Friday, July 30, 2010

The Childress Group

I enjoy every group that comes. And I never mean to make it sound as if I like some groups more than others.

The group that leaves tomorrow is from Childress, Texas, which is just a couple hours from where Marc and I grew up, that made them home folks. As I visited with different people, and discovered they grew up in Childress or Wellington or Dodson, I soon discovered they knew my relatives. And I knew some of their relatives. It was old home week.

This was a group of forty six first timers. They have worked and worked hard. Houses, both block and wooden, food, the dump, the hospital, two medical clinics. It has been awesome. Devos have been great.

The Childress group ends the groups for the summer. It is always a little sad to see that last group leave.

Tonight, Marc and I were on our way home from the last devo with this group when Marc's phone rang. The grandson of our good friends, Ed and Earlene Stegall, had come on this trip and been touched by the things he saw. He had decided he wanted to be baptized. What an awesome way to end the summer.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Vendors

Karen and I work hard to operate the Casa de Esperanza store. We work with the artesans to create special things for Casa de Esperanza.

Recently, we have a few new vendors. The children. The children have made some bracelets. A few have done paintings. Some have put their embroidery projects in the store. The only difference in the new vendors and the other vendors is that the children's items are in the store, more or less, on consignment. They don't get paid until their items sell. And, trust me, they know when their items sell.

Today, I paid the first five children. Karen opened the store as soon as they were paid. Daniela spent all of hers. Some of the others did too, I am sure. Jose took his five lempiras and looked at it and smiled. And held it and smiled. We asked him if he wanted to go to the store. He said no. Maybe this saving idea is catching.

Rosy hasn't made anything for the store, but she wondered where her money was. When Antonio saw money, he immediately brought a whole bag of bracelets down to my house to be put in the store.

Our new little vendors are having quite the time right now.


The Mural

The Overland Park group painted a mural on the wall of the dining room in the new cottage. Cindy Portell led this project and, I think, did most of the work. She had a few helpers. This beautiful mural was done in twelve hours. For an unartistic person like me, I cannot even imagine this being done in that short of time.

The mural is beautiful. A great big thanks to Cindy and her crew for donating their God-given talents to Casa de Esperanza.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Borger Girls Rock

From the time Marc and I began coming to Honduras on mission trips, people from Borger, Texas encouraged us. They helped raised money and items to bring. Then one year, one of them came with us. The next year five came. That year they raised over $10,000 for benevolence, over and above the cost of their trips. Marc gave the five of them pink tool belts.

They still come. They still wear their pink tool belts. They still raise a lot of money. They participate in all our projects and are some of our cheerleaders. While they are here, they work hard. They are not afraid to mix concrete, shovel dirt, haul big rocks or whatever needs to be done. Lanetta can lead a house crew and build it perfectly. Maria is driving one of the trucks and using a chainsaw as well.

Yesterday, they hauled rock, moved dirt, mixed some concrete and then came to help me price items for the store so that I could get ready for last night. They never complain. They have to be tired, but no one would ever know it.

Yes, Borger girls rock. And not just the ones that come to Honduras, all of you rock.


Sunday, July 25, 2010


This past week was one full of anniversaries.

Seven years ago the church at Los Pinos was constructed and opened its doors. The church is thriving and continues to be a beacon in the community.

Five years ago, the church here in Santa Ana was completed and the first worship was held there. Our little church has seen some growth this year, not only in the number of people attending, but in the number of Bible studies and baptisms. We praise God for this.

Also, five years ago, ground was broken for Casa de Esperanza. How things have changed since then. And how the time has flown. It seems like only yesterday, we broke ground.

I pray that Casa de Esperanza and both churches see many more anniversaries.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Today is Cindy's ninth birthday. Everyone that has been here the last two or three weeks already knows that as she has told us several times a day.

