Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Night At Pizza Hut

Last year, Marc and I decided we would take the children to Pizza Hut to celebrate their birthdays.  We were going to do this four kids at a time.  The first four went off as planned.  Then we  had to take groups two and three two nights in a row right before we left for the States in August.  Well, this last group has just been put off too long.  We finally cashed in our i.o.u.s and took the last six tonight.  There was confusion at the last minute.  Daniela was on my list to go and several of the kids, including Daniela, said she had been.  I was sure she had not been, but I had to look back at the pictures to be 100% sure.  I jumped out of the van and told her to change her clothes.  I did not know Daniela could change clothes that fast.  And, finally we were off to Tegucigalpa.

Some were so excited they went to sleep on the way there.

After arriving at the Pizza Hut, most of the kids went straight to the play area.  Fortunately, Marc was there way ahead of us and had ordered the food.  We were joined by Donnie and Roberto and his family.  Roberto is the caretaker at the farm.  He and his family had never been to Pizza Hut.  They were in awe the whole time.  Disneyland could not have been more impressive.

Roberto's family

A huge amount of soda was consumed.
Appetizers of chicken nuggets appeared and didn't last long.

Then came the pizza.
Antonio said he did not come to play.  He came for one thing only and that was to eat pizza.  At last count, he had eaten seven pieces.

The best is always saved for last.  Roberto's family's eyes were as big as the pizza pans when the ice cream came out.  Our kids attacked as if their lives depended on it.  
Little Any did not have a chance of getting any ice cream the way the bigger kids were eating it.  We scooped some out and put on her plate.  She had no idea how to eat ice cream.  So she licked it.
And Sisi wanted to get every last drop.

Everyone had a ton of fun.  This completes a year of Pizza Hut birthdays.  We will probably still do fun things for the kids, but we are not going to make another promise like we did last year.  We were owing a group their trip all the time.  If we were doing it again this year, we would already be six behind.  But, if the truth be known, Marc and I had as much fun as the kids.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Praying The Dark Away

I like to walk.  I need to walk.  I try to walk for 30 minutes four days a week.  The best time for me to walk is early morning before I shower and get my day going.  Usually, it is so early that it is still dark outside when I start walking.  But, by the time I am finishing my walk, morning light is breaking.  I walk away the dark.

I normally spend that 30 minutes praying as well.  Some mornings are far more intense than others.  This morning was one of those mornings.  This morning as I was finishing up the walk, and the morning light was breaking, I realized as I walk away the dark, I also pray away the dark.  The dark clouds that hung over soul were gone and sunlight was shining on my day.

I hope you find time to pray away the dark today.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Doctor's Visit

This morning Karen and Dorian's little Korbin had an appointment with the pediatrician.  Karen was able to make Olman and Josue appointments as well.  At 8:00, Karen, Dorian and Mirian left with Korbin, Josue, and Olman.  One adult per one baby.  I like those ratios.  They arrived at 9:15 and saw the doctor from then until 11:00.  Everyone liked the doctor and thought she was very thorough.

Korbin was born November 21and Josue and Olman were born November 25, all three premature.  Today at four months old, Korbin weighs 13 pounds, Olman weighs 11 pounds, and Josue 9 pounds.  Yay! Everyone is gaining, some just not as rapidly as others.

Olman has a hole in his heart and has to see a cardiologist.  Josue needs to see a neurologist.  Karen was also told we needed to get Josue into Teleton as soon as possible.  Nicole was on her way to Teleton as Karen was returning from the doctor.  She was able to get Josue's records and doctor recommendation to Nicole.  Nicole is starting the process of getting another child in Teleton.  Josue also needed meds for inhalers.

We don't know what is involved, but we probably have a long road ahead with doctor's appointments and Teleton.  Please pray that we will find the doctors we need and that the twins will soon be healthy.


Saturday, March 24, 2012


I love to read and always have.  I tried to instill that passion in my kids.  I read to them and we always had books to read.  Many of my friends love to read.  We do not see that same love of reading in this country.  And, rarely is a child read to.  Of course, most children are not read to.  Most parents are illiterate.  The children of Casa de Esperanza are no exception.  They have not been read to and, most of them, cannot read well.  We have all said we need to do something about it. 

