump because we encourage people not to bring their children into the dump. If we serve in the dump then we are asking those same people to bring their children into the dump. We thought serving at the soccer field was more consistent with our belief that children do not belong in the dump.

At 10:45, the food arrived, uncooked again this year. In spite of this rather large problem, things ran much smoother than last year.

There was plenty of sodas to serve and that helped keep everyone patient. Also while waiting, 50 people at a time got to pick out a few articles of clothing, as a clothing distribution was being done on site.

It was a wonderful sight to see as Americans from all over the country waited in line in the hot sun to serve those that had come to eat. It was hot. Yet, there was a lot of smiles and no complaining. And those waiting to be served, were extremely patient. The last person was not served until 5:00. In just the way God does things, as the food ran out, the last person was served their food.

Well over 11oo plates were served. Many people left carrying their entire plate of food. In all likelihood, those plates were shared with no telling how many people. There is no way to know how many people actually ate yesterday.

It was a wonderful day and God can be praised for that. People left smiling and thanking God and thanking us.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to post. My new SD card was defective. I will try to copy someone else's pictures and post pictures soon.

Thank you for the prayers and the donations that made this banquet possible.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Prayers Needed For Sadie

We are busy making preparations for the Jesus banquet on Wednesday. Since Saturday, people have been arriving to be a part of this event. Today the group worked on taking things from the warehouse out to the school near the dump for a clothing distribution on Wednesday. At the end of the day Marc decided to go to the Cruz de Chatarra for sunset. It was way too foggy to see the sunset. And way too cold to hang around up there very long. We got in the cars and headed to Julio's.

Sadie is driving his van for us this week. He let the group out at Julio's and was heading home for the day. He was not far from Julio's when he had a wreck with a motorcycle. He called Marc and Marc rushed right there. The motorcyclist was killed. As anyone would be, Sadie is pretty shaken up. Honduran law states if a person is involved in an accident and someone is killed, that person goes to jail for six days while an investigation is completed. It doesn't matter who you are or what the circumstances of the wreck were.

I am begging that everyone that knows Sadie and everyone that doesn't please pray for Sadie. And please pray for the family of the man killed. Someone has lost a son, a brother, a husband, a daddy, a friend.

Marc is trying to call our lawyer to ask her to help us find someone that can represent Sadie.

Thanking you in advance for the prayers.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation

Yesterday was kindergarten graduation and two of our little ladies were graduating, Nohemy and Maryuri.

This was quite the affair. All the girls had to wear pink dresses and white sandals. The boys had to wear pink shirts and black ties.

Saturday morning Pamela took the two little girls and helped them shower and wash their hair. She got them in their dresses and did hair. She then went and borrowed all of Karen's pink jewelry. She had pink brooches on theirs dresses, pink bracelets on their arms. She was a good big sister yesterday. Pamela had a wonderful time transforming them into little princesses.

We walked to the church building a few minutes before 1:00, the appointed hour of graduation. You expect things will start late. One of the families was not there and we waited and waited. And waited. Graduation finally started at 2:30. That is a long wait, even by Honduran standards.

It was a simple little ceremony. Nohemy and Maryuri are now ready for first grade.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Marketing With Maryuri

Yesterday Maryuri had an appointment at Teleton and it was market day. I decided Miss Maryuri could go to the market with me after we finished at Teleton.

We arrived at the market around 10:30 which is not too far past opening on Friday. I dropped off my list for the fruits and vegetables and we headed for other places. I bought vanilla. I had to stop at two or three places before I found matches. Then I stopped and bought 2 sweet breads, one for Maryuri and one for me. We then walked over to get our cheeses.

Since it was early, some of the vendors were still setting up their stalls. There were many trucks bringing in produce. Most of the vendors are in stalls, but some just walk around asking people to buy from them. Maryuri was mesmerized by the hustle and bustle of the opening of the market and was nibbling on her sweet bread. A vendor selling kitchen knives was trying to get me to buy some of his knives. They were good knives and I might have been interested if I had had a bit more time.

Maryuri looked up and saw this man holding a knife in front of me. She moved a little closer to me and grabbed my hand. After I paid for my cheeses, we began to make our way back over to pay for the fruits and vegetables.

I did not have to worry about Maryuri wandering off. She tightly held my hand and wouldn't let go.

I enjoyed taking her to the market. I am not sure she enjoyed going as much as I enjoyed taking her.


Visitors From Baxter

Today is graduation at the Baxter Institute, which is the training school for preachers. We have a good relationship with Baxter and nearly always have at least one student working in our church. We are proud of our association with Baxter. Every year several people come from the States for graduation. Yesterday afternoon, those Americans that came for graduation visited Casa de Esperanza. Visitors are not new to Casa de Esperanza, but there was a different kind of excitement in the air.

Pamela had worked for weeks with the children teaching them some songs to sing for this group. Our children love to sing, but often scream and don't sing together as a group. I thought it was pretty brave of Pamela to take on this task. I had heard or seen them practicing several times.

The plan was for our guests to arrive at 3:00, right at then end of nap time. At 11:00, we found out they were coming at 1:30. Did things ever move into high gear? Dilcia finished preparing lunch and the children were fed early, with the plan of no naps yesterday. They were horrible at lunch. I was thinking this is going to be a disaster when the Baxter people get here. We all pitched in to clean up after lunch.

Pamela comes on duty at 1:00 and she arrived right on time. She sat the kids down and talked to them and they seemed much calmer.

Our guests arrived a few minutes before 1:30. Everyone stood on the soccer field and the children lined up to sing. While Pamela stood near, Brayan was the one that lead the kids in song. He is a natural at that and several commented on that.

The kids sang like little angels, their voices blending together. I was so proud of them. And of Pamela for taming their singing. They sang three songs in spanish and three in english, with the last one in english being "We Love You With The Love Of The Lord."

After they finished singing, Brayan served cokes and Ana served cookies. Again, they stepped up to the plate and one would have thought they were professionals. They the Baxter people played with our kids, just what our kids want visitors to do.

Our friends from Baxter were not here long, but when you are with friends, it is never long enough.

Thanks to the Baxter folks for visiting with us yesterday.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bathing A Moving Target

I was so glad when the rainy season ended. It had rained unendingly for days and weeks. We are just barely into the dry season and already we are having water problems. The two nights I worked last week and again tonight, we have had to haul water for the kids' showers. Hauling water is hard work, but fortunately water does not have to be hauled far. I guess the pila is close to the bathrooms and the kitchen by design.

The boys take quick showers when the water has to be hauled. There is not a lot of water in which to shower. Little Josue still needs help with his bath. After I haul that water, I dip some out and pour over him. That is when he goes into motion. He runs all over the shower. He squeals, not in delight, he flaps his arms like he is trying to fly and he stomps his feet. There is no way to bathe him when he does all that without getting wet. He is so animated, it is almost like watching cartoons and just as funny. Tonight, I decided to gently hold his arm so he could not run all over the shower. He did not run all over the shower, but it did not slow him down one bit. He ran as far as he could in one direction and then would run backward in the other direction. I know he does not like that cold water being poured over him, but he sure is funny.

