Sunday, February 27, 2011

February Newsletter From Casa de Esperanza

Casa de Esperanza

P.O. Box 9222
Columbus, MS 39705

Amigos de Casa,

The children's time out of school passed quickly for all of us. School started February 15. The last part of January and the first part of February was spent mending and purchasing uniforms, shining shoes, and getting book bags ready to go. The children are always so excited the first day or two. Then the reality of getting up before 6:00 and homework sets in. Enthusiasm fades quickly. And true to form in Honduras, the kids that go to public school have already missed three or four days due to meetings and strikes. All of the children except Josue are in school this year. It sure is quiet in Casa every morning.

Please pray daily for our children. For some, learning is a huge challenge and, for others, they just have not got off to a good start with their behavior.

This year we have hired an employee to ride the bus to Manos Felices with Rosy. As gasoline prcies have risen and continues to rise, we have found it is cheaper to hire an employee and pay bus fare than it is to buy fuel. Elena, our new employee, is a church member and neighbor. Like others, she lives right outside the back gate. She arrives here at 5:15 and she and Rosy board the 5:30 bus. So far, this is working well.

We have hired another employee as well. Next week, a new houseparent starts. She has 15 years experience and we expect to be able to take children very soon.

Along with this houseparent, we will soon be hiring a relief houseparent to work the days off of the houseparent and the night people in the big house. These are very positive additions to the staff at Casa de Esperanza.

With the beginning of school, means the end of art and cooking classes. The children did very well in art. They had an exposition at the end of the class. The older children were in cooking class, too. They made breads and pastries to sell at the art exposition. The children were proud of both their art and their baked goods. There was a lot of smiling faces as they spent the money they made.

Our Pamela has to have some more surgery on her foot. This should be an easy in and out surgery with no overnight stay required. Of course, she is nervous.

The dry season continues. As long as the city water comes through, we have plenty of water. When it doesn't, sometimes we can be found hauling water for showers and dishes.

All of the children recently had eye exams. Maryuri had to have glasses. Nohemy and Rosy need to be watched carefully. They, too, may need glasses. Maryuri is as cute as she can be in her Barbie glasses.

The year end contributions were very generous. We want to thank each and every one of you. For the first time ever, Casa de Esperanza is starting a new year with a little bit of money in the bank. God is good and always provides, but we are thankful to have some money in the bank.

This month I would like to introduce you to Doris. Doris turned 13 in December.

She is a special needs child. She is extremely behind mentally, educationally, and socially. She came to live at Casa de Esperanza in June, 2008. At that time, she could not speak and ate ravenously with her hands. She now knows her name and can talk some. She loves to sing and can sing whole songs by herself or with others. She loves music and just dances and sings and claps. This is more than we thought she could ever accomplish. She attends classes at Teleton. Doris also attends classes at public school. She is not able to do any work, but the people at Teleton want her exposed to children near her age. She is supposed to sit in class in fifth grade, but prefers the first graders. She always gravitates to those much younger. She plays by herself a lot, too.

We have been able to teach her how to do a few of the chores. Some of those chores she is learning to do well and others, not so well. Doris will probably always live at Casa. She is a sweet child and laughs with reckless abandon. Please remember this child in your prayers.

Feel free to share this newsletter with anyone you think would be interested. As always we thank you for your love, support, and prayers.

If you have any questions or concerns about Casa de Esperanza, please feel free to email me at



Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Birthday Campfire

We like birthdays and we like campfires.  This weekend little Josue turned three and two of the employees had birthdays, also.  It has been a long time since we had a campfire and Marc decided to combine the birthdays and a campfire. 

The excitement level was off the chart.

Marc was untwisting hangers and he kept saying anyone that picks up a stick before I say will not get to roast marshmallows.  Finally all the hangers were undone.  Let the roasting begin.

Josue got to roast his first.  It was so funny watching him.  He did not want to put that thing in his mouth.  But when he finally did, he says "Oh, Marco."  He liked it.

Next, Nadia and Kathy, the birthday honorees, roasted theirs.  I kept telling Kathy the blacker the better.  I don't think she believed me.  But it's true.

