Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Today, we took two of our pick-ups into the dump and the road was the worst that it has been since we have been feeding there for 2.5 years. You could call it mud but, the mix is completely indescribable. It is very slippery and that makes it difficult to drive up the mountain into the center of the dump - and where the people are. Once the mountain is climbed, we begin the decent into the pit of the dump. The many inches of rain that have accumulated there make this nasty mix that we jokingly call "dump soup". It is - well, nasty. The dump always stinks and rain just brings a mix to the surface that makes it more ripe than ever.
Going up to feed a couple hundred people in the "dump soup" is something that I wish more of my non-dump friends could experience. A little "dump soup" is healthy and it will change the perspective of almost everybody that has a sample. It makes you appreciate simple things - more, it makes you want to share - more, dump soup makes some people cry - but they are healthy self reflection tears. Sampling dump soup makes some people make important - life altering decisions - decisions that some would say need lots of thought - but after dump soup, the decisions are obvious.
Dump soup is really impossible to describe to those that haven't sampled it and the only place you can get it is - well... in the dump. It can't be tasted anywhere else.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Last week we had friends here from Walnut Creek, CA. (SF Bay Area) The week was great and we were able to get 2 houses built - the first in Ojojona was fairly easy. It was close to the road and fairly easy to build. The second house was in Tatumbla - a place where lots of folks have lost houses to the mud and rains. We built a house for Maria Josefina and her son as the old place was no longer livable. When we arrived at the site, the wood was on the main road - about 3 KM above the town. There was an empty lot right next to the road so, I wrongly assumed that we would be building there. There was also a group of men waiting with the wood - I quickly found that they were there to help our little team carry wood. The lot for the new house was about a more than a quarter mile straight up the mountain on a muddy trail. There was an old house that needed to be removed too. The house was easily completed in a day and Maria was thrilled.
On Wednesday we went to the dump and afterward, JoHana took us to see little Marcos. I will post a picture very soon. He is beautiful. Once we took care of Johana, we were off to visit the homes of Luz and Jasinia - it is in grave danger of an immediate collapse of the entire mountain. I am looking for somebody in the government to help us with some land so we can build a new house - soon. Next, we were off to see Lourdes new baby girl. Lourdes is Fani's sister and she and the baby are doing well. They live in a gang infested neighborhood and three pick-up loads of gringos drew a lot of attention - but, all ended well.
On Thursday, the real Adventure Land began. We were off to the east to visit the farm that was recently purchased by my friend John Zeller. John and his brother have had an interest in owning a Honduras farm and this year, the place that they really wanted became available - so they bought it. The best description of how to get there is go to El Paraiso and turn left. Go two hours past the boon-docks and you will be at John's farm. John says it is only an hour and a half from El Paraiso but, I am not too sure about his ability to calculate time. The road on Thursday was rain soaked and it is up the mountain - the entire trip. Part of the ride is on the crest of the mountains - where there are cliffs on both sides. One especially "fun" part of the drive was a mud wash on a very steep climb. The road looked like it came from one of those mud bog competitions that is designed to keep even the best 4x4's from making the grade. About the time we - by the way, there was a sheer cliff on the left side of the narrow mud path. About the time we started up, it started raining harder than all day. John was heading up first and after slipping a good portion of the way, made it past the bog. My green toyota was the only vehicle with no issues and I was last. By the time I started up, the other two trucks had really rutted the road and my truck immediatly headed toward the cliff. My passengers were saying they would be willing to walk and lighten the load but, I told them that we were all in this together. If I am going off the cliff, it won't be alone. My next try was a bit better because instead of the cliff side, I went into the tree side and my truck was held back by a broken limb in the wheel well. Once I was cut out by my chainsaw, we were finally able to continue the adventure. A few KM later, we had to take all of the wood (for John's new outhouse) off of the toyota and re-stack and re-tie the load. Load shifts are hard to stop when the ruts make you drive 50% of the time on 2 wheels. anyway, through many prayers, a few tears, and lots of adventure driving, we arrived at the farm. We built the new outhouse - after first digging the 3x3x6ft deep hole. The ride down was easier and we survived 2 days with no outside world communication. All in all, it was best described as another great day in Honduras - adventure land. I am blessed with the best job in the world.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
This sort of world view limits perception to about 4 1/2 percent of the world population. It limits what we know or see about how God's creation is living. It also makes it easy to ignore the "GO" words that Jesus spoke when he was about to ascend into heaven - go into all the world! Ignoring the world means that our only focus is on about 1 out of 22 people on the planet. It makes it easy to forget hunger, the need for clean water, the pain of being alone, abuse by family or government, poverty, and especially the need for the hope that Jesus offers.