Cindy is a little stinker sometimes. When we are taking the kids somewhere if they are good, she never gets to go. Marc asked her to go to supper and devo with the group tonight. Therefore, we had her birthday cake before supper. Then we left. Cindy enjoyed being with the group. She loved the attention of being the only child with 80 other people. I was so proud of her tonight. She was a perfect little lady. Yes, I am talking about the same Cindy that never gets to go anywhere because she can't behave before we leave.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vacation Bible School At The Dump

Today is Wednesday, the day hungry people that live and work in the dump get fed. Today other things were planned at the dump as well. A Vacation Bible School and a clothing give away. Seven people came to Casa de Esperanza to work on the soccer field, fifteen went to Los Pinos to build a house and everyone else went to the dump.

People were fed as usual and were given a ticket to get into the clothing give away, which was to be at 1:30 in the school across the street. After feeding, Vickie Cubillos led Vacation Bible School. Many people spent long hours organizing this Vacation Bible School. And songs were practiced in spanish. Vickie has led Vacation Bible Schools in Honduras for years. We always think things went well and Vickie is usually not satisfied with the way things went. Today she was pleased. It must have been something to witness. She had a craft and everything planned.

Then at 1:30, the clothing give away began. This had the potential to get extremely out of hand. Without a doubt, many people prayed about this. Probably all morning. God is good. All the time. The only word I heard about the clothing give away was awesome.

It was another good day at the dump.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ladies Beware

It is always fun to watch Wesley work and share the gospel. Even though he has a different translator, great things are happening in Honduras this summer.

Maria Phillips arrived Sunday and Maria Garcia yesterday. The ladies of Honduras better watch out, as they two godly, spirit-filled ladies team up to work together and share the good news of Jesus Christ.

The next week will be awesome as Wesley and Wilmer continue to work together and the two Marias begin their work.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Today At Los Pinos

Today the group attended church at Los Pinos. Many in the group were here when we built that church building seven years ago.

Wesley preached this morning. A man named Wilmer was his translator. Wilmer and Wesley did an awesome job. Seven women and two men were baptized this morning. Praise God.

What a great way to start another week in Honduras.


Friday, July 16, 2010

The Prison

Today about twenty people visited the prison. According to all who went, it was an amazing, interesting experience.

Before arriving, the group packed little bags with toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap.

When the group arrived, there was a bit of a delay entering due to a new manager not knowing the proper procedure. While waiting, they played cards with some of the prisoners. Our group was taught a new way to play Go Fish without ever saying "go fish".

It was soon discovered that the prison in Honduras is much different than the ones in the States. The prisoners wore regular clothes, thus it was hard to tell the prisoners from the visitors. If a prisoner does not have family or friends to bring him food, then he eats beans, rice, and tortillas three times a day. Will talked to one man who does not have family or friends. The man stated it was a pretty tough life when there is no family or friends. There were little pulperias inside the prison where the prisoners can buy food and other things if they have the money or have someone bringing them money.

The biggest difference that everyone saw was that there are also churches inside the prison. There was a Catholic Church, a Church of Christ and probably others. Each church had its own little area complete with pews, a microphone, a baptistry. It was noted there was a little chart that told who led singing, who served communion. Sounds like home, doesn't it?

Ryan said that he never felt intimidated or threatened. Everything felt safe. A couple of songs were sung in spanish and then a couple in english. Wesley was asked to preach, and preach he did. There were seven baptisms and two that asked to be restored.

There were at least three Americans in this Honduran prison, one from New Orleans, one from Pennsylvania and one from somewhere I don't remember. Perry visited with each of these three men and said the conversations were interesting.

The married prisoners are allowed to have their wives come two times a month. There are little hut-like things set up that are covered with sheets or blankets during these visits, possibly explaining why there are babies in the prison.

There are about 3000 men prisoners. Will said the ones that have become Christians have a greater comraderie than the others and that they seemed to be a pretty tight little group.

The group then went into maximum security. Some stated they were a little bit afraid and a little bit excited about going into maximum security. All they did there was hand out some of the care packages.

After maximum security, the group went into the women's side. There are 117 women prisoners and about 60 are Christians. Again, it was noticed there was friendship and comraderie among the Christian prisoners.

