Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Real Nightmare

My whole previous career was one that required a lot of travel - mostly by plane. As you know, there isn't much room to work on an airplane so I ended up reading alot. Several years ago I read most of Stephen King's novels - I later quit reading his stuff because I believe that he just crosses the line. Anyway, if you have ever read some of the more disturbing of King's work, then you probably know what I mean.
Yesterday, I experienced something much worse than anything King has ever imagined - only this was real life. About 10:30 yesterday morning, I was asked to help take an old man to the hospital. It seems that he had fallen and our clinic was not able to help him with the more intense care that his injuries required. He had severly injured his head and one of his eyes. It also appeared that he had a broken wrist. He fell because sharp pains in his stomach had doubled him over. His name is Pastor and he is 76.
Pastor's family asked me to take him to Hospital Esquala - to the emergency room. We drove as fast as we could to get there and arrived in about 30 min. The emergency room wasn't clearly marked and nobody from the hospital met us with a cart or wheelchair. We carried Pastor into the hospital and the staff started looking for a place to lay him down. The treatment area where we ended up was one with an old broken emergency room bed with no mattress. The bed had not been cleaned and there was dried blood from other patients. The staff never once checked Pastor's blood pressure, never once listened to his heart, never once took his temperature. We were there for an hour and a half before anybody ever looked at the wound on his eye. That wound took more than 20 stiches to close up. The hospital offered the old man absolutely no dignity. He was forced to endure a 3 inch incision in the middle of his stomach with no pain meds. We had to go to the pharmacy to buy a suture kit before they could stich up his eye. I was asked several times to be the assistant to the attending DR. Even pushing the cart into surgery.
I can't list all the scary things that I witnessed yesterday because there are too many and because many are too graphic to describe. My intentions are not to be critical of Hospital Esquala either. The very limited resources that are there are utilized in the best way that is possible. The point is that there are likely billions of people in this world that will never see adequate health care. When we as Christians know about some of these places, it is our responsibility to everything in our ability to make it better. It is simply a matter of faith - the kind of faith that won't let you sit on something - instead it bugs you to the point of doing.
Please pray for Pastor. I don't yet know if he lived through the night.
Be a blessing to somebody today!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Measure The Cost

Have you ever made a quick decision that eneded up costing a lot more than you could have imagined?
On Friday my mom called to tell me that my USA cell phone bill had arrived - (we had our mail forwarded to her address) - she said that she would open it to make sure that all was well and would even pay it if necessary. Well, she called me back about 5 min later to tell me that the bill was over $500! What! NO WAY! It was supposed to be like $39 plus taxes - somewhere less than $50. I was sure that it could not be correct.
Yesterday we were in Tegucigalpa to work in the warehouse and take care of other biz and Terri was able to use the internet phone at the Mi Esperanza house to call ATT or Cingular or whoever our bill came from. They told her that my phone was used in Honduras on October 1, 2, & 3. I said - there you go! We were in Copan at language school and I didn't even have my USA phone with us. It was in my house where Luis was keeping Skillet - oooooooooo, that's the answer isn't it. My phone was with Luis! I called my 19 year old friend and told him that I needed him to be 100% honest with me and asked, "Luis, when I was in Copan, did you use my cell phone?" I already kned what the answer was going to be and he answered honestly "Yes, why?"
The answer that his phone calls were over $400 was a shock to say the least. He was speechless and immediately volunteered that he has over $100 saved and would give that to help now. We have agreed that Luis can work the cost of the mistake off and I am confident that he will.
All this got me to thinking about the cost of so many of our decisions - some good and many bad. I don't need to list the cost of many of the simple quick decisions that can end up bad we know what they are. On the other side of the coin - I wonder if we were given a view of the cost of our good decisions if we would go in the same direction? I know that our hindsight tells us weather or not we made good moves but, if we could see into the future when we made even a good decision - would we make the same call?
When people decide to become parents - they can't look ahead and see many of the things that will happen to make you second guess that decision - like the teen years. If they could - would they make the same decision?
When Jesus asked the guys on a boat to come with him and become fishers of men - would they have gone if they knew that they would suffer and die for the cause of Jesus? I know that they were more than willing at the end to die for Jesus but - would the answer have been the same in the beginning? I don't know?
If I could have looked ahead when I decided to make a "short term" mission trip to Honuras and seen that Terri & I would be living here - would I have still gone on the first trip?
The answer to all of these questions is impossible to know - but I do know this - parents of teens would never send them back - even on the toughest day, the apostles were more than willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Jesus, and I have the best job in the world.
Terri and I are so blessed to be here - even on the days when we are frustrated with some of the day to day things that are different than the good ol' USA. (like trying to get a drivers license yesterday - I had the "shortcut" plan and still saw 14 people and spent 3 hours)
All is well here. We have our own bed now. I have my comfortable sofa and Terri has her pillow.
Be a blessing to somebody TODAY.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Work Update