We had flaming marshmallows,
 some great big messes

and making sure every bite of marshmallow was eaten.

Even Juan, the guard joined the fun.  He never joins us for anything.
I could have made myself sick on those marshmallows.  But I didn't.

After we finished the marshmallows, we went in the house for birthday cake.  The kids went crazy.  You would think we had never celebrated a birthday before.  They were yelling and screaming and cheering.  I had to laugh.

Kathy, Nadia and Josue blew out the candles.  As always, the birthday honorees received hugs from everyone else.

Josue really likes chocolate cake.

I think we just served our kids nothing but marshmallows and cake for supper.  Those kids may not ever settle down.  I feel sorry for the night person tonight.  Groan!  That's me tonight.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Another Flat

When we went to Costa Rica in November, we had a flat on the way to Costa Rica and again on the way home.  Two weeks ago Marc went to Copan and had a flat on the way and again on the way home.  It is kind of a joke.

Today, we took six kids high into the mountains to see their parents.  Marc looked at back right tire and said that doesn't look too good.  He left and drove down to the highway and got it fixed.  But, he also changed tires and was using that tire as the spare and put the old spare on the car.  When he got back, I commented that the tire looked worse than the one he changed.

At 3:00, we started home.  We got to Sabana Grande and had a flat.  So what else is new, it happens all the time.  Only we had six kids in the car.  The kids and I stayed in the car.  Trust me, this was a much better option than getting out of the car.  We were on a highway where trucks come racing through.  Had I lived through the experience of trying to keep the kids off the highway and alive, I would have aged several years.

We did not feel the car being raised in the back.  Fernando immediately had to go to the bathroom.  That is not so huge for a boy.  Then Ana did.  I knew all four girls had gone to the bathroom before we left their parent's house.  I opened the front and back doors and told her to get out of the car and go.  Of course, Fernando is trying to look at her.  Ana was not very happy when I told her to take her paper to the trash.  Then Katty has to go.  Open the front and back doors again.  She pulls her jeans down without unbuttoning and unzipping them.  When she finished, she could not get them back up.  Katty gladly prissed around with her paper looking for the trash.

Inside the car, the kids are touching and doing the she's-in-my-space, he-looked-at-me thing.  And yes, this was still better than being outside the car and keeping them off the highway.

When the tire was back on the car, we were dropped rather suddenly.  The kids were squealing and laughing. They loved that and wanted to do it again.

Fortunately, the rest of the way home was without incident except for just the normal stuff that goes with six kids in one car.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I really do know Valentine's Day was last week.

Yesterday, when I picked up my mail, I was so excited about Milky Ways and cashews that I almost forgot there were bills and tax information and bank statements and more work.  There was also a big envelope for the kids.

This afternoon I took the envelope to Karen.  It was full of valentine's from Pat and Kim Robinson.  Karen started calling the children's names.  The were hooting and hollering and jumping up and down.  Little Josue was saying "soccer, soccer" as he had a picture of a soccer player on his.

The kids were very pleased with the valentines.  Thanks Pat and Kim.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Glasses

A couple of weeks ago, there was an eye clinic held in our church building.  All of the children except Doris had their eyes checked.  Doris would have none of that.  She shut her eyes so tight there was no way any kind of exam could be done.

Most of the kids had good vision and some needed drops for various things.  After I bought the drops, I looked like a pharmacy.

Rosy and Nohemy's vision was such we need to watch and monitor it.  They may need glasses in the future.  Miss Maryuri needed them right now.  Her eyesight is pretty bad.

Karen took Maryuri to town and picked out glasses.  Barbie glasses.

The very first morning Maryuri came out of the bedroom carrying her little pink glasses case. Karen helped her put on her glasses. She looked around and smiled.  Remembering when I first got my glasses and could see leaves on trees, I have an idea Maryuri was seeing some things for the first time and smiling when she saw them.

