Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Tale About a Christmas Goat

Christmas Dinner
Merry Christmas!  Things were hopping around here for the 25th!  We had invited our Pastor and his wife, and they invited some people.  We invited some friends, and we invited the ministry up the road, and almost everybody came, but that gave us a grand total of about 70 people coming for lunch.

In preparation for all these folks, I decided it was time to kill the Christmas goat.  So I gave the honors to the Botkin Boys and they were all over the idea.  They had never eaten goat, and never killed one either so they seemed to like the thoughts of both.   They Botkin's are a family of 6 persons, who have come to help us with all the 31 girls we now have at the ministry.  So these guys performed the deed with the help of our night watchman, and some of our girls who have had more experience in butchering farm animals.  They got everything done in record time.  They wrapped the goat up in trash bags and put him in the freezer to cool.

Christmas Eve is like Christmas Day in the United States here in Honduras. We had to get all the girls something for Christmas Eve night.  We had already done the shopping for each one of the girls secret friends, a few days prior.  We would carry 10 excited girls to town with 5 dollars worth of limperas in their hot little hands.  They bought a gift for their secret friend and then we would carry them all to the Kios Pizza place and they would watch the flat screen and fill up on Pizza and coke.  Ben Heath was chauffeuring the girls around while Linda Botkin and I were buying groceries and paying bills before the holidays began.  While we were out shopping I noticed a dog running with what looked like a plastic bag in his mouth.  That is not unusual to see dogs in the community running with small trash bags that have been discarded.  As I got closer, I realized he had a whole frozen chicken.  He was having difficulty holding his treasure that he had pilfered out of the back of someone's truck that held the Christmas groceries because his teeth were freezing.  He would run for a few steps, drop his chicken and try another way to get a good grip on the frozen mass.

We have 31 girls now.  We received 3 before I came home for our daughters graduation, 3 were returned to our farm after a one year absence, and one returned when I got back.  The 3 little ones that returned had been kidnapped by their mom from our farm almost a year ago exactly to the day.  We are expecting one more girl this week, which will give us 32 girls altogether.  We almost don't fit in my living room anymore for movie night.  The girls and I had prayed for more girls and we received what we asked for.

Christmas Eve day was filled with pie baking and the organizing of the gifts.  Throughout the year, people have sent down gifts that I put in a trunk called the "The Birthday Box".  We have birthday and Christmas presents that people bring down or send with teams.  We also have things that teams bring that I set aside for the girls for Christmas Eve's Party.  This year a lot of Barbies were accumulated, sketch books, coloring books, markers, colored pencils, clothes of every type and every size.  Some people sent costume jewelry and so I just put it in the pile. The "pile" was in my bedroom.

When I leave the country, my bedroom becomes a catch-all for everything that the staff doesn't know what to do with or doesn't want the girls to know that we have.  When I walked into my bedroom with my luggage and what had been place in there after the last team left, I could barely get through.  We had to make a chart and write down by each girls name exactly what they received so that everyone would get about the same amount of stuff.  Ben Heath, our professional missionary intern,  and Angela Serrit our newlywed, helped me with this 4 hour activity, while Brenda Hernandez, our other older girl, who has graduated out of the farm years ago, who has just been promoted in her job as financial administrator to a wonderful ministry here in country. It is such a blessing to have our older girls come home for the holidays.  We wrapped up the girls gifts in plastic bags and tagged each one.  We didn't have bows or ribbons, just the black plastic bag, but the girls couldn't have been more excited with each bag that was loaded into the truck that would transport them to the mission house.

When we finally got back to the mission house, with the cake, nacatamales, and guava juice, the girls did their secret friend first.  Through all the transporting of stuff, I left my secret friends bag back at the house.  One of the girls will start and give a brief description of her secret friend, and the other girls will guess who they have.  It is a lot of fun.  Afterwards, we eat, and then we open our bags.  We take turns on opening gifts so it really takes a while, but we need to know what each girl got, not only to rejoice with them but so that in case it gets misplaced we will all know what belongs to whom.  While everyone was eating I ran back to the house in the dark, eating my nacatamale to get my secret friend gift, tylenol for one of the little ones, field questions from the new watchman, close up the barn, and made a pot of decaf coffee so I could try my new thermos out.  I ran back to the mission house just in time for the girls to start round two, of the gift giving. It was late by the time we all got back to our houses.

The next morning I told the older girls to wake me up at 5:00 a.m. so that we could get the goat started. I also told the girls staying with me to cover the kitchen counter with wax paper and take the goat out of the freezer and put it on the wax paper.  The next morning, I was awakened by someone tapping on my wooden shutter.  I jumped up because it was 5:30 and I was late.  I ran outside with my two helpers to get the fire pit started.  We had to chop some green oak limbs, and I had the foresight to buy some charcoal.  We finally got the fire going and so I went to get the goat off the counter, except it wasn't on the counter.  It was still in the freezer!  I then grabbed the clorox and washed out the huge brown tub that they had used for killing the goat the day before.  I threw the frozen goat blob into the water, and told Stephanie to bring some hot water from the main kitchen and prayed it would thaw out enough to lay on the coals.

We finally got the goat laid out on the rack and covered it with sheets of roofing metal, while were running back and forth from my house to put the turkey in the oven, green beans on the stove,  and the potatoes in water to boil.  We assembled the jello fruit salad, rolls were rising, turnips were washed and cooking.  Every fifteen minutes during the cooking extravaganza, we ran out to uncover the goat and put some salt water and spices over the roasting carcass.  It was beautiful!  But then we had some people come in and I didn't get to the meat until 25 minutes later and when I came out the door I saw smoke.  My beautifully golden brown grilled goat was on fire!  Thankfully we rescued the meat, but I was sad that we couldn't serve it in one piece.  I literally had too many irons in the fire.   The older girls in the kitchen were cooking deviled eggs, rolls, and cornbread stuffing.  Some of the mid sized girls were keeping all the dishes washed along the way and the little ones scrubbed the potatoes and picked up the trash in the yards, watched after the little ones, and prepared the kitchen for the guests to arrive.  It was a huge team effort all the girls and the staff and that's how we do Christmas at Project Talitha Cumi.

I am writing this blog while laying on a heating pad in my bed, thankful that I can now see the floor to my bedroom.  I am thankful for the generosity of all the teams who sent so many nice things so that we could make a wonderful Christmas for our girls.   I am excited about this new year and with all these new girls.  We have a lot of activity going on here at PTC.  We have a team of 17 coming in 2 days, 3 new house moms are coming and a new teacher also.   So please be praying for us that we will be prepared for the plans God has for us in 2012.  Blessings, the Christmas Celebrating, Goat Cooking Honduran Mom                                                                                          

Thursday, December 22, 2011

HIs Ways Are Perfect

Family Photo
I am back home in Honduras as of yesterday. I was in the States for a couple of weeks to attend and celebrate my daughter's graduation.  We also celebrated our Christmas together on the 18th, and I had to leave on the 20th to get back to the mission to get things ready for 31 little girls.  I was looking forward to getting back.  The 3 little sisters, who were kidnapped by their mom and aunt the year before had been found and returned to the farm.  I was so excited about getting to see them again.

So I decided not to go to sleep because I was going to the airport by myself.  Sarah loaned me her car to get there, but I was afraid that I would go to sleep and not wake up in time to be at the airport at 4:00 a.m.  So I packed and cleaned the house, dyed my hair, and tried not to sit down lest I would fall completely asleep.  My plan worked and I got to the airport.

