Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Looking Ahead

[Sorry I didn't get this written yesterday. I still had some residual tiredness from the trip.]

We are very excited about our future work in Honduras! I was hoping this recent trip would, among other things, allow us to make key contacts to help us plan our future strategy. It did! We were able to have a couple of very significant conversations.

We want to work in one village, making repeated trips to the same place. We will get to know the people, and they will get to know us. We are in the process of identifying a village. The one we have in mind has no church and only receives water once a day for two hours. It is poorer than most of the surrounding villages.

There is a medical training school that plans to build a clinic in this village and is looking for a church to help with it. The Baxter Institute wants to help plant a church in the village. We hope to be a partner with both of these things. We would like to build a tank to hold water, build houses, distribute food, help build a church building, and many other things. We are actively praying for guidance.

I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future. I am excited about walking into it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Final Report

I feel pretty good, which is surprising since I had so little sleep. I'll probably crash later.

Here are some stats from our trip. We, the team of 160,:
  • Built 14 houses
  • Had 5 food distributions, delivering 1250 bags, which is 26,250 meals
  • Built a really cool playground
  • Painted a daycare
  • Built a security fence where women and girls are often raped (huge problem in Honduras)
  • Painted a church building in Choluateca, inside and outside
  • Built 27 pews and painted them
  • Helped 180 families in Choluateca with clothes, shoes, and toys
  • Did 6 hours of "make-overs" that included washing hair and feet
  • Saw 530 people in our medical clinics
  • Had 6 sessions of VBS
  • Fed people at the dump
  • Painted a church building in Catacamas
  • Held evangelistic meetings 2 nights that had 161 and 224 in attendance
  • Made 6 hospital visits
  • Visited 3 children's homes
  • Painted a mural at a boy's orphanage
  • Repaired a playground
  • Distributed more than 1000 Bibles
  • Survived 3 major bus breakdowns
  • Organized the warehouse
  • Did other good things

Wow, we did a lot! Our team of 21 participated in a lot of these activities.

Soon, in another post, I will share our plans for the future. Lord willing, we are going to make some significant and exciting changes in strategy. We are very excited about our future work in Honduras!

Thank you for all your prayers. God truly blessed us with a great (and safe) trip!

Here are a few leftover pictures; some from our awesome worship in a 500 year old church building and some from our delay in the airport.

Honduras Summer 2010 wrap-up

A couple of videos

Our team did not get to go to the dump on this trip, but in the future we plan to make a trip there a regular activity. This video was shot in January. It is shocking.

Our church family donated the funds to build 7 house on our trip this summer. Here is a video from January that shows how a house is constructed.

Back Home in Indiana

We arrived at our respective homes around 1 this morning. We had a nearly 2 hour delay leaving Honduras but still made our connection in Houston. I'll have more to say later, and I hope to have another photo album up before the day is over.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 9 & 10 Honduras Summer 2010

We are back in Tegucigalpa, arriving yesterday. We are staying at a very fancy hotel, which is disturbing after all the poverty we have witnessed this week. It does not feel right to be living in the lap of luxury when people are hungry with 200 yards of us. We are here due to the mission house hosting another group that is starting their work today. Oh well...

Our trip from Choluateca was fairly uneventful and was considerably quicker than the trip out, which was a pleasant surprise. We climbed from sea level to about 4800 feet. The air here in Teguc is still humid but much cooler.

Last night our group joined with others to comprise a crowd of more than 300. We all bussed out to the oldest church building in the western hemisphere, Santa Lucia. The building was constructed by the Spanish in 1530! It is an amazing building full of rich history. Last night’s worship in song was wonderful! Powerful.

Today is an unstructured day. Various ones are doing various things. I wish we were flying home today, but tomorrow is coming soon. This evening our group of 21 is gathering for a couple of hours to “unpack” the trip, looking for honest expressions of impressions from each team member. We will use the information in several different ways, including looking for ways that we can improve the trip. We plan to make several changes.

