Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Success Story

I am the first to admit that my Spanish is no where near the level it should be for as long as I have lived here.  There are two main reasons for this: one, I spend a lot of time in the office by myself and two, Nicole and Karen both know Spanish and it is too easy to rely on them.  I have studied and do study.  I have a huge vocabulary.  I understand more all the time.  But, I cannot put together nouns and verbs and adjectives into good sentences.  I want to speak correctly, not like a baby.  I can pay our employees, pay the bills, cash a check, buy the groceries and the things I have to do.  But, when it comes to an unusual or unique situation.  I can't do it.  Maybe there is a third reason I am not speaking better and that would be I don't have the confidence to do so.

This unusual situation did arise.  The houseparent has a different work schedule from all the other employees and, thus, a different pay schedule.  While I was in the States, Karen accidentally paid her when the other employees were paid.  When I saw this, I showed Karen and, together, we talked to the houseparent.  After she left the office, she became quite hysterical and said some unkind things about both Karen and me.  Strange how those things have a way of getting back to us.

I knew we had to deal with this.  I sat down and wrote out for the whole year all the days the houseparent had been off and the times we had paid her.  We all knew the houseparent was one paycheck ahead, but Karen and I thought with the pay in August, she was two paychecks ahead.  When I wrote it out, somehow, by Karen paying her with all the other employees the whole time I was gone, she was just one pay ahead.

With it all written on a piece of paper, I said a little prayer and went to ask the houseparent if she could go to the office with me.  Usually, when Karen and/or I talk to the employees, we sit behind the desk and the employee sits across from us.  I sat down on the same side of the desk as the houseparent and said I am going to try to talk and explain without Karen.  And asked her if that was ok.  She said yes. 

I started at the first of the year and slowly explained each pay period and each time she left.  When we got through April.  I said that was easy, now it gets more complicated.  We went through May, June, and July.  And I said, now it gets even more complicated and she agreed with me. 

Before I got very far into it, she began raising her voice.  I do not like to be interrupted.  By anyone.  I said wait, please and continued to talk.  Karen walked by the office while the houseparent had her voice raised and rushed on by.  Karen did not want to be called into the situation.   The houseparent insisted on getting her calender.  I allowed her to go get it.    She came back armed with her calender and was ready to do battle.  I allowed her to make her explanation, which was very close to mine.  Then I insisted she listen to me. 

All of a sudden, she realized we were saying the same thing.  She asked me a couple of times before she was really satisfied.  I apologized.  And I tried to say I should have written this out before we talked to you the first time.  There was no way I could use the proper tense for I should have.  I just hate it when I have to use the infinitive because I don't know the proper tense.  But, I got the point across.  I apologized again and said the misunderstanding was my fault.  She did not apologize for the way she acted, but she said she was very emotional when it happened.  That was an understatement.

I had allowed plenty of time for this meeting.  I talked slowly.  I asked frequently if she understood.   I had a splitting headache when I finished.  But, the meeting was successful because I explained what I needed to explain without relying on Karen.

Who knows?  I might conquer Spanish one of these days.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Church This Morning

Church in Honduras is so much different than church in the States.  Church does not start on time, dogs roam in and out of the building, children aren't always made to sit and be quiet, moms are nursing babies and not even trying to cover themselves.  That is on a normal Sunday.  Today, was anything but normal.

Our church is small.  There are not many men here, surely not enough for one man to lead singing, one to preach, one to lead communion and several to pass communion, one or two to pray.  After, the young boys are baptized, they are allowed to participate in these roles. 

This morning I noticed a man sitting on the front row that I had not ever seen before.   We are always glad for visitors and new members.  Denis led the first song and the man was clapping away.   That was ok.  We probably need livened up a bit.  After the first song, Denis stepped down from the pulpit and Michael,  the preacher's son, went up and began to lead the songs.  Our guest decided to really liven things up.  He began to shout that there was una gran problema (one big problem).  He said it was wrong for a child to be up there.  Denis was very near the man and tried to talk to him.  Michael did a fairly good job of continuing to lead the singing.  Of course, he, and everyone else, was trying to listen to what the man was saying.  More than once, the singing stopped completely.  But Michael would get us going again.  The man was not going to be quiet and Marc walked up to where he and Denis were sitting.

