Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Really Great Night


Cute Picture of Pilo, Love him, sweetest happiest guy at the stadium
Tonight Breaking Chains (the homeless ministry) went really really well.  We had more people than I think we've ever had.  And God definitely provided.  Today Darwin started the beans and couldn't find the thing we use for measuring so he just guessed it and ended up making quite a bit extra.  It was barely enough.  Literally the last person to walk up got the last bowl of food and NO ONE got extra.  Why am I suprised by God's wonderful hand.  I didn't take any pictures because we were busy feeding everyone but it was great to see everyone all together. 

Carlos and Alan.  Alan is blind but so funny about it.  He makes jokes all the time.  Here Carlos was making fun of him because he wasn't looking at the camera. 
We didn't have many new people just all our old friendly faces at once.  Even Carlos was there.  I've been asking people about him for the past month and no one knew where he was.  He was "around" he says.  It remains a mystery :).  Wender came by, one of the kids that genuinely calls me mom.  It melts my heart.  He has a hole in the side of his face where someone punched him and his tooth came through.  It's really badly infected so I spent a long time cleaning it out and giving him triple antibiotic ointment and bandaids.  Getting out the first aide kit always leads to a windfall of minor injuries so I spent about 20 minutes doctoring and loving on people.  They love the special attention. 

Truly terrible picture of me doctoring Wender's face.
Oh my goodness I almost forgot, how could I forget.  On the way to La Chimbomba from the stadium we were on a side street when the cops stop a bus in the middle of the road 3 cars in front of us to check his papers.  This isn't odd in and of itself, they check papers all the time, but they didn't have him pull over or anything and it was a one way street.  I don't have any idea what if anything was wrong with his papers but they get the driver off and walk off down the street with him for TWENTY MINUTES.  About 6 cars worth of us were just stuck until Darwin says the driver paid a bribe, which is probably accurate.  Such Honduran craziness.
When we got to La Chimbomba there were more people there than I've ever seen.  It took us a minute to get everyone lined up and orderly and then we did a marathon food give away.  Jenny brought me a picture of her and Dulce that someone had given her with a cute drawing wrapped around and little bitty Leticia, another toddler, hung out with me and gave me hugs and kisses for a long time.  It was just a nice encouraging loving night all around. 


Sweet, sweet, Dulce sleeping on the side of the road.
Turns out Darwin took some pics, I just remembered.  So I'll add them in, but you know that by now :).

This picture is the sad reality so many of them are living.  Last night Mural and Maniqueso's room they were renting burned down.  They lost all of their stuff as well as all of Jenny's stuff who was staying with them until she found her own place again.  Now they are all back out on the streets. 
Have I mentioned I really want to open a place for these people :).

The Boys' Sleepover


Let's just start out by saying that I think vegetables are beautiful.  Not so flavorful but beautiful.  I think it is God's compensating for us having to eat them.  :)  I actually love salad but don't find it very filling.  This salad was DELICIOUS with chicken on top but I definitely could have continued eating it right on through today :). 


This is Brian, he's 14.


This is Lester, he's 11.

These two boys, brothers, spent the night on Tuesday night.  There are 3 more younger boys but their parents weren't too keen on them spending the night away from home.  So Brian, Lester, and I went to see Aliens in the Attic.  The boys loved it and it was worth seeing it a second time to see them enjoying themselves so much.  The highlight of the evening for them was the elevator.  They thought it was hilarious.  The boys were much much quieter than the girls and I think they felt a little uncomfortable but they had a good time.  In the morning before they left Lester and I were playing Pictureka (it's basically a search and find game and I recommend it to anyone working with children, it's awesome) and he had to find 6 things that you find in a bathroom.  The first thing he picked was a bucket of water.  My first reaction was no way that doesn't count.  Then I reminded myself that I'm in Honduras and a bucket of water is probably the ONLY thing he has in his bathroom.  It reminded me again of the differences in culture and economic level.  I've found that kids tend to be MUCH better at this game than me and I was once again beaten by Lester.  He loved it :)  Notice the HUGE amounts of gel they have in their hair for the ride home.  I think they really enjoyed raiding Darwin's bathroom. 




