Sunday, October 24, 2010

From One End to the Other

Well we finally found a billy goat for our goats. We had gotten some regular scrub goats last year hoping to get a good quality billy and upgrade our herd. Our hope has been for a long time to supplement our milk needs and to help the community with goat milk. Last month a young mother came asking for help for her new infant. She had been in the hospital for 15 days to get her milk to come in. It never did and the hospital sent her home with no milk. I gave her some money and told her to come back with the receipt then I would give her more. Then I went to the store and found out that one can of formula cost about 15 dollars a can! I didn't give her near enough. She never came back I hated that I didn't her enough money. I had milk goats in the States and knew that goat milk is very good to give a new infant. So we went looking for a billy goat for our does.

I couldn't find a billy to buy and so at the first of the year we borrowed a goat. During the dry season we put all them up at the clinic because the pasture was so much better. Well someone discarded a potato chip bag and the borrowed billy ate the bag and he got strangled on it. So I had to pay for a dead goat. He had been here long enough for one of the 3 females to get pregnant. She had two kids. They were beautiful. One was solid white billy with black socks, and the female was black with uneven waddles on her throat. After 2 weeks someone had come by and cut through the fence and got the little billy goat. So I still had to find a billy. I have been looking for a while.

On my way to Tegucigalpa last week, I stopped at a house that had some goats out front wandering around. I met Don Juan and his wife. He was an elderly gentleman who was hard of hearing and has developed some problems with diabetes and was very sick, and he couldn't care for his herd. There has been extensive road construction and because of the road crews and equipment it has shrunk his already sparse pasture land into a cement carpet. They were moving their herd across the 4 lane highway and a car almost clipped his billy goat and the goat stumbled in the ditch and broke his hind leg at the hoof. The goat healed, but Don Juan had given out of heart to continue to try to keep his goats, so he was selling his herd. I asked if I could see the billy goat. He was huge and a little scary. The pictures don't do him justice. He looked like a water buffalo's b aby. They said his dad was two hands higher than him and was golden, which I am thinking because of his shaggy mane, may have been a Toggenburg. He is a mix between a Toggenburg and an Alpine variety with a splash of "Who Knows?" and is twice the size of my little scrub goats. He wasn't limping and so I ask a price. It was kind of high for around here, so I told Don Juan that I would have to think about it. I didn't want to buy a gimpy goat for more than I should and it was a two hour drive back down the mountain to get him.

Two days later, we had visitors from the States. Sandy and Currie Burgess, who run Enlaces here in Honduras, brought a couple who come by every year just to encourage us. I was telling them about the goat that looked like a water buffalo. They just handed me a donation and said, "Go get your goat".

We loaded up the next day. I had to bribe Haley with a Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy's, Ben thought it would be a great adventure, and so Don Rafael one of our workers went with me along with Rafael.

After I had fortified my crew with chicken sandwiches, we drove to get the goat. We decided his name needed to be Don Juan. When we got to the house and the young boys came ar0und the house with the goat on a rope, Haley backed up a little. He was twice the size of the little ones walking around in the front yard. and she had the same reaction as I did when I first saw him. Ben and Rafael loaded the billygoat onto the truck and tied his horns to the rack that runs along the cab of the truck. Don Rafael and Ben sat in the back to make sure Don Juan didn't try to jump. They also kept giving him water to keep him hydrated. It was a job. When we stopped at the Texaco station to fill up the tanks before we went back up our mountain, the men from the Texaco station abandoned their posts and motorist got out of their cars to make comment on our large goat. Rafael , our worker, was giving all the details while he munched away on his second ice cream of the day.

We arrived home and the girls were just exclaiming over how big the goat was. Most were too scared of him to go to the back pasture where we unloaded him. When he got into the pen we all felt a feeling of accomplishment. We were worn out but "mission accomplished".

