Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trucks, Bus, Plane, Bus, Cars, and a Break-in = A Happy Birthday

This is how my week went.

When I got up at three in the morning on the 9th of August to take this  quick trip to the United States. I had high hopes of surprising my daughter a day before her birthday.  I had some important paperwork situations to sign and some ministry stuff to do while I was there.  That was the main reason for the trip but I felt it would be fun if I could pull off this surprise. I had a window of about a week before we had to prepare for our next group that was coming to help us finish up our intern house.  I never get to see Charity on her birthday because usually teams are here and August is a month that is blacked out by the airlines because of most the mission teams are trying to get home for school and it is also a good month for diving around Roaton and a lot of divers flood into Honduras.  

It stormed and rained all night and I was supposed to take the new Toyota Hilux that had the high profile tires and 4 wheel drive.  It was not a new truck but it was new to me. My husband and I have only owned one new car in our life.  We pretty much just bought used cars and drove them for a long time until they were dead.  Here in Honduras you can buy a new car, but it will cost you about 3000 to 4000 USD each year for the first 5 years to get it matriculated annually.  So if you bought a 20,000 dollar truck, it would cost you about 15,000 more dollars.  So now your 20,000 truck cost you 35,000 with the taxes over the first 5 years.  Then the annual fee to drive your truck goes down drastically.  So I buy gently used vehicles until they expire on our bad roads.  I really do try to use the money God sends our way as wisely as possible.

I had gone down to the coast on August 3rd, which was a Friday to pick up the used truck and had planned to drive it back to the farm on the next day, because the drive is about 6 hours.    By the time I dropped off the team, and chose unknowingly the  slow bus to China, But the owner and I  just didn't seem to be able to get it together with our paperwork.  it was too late in the US to make a money transfer.  NOTE to Self:  "don't do any money transfers on Friday".  The banks stateside quit wiring money at 2:00 pm. their time.  I had carried two of the girls from Project Talita Cumi, so I would have company and because they had been so wonderful to help me during the teams and had been excelling in school.  They went with me to take the long bus ride after we dropped our last of the "marathon teams" . I really enjoyed them being with me.  It is hard to spend any quality time with just one girl.   WE ended up enjoying our stay in the hotel catching our breath and getting to visit with Lisa, our new missionary friend, who was selling her truck to us.
 While we were traveling on the bus to get to the coast, I got a call from Ben to tell me that one of our older girls was suffering severe pain in her shoulder and that there appeared to be a lump that was causing the problem.  I told him to carry her to the private hospital and get an xray.  He did that , and called back to say the doctor said there was a suspicious tumor and it needed to have a CAT scan done on the area.  So while we were there in La Cieba, the girls and I checked into a hotel and swam at the hotel and ate at the fancy restaurant in the La Quinta INN. It is hotter than hot in La Cieba.  I was rejoicing that I was called to the mountains.  Then we got up at 4 am the next morning to go back on the public bus to La Esperanza  without our truck.  WE got back on Saturday the 4th and we still had some sickies at the farm crop back up from the virus that swept through the week before when the team was there, so I didn't got to church on Sunday and stayed home with them.  

Monday, the 6th one of our older girls decided to take a "jolly little holiday without permission."  This is not the first time she has done this and so I was so frustrated with her.  She had just taken her college entrance exam and she jeopardized the whole possiblility of her going to college.  I carried her and her co conspiritors and took them to the Public Defender for Children the next day on Tuesday.  These girls had been giving me and the other staff members a run for our money.  I don't know if it was hormonal or intentional, but there was some issues about some boys they had recently met on the bus on the way to school, and they were all of a sudden ready to be out on their own. WE were to return the next day for them to tell us what to do.  Wednesday, the girls were finishing up their statements to he officials. while I sent Anna next door with two of our little girls to the dentist office for their scheduled appointments.  While that was going on Lisa came with her three foster boys to deliver the truck.  I signed the papers, called to get the money transferred in the States and Mirian, our lawyer who was there at the Public Defenders Office representing our ministry checked out the paperwork.  So right after I signed the girls were through with their dental appointment, and Anna carried Lisa and her boys to the bus station and Mirian back to her place of business in the faithful Nissan truck.   I put the girls who were in trouble, and the girl who needed the CAT scan in the new / used truck with me to go and get her CAT scan done, 3 hours away.  I had enough time to go to Comayagua and get this accomplished and I didn't want to leave disgruntled girls for the dwindling staff to monitor.  