I was surprised that Natalie Martinez showed up at the airport with last minute cards and gifts for me to carry to the girls.  I had a horrible phone situation while in the States.  I had two phones.  I got the other phone because the first had the range of a gnat in a mason jar.  I was forever trying to find a signal.  So I got another brand of phone which had better coverage.  It was so small that I had to use the pitiful phone to call my tiny phone that always sunk to the bottom of my oversized bag.  The sad part to this phone story, is that I permanently relocated the phone unexpectedly.

I was babysitting my grandkids and I had to get back home to finish up last minute details before I left for Honduras.  It was about midnight and I ran to the bathroom before I left for home which was about an hour away.  I didn't want to make any stops that late at night.  I was in a hurry.  Earlier that evening, my sweet sister in law loaned me her creme colored, fleecy coat with slick satiny pockets when the weather turned cold that afternoon while I was visiting with her.  My phone was in the satiny pockets.  I washed my hands and then I flushed the toilet and made a quick turn to leave the bathroom and my tiny phone with good reception slipped from the satiny interior pocket of my nice warm borrowed jacket into the toilet in the middle of the flush cycle.  It was a nano second and I barely saw it leave the building.  My first thought was that I messed up my daughter's plumbing.  After several flushes I realized it was okay, and then I realized, " All of my numbers were in that phone for Honduras and Stateside". Then I thought, " I have the cruddy phone with no reception and hardly any numbers to work with for the last two days that I am in country."

Natalie had texted me the night before I left and she asked for my address so that she could bring the cards to my house.  I wrote back a text message on the cruddy coverage phone and pushed the send button.  It didn't send and I wondered why Natalie didn't show up.  I picked up the pitiful phone later and saw in red letters, "Message Failed".  It was very late when I realized she didn't get the message so I didn't call her back.  But then she showed up at the airport at 4 in the morning!!!  What a great heart.  She sent her secret friend gift and cards to the girls.  I can't tell you how blessed I have been with the heart and actions of my entire staff in Honduras.  They just have huge hearts and are always going the extra mile.

So I sat and talked with her for a while and she went home to go back to bed.  I fly stand-by or what is called a buddy pass.  There is a person on our board who knows someone who works with the airline and they receive so many passes that they can use of give away that are about half the price of a regular ticket.  If there is extra seats available you fly, if not you wait until there is an available seat.  I got the seat and I was thrilled.

When we landed in Atlanta, I was looking at my tickets to find what gate I needed to find to go to Honduras.  I noticed at that point that I was going to San Pedro Sula instead of Tegucigalpa.  Joe Reynolds, who is a board member, missionary and long time friend of the ministry, comes to the farm so that I can go to the States.  He is such a blessing.  Anyway, he was going home, and I was going to get the truck and Esmerelda.  Esmerelda has been living at another center for a while, but she is returning to our farm.  She is eighteen but she is going to be going to technical school here, and she will also be finishing up her high school.  I was supposed to sign for her.  Tegucigalpa and San Pedro are about 4 hours away from each other.

So I woke up Natalie to call the guy who made the tickets, because his number was in the flushed phone.  She texted me the number, and I called him.  He said go to the airline counter and change the ticket back to Tegucigalpa.  I did as he said, but all the emergency phones were taken off of the wall!  I had to wait for the agents to come on duty.  They came about 40 minutes later.  I talked to one of the agents, and she said that Tegucigalpa was over booked by 15 people that had already checked in and they were having to pay 9 people not to fly that day because there was no room.  She told me the whole week looked like that because people were coming home for the holidays.  She told me to go and wait and see if I could catch the San Pedro flight and that way I would at least be in the country, but she said hesitantly, that flight is overbooked by 5 people, but "who knows".  I told her I was praying.

So I called Natalie to get some more numbers so that I could get in touch with Joe to find Esmerelda at the airport, and called other people to contact Ben Heath, who is an intern at the mission to come and get me.  Neither Joe nor Ben could call the crummy phone, but we could text.  Joe asked me if I wanted him to stay until I got back, but I told him he needed to go because the flights were full and he might not get out if he waited. Then the creepy phone's battery started dying.  I repacked a bag in Valdosta and my charger cord was in my other checked bag somewhere in the Atlanta airport.  I don't understand the technology of a touch screen phone, or how amazing it really is, but as wonderful as it is, why can't it hold a charge?

I was thinking "What am I going to do?"  and I felt like I heard in my heart from the Lord, "Just see what I am going to do".  The huge group people started filing onto the plane.  I ask one attendant how it was looking for me to have a seat and she said, "You never know, maybe", but she didn't look to hopeful.  Finally, an older gentlemen in a wheel chair and I were left, he had a buddy pass too.  Now clearly an older man in a wheel chair trumps an ambulatory missionary lady.  The attendant checked the records and said there was a couple who checked their luggage in and were in the airport but didn't show at the gate, so I literally got the last seat.  She said, " You will have to sit in an exit lane".  I told her that I didn't care, but I was thinking to myself," I didn't care if I sat in the bathroom", I was just happy to have a seat. Our plane was delayed because they had to search for the luggage of the people who didn't make it to the gate.  I felt bad that the couple didn't catch their flight and that the plane was delayed but I was giving "high fives" to God for what He did for me.

Everything worked out fine.  Esmerelda arrived home at the farm, Joe got home, I got home to the 31 girls, and I am glorifying God about how He looks out for me.  If my flight information hadn't gotten confused, I wouldn't have gotten to fly out that day. If the couple hadn't have missed showing at the gate, I wouldn't have gotten home to the girls.  Even when I thought everything was terribly wrong, it turned out totally right.

If you think about it, Mary was unmarried and pregnant, which seemed terribly wrong, but it turned out totally right.  Jesus never sinned, yet was crucified by a crazy mob of people and that was terribly wrong, but it turned out totally right.

 I hope this Christmas season, if you are experiencing anything that seems not fair, or terribly wrong, that you can trust God to do what He does, and make this time in your life,  "totally right" for you.  He is faithful and He is Emmanuel, God with Us.  I am thankful this Christmas not only for all my many blessings, but because God is not only with us, but He is for us too.  Blessings to you and your family,  The Happy Holiday Honduran MOM

Roomies and BFF
Proud parent and grandparents

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And Then There Were 28

I carried Esmerelda back to Tegucigalpa where we met her counselor from the other center.  She just went on about how great she looked and Esmerelda had a fantastic time.  She went to birthday parties, bridal showers, out to eat, traveled to San Pedro Sula.
 On her last night before I had to drop her off we were at Enlaces Ministries.  They were having their Christmas end of the year which included raffles for Christmas trees, gifts of appliances and food.  This ministry has a bi-lingual school, but also they have a youth center where they minister to the children and street children.  They had performers there that did break dancing.  I have seen this kind of dancing on TV but never in person. These young men were amazing.  Spinning around like a top on their heads and holding their bodies perpendicular to the floor with their feet crossed.  They dance for about an hour.  I don't know how they held out.  I would have perished after their first number.

The next morning, we got up and went to get some errands done before we met with the counselor.  I called INFHA which is a Honduran DFAX office.  They had one girl for me to pick up on last Monday, and then they had 3 and then they had 5.  Background information changed with each phone call.

  1. They were sisters
  2. They would arrive on Thanksgiving
  3. They would not arrive on Thanksgiving but the next week
  4. They had a cousin who was a girl who needed a home.
  5. They were not cousins
  6. They were ages 10, 9, 6, and 3
  7. They were 10, 10, 9, 6, and 2
 So we had Thanksgiving and no children came because their car was broken and they couldn't come. Since I was coming to the States the following week for Charisa, my daughters graduation, I asked INFHA to just wait until I got back so the girls could get adjusted with everybody there and they said it was a good plan to wait.
So meantime I have a wonderful church from Texas of Ladies who wanted to make the girls some uniforms.  Well long story short they could buy them at a better price than making them and they needed sizes quickly because of the end of the year sale that was going on..  I measured all the girls after Thanksgiving and sent them in the day we were traveling to Tegucigalpa with Esmerelda.  I thought to go by INFHA and ask to to see the girls so I could get sizes. They said that it would be fine.

