Thursday, August 31, 2017

Changes


 Greetings,

I got back home to Honduras on the 15th of August.  When I arrived with all my bags of new school shoes for the girls. With some creative packing I didn't have to pay for another bag, but I did have to explain to the suspicious customs agent why I needed 23 pairs of children's shoes. Rosa had sent me a ministry letter to receive the shoes, but it was in my phone, and I need to get it printed off next time. Rosa came to pick me up in a rented truck that had a driver,at the San Pedro Sula airport.  It was so great to see her.  It took the whole 3 1/2 hour ride just to catch up on all the news of the girls for the 21 days I was in the United States. I really enjoyed my time in the States, but it was great to be in Honduras once more.  

The theme for my trip was about change.  I left with one of our girls Mary.  She had been in St. Louis Missouri living with her host family, the Duralls for the last two years attending and then graduating from a Christian High School.  She had come home for the summer and worked like a trojan helping me with the teams and the girls, but she was going back as a Trojan to Hannibal La Grange University in Missouri. She received a soccer and an academic scholarship to attend this wonderful school. She is going to be in a season of change with living 3 hours away from her host family and on her own at the University.  Exciting!

Our first stop was with one of my daughters that lives in Tomball, Texas, close to Houston.  Since moving from Honduras to the United States, she has been going through a lot of changes in living and working in the United States.  I had never met her new extended family and I was thankful that she lives in a lovely area out in the country. She and her husband drove us down to New Braunsfels, Texas so that I could attend a training seminar to become a commissioned missionary. I met a lot of their wonderfully dedicated staff with the World Indigenous Missions Organization.  WIM is a missionary training and church planting agency that help keep missionaries on the field. They are a huge resource for missionaries, through their love, member care programs, and continual education to help keep missionaries on the field.  I thought I was there for training and support of a fellow missionary, Kelsey McHugh, but while I was there, I learned a lot and God showed me there was going to be a changes going on with our Such Is the Kingdom Ministry also.  

I have a wonderful board here in Honduras and one in the United States.  We truly love one another and they have loved this mission, our girls and our community. 
I am thankful that they will all continue to have their hearts and continue to serve in one capacity or another.  Basically, I will still be the Director and President of the Honduran mission, Ministerio Asi Es El Reino.  I will also continue to be a board member of the "parent" ministry of SIKM INC, but I am now a part of the World Indigenous Missionary family #293. I will be sending out newsletters from WIM organization, writing about the girls and the journey that God has had us on for more than 22 years now.  I am supposed to limit myself to 400 words, which as many of you know, I have never done that in newsletters or in verbal conversation, but again, change is coming.  If you want to donate to the SIKM, great.  Send your donation to SIKM 628 DOERUN, GA 31744. If you want to donate to SIKM through WIM, great there will be an envelope. It all goes to the mission of the girls and the community as usual, outside of 10%(which we would tithe anyway) will go to WIM (unless it is a designated project or purchase related to ministry) and you will still receive a receipt of donation, either way for now. 

My next stop was Atlanta, to be with my other daughter.  She was having her second child and this time is was a girl.  I got to be with my family and extended family for this joyous time. This is the first girl for them and their times are about to change.  During this reunion, my baby girl came and picked me up and drove me all the way home to Valdosta.  We talked like we hadn't talk in forever, because we were isolated in the car for a long time with no interruptions.  It was great.  I think I might start road trips just so that I can have that personal one on one time with each family member.  I went to my grandsons birthday party in Tallahassee and got to see and be with all my grandkids.  I am blessed.

My dad is 84 now. When I come home, I come to check in with him.  I think how can he be 84? Then I remember I am 62 in two days and it becomes clearer.  He was given a different room at his care facility and I wanted to see him and make sure he was doing okay with the change. He was fine with it.  He had made new friends and I really couldn't see any change much in his accommodations.  We had some adventures together, went out to eat and visited with family. I did notice little changes though, in some areas. He shuffles a little more, and when we were on our last outing with family, he seemed anxious to be back to his familiar environment.  I am thankful that he is still a healthy older gentleman without a lot of serious health issues.  Please pray for my Dad. 

