Monday, June 28, 2010


Every group that comes to Honduras, comes with a work fund, the money that is used to build houses, feed hungry people, buy Bibles and such. Most groups raise just as much money as they possibly can so they can help as many people as possible in the one or two weeks they are here.

Sometimes groups raise more money than they can use while they are here. Every group handles that differently. On Thursday, the Columbus group knew they were going to have some left. The adults in the group made the decision for whatever was left, to divide it among the seven teenagers to give to a ministry or program of their choice.

Saturday night in devo, each teenager told how they were using their money and why. Matthew Ferguson spoke first. He wanted to give his to Casa de Esperanza. Logan went next. He, also, wanted to give his to Casa de Esperanza. Andrew wished his to go to the dump fund. Cassie said Mi Esperanza.

As each teen spoke, it was a lot like Christmas. There was great anticipation from the entire group as each present was unwrapped.

One wanted to buy diapers, something that is in short supply, for the neonatal unit at Hospital Escuela. Another wanted to buy school supplies for children that live in a village near the dump. She will be able to buy school supplies for around 20 children. Last but least, Emily Chaffin spoke. She wanted her money to go to Pamela, our employee at Casa de Esperana whose husband was killed in a tragic hit and run accident in May. Emily was especially touched by Pamela and her sweet spirit and her young son.

Yesterday Marc and Emily sat down with Pamela and told her what was happening. Pamela is attending the university. She did not know if she could continue with her education after Ronnie was killed. Through tears, she told Emily and Marc that gift would allow her to complete her education. It goes without saying, Marc and Emily cried, too.

Each teen gave great thought to the ministries and the places they had been and the things they had seen and chose something that had touched their hearts. It was a special time as we listened to each teen unwrap the present as they told how they were using their part of the leftover work fun. And think how much fun Marc and I will have as we get to deliver these present.

Thank you Columbus. You have touched the lives of hundreds this past week and will continue to do so with these gifts.


Saturday, June 26, 2010


Yesterday was an eventful day. After the kids' mother wanted to rub on my stomach, I gave Pamela and Antonio some money and asked them to walk to the pulperia and get me some tuna and a loaf of bread.

In a third world country where people are starving, I hate to say there is nothing to eat in my house. But the choices of what I can do for myself when no one else is here, were very limited yesterday and I was quite hungry.

While Pamela and Antonio were gone, I sat here anticipating a good tuna sandwich, complete with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish.

When they returned, Pamela handed me a can; some of the label was gone. I could see it said tuna and in big letters was the word Mar, which means sea. I was thinking I got lucky and got Chicken of the Sea.

I took the can, the bread and my change and thanked the kids for going to the store for me.

I walked into the kitchen and opened my tuna. I had a huge surprise. Perhaps what was in that can was tuna, but not what I was expecting. It was dark and had peas and carrots mixed with it. People do not buy dog food in cans here. Dogs eat whatever they can find. But my tuna looked a lot more like dog food than people food. It would have been funny, if I had not been so hungry. In fact, later in the day it was funny. But not at that moment.

I will definitely be buying my tuna at PriceSmart from now on.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Touch My Stomach

Since the I began taking short walks to Casa and back, Karen and all the other staff have cautioned the kids about running up to me and hugging too hard. The kids are trying hard to remember that. A couple have bumped into me but they have bumped my back or some other part of me than my stomach.

A couple of adults, that I would think would know better, have rushed up to me and thrown their arms around me harder than I would have liked. Forever worried about my stomach, incision, and insides healing, I have bristled and back away from the big hugs. Nothing personal, just don't want anything to hurt.

Today some of the kids parents showed up here for visitation. I was standing there with Karen and Karen told the parents I had had an operation. The mother is mentally and socially lacking a few things and probably suffers from long term malnutrition, among other things. She reached over and started rubbing my stomach. No one on this property knew I was capable of moving as fast I did. I took a couple of steps backward and did not want to move forward near the mom again. I guess she took the hint and did not try to touch my stomach again. It has been four weeks since surgery, but it is still way too soon for anyone to be touching and rubbing on my stomach.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Terco is the spanish word for stubborn. We have a few stubborn children here. Rosy. Cindy. All of them are from time to time.

Little Josue is certainly working on the title of being the most stubborn. Karen has a routine for meal time and it works well. Before the children can leave the table, each one has to say excuse me. A simple request. Yesterday morning after breakfast, Josue refused to say. He got to sit in his little chair until he said excuse me. He pooped and peed in his pants and still refused to say excuse me. And still he sat there. Breakfast was at 6:30 and he finally decided to say excuse me at 10:30.