Nicole is the one person that is doing something about it.  She reads to the kids in the preschool and tries to have a reading time with others throughout the week.  After the chores were done this morning, and with almost everyone having already done their homework, we took the kids outside.  It was a beautiful morning this morning.  Nicole went and got some of the books.  The children who wanted to read or be read to, had to stay in Nicole's sight.  She doesn't want the books to disappear.  Several were interested in this. 

Cindy took a book and got comfortable in a swing.

Sisi and Maryuri stayed near Nicole

Nohemy, the one child, that really loves to read, read long after everyone else quit.

It did my heart good to see Nicole and the kids reading.


Thursday, March 22, 2012


A couple of the kids now have jobs.  When we took the twins and Cris, Mirian needed some help and asked Pamela to help her.  Pamela helps feed and bathe the babies.  And she is oh so ready to hold one and love one, even when he is crying.  She also helps bathe the older kids.  She has to sweep and mop the front room.  We pay her a little for this.  She seems to have found something she really enjoys doing.
Pamela (on the right) holding one of the babies.

Last year, I was training Brayan to work in the store here at Casa.  That was not paid job, though.  He loved the groups and was learning well and was a really good helper.  After Byron, opened the coffee shop, he asked Brayan to work for him.  Brayan gladly accepted and we said yes, too.  Brayan knows how to interact with people.  Byron and Anita and others in the coffee shop say he is good help and is polite.  Brayan is the official brownie supreme maker, among other things.  He buses the tables.  The times I have been in the coffee shop, Brayan is always happy and working hard.

Brayan making a brownie supreme

and then serving it.

The kids do not make very much money and homework has to come first.  They both seem to be proud that they have a little money.  Pamela spends hers as soon as she gets it and Brayan is saving for something big.  He won't say what, but something big.

I am glad the kids have this opportunity to earn and learn.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Marbles Are Banned

Marbles have been banned at Casa de Esperanza.  Not that there is anything wrong with marbles, but the kids have been playing marbles when they are not supposed to.  Sometimes, they play marbles instead of doing chores or homework.  Sometimes, when they are told to stop and do chores, they ignores us and keep playing marbles.  Sometimes, some of the kids get into great big fights with each other while playing marbles.  We were taking away allowance and sending them to the wall.  Nothing worked.  So Karen banned marbles.  All marbles.  If we find marbles, we throw them away.  The kids don't like us throwing marbles away. 

Fernando and Fitto hid some marbles and got up at 10:00 p.m. one night after everyone else was asleep.  They played marbles until 2:00 a.m.  In devo and school they could not stay awake the next day.  Because of that little incident a few more marbles ended up in the trash.

This morning, I was overseeing morning chores.  Whoever is doing that has to stay right with Fernando.  He tries every way possible to get out of his work.  This week he has to sweep and mop the boy's room.  I was standing there insisting he sweep.  Elvia walked into the room and told the boys it was time to change their sheets and began yanking the sheets off the beds.  Marbles were flying everywhere.  Fernando dropped that broom and was scrambling to get to the marbles before I did.  Trust me, I was scrambling to get to them, too.  I got some of them and deposited them into the trash.  I honestly do not know what happened to the rest of them.  I looked under the beds and checked everyone's pockets.  I guess the marbles I did not confiscate will show up again soon.

A word to the wise:  DO NOT BRING MARBLES TO THE CASA KIDS.  They will end up in the trash.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Haley's Parking Lot

Since Nicole is teaching the Casa de Esperanza preschool four mornings a week and helping with homework in the afternoon, Haley spends more time at Casa than she does at home.  And nearly all of the time she spends at home is at night.  Haley has brought some of her things here so she can enjoy them during the daylight hours.  Grammy's front porch has become Haley's parking lot.  Not that Grammy is complaining or anything. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break Fun Continues

The second week of spring break ended yesterday.  The two Texas teams and our friends from Nottingham, England built another school room and three houses.  They had church and fed in the dump, distributed food, had a late night devo in Byron's coffee shop, played with the Casa kids and other kids as well.  We celebrated two birthdays; Nicole Clark turned 19 and one of the leaders, Jeff Smith went over the hill as he celebrated his 50th birthday.

