Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Jesus Banquet

Monday is November 1 and that means that in about 5 1/2 weeks we will be having the second annual Jesus Banquet at the dump.

Last year we planned to feed 400 and believe that when it was all said and done, there were something like 600 meals served. All of this started in early December 2008 when some friends from the Trace Crossing Church in Tupelo called and said that they would like to come and do something for Christmas at the dump. About 7 or 8 folks came to be a part of our regular feeding and then we distributed about 300 Christmas gifts to men, women, and adults. Later that night we sat at my house to talk about how we could make 2009 better. We decided that we would find a way to have a "sit down meal" for everybody. We talked about the parable of Jesus that describes the banquet where the rich man sent his servants into the streets to invite the poor, the lame, and others to his home for a feast. We talked about serving a meal that we would like. Flash forward to 2009 and the first Jesus Banquet was transformed from an idea to a reality. It was an amazing day. There were smiles, special guests like the First Lady, the Vice President, and many others - even Santa Clause. We believe that God smiled on that day.

Now, with just over a month to go, we are busily making plans to make the 2010 Jesus Banquet a very special day. We are moving the banquet across the road to a large soccer field so that we are not encouraging kids to come to a place where they don't belong. We are going to use the same restaurant to perpare the food but, we are going to pre-cook this year so that people are not forced to wait as much as two hours for food. We have 100's of Maji boxes for the kids, we are going to have a gift of soap, shampoo, and other goods for the adults. We are planning to feed at least 1,000. Many special guests will return to be a part of the day and many from the USA will be here to serve side by side with people from the churches of Honduras.

December 8, 2010 is going to be an amazing day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beans & Things

One week ago today, I made a call to a friend and accepted the offer of 94,000 pounds of beans for 12 cents a pound plus shipping. The deal is, the folks want their money in advance and at the time, I only had about 30% of the total needed. I felt pretty good that we could get the funding for about 1/2 of the total of $20,000 needed but, I was not too sure where the other $10,000 would come from. I just knew that this little country is having a bean crisis and as of this week, the price of beans has risen to over $1.30 a pound.
Flash forward to this week and the money is taken care of. My food partners Trey Morgan and Bobby Moore - ( and ) were instrumental in making this second container a reality. The really cool thing about this food is that it will go to feed families. The first container will go to children's feeding programs that currently feed more than 2000 kids every day and to children's homes that have rescued 100's of kids. The second container will go to Campemento where it will be broken into 5 pound bags (about 9400 of them) and distributed to every house in the area.
One week ago yesterday, I found out that one of my friends from the dump had been hurt and was in the hospital. I had just written about Ana a couple of weeks ago - and part of what I wrote was her problem with huffing. Well, the day after I wrote about Ana, she almost died and was in the hospital recovering. Ana had two issues - and either of them could have killed her. She was pregnant - didn't even know it until somebody hit her in the stomach - killing the fetus and later making her septic. The second issue was because of her huffing. Seems that Ana was huffing paint thinner and somebody encouraged her to take a drink - and she did. The thinner burned her throat but, even worse, when the thinner went into her system, the poisons caused her to go blind. She also has some issues with numbness in her hands and other places. Since the 7th of October when all of this happened, Ana has regained some sight in her right eye and very very little in her left eye. She was released from the hospital on Friday and I went to take her to her home. Today we went to a specialist that could measure the way her brain picks up what her eyes are capible of seeing and they told me that the news is not good. I haven't told Ana that as of yet. I took her for breakfast and to buy a couple of pairs of jeans before taking her home. She just told me - Marco, I just want to see! I told her that I want her to be able to see.
Please pray for Ana. She really needs some hope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We have great news! Last week we were offered 94,000 pounds (2 containers) of red beans for a delivered price of about 80% less than the current price of Honduras red beans.
There is a food crisis going on right now and the September / October harvest of beans in Honduras did not happen. The rains destroyed almost all of the beans in this country and that has driven the price up from 25 to 30 cents a pound to more than a dollar. Many places, beans cannot be bought for any price.
So, here is the deal! We are working with a number of children's homes to make sure that they have the beans they need to feed their kids until the next harvest. That will take care of the first container. For the second container we have been offered the opportunity from Bread for a Hungry World for matching funds. We need to raise a total of $10,000 to pay for the beans and the shipping. Bread has offered to support the need with a dollar for dollar match up to $5,000. Net - the hungry people here need some food, and we have a plan to help.
Use the link above to give through the Bread for a Hungry World web site.
Because of this, we will be able to provide more than 9000 households with beans for Christmas.
Working together, we can make this happen!
Be a blessing to somebody - Today!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being a Follower