The little country where I live is full of poor, problems, top to bottom corruption, and needs. It is only 1,000 miles south of Houston, TX yet, a good portion of folks in the states would not have a clue where Honduras is - I was the same before I came here the first time. We are the same when it comes to the many many places in this world where the needs are the greatest. A big part of the reason is that we just don't understand what real needs are. Here, the need for food is great because more than 40% of the people will wake this morning with nothing to eat - absolutely nothing. We often help with food and with feeding children in places where there is no food in the house - yesterday, I had a team in the feeding center in Nueve Oriental and there, more than 250 kids ate lunch and it is very likely that more than half of them will not eat again until they have lunch there today. Today, we will go to feed about 300 people in the Tegucigalpa Dump and it is likely that most of them would have had nothing to eat today unless they found something edible in the dump or were in the line behind the truck where we are blessed to share a hot meal.
It would be pretty easy to look at the world and either become hardened to the needs or overwhelmed with all of the needs and maybe that is the reason that we ignore many of those needs. We certainly cannot change the world alone - but, we can make changes in the lives of one at a time and we can introduce hope to people - one at a time, and we can share Jesus with others by the way we live, share, and participate in their lives.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord, Open the eyes of my heart!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
First blogged this in 2005. I really like the story about Holy Spit!
Have you ever thought what it would be like to have lived in the first century and had actually seen Jesus first hand? This guy comes into your town and touches a leper – and he is not a leper anymore! I mean, how amazing would it be to see someone touch a guy that was untouchable and then, boom, just like that his skin is completely healed. What about the man that was blind from birth can now see? Would you believe it? Would I believe it? What about Lazarus? You know he was dead. He was sick and he died and he has been in the ground for long enough that you know he is stinking. And this Jesus walks into town and calls him out of the grave…..and he comes.
I think that if I saw Jesus doing the things that he did, healing, casting out demons, making the lame walk, the blind see, and the dead – alive again, I’d want to follow him just to see what he did next.
Then I think, all I need to do is open my eyes to the words that describe what Jesus did and then close them so that I can visualize the scene. We have the recorded history of the miracles of Jesus. We have the actual things that he did for those in need – ready to read about - right at our fingertips. We have wonderful minds that can think us into the picture so that we can experience the amazing and awesome images that the Holy Spirit drew for us in the scriptures.
Sometimes I read about the miracles that are recorded in the gospels and in Acts like they are routine or even fiction. Whenever I take the time to really study the words and try to visualize the image that is drawn out in the words, I am awed. Our God is an awesome God!
Here is a really great description that an unknown author put together by putting himself into the picture of a miracle in process. I hope everyone that reads it enjoys it as much as I did.
So I'm walking just outside my village the other day, just minding my own business, and I see a small group of people gathered around a couple guys. Just the fact that there were even a few people outside the village was a bit odd, but they were all looking intently at the two guys in the middle.
I recognized the one guy first. He's the blind guy. Every now and again I'd give him a coin. I figure he needs it. He's blind. I do my very best to respect people who have some challenges. I figured that this other guy was going to do something nice for the blind guy.
I moved closer in to see what was happening, and, I am not making this up, the other guy spit right in the blind guy's face. Then he starts mashing the spit around with his fingers. I was pretty ticked off. I got in closer because I wanted to give this jerk a piece of my mind. I got close enough to hear what he said. I couldn't believe it. First he spits int he blind guy's face, then he smashed the spit into his face, then he has the nerve to ask him if he sees anything. I'm not sure if you can get any more insulting than that.
What happened next knocked me out of my sandals.
