Thursday, September 27, 2012

Five Years and Counting

Five years ago (technically, five years ago on Saturday- September 29, 2007) I arrived in Santa Ana.  I had been to Santa Ana several times, but this time was different.  This was the first time I arrived in the journey of calling Santa Ana home.  I had been on several mission trips to Honduras, but I was a bit scared to be moving there.  Well, perhaps I was more than a bit scared.  I had seriously prayed over the decision that Marc and I made.  I knew God would be watching over us every step of the way.  But, I was still scared.  And, I was so clueless.  Clueless as to what I was doing.

I am not sure what I thought I would be doing, but what I am doing is nothing like I envisioned.  I quickly found needs at Casa de Esperanza that needed to be filled.  I had the talents and the know-how to fill some of those needs and plunged into the tasks before me.  And, I fell in love with those precious children. Those children are my life now.  I continue to be amazed how God brought Karen and I together.  Her strengths and weaknesses and my strengths and weaknesses form a great team.  And, now Nicole has been added to that team.  God always knows what He is doing.

At first, the welcome-to-Honduras-days were frustrating.  They are still frustrating.  But, most of the time these days, I am not wanting to give up and quit.  I thought I would learn Spanish rapidly and be afraid to drive.  I can drive any where I want to go, but I still struggle with the language.  It will not conquer me.

I thought Marc and I would be working together all day.  And that we would have time to see the rest of the country and the rest of Central America.  Marc and I have separate jobs and see each other morning and night, just like most other working people.  There is no time for travel.  I am not complaining.

The ministry has grown beyond your wildest dreams.  We never thought about the dump or containers or over 30 groups in one year.  God has blessed these efforts.  We, too, have been blessed.  Hundreds of people have fallen in love with the Honduran people, just as we have, and want to be a part of helping and ministering.

Once in a while, someone asks when we will be leaving.  We don't know.  Thankfully, we own no home in the States.  And, Santa Ana is truly home.  We will be here as long as we are able or when we see the poverty that exists and are no longer bothered by it.  When that happens, it will be time to leave.  But, for now, we have the best jobs in the world.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Places We Have Been And People We Have Seen

Our time in the States is rapidly coming to an end.  We have been over 5000 miles that took us through 11 states.  We have been in homes, churches, student centers,  restaurants, one church reunion, one family reunion, a rotary club, and 1 missions class.  We have spent precious time with family and seen friends, many of whom we have not seen in a long time.  We have prayed and laughed and cried.  We have shared our work and many have shown us their good works.  Some have shared their concerns and problems.  We have stopped at McDonald's for dollar cokes and free internet.

We have traveled on and off the interstate.  We have seen mile after beautiful mile of the USA. And seen Texas sunsets.  We unloaded and loaded suitcases somewhere around 15 times.  We have had fun.

There is never enough time to see everyone and go everywhere.  Some people I really wanted to see and time ran out.  Some of you, I will see soon.  Some, it will be a bit longer.  Thank you to everyone for loving on us and hosting us. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

US 50

We had a wonderful weekend with our Fairview Heights church family.  Thank you Debbie, Sara, and Rosemary for the time you spent with me.  I needed that girl time with each of you.  We left this morning for Mitchell, Indiana.

After looking at the map, we decided to drive from Belleville to Mitchell on U.S. 50.  We saw miles and miles and miles of farmland.  I love driving through the farmland.  I love getting off of the interstate.  There is a lot more to American than McDonald's and c-stores at every exits.

Our chosen route took us right through the heart of many little towns and right on the edge of many others.  The midwestern farm homes have a special kind of charm.  They are so warm and inviting.  They seem to be saying, "come on in and let's have a cup of coffee."  The old churches, both wooden and brick, have an unexplainable fascination for me.  We don't see those old churches on the interstate.  We saw old bridges and old highways.  I even saw a silo store.  I can honestly say I have never before seen a silo store.

