Saturday, January 24, 2009

End of the week

It's Saturday night and the week is quickly coming to a close. It was another great week in Honduras - we were able to build a house for Maria and her 3 kids on Wednesday and another for a man named Nelson and his 4 sons. I love building houses and these were great families that needed a place to live. On Wednesday - about the time I drove into the property, I got a call that a container was in town and that they needed help to unload. The container was full - very full - of medical supplies and many people will be helped by the shipment. I went back to Tegucigalpa to help unload the 60,000+ pounds of goods in the shipment.
On friday Pamala was finally able to have the surgery that she needed on her foot. This will hopefully help her to be able to walk and play without the pain that she has had for years. When she was little she was hit by a bus and the surgeon didn't quite replace her heel cushion - the surgery yesterday was designed to correct that. I was able to leave the house sight to be with Karen and Pamala for the surgery - she seems to be doing well and her pain is under control.
Last night - was the one night of the week when we don't have staff sleeping in the house with the kids - Karen usually takes on that task. Since she spent the night at the hospital, I voluntered for the duty. All went well with the kids. Everybody was asleep within a few minutes of bedtime and everybody was up and at it by 6:30 this morning becaue - today was the day that I had promised to take them to lunch and a movie.
We went to lunch at a fried chicken fast food place so that the kids would have a place to play for a few minutes before we went to the theater. As soon as we were in the resturant, Rosita started with the pee dance - she loves to go to the bathroom in any new place - she went in but came out pretty quickly because she couldn't unfasten her belt. Undoing a belt when somebody is doing the pee dance isn't easy and everybody in Popeyes was watching and smiling. The kids love Popeyes because first it is chicken and second, they have free re-fills on drinks. I thought the free re-fills on drinks was a good idea until we left to go and sit through a 2 hour movie. We headed out to the cinema - at one of the local malls. Nobody trusted me to take 12 to the movie by myself so - one of our workers went along to help me out (thank you Lord). We parked and unloaded everybody and grabbed hands so that we could keep up with everybody. Good plans don't always work. About 100 yards into the mall I heard Saundra say - "DORIS!". That was our Oh crap moment. Doris wasn't with us. I quickly made sure that the 11 remaning were close by and Saundra ran to find Doris. Thankfully, she had just stayed behind at the van. Well, we were off to the movies - which didn't start for another 20 minutes. While sitting there, there was a massive attack of free re-fills and everybody needed to GO. I took them 3 at a time and the first to visit the bano was Cindy, Daniela, and Sisi. Everybody was doing the dance so I let Cindy and Daniela go into the ladies room and since nobody was using the mens room - I sent Sisi in. The first 2 came out in a reasonable time and we were waiting on Sisi - I decided it would be a good idea to open the door to check on her. I just about fell over when I opened the door to see her washing her hands in the men's urinal - she said look poppie - they put soap in it for me.
I was able to get everybody else to the restroom - without any other happenings before the start of the movie. That wasn't the end though. After about 30 minutes of the movie, the pee wiggle started and before the end of the movie I had made 9 more trips to the restroom. Of course one was with Rosita. As you may or may not know, Rosita is unable to hear. She always thinks she needs to lock the door - so she did. While she was in the restroom, a line started. We could all hear her - first the flush and then the water and then the hand dryer. The first lady in line was really needing to go and I could see her relief when the hand dryer stopped - I could also see her panic when it immediately started again. She started knocking on the door and I told her that it wouldn't do any good beacuse the person in there couldn't hear - she kept knocking. The hand dryer went off again and started again - 6 times. There were 9 ladies in line when Rosita finally came out.
When the movie was over, I took 9 kids with me out the front door and Saundra took another 3 to the restroom. When Saundra came out of the restroom, they wouldn't let her exit the same way as my group so - we were split up. It took a while but, we both finally figured that the best thing to do would be to go to the van to wait. We finally had a reunion and were able to head home with 12 happy tired kids. Just as we pulled into Santa Ana, Jackson had a bit of car sickness hit and he left all of the chicken, popcorn, sprite, etc on the van floor. I was happy that he waited until we only had a quarter mile to go and not 20 miles.
After everybody was out of the van and it was all clean from the car sickness, I realized that in the rush to get out of the theater, I had left my backpack in under the seat - 25 miles away. My backpack contains much of my life - including my passport, my notebooks, and this week - the money to pay for 2 houses. I didn't believe that I would ever see it again. I just figured that somebody would open it and say "look what the Lord has given to me". More than $2000 in cash and a passport that is worth about $10,000 on the blackmarket. I prayed and then I called my friend Milton Estrada to rush to the mall to see if he could by chance find my backpack. Then Terri and I jumped into the car to head that way. We were barely out of Santa Ana when Milton called and told me that he had my backpack and it looked like everything was there. Our God answers prayers - even for something as simple as a backpack. We met Milton and all is well.
The end of this week was one that I won't soon forget.
Be a blessing to somebody today!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Day In The Life