I got there to their center and they had the little kids dressed in their best and older sister dressed in a cut off sleeved basketball jersey and jeans. The staff was there but hardly any children.  The girls all look like dark headed Cindi Lou Who, from the Grinch.  Hair was cut short with a pony tail on the top of their heads that look like a celery top and huge hair tie that had large whales as a decoration.  I knew without them saying this was the girls, but their was a boy with them.  It was their brother.  They wanted him to go but he couldn't because we are a girls home.  He was so stoic and said he understood.  I felt horrible and just wanted to take him anyway.  He started crying and walked away.

I told them I was just there to measure them for sizes when I notice this huge black suitcase and a large black plastic bag. They were ready to go and put the bags in my truck.   I told them I wasn't ready to receive them, so they took the bags out.  Then another lady came and said I had to take them today, because vacations were coming up and the judges wouldn't be working, and they put the bags back in the truck.  Then the middle girl went to the corner and had a break down.  I asked what was going on and the older sister said that is how she does.  I said "We need to wait till I get back".  They were going to get the bags back out of the truck and then the oldest who was a little tough looking in her basketball jersey started tearing up, and I said "Okay get in the truck".  "Yeah" they shouted.  I know I have "Sucker" in neon on my forehead.  They had two other children but they were napping and not ready.

Now I couldn't understand the insistence on the kids coming immediately until the next day when I called the local office, and they were on strike..  That is why their were no children except the one who would be going home with me.  The staff was there but no kids.

We got home with the surprise packages of the new girls and the girls just had a fit over them.  They are adorable.  Be praying for the transition.  I will try to send photos. They have a long way to go.. So now we have 29 with Esmerelda.  I am thankful for the new ones.  I wasn't prepared to take them home, but God was.  I am thankful He has the plan even when I don't.  Blessings, the Honduran MOM with her "sign"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Wedding

Bridemaids /daughters/and a friend

Charity and Brenda
Bridemaids and Flower girls

Charisa and Brenda Jr.
Angela and Kansas Serritt 

The wedding was beautiful and the Bride was Blessed beyond measure.  

I will try to write later about the events .  I have more photos.  I have to pick up a team in the morning so I need to get to bed but just wanted to get these photos posted.

Who caught it?

Well, it is a Sunday night and I decided it was quiet enough to finish my blog.  Earlier this evening we had a smores roast with our  'mini team" of two of our board members and their one family member.  They had spent the day playing soccer and I fell asleep here at the house.  We just finished getting 40 people their smores, prayed and the rain started again.  Perfect timing.  Then our new girl started having  some emotional issues and started hyper-ventalating.  I prayed for her and she went back to bed.  So now all is calm, everybody is in bed and the rain has finally stopped.  

After the bridal Luncheon, Amanda had to get ready to go to the States to visit her family and to get her visa renewed.  The day after that I left to go to Tegucigalpa with the Patrol paced to the hilt with foam mattresses and air mattresses.  I had all the luggage and dresses for the girls so the only thing they would need on the bus was their pillows and toothbrushes.  

We had the rehearsal to go to and get some of the bridesmaids dresses refitted and zippers redone.  From what I could tell the seamstress used zippers for baby clothing.  It was very tiny and had small teeth.  These zipper weren't make to hold any tension that our lively bridesmaid could give out .  I think altogether 4 of the zipper gave way and one held out until the end of the wedding and then started from the bottom to separate. The seamstress was a sweet little lady and was so sweet you couldn't say anything.  The dresses were made well, except for those crazy zippers. 

Esmerelda is visiting with us and in December she will move back to PTC.  She will still be studying so she can go to college but meantime she will be taking a technical course in Beauty School.  She drove down with me in the Patrol.  We went to town looking for sweaters for the girls, which we didn't find at all.  Except for some pink number that had huge pink felt flowers attached to the chest of the sweater.  But while we were looking they had a 70% of sale.  They had all of our 13 girls who were attending the wedding, sizes.  They were party dresses.  Before we left, we got some of my dresses and some of the girls church dresses, but they were not exactly what I wanted the girls to wear, but I thought it would be okay.  Esmerelda and I found the dresses and they were like $5.00 a piece.  We were so excited to have a surprise for the girls when they arrived in Tegucigalpa.

We went to the rehearsal on Friday night and had to come back to the city to get some of the bridesmaids last fittings.  One of the zippers broke, so we couldn't pick up all the dresses.  We had to check on the gown that arrived for the bride to make sure it was okay, and then we needed to go back up the mountain for the rehearsal dinner.  We got stuck in Friday night traffic.  The traffic lights were out and so you just had play chicken at all the intersections of a major city. We got back up to the mission house with the rest of the wedding party and played ping pong and drank tea until it was time to go back to the house. 

The next day thirteen of our girls from the farm  took our school bus with Natalie, Tim and Ana to La Esperanza, then loaded up into a commerical touring bus to Tegucigalpa.  They took a cab from the bus stop in Tegucigalpa to Angela's house where we were going to be staying.  I ordered in pizza and cokes.  Then part of the bridal party showed up.  We still had plenty of food, and we piled everything in the back room until it was time to sleep. We arranged a place for Tim and Ana to stay for the night and said good-bye to them, as they were going to be going to the airport in the morning.   Meanwhile, after everybody changed into pajamas, my girls were teaching their Honduran sister how to dance the Cuban Shuffle for the wedding and The WALK or WOP.  I could never really understand what the name was.  After the dance rehearsal we spread out the mattresses, blew up some of the mattresses.  Angela's house looked like a refugee house for flood victims.  Thankfully everyone was tired and we all went to sleep.  

The house was full of chaos the next morning.  I had baleadas and fruit for the girls the next morning, and then we started doing the hair and showers and everything else we had to do to get ready for the wedding.  Another zipper broke on the bridemaids dresses so we sent
Natalie to the dressmakers to get it fixed.

Final results

When we arrived for the ceremony one of the zippers of the  younger bridesmaid's dress gave way when she put on the dress.  I went to the bathroom where she was located and just sewed her up.  I told the mom that she was going to have to cut her out of the dress but she would be the most confident of the entire group that her dress was not going to go anywhere.  I ran out the door from the ladies room and got in line to march out and I forgot my camera, until I was seated.

The wedding included the civil service was so beautiful.  I love Honduran weddings.  The bride and groom and wedding party, sit more than they have to stand.  The service was very sweet and then Kansas kissed the Bride and it was end of the wedding, but the beginning of a great life they will have together based on the Word.

We had a great reception, the girls looked wonderful and the Bride was beaming.  But then we had to go home.  The wedding planner let the man who chauffeured the girls, go for the evening.  So we had to put all the girls in the Patrol and go down the hill and through the city and prayed that no police officer saw our driving condition.  The girls laughed all the way down the mountain.

Te reception
The girls got up early at 4:30 the next morning.  We sent two older girls to get us 4 taxis and they left to the bus station stuffed like sardines in a can.  We were right behind them in the Patrol with all the stuff and the extra folks of the Bridal Party including Brenda and Any.  We all arrived safely in La Esperanza, zoomed home and dropped of the girls and turned around and picked up the Botkin family who had arrived from the States to help us here at the mission for the next year. 

 Life is never dull here.  We love it and are thankful that God has called us here.   We are all thankful that everything went well with the wedding and transport.  God is faithful and we are thankful for that.  I pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day  Blessings,  The Happy Thankful Mother of the Honduran Bride. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Here Comes the Bride and Here Comes the Others

Wow what a week!!!  

