Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prayers For The Day

Karen and Dorian are in the States with Karen's family enjoying a much needed break.  I am very capable of doing Karen's job, just not the same way she does it. 

This morning was not a bad morning, but before we left for school, the kids got to shoving and pushing and ya-ya-ing at each other.  Nothing serious like the other when one tried to chop down the banana tree with the axe,  but just that constant little nagging at each other.  We got in the van and Katy and Maryuri were arguing over  a seat in the van.  The others were talking and getting louder.  It would have been easy for me to increase my volume to louder than theirs and them to be sit down and be quiet. 

Instead, I took two deep breaths and asked for silence.  It took a couple of minutes, but they quieted.  I asked Sisi to pray for the day, for every single one of us.  I told her to pray for everyone to behave at school and to be kind to each other.  Marc came out, got in the truck and left and we are just sitting in the van.  I had not even started the engine.

The kids bowed their heads and Sisi began to pray.  She did pray for every one of us.  By name.  She did ask for help for all of us to behave and to be kind.  That prayer had a calming effect on them.  And on me.

It was a pleasant ride to school.  And, even a pleasant ride home five hours later.  Lunch went smoother than usual.

I am so thankful for the power of prayer.  And, that I had the presence of mind to stop and pray.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

11:00 Dismissal

After all the kids got out of the van this morning, Jackson came back and said we get out of school at 11:00 today.  Jackson is not prone to lie about when school ends, but, just to be sure, I asked a teacher and she said yes. 

At 10:45, I left to get the kids.   I arrived a few minutes before 11:00.  Another van was there and the motor taxis were beginning to arrive.  At five minutes after there has been no bell and at 10:00 after, still no bell.  More parents are arriving and more motor taxis have arrived. 

Normally, if I arrived at school and 11:00 and the kids were not out, I would think I misunderstood.  But, there were too many other parents and motortaxis for that to be the case.  I waited.

At 11:15, a bell rung.  I am not too happy that I was told 11:00 and it appears that school was not ending until 11:15.  Or, so I thought it was ending at 11:15.

Children poured out of the classrooms, talking and laughing as they entered the school yard.  No one started toward the gate, though.  The children ran and played and screamed for 15 minutes.  Another bell rang.  Recess was over and everyone went back inside their classrooms.  Then, immediately came back out carrying backpacks.  School was over for the day. 

I could not believe that they were allowed to have recess, with parents waiting, and then dismissed school when recess was over.  Welcome to Honduras.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A New Tent

Isn't it amazing what can be created out of old trampoline parts?  And, isn't it amazing how creative kids can be when given the chance?
Brayan is proudly show what he built

The kids are having a lot of fun in this tent.  The tent is a fun thing in which to play, but the sad thing is there are many, many people in Honduras that live in houses like this.  Or worse.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

The New Mission House

Progress is coming right along on the new mission house in Ojojona.  The first three rooms are complete.
The next three will be started soon.

What does a new mission house mean?  It means mirrors in the bathrooms.  It means no more three high bunks.  It means three people can use the bathroom at one time.  It means a bigger store which will carry ice cream.  LIKE!  But, it also means a way to sustain the new campus of Casa de Esperanza and it means giving job skills to all the children on both campuses of Casa de Esperanza.  And, it means dreams being realized.

Aren't the rooms nicely done?

And, as a bonus, everyone that stays in this mission house will receive a bonus with this view as the sun sets behind the mountains each day.

It is going to be another great summer in Honduras.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sleepy Heads

Within any family or group, there are going to be some that get up easily and some that don't.  Some that think they can get a few minutes more of sleep.  At Casa, I would say, Katy, Nohemy, Ana, Maryuri, and Josue don't get up easily.  They like to pull the covers over their heads and pretend I am not in the room.  Most of the others get up pretty good.  Cindy jumps up and is changing her clothes as soon as she hears the door open.