I got him out of the shower and got some warm jammies on him.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Busy Week In Honduras

With Thanksgiving and the group here, last week was extremely busy. This week will be also.

There are several Teleton appointments for the kids. Kindergarten graduation is Saturday and we have been on the hunt for white sandals and pink bows. Dresses are being made. Folks from Baxter are visiting on Friday afternoon. Pamela has been working with the kids on songs and drama for the kids to do for our guests.

The Tupelo container was unloaded on Friday afternoon. We could do Thanksgiving again now. Marc is busy distributing beans and other items. Beans have been distributed to a community out in the boonies that has no electricity and another community on the other side of Tegucigalpa. A washer, dryer and one baby bed has been delivered to the daycare center at the dump. Let me tell you, they were happy to receive those items. Lots of soap, shampoo, laundry soap and other items have been brought to Casa de Esperanza. We appreciate all the help we receive.

We are also running around getting ready for the Jesus banquet next week and for all those coming to help with that.

We are busy and scrambling, but good things are happening. May God be praised and may we always give God the glory.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Monkey In The Park

Our out-of-school schedule started Monday. On Saturday morning we get to go to the park for two hours. This was our first trip to the park. It was a beautiful day. Not too hot, not too cold. We walked to the park and we were really spread out. Some of the kids are fast and some are just too little to be fast.

They climbed and played. Little Josue was walking all the way up the big slide. He has no fear, reminding me of my Nathan at about the same age.

Everyone had tons of fun in the park today. Everyone took good naps today after playing so hard. I know some boys that did not want to get up at 3:00. There might have been one big person that did not want to get up at 3:00 also.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why Me Lord?

Why me Lord?
What have I ever done?
To deserve even one
of the blessings I've known
Why me Lord?
What did I ever do?
That was worth love from you
And the kindness you've shown
Words by Kris Kristofferson
If you are anywhere near my age (a decade or so either way), you probably remember this song. I have been thinking about this song a lot lately.
Marc and I have lived in Honduras over three years now and been working here on short term missions for almost a decade. It doesn't take long to realize how blessed I am. And I don't mean financial and material things.
I was, as most of you were, given every opportunity for all the education I desired, with a minimum of twelve years of grade school and high school.
I was given and taught about proper nutrition. Yes, we had cake for breakfast sometimes, but not all the time.
My parents made sure I had good medical and dental care. Nothing ever happened that did not get seen about.
I was taught good hygiene habits and the importance of practicing those habits.
I don't know why I was born in the USA and someone else wasn't. I don't know why I had all those opportunites and someone else didn't. It is not because I am a better person or that my parents were better people.
People in third world countries love their children as much as my parents loved me. They desire a better live and better opportunites for their children than they had themselves. They usually do not have the means to provide the opportunites.
The government imposes rules that keep children out of school instead of encouraging them to be there, thus perpetuating the cycle of uneducation and poverty. Uneducated people cannot find jobs and thus cannot buy adequate food for their families. Medical care is pay before you are seen. With no money, a person cannot get the medical care or vaccinations a child needs. Without running water or a creek or lake nearby, it is impossible to maintain good hygiene. And when one generation cannot provide these things to the next generation, the knowledge is lost and the cycle continues.
The poverty and lack of education and horrible hygiene hit me hard today. I pray that it never stops hitting me as hard as it did today.

Post Thanksgiving

As it is with most that cook Thanksgiving dinner, we began early yesterday. The first turkey was on by 5:00. Dressing, sweet potatoes, and macaroni and cheese were done at my house. Mashed potatoes, salad, guacamole, corn, beans and I am not sure what else was done at Casa. I know they were scurrying up there until the last minute, just as we were in my house.
Fitto(Antonio) came down to help me. We started with the dressing. We added ingredients and stirred. Added ingredients and stirred. We were finally ready to make the first taste test. It had to have more sage. When we got it just right, it took both of us to carry that big dressing pan to the oven.
Pamela showed up to price some necklaces for the store. With that task completed, she gladly stayed and helped with the cooking. I started her on the macaroni. My thought was she would do one thing and Fitto another. They wanted to work together. If it was stirring, she stirred for 60 seconds and then he stirred for 60 seconds. With both of them helping, I was able to do dishes as we went and keep things fairly done up.
After we added the brown sugar and butter and syrup to the sweet potatoes, we all three taste-tested. They thought it was perfect. I knew it needed more brown sugar and syrup. We added, stirred and tasted again. Both Pamela and Fitto agreed, it was much better the second time.
As these huge pans of food were done, Dennis would come down to the house and carry them up to Casa for us.
Karen had the other children, sweeping and cleaning and setting up the tables and chairs on the soccer field, a great place to have Thanksgiving dinner. The kids were so excited and out of control, Karen sent them all to bed at 11:30. They could read. They didn't even have to go to sleep, just calm down. I don't think anyone went to sleep, but Karen did succeed in calming them.
At 1:30, they were allowed to get up from their beds. Many of them were running to my house seeing if any thing needed done. They were eager to carry the bread or any little chore that needed done.
We were ready start about five minutes after 2:00. There were 50 people here, including a very special guest, the director of IHFNA. IHFNA is the agency we work with to get our children. The director is the person that gives us our license to operate this home. His daughter was with him. They are delightful people.
All the children lined up and told at least one thing for which they are thankful. Brayan led us in prayer. Then the feeding frenzy began. This is the one day of the year the children can choose what they want and eat as much as they want. Karen had only two rules: that the children not pile their first helping too high before everyone had been through the line one time and that they not eat dessert first. Both reasonable requests. Everyone ate to their heart's desire. Jackson proudly claimed he had six plates. And some of the dessert plates were piled pretty high.
It was a wonderful day enjoyed by the children, our staff and the group that is here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Day Before Thanksgiving

And all through the house everyone was stirring. And chopping and grating and peeling.

I was on duty with the kids from 7:00-12:00. After morning chores, we began the chopping and grating in the kitchen and Karen began the peeling outside. There were eight kids in the kitchen with me. All were just as excited as could be, even the ones chopping the onions. I am not sure why the excitement about chopping onions today, when some of those same kids complain and whine when they have kitchen duty on other days.

I was impressed. Eight kids for a couple of hours and only one argument. One thought he was a celery-chopping expert and no one else could do it right. And what a mess they made. I had most of it cleaned up before Dilcia saw it.

For the afternoon, I still had several batches of cornbread to make and the pumpkin pies. These are things that almost second nature to me, but I decided to bring the kids to my house, one by one and let them do these things. Brayan came and made one patch of cornbread. Rosy came a made a pie. Jose came for more cornbread and Cindy came for another pie. That was all that came. I was surprised at how precise Rosy was at measuring everything and trying to do everything right. Jose had a lot of fun and Cindy was beside herself when we opened the pumpkin. Brayan was impressed by the electric mixer.