I know she in enjoying seeing the world in her new Barbie glasses.  I think she is as cute as can be.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Welcome To Honduras, I Mean Houston

Whenever we travel to and from Honduras and have to spend a night because of connections, we use Hotwire to find a hotel. It works and usually for a good price.  I could not get all the way home yesterday and had to spend the night in Houston.  Marc got on Hotwire and found me a hotel  and it worked.  The hotel was clean, secure and had a bed in it.  And not much else.  It had no restaurant inside the hotel and no restaurant or gas station anywhere close that I could see and was located on a freeway.   A mixmaster, as there were freeways criss-crossing every which direction.  Made supper a bit of a challenge.

I don't carry shampoo, etc. when I go to to the States.  I just leave it at my mom's.  It saves a lot of poundage in my suitcase. I expect those little samples in hotels.  Not last night.  No coffee pot.  No radio.  Perhaps, Marc went too much on the low end.  Maybe not.

I was exhausted, sad, and knowing I had made a bad decision about leaving this soon after the funeral.  I had two choices.  I could have a pity party or a pamper party.  I chose the latter.  There were three things I really wanted to do while spending the night in Houston by myself: take a  hot bath, a luxury not to be had in Honduras, read on my book, and get a good night's rest.  In that room, I had everything I needed to accomplish those three things.

The hot bath, and a good talk to God, began to clear my head.  Realizing I encounter unexpected things on a daily basis in Honduras, I roll with the flow and, usually, laugh about it.  Do the same thing in Houston.  I ate chocolate chip cookies in bed.  Famous Amos directly from the vending machine.  Thank goodness for the vending machine.  I then fluffed up the nice flat pillows as much as they could be fluffed up and settled in with the book.   I read about an hour before I turned off the lights at 8:30.  Mission accomplished.

I woke this morning feeling more refreshed and knowing I had been a bit on the silly side about fretting over those things yesterday. 

After having chocolate chips cookies for supper, I was more than ready for the free continental breakfast.  I had never seen a continental breakfast that consisted of nothing more than white bread and a toaster. I was a bit put out at first.  Then, in my mind, I said "welcome to Honduras, I mean Houston."  Then I laughed.  Outloud. 

I then remembered all the people in Honduras and Haiti and India and Africa and all sorts of other places that would rejoice if they only had a piece of bread today.  I toasted my bread and sat down and thanked God for that piece of bread.  I am spoiled and I was ashamed.

I got to the airport, got on my plane, finished the book, and had an uneventful flight to Honduras.  After immigration and customs, I walked into Marc's arms and he said "welcome to Honduras," and at that moment, they were the most wonderful words on earth.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tears To Houston

The last couple of days have been stressful, to say the least.  But, I am so glad I could go to Amarillo and be with my mom. 

Everything about the service yesterday was beautiful.  The pastor, who just happened to be my cousin, that did the funeral admitted to us, the family, it was his first funeral and he was nervous.  No one would have ever known it was his first funeral or that he was nervous. He did a marvelous job and said words to comfort all of us, especially my mother. 

I bought my ticket to return today.  I could not get all the way home today and am overnighting in Houston.  Tuesday, when I bought the ticket, I thought I would be ready to leave today.  I wasn't.  I hated to leave my mom this soon.   I cried and I cried and haven't stopped yet.

As I started through security in Amarillo, there was a crowd of people waiting there.  I reached down to pull off my shoes and a soldier exited through the other side.  The crowd began to cheer and clap.  A wife,ran into his arms.  The other passengers going through security stopped and clapped as well.  I was already crying.  That was reason enough to cry some more.

I am a mess.  I feel so alone.  I cannot even imagine how alone my mom feels.    I will be home tomorrow and soon be back in my routine.  My mom has a lot of lonely days and nights ahead.  Please keep her in your prayers.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New School Year For Rosy And A New Employee

Rosy is deaf.  She attends a private school  in Tegucigalpa.  All the children are deaf and Rosy needs to be in this school.  She is beginning 3rd grade.

The first year the school had bus transportation to and from Loarque which is about 15 miles from here.  We got her there and picked her up everyday.  It was a challenge some days, but we did it.

Last year, there was afternoon transportation to Loarque.  I took her all the way to school most morning.  Marc, Dorian and Stacey helped, too.  It is 25 miles to school.  And fighting the morning traffic in Tegucigalpa took anywhere from 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  On occasion, it took three hours.  This was definitely a larger challenge.  Our God is faithful and He gave us what we needed to keep going.