I just had to throw this picture in.  This is Freddy and Jasmine, probably my favorite couple at the stadium right now.  Jasmine is pregnant so soon I'll have more baby pictures to show.  Please pray for the baby's health despite her mom's addictions.  They are such a sweet couple and some more people that I would love to scoop up and bring home. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Visiting Kiddos in Mogote

On Friday we went up early to church so I could have a chance to go visit some of my kids.  I miss going to their homes on a regular basis and want to try and get back into that habit.  Soon, like within the next week or so, the kids will be out of school until February so there will be plenty of time for me to see them whenever I'm in town.  These are just some pictures of my day.  As you can see I'm feeling less and less morally compelled to post pictures on the day they were taken :).  Love you guys!!

Alis's eye is kind of creepy in this picture but Lili was so beautiful I had to include it.

Oh so gorgeous Nidalyn.  For some reason all the kids wanted to take a picture with a straw in their mouths.  Weirdos :)

Oh Kimberly, such a strange little girl but very lovable.  I don't think she gets much attention at home.

Marla, seriously the cutest kid I know.

Homemade Bubbles!!!

Marla decided to put some on her head

One of the kids took this picture, obviously.  I have no idea what Alis is doing.  That's William beside me and Kelly's baby Valerin on my lap.  I can't believe how big she is already.

This little boy cracks me up.  He looks like a little elf.  I don't know him but his mom really wanted me to take his picture so Alis helped me out. 

Another Puppy and A Full Bible Class


Yesterday we inherited Will and Rachel's 5 month old (I think) Boxer pup until they get back from Visa renewal on Wednesday. Cazadora is defnitely a ball of energy and at first we weren't sure if we were going to be able to keep her around the puppies. She really like to pounce on things especially them when they run away from her. But Caza calmed down and the puppies got braver and now they are all living peacefully.

Caza and Toby right before they decided Toby was the boss.  It is hilarious to watch giant Caza lay down on her back in front of little bitty Toby.  This picture gives you a glimpse of the size difference in the two.

Here I was trying to get a picture of Tasha and Caza playing but Caza and the camera were just too much for her.  However, I LOVE Caza's ear in this picture.  I think it's so cute. 


Sweet baby Samuel is growing up fast.

This was my Bible class tonight.  Yes there are bitty babies and 14 year olds in the same class.  I had Rachel's class tonight too.  It felt like the old days when I was the only teacher.  Now we have 4 different classes!  So exciting.  So cute, so sweet, everyone smiling. 

Then I said, okay I'm going to try this without the flash.  Nobody move.  LOL evidently don't move means put on your meanest face.  They crack me up!


Beautiful night picture on the way home from church.  It was such a nice night last night.

Friday, October 23, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things....



Just a few material possessions that bring a smile to my face....

Other people have done similar things as this and I love to read them so I thought I'd do one of my own.  And for some reason I feel morally compelled to only post pictures taken that day so that blog post is today :).  I know I'm crazy just humor me.

Yes this is toilet paper and while the picture doesn't show it the best I would like you to look at the front roll, the most expensive honduran brand which I've been using up until this week.  Compared to the Cottonelle behind it that I find early this week at the grocery store.  Let me tell you there is no comparison.  Honduran brand is like wiping with a piece of computer paper, cottonelle is like a pillow oh so nice.  And yes, I was about to use the last of this roll when I thought, no I must take a picture of this for the blogger world.  It was the catalyst for this entire blog post :).

My beautiful hand carved bed.  It's hard to tell here but it has scenes from rural honduras carved throughout it.  I bought this for $250 off the back of a truck in Mogote a couple of years ago.  Before then I was sleeping on a mattress with screw in feet.  This is my "big girl bed" and I love it.  :)  Definitely an investment I will have for a very long time.