After the cornbread or the pie was in the dish, I let each one lick the spoon or the beater. Jose loved raw cornbread batter. Cindy was not going to leave anything in that bowl. She had it all over herself. She thanked me when she left.

Yes, I could have done all of that much faster by myself, but those kids had a wonderful time and it was so worth the extra time it took.

The first turkey goes in at 5:00 in the morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Preparations Begin At Casa De Esperanza

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, not a Honduran one. I think a few years ago, we started fixing it for ourselves. But now the kids and the staff get excited about this American holiday. Most have talking about it for weeks.

I kind of got broadsided by November. It just came at me out of nowhere and slammed right into me. Friday I went to the market and began the Thanksgiving shopping. I got home at 7:00 Friday night. I was exhausted and did not have all I needed. We had ordered some hard-to-find things on the Tupelo container that was suppose to be unloaded today. Cutting it a little close, but I could live with that. Welcome to Honduras. Maybe tomorrow, but if I was a betting person, I would bet the container will be ready to unload on 2:00 Thursday.

I made another list and went back to town today. Since I was looking for some American things, I was shopping in the American stores. And, I was not the only person looking for those things. The stores were so crowded I felt as if I was in the States doing Thanksgiving shopping.

As I left Karen's apartment a couple of hours ago, she was starting her cookies. I came down and started the first batch of bread and some cornbread for dressing. I hope there is enough cornbread left by Thursday to make dressing. My Aunt Jemima cornbread cooking is going to be hard to not eat.

Tomorrow the kids will start chopping the onions and celery and grating cheese. I know my own kids are sad they have to miss the chopping of the onions and celery. Many more preparations will be made tomorrow and Thursday, we will start very early.

I am so thankful for this time of year.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Third Anual Thanksgiving Build Week

Yesterday 12 people arrived from the Nashville are and one from Salt Lake City. Two arrived today from Atlanta and 2 more people will arrive on Tuesday. They are here to build as many houses as possible in one week. That is what Thanksgiving build week is all about.

I think five wooden houses and 1 block house will be built. After church today, the group was eager to get started and built one of the wooden houses. Other than building houses, the group will get to visit the dump, eat at Carnitas, visit the Jesus statue, eat Thanksgiving with the Casa kids and have some awesome devos every night.

We are thankful for this group and those that receive houses will be grateful also.

Another great week in Honduras.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Girl And A Hammer

Before I ever came to Honduras, I had a nice little hammer that was used only for putting a nail in the wall on which to hang a picture. I was not proficient with a hammer and would have failed hammer using 101. The first year I came to Honduras, I wanted to work on a house and I discovered there were many useful tasks in house building that did not require the use of a hammer.

As time passed, I gradually got better with a hammer and I have become fair at nailing siding and flooring. But, of course, I use a girl hammer. The kind that most guys would be ashamed to be caught using. A couple of years ago, Lanetta taught me how to get the hinges on the doors and windows. I was really moving up in the world of hammering since those are four inch nails.

Recently, Karen and I have purchased new merchandise for the Casa store. Something had to be done about our store to get the new merchandise displayed. We bought some pegboard from one of our suppliers. Yesterday I bought some S hooks and other hardware that I could get into the pegboard and we could display keychain, necklaces and such. The pegboard was hung while I was in town.

Today, I was a woman on a mission. I was going to get the store ready for these last groups of the year. I immediatly encountered a problem or two. The S hooks were bigger than the holes in the pegboard.

I am a person who thinks inside the box and my mind doesn't wander from that box too often. To me, this problem seemed like it could not be overcome.

Marc took a hammer and a nail and showed me how to enlarge the hole and get the S hook in. He said after you get the hole the size you want it, just tap the hook a couple of times and it will go right in. Sounded very easy.

Marc left.

Nothing is as easy as it seems. First of all, Marc's hammer is a fat max, not a girl hammer. I could barely pick the thing up. Second of all, enlarging the hole was not near as easy as it was when Marc did it. And when, I finally got it done, I had to do more than tap the hook a couple of times to get the hook in.

After the first 30 minutes, when I did not have the first hole enlarged, I was becoming quite frustrated. I was ready to scrap the whole project. But I decided I was not going to let some pegboard and some S hooks beat me at this game. With determination, I enlarged that hole and, with all my might, pounded that S hook in the hole. It may not ever come out. But I may not ever want it out.

The next one only took five minutes. Yay! I was on a roll. I got several more hooks into the pegboard. I didn't get completely finished before I had to go on shift with the children, but I sure made good progress. My decorator friends may not think so.

Now that we all know I can use a fat max, I think I will go back to using my girl hammer.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Remember The Necklaces

The necklaces are arriving. It is not too late to order one. Remember each necklace purchased helps the seven ladies at the dump who are trying to find a way to earn a living other than working in the dump. It also helps Casa de Esperanza. There are several new, fun pretty colors.
For more information about these necklaces or to order one, please email me at
A big thanks to those people who have already ordered one or more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This time of the year, most of us Americans are thinking of things for which we are thankful. Because we are so blessed, it is easy to do.

Many times in Honduras we find people that are truly thankful for things we sometimes take for granted. Today was one of those days.

Minimum wage just went up. By American standards, minimum wage is not much and, by those same standards, the raise was small, extremely small. The minimum wage law was just passed but was effective September 1. Therefore, we had to pay the raise portion of the salary retroactively.

As I paid employees today, I was explaining the raise, then the retroactive portion, then their salary for the last two weeks. One employee is extremely sensitive and cries easily. She burst into tears after I gave the retroactive portion of the pay. I began asking what was wrong, was everything figured correctly. I was getting no answer, just more tears. I was thinking I had done something horrible to offend her. She finally pulled herself together and told me she was so grateful for the raise and the extra pay. She had so many expenses. She told she was not sad or mad, but happy.

Her raise was 11 lempiras a day or fifty eight cents. Fifty five lempiras a week or two dollars and ninety cents a week. The retroactive raise for September and October was just over $25.00. And she was weeping with gratefulness.

I can waste her week's raise without even thinking about it or knowing where I wasted it and she was thinking of all the bills she could pay.

And she knew exactly who to thank. She thanked me, but her biggest praise was "Gracias a Dios" (thank you God).


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Church In Desamparados

When Matt and Nicole moved to Costa Rica, their sponsoring church, South Baton Rouge Church of Christ, said they knew the minister at a church in Desamparados and that Matt and Nicole should meet him. Matt and Nicole did call him and the church is not only the nearest one to their house, it is quite close. It was a pretty easy decision to go there since they are in Costa Rica without a car.

The whole weekend I have been stunned by how much more wealthy Costa Rica is than Honduras. Yes, there is poverty here, but it is hidden. Costa Rica is far more Americanized than Honduras. Realizing that Costa Rica is more wealthy, I was still amazed when we arrived at the church building this morning. The building was far nicer than I expected to see in Latin America and it had a parking lot with several cars parked in it. The building would not be large or grand by American standards, but by the standards by which I now make these judgements.