 As all these changes are coming about in my life and the life of the ministry I am amazed how God is answering so many of my questions about my life and the life of SIKM.  While I was in my church, and I wasn't even thinking about the ministry at that moment. I was listening to the sermon and God gave me a sweet reminder that "The Kingdom" is His and not mine. I just want to thank you all for so much help this year.                          
Thank you for all your prayers and support. Through buying the girls coffee, and through sponsorships, we have been able to keep the girls in a school that everyone of them love.  Because of your prayers we are working with other ministries in our area. George and Kara are leading the church and their ministry is to train indigenous pastors and plant churches.  Jake and Rachael are the directors of the bi-lingual school and they are a huge help with our girls.  We have a whole new group of teachers from the United States who also live at our mission, who are loving on our girls. Jon and Alicia Looney are also ministering mightily in our area. Wesley and Suzanne have their first boy at our boys home, House of Nain, who also attends the bi-lingual school. 
   Again so many exciting things changing in the Kingdom.  I pray that getting more of God continues to be the only thing you really need.  Blessings from the ever-changing Honduran MOM









    

                                            

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Launching Eaglets


I haven't written in a while.  We have had a super time with so many teams so far this summer.  We had some teams that over-lapped each other and that was kind of wild, but for the most part it went really well having 60 people including my 32 kids, staff, in your home.  It was very crazy cooking for this amount of people.  I have cooked for large amounts of people in the past, but it was just one meal, not breakfast, lunch and dinner.  A couple of times I just ordered a lot of Chinese rice take-out.  It worked.  

During the course of all the work the teams were doing for the mission, which included two medical teams, visiting schools and helping with fixing up things around here, cooking for the week, helping us with our new walkway/driveway, the girls got out of school for holiday.  It stepped up the degree of difficulty, because we had to establish a new routine for the girls to have everyday.   Our interns opened a school in the barn that we cleaned out and set up with desks for them to have a make-shift school.  They would have classes from 8:00 to 12:00 and then P.E. or dance after lunch. Many of the team members helped with games, crafts and devotions with Bible studies.  WE had other teams play Soccer and Capture the Flag  Lots of good memories were made with the girls and the team members that were helping me keep the girls occupied.

We also have started up our church again.  George and Kara Maddox are a young couple with three wonderful children  who are missionaries established here in Yamaranguila for many years.  They have a ministry of church planting and training Honduran pastors. So God put it on my heart to asked them to come and use our church for a place of training and planting a church once again.  We have had services in our church for the past 4 weeks and it has been great.  George has a desire for all of us to catch what he is teaching and preaches with an earnest hope that we will.  We did home visits with some of our teams and we had many local people to come and visit this week.  It is exciting to see some of the adults that came were the children who used to attend many  years ago.  

It is also a huge blessing to me and to the community to see ministries working together for the cause of Christ.  Wesley and Suzanne and Jonathon and Sofi are WIM missionaries who have been working here this year.  Ken and Katrina are WIM missionaries also that will start working in September.  Our interns Katheryn and Ragan have been the summer interns who have been helping me with the "littles".  That was always the vision for our church and I pray as the church grows the other ministries in the area will come alongside and contribute what God has given them for this community.    

We are in transition here at PTC.  We have girls that have come from a lot of different circumstances, but all of them come from tough situations to say the least.   However, some of the girls come from horrible situations.  Some have people and family to visit regularly, and some do not have any visitors at all.  Some of the girls had been here for 19 years and some had been here a short time.  All struggle with many of the same things as your children and other children around the world do.  Self esteem is something that is so hard to instill in these girls.  They have so many abilities and talents.  Some are very artistic, all of them are very smart, some love to dance and some love to read.  All of them can figure out the crafts the team brings and then they put their own spin on it to make it theirs.  They are all quite amazing.  