This morning we had a repeat performance. It only lasted until 9:30 this morning. He absolutely would not say it for Karen. He finally said it for me by repeating me as I said one syllable at a time.

Yes, we definitely have another stubborn child on our hands.


Monday, June 21, 2010

A Sad Day

Sandra has worked here almost three years. It has been a good almost three years. The children love Sandra and most called her Mommy. She is the only employee we have ever had that we felt confident enough in her abilities to leave all 17 children with her on duty by herself. She has been firm with the children and pushed on homework and chores. When the chores and the homework was done, she had fun with them, too. One day she helped them make a rope swing from a high branch on a tree. She pushed each one in the swing and then she sat in it a gave herself a swing, while the children laughed and cheered. She is a good employee and a good person.

We thought yesterday was her last day to work for us, but it turned out Friday was. She came to get her final pay this morning. She cried. Karen cried. I cried. Dilcia cried. It was a very sad day to see her walk out that gate for the final time. There probably will never be another employee that can handle all 17 children alone.

In her place Karen hired a younger lady. A teeny tiny little thing that is 24 and looks 15. It is too soon to tell, but I think she is going to be ok. She is not Sandra, but I think she will be ok.

Please pray for us and the children during this transition.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Eggs, For Real This Time

We got eggs today. Two big brown eggs. Not that little tan color, a deep brown. Brayan was so excited. I could not understand a word he was saying. Then he showed me. He began to tell the others kids. Since Ana takes such good care of the chickens, I thought she would be excited. All she did was grump at everyone.

Now that the first two are here, we should be getting eggs everyday. Maybe tomorrow, there will be more than two.

Marc thinks there will be more takers to feed the girls next week, with the possiblity of more eggs. We will see about that. Perhaps we are better chicken raisers than peach farmers.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Hondurans love their soccer team. It is a national craze. Last year when Honduras made it to the world cup a national holiday was called.

Today, people in all parts of the country, were up early to watch the game between Honduras and Chile. Everyone that had any kind of access to a tv was up watching. Many places in town opened so people could come watch. I am sure 95% or more were donned in blue and white jerseys.

The kids here at Casa wanted to watch the game. Mommy Karen got everyone up at 4:45 and had devo with them and they all went to her apartment to watch the game. I heard them cheering once when the Honduran goalie saved the ball from going into the goal. Dorian, being from Nicaragua, was for Chile. He had Maryuri and Nohemy rooting for Chile as well. Maryuri is easily swayed and Nohemy likes to go against the crowd, no matter what the situation.

After the game, everyone dressed and went to school. Unfortunately, the game ended in a way other than the way we would have liked. I guess Dorian, Maryuri and Nohemy were the only three people in the country that were happy about the outcome.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Hard At Work

The children will soon have new soccer field. In order for this to happen, the playground had to be taken apart and moved. As you can see, little Josue was hard at work as the playground was disassebled. He worked hard all morning. I don't think he ever got a single bolt undone. But he never quit trying.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Youth Rally

The first youth rally hosted jointly by the churches in Santa Ana and Ojojna started today and will continue through tomorrow.

Dorian and Karen, Richard and Yessinia, and both youth groups have worked extremely hard to make this happen. The kids have sold tamales twice. They had to be up and ready to start cooking at 3:00 a.m. and then deliver the tamales throughout the community. They have held other fundraisers as well.

In the States, when we do something like this, we mail flyers to all the surrounding churches. There is no mail service here. Richard and Dorian drove to all the area churches and passed out the flyers announcing this youth rally. Yessinia has been cooking for three days. Yesterday some of the girls cleaned the church building and readied everything they possibly could.

I have worked on youth rallies before. I know how much hard work is involved. I would hate to ever think of working on without Skip and Susan. They are pros at it. We always had several adults working on the youth rallies we did. Except for Dorian and Karen, and Richard and Yessinia, this one has been youth driven.

Today, about 125 kids from area churches began to arrive around 10:00. In my opinion, a huge success for a first year. From time to time, I could hear the singing. I enjoyed it. That many young voices blended together singing praises to God. It was a beautiful sound.

Please pray for the rest of this youth rally.


Friday, June 11, 2010


As we plant gardens and fruit trees, we have dreams of saving on the weekly grocery bill and, maybe, saving year round if we ever grow enough to can and freeze some of it.

I heard peaches and had visions of biting into a big, sweet, juicy peach. You know what I am talking about. The kind of juicy peach that the juice runs down your arm to your elbow has you stand there eating on it. I also began to wonder if we could figure out to make peach preserves like my grandmother used to make. I was ready to bake some bread on which to spread those peach preserves. My mouth was watering as I went to look at the peaches. Or in this case, the peach. One tiny peach on one tiny tree. There was simply nothing to do but laugh. A big hearty laugh.