The people were lovely, so warm and welcoming. Just as church should be. They loved on us and it was plain to see that they love on Matt and Nicole all the time. Everyone was loving on and complementing Haley. Anyone who thinks Haley is grand, is good in this grammy's eyes. I think they have never had a gringa baby to love on for a whole year.

There was about 120 in church this morning. The singing was nice, but I like singing at my church in Santa Ana much better. At Santa Ana, we may be fewer in number, but we are sitting together and blending our voices as one. Everyone was too spread out this morning.

It was so difficult for me to hear this morning for several reasons. One, I knew it was my last day here and I was watching Haley. Everything she did was so cute and sweet. Two, the accoustics were kind of funny and it was just hard to hear. And three, in much the same way after I moved to Illinois from Mississippi and no one could understand my deep south english, after hearing Honduran spanish, Costa Rican spanish was just hard for me to understand every word. In spite of that, the fellowship was sweet.

As the offering plates were passed, all the children go up front to give their offering. Nicole took Haley up and she put two little coins in the basket.

I am pleased Matt and Nicole have found a church in which to worship the next year. I am glad we visited this morning. It is always fun to visit other churches.


Volcan Irazu

The view from the top of Volcan Irazu

Yesterday we decided to see some of the sights near San Jose. We chose to go to the nearest volcano. It is Costa Rica's tallest active volcano, even though it has not erupted since 1963. The drive was about 60 kilometers from Matt and Nicole's house. It was a pleasant drive, but anything would have been as long as we were with Matt, Nicole and Haley.

The guide books all stated that on a rare clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean. Since we could see the clouds sitting on the mountains when we left San Jose, we did not expect it to be that rare clear day. Mr Optimistic kept saying the fog was burning off and we would see both oceans. No one got their hopes too high.

When we got to the top, all we saw was clouds. I don't know what else you really expect at 12,000 plus feet above sea level. We were thinking perhaps we did not get our $7.00 per person's worth. We drove down slightly lower to the visitors center and got to walk the rim of the crater and and were able to see a lot more sights, thinking that became a lot more worth $7.00. The crater was 300 meters deep. The pictures in the gift shop showed a crystal clear lake at the bottom. I did not see a lake, but still saw some spectacular views.

While we did not get to see both oceans, we saw the best sights of all, Nicole, Matt and Sweet Baby Haley. And that is what we really came to see.


Friday, November 12, 2010

We Are In Costa Rica

We finally left Santa Ana around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday. I had hoped to leave a bit earlier, but it is what it is. Crossing the border into Nicaragua was easy. Easy as long as we paid someone to help us. That was ok, it did not cost much and when we saw the line of truck, it was well worth it to not wait in that line.

By the time we got into Nicaragua, it was dark. I just love to see where we are, especially when it is somewhere I have never been. We got to Leon with a problem and stopped at On The Run for a sandwich. We continued to follow the signs to Managua. There was traffic and mileage signs and Holiday Inn signs. And all of a sudden, it was all gone and the "highway" went to pot, literally. Marc said "I think we missed a turn somewhere." I commented that I wished it was daylight so we could see all of this. Marc said you only get to do this road at night, because you don't miss the sign in the day.

We found a nice, clean, inexpensive place to stay that included breakfast. But we left way before breakfast was served. We were just a little excited to get to San Jose. Again, we went to On the Run and ate some breakfast. Marc bought a paper and the headlines were declaring Nicaragua is declaring war against Costa Rica. Lovely.

We kept stopping at gas stations to ask where the road to Costa Rica was. Everyone kept sending us north to go south. They were right and we discovered the road we had come in on, was the road we should have been on. I still find it amazing that major highways are that bad. We enjoyed driving along, visiting and singing. Some things in Nicaragua are vastly different and some are the same.

We had a flat just as we got to the Costa Rican border. We definitely could not have negotiated the system without paying one of the "bringers." We had made sure all of our paperwork was in order before we left Honduras. And it was in order. It was easier for us to enter Costa Rica than our car. We could not have ever negotiated all that. By the time Marc changed a flat, we spent that much time at immigration and customs and then we ate lunch (at some place other than On The Run), we had spent three hours at the border. Not exactly what we had planned.

We saw wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and lot more americanized than Honduras.

As Tindall's law would have it, we arrived in San Jose at 4:50, just in time for evening rush hour. We had directions from the Costa Rican border to Nicole's house. All was well, as long as we were on the highway. Once we exited the highway, we quickly discovered the direction were useless, as, just as in Tegucigalpa, there are no street signs.

We stopped at McDonald's and Marc called Nicole. Nicole said I will get on the computer and try to find better directions. Marc said no you want, you will get in a cab and come here and then we will get to your house. You think Marc was just a bit tired. I never thought I would see the day when Marc would not be bound and determined to find something by himself.

Matt and Nicole and Sweet Haley finally arrived at McDonald's. It even took the cab driver a while to find where we were. I went running to the cab. Nicole and Haley jumped out and I was hugging on them while Matt payed the taxi driver. The drive drove off with Nicole's keys laying on the back seat. Fortunately, Matt had his keys and the only thing that can't be replaced is the key to my storage unit in Mississippi and we can break that lock.

Matt and Nicole are pedestrians . They do not have a car. They know their neighborhood well, but not much else. They did not have a clue how to get back. We saw a whole lot of San Jose last night. And it looks pretty much like any big city in the U.S. When we finally found their neighborhood, we had a great big pizza and then came home. It was close to 8:30 and we were glad to be here. Thank you God for giving us a safe trip and as always, making it an adventure for us.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My God Is A God Who Hears And Answers Prayers

About 4:30, one of the employees realized two of the boys were missing. We did not know how long they had been missing, maybe up to two hours. Normally, we could not go that long without missing kids. We had so many employees working this afternoon and helping the kids study for exams that everyone thought the two in question were with someone else. When Karen realized what was going on, she called down here to tell me.

I grabbed my jacket and to join the others looking for them. Brayan went to look in their closets and discovered shoes, blankets and toys were gone. We also found out that one of them had some money. We were thinking they had got on a bus and were already in town. That makes it much harder to find them. By the time we drive to town, where do we even begin to look.

Dorian and Ivan left in a car, headed to town. Marc was thinking about driving the other direction. We stood on the back porch debating what to do and whom to call. Marc said lets pray for our boys. Marc, Karen, Stacey, and I held hands and prayed for the kids. We prayed for their safety and their quick return. As we finished, Karen decided she better go ahead and call IHFNA.

Before she could make that call, Dorian called and said he had them. They had their bags packed and were playing with some friends from school. The school is a good long way from here and they were further than the school. Thankfully, they had not got on a bus.

God heard our prayers and answered quickly. All praise to God for keeping the boys safe.