On school mornings, we start getting kids up at 5:40.  Now that Saturday is a school day, that means they have to get up at 5:40 on Saturday, too.  This morning the first, second, third, and fourth graders had school.  Saturdays used to mean an extra hour of sleep.  This morning when I went in, everyone had a bit of trouble.  Even Cindy.  No one had much perk.  I didn't either. I don't think I jumped right out of bed either when that alarm went off.   I, too, would have liked that extra hour of sleep.  This morning there were a lot of groans and eye-rubbing and pulling the covers higher. 

For those that did not have school, I was a little more gracious than normal when they strolled into devo late. 

By the time breakfast over, everyone had come to life.  The ones that had school and the ones that didn't. 

I plan to make up my lost extra hour of sleep.  Soon.  Very soon.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What s Productivity?

Since I have a meeting with the accountant tomorrow afternoon and some reports are due to her, when I arrive, this morning I considered productivity would be having the reports finished.   It is 8:40 p.m. and most, but not all, of the reports are done.  Yet, I have had a productive day.

Richard and Yesinia dropped by this morning.  We had a cup of coffee.  Visiting with friends is productive.  At 11:30 Melissa and baby April showed up.  Spending time with Melissa is always a good thing.  The problem was, the kids got out of school at noon and I had to leave at 11:50 to get them.  It was a good 20 minutes.

Nicole had a meeting at Teleton and could not take Haley.  She asked if Haley could stay with me.  I planned on enjoying Haley this afternoon.  I did enjoy Haley, but I did not spend one on one time with her as planned.  I helped some of the Casa kids with homework.  That was productive.  The reason I am here is these kids.  If I am too busy to help them and spend time with them, I probably don't need to be here.  I keep reminding myself relationships are more important than receipts.

We even went to the coffee shop this afternoon with our friends that are visiting from Illinois.

It was a very productive day.  Building relationships.  Loving on Haley.  Enjoying friends.

I will have those reports ready by tomorrow afternoon.   Sleep is highly overrated.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Dump..... Five Years Later

Exactly five years ago today, Marc and I saw the dump for the first time.  How do I remember the exact date?  It was Nicole's birthday.  I was planning on writing a blog honoring my wonderful daughter.  That was until we went to the dump.  The atrocities we saw that day needed to be written about.  People rummaging through garbage with the buzzards.  The filth.  The odor.  These things cannot be captured adequately with my camera.  We knew immediately we had to do something.  We knew we could feed. 

Matt and Nicole came two weeks later.  They had money someone had given them to do something for someone in Honduras.  We knew exactly how to spend that money.  We bought beans and bread and made bean sandwiches and took to the dump.  It was scary.  Really scary.  The people rushed us for the food.  And we didn't have enough.  We knew after that day, one feeding was not enough. 

After another group saw the dump, a youth group from Atlanta, they too wanted to do something.  They went home and raised money.  They raised enough that a weekly feeding could begin. 

Then enter Trey Morgan, a preacher from the small town of Childress, Texas.  He read and heard about the dump.  He wanted to do something.  He held a one day blog-a-thon fundraiser.  And over $12,000 was raised.  We serve an amazing God. 

That fundraiser has become an annual thing.  The second year even more was raised.  In the last five years, through the dump day fundraiser and other sources, over $200,000.00 has been designated for the dump.  Thousands and thousands of meals have been served.  The dump people have had help with medicines and surgeries and school supplies for their kids.  Unfortunately, we have had to help with funeral expenses for some.  Relationships have been formed and Christ has been shared.  Tomorrow, when Marc drives into the dump, people will line up and wait to be served.  No more rushing.  No more running out of food.  It has been an amazing journey, one which we never planned. 

It is not too early to begin praying about Dump Day 2013.  It will be May 8.  We want to keep this ministry going until there are no more hungry people in the dump that need to be fed every week.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Extended Hours

I have not ever thought school in Honduras was adequate.  There are several reasons I think this and one of those is they don't go to school very many hours.  Four and a half hours a day is not a very long school day.  Then you subtract the time for recess and snack, it is down to a really short day. 