Monday was pretty busy - at the end of the day I saw my friend Dennis as I drove into the gate. He had been crying and I asked him if there was a problem. He told me that his grandmother had died. In 3rd world countries, death usually results in a pretty quick burial. There isn't much formal funeral home work for the poor so - it's necesary to get some newly departed into the ground before the odor changes too much. Since Dennis' grandmother died in the afternoon on Monday, it meant that the funeral and burial was to happen on Tuesday. I told Dennis that I would drive him and that we would leave at 7:00 AM the following morning.
Early Tuesday Noel - the former minister in Santa Ana - asked if he could go with Dennis and me. Well when it was time to go, I thought that we would have 3 in the truck. Welcome to Honduras - Dennis had his 2 boys and his ex-wife. On the way into Tegucigalpa, Dennis had a call and I heard him say - red truck - double cab. As we turned off the highway toward our destination Dennis said - there is my sister. We stopped to pick her up - along with her daughter. Now we had 8 in the truck. We headed out toward Danli and the road was pretty typical - lots of holes in the road. About 10 KM short of Danli, we truned toward the final destination - a town called Taupasanti - it was listed at 29 km away and initially the road was great. After about 5 min, all that changed and the dirt soon became mud and the straight became curves and the flat became mountains and the edge became steeeeep clifs. It was pretty much a crazy ride going around the hair pin turns on mud. If I didn't believe in God before this ride, I would have still prayed!
On the way into Taupasanti, we picked up another 9 or 10 of the family and finally made it to the house - the palce of the funeral too. Dennis' mom met us at the car and immediately wanted me to "meet" her mother. The meeting was brief and then she insisted that I eat. The family is very poor and the only food was rice and tortillas - there was only 2 plates in the house and they insisted that I use one of them. I didn't realy want to eat - not because of fear of ilness but because of the fact that there wasn't enough food in the house for very many people.
After lunch, I heard Dennis ask Noel if he would preside at the funeral. The service was brief and later we left in the procession - everybody walked and the casket was carried by grandsons - about 2 blocks toward the town square and back to the cemetary for burial. The family was responsible for both digging the grave and filling it in.
Leaving Taupasanti, Dennis asked if I could give a few of his family a ride closer to their houses. The "Few" turned into about 30. Yes - there were 30 people in and out of my truck. We drove up the mountain about 10km so that the family would be closer to their houses. They still had 2 hours to walk to get home - almost all up a mountain. Crazy.
We lightened the load down to 10 back to Teguc.
We finished the day by arriving back at the house at about 6:00 - just in time for our 7:00 Tuesday "midweek" worship.
I am blessed that I was able to share this day with Dennis and his family.
Be a blessing to somebody today!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

December 2008

2008 waas a flash - it is over!
I plan to post a year end summary within the next week or so - in the mean time, here is a brief summary of the past couple of months.
November was extremely busy and productive. We started the month with construction of a memory house for the aunt of friends in Mississippi and finished the month with the construction of 3 more houses. In between, Terri travelled to the states on what was to be a brief trip to lead a ladies retreat in IL. She ended up in IL for a couple of weeks to take care of some medical issues and some surgery. All is well and Terri made it back home for our Thanksgiving feast. Terri and Karen prepared more than enough food for everyone at the children's home and many guests. We had more than 45 at our lunch and it was amazing. We are blessed.
Prior to thanksgiving week, we welcomed Mike and Kim Miller into our home for a few days. Mike and Kim are from Florida an have been in Honduras for about 2 years. They are working on the development of a children's home in the San Pedro Sula area. They stayed at our house while working on legal issues in Tegucigalpa. About the time that Mike and Kim departed, we were blessed with a small group for Thanksgiving week. In October we put out a call for folks that wanted to come and build - this was the week when we built the 3 houses. On Saturday of the same week, we travelled to Santa Katerina to see the land where the new church / feeding center will be built. The community has already started clearing the land. We plan to do more work there - every month beginning in January 2009.
December began with a group from Mississippi coming to help us take some Christmas joy to the people at the dump. The group brought more than 250 gifts for very needy men, women, and children. We were able to feed everybody and deliver the gifts to just about everybody and it was an amazing day.
The following week we spent time with our friends at Baxter - the ministry school in Tegucigalpa. Graduation week at Baxter is wonderful and we are blessed greatly because of the work that they do. Baxter supplies many many talented preachers to the churches in Latin America.
On the 11th, we travelled to the states to both work and spend some time with our family. We have done both - speaking in 6 churches, driving more than 3000 miles, and spending time with family in Texas and Arkansas.
Our God is faithful 100% of the time. He provides for us and tells us to leave the worrying to Him. He has planned much for us to do and has all of the resources for us to do the work that He has planned. He is awesome!
Be a blessing to somebody today!
Marc & Terri