I'm On My Way To San Jose

And I don't mean California. Not that I have anything against San Jose, California. Matt, Nicole, and Haley Grace live in San Jose, Costa Rica. That is where I am going.

Tomorrow after Marc feeds the hungry at the dump, we will leave. We will drive to Managua, Nicaragua tomorrow and on in to San Jose on Thursday. I am so excited to see those kids. Calling Costa Rica is a lot more expensive than calling the USA. I do not talk near enough to Nicole. Two days from right now, I will be loving all over Haley.

In addition to spending a long relaxing weekend with the kids, I will get two new country stamps in my passport. I get excited when we enter a state in which I have never been, and within the next two days, I get to be in two new countries.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Dinner With Friends

Last night I was chatting with Nicole and Kim, when Timoteo popped up as well. I have never chatted with three different people at once, much less having to do one in spanish. Timoteo was asking if we could come to their house tonight for supper in honor of Milton's birthday.

Timoteo and his family have been our friends since 2001 when Marc and Nicole made that very first trip to Honduras. I quickly checked with Marc and responded yes we would come.

I have been with Marc when he has taken the boys home, but I had never been inside Timoteo's home. It is a very nice home. We were welcomed warmly. As we entered, wonderful smells filled the house and the tortillas were being prepared.

It was soon time to eat. It was insisted that I take this huge amount of chicken. There was enough chicken for me to have two or three meals. But I took it and I ate it. Every single bite. In addition to chicken and tortillas, we had vegetables and rice. And fellowship with good friends.

Sometimes, I am too tired at night to do anything, much less go to town, but I am really glad we did this tonight. It is always a good thing to spend an evening with friends.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christmas Pajamas

Monday was November 1 and at Casa de Esperanza, that means time to put up the Christmas tree. Of course, Karen did not tell the kids they were going to get to put it up until it was time to actually begin.

After the lights were strung and each little ornament hung in just the right place, the kids got a big surprise. Some friends of Karen's, Brian and Joyce Foreman, whom we count as friends also, were visiting. Joyce had made all the kids new pajamas. She also made new pajamas for all the employees kids. Thirty pairs of pajamas. Joyce wrapped all the pajamas. Karen sent all the kids outside to get the clothes off the line. While they were out there, Joyce put presents under the tree. When the kids came back in, they were surprised to find presents already. We don't put presents under the tree until Christmas morning.

One by one, each child opened their new pajamas. One by one, each one was excited. I am not sure who was more excited though, the children or Brian and Joyce.

A couple of days later at morning devo, I got some pictures of the kids in their new pjs. Some were not smiling as big at 6:00 in the morning as they were when they opened the pajamas.

This is the fourth time Joyce has made pajamas for the Casa kids. Thanks Joyce. It is appreciated and the kids love them.


Friday, November 5, 2010


Brayan has lived here three and a half years. At thirteen, he is our oldest boy. Most of the time, he is a pretty happy kid. But, when he's not, it can be pretty ugly. That happened this morning.

Sometimes he gets really angy, but this morning, he just cried and cried and cried. Exams started today. It was time to leave for school and everyone was in the van but Brayan and he was in the house crying. Karen told me to go on without him. I took the kids to school and came back. I was leaving again to go to the bank and the market. I told Brayan I would be leaving in 20 minutes if he wanted to go to school. He stood there like he didn't hear, and maybe he didn't. The tears streamed down his face.

After I brushed my teeth and a few other necessary things, I went to see if Brayan was ready to go to school. He was still crying. Our counselor had arrived and she and I tried to console and coax and whatever it took. Dalys walked him to the car and we left.

I told him sometimes I get up and start crying like that; that sometimes everyone has a bad day. I told him we loved him and he could tell us anything and we would not love him less. I took his hand and prayed all the way to school. I did not shut my eyes.

I thought he was ok by the time we got to school. When he got there, he just froze. Couldn't and wouldn't move. I asked him if he wanted me to walk him to class and he nodded his head. I got out of the car and put my arm around him and walked all the way to the classroom. Just as we got to the classroom, Brayan started crying again. The teacher asked what was wrong and all I could say was we don't know. The teacher began talking to Brayan and walked him into the classroom. I watched for just a minute and turned to leave. The teacher and Brayan came walking out into the school yard. I left.

I know Brayan terribly misses his mom. Most of the kids do miss their moms. I don't know if this meltdown was related to visitation one week ago. Whether it was due to the stress of exams. If something had happened at school. Or at home, even. Or all of the above. Maybe Brayan didn't know what was wrong.

Brayan, and all of our kids, have lived through things most of us cannot imagine. They are separated from Mom. Surrounded by people, they are probably lonely. I did every thing I could do for Brayan this morning. My heart hurts when one of the children is so sad and cannot even express what is wrong.

When I got home this afternoon, Brayan looked like he had cried all day.

Pray for Brayan. And for all the children. Pray for us that we have wisdom to deal with these situations. Pray for us that we have compassion for these hurting little souls. And that we love them unconditionally.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Refreshing Sights

This morning some of the kids were going on a field trip and had to be at the school at 7:30. I drove them to school and as the others were getting out of the car, Ana says to me that she left something very important at home and her teacher said she could not go on the field trip if she didn't have it. Kids are kids in every language.

I drove back home, not knowing whether I would return to the school or not. We usually let the kids suffer the consequences of forgetting. If we didn't, that van would be making a hundred trips a day to the school. When I walked in the door, Karen asked if Ana remembered her letter and I said no. Karen said she has to have it. So, on Karen's say, I returned to the school.

All the kids were on the buses. I got on the first bus and saw Antonio and he told me Ana was on the other bus. As I began to get on the other bus, I stopped. One of the teacher's aides was leading the kids in prayer before they left on the field trip. What a refreshing sight that was to me. The kids pray every day in school here. Wouldn't it be nice if that still happened in the USA?

After the prayer ended, I saw Ana at the very back of the bus. She saw me, too. Her face broke into a gigantic smile and she reached up and wiped her hand across her forehead. She ran to the front of the bus wearing that big smile. She hugged me and said thank you, Terri. Thank you,very much. As I was standing there, holding that letter, I was a refreshing sight to Ana.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Morning Traffic

Morning traffic in Tegucigalpa is getting worse. It is worse every day than it was the morning before. I know with the bridge still out on the San Pedro Sula highway that all that traffic that normally uses that road has to go somewhere, but this makes Atlanta and Los Angeles look good. And I always hated driving in those two places.

Most mornings by the time I get Rosy to school I feel like I have crossed a battlefield full of active land mines. And when I get to school and one hasn't blown up, then I am the winner. Rosy usually goes back to sleep and doesn't even know the battle I am fighting.

Fortunately, Rosy only has two more days of school this year and then she and I both have early morning dentist appointments on Monday. I might need to celebrate when this school year is over.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Pan American Lectureship

The PanAmerican lectureship is a seminar basically for Church of Christ missionaries that rotates among the Latin American countries. This year it is in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Marc went yesterday. Tonight we both drove into town to sing and hear the speaker.