Most agreed the women looked a little healthier than the men.

A woman can keep her baby in prison with her until the child is two years old. Today there were ten babies in the prison. The women that had babies said it was hard to get diapers and enough formula. One lady asked the group to take her baby because she did not know what would happen to her baby when he turned two. How sad.

Some of the women gave their testimonies and again, Wesley preached. Two women made the decision to be baptized and one was restored.

The group from the prison was very excited about the events of the day. This is something we definitely will do again.

In addition to the prison visit, one house was built today and one group bought fresh fruits and vegetables, packed them and delivered them to 200 families.

It has been another great day in Honduras.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Yesterday was one of those days when there were Teleton appointments spread out over the day. I left at 6:00 with Rosy and three other girls. We got Rosy to school and then waited and hour and a half for the first appointment. Two appointments got combined and we were going to wait another hour and a half for the next appointment.

I try not to take the kids out every time we go to town, but I did not think I could sit there another hour and a half, so we got up and went to Burger King. I fed them chicken nuggets and french fries and cokes at 9:30 in the morning.

When Doris came to live here 2 years ago, she was starving and did not even know how to eat. She would put her head near her plate and begin shoveling food in her mouth with both hands. It was more animal-like than human-like. We have worked with her for two years and she does much better. But when we get in a public situation, she sometimes reverts back to those old eating habits. I guess she can't help herself or is scared or something.

Yesterday Reina and I both talked to her and she ate slowly, or slowly for Doris. I was proud of the way she ate her food. She ate like most other people until she was nearly through and then she got in a hurry and shoveled the last few bites into her mouth. Reina was trying to wipe her hands and face. I guess enough was enough. She told Reina "No" and promptly wiped her hands on her shirt.

Can't have everything. Small steps are better than no steps.

Yay for Doris. She has come so far.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Teams Leaving and Teams Coming

Sunday morning we said good-bye to our friends from Overland Park, Kansas and Atlanta and said hello to a brand new team from Lafayette, Louisiana. Sunday night it was all Louisiana folks. Monday morning my tears flowed as the team from South Baton Rouge left. That included Haley and Nicole. We then rushed downstairs to meet the Starkville, Mississippi team. And one from Fairview Heights. I was already crying, but I when I saw LaVerne walk out by herself, I cried some more. Mary Sharkey we are missing you.

While we were at the airport, the Lafayette team went to the dump to feed hungry people and then on to Casa de Esperanza to work on the soccer field.

After a quick visit to Popeye's, the Starkville folks headed to Nueva Oriental to play soccer with the kids. As things often happen in Honduras, plans changed quickly. The bus was barely unloaded and the first soccer ball kicked a couple of times when Mark Connell called and said he had a container coming out and needed help. Marc told everyone to get back on the bus and they headed to the bodega to help unload the container.

Around 4:00, it rained 5inches in one hour. Work stopped at Casa but unloading the container continued. The Lafayette group headed back to Julio's only to find one of the ladies' room flooded. Not from a leak, but from the water rising so high and rushing in under the door.

Dinner was to be served at 6:30. We knew the bus was on its way and we were waiting for it to arrive before starting to eat. As the bus headed into Julio's the bus got stuck. The Starkville folks not only got to unload a container on their first day here, but push the bus out of the mud. Welcome to Honduras.

We all ate around 7:30 and had a quick devo.

Today everyone boarded the bus and the van and headed back to Nueva Oriental. Two houses were built. Some worked in the feeding center as lunch was prepared for 200+ children. Some folks played with the many beautiful children, and, it goes without saying, Wesley began Bible studies.

Everyone was tired, but happy, tonight. We ate dinner at 6:30 and had a wonderful time of worship. I am thinking everyone is going to sleep well tonight.

Marc has promised a very challenging day tomorrow. We will see if tomorrow lives up to that promise.


Haley's Birthday

Baby Haley doesn't really turn one until next week. But since Nicole and Haley had to leave yesterday, we bought her cake and had a small celebration with the kids at Casa.

