Friday, March 25, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Back From the Mechanics

I was in la Esperanza at the mechanics with the Nissan little truck, when I get this call. My workers decided to move some dirt with the truck without permission. I wouldn't have given permission since they don't know how to drive and because none of them have a car or license. They drove to the back of the farm where I had filled in an adobe pit with pine straw last year to keep my baby goats from falling in a 10 ft x 20 ft hole of water. The crew was getting dirt for a back fill for the foundational floor of the duplex.

They backed up to the pit and shovel the back end full of dirt and proceeded to tell the youngest in the group to pull up. Unfortunately, it was left in reverse and not first gear and what he thought was a brake was the clutch he started rolling and then gunned the accelerator to make it go forward but drove it backwards so hard that it buried the trailer hitch (which is 2ft x 3 ft metal plate where the ball joints fit) into the dirt on the other side of the hole.
Clayton one of our new interns, got the tractor and I got into the truck after we literally dug out the flatbed from pressurized pine straw, and pulled it out. I remembered Brett's terragator days and we laid limbs under the wheels and used a heavy chain that we tied in a knot on back of the tractor and around the main frame of the Isuzu. We had all the hondurans stand on the tractor which made the tractor look like a mama possum while the men were hanging on to each other around the body of the tractor. I prayed aloud before we started that those things that were bound would be loosed in Jesus name and voila' it came right out .
I was ready to tell the crew that they were fired. One was saying the youngest boy did the driving, but I knew that wasn't right. So I talked to him first, and he said he drove it into the hole but the other worker, who is about 24 he drove it back to the hole and was the one who left it in reverse. But he was so brave when he was talking to me. He took the credit for any wrong doing. He said " I have learned a hard but important lesson today, not to touch things of importance without getting permission from the owner". He was so sincere all my thoughts of firing the lot of them melted. The 24 year old when confronted with the truth, wanted to say it wasn't so, but just hung his head and said "I did it. It was me". So in front of them all, I just thanked God and told them it could have been worse. The very dry dry pine straw didn't catch on fire when they where spinning the back tires so fast desperate to remove the truck before I got back from town. It should have caught on fire because it was sitting in a pile of very dry straw. I told them we were all going to work on this problem until we got it solved. When the truck finally pulled out, I was driving the flatbed, I watched the faces of the men when the truck finally started to move. They all cheered and slapped each other on the back. I just wish I had an extra hand to snap my camera at that moment. God helped me to see that the men, and how they felt about themselves, were more important than the truck. I am here ultimately for the people, and the stuff that is here to help us, is just that "stuff". "Stuff" is not eternal, people are. God is good to us all the time. Signed Down in the Dumps, But Not For Long, Honduran MOM

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bloom where your planted? How about bloom in a Rock!

We were on a hike down to the village of Yasi in Honduras when I saw these flowers blooming away in a rock! The rest of my group had continued to hike to the school which was our destination. But something about these flowers just captured me, and before I realized it I had been left behind. It wasn't a tremendous problem because I knew how to get to the school. I am the local missionary after all. I have been visiting this area for 15 years. This year, we have been coming about every 15 days bringing school supplies and teams from the United States who wanted to come and meet the children of this very remote area. We were excited that this year we are starting a Bible Club ministry for the schools in our area. Yasi is our first assignment. The material comes from the Valdosta based Mailbox Club. They donated the materials, and this was our first meeting with the 5th and 6th graders.

Yasi is a beautiful place that is virutally unspoiled by human hands. It has orchids growing up the walls of the mountains, rivers that are rushing through unhindered by man made structures except for isolated swing bridges. It is a Garden of Eden, only with 400 people. These people have survived in this location for hundreds of years. They are known as the Lenca people, and indigenous tribe that have lived here for centuries. They don't have many visitors because it is so hard to get to them. It is so steep, cars, or trucks cannot reach it. They lived in adobe houses, and get their water from the river and their food is what they grow. It is a very hard life here, but the people have bloomed in a place that appears to be a hard place, but to them it is the best place in the world. Is their world view limited without radio, tv, and communications? Maybe, but they seemed to be content and happy where they are.

This is Grace Spell's team from St. Louis Missouri. Grace Spell is a missionary, who works with World Indigenous Missions. She literally goes all over the world bringing first time missionaries to the ends of the earth to bring the Gospel of Jesus. This team was a high school Spanish Class that wanted to bring the love of Jesus to Honduras. They had dramas, and skits, to share with the children as well as a lot of practical school supplies. The children loved the skits and the loved the Spanish Class and welcomed them .

The school is so remote that they have to take precautions of making sure that the school's property is protected. These children look like they are in prison but the parents put bars and barbed wire in the windows to protect the contents. The children were on the desks peeping through the windows at the 6' 6 tall sixteen year olds that were visiting. A Honduran man from this area is usually about 5 ft. Some of these young people appeared to be giants and it set the kids scrambling for cover, but their curiousity won out in the end.

The Spanish Class were a great group of young people. They didn't complain about the bus trips, the schools that were closed because of teacher strikes, change of schedules or the rice that was burned one time. They moved rocks, planted coffee, and worked on the new duplex floor moving dirt to the foundation. They just rolled with the different circumstances, and had a wonderful adventure. They were a blessing and a great witness to my girls about not complaining. They bloomed where they were planted.