Bath and Body Works handsoap, and body soap for that matter.  I kind of have an obsession.  Every time I go home I stock up.  This time I got back and realized I already had several so I've become much less stingy about using it.  I'm not too picky about the scent and just love smelling sweet after washing my hands and the kitchen line is awesome for getting all the onion and garlic smells out of my hands.

This is Mac, my monkey.  When I decided to move to Honduras my youngest sisters were 4 and 6 and really didn't understand what was going on.  So I loaded them up in the car and we went to Toys R' Us and picked out stuffed animals.  They each picked one for them and then decided on this one for me and we all still have them.  It is a very tangible way to share our sisterly love and remember each other every night. 

Fairly predictable I know, the missionary loves her Bible, BUT while I love God's word in any form, this particular Bible has become my favorite.  It is a Message, Today's NIV, side by side translation and I love it.  The Message helps me really experience the emotions of the people in the stories and the NIV is the solid Word to balance out the sometimes "interestingly" translated Message.  I really enjoy both versions and recommend it for anyone looking for a new Bible.  P.S. I had a good picture of the bible closed, it's leather and multi-colored but blogger refused to upload it. 

In a land that is very noisy and has no air conditioning this huge, loud, powerful, fan has been a life saver.  I can hardly sleep without it. 


And of course my books and a shelf to put them on.  I have another one in my bedroom.  It's no secret I love to read and when I look at my bookshelf I am reminded of all the friends and family that have contributed to this collection.  I love you guys.


And finally I issue you, blogger world, a challenge.  This is one of my absolute favorite acquisitions over the years.  It was a gift a few years ago from my dear friend Holly Towers and it is something I use almost daily in my favorite room of the house.  Those are you clues now I would like to hear your guesses as to what it is.  Let the games begin.....   :)

Friends in the right places




Feeding at the stadium went great today.  Tuesday we had an incident at La Chimbomba with the puppies so we were anticipating another rough night tonight but all went smoothly. 
On Tuesday Jenny slipped this purple bracelet on my wrist and gave me a big hug and walked away.  She didn't say anything but it was the simplest sweetest thing.  On Tuesday Suyapa also gave Rachel a bracelet and told me she would bring me one today but that she needed some extra time to make it because I have fat wrists.  How's that for a gift.  I cracked up. She showed up with this enormous bracelet tonight and we cut it down to normal size.  It was such a sweet gesture.  They have so little but they look for ways to give back to us and that is truly heart warming. 
Tonight I spent a long time talking with Roger, a young tranvestite that's started coming regularly.  He is the sweetest kid and I just cannot imagine how hard his life must be.  There are more and more kids landing on my "oh my goodness I just want to take you home and show you that the world is not such a terrible place" list.  The pain in some of their eyes is enough to haunt you for weeks.  Another one of these haunting kids is a boy at la chimbomba, he's probably 17 or 18, and very "tough".  The first few times he came he tried to steal different things from Darwin and was very threatening.  He still has this tough exterior but we've developed a repoire over the few weeks.  Tonight we were talking and I said something that made him laugh and for half a second put his head on my shoulder and gave me this half hug.  It truly breaks my heart for them when they are reaching out for love but are afraid of what that means. 
We also had an older gentleman come by tonight, probably in his 60's if I had to guess maybe a little younger.  He said that a couple of times his wife had come back to their home and said she wasn't hungry because someone had given her food.  He didn't believe her, people don't just give you food, especially more than once.  So tonight he came to check it out for himself.  He was the sweetest man.  He stood and talked to us for the longest time.  His first question was "Why, why are doing this?" and I answered, "because I believe it is God's will." His eyes teared up.  "Of course, of course it is God's will.  Thank you, thank you."  We continued to talk for a long time and later I overheard him talking to another man that had stopped by.  They were talking about how this was the first time they had seen someone just come and hand out food with no strings attached.  It was neat to eavesdrop on their conversation and see a seed of God's love be planted in their hearts.  The man took his plate and his cup saying they were special and promised to return another day with a decal for our car.  He was selling small car decals but said they weren't good enough to give away.  I'm not sure what to think about the car decal but I'm so glad we touched his life tonight.