Even before “officially” hearing from each team member, I know that there have been many power moments of transformation. I believe it was clear to most of us that when we were looking into those large brown Honduran eyes we were looking into the eyes of Christ. How beautiful he is.

I am not able to upload pictures presently. I will try later.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Day 8 Update

Yesterday I posted before I received news from Steve in Tegucigalpa. He reported that Linda and Rita worked at the bodega (warehouse) organizing supplies, which is a very important thing. Midge painted at the day care in Mololoa. Steve built a house. This house was dedicated to the memory of Alan Napier.

We are getting ready to leave for Tegucigalpa. We will be reunited with the entire Torch team, and we plan to meet with another Torch team that has arrived. We anticipate a meeting with about 250 people this evening. Should be good!

Hopefully I will be able to post this evening.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Day 8 Honduras Summer 2010

Honduras Summer 2010 Day 8
Today we went back to Agua Agria, a small village about 30 minutes from Choluateca. It is a beautiful place! It was cloudy today which kept the temperatures down, but the humidity was very high.

The activities today included the continuation of our medical clinic. We saw 301 patients in 2 days. Healthcare is pretty well non-existent for these people. We were able to distribute lots of vitamins in addition to various prescription medicine. Lester was our team pharmacist and did a nice job of organizing and executing.

We continued to work on the church building today. We did lots of painting on the outside, and we painted all the pews that were made. Our team made around 25 pews in the last 2 days. The people were so excited about all the work on their building. This afternoon we gathered on the soccer field for a time of thanksgiving and dedication. There was too much wet paint to gather in the building.

The new activity for today was “make-overs” for the children. This consisted of washing their hair and their feet. It was really neat to watch them get so excited. Follow their hairstyling and foot washing they were able to receive a toy that was donated by good folks like you.

Tonight we are having some kind of Honduran fiesta. It involves a band and a dance performance. Should be interesting! Tomorrow we travel back to Tegucigalpa. Please keep praying for us. We feel we have been living out Matthew 25:31-46, and that was our goal.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Day 7 Honduras 2010

Honduras Summer 2010 Day 7
Today we left Tegucigalpa a little after 6 a.m. and made our way west to Choluateca. It is only a distance of about 80 miles, but it took us close to 5 hours to make the trip. That’s not unusual due to the roads and the traffic. We arrived around lunch time and checked into a hotel. After a quick stop for lunch we headed out to a rural area to work.

We are pretty close to the Pacific Ocean, but we haven’t seen it yet. The people here are noticeably different than the people around Tegucigalpa. Evidently they rarely see Gringos, so there was a little fascination with us. When we arrived at the little village to work, everyone had gathered and was waiting for us. They knew we were conducting a medical clinic and were going to pass out supplies. We did both of those things for several hours.

We also painted the village church building. Choluateca is considerably hotter than Tegucigalpa. It is in the low 90s and very humid. Working inside the church building with oil-based paint was challenging, but we got it finished, at least the first coat.

The distribution of supplies and the medical clinic were basically controlled chaos. The people need so much, and since they are so far away from the city they receive little assistance it seems. They are so grateful. A lot of the supplies that we sent from our church were distributed today.

Our group in Teguc (Steve, Linda, Rita, and Midge) were busy today also. I’m not exactly sure who did what, but I know they built a house in honor of Ralph and Rose, who have been so generous to our team. They also finished putting in a water treatment system and installed a nice playground in a village where we have built several houses.

We are all pretty tired but very happy to be here. It is amazing! Please keep praying for us. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Day 6 Honduras Summer 2010

Honduras Summer 2010 Day 6
It was another beautiful and busy day in Honduras! The larger team grew a little smaller this morning. About one third left Tegucigalpa for Catacamas, which is about 4-5 hours from here. No one from our group went on that trip. Tomorrow morning, early, 17 of our team members are traveling to Choluateca to work for a couple of days. Steve and Linda, along with Midge and Rita, are going to stay in Tegucigalpa to do various projects.