We have been cooking, sewing, repairing, buying, inviting, running, crying, picking people up and driving people to and fro and in general, celebrating here at PTC.  I can truly say that apart from God we could have done none of this.  God has been our helper through all this craziness.  

WE took three different teams of girls to La Esperanza to buy everyone a pair of tennis shoes, school shoes, to get everyone ready for the festivities of the upcoming week.  WE went grocery shopping, did banking, bought a stove for the central kitchen so that we could cook for the 90 people who showed up.  Our ovens had become a little on the explosive side.  Just when I thought my nerves couldn't take the explosions, anymore they both quit working.   I am getting a technician to come to get one good stove made of both stoves that are non functioning.  Meanwhile, I needed a stove that was operational to cook for everybody.  We had been using my oven at the house, until the oven door broke while I was in the States.  Mr. Nobody is alive and living rent free at my house.  Of course the technician finally came and said he didn't have the parts, but if I would just push it a certain way it would stay closed to cook something.  The problems was getting something out after it cooked.  I burned my knuckles so many times during this cooking marathon I look like I have working out on a punching bag

Mom and Bride
Laughing it up
New Crop
The girls have been so excited, not just with the fact that they got new clothes or because my girls were coming to visit.  It was because some of them were stepping out of there girlhood, into the life of being "one of the Big Girls of the Farm".  Below is a picture of the younger girls of farm.
The younger girls with the bridal party
The Older girls of PTC 
This good looking group is our older girls.  Some are still at the farm
and some have left and are doing other things.  As I looked around the 
room I was so amazed at how the goodness of God towards us is huge.  
His plans for the lives of these girls are being accomplished. 

Here is Angela and Brenda.  They came to Project Talitha Cumi at
about the same time frame.  Angela is the Bride and Brenda is the 
Maid of Honor.  Hanging around these girls this week, I know they 
are not sister by genetics, but they act so much like sisters, it is 
Brenda and Angela
Roxana Cinthia Evelyn Doris
These are our girls who were celebrating their Quincenera.  They all turned 15 this year.  In about 4 months we are going to be doing this with 3 more girls.  They had about 90 people in attendance.  They invited about 30 people and they invited their family members and we had a huge crowd.  We served baked chicken, Chinese green beans, rolls, beets, and chicken and dressing.  These were the girls favorite foods.  Well maybe not the beets, but they needed to be cooked. :)

Roxana and Cinthia's updo's

Roxana had a big day!  Her aunts came to see her and brought her this bright orange dress, and a large orange hair bow to match.  She had other gifts too. She had cake for the girls at 11:00 a.m.  They were really wound up with all the cakes all over the place.  I told her she could wear her orange dress but she wanted to stay with the original selection.  My mom and I shopped for dresses while I was in the States.  We couldn't find anything until finally at JC Penneys we found only 4 white dresses.  I had to alter two of them the night before the Quincenera, but the other two dresses fit perfectly.  God covered us on that one for sure. 

After the girls party, I left with Brenda and David Aguilar, a long time family friend.  He was going to drive my Patrol to pick up Charity and Charisa, my biological daughters, who had come in on a red-eye special to be here for the luncheon.  I had carried the car in to get serviced and checked a few days before they arrived to make sure it was okay.  I told the mechanic that a belt was skipping on the A/C and it was making a strange noise.  Usually Rigo, the owner, does the work but this time a young apprentice worked on the car.  We got to David's house and picked him up. We went through La Esperanza and almost to Jesus de Otoro in the valley when the car started jumping and then it started back firing, lights were dimming then going off.  David asked what did I want to do.  I said turn around.  We were trying to get through before the fog got bad, but it was too late.  WE were going back up in the fog with little to no lights. I was in the back praying that we would make it back to the mechanics house in La Esperanza.  I prayed we wouldn't careen off a cliff and that sort of " emergency parachute prayers", and that I wouldn't lose my testimony when I talked to him.  The car started acting worse because it was going uphill.  I tried to call the mechanic to come get us, but we didn't have any signal on that side of the mountain.  We arrived in front of the mechanics house and before David could cut it off the car died not to be cranked again that night. God did exactly what I asked Him to do!  I was so excited about that I forgot that I was ticked at the mechanic apprentice.
 WE borrowed the mechanics car and rode all the way back to Yamaraguila.  I told David we could go to the farm and get our Nissan truck and he said, "I would prefer to get my Dad's truck".  He said it with a tone of "that is what we were going to do", mixed with "I don't want to deal with anymore of your vehicles",  or maybe I was being sensitive.  I was in total agreement though, and so we got his Dad's Toyota Very NICE Truck, and took off again.  We got to the airport with time to spare.  Then we had to get home.  WE arrived at 6:00 in the morning.  David had to go to work and so did I.  He has a dairy and I have 24 girls getting ready for a luncheon.  Brenda, Charity, and Charisa went back to the mission house with Angela, and they slept until about 10:30 a.m.  and got ready for the Bridal Luncheon.
I went in and got some things organized and then slept for 2 hours and got up and got the girls getting ready.  I had to find a cartridge that Jean Brown, a resource person that everyone should know, had given me years ago to play my video tapes.  Charity had brought two and I had one.  I was going to play these on the television while we were eating lunch.  If you knew how many VHS tapes we have, you would know I was looking for a needle in a haystack, but I found it after praying my "what was lost, may be found" prayer

WE got all the girls in the bus and went to crank the bus and it was dead.  So everybody was dressed up and we did the drill of finding the jumper cables.  Tim and Ana Carey brought us some to keep in the bus.  Perfect timing.  Tim connected the cables regaling all of us girls with tales of how he saw a man's finger blown off by connecting the wrong cables. You just got to love guys and their timing.  I remember RED is positive for the blood of Jesus and Black is Negative for sin.  It works.  I will probably think of blown off fingers, though.   Anyway, we got it connected and off we went.

Girls started to arrive at the restaurant that I hadn't seen in a while, and one that had recently left.  I just got overwhelmed when they were trying to figure out who was who.  One older girl came up to me and I hugged her and I said "You know who this is right?"  She said "No, I don't know her." They had lived in the same house for years, but hadn't seen each other in about 5 years.  The other girl, said "You don't know me?".  She said, in a perturbed kind of way, "I am sorry but I don't know you and the girl's sister said increduously, "Mera"?,  and Dunia's  face hit the recognition button  and they both fell on each others necks and hugged one another.  I just stood there and cried.

The VHS tapes were a huge hit.  I turned it on for the girls who wanted to watch could see the movies that I had taken years ago.  They used to groan everytime I took out the video camera.  But they were leaving their plates and crowding around the little portable tv screen to recapture a look at the years that had slipped by so quickly.    Many of our girls were here at our farm from anywhere from 9 to 15 years.
There had been major changes in the lives of all the girls. Everyone spoke a blessing over the Bride to be and in turn, she blessed everyone back.  It was an end and a beginning of a very special afternoon.

I think the reunion of the girls is what it will be like when we get to heaven.  A fabulous guessing game of "Who is Who", and then just grabbing each other around the neck and blessing one another when we finally figure out what" loved one" is there to greet us.  We will all walk together full and blessed.  I am hoping that this year is just the beginning of the time of reunions with the girls from PTC.