Haley loved her cake and made a huge mess, but enjoyed every single minute of it.

As the children do with each other, they each gave her a great big birthday hug before they received their cake. All of the children laughed and giggled at Haley making such a mess.

Nicole and Haley left yesterday. It was very sad for me. They were ready to see Matt.

Nicole didn't get to work much with her team, but she was a huge help to everyone. She cooked for the dump one day. She bought the Casa groceries for the next month and went to the market. A couple of day she drove Rosy to school and did errands to help Marc. She did a tremedous amount of work in the store that I am not able to do right now.

I enjoyed having Nicole and Haley here. I miss them.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust

The ruggedness of this country is hard on the vehicles. Something is always needing done to one of the cars. With groups here and all vehicles being used all the time, things with the vehicles only get worse. In the last couple of weeks, Marc has had all of the trucks in the shop at least once.

Today, both of the Casa vehicles had issues. Yesterday, the brakes on the trooper began to grind slightly. There was enough brake to get Rosy to school this morning and then on to the shop. Nicole was driving and I went along to show her the way. We left at 6:00 this morning. Haley was in her pjs. And we certainly were not dressed in a way to be seen by anyone.

We got Rosy to school and two blocks from the school, the car just stopped. It felt like someone yanked the emergency brake on. Someone told us they thought there was something wrong with the right front tire.

I called my faithful, trusty friend, Milton and he came to the rescue, as he always does. We had to wait for him almost an hour. Baby Haley was still happy, but we knew she would not be much longer. Nicole walked to a pulperia and got her some milk and a banana. Milk here comes in one liter bags. Nicole put the smallest little hole in one corner of the bag. Haley is not taking much of a liking to a sippy cup, but she loved drinking out of the bag. Nicole held the bag. Haley was laughing and having so much fun. She did eventually manage to get it in the folds of her neck. And she always loves bananas.

And Nicole and I can have fun together in any adventure we encounter.

Milton arrived, started the car and then called the tow truck because the car was going no where. Nicole unloaded the car seat and Haley into Milton's car. Milton and I were thinking it might be the transmission. When an automatic transmission goes out in Honduras, that is a very bad thing.

We got to the shop and they began to check things outs. It appears that the break line broke, all the fluid leaked out onto the tire and completely locked the tire. I think that is better than the transmission.

Meanwhile, back at Casa de Esperanza, about the time we got Rosy to school, Karen left in the van taking the other children to school. It rained so much last night that a good part of the road washed out. The van is wider than the trooper and Karen got stuck. For some reason, Karen and I were finding comfort in talking to each other. Karen got out and got the van home and someone picked the children up at the front gate and got them to school.

Two of the children at appointments at Teleton this morning and our employee, Reina, was going with them. Nicole and I had planned to get the car to the shop, get to the airport to rent a car, and get home in time for Nicole to go back to Teleton. Well, obviously, that was not going to happen. We made a plan B. Karen and I are getting so good at making a plan B.

Janet Hines was leaving for the airport from Santa Ana. Karen called her and she said Reina and the girls could ride to the airport with her. Fortunately, Nicole and I got to the shop and on to the airport before Reina did. We waited. When Reina and the girls arrived, we all piled in the little rent car and went to Teleton. We were not even late. Nicole and I left and went to find something to eat.

About the time we got back to Teleton, sweet little Haley began to get fussy. She was tired and hot and teething and quite possibly, hungry again. We sang to her and everything we could think of. By the time Teleton was finished, it was time to head back to Manos Felices for Rosy.

As we left Manos Felices and finally headed for home, Haley went to sleep almost immediately. Within three minutes of Haley going to sleep, the other three girls went to sleep also. It was so sweet, all four of them in the back seat asleep. The camera was in a purse under someone's foot. Neither Nicole nor I would take a chance of waking one of the sleeping beauties.

We were gone all day and Haley, Nicole and I were exhausted.

I don't know how long the trooper will be in the shop. If it rains more tonight, we don't know if the road will be passable for any vehicle. We don't know where to leave the cars tonight, in case we can't get through tomorrow.