On a much lighter note, we've made good friends with the couple that sells fruit near the stadium and they have fun trying to find new fruits we haven't tried.  About once a week when we stop by, we stop by almost every night we go feed, they come out with a new fruit I've never seen or heard of.  Tonight it was Granadilla, after looking it up online it is in the passion fruit family but is different from a passion fruit.  And it is DELICIOUS.  They gave us two and we bought 6 more.  It's been fun making friends with this couple and I know that we will continue to get laughs from each other. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vision


Many of you have asked me what my vision is for the homeless ministry.  I'm working on a formal version of this for fundraising and publicity purposes but here it is for the blogger world to see in it's initial stages. 

For several months now I've been talking about what could be accomplished if we had a facility in which to meet the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the people we work with.  The majority of them are 15-25 years old, living on the streets, have no regular source of income and are addicted to glue huffing, alcohol, or drugs to different degrees.  There are also a precious few who have managed to survive without an addiction and are fighting that daily pressure and the very real feelings of hunger and hopelessness that have not been numbed by substance abuse.  In my life I have not seen a more clear picture of "the least of these."  (Matthew 25:31-46) There are also the children who are much easier to love and much easier to find help for but when I read this passage it is the adults that come to my mind.  They live in a world that refuses to see them, without hope or opportunity for change.  Most of them grew up on the streets and were once those precious lovable kids, they were just never offered a way out. 


I've been praying for God to show me His will for my life with these people and I've been keeping my eye out for possible facilities.  Just last week when we were driving around I spotted this beautiful, but obviously abandoned building, and decided to call about it.  It has a very negotiable, fairly low price and has all the space we could possibly need.  It needs a lot of work but we have teams LOOKING for ways to get involved with the homeless ministry.  What better way than working side by side to restore this old building to it's old grandeur and turn it into a multi-faceted facility to serve the poor of downtown Tegucigalpa.  I do believe it's the answer to a lot of prayer but we are a LONG way from acquiring a building.  Paperwork, fundraising, honduran non profit approval, and an administration team need to be put together as well as many other details. 
But now to the nitty gritty, if/when we have a facility what do I see happeneing there, you ask.  Well many things.  Initially I see it as a place where we can get off of the side of the street and have a consistent, safe place to feed a nightly meal and eventually 3 meals a day.  Also initially I see it as a place to begin to meet spiritual needs with devotionals and church services and just a listening ear when needed.  From there I would love to see classes in sewing (we're awaiting a large donation of sewing machines), and cooking (I adore cooking and I think we could make a go of a small bakery) take place with a small shop that could provide some income back into the ministry and provide business skills to the workers so that one day they could open a business of their own.  I would also like to be able to have a small clinic held weekly to meet their wide range of needs.  Most of them can access medical care at a government funded clinic nearby but they rarely have medicines and wound care (which is abundant) is often neglected. 
I would love to have a sharing center where they can get clothing when needed with out mass giveaways that tend to cause fights.  I've begun to talk to local church leaders about getting their churches involved in the ministry and helping to come feed.  It would be amazing to me to see our homeless ministry become a place of service for many different Christians throughout Tegicigalpa. 

And finally, (I think), I would eventually like to have short term housing for single mothers and women until they can get back on their feet.  Often times young women will have a place to stay with a boyfriend but after a fight they end up on the streets which isn't a huge jump from turning to prostitution.  If we can provide them an interum place and hopefully a skill as well maybe we can save a few from such a hard hard life. 