 As I looked around the room I realized that the vision was being fullfilled that God gave my family years ago.  We wanted the girls that had fractured families or no families, to have a safe place they could call home, with a family they could call their own.  In Pslams it says "He puts the solitary in families".  WE had 43 girls there, not counting the babies that had been born the last few years.  After we got home and counted the ones who had lived here, that weren't there.  We came up with 63 girls who were placed in this huge family by God that carries the name of Project Talitha Cumi.    God has a wonderful plan for us all to be united into the family of God.  He knows the plans He has for us, plans to prosper and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.  Girls from different walks of life learned and are learning to walk towards a Savior who laid His life down so that we could have a permanent family.  God is Faithful to fulfill His plans in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  As we come into holiday season of Thanksgiving, I want to be thankful for everyone of you who have prayed for us, sent us socks, underwear, toys, cards, shampoo, combs, tee-shirts, and sent your your families to be with us for a week, to build a building whose foundation has been from God.  We have not labored in vain.  I want to be thankful for the ones who helped us get the girls grown so that could be at Bridal Luncheon.  I thank all of you who are praying for them to be at the Real Wedding Feast.  We are all just practicing right now.

Be praying for us as we travel to Angela's wedding.  Fifteen girls are going on a bus with Natalie and Tim and Anna Carey.  I will pick them up a day before the wedding in the capital of Tegucigalpa....TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Continual Celebration

Well, I was hoping to get some photos to you all for my last blog.  I am having technical difficulties and if you knew my skills with the computer you are totally not surprised.  Apparently I have used up my available space on my Blackberry Computer/Camera.  I am working on the situation but nothing has been resolved yet.  I think I am going to get another camer that has lots of memory and plenty of space.

This week is already so full of activities.  It is really crazy to realize what kind of scheduling you get yourself into in a supposedly remote area in the mountains of Honduras.  We have a 15th birthday party we are planning for the girls.  We did get the invitations out in time thankfully.  Here they have a large party to celebrate a young girl's birthday when she becomes 15 called a "quincenera".  We have invited about 40 people, including the judges and officials who brought the girls here, teachers, friends and families of the 3 girls who will be celebrating their birthdays. We will decorate the church with pine needles on the floor and flowers on the walls.

  The dresses the girls are to wear, are traditionally supposed to be white, pink, or a salmon color.  I looked everywhere while I was home in the United States in October and couldn't find anything in those colors. It looked like I was going home empty handed, when finally I prayed.  I  found 4 dresses in one store. They tried them on yesterday and I am going to have to alter them but at least we have them.  I am asking God to help me do this since I haven't sewn anything in quite some time.

This past Sunday our pastor asked us if we could help with a medical brigade from Ohio.  There were going to be 15 people and he needed a few translators.  We told him it would be no problem. We dropped the girls off at the church on Monday.  They had a great time getting to know the new group of doctors and nurses and lay people who had been sent here by there church.  I went back home to teach math and phonics to our other girls waiting at the school.

The water went out again, so I checked at the pump and it had no electricity going to it at all.  The same thing happened a week prior and I had been reading a book on prayer and so I just prayed like one of the missionaries noted in the book.  George Mueller never asked anybody for anything, but lifted every need he had to God.  So with this example fresh on my mind, I came back to the house and prayed and when I got back to the pump house the well was up and running.  This time I did the same thing, and it didn't come on.  So I called the repairman to come see about that.

We picked the girls up at three and I had to take the Nissan Patrol to La Esperanza to get some mechanical things seen about on it. Amanda followed me into town in the white truck.  She picked me up from the mechanics and we went by the bakery and bought a cake for Natalie's Bible Club graduation party for the Yasi group.  She has been working with several schools and Yasi is the first group of 15 children who have finished the Mailbox Club material.  We then stopped by the appliance store to see why the repairman hadn't come to repair the door on my stove. He was supposed to come last week, but he never showed up.  I prayed that I wouldn't lose my testimony when I went inside to inquire why he hadn't been yet after they promised "Monday for sure".  I told them that we cook for 33 people everyday and I needed my stove more than most folks, but I have a quincenera for three girls and would be cooking for 80 to 100 and I needed my stove operational.   It was late in the day and I had no expectation that they would keep their appointment to come, but they said they would be on their way.

We arrived at the farm about 5:30 pm  and the repairman wasn't there so I continue to pray for the electricity to be restored to the well, and when I stuck my head in the door the well panel was lit up again.  I hit the switch and called the repairman and told him we had water.  He was already on the way and he said he would come by anyway.  He did and found that our electrical lines to the box were oxidized and that he had to change the breakers out for new ones.  At this point he was working with a flashlight because it was late.  He would come tomorrow.  Meanwhile the appliance repairman showed up!!  It was about 7 o'clock but the two of them tore into my oven door and fixed it temporarily until they could get a part.  We had devotions at house one,  and when I got home I helped one of the older girls with polynomials and called it a day.

 Tuesday, we dropped the girls again, but this time we had some of the girls who had to be seen by the doctors and dentists.  So I stayed through the pulling of teeth and returned to the farm with the dental patients and we had lunch, and I realized I needed to get some things straight at the house and so I got the office cleaned out, moved furniture around and went back up to the school to teach math. The electrician and his crew came and the contractor working on the duplex showed up with his worker.  The other girls arrived home about 1 o'clock and had their lunch and went up to the school.  We had tutoring after school in math, finished cleaning two more rooms in my house, made guacamole, while Natalie wrapped bibles for her  Bible Club Graduation Party.  We had an early supper and went to Tuesday night church as the medical team invited all of us to the special services.  I loaded everybody in the bus, including our school teacher, and 3 house mom's, Natalie and Amanda, and off we went.

It was an amazing service and some of our girls went forward to make first time commitments and some went forward for recommitments to the Lord.  We all ended up getting prayed for.  We were on our way out of town, and there was a police stop.  Now Yamaranguila never has a police check point at night.  I didn't have my wallet with me because I didn't want to keep up with my purse.  We had Amanda's music on her iphone running through the speakers of the bus playing some kind of wild Christian rap music at full blast, with the interior lights so Maria Elena wouldn't get car sick.  I roll down my window and tried to smile like this was all normal, when the officer asks where I was transporting this group of people.  I told him that I was from the local mission and thankfully the other police officer knew about us and they waved us on.  I didn't have my seatbelt on, no license( which would cost about $100.00 USD in fines) music blaring, and we got through anyway.  We really were praising the Lord now going down the highway. I was so pumped I miss my road to turn into the farm.

I am trying to get everything straightened up at my house so that we can have company.  We are having the birthday party on Sunday.  Charity and Charisa (my daughters from the States) are coming for Angela's wedding.  Angela was one of our first girls who came to the farm in 1997 and they all grew up together.  She is getting married next weekend.  My girls are going to be in the bridal party, and my 15 of my Honduran girls are going to be attending.  So we are picking our girls up from the airport which is 3 1/2 hours away after we have the birthday party on Sunday.  Angela is attending the birthday party and she is going to pick up Tim and Ana Carey who are coming from Pennslyvania from Tegucigalpa.  They come every year to the mission in November, usually with a team, but this time they are coming alone.  To mix with all of this, I just got an email that we have a phsycologist coming to  check out our facility this week end.

After the party on the 6th, I am changing clothes and going to pick up 2 of my girls from the Airport who are taking a red eye special.  We will drive back that night so that we can attend a bridal tea for Angela that will be taking place on Monday with all the girls from the farm in La Esperanza at a local restaurant.  Then Angela, Charity, and Charisa will leave to go to Tegucigalpa the next morning to go to the capital and get their bridesmaids dresses fitted.  Amanda Parsons will be leaving the next day for the US and I will drop her and Natalie at the bus station.  The next day I will go to Tegucigalpa and pick up Esmerelda so that she can be part of the festivities.  She lives about an hour away on the other side of Tegucigalpa. She used to live at our mission and has gotten permission to come the wedding.