Terri & I drove back from Copan on Saturday. We spent 2 weeks in language school and attended a 3 day conference on medical and children missions in Honduras. There are lots of people here working to help the people of Honduras - we met 2 couples that are working to start new children's homes - one in the La Cieba area and one in the mountains about an hour out of San Pedro Sula. The needs of the children are great.
Our week at home is busy as we prepare the warehouse for the arrival of 3 containers. We have one that is filled with medical supplies - over $250,000 worth - and our stuff. We will be very happy to see our bed! There are 2 containers filled with about 120,000 pounds of Tuna, chicken, and other canned protien. We will use a bunch of this at Casa de Esperanza and many communities will be sharing in this shipment as well.
We are also working this week on several other things like preparation for the TORCH group that will arrive on Saturday, registering vehicles, repair work at Casa de Esperanza, etc. Terri will begin work on the Casa books and the day to day financial reporting necessary to maintain our not for profit status - here and in the states.
Please continue to pray that our house in Illinois will sell SOON.
Be a blessing to somebody today!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My dog skillet was a pain to get into Honduras. It isn't unusual to start asking questions about how to get something done and get as many different answers as you ask people. That was the case in getting my dog into the country. I finally narrowed all the paperwork down to an international travel certificate that would be issued by a vet, an additional rabies certification, and a letter from Skillet's vet indicating all the shots etc were current. I called the Honduran officials in Chicago and they said and i quote, "with all this, you will have no problems getting your pet through customs. When I arrived, Skillet had been in his kennel for about 6 hours. People on the plane told me that they could hear him barking during the flight and he was definately ready to get out of the box to go and take care of his business.


The agriculture official asked me where the local vet was? I asked him "HUH!"

He said that it was required in Honduras to which I replied that nobody outside of the country seems to know this.... I didn't argue - I just asked him if he knew one close by that could come and get my dog out of customs hostage. The customs ag guy was nice and he helped me get a vet and within an hour Skillet and I were on our way to our new home. Skillet has quickly adapted to his new environment - why shouldn't he. He has moved into the house and likes to sleep on the floor at the foot of the bed. He has a bunch of kids to play with him - all the time. He gets to walk with the guards during the time when I am in town and he is - well he is now a spoiled pooch. Good for him!

Katty in particular loves Skillet. She likes to ride on his back and Skillet doesn't seem to mind at all. He is gentle with the kids and they all run to see him whenever he is around.

Be a blessing to somebody TODAY!


Monday, October 08, 2007

What's In A Name?

The other day I was driving down a Honduras Superhighway (a wide dirt road). Not many cars were going in either direction so it was easy to notice the ones that did pass. One that has stuck in my mind was an old Ford Pick-up. There was nothing special about the old Ford that made me remember it - it was what was on it that makes me laugh out loud. On the front grill of this truck was the emblem of a Mercedes. You know the one - the circle with the three lines that are instantly recognized as the trademark of a maker of expensive cars. The emblem on the old Ford didn't fool anyone - not a chance of it.
Over the weekend Terri & I were out to eat and I saw three guys walk into the resturant - all of them with different t-shirts that would indicate that they were on a mission trip or at least had been a part of one at one time or another. It was sad to see all of them head straight to the bar and start drinking. These guys made me think of the old Ford with the Mercedes emblem on the front. Now I am not trying to judge anyone's heart in this - I only have the judgement that our God gave me to descern what it is that I am observing. It just doesn't seem like it would be the right thing to do - wear a shirt that proclaims yourself to be "servant" and then not acting any different than the world around you. Reminds me of seeing some road rage coming from the people with the "fish" image on the back of the car.
I pray that I will never embarass Jesus by wearing his name into a place that will bring him shame. I pray that my life will be his reflection.
Be a blessing to somebody TODAY!

Ps: I forgot to mention my friend Carrie. We have studdied together for several years and the week before I came to Honduras she called to see if I could come to NW Arkansas to baptize her. It was an honor to have her ask me to be there and to be able to baptize her was incredible. She is a part of the campus group at UA and there were about 75 students at the river. It was such a nice place and cool experience it almost made me want to get baptized again - right there.
Pray for Carrie and her new walk with Jesus.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

School Days

I remember why I didn't go on to grad school. Learning is hard! Especially when the subject is one with lots of RULES and memory work. That defines my Spanish school. RULES and more RULES. I wish I had paid more attention to all the rules of English and that would probably help me with the ones that I am trying to learn now.
The school here in Copan is very good. Terri and I each have our own teachers and we are learning at our own pace- this is a good thing. I really thought I knew a little of the language before I started here - now I'm not so sure. About every other day, I feel really stupid and then the next day it gets a little better. I think I am learning.
Copan is an amazingly beautiful place. It is just a few km from Guatamala on the western side of Honduras. Getting here was an adventure in itself. Terri yells that story on her blog at If you haven't read her story about the trip here - you should.
Our time here has been a blessing and a time to prepare our minds and bodies for all the work that God has planned for us. We are looking forward to getting back to Santa Ana so that we can get things in order for the small team of workers that will be coming on the 20th. There are about 10 coming from a mix of California and Illinois. We will be doing a bit of everything that a TORCH Team does - on a smaller scale. Our plans are to build houses, work at the hospital, teach, work at Casa de Esperanza, work with some of the new churches, distribute food, and many other things. Pray for the work and for the workers that will be coming.
Be a blessing to someone today!