The blind guy answered spitman, "I see people, but they look like trees walking around."
Thr crowd laughed because, well that's a very funny thing to say. I did not laugh. This guy who was 100% blind was seeing something.
Then this spit guy smashes the spit even further into the blind guy's eyes.
"How about now? What do you see now?"
"I can see everything. My eyes are clear!"
Some people yelled out shouts of joy. Some people fell to the ground. Others hugged. The blind guy just looked and looked at things. That little crowd was so happy.
Then the spit man tells them all not to tell anyone. Well, that was the last thing I thought he was going to say. I figured this guy could make a fortune with this kind of spit. Not only was he not interested in money, he was not interested in being famous. All I know is that if I had holy spit, I would be milking it for all I was worth.
I wanted to talk to this guy, but he left so quickly. I have a couple of questions for him. I'm going to keep looking for him. I'm sure I'll find him, if I just keep looking.
Friday, September 17, 2010
These days, there is just a ton of happenings. We are working on 2 containers that have or will ship this month - September. Both shipments will have somewhere around $100,000 worth of food and will deliver more than one half million servings of a very good tasting and good for you rice and veggy meal. Having containers on the water means that we need to have all of the legal papers in the right hands before the container arrives in the port. It also means that we are going to have the warehouse space and a clean place to store our food. The good news is that everything is in place for both containers - we will be using one of the containers here in the Tegucigalpa area and the other in the Campemento area. Lots of kids will be fed with the Manna Pack that will be here soon.
We are also working with a lot of folks in the states to help fill up a container in Tupelo, MS. The Trace Crossing Church has a trailer in their lot and every Saturday between now and the middle of October there is a work team collecting things that will help the people here in Honduras. I am especially happy that there will be a lot of Christmas boxes for kids and these will be targeted to the kids around the Tegucigalpa Dump, kids in the feeding / Sunday School program in Los Pinos, and kids in the Campemento area. Likely to use more than 1,000.
We are shopping for land for the next Casa campus. That campus will include a "mission house"for our teams and will be a place that we can use to rescue young lades that are stuck in the system of the Honduras - state run care facilities. We hope to identify a place to purchase within the coming weeks.
We are working on a project that has the possibility of providing food for thousands of families and will offer the opportunity to move some of the people in the dump into a better situation.
We are also working on another feeding project, the Jesus Banquet at the Dump, hiring house parents for casa, 2011 teams, and a few other things that I just can't think of right now.
Frankly, we are blessed with lots of opportunity and we are amazed at how our Maker sends people, resources, and the encouragement to get stuff done. I just call it Kingdom work and because my days are filled, I am blessed - and never bored.
Thanks for stopping by.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Then, there are the random friends that come into our lives that - well, likely are not random but sure seem that way. About 2 and a half years ago when we started working weekly in the dump, I never thought about making friends at the dump. At the time my Spanish was pretty poor so communication was a bit difficult and I just wanted to go and serve. As time has passed, my ability to communicate has improved, enough others go with us to serve that I actually have time to get to know many of the people that we go to serve.
Today, I returned to feed for the first time in several weeks. When we are in the states, we have great friends here that make sure that our Wednesday service continues - but, I haven't been since the first of August. The time of feeding was calm and lots of people said that they missed me and greeted me with hugs, hand shakes (or knuckle hits), smiles, etc. There wasn't a lot of time to have much conversation because there were only 4 of us and we all had jobs to do to get the food to the people. My really good friends waited until the last person was served and then they just climbed into the back of the truck to tell me welcome home. Luz, Fany, JoHana, and Paula were so kind. We had about 50 servings of food left and I told them that we were going to go to Buen Samaratano - a neighborhood near the dump to serve the people there. I was surprised when 3 of the girls wanted to go with us to serve the rest of the food and was impressed that they wanted to carry some of the bowls door to door.
When we finished serving and were getting ready to leave, a lady walked up and told me that my friend Francisco wanted to see me. Francisco is a man that I met in June - the first time in the neighborhood. He owns a small tienda and he shared water and Jesus with us and has been consistent with that every time that I have seen him. His wife found out that I was in the neighborhood and came to tell me that he is gravely ill. She wanted me to come to their house and pray with him. I was honered to to that and sure enough, when I was telling Francisco good-bye, he started telling me once again how great Jesus is. Francisco is another that I would have never picked out as someone that would be my good friend - but he is.