Our 15 Honduran girls will be getting on a travel bus with Natalie and Tim and Ana Carey and coming to Tegucigalpa on the 12th.  I will pick them up and get them to Angela's house where we will be staying.  The wedding party will be staying at a local mission.  The 13th is the wedding, but we have to drop Ana and Tim at the Airport for their return flight home.  The day after the wedding, we will put the girls back on the travel bus, and we will meet them in La Esperanza to pick them up.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Botkin family arrives in Honduras in San Pedro Sula on the other end of the country.  They will be staying with us for a year.  They are troopers and will get the farm by bus to stay with the other girls that we have left with house moms, and Rosa.

Today I am going to take the workers to the farm to clean up the coffee and when I drop them off I am taking one of our girls to have dental surgery with the team from Ohio. Natalie and Amanda, the Honduran school teacher and the rest of the girls are going to the Yasi Graduation Party, and then later that afternoon the team from Ohio is coming to the farm for a visit. Then we go back to La Esperanza to leave the white truck for a tune up and get the Nissan Patrol.  Things are never dull around here and thanks be to Jesus I am still functioning.  I am not even being sarcastic!

I want to thank all of you for your continued prayers.  Without those prayers, our lives here would be full of stress because of all the daily things we have to do.  Your prayers are vital to what we do here. Please pray for us in these upcoming events.  God has brought us peace even though we are seemingly going in every direction.  Pray for our safety while we travel around the country this week. I thank Him for the celebrations of birthdays, graduations and weddings.   Blessings, The Multi-tasking Honduran Mother of the Bride.

PS  I wanted to mention that Brenda is in a beautician school. She is attending Monday- Friday 8- 1.  It is something that she has wanted to do for a long time.  She is so cute coming home everyday with her notes and her new hair do's and fingernails and stories of who she saw that day.  She is still continuing with her classes here, but this is a technical training that she will be receiving for this next year.  So be praying for her too. We appreciate the Sunday School Class that is making this possible.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Blue Tortilla

I am glad that I am a missionary who enjoys the food of the country that she has been called to.  I have tried iguana, and modongo, nances , and something called atol arrigia.  Those are not my favorites, and thankfully have not been offered much as an option.  Everything else I have had to eat here has been great.  I have to monitor myself so that I will not eat like a crazy person.  The food here is so good.  I don't care if I have beans and rice everyday.  The have a lot of recipes for beans and rice which are outstanding, but just beans and rice are a great meal.  

Yesterday, our new cook, who is a wonderful cook, asked me if I liked blue tortillas.  Here they have a seed corn that is just blue.  They have a certified seed in the store that I learned this year why nobody buys it.  Certified seed doesn't work well here. It is a hybrid seed corn.  The Lenca people plant a variety that has been here for hundreds of years.  The stalks get about 10 ft tall and produce one ear of corn, maybe two a stalk but the one ear of corn produced is a whopper.  I was told to plant certified seed.  It was pitiful.  It grew to about 4 ft, and had tiny ears of corn on the dwarfed stalk.  I also had to plant about 3 times because the sanates, or black crows would come and steal away the corn seed. The way they steal the corn is that wait until the corn has sprouted and they snatch the plant out of the dirt and then eat the sprouted corn seed that was attached to the plant.   In order to keep them away from your newly sprouted corn, you have to place a person out in the field and when the sanates land, the person that watches over the planted field whistles and the birds fly off.  The birds who are a little more determined need a different technique.  The watchman will toss a pebble in their direction and that is enough to scare them away. The watchman doesn't have to do much, just hang around and  whistle.  I got our workers to work in the coffee patch along the corn patch.  Their presence kept the birds away.  The corn finally came up.

Well, I told the cook I like any kind of tortilla.  She brought me a small black plastic sack of blue tortillas.  The tortillas aren't exactly blue.  They are the color of a stormy rain cloud, black and blue and gray mixed together all at once.  Can I say that her blue tortillas were divine?  This afternoon before lunch, I had yet another blue tortilla.  I put the last piece of ham out of the packet on blue tortilla and laughed at myself when I thought I wasn't eating green eggs and ham, but blue tortillas and ham.  I think I will write my own Honduran version of that children's story. 

When I arrived at the kitchen I found that Osiris, the young women who cooks for us, brought me yet another culinary delight hot off her outdoor cook stove,  montucas.  It is kind of like stiff cream corn/cornbread type concoction cooked in a corn shuck.  You can eat it like a piece of cake, and it tastes better than anything you can think of.   I need to get back to monitoring myself about all this eating and exercise restraint or just exercise.  

The girls have been great lately.  I find that if I pray consistently for the girls, they do better.  I am a whistle blower of sorts myself.  When I pray, I disturb those spiritual forces that would try to steal the seed that are trying to sprout in the hearts of our girls.   I also have learned that the seed is important.  It needs to be the right seed for the right time, and the right soil. You can't just plant any seed.  It needs to be the seed that God has prepared for that person.  Prayer is the key of accomplishing the will of God with the girls and in my life also.  It doesn't seem like we are doing much, but we are really doing so much more than we will ever know to drive off the enemy.    Pray that I will remain faithful to pray for the field that the Lord has given to me. Blessings, the Tortilla Lovin' Honduran Mom.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day of the Child and Independence Day

Bean Picking Monet
 This month we have celebrated Day of the Child, September 10th  and Independence Day, September 15th.  The kids celebrated by making 12 pinatas for the local schools.  They received pinatas from the Judges and the Mayor of La Esperanza.  They have been so hyped on sugar we could do a medical paper on the effects of sugar during two back to back holidays.  The Mayor sent a cake to our girls along with bags of chips, candies and boxed juices.  It was an overwhelming sight for the girls.  We realized that they had already had way too much sugar so we told them we would go to the llano to play soccer and invite the local children to participate.  We had two pinatas and so we had one for the little ones and one for the older kids.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Goats and the Grinchmobile

This is our Grinchmobile filled with pinatas, candy, rice from Children Against Hunger and clothes. Day of the Child is tomorrow, September 10. We have to st
art early to get everybody seen about. The girls made 12 pinatas for a community service project for school. Ben took pinatas to the different schools and the local feeding program. Amanda, me, and some of the other girls went down to Yasi carrying our pinata and candies. Both trips were physically taxing. The little girls who couldn't make the Yasi trip and some of the bigger girls went with Ben. The rest of the girls who weren't on the Trouble Train (Ben's
after-school program :) went to Yasi with us.

After the fires the weeds on the trail have been overwhelming. I was walking along and all of a sudden, I was looking skyward on my back. Amanda heard me say "Oops" and turned around but I had already hopped back up. We continued through new corn fields. It was sort of scratchy but we continued until we got to the school.

We sang songs, did little animated dances with our songs and then played Duck, Duck, Goose. The kids burst out laughing when I got chosen along with Amanda and their teacher to chase after the children. It takes a lot of doing to get this group to burst out laughing. After all that physical activity, I noticed a little twinge coming back up the mountainside. I think it was the last go round of the goose chase, but I almost had the little sucker tagged. Well, I was reminded of our ministry motto. "You gotta be tough if you are going to be stupid" as I was going back up the mountainside with young people who thought they were in the Honduran version of "Last of the Mohicans". The scene in the movie is where the heroes are walking/running, hot-foot up the Smokey Mountains, trying to rescue the damsels in distress. My entourage were not rescuing anybody, but they were on a mission to get to the farm before lunch started. NOTE TO SELF. Don't travel during the lunch hour up the mountains with 5 motivated, hungry young people . Bring sandwiches

So I am nursing my twinge and praying as I go upward. It was a good time to do so,
because the girls were so far ahead, I was alone, so I could pray aloud that God would get me back up the mountain without having someone having to retrieve me from below. Praying out loud hiking up the mountains is kind of liberating. I made it back to the farm ( to God be the Glory) and got home and got my shower, took my Motrin and Valerian Root capsules, rubbed down my back with "old lady muscle aspercreme" , whipped out the heating pad, laid down on my bed and prayed that I could be mobile for the next day. God is so good I was mobile by supper time.