He told Marc this was wrong.  Marc said we are here to worship God and sing praises and you are being very disruptive.   The man said he was there to worship God, too and he could not do so with a child leading the singing.  In a nice way, Marc told him if he did not like it, he could leave.  Denis tried to explain, to no avail, that we thought it was important to instruct the young boys so they would know how when they were men.  All explanations were falling on deaf ears.

Denis asked Michael to stop leading the singing and asked Antonio to come start leading the singing.  I must admit, I did not understand the reasoning for asking one child to sit down and another to come start leading the singing. 

Evidently, the guest did not either.  He got up and stormed across the front of the church with his face as red as a beet.  He slammed his fist into the big heavy metal door and threw his jacket on the ground outside.  I was sitting behind four of our girls and trying to keep their attention focused on singing.  Oh, how I wished I would have had a camera to capture the look on Reina's face when the man slammed his fist into the door.   Then she began to move her hand as if to say, "ouch, that hurt."  I am sure it did.

With this guest gone, we sang another couple of songs, had communion, and then a sermon was preached as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  Just another great day in Honduras.


Saturday, October 27, 2012


Carla is my friend.  She is twelve years old.  Her mom recently died of AIDS.  She is really sad about losing her mom.  Her dad is sick.  Carla has to cook and clean and go to school and do homework.  In spite of her tough life, I have never seen her without a smile on her face.

Today, Carla is visiting.  She is jumping on the trampoline.  Katy is teaching her to do flips.  She is hanging out in the hammock.  Today, Carla is laughing and playing and being a little girl. 

I wonder how long it has been since Carla got to spend some time being a little girl.  I wonder if today is the first time that has ever happened for her.


Friday, October 26, 2012


Now that we have two outdoor ovens, we are always in need of firewood, with which to cook.  Dorian, Denis and Elvia have shown the boys how to cut the firewood.  Yesterday when I got back from town, I had an axe, a hatchet, and a machetti.  The boys, especially, Brayan emitted man noises when they saw these manly tools. 

It was no time until both Antonio and Brayan were chopping and cutting.

I can hear someone using the axe right now. 

I think a few of the girls are just as eager to get their hands on the new tools as the two boys were.


Thursday, October 25, 2012


Often our kids have to make albums for homework.  An album has to include written work and pictures.  We use magazine and newspapers at an unbelievable rate.  Because we have 23 kids and we need some of the same pictures year after year (i. e. what the 2nd grade requires this year, the 2nd grade will require next year), we have purchased books with some of these pictures.  These book are not to be cut from; we make a copy of these precious pictures.

Brayan and Pamela are working on albums now that are about the ethnic groups of Honduras.  I do not know how anyone without access to a computer and the internet or without access to some of the material we have purchased will ever get this done. We have worked long and hard on finding this information.   Some of it is not found yet. 

Earlier in the week, the third graders had to have a picture of the earth's rotation.  We had that in a book and made copies.  Regarding Pamela and Brayan's project, as I thinking, "I don't know how anyone without a computer could ever get this work done", Karen called and said Elvia was wondering if we could make her a copy of earth's rotation for her third grader.  Elvia said she had looked everywhere and had not been able to find that.  That kind of reinforced by point.

I don't think it is very fair to require work that all (most) students cannot possibly find.  But, I will certainly be glad when these ethnic groups albums are done.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big Boy

When I took Josue's medicine in at noon, Olman was sitting in the floor like the big boy he is.  I walked down to the house, got the camera, and walked back, not knowing if he would still be in that same position or not.  He was. 

Look at those big brown eyes.  Don't they just melt your heart?  They do mine.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Street People

Admittedly so, I live in my own little Casa world of kid's appointments, employee issues, buying groceries, paying bills, and receipts.  Except for what Marc tells me about the ministry he is doing, I rarely know anything that is happening in the world outside of the back gate.