We don't quite have this gardening thing figured out yet.

A day or so later, Marc came in and said I can't believe someone stole the whole peach crop. The whole peach crop. Gone.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


With groups here, Marc is making it to the dump to feed hungry people more than once a week. Monday, when he arrived, a group gathered around and began to tell Marc about Fany being hurt over the weekend. Fany is one of the girls that has become our friend. She has a baby, but doesn't bring the baby to the dump. Marc buys milk for the baby every week. Fany is good at crowd control and some times helps serve or hand out water.

She was both hit by a car and stabbed three times.

Today after Marc finished feeding in the dump, he went to Fany's house. Fany's house is tin and wood and maybe 16 x 16, with fifteen living there. Wall-to-wall beds. Fany is in terrible shape and only has a 50/50 chance of living. Marc asked her what happened and she began to cry.

Fany works in the dump every day. Sifting garbage and trying to find a few recyclables to sell so that her family can eat. Others in the house work at whatever they can as well.

Marc helped with groceries for right now. He will get milk for the baby tomorrow.

Fany needs our prayers as she fights for her life.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Yesterday afternoon Marc and I made our third trip to the doctor since being released from the hospital. After thoroughly poking and prodding places I did not want poked and prodded, the doctor removed the rest of the stitches. He gave me some instructions and released me. I am glad the stitches are gone.

There is still a lot of things I cannot eat yet. There is still a lot of things I do not want to eat yet. And I cannot do any thing else for a very long time. I can't drive for a month. Right now, that is not a problem. I have no desire to drive and couldn't if I so desired. I can't lift or pick up anything until more like the end of July. Nothing. Right now, that is kind of like driving. Don't want to.

But in the next few days or so, I am going to want to do something. I am going to get bored and be bored. And I will be good and do exactly as I am supposed to do.

Thanks for all the prayers. Please keep them going for continued healing.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Healthcare In Honduras

Anyone who has ever been to Honduras as part of a mission team, and maybe some of you who have just read my blog, know to what I am referring when I say Hospital Escuela. Hospital Escuela is the hospital for those that have no money. It is a teaching hospital and they will treat you. But if you need suture kits for a surgery or pain meds after, and you can't afford those things, you do without them. If you do not have the money in your pocket to walk across the street to the pharmacy for these things, too bad. You do without. There is a hospital like this in every major city in the country.

Seventy per cent of the people in this country live in poverty. Therefore, most of the sick and dying people in this country have no choice but to go to these hospitals. They are severely understaffed and overcrowded. There are no private rooms. There are wards. There is no privacy. No dignity. There is no chair in which a mom to sit beside her sick child. She stands. All day long. And sometimes sleeps under the child's bed. Dehumanizing possibly.

If we were here for humanitarian aide only, and had enough money, we could find patients at Hospital Escuela all day every day and walk across the street to the pharmacy and buy pain meds and suture kits and parasite meds for dying babies and endless other needs.

On the end of the sprectrum is private health care. Private health care with well-trained doctors and fairly modern procedures. For those who can afford it. Praise God we could. Even in private health care in Honduras, you are not treated unless you pay. And I am thankful for those well-trained doctors that have come back to Honduras.

We went to Hospital Viera. By our American standards, it would be considered old and badly needing freshening up. We have been to the emergency room at Viera before. We have a good friend that is a well-respected doctor there. Even with this spotless reputation of being able to be vouched for, without payment, I would not have been treated.

We arrived at the emergency room between 5:00 and 6:00 in the evening. I do not really know. I was immediately put into a bed. A nurse entered and began to take my vitals. Before she was finished, we had seen one than one doctor. There was not any time being wasted. Doctors were in and out of there. Asking, Checking. A nurse came to start an iv. Then later she returned to draw blood. Normally, we are asked for payment for all tests (i.e. blood work, urine samples, etc) in advance, but I guess I was sick enough they knew they would admit me.

All the while I was receiving excellent care. I had to have x-rays and ultrasound. The doctor to read the ultrasound had to be called from home.

It was determined immediate surgery was required. A surgeon came in and began to examine me. He put a stetoscope to my stomach and moved it several times and listened. And listened. And listened. He was not hearing any kind of intestinal sounds, which is never good. The surgeon was highly educated and professional at all times. He spoke no english. He took his time and spoke slowly and deliberately to assure we understood what he was saying and what was happening.