What is the cost?
About a year and a half ago, I was encouraged to join a men's service organization here in Honduras. One of my questions was "what is the cost"? I was concerned about both the time and the actual financial cost. My work here is very consuming and I needed to make sure I could afford the monthly dues. If the cost of either was too much, then there was no way that I would make a comittment.
This early morning, I was reading about Jesus calling of his apostles - the 12 -. I don't know if they had advance notice of the cost of following him but, since Jesus is who he is, I would guess that they knew...the cost. These 12 gave up everything to be followers. Later one chose to leave and the remaining 11 were willing to give up their health, their welfare, and many of them their lives to be a follower. Jesus never promised them anything different.
For us? The promise is the same.
We hear a lot of stuff about the cost of being a follower - anything from all you need to do is pray this prayer and say "I believe", or just be a good person and all will be great. I am not sure where this stuff comes from because it is not what my bible says. My bible says that beliving is not just saying some words but, it is giving everything to HIM. My bible says "take up your cross daily and follow him" - a willingness to die for him - daily. My bible says that Jesus is the only way and that none of us are worthy without him and the only way to have him is to give it up completly for him.
Well, today I am preachy but, I am not ashamed. I am a believer and I am a follower.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Used Shoes

Today, my food container finally arrived and we had a team of about 10 helping to unload the 1200 cases - all by hand. It is hard work and way worth it to be able to provide about 250,000 meals for hungry kids.
During the unload, there were three kids that showed up to watch. I kept thinking that they were going to ask for some money or something but, they were content to stand off to the side and watch. About half way through the container, I walked down the road to buy some water and I saw the kids sitting - almost asleep in a taxi that was in pretty bad shape. After I bought the water, I decided that I would offer these kids a chance to help out and earn a little money. Containers always generate a ton of trash and it is our job to clean up the mess so, I decided that perhaps these kids might want to help and earn a little money. I asked them and they all jumped out of the taxi to follow me. The three kids - 2 girls and a boy went to work quickly and did a great job. After a few minutes, I asked the kids their names and their ages - they were Alexandra 9, Henry 11, and Maria 12. They were shy and looked as if they hadn't had a bath in several days - maybe weeks. I asked them if they were in school and they told me that their dad didn't have enough money to send them. When they told me this, I felt as if we - the big people - have failed "the least of these". Lots of stuff jumping in my head "how can we live in a world that accepts as a norm (in forgotten countries) that the poorest kids don't get to go to school?" "how can this be fixed?" "why?"
I cannot even pretend that I have an answer to this and the many many other issues that are impacting Honduras and much of the world that we know nothing about. I do know that we must take the opportunty - and seek the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people that God puts into our lives. I do know that when we come face to face with the needs of children and others, we are faithless if we "walk on by". James called it Dead Faith!
My daily prayer is that God will show me what he wants and shows me clearly how to do what he wants me to do.
These little guys today touched me and I cannot get them out of my head. I went into my bodega with a load of food and saw that I had an opened box of used shoes. I was able to find a pair for each of the girls - but didn't have a pair for Henry. The girls were all smiles. Over USED Shoes. I can't say that I have ever worn used shoes and if I had, I don't think I would have been too excited about it. Most folks where I come from would think that wearing shoes that somebody else had first used is a bit "gross". Here - this is just not the case. I doubt if Alexandra and Maria have ever had a new pair of shoes. Maybe never will...........
Ps: I did have a sweatshirt for Henry and he was pleased too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Job in the World

Terri and I are well into our 4th year of life in Honduras.
Our time here has flown by and we are both amazed as we see what God has planned for us to do.
When we started our work toward moving to Honduras, we listed a number of plans and some are falling into place where others are no longer part of our plans.
In our original plans we thought that Casa de Esperanza would grow to be a home for more than 100 kids by now. Once here it was pretty easy to see that this little home was meant to stay a bit smaller than many places we see that are sort of like warehouses for kids. The Casa campus where we live is likely to be full at 30 to 35 kids and it will be filled slowly so that every child that comes here will be loved and will know that they are loved.

