Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Bus Ride

The medical brigade

Duplex and Sweaters

Yesterday Haley and I went to pick up the team. We loaded up into the local bus line and went public. Public is when you stop every so often and get new passengers while others disembark. Sometimes people selling fried fish or portable toothbrushes, or a wonder pharmacutical miracle, get on the bus to hawk their wares. There were so many people on the bus one time, that when I woke up from my slumber, there was a woman's rear area in my face. That has never happened before. It was a tall but large Honduran woman.

We got to the airport my administrative assistant went on a fast food blitz. She ate Dunkin Donuts first, then Wendy's Spicy Chicken and to top it off a Expresso Americana chocolate concoction that includes oreo's and the equivalent of whipped cream from 12 dairy cows. She had been waiting for quite some time for this gastrinomic delight to present itself .

Our team arrived and they too, had found Wendy's Spicy Chicken. This time we took a bus direct. On the way back home I am chatting with the new team members and I get this phone call from the farm. It was Ben the director of the school at our mission. He said that the last of our three mama pigs, was having her babies and handed the phone to Angela, our twelve year old. She was so excited, speaking in Spanish in three octaves than normal. I couldn't understand her except that she was saying something about the baby pig's leg. In my calmist voice I asked her to give the phone back to Ben. He was in the pen with the sow. He was talking odd and I found out later that he couldn't hold the phone because he had certain material on his hands from working in the pig pen. He finally told me that one of the baby pig's leg was delivered and that was all, so I told him to pull it out, thinking it would be dead, but it wasn't. We were all excited about pig delivery by phone.

Then I get another call from another missionary whose bus had a flat front tire. So I asked our direct bus drivers if they could look out for him and help him out. They found the bus, and had all the right equipment to help him change the tire. We were running a little late but we were back on track.

We got to La Esperanza and it was raining again. Rainy season usually starts at the end of March or the first of April. This year it started in February! People here including myself, had adobe buildings going up, coffee drying in the sun and other projects. When the rains started all of that came to a halt. Fortuanately for us a team from Pennslyvania came the first of February and got our adobe walls to our duplex up in record time. We are now trying to finish the walls out with stucco. This duplex will be used for interns who are coming to help us with the girls and with this mission. There is good news about the rain. A team came in December and planted corn and beans. I didn't think that they would live because we were in the drought season of year and it hadn't rained since October. Two months later now at the end of February the corn and the beans are cracking the dirt and thriving. They have had no rain since January and they still came on up out of the dirt. I am amazed and thankful.

We unloaded the team's luggage into the yellow school bus I had hired, and after they got the luggage loaded they said they wouldn't be able to carry me to the farm. I asked why not and they said because it had been raining all day. Well, I just looked at the driver and his assisitant like "Oh well, perhaps I won't pay you the full price if you just get me half way home in the dark on a rainy night." It is amazing what your eyes can communicate when necessary.

The bus drivers got us to the entrance and Ben met us with the flatbed and the Nissan. It was just drizzling rain at this point. I got the ladies from the team in the truck and took off down the road. I get to our gate and our watchman, who I call "Barney Fife"because he carries the shotgun shells in a plastic sandwich bag in his shirt pocket. He was not there to open the gates for us. We are all sort of damp, and needing to use the facilities and very exhausted and now there was no watchmen to let us in. I had left my keys at the farm. I knew Barney was in the area because he had just let Ben out the gate to come get us in the flatbed. I was on the phone with Ben and heard him tell the watchman that they would be right back.... It didn't register with Barney. So I am yelling out the door and finally one of the girls comes and unlocks the gate. I drop those ladies off and go and get some more team members. As I pass by the small gate up top, Barney was patroling up above by the small entrance. Nobody was going to use that gate because it was raining, the roads were full of water and they couldn't get out of the vehicles, but he was on the job.

When I got to the top they were still unloading the suitcases from the bus to the flatbed. Everybody piled in and we got back to the main gate. The team met the girls and ate supper and then we loaded back up in the vehicles and drove to the mission house to unload the luggage into the weary team members hands. I am thankful for the safe journey and for team members who were prepared for the long trip. They had been up since 3 o'clock in the morning the day before and finally arrived at their destination at 8:30 the next evening. God has been faithful to us.

