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.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Making A Difference, One Necklace At A Time

Two and a half years ago, we were moved to tears when we saw the dump for the first time. People, made in God's image like you and me, were fighting with the buzzards for anything edible or anything that could be sold for food. We sat in the truck knowing that since we had seen such a nightmarish scene, we had to do something about it.

A couple of weeks later we made bean sandwiches and took to those people. We now feed hot food weekly. We are working with other projects to share Jesus with the dump people and to help these folks get their children out of the dump and to get themselves out of the dump.

God is good and continues to bless those efforts and to lead us to people that have the same desires and with which we can partner.

Recently, we learned of another group wanting to help those people that work and live in the dump. This group is currently working with seven different ladies that have had to work the dump to eke out an existence. These seven ladies are being taught to make jewelry. And, I might add, beautiful jewelry it its. The problem is, currently, not enough jewelry is being sold to make a living and the ladies make a few pieces of jewelry to sell and still have to work the dump.

As most of us are starting to think about Christmas, I would like to help the seven ladies that make jewelry. We at Casa de Esperanza plan to take orders for these necklaces and sell as many as we can. Hopefully, a lot of necklaces will be sold. One necklace will sell for $20.00 and $2.00 postage for a total of $22.00. A portion of the price of each necklace sold will also benefit Casa de Esperanza.

There are many colors from which to choose. I have shown only five colors. I need all orders by November 15.

If you are interested in ordering, please email me at for details.

Lets make the coming Christmas season one to remember for the seven ladies at the dump.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Day Marc Got Thrown Out Of El Salvador

Today is Tuesday, my day off. With groups not here, things are slow enough that Marc could take the day off, too. We planned one of our famous outings which always proves to be an adventure of one kind or another.

We headed south on the Choluteca highway and then turned toward El Amatillo, the little town on the Honduran/El Salvadoran border. We had so much fun riding along allowing the wind to blow through our hair. We stopped and shopped at some of the little roadside stores and found some wonderful bargains.

We decided we would cross the border, kick around, eat lunch and head back. At immigration we showed our passports. Sierra's was ok. Mine was ok. Marc's was not. Marc's Honduran residency card is expired. We know that and he is working daily trying to get it fixed, but our lawyer seems to have other priorites. We were already in El Salvador as the immigration is inside the border. Sierra and I could have gone on, but Marc was told to leave.

We all headed back into Honduras. Sierra and I walked back out on the bridge because we both had to have some pictures. I took one of her with one foot in Honduras and one in El Salvador.

Being told to leave was not a huge deal. We found another place to eat lunch. But this residency card better be fixed before we go to Costa Rica in 5 weeks. It probably will be. Excluding the lawyer and making a few properly placed phone calls to the right other people, seems to be working, already.

So, today, October 5, 2010 will always be remembered as the day Marc got thrown out of El Salvador.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Nowhere But Honduras

A sight we see fairly often. We have also seen a cow, or two, or three in the back of a little pickup like this one.

Friday, October 1, 2010

More Effects Of The Rain

Since last Saturday, it has rained over 12 inches. Except for some time this morning, it has rained nonstop. Day and night. Noah must have had a lot of faith in God to be enclosed in that ark with all those animals for forty days and night. All those animals might have been easier than seventeen kids that like to play outside. They are getting a little antsy.

Today was market day. I go to the market every other Friday to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for the children. Besides wanting to see some sunshine and the children needing to play outdoors, I saw some huge effects of all this rain.

This time of year, we normally buy great big cabbages for 35 cents each. Cabbage is a staple at Casa de Esperanza, as it is for many in Honduras. Today, the cabbages were tiny and were 50 cents each. That little amount is huge in Honduras. Potatoes were higher. Platanos were higher. Beans had been 30 cents a pound and now up to 85 cents a pound. There will be no bean crop in Honduras this year. It is totally lost due to the rain. Another staple, most Hondurans cannot afford beans at that price. Other things like carrots and cucumber were much smaller than usual.

I don't know how many crops will be ruined because of the rain. Or how many will be smaller. Food prices will definitely rise. So many can't afford to feed their families now. This can only get worse.

The paper says if the rain continues, the entire coffee and sugar crops could be destroyed, the two leading exports for Honduras. This would be financially devastating.

There is a food container in the country. It will be unloaded next week. It contains about 250,000 rice meals. As soon as it is unloaded, we will be busy distributing those meals to as many people as possible that are hungry and can't buy food as prices rise.

Please continue your prayers for this rain-drenched country.