The next day we had a meeting with the people of Inguanis. We drove about an hour to get to their neck of the woods. It was so beautiful there. They don't get much company because the roads are almost impassable and the mayor brought us down to see if we could help them some how. Because they are so inaccessible they don't get many missionaries down in that area to bring medical teams, or evangelistic teams. My group was Me, Don Chilo, our foreman, Pastor Flavio, the new youth pastor that is meeting at our church with about 70 young people, and some boys from the youth group that are combing the mountains to reach people for Christ. The people are sweet humble people who live truly at the end of the road.

We have been receiving a rice supplement from Kids Against Hunger sponsored by Heritage Church, Moultrie GA, to help the little rural schools in our area. I thought they wanted us to help with that program for the schools. When we got down there they said that they needed to have a project to introduce new crops to the area. It is too late to plant corn, and they wanted to know if I had any ideas. The Mayor suggested soy, and I told them that the farmers in GA grow soy but their main crop was peanuts and cotton and produce. I told them I was coming home to the States this upcoming week and I would ask around and see what suggestions, I could get from other farmers. They have had a crop failure this year because of all the rain. The are willing to re educated their children to eat different type foods.

They need a vegetable crop that they could grow at the school and at their homes. I suggested, collards plants and turnips, which would be a great source of iron. Butterbeans, which don't die off at frost because there is no frost here. They just keep growing. So I will be looking for ideas, from anybody who knows about small row crop farming.

Please be prayin for our mission. I will be home in the States for a month. Pray for the girls and Haley, Ben and Mr. Joe, who will be here in my absence. Blessings, the Goat Buying Honduran MOM, who has Gone where not many missionaries have gone before. It was so cool! (I have tons of photos of this area, it was so gorgeous, but I couldn't get them out of my camera. When I get home hopefully one of my "techy" friends can show me and I will post more at a later date. )

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Busy Week ...wait a sec it was only 2 days

Thursday started out with a bang. Haley knocked on my door and said that something was wrong with the baby pig. We had a new mama pig that decided she didn't like the littlest one and started puncturing her runt with her teeth. We took it away from her and have been feeding it a bottle. The runt was living in the chicken brooder so it could keep warm but somehow in the night it found a way out and that night our temperature dropped. He was freezing. So I got the girls to get some warm water mixed with sugar and then massaged the little one until he showed some signs of life. He is on formula and is doing fine now.

After that, we walked to Yasi with our older girls and some of the youth group, to bring more rice from Children Against Hunger. We have been trying to serve the children in the neighboring aldeas that need a supplemental lunch to help them overcome some nutricional problems in our area. The last hurricane combined with months of non stop rain has severely damaged the corn and beans here. The Mayor stated that over 90 percent of the areas crop is gone. He said they would not feel it now but about Christmas time people will be running out of food. The Mayor wants our ministry to collaborate with his office to help deliver food when it gets here. We are going to continue to give the supplement, but the government of Honduras is requesting help from other nations and they are buying food preparing for the end of the year. They have a work for food program where people work in their communities and the government clocks their hours and pays them with basic grains. We commited to help them once a week to attend to this need. Our older girls, youth pastor with some of his young adults and some of our staff will go into the aldeas we have already been visiting along with going to some other remote areas that have no resources at all.

When we got back from Yasi we had to take a shower and go to La Esperanza and see about a 2 year old little girl that we are going to receive. When we told the girls that we were getting a new girl they all screamed with excitement. They love it when we get a new girl. The paperwork wasn't quite through so we came home to a bunch of sad faced girls who wanted our new girl to be in tow. It will be next week before the little one arrives. Her name is Tania, so please be praying for her that she will acclamate to our center rapidly.

The next morning early, I left to go to Tegucigalpa and get my residency renewed. I was hoping to get a 5 year residency, but found out last week that was not economically feasible. It was going to cost 500 dollars for a 5-year as opposed to paying 20 dollars a year for an annual fee . Even though I strongly dislike driving over the roads that are full of road crews and all their equipment right now, I opted to take a trip to Tegucigalpa the capital.

