June and July are typically the months that our short term mission teams are here and tons of work gets done. Our plans for 2009 were to host or lead groups from Middle Tennessee, Kansas, East Tennessee, Columbus - MS, and our large group from all over. We were also set to help out with the team from churches in Tupelo and Little Rock.
Political issues in Honduras changed all of our plans and all but 2 of our groups were cancelled for 2009. We were very sad because of the situation however, here in Honduras, the poor were devastated because of the lack of mission activity that resulted from these cancellations. With our groups alone, we lost about 50 home construcion projects, many tons of food were not purchased and were not distributed. Medical and dental teams were not able to help people, and 100's of people were denied the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus. Very sad indeed!
We are working hard to make up for many of the lost projects however, losing 250 workers that average 10 days here means that we lost about 2500 days of work - our hands just are not that fast. We know that our amazing God is in charge and His will is in place - we just need to hand all of this over to Him.
The children's home - Casa de Esperanza is doing well and our kids are loving and gifts from God. We are in the process of adding more kids and we expect to be announcing some new additions very soon. Losing groups had a financial impact on the children's home and we are working through some of those issues. Typically we are able to bring our teams here to visit the home and share time with our kids. While here, many of the visitors are able to visit the "Casa Tienda (store) and purchase Honduran made goods, coffee, etc. The loss of income for Casa in July was something like $3,000. That is about what it takes to purchase food for 2 months.
Our feeding ministry at the Tegucigalpa Dump is growing and improving. In June we were able to begin feeding hot meals. Typically we serve about 300 meals of rice, beans, tortillas, and water. Some days if we have enough hands, we are able to add fruit to the mix. We are growing closer to many of the people that we serve and they know that we will be there every Wednesday. Building trust there has taken a long time. Now that we are in a place where we know many names and the workers there know our names, we will be working toward ways that we can introduce them to the message.
Also, for the past 8 weeks, I have been spending time with about 5 young ladies that are 13 to 17 years old. All of them have babies and our relationship began because they started asking me to bring them formula mix for the babies. I started buying about $25 a week in formula and sharing it with these young ladies. I see the potential of finding ways to help these young moms over the coming months and introducing them to some way to leave the dump and finding a better way.
Feeding other hungry people is a ministry where God's blessings are being poured out. In the past 2 months we have been offered and have recieved 3 shipping containers FULL. We have a full container of rice meals that will be utilized in a feeding center and church plant on the Nicaraguan border area. (this project has been delayed because of the potential of problems in the "Frontera" area - there are troups on both sides of the border as a part of the political mess here.) We also recieved a full container of soup mix that will produce more than 900,000 servings of a rich vegetable soup. Additionally, we helped deliver a full container of beans to the San Pedro Sula area. About 1000 pounds of the beans will be used with both Casa de Esperanza and with the Sunday feeding program in Los Pinos.
In June, I was able to meet with Ricardo Alveraz - the mayor of Tegucigalpa. We are working together on a project to help people displaced from areas condemned by unstable land. There are about 3000 homes in these areas and we agreed that - as a start, we would help 20 of the famlies that are in immediate danger. So far, we have built 11 homes and have plans to complete the balance of our comittment by the end of October. When one business heard about our plans, they donated enough tin to provide roofs for our next 90 houses.
Churches in Los Pinos and in Santa Ana continue to grow in both numbers and in discipleship. Both congregations meet at least 3 times during the week - in addition to Sunday worship. In Los Pinos, the mid week studies are seeing about the same number of adults as they see on Sunday mornings - about 100. In Santa Ana, we typically have about 45 adults on Sunday mornings and our mid week classes average 25 to 35.
Terri and I will be travelling to the states in September and plan to be in Columbus, MS; Atlanta, GA, North Carolina, and in the SF Bay area of California. We will also have the blessing of being able to spend time with our children and our grandkids. We were blessed in July with the birth of Haley Grace - the daughter of Matt and Nicole. We will be able to have Camille with us during part of our travel in Sept - Can't wait!
We are blessed with so very many that lift us up in prayer, support us with encouragement, and help us eat. We love you and we thank you for all you do.
Be a blessing to somebody today!
Marc & Terri