This year started with a team leaving. They rode on the back of the flatbed all the way to San Pedro Sula to make their flight. Normally, I call the bus company and plan the trip the day before, at the owners request. This time they told me that they didn't drive on January 1st until that afternoon. It is a 4 hour trip to San Pedro Sula and their flight left at 1:00 pm So we had to get the flatbed ready to ride to San Pedro Sula. While the men were doing that, we got everything ready to celebrate New Year's Eve. We planned to shoot of fireworks, eat tres leches(which is a wonderful cake that has coconut milk, whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk ) made a campfire with a guitar playing worship leader from team 2's church. (We had another team almost the same time. The came a day after the first team and left a day after team one. ) We bobbed for apples and watched grown men have too much fun with their fireworks.
WE had a lot of activity in December between three teams and Christmas for the girls. They did so many things around the farm, including getting the farm planted. Some worked on the duck pond's dam where we have a source of water that helps water our plants through the dry season, made cabinets, had acrylic art painting lessons for the girls, dance classes for worship on Thursday night, lots of cooking and baking. They repaired my sad sofa, cracked glass on the kitchen door, worked on the electrical problems at my house, put bulbs in very tall light poles and made a covering for Mariela's day bed. Everyday was so full, and we got so many things done that I hadn't been able to get too.
After the teams left we had a meeting with the labor officials. We have had many employees who have worked with us over the last 4 years. Some we have known for as long as I have lived in Honduras. Here with the labor laws, if you quit your job you get hardly any severence pay. So many workers stay when they really want to be doing something else, but the longer they stay, they get kind of a savings account that continues to build at the employer's expense. Without a contract a worker can get up to half of what he had ever been paid by the employer. We had done everything legally about having contracts and everything, but no matter how much you might care about your employer, I guess sometimes you just want a change. After watching the group, I knew that the time had come to let them go do what they needed to get done. This time of year they have their own farms and are harvesting their own coffee. It is very hard for them to work here and on their own places.
So we made the arrangements. Something like this can go either way. People can get offended if you discerned the situation incorrectly. Thankfully, they were all relieved, and the extra separation pay will help them get their New Year started off in a great way. Even though I knew that it needed to happen, you get used to seeing the folks you work with everyday. I am going to miss them all terribly. It was an extremely emotional day for me. We have walked with each other through so many things, sickness and in health, good times and not so good times. I am thankful they have been here, and pray blessings on them and their families. Tonight, one of the workers came to church at the mission. I am thankful.
Pray for me and the girls. This New Year is starting out all new, but we all know that if we work together and God is guiding us, everything will be okay. We are getting back to the roots of the ministry. Initially it was out vision for the girls to develop a good work ethic through doing chores around the farm and learning how to cook and keep house. So that when they leave from here they will be totally educated in the areas of life that they need to have to be successful. We had two weeks to practice while the workers were on Christmas holiday.
The girls are feeding and watering the pigs, rabbits, goats, cow, chickens, ducks, and dogs. They helped me get a flatbed loaded with wood for their cook fires. We would stop at one house and they threw the wood off and then went back and put them under the shelter that is located behind each house. They have helped me with the watering of all the newly planted fields, and we have teams that are doing the cooking. They have helped me with the laundry from all the teams and have been such a blessing.
Because they started back to school this week, they get up at 5 am and feed up the animals, the team for the day cooks while the others are feeding the animals. They eat at 6:30 am, clean up breakfast, (another team) and then we have devotions, followed by jumping jacks (we are up to 50) and then the food team, comes and we get lunch started at my house before they go to school. The girl's attitudes have been wonderful, and they have worked very hard.
Even though the girls attitude have been great our cow has a little bit of a "tude". We call her Prissy because she thinks she is "all that". I was even a little nervous of her the way she would bow up at seemingly just women. We just let the workers handle her before because she seemed to like the men better. But when we had to do it, it was a learning experience. She would come towards us jumping, popping and swinging her head like she was going to charge. At first I would get her busy with her food and then move her rope to another tree so that she could have a different place to graze. I was hiding behind trees, and stealthly moving about while she was otherwise occupied . That lasted a day. The next day she had caught on and started up with her nasty attitude. I had the rope in my hand and I just popped her on the nose with the end of the rope like you would if you had a wet towel. She stopped, looked at me really hard, and I looked back at her like, "I will do that again" and I tell you she looked like she shrugged her shoulders, and behaved herself. Stephania is a little cowgirl. She is maybe 4 ft tall, and we buy her capris and they just fit for her pant length. She decided she wasn't going to wait for me and she took the rope and wrapped it around her fingers. The cow snatched her head back and put a rope burn on Stephania's knuckles. Steph didn't like that so she did as she saw me do. We got her doctored up and I felt so badly for her, but I saw her today while I was staining the cabinets. She literally had the cow by the horns, and walking her a pretty long distance to get her to a good place to graze. The cow was being very obedient. All the other girls were admiring her courage and were saying "Wow, Stehphania, how brave you are." She seemed to get a little taller.
Please continue to pray for us in this new season of a New Year. We have appreciated all the teams who came to help and all the ones who are coming to help us this year. We are looking forward to all that God has planned for us. Blessings, the Cow Punching, Honduran MOM