The roads going through Tegucigalpa are still messed up because of the rain, so I went around Tegucigalpa on their new by pass called the Ring. It worked out great. I went into the immigration office and usually it is a long ordeal. They told me to go to the first window to get a receipt, and I got behind this man who had about 60 passports that needed receipts also. I was trying to be positive. I had been sitting for quite some driving so now I had an opportunity to stand for a long period of time. Surprisingly it went by rapidly and I got my receipt. I went to the bank window and paid the fee, and returned to the immigration lady. She looked at my documents and said wait 20 minutes and your card will be ready. I asked, "No photo" "Not necessary", she replied and in 5 minutes I had my card renewed and left the halls of immigration.

I had several other errands in town. I was to visit one of our girls, who lived with us for years. She is at another center right now and I wanted to see her before I leave for the US. She hadn't completed some of her studies and so I wasn't given permission to visit. I had everything packed to bring her a goody bag . I was disappointed that I wasn't able to see her. One of the other errands was to locate a turkey for Thanksgiving before I left to go to the States. We came up empty on that particular errand, also but I still have a few weeks before I leave to get that done. I visited cell phone headquarters to get some things worked out with them.

I went by Brenda's and had a birthday supper with her and her cousin and Sandy Miller who has a ministry in Comayguela. Sandy and her husband Currie have a Youth Ministry and one of the largest bi-lingual schools in the country called Enlaces. Brenda, a graduate from college and one of our former PTC girl works with their ministry.

Sandy was supposed to be monitoring a competition that her school was involved in. We chose a restaurant nearby and ordered. While we were eating, the folkloric dance competetion was going on. We had to keep a check so that we wouldn't miss her school. We kept popping outside to see what was going on. After we ordered, Sandy ran out and prayed for her kids and ran back in and we ate. The meal was wonderful and and just as we finished the Enlaces dancers were called to perform. We loved all the dancers, and children did a wonderful job. The children of Enlaces won 2nd prize in the competition. Normally in Comayaguela the weather is stifling and it has lots of mosquitos. It was a cool evening, limited bugs and the scenary of the large Catholic Church was the back drop for the dancers was truly beautiful. The crowd filled the town square and it turned out to be a great night

I needed to get back to La Esperanza in the morning. Evelyn, one of our girls who was traveling with me, needed to attend a class. On our way we needed to check out some goats in that area. We have 4 females and we need a boyfriend. We found one. He is the only male in the area, he is the size of a small cow and he has horns like a waterbuffalo. He scared me, but they said he was very sweet. I knew he would have scared Evelyn and neither she or I were prepared to load him up in my truck, so we came on home.
All in all I got about 50 percent of what I hope to accomplish done. That is the way it works here sometimes. I don't get as stressed out when things don't go as I had planned like I used to do. The culture here uses a wonderful word... manana. You just get peace, and wait for another day.

Blessings, The Manana Honduran MOM

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's Under Your Refrigerator?

We had a team from GA this past July. They had lots of people and we got so much done. While they were here they noticed we needed a few things for our central kitchen and my house, which as much traffic as I get through my kitchen, it is the same thing. They recently sent a donation for us to get a refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer.

I took the money and I bought a big shiny, silver looking refrigerator. This particular refrigerator had a promotional and it came with a new TV. We needed something for the little ones to watch Baby Einstein, and other educational videos in the kitchen, while the big girls are schooling up top. I just hope our two lady workers, don't get hypnotized by Baby Einstein.
I also bought a microwave for the central kitchen, a electric can opener, a rice cooker, a waffle iron.

For my house I bought a stove, and washer and dryer. We have to keep the laundry room behind the kitchen locked because sometimes the older girls wanted to do all their laundry in the same load. It caused our machines to break down and they stayed in a constant state of "broken". All the girls that are 12 and older must do their own laundry at the pila, which is like a cement washboard. They hang it on the line and if the weather is bad and raining they get to put them in the dryer. Unfortunately, one of the new house moms put clothes that were still dripping from rain water into the dryer. It has not been the same. With the new machines at my house we can keep a better handle on the condition of the clothes and the clothes handler before we wash or dry them. Thankfully we got the ones in the laundry room repaired last week and Sylvia our worker is still using them.