Today Steve put in a water treatment system at a special needs children’s home. He had a small group working with him. The following folks built houses today: Drew, Hannah, Becky, Lester, Maddie, Aaron, Liz, and Rebecca.

Rita, Linda, Lou Ann, and Laura helped with food distribution today. They took bags of food to as many households as they could. The food is only given to people in their homes, to avoid duplication and possible deception. The people are so grateful, and some tell stories of desperation.

Teresa, Kedra, Beth, Jake, Melissa, Darci, and I stayed at the mission house today to organize and prepare for our trip to the Pacific coast. We made food bags to distribute and organized all the supplies that we will give away. It was a lot of work and not the most exciting thing to do, but the payoff comes tomorrow and Thursday when we serve some of the poorest people in Honduras.

We were all upset this morning to learn that one of beloved bus drivers had a wreck last night. Later we learned that he is not hurt too badly, but we did lose his services and a truck in the wreck.

We are all having a great time. I’m so tired when I write these posts. I hope they make sense. I would like to share more, and maybe I can as the trip winds down in the next few days. All of our team member seem very happy and are doing great! Keep praying for us. Thanks.

I am not sure I will have internet access for the next few days. Just check back.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Day 5 Honduras Summer 2010

Honduras Summer 2010 Day 5
Today was a great day in Tegucigalpa! We worked hard and got a lot accomplished. The team that went to Didasko to do the medical clinic and work with the children is still not back, and it is 8 p.m. here! Maddie, Lester, Midge, Beth, Drew, Hannah, Liz, and Aaron worked there today.

Today I built a house, along with Becky, Laura, Lou Ann, Steve, and Jake. We built a house in memory of Jack Cox. It was a wonderful experience remembering him as we built. The family we built for is small; a father, mother, and a young son now have a place of their own. They were so appreciative. The build went well, except for a huge rock that wouldn’t move even after a hour of digging and beating on it. Finally we moved the house slightly to go around it.

Several of our team participated in a Princess Day. They went to a church and invited girls from the village to come to have their hair washed and fixed. Then they dressed up in fancy clothes and had their photos made. Kedra, Rebecca, Melissa, Darci, and Teresa enjoyed working with the little girls today.

I got up early this morning to do yesterday’s blog. As I was working on it, my old friend Pedro came by. He works here and is very friendly. He knows very little English but likes to try carry on conversation. We were able to communicate using Babelfish, which is a computer translation program. It worked pretty well.

Pedro carries a gun. Lester saw it and asked about it. Pedro emptied and let Lester have a look. It provided a good photo op.

Day 4 Honduras Summer 2010

Sorry I didn’t get to report last night. We got back late, and I didn’t have the time or energy to get it done. Yesterday was different, since it was Sunday. We took the day to rest.

It was a very active rest, however. Due to a wedding schedule here at the mission house we were unable to find worship space for morning worship, so we had a relaxed and leisurely breakfast. Then we left for a soccer match between some of our Torch guys and the elite national police force of Honduras, the Cobras. They are sort of like a national SWAT team. Torch and Cobra have a traditional of doing this. I’m not much of a soccer guy, but it was interesting. One of the more interesting moments happened after the match. A cow came running across the field. I don’t know.

After the match the Cobras gave an interesting demonstration of some of their fire power. These guys were incredibly active a year ago when the Honduran government was in a major state of unrest.

Following the soccer match we made our way to eat at various restaurants. Then we went to the Valley of Angels. It’s kinda like Nashville, IN and Gatlinburg; lots of little shops. While there we saw some interesting things. Lou Ann had a guy not hit her up; he simply hit her. The guy wasn’t “quite right” and didn’t hit her hard, so it mostly funny.