This week the group from Freed Hardeman is here.  They got off the plane and went to Nueva Oriental and then came to Casa for a bonfire.  We fed the kids marshmallows then sent them in for showers and supper.  I wonder how many suppers we ruined with those marshmallows.  Today, after church, the group was going to the hospital.  Tomorrow, the physical work begins with the construction of one more school room.  There will also be 2 more houses built, food distribution, the dump and a day or so in the prison.  Good stuff happening in Honduras.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A House For Doris

Doris went to work for Casa de Esperanza in October.  At the time, she was down on her luck.  Her husband left, she was losing her house and her job at the school was ending.  She has one son, Carlos.  Carlos is 14 and has just started seventh grade. 

Doris was losing her house because of some really bad decisions her husband made before he left.  She moved in with a friend, but that friend soon asked her to leave.  Since that time, she has been renting a house.  Marc told her when she was able to get some land, he would build her a house.  She got that land, and yesterday was a great day for Doris.  The spring break groups from Texas built her house.  Tuesday evening we went to look at the property.  Doris did not know until we called her to meet us at the property that she was receiving a house.  She was beside herself with joy.  She went to meet the lumber truck  yesterday morning at 6:00 a.m.  And since this is Honduras, it did not arrive on time.  She was calling immediately. 

One of Joel's team had to leave yesterday.  He and I went to the airport with her.  While we were in town, Joel wanted to buy a home box for Doris.  We went to Wal-Mart.  Joel had a ton of fun buying things for Doris's new house.  Sheets, blankets, pillows, broom, dustpan, mop.  And on and on, Joel bought.  He even bought a box of fruit loops for Carlos.

We drove back to Santa Ana and to the house site.  Doris and Carlos were watching the house go up.  Both had big smiles on their faces.
At the end of the day, when the house was done and the prayer was said, Doris knew exactly from where that house had come.  She was thanking God.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fire In The Market

The week I was in Texas many things happened in Honduras.  There is a huge market area that sells everything.  Tools, clothing.  Everything.  Marc says if you can't find it at that market, it can't be found.  I have never been there, so I am taking his word.  On February 18th, the day I left, there was a huge fire in this market.  We could see the huge pillar of thick black smoke rising above the city from the airport.  But, at that time, no one knew what it was.

Since I had delayed flights and was wondering about the Houston airport for so long, most people knew what had happened long before I did.  It was posted all over facebook.  There were 2500 small businesses lost in this fire and, some reports say, somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 people lost jobs.  In a country where most people live below the poverty line, this is staggering.  That kind of loss would be staggering any where. 

The dump trucks were rolling into the dump with the debris for days.  Marc was in the market Thursday.  He said there are hulls of the shops everywhere.  It will be a long time before everything is completely cleaned up.  And, even longer before everyone is back in business.  To try to maintain some level of income, some people are selling their wares from tents that have been set up in the streets.  With so many tents in the streets, it is hard to negotiate on foot, much less in a vehicle.  Marc had gone to buy some items for our store.  He soon discovered one of the vendors had lost everything in the fire.  That, suddenly, made it much more personal.   

We complain and complain about our containers not being released.  As always, God's timing is so perfect.  A food container was released and Marc was able to donate the whole container to the city to help these people that lost their businesses. After losing everything, a little food to feed your family would be welcome.

We hope to have a group in April that will spend their days helping to rebuild some of the stores that were lost in the fire.  If you are interested in this trip, please let me know.  Please pray for the thousands that have lost their businesses and/or jobs.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Distributing School Supplies

Matt and I had so much fun buying school supplies with money that was donated with that purpose and others had fun distributing them.  Matt's folks and a small group from Indiana were here the last week of February.  Many of the bags were distributed that week to the children in the feeding center above Ojojona.

Uniforms are required by the government for children to be able to attend school.  In some very poor areas where most of the children would not be able to afford uniforms this restriction may be dropped.  The children that are fed in the feeding center above Ojojona could be described as that poor.  As they waited for their bag of school supplies, they were excited, yet well-behaved.  And some may not have had even a pencil with which to write.  To these children, this was a much appreciated and much needed gift.

Some bags were given out in the village of El Magote.  Again, it was a much needed gift.  The last fifty bags have not been distributed, but will soon be handed out in Nueva Arcadia.

Again, my thanks goes to those who donated for these school supplies.  We cannot even imagine a child not being to afford a pencil.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Team Harding At Work

Team Harding is a novice group, with only one or two of its members having been here before.  Being novices has not slowed them in the least.  They began by buying food at the market.  They bought fresh fruit and vegetables for about 200 families and distributed it in Buen Samaritano.  Sunday afternoon they visited Hospital Escuela, always an eye-opening experience.  After that they fed the homeless at Breaking Chains ministry. 