While we were getting ready for this huge blessing, We decided to go ahead and move the refrigerator. Our refrigerator came from I know not where. It was a used refrigerator when it was purchase with a little rust on the door. After its service to our kitchen with the airy moist nights the little rust grew into a lot. It looked like a refrigerator that had been on the deck of a fish bait store on the gulf coast after a few hurricane seasons. When we moved it away from the wall, we saw a frightened rodent scurry away, and a whole lot of stuff that had accumulated under the refrigerator. The floors get swept and mopped at least 4 times a day. I have no idea how that quantity of dirt and debris got under our fridge. I was so thankful that we moved it before the appliance store delivered the items.

We got busy cleaning that up and when we did it looked so much better that it drew our attention to the wall that was behind the refrigerator. It was a mess. The stove is close by and so all the steam and grease apparently blew behind the fridge and dust and other things that had been spilled down the back was attached to the stone wall. So we jumped on cleaning that. We mixed laundry soap, hot water and who know what else Sylvia put in there but when I got back with the ajax from my house, she had a broom and a bucket scubbing the hound out of the walls and Dina was scooping up the rinse water with a dust pan and another broom. I was thinking the delivery guys will be here any minute. While I was doing some cleaning on the stove, because it started to look bad against the cleaness of the washed walls, Dina started scrubbing the walls of the other side of the bar. We know had everything in a royal upheaval. I was mortified at how much stuff we were having to scrub. How did we not see this before?

Well, while scrubbing away, I got to thinking about how that refrigerator was like life in general. You have this body and because of the elements of life you begin to show some cosmetic problems. No matter how much cream and special cleanser you put on the exterior, it is the "elements" are always working against you. but thankfully you are still working pretty well inside. You are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Then things inside where people can't see start being affected and breaking down and you are not keeping things as cool as you used to, not working at your full potential.
Then right in the middle of waxing philosophically eloquent, God started working on my thought process. I don't know about you but I try to pray and read my Word and maintain my spiritual life , and even though I am attending to it on a daily basis I am not checking for the crud that blows my direction and gets stuck underneath where I don't bother to check, and before you know it, rats are trying to build a home and eventually will get in the motor and shut you down.

This week I had a revelation that I needed to get over myself. The next revelation was, who cares what is in my wallet, I need to find out what is under my fridge! The third revelation is that I don't get on my knees anymore unless it is something huge I need to pray about.

God brings something new in and you move the old out, but when you move it out, you start noticing other things that are just not up to snuff either. You start cleaning on one area and are feeling pretty good about it and that just makes another part look even more needy. All the while you are frantically wondering who is going to come in and see what trying to scoop up off the floor! Which brings me to my first revelation which was to get over myself . Who really cares but God. I want to have the courage and the time to look underneath and bring in The Health Inspector to keep a check on my condition. The only One who really cares, is the Lord, and He does not condemn me or shake His head in disgust. He knows my name and my frame.

I know that the Word says that in Him things are new every morning. If we can focus on the new things, it would shine a light on the things that really need to go. That being the case, if we really took time, He would probably mention that we needed to check under the fridge, for those things hidden even from ourselves. Sometimes when I know He is trying to get me to take a "look see", I am so busy getting things cooked up that are really good things and will bless other people and by the time I finally get out of the kitchen, that I don't bother to look because I am too tired. But you know if I would do that third revelation about kneeling before Him from time to time, I would get a glimpse of what is building up under my fridge.

Anyway, I thank the folks who donated all the lovely appliances to us. They are wonderful. The girls were so thrilled and excited over every item. Everybody including the men and lady workers felt like it was an early Christmas. I thank the Lord that He still working on me. Blessings, the Honduran Mom with a New Look.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Water Does What Water Will Do.

As many of you know we have had so much rain these past months. I think altogether there has not been 7 days without rain in a 3 month time period. You know when it has been raining a lot when everywhere you go the mud covers everything up. So much of the very nice grass that we had is now a big mudhole. Finally, we have had 36 hours with no rain! It has been overcast today and occasionally the sun will peek through to look at all the mud below, and then it jets back behind the clouds once again.

