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