The next day we had to run to town to get several errands done. I had been looking at some pitiful goats who needed rescuing from a lady that had them in a very small area in her back yard. She knew nothing about goats apparently and out of her 5 goats, three of them
were crippled in their feet because she had not trimmed their hooves. I only wanted two, possibly three of her females. She wanted out of the goat biz and said she wanted me to take them all or none. I had been trying to get in contact with her and I just ran into her store and she happened to finally be there. She agreed for me to come get the goats that day. So Amanda and I went back to the farm, and got "Ben the goat herder" from our last goat rescue. Ben is a great guy and a good sport, because he doesn't really have huge fondness for goats or bugs. I appreciated his adventuresome spirit to go with me on my goat deals.
Don Juan, our male goat
was purchased with an injured back leg last October. He had been hit by a car while he was crossing a newly developed 4 lane highway. Ben rode in the back with another farm helper for 2 1/2 hours watching to make sure this huge goat didn't fall from the truck. Don Juan recuperated and has thrived here at the farm and has been the father of many. I thought I would capitalize on Ben's prior knowledge of trucking goats and I grabbed Norma and a farm worker to go rescue the goats.

We were racing around trying to beat the rainstorm that was threatening to fall from the sky at any moment. When it started raining large drops I prayed fervently that God would hold the rain off until we got the goats loaded. We had to literally drag the 5 goats to the truck through a maze of homemade fencing, and two huge vicious dogs, who were trying to bite the goats through the fence. The owner was saying "the goats are afraid of the dogs". I guess so... I was terrified of them too while they were charging their fenced area trying to bite whosoever through their wooden enclosures. The rain held off until we left La Esperanza. When we
got closer to home we realized it had already had the daily downpour and we missed it. We felt victorious in our prayers over the elements. Well at least the folks who were riding in the back of the truck were feeling victorious.

We had to tie up the three crippled goats so they wouldn't hurt themselves in the back of our small truck. We knew going into it that putting 5 goats in the back of the truck was a little dicey. One of the goats even had a broken leg that had a cast on it. Anyway, we had to put him in the back seat of the truck with Norma. I was going to do it, but she volunteered, and I ended up riding in the back of the truck, with Snowbelle, and our Honduran worker, because Snowbelle, who is not white but the color of an mature woman's untreated hair, had gotten free from her ropes. Celbin, the Honduran worker, was guarding two of the tied up goats who kept getting their ropes to tight around their necks.

We all smelled like goat and were looking forward to getting a shower. We unloaded the goats and got back up to the house with a sense of accomplishment and a scent of goat that was stronger than our accomplishment. We get out of the truck on to find that the electricity was out, so that meant cold showers. I have taken a lot of cold showers, but because I was cold and had been wet, I heated up water in a tea kettle on the stove and carried another pot partially filled with water to take my shower/bath/rinse off. I still smell like goat, but I felt sanitized.

When I finally got some instant coffee and sat down, I realized that my back should have been screaming. I hauled goats, loaded goats, drug goats, rode in the back of a truck over a very
bumpy road with goats and I was fine. God is good to me, even when I forget I was supposed to be nursing my back.

God watches over me even when I don't watch out for myself. I am thankful for all the huge blessings He has sent our way. Blessings, the Goat Wrestling, Rescuing Honduran MOM

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birthday Party Part II: When you see the Armadillo Over the Post

I have a front door that slams. I have a screen in my screen door which is very unique here at PTC . I like screens because I don't like flies or mosquitos in my house. I don't know what it is about kids and screens, but they have a natural aversion to each other. I have put screens in the girls homes and screen doors many times, as it is a requirement for the government agency INFHA.( It is there version of DEFAX) , but they last just a short period of time. I have screens on my windows, or I did on all of them until there was a hole that was punched in the screen by Mr. Nobody, or Sr. I Dunno, and then the bottom somehow mysteriously unraveled from the bottom. Once while sitting on the sofa, Natalie, one of our seasoned professional interns, saw a hand reach through the screen to touch her on the head. So I have a screen that needs repair. I seriously thought about duct taping the bottom but decided against that method of repair.

Anyway, back to my slamming door. I try to lay down on Sunday after lunch. Sometimes I am successful, but lately not so much. I didn't want to reduce myself to the level of hollering from my bedside, "Quit slamming the door, please", or "Who just slammed the door?" So I have decided to take my newly acquired birthday armadillo shell, complete with head and pointy ears to hang it on the porch post. I have told the girls, "When you see the armadillo on the post do not enter". I felt like Moses. It is pretty scary looking and you can't miss it. I bet seeing blood smeared all over the door posts was pretty gross looking too, come to think of it. I am about to lay down. So far no door-slamming intruders. Life is Good. Blessings from the Rested Honduran MOM

Birthday Party

Because I was working on my birthday, I had planned with the girls to go eat pizza in La Esperanza the following Saturday, so we could all celebrate together. Our power was off all day Saturday. We had to get ready and I waited until the last minute because I didn't want to take a cold shower and was hoping that the power would miraculously come on. Our showers here are called "douches" or "widow makers". They are quite ingenious in that they are a small hot water heater in your shower head. The heating mechanism starts when you cut the shower on and the water circulates through the unit. Everyone was waiting for the electricity because no one wanted to take cold showers. Whenever I have to get a cold shower I encourage myself that millions of people all over the world take cold showers, and with that I jump in the shower, but don't linger long.

I leave the cold shower and am ready to go. The girls were waiting on the porch at the kitchen. I jump in the little bus, and it won't crank. Great.. So I go to the barn and get out the jumper cables. Amanda, our newest staff member helps me by making a quick "guy" call to make sure what cable connects to what post. For anyone out there who has not jumped off a car before, remember that you need to check under the dirt on the battery to find the positive and negative signs. Red goes to red and black to black. Red is positive like the blood of Jesus, and Black is negative like sin. ( Just a little memory helper) Also when connecting cables, it should spark when you clamp the last connection.

I found two sets jumper cables. One set was rusty on the clamp ends, and the other set had 3 clamps fastened securely and one end had no clamp at all, just wires. I went with the rusty one because it had 4 clamps. Well, we get it connected and nothing.... no spark. We were told to let it build up for 10 minutes. Nothing. We adjusted cables, nothing. An hour later, while the 23 girls are waiting patiently in the bus, I decided to try the 3 clamp model of jumper cables. I took a screwdriver and hooked the clampless end directly to the battery post. When I connected up the other end, behold ...sparks. 15 minutes later a cheer went up from the girls when the bus cranked and we went merrily up the road singing songs along the way.

We are riding along and I am pretty positive I have enough gas because I put 5 gallons in right before we left from a small container I found in the bodega. Long before our destination I notice we are extremely low on fuel. Before we get to La Esperanza the gas light comes on. Not good.. Amanda and I are praying. We coast into the gas station. The gas attendant fills it up. I asked how many gallons did he pump into the tank. He said exactly 30 gallons. We literally coasted in on a "wing and a prayer".

We ate our pizza and the girls gave me gifts they have crocheted. We were the only ones in the pizza parlor. We loved it. We ran some errands and came home. The girls had a pinata for me and Rosey . Rosey's birthday is a day before mine. I came to the porch and they said they had a present from our watchman, Don Pedro, for my birthday. Cinthia whips it out from behind her back and it is an armadillo shell, with the skinned part of the head still attached and it had a small rope attached to it so that I could display this attractive ornament anywhere. Well, my first reaction was to scream. I am not usuallly taken off guard, but I am expecting a plant. When I got through laughing at myself and the others laughing at me, I hung the birthday present on the porch.