I love Rosy and  I know she needs to be in this school.  I was willing to keep doing whatever it took to keep her in this school.  But, to be perfectly honest, it was hard and I was tired most of the time from needing to leave so early.  And, while we are being honest, I am not as young as I once was. 

With the price of gasoline at $3.92 a gallon, and rising every week this was getting expensive to get her school.  Karen and I prayed an prayed and talked over several different solutions.  We have decided to hire someone to ride the bus, the public transportation, each morning and afternoon with Rosy. 

We hired another sweet lady from our church, Suyapa.  Yesterday Dorian took Suyapa and Rosy so Suyapa would know where the school is.  Yesterday afternoon, Rosy and Suyapa walked in the door at 2:00, much sooner than we ever got home with her when we picked her up at Loarque and then drove up the mountain.  Both Rosy and Suyapa were smiling.  A good sign, indeed.

A few little bugs need to be worked out still.  Suyapa and Rosy were leaving at 5:45 this morning.  The time may need to be adjusted one way or the other depending on when they arrive at school.  Suyapa will stay in town all day and be back at the school when Rosy finishes.  Even though she works for us, the day will pretty much be hers to do with as she pleases as long as she is at the school when Rosy gets out.  There will be days, she will run some of the other errands for us.  Suyapa was more than willing to agree to some of those other errands. 

We are so excited about this new arrangement.  Like I said, I would have continued to do what needed to be done, but I feel really good that I am not making that morning drive every day.

God be praised, this is good.  Very good.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tonight I Am Sad

This morning I was taking pictures and enjoying myself watching the kids get ready for the first day of school.  After they left, I came down here and ate my breakfast.  I blogged.  I checked facebook, checked my email, sent a few emails, and thought about beginning the rest of my day.

I left the computer on and walked up to Casa to get the pay book.  Today was payday and I needed to get payroll done and had a list of errands in town to do.  I got the pay book and walked back down here.  I was gone 5 minutes, tops.

In my email was a new email from my sister and an email from facebook that said Rick Tindall has sent you a message.  I commented about my brother-in-law had sent me an email, never dreaming it could be anything bad.  Thinking, wow in five minutes I sure got a lot of email from my family, I chose to open the one from my sister.  It said call me either on my cell or at mom's.  The first realization that something was wrong.  My sister should have been at work, not at my mom's house.  I called immediately. She told me, our stepdad had died.  He and my mom had been married almost nine years and friends much, much longer than that.

I then called Marc and then Nathan.  I knew Nicole was in school and that would have to wait.  It was approaching 9:30 when I called Marc and he said did I want to leave today.  Well, yes I wanted to do, but that was physically impossible.  I began to try to book a ticket to get out of here tomorrow, which I finally acconplished.  I am leaving for Amarillo tomorrow.

I eventually got back to the email and was reminded of the fb message from Rick.  I went to fb and that message said you need to call Jana.  Now, if my brother-in-law ever sends me another message on facebook, I will think it is bad news.

I am very sad tonight.  Sad for our loss.  Sad that I am not with my mom tonight.  Nicole titled her blog "My Heart Hurts".  I did not want to copy her title, but my heart hurts tonight. 

I am sad for this loss.  But I am also sad that I couldn't be with mom today and tonight.

Please pray for my mom, for my stepdad's daughters, and for me as I travel tomorrow.  The travel day is always long, but when you are going for a reason such as this, it tends to be a bit longer.


First Day Of School

Today is the first day of school.  Preparations have been being made for quite some time.  Uniforms are clean and mended.  Shoes are shined.  Bookbags are packed.  Every single little detail has been seen to.  Even ears being cleaned.

There is always an excitement in the air about the first day of school.  Today was no exception.  The kids were up and had their uniforms on and ready to go.  I wonder how long that will last. 

The boys were ready first and more than willing to have pictures taken.

After all teeth were brushed, hair was fixed and chores were done, it was time to go.

And there they go, headed to the van.

I am sure Karen breathed a big sigh of relief.

Please pray that all the kids have a good year in school.