I know before I even say this, that Nicole is laughing and making fun of me, but I wish we could stop and read every single historical marker.  But I don't even ask.

We have lived a lot of places and been even more.  I think weird things on these U.S. highways.  I think we could have come all the way from Placerville, California on U.S. 50.  We could keep going and end up in Belpre, Ohio, Karen's home.  In Flora, Illinois we intersected with U.S. 45.  We could have gone south and gone all the way to Columbus and kept going to Mobile. 

I had a delightful day as we traveled through the heartland of America.   We stopped for a little snack.  It was such a beautiful day.  We ate our snack outside.

We had pizza, one of my favorites, and warm, warm fellowship in Mitchell tonight.

I am expecting another wonderful day of travel tomorrow as we make our way to Bowling Green.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Ugly Duckling

The swan is beautifully graceful bird.  Remember the story of the ugly duckling.  The baby swan that everyone thought was a baby duckling.  The duckling was so ugly, much more so than any of the other ducklings. 
But when the duckling grew up, it was a beautiful swan. 

That is how it is with God's grace.  We are all ugly ducklings, but the blood of Christ has turned us into beautiful swans.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

St. Louis

Last night we arrived in Belleville.  I was glad to be here.  All day Thursday and most of Friday we drove in the rain.  Today was a perfect day, about 70 degrees.  We spent the day in St. Louis.  A lot of things we just saw from the car.  But the St. Louis zoo is one of the best free zoos anywhere.  Since parking is $15.00, we parked a long way from the zoo and walked, as did many others. 

Forest Park is a beautiful park.  Not only were there many people in the zoo, but we saw families hiking, biking, having picnics and many other activities. 

We have always enjoyed the St. Louis zoo, and today was no exception.  We didn't even buy a drink there.  We waited to get our $1.00 cokes at McDonald's.

Yay for a wonderful, relaxing day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Good Works

As we travel around the country sharing what is happening in Honduras, people are sharing with us good works that are happening in their communities.  We are getting to hear about and see homeless ministries, feeding ministries, prison ministries, Augment houses, and so much more.  I am so happy to see that people are sharing God's love wherever they are.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Breaking News!!!

I have often quoted statistics about poverty and hunger.  Thousands in Honduras are hungry all the time.  Thousands of little children living in Honduras will not eat a single meal today.  People die everyday from starvation and malnutrition.  It is very sad.

Soon, there will be a new feeding center in Buen Samaritano, one of the villages near the dump.  About 200 children will receive a hot meal five days a week.  They also will be taught of Jesus' love. 

This feeding center will be used as a church on Sundays.  There are two young men working in this community.  They are setting up Bible studies and sharing God's love.  In addition to a feeding center, a church plant is on the way.  Food for the body and food for the soul.

Team Oklahoma in October will get to start this building by pouring the footers.  Bring your work gloves. You will be mixing concrete.

Praise God for this enormous blessing.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Small Texas Towns

The Texas panhandle is full of small towns.  Most of them are farming towns.  And some of them are very small.  My dad knew every back road to every one of these small towns.  As a child, I traveled these roads more than once.

As we have gone to family reunions, and other places like Amarillo and Childress, I cannot help but notice that many of these towns are dying.  Empty houses.  Abandoned, boarded-up buildings.  I do not know how small town people are solving the world's problems with most Dairy Queens no longer open. 

I have also noticed that everyone, no matter the age, in these towns support their high schools and Friday night football.  If we should pass through on Friday evening when there is an away game, the whole town might be empty.

There is a certain charm about these little towns and I hate to see their demise.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Memory Lane

When we visit in the Texas panhandle, we have to make at least one trip to Amarillo.  Today, was that day.  We lived in Amarillo for three years.  That was a long, long time ago.  We purchased our first house in Amarillo and our first child was born there.