Someone other than me, must have obviously thought the same thing.  The kids will be supposedly going from 6:45 to 12:20 on Monday through Thursday.  That is an hour and fifteen minutes earlier on the front end and twenty minutes earlier on the back end.  Then on Friday, the hours will be 6:45 until 2:00.  And, on Saturday from 8:00-10:00.  Then extended hours during the week have not begun, but, tomorrow is the first day for Saturday school.  No one at Casa de Esperanza is excited about getting up at 5:40 on Saturday morning.  That would include me.

After two weeks of school, there have been no strikes.  I think we can expect strikes to begin soon.  In my opinion, Fridays and Saturdays are probably the day we will have the children at home.  Unless the teachers get a raise for all these extra hours, I don't think they will work them.  We will see.

But for tonight, the children are tucked snug in their beds.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mid-Day At Casa

Getting this many kids up and ready for school, makes most morning hectic.  But mornings are not always the most hectic time of the day.  Sometimes, mid-day is the most hectic time of the day.  Today is definitely one of those days.

I was to get the kids from school today.  I knew I needed to leave early and put gas in the van.  Nicole left to get Haley and Karla from school.  The Frito-Lay truck came.  I had not planned on him coming today, or even this week.  I needed a few things. 

Emma Kate had had a shot this morning and was feeling less than great.  Nicole left her with me.  She was asleep when Nicole left, but woke almost immediately.  It is a grammy's job to comfort a crying baby, no matter what else may be going on.  Dilcia took the baby so I could go do the Frito-Lay order. 

Nicole gets back with Haley and Karla and there are cars and trucks everywhere inside the gate.  Nicole needs to leave for the school to get Maryuri for Teleton.  Not knowing I had to leave to buy gas, Nicole parked behind the van.  She was thinking we would be leaving at the same time. 

I quickly finished with Frito-Lay and ran to the house to get money for gas and to leave with Dilcia in case the fruits and vegetables came while I was at school.  Nicole said, "please get my diaper bag while you are there."  I counted out money so that Dilcia could have the exact amount for any amount up to 1400 lempira.  I gave the money to Dilcia and asked Nicole to move the car so I could leave.  She asked where the diaper bag was.  Oops.  I forgot that.  She went running to my house. 

As I left the gas station, Nicole called and said she was just getting her girls in the car.  She asked that Maryuri get in the van and wait until she got to the school.  That was one of the simplest things asked of me today.

The kids started getting in the van, which is its own kind of chaos.  Everyone has to tell me right now that they need money or they have a school supply list or there is a party at school tomorrow or somebody didn't behave in class.  I have trouble listening to a bunch people talk at one time in English.  And, in Spanish, it is almost impossible.

Everyone is trying to tell their news and Guadalupe's teacher comes to the  van and starts telling me how hard she worked today.  Well, of course, I wanted to hear that.  I am turned around looking out the sliding door, trying to talk her and someone starts tapping me on the shoulder from outside the van.  The kids are never suppose to be on the street side of the van.  I turned around and there was a little girl I did not know.  She says,"hola."  I more or less ignored her and tried to talk to the teacher.  The little girl would not leave me alone and just kept on tapping my shoulder and would not stop when I asked her.

Kids are getting in the van and Nicole drives up behind me and Maryuri gets out.  Nicole and the girls are gone.  One less thing to deal with.

When everyone is in the van and seated, I just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

As I start up the little street toward the back gate, there sits the fruit truck in the middle of the road.  He is selling to the neighbors before going to Casa.  That is ok.  I just can't get around him.  So, we wait. 

When the kids get home, they have to go to the pila and wash their socks.  Everyone heads to the pila.  One employee is out there overseeing that.  Dilcia is serving the lunch plates, but she has to leave to place the fruit and vegetable order.  The kids are coming to eat one at a time as they get their socks washed.  I am trying to oversee the eating area.  That is fairly ease since there are not many kids in there.

My phone rings.  It is Matt.  I sent a check with him.  He was to go to the bank and cash the check so that I can do payroll on Friday.  I made the check for 2/13/2012 not 2/13/2013.  There is no way Matt is going to get that check cashed.  He also could not get any errands done without the money.  Oh well.  It is what it is.