As soon as the surgeon left, and before another thing was done, Marc was callled out of the room to make a deposit. Marc had to immediately pay for all services rendered to that time and a deposit on estimated services to be rendered. If we could not have paid, I guess we would have left the hospital. It did not matter to one person in that hospital that we have international insurance that covers us in Honduras.

I was in surgery for over three hours, with four doctors present. After recovery, I was moved to a private room. There was a bed in my room on which Marc could sleep. And chairs. And a tv.
Of course the comfort of that bed is a completely different subject.

At all times, I was treated with respect and dignity. We had privacy. The nurses and doctors were very professional. I received excellent care.

When it came time to leave, Marc was asked to pay the final bill. In cold hard cash. If that had not been possible, we would not have left. We would have stayed in the hospital, with the meter running until we could pay in full. Seems sort of counterproductive, but it is what it is.

That final bill included everything. All the doctors, the meds, the surgery, the hospital. Everything. One bill. It was itemized for us, but one bill.

And our total bill for an emergency room, tests, a surgery, all those doctors, two nights in the hospital, etc. etc. was far less than you would imagine.

This is not intended to open a discussion on health care in America. But whether we believe it or not, we have a pretty good thing going. We all know we would be treated regardless of our ability to pay.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Everytime, we have faced surgeries or sickness or whatever life throws in our faces, we have been humbled by the response of our friends and family. This time was no exception. Everyone of you are awesome. Your prayers sustained in a very frightening hour. We could not survive without the prayers and encouragement of our friends and family in the states.

But I would like to share a few incidences of people here that have truly humbled me.

There were several of our Honduran friends that made their way to the hospital to see us. They spent bus fare or gas money to do that. That touched those places deep in my heart.

Our good friend, David Logue showed up at the hospital Wednesday night. And stayed. He held a trash can up to my face as I vomited. He would have been a good nurse had not the call to Honduras tugged at his heartstrings. He stayed all during my surgery with Marc. The surgery did not begin until 11:00 p.m. And did not end until after 2:00. We all know how horrible it is to wait through a loved one's surgery alone. David made sure Marc did not wait alone. It was well after 3:00 when he left the hospital. One of the little girls for which he cares was having surgery at 6:00 a.m. We would have understood if he didn't stay. But he did. There are people I have done that for and would do that for, but it is always humbling when it is done for us.

Sandra is one of our employees at Casa de Esperanza. She works five days a week for us. The other two she rides a bus into Tegucigalpa and irons. Friday, while I was in the hospital, was her day off from Casa. She rode the bus to town and came to the hospital and stayed all day with me. She helped the nurse give me a bath. She kept my water glass filled. She helped me get to the bathroom and take that first post-surgical walk. She gave up a day of deperately needed income to help me. It still brings tears to my eyes as I think of that sacrifice.

Saturday, our neighbors, Dennis and Marta, came to visit us. They go to church with us. They walked in my bedroom and quickly Dennis and Marc went into the living room. Marta eyed my big bed and fluffy comforter. She grabbed both of my hands in hers and began to pray. She prayed a beautiful prayer. Tears from falling from her eyes as hard as the rain from Agatha was falling outside. After her prayer, we visited for a few minutes. I felt truly blessed by her visit.

Sometimes, most of the time, I am truly blessed by the Honduran people I came to help far more than I could ever bless them.

I am truly humbled and blessed.

Don't stop praying for me. Got a ways to go yet before I am fully recovered.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha

I came home Friday afternoon. Admittedly, I knew little of what was going on in the world except my pain and nausea. If it was not happening within the confines of my four bedroom walls, I was not aware of it.

Normally, I like the sound of the rain falling on the tin roof. But I kept waking to the sound of what sounded like 100,000 rounds of machine gun fire. I did not know if I was delirious, dreaming or if I had been moved to a war zone hospital.

Marc told me we were in a tropical storm. Most news reports are saying tropical storm Agatha pounded El Salvador and Guatamala. But no one in Honduras, can deny her presence. She dumped eighteen inches here in Santa Ana. There is death, destruction and devastation everywhere. Part of the road to Choluteca is gone. We cannot even imagine what Santa Katarina looks like and how hungry they must be. We were without power for over a day and a half and phone service for a while, too. There are still parts of the country without power.

There was widespread flooding. Santa Ana was hit hard. There were two deaths in Santa Ana. Many homes were washed away. More than two hundred people slept in the community building last night and twenty slept in our church building.

The pictures in the paper yesterday were haunting and gut-wrenching. A house washing down the river. People with their only few belongings, walking in chest deep water, holding those belongings over their heads.

It is summer and groups are arriving daily. There is plenty of work to be done. Please pray for this country, the homeless, the hungry as as many lifes as possible are restored.