We left early and went to dinner first. That alone made a wonderful evening. It has been a long time, too long, since we did that. I had fresh asparagus. My whole year was made with that treat.

I love worshiping in spanish. And as I learn more and more spanish, I sometimes discover the words in spanish are even more meaningful than in english. But as we began to sing, I soon realized I did not know how much this heart needed some english singing and some english lessons from God's word and some english fellowship. It was just lovely.

The speaker, Doug Peters, gave an absolutely beautiful lesson. I then learned he knows some of my friends in Arlington, Texas and in Topeka, Kansas. It is such a small world.

This evening, full of old and new friends and wonderful fellowship, was worth not seeing game 5 of the world series. When we left the Marriott, Marc wanted some ice cream and we stopped at McDonald's. We got to see the last three pitches of the game. So we saw the Giants win the world series after all.

I probably will go to the lectureship tomorrow night and then we will see what the rest of the week holds for me.


Sunday, October 31, 2010


With sixteen kids in school and fifteen of them having homework, homework is something we battle all the time. Of course, a few, a very few, do their homework with no battle. But that is the exception, not the rule.

School is winding down and some of the kids have tons of homework before exams begin. It is a lot of homework and to make it more doable, I counted the pages in each child's notebook and divided the number of days until the homework is due. I told them how many pages they had to do each day.

Yesterday, Daniela and Jose found out how many pages they had to do and sat down and did them. Fernando and Ana did not. Ana battled all morning. Fernando had seven pages. That still seemed like a lot, so I told he had to do five in the morning and two in the afternoon. On the fifth page Fernando had to do, I put an X and underlined it. Five minutes later, Fernando came in and said he was done. I knew that was not the truth, knew before I even looked at the notebook. He had erased my X and put an X on the first page he had to do. He even undelined the X. I may have been born in the morning, but I wasn't born yesterday morning. And besides that my boys tried every trick in the book to get out of homework.

I seriously thought about telling him he had to do all seven pages, but we had to get ready for a program at school.

We went outside to sit on the back steps to work. I sometimes allow that since there is less distractions out there. But, I was very suspicious of Fernando. I walked to the other side where he could not see me and watched for a few minutes. He very carefully counted those pages and very thoughtfully tore out the middle page. He was leaving the last completed page and leaving the page with my X. He was more than a little surprised when I asked what he was doing.

He got to move back in the house and sit by me all morning. I taped the page back in the notebook. I watched every letter he wrote. He still was wanting to play a little.

After 30 minutes he had almost 2 pages done. Dalys, the counselor, has a reward system with the kids. She gives her rewards on Saturday morning. Fernando received one. It was a little tootsie roll that had 3 pieces. I broke that tootsie roll into the three pieces and told him he would get one piece when he finished page 3, one pieces when he finished page 4 and one piece when he finished page 5. He was almost hyperventilating as he mumbled something about chocolate.

He got the last three pages done quickly, having a piece of chocolate after each one. He asked if he would get more chocolate when he did the pages in the afternoon. I was pretty sure he wouldn't.


Friday, October 29, 2010


Twelve of our kids have visitation rights with their parents. We take the kids to see their parents the last Friday of every month at 1:00. They dress up and fix their hair as pretty as possible. This morning Brayan spent a long time polishing his black shoes before he went to see his mom. Every month the make something to take to the parents. This morning, Dalys helped them make cards. Each child made one card.

Six of them go to Tegucigalpa to Casita Kennedy, the state orphanage and six of them go to Sabana Grande to the parents' house. We do this because the parents are too poor to buy the bus fare to town. They try to have a coke or something for the kids when they come. We know the parents sometimes go days without food. We pack the kids' lunch and they have to divide it eight ways instead of six.

It is not an easy drive to these parents house. The house is high up a mountain and parts of the road have been washed away by the recent heavy rains. It means going five MPH or less up the mountain. When it is wet, four wheel drive is often needed.

Today I took Doris, Reina, Katty, Fernando, Ana and Jose to Sabana Grande. As I watched the children share food and interact with the parents, I was thankful those six are not living in those conditions. That they have food everyday and clothes to wear. That they are being educated.

There is no electricity and no running water, things we take for granted. After they eat, they after walk down a very steep hill to the creek to wash their hands. They go another direction to use the bathroom. The parents have one very small bed and not much else. The benches the kids are sitting on the in the above picture were borrowed just so there would be room for everyone to sit.

The kids ate their food and then played. The parents enjoyed watching their kids have fun. There is a playground just a few yards up the road. The slides are concrete and are built right into the side of the mountain. The kids formed chains and slid down together. All had fun, but Katty was laughing the loudest and taking the most chances.

Visitation is a hard day, emotionally. For the kids and for me.

I am thankful for everyone who has ever donated to Casa de Esperanza. You are making a difference as children are being rescued from poverty, neglect, or abuse.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rice Meals Are Being Given Away

As bean prices continue to rise, we are thankful for the rice meals that arrived a couple of weeks ago.

Last week some of the rice meals were taken to a feeding center in Los Pinos. This feeding center feeds about 200 kids every day. Today a whole truckload of the rice meals left Tegucigalpa for Campamento and San Francisco de La Paz. In Campamento these rice meals will be used in the day care center and in the schools that has the milk program. San Franciso de La Paz is a community of about 25,000 people. It is a poor community and they welcomed the sight of that truck rolling in.

About 75 % of that container has already been distributed to hungry people. Praise God that this food is here and able to help so many.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Staffing Issues

As of last week, Karen has been at Casa de Esperanza for five years. Five and a half years ago, we did not even know Karen. I frequently say that God put together a good team for this place. Our strengths and weaknesses complement each other quite well and we are able to accomplish much more together than either one of us could alone. Her strengths are my weaknesses and my strenghts are her weaknesses. Often, we are called to cover for each other and both of us can do that.

I know Karen manages well with the kids. I know she does a lot of things around here. This week while she is out because her foot is in a cast, I am learning just how much she has to deal with the staffing issues. Our staff pretty much has a set schedule. They all have vacation time. Someone needs a day of vacation. Someone wants to trade with someone else. Someone has class this week when she is scheduled to work.

My head was spinning when I left there a few minutes ago. I hope I have enough staff on Thursday and Friday. I think I do, but like I said, my head was spinning.

Karen, you do a great job, not only with the kids, but managing the staff as well.


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Beans Are Coming

As bean prices continue to rise, and more and more people continue to do without beans, we were offered two containers of beans. 94,000 pounds of beans to feed hungry people. All for the low cost of $10,000.00. The only problem, we don't have an extra $10,000. Marc talked to Trey Morgan and Bobby Moore at Bread for a hungry world. All three of them talked back and forth. Bread said they would match $5,000, if we could come up with the other five thousand. Trey and Marc and Bobby all got it on their blogs and facebook. From there, several other picked it up and got it on their facebook pages.