Life here is very challenging and full of special surprises. Where else can you get an armadillo carcass for your birthday? I was so blessed by the girls and there 14 crocheted bags, in various colors and the ambitious Gabby who made me a sweater of many colors. Even though the day started off a little bizarre and frustrating, at the end of the day, I realize that I would not want to be in any other place than right here where God has called me to be. Signed the Armadillo Hanging Honduran Birthday MOM

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reality Living in 48 Hours in Project PTC

Well, my birthday has come and gone. I had several things that I had to attend to on that day. Last week we were dealing with Anastacia. She had her baby and it weighed a little under six pounds. We got her and the baby home and they both had gotten settled and were doing well. So I decided to get several things accomplished in the Capital that I had not had the time to attend to because of teams and baby doings.

I got up at 4:00 on my birthday. I usually get up at 5:00 am, so it really shouldn't have been that bad, but when I got into bed the night before, one of the older girls was having a test in polynomials the next day. Her birthday was the 30th and she was in tears, saying she was going to fail the test. Now I don't know that much about algebra, but I do know a little about polynomials and I know that I can't stand to see a grown girl cry on her birthday. So I worked with her for a few hours. Working math problems apparently right before bed, made my brain start whirling like I have been on caffiene. So I couldn't fall right to sleep. I jumped up the next early a.m. and had to pack a bag for the overnight trip.
My itinerary was as follows:
4:30 a.m. Left for Tegucigalpa, the capital, with Sonia, which is a 4 hour trip
4:45 a.m. Picked up Ben Heath on the way in Yamranguila
5:00 a.m. Departed from Texaco after filling up
7:30 a.m. Arrived in Comayagua to drop Ben Heath off so he could study a Pace systems school at Enlaces the ministry of Sandy Miller.
9:30 a.m. Arrived at the US Embassy to pick up my renewed passport
10:30 a.m Paid the taxes on our new bus at the National bank.
11:00 a.m. Picked up Angela Flores.
11:30 a.m. Went to the eye doctors, so Sonia could get an eye exam and glasses.
12:30 p.m. Ate lunch with the girls while waiting for eye glasses
2:00 p.m. Still waited for glasses.
2:15 p.m. Ben caught a ride on a direct bus to La Esperanza after a very productive day at Enlaces Ministry
2:30 p.m. Went to Price Mart to buy groceries
3:30 p.m. Picked up Sonia's glasses
4:00 p.m. Left Tegucigalpa
5:30 p.m. Arrived in Comayagua to spend the night with Sandy Miller
6:15 p.m Sandy and Brenda had made a birthday cake, ordered pizza and added other missionaries for my birthday party. My girls called to sing Happy Birthday
7:00 p.m Sandy's Bible Study with her staff
8:30 p.m. Blessed Time with Sandy Miller
5:00 a.m. Sandy brought Hazelnut decaf coffee (huge treat) for my birthday breakfast
8:00 a.m. Attended Sandy's board meeting
10:00 a.m. Went to the tag/tax office with documents to transfer tags for the Patrol(you can only submit paperwork in the morning or it waits until the next day)
11:00 a.m Waited on paperwork to clear the bank
1:00 p.m. Paid taxes at the bank. Left Comayagua after lunch with Sonia
3:00 p.m. Arrived in Siguatepeque to pick up supplies and buy things that Amanda called and said we needed at the farm
5:30 p.m. Arrived in La Esperanza, picked up special paper for the girls to finish their 14 pinatas they are making for the community for Day of the Child
6:00 p.m. Arrived at the farm. Lights were out
7:00 p.m Devotions with girls. Light came back on
8:00 p.m. Saw Anastacia's baby and she had lost weight in the 36 hours that I had been gone.
9:00 p.m. Went to the hospital in La Esperanza to get the baby seen about.
10:00 p.m. Arrived back at the farm and went to take a shower, but realized the the the water tank was empty. I went and restarted the well pump and collapsed in the bed with no shower and wondered if this 36 hours would ever end.

Anastacia's baby had a low birth weight. Ruth Naomi, is the baby's name and Ruth was working so hard to nurse, she would get exhausted and not wake up for 3 or 4 hours. This started after I left. She even slept all night long on Wednesday night! She lost down to 3.5 lbs! The power was out when I arrived, but when the light came on and I saw the baby's condition I was alarmed at how dehydrated she looked and so I told Anastacia that we were loading up to go to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, the doctors told us to do some other things, but sent us home from the hospital. They said the baby was at a greater risk at the hospital than at home because of all the bacterial and viral problems at the hospital. They said she was nursing okay, and Anastacia has plenty of milk, but we would have to keep waking the baby every 2 hours. She is so tiny now. Please pray that she bounces back and gets better.

We delivered the farm workers and the seeds that they needed to plant the next morning. I am teaching Cruz how to drive a stick shift so she can get her license. While she parked the truck, I walked in with the workers to see how the farm was looking. Apparently, Cruz followed me, but twisted her ankle trying to get in the gate. She went back to the car on the driver's side. I didn't know she had gotten out of the car. She drove home, and then told me she twisted her foot!

So we got her ankle packed with ice. I was glad to have Amanda, who graduated with her college degree in sports related physical therapy . We got Cruz set up, gave the food to the cook with instructions. Ben went up top to teach the girls and we went to La Esperanza again to meet with the judge and go to the bank and get money cashed so that we could pay our workers in the afternoon.

Our days have been so incredibly full these days and we are thankful that He keeps us going. I told Ben and Amanda that we could be a reality TV show. We wouldn't need a script or anything. We would just do what we do here. Nothing is the same any day, and there is always something going on and always seasoned with a lot of drama.

On my birthday, we had an incredible thing happen. A gift that was sent to the ministry office in the States. Nancy Grantham has been our CPA for Such Is the Kingdom Ministries since the beginning. She wrote to ask me and the Board if we knew a specific name of a person who made a donation. I wrote her back and told her that we have had so many people come down this year, and I met so many new people, but that I didn't recognize the name. If I am struggling with a name, I usually ask my girls, who have wonderful recall about so many things, (except for things like who left the milk out or who left the book on the trampoline in the rain) I apologized that I couldn't help her, and didn't think anymore about it. Come to find out, we didn't know her at all. She saw us on line, God touched her heart and wanted to bless the girls. God is so wonderful to pull blessings our way, when we least expect it. So many times we look for a blessing from sources that we know or understand, then God sends someone or something our way that just blindsides us in a great way. He gets all the Glory for the blessing and that is how it should be. I am still overwhelmed at His goodness and His sweet surprises.

I wonder why I don't anticipate His goodness every moment of my life, because He is always blessing me and covering me. I don't know why I tend to get overwhelmed at the negative things that happen and not recognize the everyday miracles He performs on my behalf. I drove to Tegucigalpa and back and He protected me all the way and helped me to accomplish everything I set out to do. He sent me a special birthday surprise for the ministry and He has given me a life that is full of love from my family, friends, interns (our professionals) and 23 wonderful girls. I am blessed. Even after all that, I was talking to Nancy about the wonderful blessing and got side tracked talking about something negative. I got convicted about my negative comments and called her back and chalked it up to that I was sitting in the sun to long waiting on paperwork to clear, but really?... there is no excuse. I need to refocus my brain to dwell on the pure, the good, the wholesome, and lovely things God does for me. I want to focus on what the Lord has done for me and not on what the enemy is doing. When someone speaks of "living in reality" it usual speaks of the negative part of life. The Bible tells us: I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my Help come from? The psalmist answers his own question: My help come from the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth. I pray that this new year of my life, that I keep my eyes focused upward on my Helper, my Healer, my Deliverer, my Friend that sticks closer than a brother, He is my Reality. Signed the Upward Focused Honduran MOM