Monday morning they started with the physical labor.  They went to a new village called Lomas Diamante and built a school building.  They then painted the building. There is no school in this community.  The residents are so excited about the opportunity to send their children to school.  The teacher even came and helped build.  There were some tired kids last night.  But they were also excited and happy with the idea of making a huge difference in the lives of the children in Lomas Diamante.

Today, the students built a house.  A three bedroom house with bunk beds.  During the heavy rainy season a house washed off the mountain.  A mom living in a house below the house heard the rumble and roar as the house came crashing into her house.  She jumped on her daughter in an attempt to save the daughter.  The little girl lived and the mother died.  An uncle and his wife and their three children also lived in the house.  The uncle and his family took the little girl, whose name is Marilyn.  But they had no place to live.  After hearing this sad story, someone in the mayor's office found a place for the family to live and has been paying rent for this family.  Tonight, this family is now living in their own home again thanks to Team Harding.
Marilyn and one of her cousins who will also be living in the new house.

The finished house.

Tomorrow the students will feed in the dump and then visit the blind school.

What a great group.


Monday, March 5, 2012

February Newsletter

Casa de Esperanza
Making a difference, one child at a time
P.O. Box 9222
Columbus, MS 39705

Amigos de Casa,

We are enjoying nice, almost perfect, weather. So far, there has been enough rain to keep the dry season from being too hot and miserable. We still have several months before dry season ends; so who knows what we will have in the months to come. Things in Honduras are calm politically. We are blessed to be here taking care of these children.

We are pleased to announce a new store site, Thanks to Byron Sommardahl for this new store site. Please check it out.

After taking Any and Yair on December 20, we were still trying to adjust to living with two little ones, when IHNFA called on January 3 asking us to take three more. These three precious children consisted of one little boy that is four years old and two twin boys that were 2 months old. We talked to Mirian, the houseparent, and said yes. We had never had newborns and there was a scramble to gather the needed things before the children arrived. With IHNFA that could be two hours or weeks. The list of things we needed was lengthy. Finally, on January 17, we brought these three little boys home. Two weeks is not bad for IHNFA. Cris Anderson is the four year old. For Honduras, he is a big four year old. He has the cutest little dimples. His mother abandoned him. An aunt and grandmother tried to take care of him, but just couldn't because of financial reasons. The aunt and grandmother visit Cris every month at visitation.

The twins were removed from the mother at birth. The mother was using drugs. The twins were premature. When we got them they were two months old. Olman weighed six pounds and Josue weighed 4 ½ pounds. Both of the twins are gaining weight and seem to be thriving under Mirian's care.

We moved one of the housekeeping staff (Reina) out of the big house to help Mirian in her house. Mirian now has seven in the Brumley cottage, 1 9 year-old, 1 7 year-old, 2 4 year-olds, 1 2 year-old and the twins. She definitely needed help with cooking and cleaning. Our 14 year-old Pamela is helping over in that house, too. We pay her a small allowance. She is helping with bathing and cleaning. We hope this is valuable experience for her. We also hired a part time person to work Reina's days off. 




Pamela holding one of the babies.

We now have 24 children. It has been a strain on all of us and the paid staff, but I am thankful that each and every one of them is here.

On January 31, Karen Dorian and Korbin returned from the States. We all were very glad to see them. Things run smoother when Karen is here.

Katy decided it would be great fun to put on a pair of rollerblades and then be pulled by a bicycle. It was great fun until she fell and burnt her arm on the bicycle tire. She had to spend one night in the hospital but is just fine now. The nurses were glad when she got to go home.

The last Saturday in January, we went to the beach. It was a beautiful day in Amapala. There were very few other people there and we had a wonderful time. The kids laughed and play and swam. And ate. Some kind soul treated everyone to a fried fish lunch. It was a long day, but no one minded.

The end of January and the first of February always brings the busyness of trying on school uniforms, having them mended and ironed, polishing black school shoes, buying a few more pieces to complete all uniforms. The kids were really ready to get back to school. School started for most on February 9 and for Rosy on February 15. This year, for the first time, we have two in high school. They have to be out the door at 6:00. We also had to make some changes to the way Doris and Reina were schooled. They are now being taught at home.