From Thursday morning until Sunday evening, the $5,000.00 was raised. Both containers, full of beans, are being loaded tomorrow and will soon be their way to Honduras.

We serve an awesome God and He still wants His hungry people fed.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Never Know What To Expect

Last Saturday night, when the guard came to work, he handed us an invitation to his wedding. The wedding was tonight. I was kind of excited about going to this wedding.

Juan, the guard, is the most private of all of our employees. He keeps to himself and shares very little of his business. I considered it an honor that he invited us.

The wedding was at the little Nazarene church just outside our back gate. We often hear their worship on Saturday night. What passionate, passionate people worshiping their God.

Shortly before the wedding started, Marc was asked to come up and say a few words. As was his spouse. I walked up with Marc, but I politely declined on saying anything. Marc spoke some very kind words.

I became the official wedding photographer. People were directing me to be different places to get the best shots. And, I did get some good ones. I just wasn't planning on being on the stage.

The wedding, or church, was supposed to begin at 5:00, but in true Honduran fashion it was closer to 6:00. The worship was passionate, but this was hilarious. Kids were playing and running in and out. Several people got up and went to the pulperia and came back with snacks. They sat there munching on chips and stuff. Other people were getting up and going outside to congregate in small groups to visit. Since, I was on the stage a good part of the time, I saw it all.

Juan's little dog came in and sat under his chair.

The bride and groom and flower girl all walked in at the same time. They came in to the traditional American wedding recessional. The vows were very similar to the traditional American vows. It was a very long ceremony, but beautiful. And fun.

At any Honduran event, there is food. People were served food almost immediately. Juan asked the servers to put extra food on our plates, the two people that need extra food the least.

Maria, Juan's wife, wanted me to take pictures of everyone. I tried. She is going to be so happy when I get these developed.

We did not even go to the post wedding party at Juan's house and we left the church at 9:00.

I am glad we were included in this fun evening.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yay For The Stupid Kid

"Yay for the stupid kid" is a little thing Nicole and I have said about ourselves when one of us did a rather brainless something. We have laughed when it was said and it was a wonderful way to laugh at ourselves or each other.

This afternoon, I was sitting here with a tangled mess of necklaces. I don't have many necklaces yet, but I was thinking I would try to fill a few orders and send them with the people that are leaving Saturday. I untangled them and began trying to a couple of orders. Before long, I put them all down, thinking I was going to have to take most of them back. I was so frustrated.

I noticed some of the two strand necklaces did not have clasps and the short strand was so short, it would not have fit over Baby Haley's head, much less an adult's.

I began sorting the ones that did not have clasps and thinking I am going to have to go all the way back out there and try to explain this. I know they will fix it for me, but explaining things is not easy for me.

Tonight, I was telling Marc that I was going to have to return most of the necklaces. He, who has bought very little jewelry in his life, said to me, who has bought a lot of jewelry, "well, honey, I think they are one strand, not two." I unstapled the tag and guess what? He was right.

Yay for the stupid kid.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Am Glad To Be Home

This morning I walked. It was still dark and there were 10 million stars in sky, all screaming the majesty of God. Rosy and I left a few minutes before 6:00. The sky was crystal clear blue. Every single mountain was standing at attention as the sun rose above them. God's fingerprints were everywhere. I thought it is going to be one awesome day.

Traffic was horrible, worse than it has ever been. But thankfully, it was not raining as I inched my way down the mountain and through town. It took three hours to get to school this morning. Because of a lack of supervision and Rosy's behavior, the school has said they would prefer her to be late instead of early. Maybe not that late, but I did the best I could.

I had three errands to do today. Nothing opens until 10:00. I packed up my computer and a bunch of work. I planned on going to McDonald's (my in town office) for iced tea and a couple hours of work. By the time I got to McDonald's, it was hardly worth getting out the computer, but I did anyway.

I got the first two errands done quickly and went back to thinking about it being an awesome day.

The third errand was no where close to the other two. I knew in one direction a bridge was gone and I can't go that way for now. I started another direction. I got on a traffic circle that would eventually lead me where I wanted to go. So, I thought. I got to the place I wanted to exit the circle only to find it closed for construction. No warning or sign before I got there, just closed.

I was pretty sure I knew another way. Or at least part of the way. I found the new way. I am getting good at blazing new ways. I was so pleased with myself for not only finding this alternate route, but knowing where I was the whole time. The next obstacle was a strike. It was not a large strike, about 50 people, nor violent. I don't know what they were striking, but they were not letting cars through in either direction. I turned around and went back the way from which I had come. I was not up to blazing anymore trails today.

I went to the other end of town and got on a street that I knew would take me where I wanted to go. Based on the amount of traffic and the facts that one way was closed for construction and one way was closed for a strike, it must have been the only route available.

Again, I inched along and finally got to where I was going. It was after noon. There was nothing to do but laugh.

That little errand did not take long and I headed back. I was trying to get to Rosy's school so I could pick her up at 1:30 and not have to wait until 3:30 for the bus. Again, traffic was slow. At times not moving. A man on foot walked in front of the car and then reached down like he was fixing something on the car. He walked around to my side and I barely put the window down. He said he fixed the license plate. And then asked me what I had for him. I was guessing he wanted money, but I wasn't going to give him any. I said gracias and put the window up. I guess it must have been love at first sight. For him, anyway. He began to say, in english, he loved me and was kissing the window. I was creeping along with a man kissing my window. I think it looked totally ridiculous. Don't worry, I always keep my doors locked and it was broad daylight with hundreds of people around. When I got to where traffic was moving, I sped up and he finally stopped kissing my window. He blew me a kiss and said bye-bye. I said good riddance.

I got to Rosy's school with a few minutes to spare. We headed home and I was thankful I did not have to wait until 3:30. I have found a way to get from her school out to the highway that misses a lot of traffic. Off we went and even that way was backed up today. I was thinking I might not ever get home. Rosy said if we had a motorcycle, we could weave in and out of the traffic like the other motorcycles were doing. I pictured Rosy and I on a motorcycle weaving around the stalled traffic. I laughed. So did she.

Soon we were past all the stalled traffic and really on our way home. I was glad to be home. So glad, I might not ever leave again. At least, not until 5:30 in the morning.


Monday, October 18, 2010

More About The Necklaces

Several people have asked how many ladies are making necklaces. There are seven ladies in the coop that make the necklaces. All have worked in the dump and still are because, they are not making enough money from the sell of necklaces to support themselves. Yet. We hope to change that for these ladies.

Last week, Marc had the opportunity to watch some of the ladies working. I am posting a few more colors.

The necklace sales to benefit these seven ladies and Casa de Esperanza are off to a great start.

