February started with the shingles. If you have never considered that you too could be attacked by what I had previously considered a disease for old people - think again. I found out that you can get shingles from being around a child that has chicken pox and that you don't have to be over 70 to get shingles. My shingles were on the left side of my face and head. They were in my left eye and in my mouth. The good news is, there is some amazing medicine that - once started will give you a great deal of help in about 72 hours. I know that many of you were lifting up prayers for my complete recovery and they were heard and answered. I was only down for a few days and we were able to get back to work.
During the month, we were called about the potential of helping several families with replacing houses that had burned to the ground. Literally within hours of putting out an email seeking prayers and help for the families, there was comittment to rebuild 5 houses. The timing could have not have been better either. We had previously heard from a couple (father / daughter) that wanted to come to Honduras for 8 days to work. Their arrival was one day before our scheduled day to begin construction and our new friends (Don & Sarah) were amazing helpers on the 5 houses that were constructed over the course of the next three days. We were also able to introduce Sarah to the Mi Esperanza program through my friend Janet Hines - who was in town at the time of the visit. Don was introduced to some of the tough situations at Hospital Escuela as well. - Back to the houses. It turns out that one of the houses that was built was for the aunt and uncle of Josue - from the airport. Anyone that has ever worked in Honduras with TORCH knows Josue and it just shows what a small world it really is. Josue's aunt is a very gracious lady and in discussions with her, I found out that she is a Christian and that she teaches Sunday School to about 70 children in a church not too far from her house. There were three families - a total of about 15 to 17 people living in the same house and this lady and her husband so, we did the best that we could to add a little size to the new version. We ended up with a house that is about 22x21 and we added a divided wall into the middle. We also added extra doors and windows. We were able to complete the project for these families in about 3 days. Thank you to everyone that prayed for these families. Please offer a prayer of thanksgiving that our God answered the prayers of those in need.
Once the house project was complete, we were able to committ a little time to follow-up on both the kindergarten as well as the "clean family" project in the Nueva Oriental community. The kinder is open for buisness and we were able to observe the morning portion of the classes. There were 2 teachers and a couple of mom's in the classroom that was constructed in January. Of course, the kids were the ones that were recieving the blessing of having caring Christian women helping them learn. The teachers are ladies that are also active in the church that is located in this community. As far as the "clean family" project - we are moving ahead with plans to begin building the center in mid to late April. The facility will likely be located near the church building and the Sunday School classrooms that were constructed last summer. The current plan for the building will include a number of pilas (Honduran for washing machine) and restroom / shower facilities. It is hard to imagine that there can be a community where more that 1000 people live with no sanitary restrooms, showers, or places to wash the clothing for a family however, it is true. Not just in this little community but in many others. The second floor of this facility is planned to have a place where the women of the community can meet for fellowship and for Bible study. It will also have at least 4 sewing machines for both work as well as for the use of the women of the community. We plan to seek workers from the Christian women in the community and will train them to manage the facility and the assets. We believe that this facility can be a blessing to many many people. Additionally, we believe that it can be an amazing outreach for the ladies of the church. Praise God for the group that is sponsoring the beginning of this work.
We were able to visit the church in Los Pinos one Sunday in February and we are always happy to report that the congregation is continuing to become more mature. On the Sunday that we visited, there was one young man that made a decision to follow Jesus and observing the excitement of his baptism was uplifting. The church in Los Pinos is operating independently and does not rely on any USA churches for it's operations. There is one USA church that is sending a monthly contribution of $100 to help operate the weekly feeding of the children and the youth group. The church does not depend on others and it is awsome to see that this has happened in 5 short years.
The church in Santa Ana is also continuing to grow and strengthen. There were some difficult times shortly after Noel and family moved to be closer to their family however, that seems to have changed as Dorian becomes more connected to the congregation. In February, we were blessed to have the addition of a new family of workers - The father is a Baxter grad and the rest of the family are working to plant seeds in the Santa Ana community. Additionally, our assigned Baxter student is an excellent second year student. We are blessed to be a part of the Santa Ana church.
February was also a month that closed out the drive for school supplies that Terri initiated in December. This drive was started because there are problems associated with the cost of supplies for families - especially when you compare it to the average income of the many poor families in Honduras. The church in Fairview Heights, IL helped coordinate the collection and the shipment to Healing Hands International ( or shipper). We are looking forward to the "any day" arrival of the container as it is much needed by the many communities and churches that will be touched by the generousity of so many people. Terri will be posting pictures of the arrival and the distribution of the supplies and in the mean time, I would like to thank the many people, churches, sunday school classes, and others that participated in this effort.
February also was a time when our house remodel officially ended - at least the formal construction. We were able to get most of the interior painting done and we now have room for you to come and stay with us. We would welcome your visit. It is because so many of you care and have a desire to make a difference, to share the gospel, to help kids and to follow the great comission that you are supporting our work here. We thank you for that. We are blessed to be here and we are doing our best to be good stewards of the dollars that you spend here. Thank you.
Be a blessing to somebody today!