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine

On February 4th and 5th, I went to a ladies retreat.  It was a wonderful of time of renewal.  A time of sharing our victories and frustrations and discouragements with other women who truly understand.

 What I discovered is there is a lot of women serving as missionaries that feel dry spiritually all the time and feel so alone in this country. Yes, I admit it is hard to live and work in a foreign country, to learn a new language and a new culture.  To not have the comforts of the USA and to be far from family and friends.  But it is not always easy to stay full of the spirit in the USA either.  The distractions and busyness and jobs and family and ... and... keep us from having the joy God intends us to have.

I will be the first to admit I am dry sometimes.  I am weary.  I have trouble finding that joy.  But not all the time.  And I have you to thank that I am not that way all the time.

I am so blessed to have much encouragement from you.  I get emails and facebook messages and cards in my mailbox that let me know your pray for us and think of us and talk about us.  That encourages and keeps me going and makes it easier for me to not be so dry and empty.  And I want you to know that is not one-sided.  I pray for you and care about what is happening in your life.  I hope my prayers for you help you not be dry and empty.  I love it when you share with me your needs and concerns.  That in itself is an encouragement to me.  Then when we pray for each other, we are connected and none of us has to be so alone.

My valentine to you today is more of a thank you than anything else.  Thank you for encouraging us and praying for us.  Thank you for helping us stay spiritually connected.  Thank you for loving us and allowing us to love you and encourage you and pray for you.

I do hope everyone has a love-filled, spirit-filled valentine's day.


Friday, February 11, 2011

I Never Cease To Be Amazed

For three and a half years I have written about life in Honduras.  About getting our driver's licenses.  About spending days getting vehicles registered (makes the DMV look pretty good).  About the bank being out of money.  About living in a cash society and having to stand in line at the bank to pay the electricity bill and the phone bill.  We could do a quick review of this blog and come up with all sorts of stories.  I have lived here long enough that I think I can't be amazed at it anymore.  WRONG!

When we first got a land line, we had to go once a month to the Hondutel office in Santa Ana and pick up the bill.  And then go to a bank to pay in cash.  That office closed.  So we had to get the bills in Loarque for one month.  That is about 30 minutes in the car from here.  That was not too bad for us because we pass there all the time.  Then we were told we could get the bill from the Hondutel office in Ojojona.  That didn't last too long either.  The office in Ojojona said they are not our bills and we do not want to deal with this.  So, we went to the mayor's office here in Santa Ana to get the bill.  The mayor's office did not like dealing with it either.

This is not just us.  Everyone in Santa Ana that has a telephone was going here, there and everywhere for their phone bill.

Now we must go to the bank to pay the bill.  Well, we have always done that, correct.  Only we don't have a printed bill.  We just go pay the bill.  We have no way to see the bill, to see if the charges are correct,  or to dispute the bill if we think it is too high.  We pay whatever the banks says we owe. 

At least after we pay the bill, we get a printed receipt showing what we paid.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Snow In Honduras

I love seeing all the snow pictures from everywhere in the States.  I love the snow when I can stay inside by the fireplace and watch it.  Not so much, when I have to be out in it.  For all you folks that are cold and tired of the snow, come on down.  A nice queen-sized bed is waiting on you.

The sun is shining today complete with blue skies.  As you can see my flowers are blooming.  As I sit in the office today, I can hear birds singing and the children laughing and playing outside.  It is about 76 degrees and will get slightly warmer.  I have the windows open so that I can enjoy the pleasant temperature.  No heater, no air-conditioner needed.

The offer is good to anyone.  We are outside in the sun waiting on you.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A House For Pamela

Remember our employee, Pamela, whose husband was killed last year.  She and her little boy are getting a new house.  A house made of adobe.  She is so excited.  Pamela talks about the progress of the house everyday.  And as she talks about it, she has a huge smile on her face. 

The house has been under construction for a couple of weeks already and should take two more. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tis The Season For Many Trips To Town

There is always errands that need to be done in town.  Always.  With the price of gasoline at $3.91 a gallon, we try to save as many of those to do in one day as we can.  Each year in February, the need for trips to town and errands rises to a level not felt at other times of the year.