I noticed for months now that the older ones were getting a little restless.  They were studying at the university, or at a technical nursing school, or at a beautician school.  Since May we have had a couple of the girls really struggling with depression.  When you are depressed nothing is right.  I have suffered from depression years ago when I was in my twenties and it is truly a scary time, but thankfully I got saved and God restored my mind, heart and attitude.  However, with a few of the girls, it wasn't to be like that.  Sometimes, when you are depressed you are so miserable you can do nothing but find fault the lives of others or in your own life.  It becomes a cancer of sorts, that becomes viral and it eats away at the core of who you are.  I started noticing a personality change in some of my girls.  Girls who in the past who had been so incredibly sweet, kind, and helpful, became resentful, negative and sullen.  I didn't know what to do.  You look for reason in yourself.  Am I praying enough? Am I being loving enough?  Am I encouraging them enough?  Again, I know through my own testimony, that empty place can only be filled by Jesus, everything else is temporary. 

When visitors come to the farm for the first time they tell me that you can feel such a sweet spirit here.  Love is here because the Lord is the foundation of what we are doing here at Project Talitha Cumi.  God has blessed us in so many areas.  The girls who struggle with depression have gone to doctors that were recommended by the local doctors in our area.  With each Doctor the girls saw, they would say that they were depressed, but that they were in the best place they could be to get over their depression.  They would give them some things they needed to do, and they would be better for a season, and they felt assured that everything would be better.  I would agree and pray for their success. Again, it was needful, but temporary.

There is another phenomenon that I have seen at the farm, when a girl starts getting restless to leave.  It is a natural occurrence, and it affects their personality too.  I called a couple of the older girls into the office to talk with them.  I told them that life is a process, and that the feelings they are struggling with are normal.  I told them the story of how a mama eagle prepares her nest to the point that she tears out her feathers to make sure the nest will be comfortable.  But sometime she make it too comfortable for them to leave when they are old enough and she has to remove the soft plumage from the nest and the baby eaglets very uncomfortable because they are on sticks.  If the eaglets still will not fly they will pull out the sticks and let them fall or grabs them and flies high and drops them.  She circles back around and picks them up if they don't get it.   I told them for right now we were on the level of removing feathers.  Before I talked to the girls, I prayed and God showed me that some of the girls were just afraid to leave and of the unknown.  They knew how the farm operated, but they didn't know what it was like out side of the farm. I felt like they were stirring themselves up just to get upset enough to leave.  God showed me also that they really didn't have to trust Him for anything because the ministry and all the generous loving people, who love the girls and help us with this ministry were all the girls thought they needed.  They had no need of anything that the ministry didn't provide.  And even though the farm is wonderful, and we had made a great foundation for the girls of devotions morning and night and church on Sunday, they didn't have that hunger to seek God to fill that place that only He can fill in their lives.  What we provided, (outside of Love and a foundation of God's Word) is just temporary until they decided to build on their own foundation.  

So in this month we have had several girls who were 18 and older to move out of the center.  One girl moved in with her mom whose health is failing rapidly.  We have girls who are in college and will not be home as much as they used too with their increasing responsibilities of study at their universities.  It has been a strange thing not having them here, but again, I have to keep reminding myself  the time they are to be here is only a window and temporary. The goal is to get them out there with the tools to help them live successful lives.  Empty nests affects the mama eagle too.  They have gotten jobs, moved in with family members. ( Some younger girls just left because they felt like they were part of the older girls even though there was at least 4 years difference. That is another story) They all seem to be doing well in their new locations, but they are missed.  You feel good that you accomplished what God asked you to do, but you think of so many things, that you wanted to finish up with them, but then temporary is over and now they need to rely on permanence of God. 

I want to thank all of you who have supported, loved and prayed for our girls over the years to get them to this point.  I know God will send more, but for now I am content with the 21 girls that remain and the challenges they bring to the table.  Please continue to pray for our mission and the young women who are now living outside the farm.  The good news is the ones who have phones, call and check in on the news from home. One girl visits every Sunday on her day off.   In getting them ready to launch out, the other part of the vision is that they always have a home to come back to visit.  Pray for me for the adjustment of having mostly middle schoolers as our oldest girls.  Pray that I will reconcile the feeling of loss that mom's feel when a child leaves the home. Blessings, from the Honduran MOM.