Nicole also started a preschool this year. Everyone but the twins that is not in school goes to preschool four mornings a week. We are hoping that the kids learn a few things this year.

  • Seventh grade (high school) – Brayan and Pamela
  • Sixth grade – Antonio
  • Fifth grade – Jackson
  • Fourth grade – Ana, Cindy, Daniela, Jose, Fernando, and Rosy (Manos Felices)
  • Third grade – Sisi, Katy
  • Second grade – Nohemy, Adonis
  • First grade – Maryuri, Guadalupe
  • Kindergarten – Cris
  • Preschool – Cris, Any, Josue, Jair, Haley
  • Homeschool – Reina, Doris
  • Teleton- Maryuri, Reina, Guadalupe, Fernando

Reina and Maryuri are now going to Teleton every Friday for an hour and a half and Fernando and Guadalupe are going every other Monday. We expect to see more improvement in these four this year.

We have five different school schedules this year and the teleton schedules and homework. If anyone complains about being bored, it is their own fault.

We purchased new property in Ojojona, right down the street. In a couple of years, we will begin taking some older girls that are stuck in the IHNFA system. We will take them, love them, show them God's love, educate and give them some job skills. The property has a house that currently needs some work, which will begin immediately.

Please pray for all of the employees, staff, and children of Casa de Esperanza. We thank you for you generous prayers and support. Please feel free to share this newsletter. If you have any questions, please contact me at



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Worship This Morning

There is a place very near here called Cruz de Chatarra which means cross of scrap iron.  The man that built it says his life was worthless and meaningless until he was saved by the blood of Jesus.  He built a cross out of worthless iron to symbolize that.  This place overlooks Santa Ana.  We can see Tegucigalpa as well.  Friday night we talked about taking the Harding students and the Casa kids to Cruz de Chatarra for worship.  After consulting with Karen, it was a go.  I was so looking forward to this worship experience.

Last night, we heard of a terrible auto accident in Texas involving six Harding students.  The details were sketchy, but we announced it to the group and prayed for the student that was on life support in critical condition in Longview, Texas.

This morning we had a rather huge issue at Casa which had to be dealt with before we left for the Cruz.  It took longer than anyone expected, making me long for the time of reflection and worship even more.

As we rode to the Cruz, Marc received a phone call telling us of the death of this young Harding student.  Harding is a small college and everyone grieves when they lose one of their own.  In addition, a couple of the kids here this week are good friends with the young man.  Marc told a young lady who was especially close to  Ty Osman.  I began to tell some of the others.  The students were in small huddles hugging, weeping, praying.  I was doing my best to console and pray with some.  At the same time, I was reliving a spring break 12 years ago.  When we lost our own son in a tragic auto accident.  I hurt for the students.  I hurt for the family.  No parents should ever have to bury their child.

I was really glad we were doing our own worship and not on someone else's agenda, in someone else's language.  The mood of our worship was much more somber than we planned.  Byron led us in some appropriate songs, which, for me, were comforting.  I hope they were comforting to some of the others.  Marc got up and gave the communion thoughts,  interjecting thoughts about the loss of our son and the loss of God's own son on the cross.  I don't know how he did that, but it was very moving and touching. 

Please pray for the family of Ty Osman, the Harding community, the 20 students that are here this week, and for all of us as we try to console each other.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring Break

Most people only get to enjoy spring break for a week, but we get to enjoy it for three weeks.  Yesterday, spring break began and doesn't end until March 24.  We will have four teams and a few other people here over the next three weeks.  I  love the excitement and enthusiasm the college kids bring.

A group of 20 from Harding arrived yesterday.  We have always had Harding students at spring break and with some of the summer groups, but this is the first time an official group has come from Harding.  They were tired last night.  After some rest, they were eager to get started this morning.

Next week two groups from Texas will be here.  The group from Lubbock came for the first time last year.  There are 17 of them coming, some returning people and some brand new ones.  The Skillman Church of Christ group is a brand new group with 12 people.

The third week we have a group of 29 from Freed-Hardeman.  This is the third year for this group to come work with us.  Throughout the three weeks, we will also have some special guests from England, Florida, and Abilene.

Some of these people I already know and some I don't, but I expect great things from all of them.  Spring break will be exciting with many wonderful things happening.  For me, personally,  I look forward to being renewed as I join the groups each night for devo.  I need some good English singing and fellowship.

A great big welcome to our spring break groups and guests.