I wanted to thank Currie and Sandi Burgess for sending their medical team to help us in our area of El Obispo. They brought 14 doctors and assistants and they all did a wonderful job helping the people here in the mountains. Also I wanted to thank Jeff and Nancy Evans and their team for their hurculean efforts in getting those adobe walls up for the duplex, building two fish ponds, and assisting in making a bathroom for the church. I would also like to thank Jim and Linda Rowan for leading a great team to minister to the school children in our area, as well as the children here at PTC.

Continue to pray for us in this season of teams. The girls have been so helpful with the teams, serving in the kitchen, loading rocks, and helping out with the cooking. The girls and I are feeling how blessed we really are. Thanks to the grandmother who made all those sweaters for the mountain children. I can't tell you how fuln it was to be able to give those away to children who had nothing on their arms and the temperature was falling.

Thanks to our interns, Haley, Ben, Morgan and Clayton, and Natali, who are blessing our children everyday, showing them how to be called of God.

Finally thanks to everyone who prays, helps and supports this ministry. Pray that God continue to bless and keeps us, be gracious unto us and give us peace. Blessings the Bus-traveling Honduran MOM.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The New Kid

We got Karen and her daughter about 2 weeks ago. Karen had just turned 15 when I went to the court house They phoned me and said they had a special case. Karen was holding her baby and was looking angry, bewildered, and scared at the same time when I arrived. It is that look all new mothers have when they understand clearly that this baby is totally their responsiblity. It can be an overwhelming realization. She had just gotten her baby back from someone who had said that she wanted to help Karen. The woman made her leave the house without her baby at Chistmas time. Thankfully she got her child back.

Our house is filled with diapers, bottles, pacifiers, milk spots on the red cement tile and the like. Karen and the baby are living with me right now. She is receiving instructions on everything that I can think to tell her about how to be a good mom. I have girls who figure out a ways to get in to see the baby. My girls are very creative. They would totally take over the baby if I
would let them but Karen needs to rebond with her baby because she wasn't able to be with her for the past month. The girls do help Karen, when she needs to get a bath or do something personal They are eager babysitters for sure.

Mainly though, I feel like I am watching this 15 year old grow into a responsible young woman. She is taking her time getting there but I do see some progress. She told me that her mom told her that she needed to go to the city to get work at twelve years of age. Her family had a lot of issues and she basically lived and slept out side of her house in a remote village hours away from here. She left home at 12 and got work keeping other people's houses. She got pregnant at the end of her 13 year, and had her baby at 14 years of age. She never attended school, so she doesn't know her alphabet or anything else having to do with education.

We got her a baby carrier so that she can take her baby with her to school. She straps on the baby and gets her used book bag and hikes up to the school with her baby bottle thermos tote and her new pencils and notebook paper. She came home so excited the first day. She was writing her letters and had spelled her name for the first time. She ran in like the first grader she is. "Look, I wrote my letters and my name", she exclaimed. "I have homework, so I need to get busy copying my letters". So she got her baby ready for bed, boiled the water to wash the bottles and filled the bottles with formula. She sat down at the table and was working away, head down engrossed in what she was doing. I got up from the sofa and noticed she had the baby in her lap facing me. The infant had a look of "whatever" on her face. Karen, the mom, was so busy working I walked over to see what she was doing. She was coloring a coloring book with her baby sitting on her lap. I wanted to weep.

She has come a long way. She doesn't give her baby plastic bags to play with anymore. She doesn't leave her alone anymore with her bottle propped. She doesn't leave her on the bed alone, as she almost rolled off a few times. The baby is very strong and is moving everywhere. Karen is very helpful and wants to do everything the other girls are doing. Right now the girls are picking coffee, gathering firewood and picking up rock for the adobe duplex we are building. She got pretty maudilin the other day because she can't just set the baby down and go off to be with the girls. Haley has been great to watch the baby so she can interact with the other girls. Both mother and baby seemed to be settling in very well. She and the baby are doing well.