After eating again we ended the day at the Jesus statue. There we had a great time of worship. We didn’t get back to the mission house until after 10 p.m.
Honduras Summer 2010 Day 4

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Day 3 Honduras 2010

Today the following worked on houses: Aaron, Becky, Darci, Steve, Drew, Hannah, and Liz. They all had good, successful builds.

Laura, Lester, Kedra, Maddie, Rebecca, Linda, Midge, Beth, Jake, Teresa, Lou Ann, Rita, Melissa, and I all went to Didasko children's home. There we conducted a VBS, had a medical clinic, and I did some teaching to the adults. It was a busy, tiring day. We are tired but satisified that we did good work in the name of the Lord.

We had quite an adventure getting out to Didasko, which is more than an hour from where we are staying. The driver took us right through the narrow streets that are lined with all kinds of vendors. It was really fascinating to see all of it. Sights. Sounds. Smells.

As we were climbing one of the very long hills I could smell the bus getting hot. Before we reached the top of the hill I started hearing the engine knocking. About then we got the top of the hill. On the next climb the knocking got louder. I am not a prophet but I said, "The engine is going to blow." I was right. See photos. We were stranded on the side of the road for a while. We were blessed to be pretty close to a little road side food stand (and restroom).

A replacement bus came in a little over an hour. I was surprised how quickly it came. By the time we got to Didasko there were people everywhere waiting for the medical clinic and VBS. I was touched because a couple of little girls that I met in January saw me. They came running and gave me a hug. All the kids are so beautiful and sweet.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I am not exactly sure what we are doing. I'll let you know later.
Honduras Summer 2010 Day 3

Friday, July 02, 2010

Day 2 Honduras Summer 2010

Honduras Summer 2010 Day 2
Our group of 21 went in several different directions today. Lester and I stayed back at the mission house, along with several others, to work on organization. We got a lot accomplished, including unloading a huge container full of heavy hospital supplies. We spent a couple of hours doing that down at the warehouse, and the rest of the time was spent organizing hygiene packs, sorting and packing medicine for the medical clinics, unpacking Bibles, and sorting food for distribution.

Teresa, Linda, Rita, and Aaron went to the farmers market to buy food. They had to haggle to get the best deals. They said it was quite an experience! They sure found some great bargins. They purchased hundreds of pounds of food that will be distributed over the next few days. The fresh produce is mixed with beans and rice in packets that will feed a family for a few days.

Lou Ann, Maddie, Melissa, Hannah, Jake, and Laura went to the hospital as a part of the Patch Adams team. Their goal was to provide a little laughter and joy to people in the hospital. They spent a lot of time with children; some of the children have cancer.

Steve was a leader on a house build today. Other teams members building houses today included: Drew, Midge, Darci, Becky, Kedra, Rebecca, and Beth. There were 4 houses built today; two of them were built and dedicated by our folks. One was dedicated to the memory of Harrison Conley and other to Donna Conner.

We are having a wonderful time so far. It is an experience that is hard to capture with words.

I have included a photo album. Click on the picture to open it up. Most of the photos have captions. Click on "slideshow" to watch all the pictures. [You can control the speed of display with the + and -.

We appreciate your prayers!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Day 1 Honduras Summer 2010

Honduras Summer 2010 Day 1
Looks like we made it!

Everything went very smoothly today. There was little downtime but nothing was rushed. Perfect! I can tell already that this group is going to do very well. Everyone paid close attention and handled everything exceptionally well.

We have joined up with 140 others to make up a huge Torch team. We will accomplish a lot of work in the next few days. Tonight is about getting some rest after a long, long day of travel. Starting at 1.45 in the morning makes for a long day, especially when you factor in the 2 hour time change. Sleep should come easily tonight.

A special thanks to Quince Earls and Ryan Robert for their willingness to get up early and help us leave the Mitchell parking lot at 3 a.m.

Keep praying for us. Tomorrow will be a lot of organization and staging for all the projects. If the internet stays good, I'll have a report for you tomorrow evening sometime.

Click on the photo to go a photo album with a few more pictures.