I believe God has placed this on my heart and I plan to pursue it with all of my energies.  I know that He will make the path straight to the end result that He desires.  Working with the homeless is not safe or easy but God has not called us to live a safe and easy life.  I believe whole heartedly that with prudence and God's protection that this ministry can begin to change lives.  God has already begun to break down some of the emotional barriers between us and many of our new friends that will prayerfully lead them to a relationship with Him.  Please pray for this ministry, offer your advice and just keep us in mind as you go about your daily walk with God. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A little of this and that


Last night Will had the youth class over to his house for a camping trip and devotional time so Rachel came and stayed with me.  We did the homeless feeding on our own and it went suprisingly well.  Everyone is eager to help two girls who are willing to step out in faith to help them.  Maniqueso has turned out to be one our most faithful and helpful friends.  He always hands us the bowls to fill them up and periodically last night when I wasn't moving fast enough for him he would yell (in English) "Hey! What's Up Man?"  It was HILARIOUS!!!
Afterwards Rachel and I headed out to watch the Proposal and have a "girly" night.  Unfortunately we missed the showing of the Proposal by about 30 min and had to pick another movie.  We ended up going to The Surrogates, a very bizarre, hardly girly movie about a world where everyone has these robot clones that go about the world for them.  It was strange to say the least, but we enjoyed laughing at it and had a good time.
This morning the puppies and I took our second morning walk.  We've gone several times to the park close by but yesterday and today were our first real walks.  It took them a bit to get used to it but once they did they have been a joy to walk with.  I'm hoping my endurance improves greatly before they are at full blown running stage.  Right now their tiny legs are just about my pace :).  Afterwards I enjoyed what has become one of my favorite weekly activities, curling up on the couch with a blanket and some breakfast and listening to one of Mitch's sermons.  It really makes me feel like I'm sharing with the Park Plaza congregation.
This afternoon we had church in Mogote.  Will and Rachel weren't able to make it so I had all the kids in my class.  It was a big class but the kids did really well.  We've had several new kids this week and it's been fun getting to know them.  We recently started talking about the early church and it's been very interesting to watch the kids realize where the church as we know it began.


Beautiful little girl at church tonight.  Alejandra.  She was SOO dressed up for church.  The pictures don't do her justice. 

Tomorrow the puppies have a vet visit for a checkup and more vaccinations and then we're feeding in the evening.  I'm also hoping to look at a building a found the other day that is huge and beautiful.  It has 18 bedrooms as well as a kitchen and "other things", who knows what that means for $200,000.  I think there is a good chance that this building is the answer to a lot of prayers.  Please pray for this decision. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good Food and Great Friends


I love this picture of Mogote I took tonight.  I wish there weren't wires in it.
Last night Will and Rachel and Jon and Emily and I had dinner at my house.  It was so nice to fix a nice dinner, Chicken Noodle soup, and make desserts and just hang out with friends.  We played Trivial Pursuit and talked about our work and just had a great time.  Downtime with friends is one of the things I most miss about the states and it is always a blessing when we make time for it.  We had apple pie and these cookies for dessert.  I found this recipe in my favorite recipe book Better Homes and Gardens and have been dying to try it.  It is wonderful.  I reccomend it to anyone looking for a super sweet crowd pleaser. 

The World's Best Cookies!!!
Simpy Amazing!!! Okay not so simply but AMAZING!!

A Very Sweet Lady


This is Mercedes.  Mercedes was 88 years old when she passed away today, I believe from natural causes.  She was Francia, Arjedi, and Enma's grandma.  This picture was taken early this year when Jessica, Will's sister, was giving her her first manicure.  It was really sweet.  Mercedes made an impact on everyone she met.  Several different doctors that have come through have talked about her as their favorite patient of the day.  She was always a joy to be around and will definitely be missed by her family and the community.  I am blessed to have known her. 
This is Enma and Arjedi.  Just a couple of her many grandchildren.


Tonight I went to their house to make sure the family was doing okay and was once again confronted with the mourning traditions of Hondurans.  Grandma Mercedes was laid out on the couch in the front room surrounded by candles while they waited for someone to arrive with the coffin.  She won't be embalmed but the family and friends will stay up all night remembering her life and comforting each other then she will be buried early tomorrow.  They confront death head on and move on but it is often a little overwhelming to me.  Tonight though was just a special time with their family.