I noticed the middle of this week that water was pouring out from under the corner of the outside wall of the kitchen. I thought it was a broken pipe but it was a spring that had decided to come up right in that area. I could put my fist in the hole that the spring had made. The workers we nonchalant about it. They said, "It is a spring". So I got to looking around and there are many of these springs over our farm right now! That is the reason for the areas of saturated muddy/grassy blotched up places all over our farm. It looks like the beginning of a bog. It happens to be in a high traffic area, the kitchen and the barn the others are close to the animal shelters. So we sludge through the mud getting from point to point and the water from the spring is pouring out like a opened spigot. The water table from beneath has met the water table from all the rain and so now we have these springs. I am told they will eventually disappear when it get dryer. It is supposed to rain tomorrow.

Now our circumstances are not desireable, but there is a neighboring aldea in the next mountain that have a problem that is more severe. They have lost their homes because these springs have come up in the middle of their dirt floor houses. They melted the adobe and their houses fell in. Fourteen families in all have this situation going on. I have been told that 2 of the 14 homes are totaled. The others will be able to move back in a make repairs, but it will be a while. Meantime, they are living at a local school. School has been closed because the children couldn't get to class.
Please pray for these 70 people who are homeless. We are hoping to carry some supplies into them this week.

One of our girls that had graduated out of the farm about 4 years ago had her baby this past week. She had the baby within 3 hours of arriving at the hospital. She called me early that morning and said that she had been visiting her family in a remote area close to the El Salvadorian border. Her pains began and she asked her dad to find a 4x4. He finally found a friend who had a 4x4, but he would only carry her half way. She called me to please bring her papers to the hospital so that they would admit her.

I caught a ride with Chilo in the bus . He was going to take the girls to school. Normally the girls walk to school, but it was raining and the entrance was covered in extremely soft mud. The bus bogged down in the entrance into our farm. We couldn't open the bus doors, so the girls had to bail out the back. I felt like I was directing paratrooper operation, telling them to "Jump".

Chilo did get the bus out of the mud. Before that happened, we got out and started walking towards the school. The school teachers drove up and I asked if there was school today. They said that there was but the only students that came were ours. so they were going to cancel classes. We loaded the girls back onto the bus. I asked them if they knew if the buses were running and they said the local mayor has suspended buses from traveling the roads for now. The roads are destroyed. The ruts are 2 to 3 ft deep in some places and the buses are scraping the bottom as well as some of the smaller cars and trucks. The teachers had just come from La Esperanza where I was headed, and they told me the horror stories about the roads. Chilo drove me into Yamaranguila and dropped me off, and I got my umbrella out to wait for a 4x4 to pass by. The teachers came by thankfully and let me get inside. What a blessing! I told them what was going on and so they said they wanted to help and they would carry us directly to the hospital. It was raining hard at this point.

We found her standing where the father's friend had left her in the middle of the road, in a light weight black car coat holding a borrowed umbrella and she was crying. As she got into the cab of the truck. I was sitting in the back and I wanted to just hold her. I remembered back to an earlier time when she came to live with us at Project Talitha Cumi. Her mother had died and her 3 sisters who still live here came to the farm first . She came later because she had been living with her grandmother for years. She told me yesterday, that she had been told that when North Americans get Honduran children they strip their skin off and cook them and eat them. When we picked her up years ago she had her face hidden in the crook of her arm and crying like a crazy person. She cried for about 3 days. I guess because we didn't break out the big stew pot to cook her in she finally calmed down.

She left our farm about 3 1/2 years ago. We tried different technical training schools, but she just didn't have it on her mind to study. So we had gotten her an apartment and a job and she was busting to be on her own which is a normal thing for an eighteen year old girl. She had found herself a boyfriend this past year , and a respectable job and it seemed like it was going to work out for her. Sadly though, there was a problem like so many young people experience, and she was alone. She has been working part time these last two months at the farm to be able to provide for some of the things she wanted to buy for her baby.