I am blessed to be able to learn from the children on our farm and from the young people who come to visit. The Spanish Class had a skit to about praising God in all circumstances. It was pantomine about a boy who was praising the Lord and while lifting his hands to the sky in praise a bird dropped a delivery on his face. Next he bought an ice cream and stumbled and dropped it and then he buys a balloon and it flies away and then pets a dog and it bites him, but throughout the skit, he is praising the Lord.

The last day of their trip we needed to leave early and take them to La Esperanza to catch a bus. We had to carry our flatbed truck because our bus is in the shop. It was very cold and we were running a little behind schedule to catch the bus. The team was wrapped in blankets setting amongst their luggage. Ben Heath was helping drive the flatbed and I was driving the small truck. He drew me aside and told me the front tire was a little low. So we looked for our air compressor but the connection to the tank was missing. So we decided to go ahead because we were running late. He also told me that the fuel was lower than the tire. It was my fault for not checking after our last run. Anyway, I thought no problem I will get a gallon in Yamaranguila, the town right up the road. There is a guy there that isn't fond of North Americans but he occasionally has diesel and gasoline by the gallon.

We stopped and got a gallon and I asked the man "How much?". He told me 85 limps, and then in the next breath said "Well 90 because the prices have just gone up". It was in the early morning and I don't think he checked with the oil futures that morning but I was in a hurry and decided to let it slide. Then the metal cap wouldn't come off the fuel tank. We worked and worked, but still it wouldn't come off. So there was a small screw in the top of it and so we took it off and crammed the funnel into the small opening and poured in a gallon of fuel, (which was really 3/4 of a gallon from oil futures guy) We paid the oil baron and took off because now we were late. I was telling Natalie our new intern, that I was going to praise the Lord anyway, while I was reaching for a large wrench that we used trying to get the cap off and I had put it on the dash. Before I could get it, we hit a bump and it fell on my knee cap. It hurt, but I told Natalie, "I will praise the Lord anyway".

We got to the bus station and there were thankfully available seats, and we hugged everybody and they got on board. Ben leans over to me while we are waving good-bye and says "Guess from 1-10 how flat the tire is?" I guessed 4. I was wrong it was 10. So there is a tire place that fixes tires right at the bus stop. I was praising God. I got there and it was closed. So I called the number that was on the door. A little girl answered and said her dad just left. I asked if he had another cell phone and she said that he had accidently left his and that was the one she was using. So I decided to praise the Lord anyway.

The lugnuts, wouldn't move, wouldn't budge. A guy passing by told us to pour coke on them to loosen the rust and mud away from the bolt. So I bought a coke and pour on it. There was a definite reaction to the metal. A guy selling household items under a blue tarp said "You think that something that eats rust off of lugnuts shouldn't really be going into our bodies". I agreed. He came over and started helping us. The flatbed is a big truck and we were at a weird angle. We drove the flat wheel up on a 2x4 to help the jack position. Then our metal bar that we use to turn the key for the lugnuts bent, so now it was of no use. So I decided to go get a professional. Natalie and I left in the small truck, got the guy up the road at a local Firestone dealership and he brought his tools. He moved us all out of the way so he could show us how it is done, and he proceeded to bend his bar and said sheepishly, "Sorry you will have to drive the truck to the Firestone store so we can use our hydraulic wrench on the lugnuts." He told us it would probably destroy the tire and maybe bend the axle but it was the only way. We carried him back and decided to try one more time.

Ben found another metal bar, and so we prayed that those things that were bound would be loosed in Jesus name. The guy helping us was named Daniel. He took a metal pole and put it inside of another pole and pulled and it loosened the first lug with a hard cracking sound. I was praising the Lord. He moved to the second one an the pole within the pole slipped and caught Daniels palm and ripped the skin open about an inch in diameter. Natalie was there with her triple antibiotic bandages and I went to get hand wash and bought a bag of water. We doctored Daniels hand. Daniel was determined now and the other lugnuts cracked loose also. We put on the spare, thanked Daniel (he was a Christian man and he refused the tip just said he was glad he could help) and tipped the other young bus attendant, and went to the Firestone store to get the tire fixed.

While they were fixing the tire, I notice that one tire was bigger than the other on the dual tires in the back causing the outside tire to be completely bald and very worn. I went to the other side and the outside tire on that side looked like a large cat had been using it to sharpen its claws down the center of the tire. It was coming apart! We had been driving the team in this flatbed all week! I started praising the Lord that no harm had come to anyone. One of the team members had given us some money when she left and so we used that to get two tires to replace the bad tires in the back. I was praising the Lord that I had the money.

We went to do other errands but the lights had gone out in the city, and so we couldn't finish up our errands because they required electricity. We got a call from Haley and she said because the electricity was out they were out of water. I told her to just crank the generator. The battery was dead. So when we got home we were going to charge the battery, and turn on the well pump. The battery wouldn't charge and just as we were thinking would be without water the electircity came on. I started praising the Lord.

The young people's skit was really effective and hopefully for me will be life changing. I neglected to mention that I was getting irritated in between the times I was praising the Lord, but my goal eventually will be to be praising the Lord in good and bad times. I want to be like that plant and have the fortitude and faith to bloom in a rock. I think God just wants us communicating at all times with Him either way. The Word says, "and a little child shall lead them", and so it was this week for me. Blessings, the Older but Wiser Praising Honduran MOM.