In our original plans, we hoped to grow our short term teams and God has blessed our dreams. By the time that 2010 ends, we will have led 15 teams - compared to 3 during our first year here. We already have 3 more teams in 2011. Our teams are the foundation of our ministry here. Because of the teams, we are able to introduce others to the work and as that happens, people fall in love with one of the ministries.

When we moved here, we never planned to work in the dump yet, our work there is growing and our relationships are leading us to be able to disciple people. We will be making some announcements about the future of our work in the dump in early December.

When we were making plans to move here we never planned to facilitate the shiping and recieving of containers from the USA. Even during our first year here, my experiences told me that shipping and recieving containers was not worth the time and effort. As we began to explore how we could help feed children, we discovered that our God wants his kids fed and that he would use us to get food to them. In just the last year, we have been given more than 400,000 pounds of food to help with children's feeding centers and other places with needs for food for kids. Right now, we are awaiting the reciept of a food container and have another due before the end of 2010. In addition to food, many of the churches where we lead teams have packed clothing and supply containers for our work here.

My plan here is not to do a 3 year wrap of everything that has happened - because I wouldn't finish till tomorrow. We are very blessed in our work here and neither of us can imagine doing anything else. These days it seems that the opportunities before us are very big. We are in process of helping some friends get their children's home project up and running by the end of 2010. We are working on a fantastic project for the dump. We are planning the 2010 Jesus Banquet at the Dump, we are working with a water well drill team, we are planning to begin construction of our own mission house, we are making plans for a Casa campus for older girls, we are working with the Bread project in Campemento, wow! Lots ahead and we are blessed to have his plans revealed - a little at a time.

We are blessed to be here and nothing has changed on my thought that I really do have the best job in the world.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Ana is about 16 and lives in a house just outside of the entrance to the Tegucigalpa Dump. I have known her for about 2 years. When I first met her, she was bright eyed and smiled a lot. Lately, every time I see her, she melts into weeping and wants to bury her head into my shoulder and cry.
Ana has changed a lot in the last 2 years. She has started to "huff" - putting glue or other combustable into a cloth and holding it over her mouth and nose until she is high. I first noticed this about 6 months ago - when she was still smiling. I tried then to talk to her and begged her to stop. I even took her by the hand and we walked around the dump and looked at the guys that are completly empty because they have destroyed their brains from huffing. I prayed for her and for a while she stopped coming to the dump and stopped huffing.
In July one of my teams had a clothing event in the school across the road from the dump and Ana was there with her little sister. She was clear eyed and was fairly happy that day. She told me that she was not going into the dump anymore because that is where she always huffed and almost always was raped and beat up.
Yesterday she was back in the dump. She was high and I am sure that before the day ended, she was raped again. When I saw her she was so sad.
Ana needs HOPE and prayer and some way out! Pray for her.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Fishy Veggy Thing

About 2 months ago, the dump video came out and - full version. The close of the video has an idea for a way to grow food that seems to have tons of merit. Andy Hughbright and Nate Hale - my brothers from Nashville are the team that did most of the work on the Dump Video and have a passion for helping the poor and for developing sustainable projects that can provide for others. Andy and Nate were responsible for pulling together the idea of the aqua-culture project as a way to help people to break out of the dump.
Well, it is really looking like we may be making this idea a reality! Lots to do but, lots has already happened - to get the ball rolling on a way to feed more hungry people.
Pray that in the coming 2 to 3 weeks that we can have a solid plan to start building and get the process in place that we can start growing food and raising fish for food - all at the same time.
I will have a lot more to follow up on this over the coming days.