We drove through downtown Amarillo, a nonevent.  We then drove out to the South Georgia area to see our first house.  When we purchased that house in 1978, it was an old house, in an old subdivision.  We cleaned and painted on that little house.  Then a year and a half later, we made a nursery.  Good, good memories.

Since the house was old 34 years ago, we both expected the whole neighborhood to be pretty run down.  We were pleasantly surprised.  Our house and the whole neighborhood looked good.  I noticed some of our favorite restaurants were no longer there.  New stores.  New malls.  Amarillo has changed just like everything and everyone else.

From time to time,  I love taking these strolls down memory lane.  But for the present, I am glad I am where I am, doing what I am doing.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

August 2012 Newsletter

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

Amigos de Casa,

Rain continues to fall as we enter the heavy part of the rainy season. I get so
tired of rain, but we don't complain. It keeps us from running out of water. And,
so many parts of the United States need rain so deperately. The time is coming
soon when it will be hot and dry.
Emma Kate Fitzgerald was born to Matt and Nicole on July 11. This was about a
month early. Emma Kate's lungs and heart were not fully developed and she
was in ICU for a while after birth. She has had pneumonia and a respiratory
infection and has been back in the hospital, in ICU, again. Right now, she is
home and is doing very well. We pray for Emma Kate's continued good health.
When any one of us is out, for any reason, the rest of us miss that person. And,
we do miss Nicole. The Fitzgeralds are leaving for the States for a couple of months so that Baby Emma can fully recuperate.

Baby Josue was also in the hospital for about a week. He also had some
respiratory problems. He is so fragile. It required one employee to be at the
hospital at all times. Josue, too, is home from the hospital and is continuing to
improve. These babies that were born prematurely sometimes have problems
for a long time. Please pray for all the babies at Casa because all of them were
born prematurely.
Josue has also started physical therapy. This has been delayed because of his

Antonio was released from the doctor and put away the crutches. He is walking
well on that leg and soon no one will even know anything was ever wrong.
Antonio is now working at the coffee shop some.
Right now, except for Josue (four-year-old-Josue) having a sty on his eye, we
think everyone is well. Praise God for this.
We have had a lot of runaways recently. Fernando and Jackson left early one
Sunday morning. They hid as we left to look for them. They made their way to
Loarque, a good 15 miles away. Fernando cried because his feet hurt so badly.
They had to sleep with a piece of cardboard and a blanket and woke up hungry.
They were walking back to Santa Ana when someone found them. They were
glad to see a familiar face and even more glad for a ride home. This experience
was unpleasant enough that I don't think they will be repeating this adventure
anytime soon.
Adonis, too, has run away. He has left mulitple times. He has been brought back
every time but this last time. He left from the school and had a huge head start.
We looked and looked for him. And prayed and prayed for him. We reported to
IHNFA as required. We headed toward Sabana Grande and decided he was not
made for life on the streets. He turned himself in to a policeman and was taken
to IHNFA. We are glad he is safe. Because of his multiple attempts at leaving,
he will not be returned to Casa, but instead he is being placed in a boy's home.
We pray that they have the resources to help this very troubled child. We did
not have those resources. Pray that this child gets the help he needs.


Groups continued to work at Casa the whole month of July and into August. All
the painting inside of the big house was completed. Everything looks and smells
so fresh. The roof was painted white. Daytime temperatures are much lower
inside the house, making lunch time and nap time much more bearable. Also,
the new chicken coop was finished. Thanks to all the groups that worked at
Casa this summer. Your work is very appreciated.