But when  I am in town, I have noticed a lot more street vendors, selling almost anything imaginable.  There have also been more beggars and street performers.  Near PriceSmart, I saw a guy with a bottle of gasoline.  He would put some gasoline in his mouth and open his mouth and place a stick afire near his mouth.  The flames would shoot out of his mouth.  He could do this twice before needing more gasoline.  After putting gasoline in his mouth twice, and exhaling fire four times, he would begin to walk among the cars soliciting money.  As he walked among the cars, I noticed he had a terrible cough.  How does a man get to this point that he is willing to put gasoline in his mouth and stick  a lighted piece of wood to his mouth in order to earn a lempira or two?
Another one was juggling, with only three balls.  I don't think he was going to make much on the juggling ability.  He was terrible.  But he could balance 3 glass bottles on his chin.  He was much more adept at that than juggling.

Today Marc saw Rudy, a former resident here, in the street walking on his hands.

More and more people are coming to our gate wanting to sell stuff.  Some of the people from whom we purchase things for the store are coming here wanting to show us new products.  One of these comes all the time.  The other usually waits for us to call with an order.  She seemed to be desperately needing money.

These are sad stories.  It says to me, things are bad here for a lot of people.  The desperation.  The hunger.  The trying to feed one's children.  Please pray for these people and for us as we try to make a difference to a few.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Grinding Beans

This morning I walked in the big house and Dilcia had a big stone in her hands, called a piedra de molar (grinding stone).  She also had a rolling stone, shaped much like a rolling pin without handles.  Beside her was a basket full of cooked red beans. She took a handful a handful of beans and placed on the stone.  Starting from the bottom she gently rolled the beans flat.  I noticed she did a small amount at a time.  Then, when she got to the top, she started from the bottom and did it again.  After two times, she removed the mashed beans to another container.  After all the beans were ground she was going to fry them in grease and onion.

Karen said she had tried it and that she had beans everywhere.  Not that I really thought I could do it, but I wanted to try.  Dilcia put the beans on the stone and I began to roll.  I am such a gringa.  If my family was dependent on me to make beans this way, we would all starve to death.  Almost immediately, I had beans all over the rolling stone.  I noticed that when Dilcia did it, no beans were sticking to the rolling stone.  Dilcia said I need more wrist action and less with my arms.  Ha.  That didn't work so well either.

Elvia asked if anyone could take a picture of me.  I had just returned from buying bricks, not exactly a kodak moment and Karen did not have her camera with her either. 

I rolled my beans three or four times and did not have them as smooth as Dilcia did after two times.  And, I had beans everywhere.  I never touched the beans, yet I had beans all over my hands.  The beans were soft.  I cannot even imagine drying to grind dried corn that way.

Dilcia did admit that by the time she finished her arms would be sore.  Perhaps a potato masher would have worked just as well.  Perhaps not.

I am grateful for Old El Paso refried beans in a can.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Feeding Center

Yesterday ground was broken on  the feeding center/church in Buen Samaritano.  The footers were dug.

Here stands Marc explaining the layout of the new feeding center to me.

Today the plan was for concrete to be mixed and poured into the footers.  But, as we all know, the best laid plans do not always come to fruition in Honduras.  A water truck got stuck in the entrance to Buen Samaritano.  I would not try to drive around the truck.  Marc drove the car for me and he drove it back out again, when I was ready to leave.  

The site looks just like this tonight.  The water truck finally was moved.  The sand and the gravel could not get to the site because of the stranded water truck.  The sand and gravel arrived late in the day.  Concrete work will start tomorrow.  Welcome to Honduras, Team Oklahoma.

Praise God for this building which will feed kids 5 days a week and nourish the souls of the children and their parents on Sunday.


Monday, October 15, 2012


We have a new outdoor stove, known as a fogon.  It is a woodburner.  It is an eco-fogon, which means it burns 2/3 less wood than a regular fogon.  Elvia is quite excited about this edition and proudly showed she three pots cooking at the same time.  We will still use the indoor stove, but this will save money.  Also, our girls need to learn to cook on the fogon.  It is a huge temptation to Americanize them, but, in reality, they have to learn to live in this country after they leave here.  We hope to learn to make our own tortillas, among other things.

Right now, the excitement is running high, as with any new object.  Well, Fernando is not too excited.  Because he stole some money at school, he is the wood-gatherer.  He was hot and sweaty on Saturday and really did not want that job any more.

The fogon is next to the pila and is covered.