We got her to the hospital at 9 am and she had the baby at 11:48 They made her take a freezing cold shower afterward and was going to do the same for the newborn baby and she said she would take care of it when she got home. We had to wait until 4 pm to be able to see her and the baby. I waited most the day with the dad. I read a book, sent facebook messages from my Blackberry, hoping we could get in sooner to see the baby.

After we saw the Mom and baby I grabbed a taxi to get us to the exit of the town hoping to catch a ride. A red pick up truck stopped at the corner where people who have missed the bus usually stand hoping to catch a ride in the back of a pickup truck. I was about to ask where was he going when he got out of the truck. His head was shaved and had a squint in one eye when he talked. He was seriously spooky looking. Seeing a shaved head around here is very "sketchy". So I didn't pursue my hitch hiking ways. I decided to go get some french fries and called a friend to come and help me to get home.

I hired a truck the next day to take me over the bad roads to get me to the bank, grocery store, the feed store, and the last stop was the hospital. We got her and the baby checked out and loaded into the truck. We slipped and slided all the way out of La Esperanza until we got to a point in the road where traffic had stopped. A large blue bus had bottomed out. None of the passengers wanted to get out of the bus because it could mean that they would be walking in the mud that was the consistency of chocolate pudding. So they refused to lighten the load. The line behind us kept getting longer. About 40 men got out of their vehicles and started scavaging rocks to place under the wheels of the bus. It was wonderful to see how much could be done when everyone worked together.
They were almost finished getting the bus in a position to get it out of the mud when a red 4x4 truck broke through the line of patient motorists and drove over to the right side of the bus. As it was passing by everybody couldn't believe he was going to complicate an already strained situation. He cruised by and then slowly slid off into the ditch. All the men who had been working through their arms up in frustration and set up a cheer of sarcasm "Uh huh good job" to the impatient truck driver. They were almost giddy about what happened.

I will have to confess that Corinthians 13 was not on my mind at that moment. I was in agreement with the others. We were all trying to get home for one reason or another and this guy hindered the work that was going on. Ben , the new intern, gave a devotion the other day about Corinthians 13. I told the girls when ever anyone was acting unloving manner unlike Cor. 13 tells us to do, we were allowed to say "Corinthians 13" to that person to remind them that they are not abiding in love. Well, I found I had to say it to myself.

I felt really good about going to pick up the mother and baby and doing all the good works of getting her to hospital and all that entailed. I was really feeling kind of good about myself and then, boom, I get convicted once again. I should have had some compassion on the guy in the red truck when the other people refused to help him, but I confess I did not. I have so far to go.

So after an hour the bus finally cleared the ruts, and was out. The new mom and I were freezing because Don Chilo and the owner of the car were in the front with the windows down because they didn't want to miss any of the carnival type atmosphere that began to take place around the bus.

We finally got home and unloaded the truck. The owner was a different kind of guy who wore a gold plated chain and big medallion with a big gold tone looking watch. He didn't talk much at all. I asked him where he went to Church and Chilo answered for him, "He doesn't go anywhere, but he is a canidate". I found out later that he has a problem with alcohol and the reason he was letting Chilo drive his truck is because he legally could not. I thought that was pretty nice. He was different but he needs God and he knew it. The most reaction that he had the total day with everything going on was that he was amazed at the groceries we buy per week. I told him that because we have 27 girls and some staff that eat with us it ends up being about 34 people at each meal. While we were loading up he kept saying incredously "More?" So it took us a while to unload because there were a lot of supplies and it was raining.

I was thankful for the man who lets us rent his truck for the day, and that mother and the baby are doing well ,and for the girls who have been really helpful and trying to be quiet. They are not used to babies being around. Mother and baby will be here for 2 weeks and then she moves to Teg. to be with her aunt who is going to help her with the baby while she gets a job. Pray for her plans to come together. Pray that I will not think more highly of myself and really walk with everyone, not just the folks I know, in a Corinthians 13 kind of way. Blessings, the Hitchhiking No Longer, Honduran MOM