So I got the CAT scan done and visited with Brenda, one of our older girls, who works as an accountant for Enlaces Ministries in Comayagua, until the  CAT scan was ready.  We arrived back in La Esperanza and went grocery shopping so that they would have plenty of groceries while I was away. WE picked up the cement tile the workers needed to work on the intern house the next day.  We got back to Yamaranguila to get the cement and realized that they people loading the tile, took off a box of groceries and left them at their store.  I called them and they said they would send them with the next load.  I slung some jeans in a suitcase and some hot sauce for my son and son in law and coffee for my caffiene addicted family members and friends and the giant CAT scan x-rays for the doctors in the United States to look at.  I woke at 3 a.m. the following morning and drove myself into La Esperanza and got on the bus for the airport on Thursday.   

 Like any car you have to work with it to figure out how everything goes.  The roads were very muddy because of all the rain.  So I decided to take the Patrol to the bus stop because I knew how it worked and it was loaded with clothes of one of the girls , who was involved in the runaway situation.  She had left last year and I gave her an opportunity to come back continue to study during the week and then she had to go home to her folks on the weekends.  Our lawyer, Mirian drew up a formal contract which the girl signed and her grandmother signed with her fingerprint, because the grandmother never learned to write.  She broke the contract we made several times and so with the recent infraction we had to send her back to her grandmother, and I had to get her clothes to her.  I got about half way to my destination that early morning, when I realized I was almost out of gas.  I had to make the 5 o'clock bus to get the plane that I needed to take.  I prayed my way through.  I keep telling myself that I am not going to travel alone, yet here I was again driving alone.  I don't want to put anyone out by them having to get up early in the morning,  but the reality and the security of everything is that on the mission field, we should move about in pairs, just because Jesus says we must and that it is just a smart thing to do as well as spiritually. So I didn't get the clothes dropped off because the aunt of the girl said that it was too early for them to get up.   Ben was to drop them later that day.

I got to the bus station and to the 5:30 bus. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to get to the bus station.  Then you change to a taxi to get to the airport.   I got to the airport early and they said It looked pretty full, but because I was the first on to come bearing a buddy pass I would get priority.  The day before there were 38 open seats.  I felt like I was going to travel and so I prayed about it and felt confident that it was going to happen.  

I had worked to get everybody were they needed to be and we got Angela, one of our married alumni from Tegucigalpa, to come and fill in for me.  It was a great plan. I went and got my favorite yogurt drink and waited calmly for the flight.  On a buddy pass it is standyby status.  Well unknown to me their were 5 others waiting, and they were Delta employees and they would be priority.  They had enough seats but the plane's weight limit was at the maximum and so none of us were able to fly.  The Delta staff tried to help us find an alternate plan,  They were very helpful.  

So I could have gotten back in the taxi and gone to the bus station in San Pedro Sula to return to the farm, or as a helpful Delta official told me that I could get a one way flight to Miami and continue in Miami on the buddy pass.  So I bought the ticket, and literally ran to get the American flight to Miami.  When I got to Miami the flight was full, and the attendant had had a bad day, you just kind of sensed it.  So I decided to rent a car which was in another terminal in the Miami airport.  You had to walk through a huge construction project take a tram and go to the area reserved for car rentals.  I went to the first place and they asked if I had a reservation, and I told them I didn't .  I explained the flight was full and I needed a car to get home.  They said without a reservation you can't have a car.  I did find one car rental place and they didn't need a reservation but they only had a 16 passenger van or a Large SUV. I had only had my yogurt drink and was to tired to drive and I decided to go back to the terminal.  I talked to the information desk to figure out my dwindling options.  I tried to call home, but nobody has quarters in the US airport and when I asked for change from the stores I had to make purchases for them to open a cash register.  One police officer felt sorry for me and just gave me the change. I have made other observations: 

1, Nobody in the US answers their phones when they don't know the number on the screen.  I called a pastor on our board, who does take calls from unknown numbers and told him I was going to take a Greyhound bus that was to leave in two hours.  I wanted someone to know where I was.  It took twelve hours, from Miami to Tallahassee, but I "left the driving to them", and tried to sleep.  It was air conditioned and clean and I was thankful.