I am truly blessed with some amazing friends and I am not ashamed to tell them -
I love you!
Monday, September 13, 2010
I've been thinking about scraps lately because it seems that that is the way we train ourselves to give. Just think about it - think about how often you see little tin cans in churches with pictures of kids from a children's home and the words "spare change please". Almost everywhere you go you will find some kind of jar asking for help for some cause or some need and all you have to do is give some change or what you might be able to "spare".
We spent Friday night in a hotel next to the Atlanta airport and I walked across the street - fast food - coming back, there was a homeless guy and he asked for any spare change that I might have. I had zero $$ and told him that but I told him he could have my french fries. I was happy to share but, later wondered why I didn't give him the sandwich and keep the fries for my meal? I guess that I have been trained well in the act of giving something that I can "spare". SCRAPS
Yesterday during worship, Ivan talked about extreme faith and some of the examples he used were about giving. I don't think he ever used the spanish word for scraps but, I am sure that his context was something similar.
I just don't remember Jesus ever saying - "all I want is what you can spare. A few SCRAPS would be great. Just think of what we can do if all of you believers give only what you think you can spare!" I do remember the example of the widow that gave 2 coins and it was ALL SHE HAD. I remember the young man that followed all the rules but was just not able to give everything he had because - well, he had a lot. I do remember the words "take up your cross, every day and follow Me!"
Next time, I am going to share the sandwich and the fries! No more scraps.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
This really was not my thought when I started this blog on Big Church. I really wanted to share some of my thoughts or maybe just speculation on what seems to be happening in parts of the USA. It seems that a number of churches have decided that UpSizing is a great thing. I am not talking about growing in numbers - I am pretty sure that that is pretty Biblical. No, I am just pondering the 'bigness' of some of the places that some choose to call "houses of worship". All this thinking started last December when I heard about a Dallas church that has decided to build a new campus and they made a big announcement about the fact that it is going to be a $125 million place - complete with a 4 story cross in the lobby - of course set in a waterfall. My first thought was that I would not want to be the church leader that had to stand in front of the Master and try to explain how this was a good idea. My second thought was a bit more selfish - because I calculated that the same $125,000,000 would enable us to build something like 87,000 block houses. Now, 87 thousand houses that would average 6 per house would put a pretty big dent in the housing needs of the people here in this poor country that I call home.
Once I put all of these thoughts to the side, I really just started thinking about what "Big Church"should really be about and it was a pretty simple conclusion. When the church started at the end of Acts 2 - the people met together daily, they ate - together, they prayed - together, and when somebody had a need - they provided - even if it meant that somebody else sold something of value. Hummmm. When is the last time you went to "Big Church"and somebody encouraged you to sell something so that another brother's needs could be met? I don't remember ever hearing this sermon.
So, it is my pleasure to encourage you to take a look at what Acts says about how we might want to do church and if needed, sell a few things and help some of your brothers.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Being in the states for these few weeks, we have been bombed with a lot of talk about some people that want to stop some people in NYC from building a mosque because the place is "sacred". Now, the big talk is about some idiot in Florida that wants to burn some copies of the qoran (I know the spelling is bad). The thing about both of these is that neither of them make any difference and they should not be news.
News is that even if the mosque is built or the idiot burns the books, the world we live in is a mess. There are nearly 7.0 billion people on this big ball and about 50% of us are living with hunger, disease, bad water, abuse of young women (and women of all ages), kids selling themselves for sex, parents selling their children, single moms that cannot feed their kids, bad houses, no houses, and a general need for a little bit of hope.
News is that we have some good news that we can share but, we tend to spend our time worrying about things that don't make any difference so much so, that we don't have the time to GO and share with people that really need some good news.
It is about time that we get up and GO! Go into the places where we can make just a little bit of a difference in the lives of people that really need somebody to come. To come and say how much they care by showing it in the way they serve.
Make me a servent, Lord make me like you!