Nicole said no trip to Honduras would be complete without at least one car in which she was riding breaking down. I am sure glad we could complete her trip for her.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Manic Monday

I am not a fan of Madonna, but another manic Monday is a perfect description of today.

In addition to the 28 people that were already here, another 41 arrived yesterday from Overland Park, Kansas. Marc had scheduled 2 houses, feeding at the dump, and working on the soccer field at Casa. He began to rush around and get things ready. I was watching Nicole pack the coolers with soda for the house sites. Marc saw the pots that the dump food is cooked in sitting up by Casa. They were not sitting up there full of food.

Denis was off yesterday and no one took the pots to Anita's. Suffice it to say, Marc was not a happy camper. Nicole and I had one goal in mind. That was to stay out of Marc's way.

We saw him carrying the pots toward our house and Nicole looked at me and said I hope he is not going to try to fix beans and rice in one hour. I said he did it once for 50 people, but I don't think he would try to do it for 300. Marc had had a brilliant idea, and it was not beans and rice. It was spaghetti. He washed the pots and had Kelin start filling them with water while he rushed to every pulperia in Santa Ana buying them out of spaghetti. The pulperia owners probably already think we are crazy, adding confirmation to that thought today.

Nicole and Kelin cooked the two huge pots of spaghetti on my teeny tiny burners. Nicole and Kelin could not lift those big pots full of water and spaghetti. They finally laid clean towels in the sink and used big spoons to put the spaghetti in the sink, then emptied the pots of water. Nicole said where there is a will , there is a way. It was pretty gummy spaghetti. Marc left here one hour late.

Let me say I am very thankful to everyone that contributes to dump fund. We are very grateful we do not have to cook every week in my one person kitchen.

Meanwhile, I am trying to keep Haley entertained without picking her up.

Wood was not being delivered until at 9:00 and 10:30, meaning the houses got a late start.

Up at Casa, the 2nd and 5th graders did not have school this morning. The fifth graders had had all weekend to do some pretty major homework and had not started it. Karen was overseeing the drawing of maps. I was keeping the printer busy with pictures of maps for the 5th graders and fish for the 2nd graders.

Hopefully, this afternoon was better than this morning. I am sure there will be interesting stories tonight.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Work Begins For Another Group

Thursday morning a group from Baton Rouge arrived. This is the group where Matt and Nicole go to church. They got off the plane and got to start their welcome to Honduras experience by unloading the container from Overland Park. That travel day is a long day under the best of circumstances. But to get to go unload a container after traveling, I am sure they slept well on Thursday night.

Yesterday they broke into two groups. One group came here to work on the soccer field. They mixed concrete (Honduran style) most of the day. There are now a few more poles set. Due to so much rain, the soccer field is a bit behind schedule. But you know what we say here, "it is what it is."

The other group went to the market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and then pack it into food bags and distribute in an extremely poor village near the dump. Nicole and Haley went to the market. Nicole took her stroller and Haley got to stroll through the market. The village had steep hills. Nicole didn't try to stroll Haley up and down those. Nicole carried Haley and Donna carried the food bags.

Both groups had fun and accomplished much. Today, one group builds a house and returns to work on the soccer field.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Haley Grace Comes To Honduras

It has rained and rained and rained. We have gone days without seeing sunshine. I kept saying I knew I would feel better, if only I could see the sunshine.

Yesterday, the sun finally shone and it was a beautiful day indeed. Not only did the sun finally shine, Nicole and Haley Grace arrived yesterday morning. To see those girls' smiling faces was better the sunshine.

Baby Haley smiles all the time. And busy. Yes, she is. Into everything. And everything goes directly to the mouth.

Everyone we saw, ooed and ahed over her. They like those chubby legs and chubby cheeks. From the moment he laid eyes upon her, Luis was smitten. That was funny to watch. Some of the children and some of the staff rushed out to greet her.

Nicole and Haley and I are going to have a ton of fun the next two weeks. This grammy feels herself getting better in the presence of her girls.