February means it is almost time for school to start.  Karen pulled out the trunks with the uniforms and tried them on everyone.   She made a list of who needed what.  School supply lists aren't out yet, but there are certain things everyone needs. 

Today, I was armed with the uniform list and the first round of school supplies.  I had other errands to do as well.  It was definitely a welcome to Honduras day.  The stores were already quite crowded with back-to-school shoppers.  The pharmacy only had part of the medicines the kids need now and said the rest would be in tomorrow and I could get them then.  I did pretty well on round one of school supplies, but we have thought of some more things already.  I went three places to get only four school shirts.  And shoes.  Forget it.  I lost count how many places I went. 

After a long, hot, several hours in Tegucigalpa, at 2:45 I said enough.  There is always one more trip to town for school supplies and school shoes. 


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday School Material

I taught Sunday school for twenty years or more.  Every church we were in had a nice education budget and plenty of Sunday school material was ordered.  I could add to it, or not.  There was always handouts and color sheets for all the children.  That is not the case in Honduras.

The churches in Honduras do not even know what an education budget is.  And the people that teach the children don't have preprinted material with handouts and color sheets.  Of course, the Bible makes a great curriculum, but it must be hard to create everything. 

We have been offered some material from the States that was excess or old, but that is always in english and no one has time to translate it all.  We usually decline.

While I was in a bookstore in the States, I found some Sunday school material in spanish.  It was one large book.  I purchased it.  When I gave it to Kelin, she hugged it.  She and her sister, Karol, looked at it and looked at it and looked at it.  They were so happy to have something like that.  I showed them there were color sheets that could be copied and I would make copies for her anytime she wanted me to.

Yesterday she needed copies made so the children would have them this morning.

Oh, the things we take for granted in the United States.


Saturday, February 5, 2011


A couple of weeks ago Karen told me about a ladies' retreat for American missionary women.  She was hoping that she, Stacey, and I could all go.  We all need to be encouraged and uplifted, but I was a little hesitant.  I had just returned from the States and had been encouraged and uplifted by family and friends.  But after, I thought about it a short while, I decided I would go. 

With each passing day, I was more glad I had made that decision.  The days and the weeks here sometimes are long and it was exciting to think about all of us leaving for a retreat.  Along with Jen Arnold, we left here at 3:00 yesterday afternoon.  Just the ride to town was fun.

The theme for this retreat was Revive.  Revive - bring back to life.

I fellowshipped with other ladies that are living on foreign soil, often struggle with the language, and know the challenges of being here.  The fellowship alone would have been worth it, but there were many other benefits and blessings to be received.  The lessons were good, the praise and worship was awesome.  My prayer gorup went deep and the times of reflection and soul-searching were much needed.  I got to spend some special time of prayer and sharing with a dear friend.

This time of retreat and fellowship was much more needed than I realized.  And a great big thank-you to Marc who worked kid shifts today.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Giveaway At Casa

People nearly always arrive in Honduras with giving hearts and sometimes leave with only the clothes on their backs.  Sometimes, the stuff they are leaving to be given away, finds its way to my house.  I load it in the car and take these things to the warehouse where it can be incorporated with the things that arrive on containers and can be given to people who really need it.

Last summer, I was out of commission most of the summer.  I never got to around to hauling all of that stuff to the warehouse.  And it was overtaking me. 

I proclaimed I was loading it up and getting it all to the warehouse before any more time elapsed.  Marc had a better idea.  He suggested we give our employees first chance at it.  Our employees are obviously employed, but by the time they buy food, bus fare, and send their kids to school, there is not much left.

The kids and I hauled bags and boxes up to the dorm.  Even little Josue carried a few things.  Stacey organized it all.  And then took care of the giveaway.  There clothes, shoes, and toys, among other things.

Yesterday morning at 9:00, all of our employees were here.  The ones that were not on duty were dressed as if they had gone to town to shop.  Each person went shopping one at a time and were allowed to select 10 items.  Everyone was so excited about this opportunity.  The last one did not finish until shortly afternoon.

Each of our employees were most grateful for this opportunity.  Your stuff blessed them.

Now, I still get to haul the rest of it to the warehouse.