The group from Antioch, California made a huge donation to the preschool.
Books and toys were donated that will help some of our little ones that are so
far behind. Nicole and Christina, especially, are putting this donation to good

Teachers are striking frequently, causing the children to miss many days of
school. As elections approach, we predict that will only get worse.
Remember, every child at Casa is there because something in their families was
not working properly. As you pray, call the children by name: Pamela, Brayan,
Antonio, Jackson, Cindy, Rosy, Daniela, Ana, Fernando, Jose, Katy, Sisi, Reina,
Doris, Nohemy, Maryury, Guadalupe, Josue, Cris, Any, Yair, Olman and Josue.
And remember, Korbin, Haley and Emma, too. All of the staff would appreciate
prayers as well. We need wisdom and patience as we try to teach God's love in
all things.
Please feel free to share this newsletter is anyone you think might be interested.
If you have questions or concerns, please email me at


Terri Tindall

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sonic Date

Marc and I have always enjoyed going to Sonic.  Once, in a particularly stressful time in our lives, we would often go to Sonic.  We would order a drink, sit in the car and visit, and try to forget about what was going on for a few minutes.  While in the States, we always do Sonic a couple of times.  Or more.

While we were in Jackson, and Camille was at swim practice, we went to Sonic for a coke.  We missed happy hour.  But as we were drinking our cokes, we noticed half price shakes after 8:00 p.m.  Marc promised we would do a half price shakes soon.

Today, it was 105.  Hot!  I always have deadlines and I have worked all day.  I was secretly thinking, "it would be a good time for the half price shake."  Marc must have read my mind.  About ten minutes til 8:00, we left for Sonic. 

Unexpectedly, it had cooled.  Clouds were forming and a pretty good breeze was blowing.  We actually got to Sonic two minutes before 8:00.  We waited.  It took that long to decide what I wanted.  At exactly 8:00, we ordered our shakes.  Marc had hot fudge.  I had caramel.  We sat in the car enjoying the coolness of the evening and watching the glorious sunset.  With the clouds, the sunset was purplish.

I will soon be working again, but that little trip to Sonic was a great break.  I hope we do it again.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Reunion Weekend

We nearly always are in the States in September.  We nearly always are in different churches every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.  This year we decided to take Labor Day Weekend off so we could reunion.  I am so glad we did.

Marc's family has had a reunion every year for 80 years or so.  That reunion is always held Labor Day Weekend.  The church in which I grew up was also having a reunion at the same time.  Marc and his parents left Friday afternoon for the family reunion.  I refused to choose.  I did both.  Saturday, I did the church reunion.  Sunday, I did the family reunion.

The church reunion started at 10:00 a.m.  My cousin and I arrived about 10:05.  Quite a few people were already there.  I visited and visited and saw so many people I had not seen in years.  People came and went all day.  We left around 1:00 so my cousin could get her hair done.  We returned about 3:30 and I left with the lock-up crew.  I walked down the history hall.  I visited every Sunday school room in which I was first taught about Jesus' love.  I sat in the sanctuary.  I went to the approximate pew in which I was sitting the night I decide to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and be baptized.  I sat in the pew where Laura and I sat almost every Sunday.  I remembered my wedding.  In that building, many of my first friendships were formed and have lasted a lifetime.  I remembered the people that have had a huge influence in my life and helped to make me who I am today.  In many the ways, the little church in which I was raised is the same. And in many ways, it is very different.  But it will always hold precious memories for me. 

I had so much fun and was so excited at the end of the day.  I had trouble settling down and going to sleep.  And that 4:00 a.m. alarm seemed to go off before I was ready.  But I jumped up, showered and got myself ready to leave for Lake Murray, Oklahoma.  I am a morning person and I am use to daylight breaking around 6:00 or earlier.  I left at 5:30 and had driven many miles before I saw light.  I was so ready.  I had to keep stopping for coffee and coke.  And the bathroom.  I arrived at the lake at 11:00 yesterday morning.  Again, I was seeing people I had not seen in years.  And, again, I had so much fun.  Marc and Don and I left the lake at 11:00 last night to head back to Ardmore.  After breakfast, we drove back to the lake to say our "see-ya-laters."  I don't like good-byes. 

We were blessed yesterday in many ways. 

It has been a long, busy week-end.  I don't regret one thing I did or the way I chose to do it.  I can always rest later.