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.