If you would like to order, please email me at

Thanks for your support of this worthy project.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

Today the boys decided to build a house. Mostly, Brayan and Jackson decided to build a house, but Antonio and Fernando did help some. They worked hard. They carried some old wood from one side of the property to the other. They hammered and cut the wood. I asked if Marc had taught them how to build a house and they said no, they figured it out themselves. Well, sort of they figured it out themselves. They put a piece of wood on and then put the one under it on. They started from the top and worked down. An interesting concept.

They worked all morning and were working again this afternoon. I am thinking it is not finished yet because they said they wanted me to take a picture when they finished and I have not heard from them yet.

Once you guys learn to start at the bottom and work up, you will be working with Marc before long.


Friday, October 15, 2010

My Girl, Rosy

Rosy has been at Casa for over two years. She was almost nine when she arrived. She and her little sister, Sisi, had been abandoned by their mother. They then lived with a grandmother who was hit by a truck and died. An aunt, who didn't really want them, took them in. There was no one to care for them while the aunt worked all day. They roamed the streets begging and stealing when necessary. Rosy for sure, and probably Sisi, too, has been sexually abused.

Being sexually abused and having important adults disappear from your life have long-lasting effects on a child. Begging and stealing are not habits that are easily forgotten either, no matter how much you love on a child and how much food you provide. I would never leave my purse and Rosy alone together.

In addition to all of these problems, Rosy is deaf. She was born hearing. When she was quite young, she had a high fever and no one had money for medicine. Most of us cannot comprehend not having enough money to buy medicine for our baby.

Rosy can be a real stinker. We are learning sign, but none of us know as much as we should. Trust me, she has no problem getting her point her across to us. But when she doesn't want to know what we are saying, she closes her eyes or turns her head. She is one of the most obstinate people I have ever seen. Not the most, but one of the most obstinate. Her actions and antics cause a lot of frustation for all of us and for herself, as well. She is into everyone's business most of the time and will tattle whenever she can. Never mind that she may have been the instigator of the incident. For someone that can't speak, she can certainly scream and yell when things don't go to suit her. Sometimes, I can hear when she is at Casa and I am in my house.

Praise God, there is a school for the deaf in Tegucigalpa. And praise God, those people are Christians and love her as much as we do.

I take Rosy to school most mornings and am with her some afternoons also, giving me opportunities to get know her in another setting besides her bad behavior. Rosy has so many good qualities that she sometimes allows to be overshadowed by her misbehavior.

Rosy is compassionate. We drive past a house every day, or I should say a little three sided structure. She asked me if someone lived there. I hoped not and told her I wasn't sure. As the weather has been quite cold, this morning we saw fabric stretched over the open side. That was an indication to both of us someone did, indeed, live there. Tears welled up in those big brown eyes. One morning we saw and elderly man whose legs were not the same length, hobbling along with a cane. Rosy had nothing put compassion in her eyes.

Rosy is funny. Because of her misbehavior, she can't go inside the school until 8:00. If we arrive early, we have to sit in the car and wait. Never knowing what traffic will be, we leave for school at 6:00 and sometimes get there at 8:00 and sometime before. This morning we arrived at 7:20. The garbage people were picking up the garbage in front of the school. A couple of guys were going through the garbage, looking for plastic bottles. He picked up a 2 liter coke bottle that still had some coke in it, opened it and dumped the coke. Rosy made a groaning noise and I turned around. It was abundantly clear she was saying what a waste of good Coca-cola. I had to agree. Then she started laughing. Her laugh is precious.

Rosy is observant. She sees every cow, horse, airplane and abandoned puppy. This afternoon, she was wanting me to look at something. When I looked she grabbed her earlobes then pointed at a man with pierced ears. She was not too sure what to think of that.

Rosy is smart. She may grumble about homework, but she consistently makes good grades.

I can understand, partially, her frustration at not being able to clearly communicate with those around her. I do not know the feelings of my mother abandoning me. My grandmothers both have died, but I was an adult when this happened and they were not my primary caregiver. What a void that must have left in this little child's life for another important adult to be gone. I have never had to beg or steal in order to eat.

This is such a fragile, broken little child. God, please help me to always, always see her good qualities, no matter how her misbehavior frustrates me. Help me to love her the same way you love me. Help us to teach her she is Your child and is loved by You. Heal the broken places deep deep within her. Thank you God, for placing this precious child in our lives.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beans Beans The Wonderful Fruit

A container of rice meals being unloaded today.

One year my nephew sang that in the talent show at school. My sister-in-law nearly died when she found out.

Beans are the main source of protein for many in Honduras. For some, the only source of protein.

Six straight months of rain wreaked havoc on this year's bean crop. There is no bean crop this year. The price of beans has risen, making them unaffordable for many in this country.

Monday, October 4, I bought groceries for Casa de Esperanza. I also bought everything we need to fix beans and rice at the dump for the next month. At that time, the beans cost 82 cents a pound, which was up considerably from the 20 cents a pound they had been just a short time before.

On Thursday the 7th, there was a huge article in the paper stating that the country only had 20 days worth of bean left. I guess that caused a panic. Marc was in town on Saturday and decided to go ahead and get some more so there would be plenty for the dump. They were gone. Not to be found. We weren't upset or stressed, just began making alternate plans for the time when our beans are gone.

I was in town yesterday and PriceSmart had beans again. They normally have a huge pile of them. There weren't many, just a short little stack. I called Marc to see if he wanted we to buy some more. I did and they were $1.10 a pound. Ouch. For people that make between $10.00 and $12.00 dollars a day, if they have a job, that is a lot of money for beans, the protein source.

The country is trying to import some beans. Importing helps, but they are more expensive when imported.

Today a food container arrived. While it is not beans, it is rice meals that are fortified with a complete day's worth of vitamins, it will certainly help feed a lot of hungry people.

God is good, every time.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Mornings At Casa de Esperanza

In an effort to provide as much consistency as possible for the children, we decided that the same people do the same things at the same time. Most of the time, that works. There are always exceptions, of course.

I take Rosy to school. Karen gets the other children up, has devo with them and gets them off to school. Karen is off on Saturday. I do the morning routine that day. Since there is no school on Saturday, devo starts at 7:00 instead of 6:00.

Karen had to be at Manos Felices this morning so she took Rosy to school and I did the other routine. In order for devo to start at 6:00, the kids have to start getting out of bed at 5:45. Let me tell you, the kids are much easier to rouse at 7:00 on Saturday than they are at 5:45 on Monday. Nohemy was ready to get up and so was Jose. Jose is always ready to be out of bed. The kids drug out of bed, sleepy-eyed and grumbly. But we started devo at 6:00 with everyone there.

During the first song at devo, I was singing solo. After we did "If you love Jesus" and "The Hippopatumus Song" and a couple of other lively ones, I began to see some life and some smiles.

With breakfast eaten, chores done, backpacks in hand, we loaded in the van for school. In just a few minutes, I returned to Casa with the four second graders in tow. Their teacher was sick and they had no school. Fernando and Jose hooped and hollered all the way home.

All went fairly smoothly this morning, but Karen makes it look so easy. And, trust me, it is not that easy.