Do you think I can get Thanksgiving dinner prepared on it?  Do you think I am even going to try?  The answer is no, to both questions.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Green Shoes

Miss Guadalupe is very proud of her green shoes.  She wears them frequently.  When I got home last week, it was the very first thing she showed me.  Aren't they cute?

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Today Team Oklahoma arrived.  A group of 28 (25 newbies) came ready to work.  First stop, Casa de Esperanza.  They came bringing a tug-of-war rope.

Scott Coleman knows what a tug-of-war rope is

Kids came running and grabbed the rope.  The adults joined, too; just not quiet as quickly as the kids.
One employee joined the fun
And, of course, a cheater in every bunch

There were lots of screams and cheers and laughter.  I am sure we will be seeing more of the rope in the week to come.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another Angel Has Gone Home

We learned today that Vitalina died last week.  I know she is in heaven today with a body that is no longer sick.  No longer hurting.  She showed everyone around her how to live and how to die.  Her story is a sad one.

I haven't seen Carla yet, but I talked to her on the phone.  It goes without saying, she is sad.  She will be sad for a long time.  She loved her mother.  I think her dad and her brothers are in good hands, though. 

We plan to help this family for as long as they need it.  Thanks to those who have donated for that cause.  Right now, let us all lift them in prayer as they grieve the loss of a wife and mother.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

London On A Budget

We knew things in London were expensive.  We just did not know how expensive. 

Yesterday we did a walking tour of London.  We saw most of the things to see in one day.  From the outside.  It cost to go in everything, even the churches.  We started by walking from Dan and Linda's along the River Thames.  We crossed the Tower Bridge.  We stopped for coffee and a bagel near the London Bridge.  Continuing beside the river, we soon crossed over on the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian bridge, which took us directly to St. Paul's cathedral.  We walked around that for a while and walked on down the street, seeing all sorts of sites.  Later we crossed back over the river and saw, not rode, the Eye of London.  Then we walked across the river again on the Westminster bridge, where we could easily see the houses of Parliament and Big Ben.  We walked around Parliament Square for a bit and around Westminster Abby.  All the while, I am clicking away.  Some of the buildings of which I took pictures, I don't even know what they are.  They are huge, massive, beautiful structures.

We continued making our way to Buckingham Palace.  Marc rested and I walked around taking pictures of everything I could.  We then strolled through peaceful Saint James Park.  With the help of the internet and maps, Marc says we walked about 10 miles.  I am comfortably assured of walking off last weekend's cream cake.

Today, we saw the Tower of London.  This is the only thing we are paying to see.  It was impressive.  Our guide was very knowledgeable.  I think most British are very polite, very well-dressed, very formal, very knowledgeable and very proud of their heritage.

I think tomorrow might be a day for museums since they are all free.


Monday, October 1, 2012


In August 2013 we will see the first team from England.  We are excited about this opportunity.  Right now we are spending time with those folks that plan on coming to Honduras to work next summer.  We are missionaries.  I was a bit hesitant about coming to England for several reasons, one being we are missionaries.  We used frequent flyer miles and here we are.

We spent the weekend near Nottingham.  Saturday we went to Chatsworth.  In a land of castles and queens, the story of Chatsworth is something of a fairy tale.  When one of the family members died, to pay the death taxes, all these little businesses were started.  A farm, a store, touring the mansion.  I believe it is the only mansion not home by the government.  When a family can't pay the death taxes, the estate must be turned over to the government.

We saw some of the countryside and small towns that are just so englishly charming.  We went to Bakewell and had famous Bakewell pudding.  I could, indeed, get use to the English life; mid-afternoon tea, cream cakes.  I will be hitting the treadmill hard next week.

It is cold this far north, but as is the case everywhere we have been, fellowship with other Christians is warm and sweet.  I continue to be amazed at how small this world is.  We met people with whom our paths have crossed before.  And there is always someone that knows someone we know, even in England.

We are off to London for a few days.  We will see Dan and Linda and spend a few days sightseeing before returning to Nottingham again for the weekend.

One of the very best things is I am really taking some time off.  I have not worked in any form or fashion since Thursday.   Yay me!

We are having a jolly good time.  

Prayers needed as Marc negotiates driving on the left side of the road.  We will park the car in an hour or so and not return to it again until Friday.