We are almost though with the adobe foundation. It has been three times the work than we anticipated but we can finally see how it is coming together. Meanwhile, we have some young men making adobe to make sure we have enough to build the duplex. Our team will be here Monday. The locals say that you can lay 3 courses of adobe and then you have to wait a day or two dependant to lay the next round. I have learned a lot about adobe. It is a great medium and has been used forever in homebuilding. Block was very populare in these last years but for the money adobe is the way to go. One block cost a dollar usd or 18 limperas. One adobe block cost 4 to 5 limps. As my watchman pointed out, "If someone is shooting at you, adobe is safer because the bullets can penetrate the block." Good to know.

WE were supposed to get rocks yesterday from the farm, but the Isuzu was making a noise like airbrakes, but we don't have airbrakes on the big truck. So I was going to get the rocks in the truck so our guys could get finished with the foundation. But my truck had a flat, which is bad because it had a flat Sunday with no tire store open, and so now I had two flat tires. So I had to take the big Isuzu to town with the two flat tires. We came into town and I scraped the wall to the stadium on my first major turn, with my outside mirror meeting a large bus. Haley and Rosa, my passengers were getting nervous over my big rig truck driving methods. Rosa, said she would rather ride in the back because she wouldn't see what was coming up with my driving. She and Haley were brutal. I didn't break the mirror so I felt fine. In fact the previous drivers of the truck had the mirror welded on to the frame. I feel that this has happened before.

I dropped the punctured tires, dropped Rosa for her appointment, dropped the truck off with the mechanic and then Haley and I went shopping for groceries for the girls and the team and dropped a bunch of money there too. After shopping we went to pick up the girl's Honduran school curriculum. The school they go to has gone up 400 limperas from last year. So we wrestled with that but they had to get started on time so we got it. Then we went back to town, got gas, and went to get Cruz s stuff from the family she was living with while she was going to nursing school.
She had been so excited about going to school last year. She got sick about half way through with an intestinal problem that she just couldn t shake. She did not do her best on two subjects and so the director had an appointment for her to come in and talk to her. The day of the appointment her paternal grandfather died and she had to go to the frontera to the funeral. Then after she got back from her family obligations, she found out that most of the other alumunos had gotten notice of graduation, so she just went home. I was in the States and she didn´t tell me anything about it when I got home. She said there might be a test she could take, but she was depressed that the others had moved on and so she decided not to go back without telling me. Well, I didn´t put the dots together until her landlady Zeyda told me yesterday what the director told her. When Zeyda told director why she didn´t keep the appointment beacause of a death in the family, the director told her there is a possibility for her to return without taking the whole year again. So please be in prayer for Cruz. She has lost another grandfather a month after the first grandfather died. She has been a little down and is praying about what she needs to do. Please pray for the whole famiy

After we got all those errands done we went to Anastacia´s where she is starting her beauty shop back up. She is also making pizza, and cinnamon rolls to sell. Cruz and Lina are launching out a bit and are going to live with her. Next year if all goes well, Lina will go to college. She is taking high school courses right now and a computer class. I want them to have a time where they are living on their own and going to their own church and buying their own groceries, before they are of and gone to college. Pray it all works out.

We left from there and unloaded all the groceries for the farm and team, Cruz´s bed and everything that she had accumulated at school. Then immediately I loaded the girls up to go pick up 10 meters of rocks and get them unloaded at the building site. The girls have made a herculean effort in helping get this project ready for the team from Pennsylvania. We have several teams that are coming back to back. Please pray that everything go smoothly. I am finalizing bus schedules, and activities while they are here. Teams are great in that they get so much done that I can not do with repair and building, evangelizing or whatever they have come to do. Mostly though they are wonderful with the girls and the girls have established great friendships with so many wonderful Christian people.

Be praying for everything to go smoothly. Thanks to all of you who send letters, and call, and support us in so many ways. Blessings, The Super Busy Honduran MOM.