Dilcia came in to talk about beans.  As I was listening and talking, I poured orange juice all over the floor and my foot, making one more thing to be done.  Of course, I cleaned up my own mess.

The fruit order was finally complete and the bill was totaled.  Of course, the amount was more than the money I had brought up with me.  I ran to get more. 

After the fruit man left and the kids had all eaten, things began to settle down and get quieter.  Kids were doing chores.  Some were down for a nap.  And, some were even getting books out of their bags.  Some were still talking about school supplies, and parties and money.  But, I was in a place where we could start dealing with it all. 

Around 2:15, I told Dilcia I was going to the house and I would be back at 3:00.

The other day, Marc brought home a vanilla coke for me.  That is not something we find very often.  I had it in the refrigerator waiting for just the right moment.  After the madness of deliveries, end of school, washing socks and lunch, it seemed like the perfect moment for that vanilla coke.  And, it was oh, so good.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Aren't they cute? 

Even though the twins do not look alike, the ladies like to dress them alike.  These cute little outfits showed up from my friend Sara Briggs, and it was hot yesterday.  So the everybody was happy.  The ladies got to dress them in matching outfits and the twins stayed cool.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Teleton is a school in Tegucigalpa.  It is a school for special needs, all special needs.  Learning disabilities, speech therapy, physical therapy, etc.  Teleton gets its name because there is one major fundraiser each year to support this school.  The fundraiser is a telethon.  Creative name, huh?

I have discovered a lot of the doctors, teachers and therapists volunteer their time in much the same as the doctors do at Hospital Escuela.  The doctors, teachers and therapists have full time jobs other places.  Because the kids that go there do have special needs, there is a high focus on self-esteem.  There are parties and graduations for what might be viewed as small accomplishments.  But, I have pictures of Sisi and Reina beaming at a graduation of an accomplishment. 

I used to do all the Teleton appointments.  We had four kids in Teleton and most of them had once a month appointments, with an occasional more frequent appointment.  Those days were exhausting.  Now Nicole does those appointments.  All of them.  Now we have six kids in Teleton and once Any starts kinder next week, it is quite possible her teacher will request that she be placed in Teleton.  The six kids that are in Teleton this year all have once a week appointments.  Nicole goes to Teleton every Monday, every Tuesday, every Wednesday, and every Thursday.  This morning she rolled in the gate with a sleeping Emma at 5:30.  She placed two kids in the car and she was out of here as quickly as she had come.  She then helps these kids with their homework.  I know her days are long and she is tired.  The rewards are great.  We are seeing great results with some of the kids. 

Baby Josue is in physical therapy.  I watched him walk around the inside of the baby bed.  He was holding on, but he was walking on his own.  I wasn't sure we would ever see the day.

Guadalupe can now do her regular school homework in about 30 minutes instead of hours.  Talk about a self-esteem builder.

Please pray for the kids in Teleton that they continue to make needed improvements and pray for Nicole as she makes this four-times-a-week trip to town.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Buying School Supplies

When we moved here, and it was time to buy the school supplies for the Casa kids, there was only one place to buy them.  Larach.  Larach is a big hardware store in Tegucigalpa and it  has an old fashioned stationery store in the back.  I kind of like going in there.  I would take the lists to Larach and shop.  Sometimes, it would take hours.  Each year, we had more kids and it would take longer. 

Then Utilies de Honduras started carrying some school supplies.  They didn't have everything, so it was still easier to go to Larach.   Then Utiles began to carry more and pretty much have everything now.  I could go in there and hand them the lists and they would get it for me.  Nice.

Each year, a few pulperias here in Santa Ana have begun carrying a few school supplies.  Not a single pulperia carries everything, but by running all over town, we can get most, but not all, things.

If it was up to me, I would still go to town and buy at Larach or hand my lists to someone at Utilies.  But, Karen, in all her wisdom, gives the lists to some of the older kids and sends them on their way.  I count out some money for them, count it again with them, and then they have to bring me the receipt and the change.  We count the money again.

Friday, Ana came back once for more money and once for a new list.  She walked several places and bought what she could.  This is teaching the kids to do it the Honduran way and to be responsible with money. 

Ana went several places and still did not get everything.  I will finish the lists tomorrow in town. 

Aren't you glad you have Wal-Mart, Target, and Office Depot?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

First Group

As I arrived in Tegucigalpa on January 30, good friends, Don Cole and Greg Mock from Columbus, were arriving on another airline.  They stayed at our house and did some survey work for their June trip.  I love having friends in my house.

Don and Greg were still here, when the first group of 2013 arrived on February 2.  This group of 5 from Mitchell, Indiana has built two houses, done a food distribution, visited the dump and worked on bathrooms in Guajire.  This group likes to spend time in Guajire.  

Job well done, Team Mitchell.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


School for the Casa kids started Friday, February 1.  This was two weeks earlier than normal.  And true to form, the fifth graders did not have class on Monday.

Getting ready for school to start is a major event around here.  Uniforms and shoes have to be tried on, and when possible, altered.  When nothing will work, there is a trip to town to buy bits and pieces of uniforms.  It was discovered many of our uniforms were pretty threadbare this year.  We usually buy tons of basic supplies and then when their workbook lists come out, we buy those.  All black shoes that aren't new are polished.

Everyone is excited.  For the first day or two.  That excitement fades quickly.   School mornings around begins very early.  Around 5:40.  Devo, breakfast, and chores before school. 

This year the kids are in:
8th grade - Brayan and Pamela
7th grade - Antonio
6th grade - Jackson
5th grade - Jose, Fernando, Cindy, Ana, Daniela, and Rosy
4th grade - Reina, Katy, and Sisi
3rd grade - Nohemy
2nd grade - Maryuri
1st grade - Guadalupe, Cris, and Doris
Kinder - Josue and Any

That leaves Yair and the twins at home.

Please pray for the kids as they begin a new school year.  We are praying this is the best school year ever.


Monday, February 4, 2013

School Supplies

It seems like school just got out and it is already starting again.  It is starting two weeks earlier this year than normal. 

Every year, hundreds of kids cannot go to school because their families cannot afford school supplies.  Honduras Hope has always tried to help with school supplies.  It is a very time consuming, but rewarding and fun project.  This year Nicole took on that project.  I did not mind that she did that.  And, just as I thought, she had a lot of fun.

Friday morning Nicole's first stop was the bank to get cash.  She had a welcome to Honduras start as she waited over an hour just to cash a check.  With cash in hand (really it was in her purse), she headed of to Utiles de Honduras.  She and Matt met Richard and Yessinia and the shopping began.  Supplies and backpacks were purchased and the employees at Utlies loaded the backpacks.  That was nice.  No one had to sort and pack this year.  But, that also meant another trip to town to get the loaded backpacks on Saturday.

Several backpacks were given out in Ojojona Sunday morning after church.

Several more were distributed Sunday afternoon in El Guacatal, a mountain community above Ojojona. 

School supplies will also be distributed at AFE, the school by the dump and other places.  Nicole will be making at least one more trip to town to purchase more school supplies because she still has money.

Happy learning, kids.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Slumber Parties

School is starting much earlier this year than in the past.  Matt and Nicole wanted to do something fun for the  kids before they started back to school.  They had slumber parties.

All the girls loaded up and went to Matt and Nicole's house on Tuesday night.  I don't know too much about that party except that Pamela stayed up until 4:30 and then had to go to work at 9:00.

Last night, all the boys except the twins went for their turn.  Even Yair.  He was so excited that he was going.  There was Wii and pizza and popcorn.  And, I don't know what else.  Nicole called after 9:30 and asked if I could go up to Mirian's and get some diapers.  Yair had had a BIG accident.  Fortunately, I had diapers in the car and Nicole came back over here to get them.  I think bedtime was around 3:30 this morning.

Nicole had to be at work at 7:00.  She was on time.  Matt and the boys did not show up until around 9:00.

I think everyone enjoyed the slumber parties.  Matt and Nicole are braver than I am.  And maybe, crazier too.  Crazy helps.