2. I have a IPhone.  It has Wifi.  My observation is how the Apple Organization with all the brilliant minds on the planet and unlimited funding, made a charger cord that is two foot long.  If your phone dies, and you need to make a skype call it is difficult to find an outlet in the airport in the first place and when you borrow one from the airport maintenance guy who is finished with the buffer, you have to stand close to the wall in an inverted position..  Also, I don't have that many apps on my phone.  My young interns showed me how to save my battery from the apps draining the power.  Why is it that they can't make a battery to support a few apps for more than a few hours of use?  I am thankful for my phone, but these are things you think about when stranded in a large airport and no one knows where you are.  

Well, my dad picked me up from Tallahassee, Friday morning at 11:45 and I borrowed a car from dear friends who always help me get around when I am home.  I got to my daughters house and she is a night shift RN at Phoebe and she was sleeping in the day.  It was now the 10th, her birthday.  I had to break in sort of and not disturb the tall clay pots sitting in the entrance table, and went upstairs and started singing a Spanish Birthday song.  She became alarmed because I was so tired I forgot the words of the song and was kind of humming/ singing and she didn't recongize any of it, and I thought to myself, she has firearms and machetes, (early childhood missionary training)  wouldn't it be bad to make it all this way and have a bad ending to a  potentially special birthday?  I stepped in the door and she thought I was her sister.  I was blessed.  Then she saw it was me and it was just like I planned.  Blessings, the Riding, Running, Resting, Rejoicing, Honduran MOM

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Grasshoppers are Flying is a sure sign of rain

How long does a 24 hour virus last when you have 36 girls, 5 staff members and 18 team members?  We don't know the answer to that question yet because we had somebody starting to feel poorly earlier this evening.  So we are still dealing with this bug, and are still counting right now how many days it takes to get through this bug.  Thankfully we have had a whole day without the vomiting.  One of our girls , who is prone to have a weak constitution, and who even before this adventure in illness, was lovingly called "the Vomit Queen", has suffered the worse.  She has a time with motion sickness, or with smells, or she can get ill even if someone says something about vomit, or if she sees someone getting sick she does too. When she first came, if she didn't like something you did she would vomit on a personal item of the one she was upset with, like for example, my backpack .  She is better and is not doing the retaliation vomiting anymore.  The other day she was helping water the strawberries, and she threw up at the side of the field, and kept on watering the strawberries like nothing happened.


The last team that came from Georgetown, got to participate in our 24 hour bug.  They were such great sports about it, but I hated it so bad.  The ones who were the closest to the children got the bug… now that I think about it, nearly all the team went through it.  They were so great with the girls.  I am thankful that it was only a 24 hour bug, but hated that they got so sick, while they were here.The good news is that they were a medical team and had a doctor a PA and a nurse.  They had gone into several schools and examine kids who were really needing some special care.  We want to say a special thanks to Dr. Jack and Noni for their work in the dental side of the team.  I have never been involved with a dental team that the children didn't cry or anticipate pain.  Dr. Jack did a marvelous job in keeping the kids calm while he ministered to these elementary school children.  We also want to thank Wanda Moody for all of her hard work


We have some new girls.  Estrella is two and Jayme is 5.  They both are pistols and used to doing things their way.  They are very independent I guess because they have had to be, but they keep us hopping.  If Estrella wants to go to the car she justs walks of to the parking lot.  When you can her to come back she runs in the opposite direction of your voice.  She is too cute for her own good.  Her sister is a live wire also, but they are really learning fast that people do care about them.  They have really settled in and are a blessing.  Elida is also one of our new girls.  She is thirteen which is older than we usually allow to enter the farm.  WE have found that when a girl is a teenager when she comes in, it is harder for her to settle in with the rest of the girls who have been here since they were little.  Be praying for the transition for all the girls. 

WE survived our team blitz which lasted from March to the last week in July.  We have had 17 teams since January.  We only have a few more this year, but the summer was super busy with back to back teams.  We are so thankful to all the people who sent stuff, made stuff, and blessed all the stuff that was sent our way for our girls and for the people of the department of Intibuca 

Our Medical Team Ministered to the children of Secate Blanco
The children and the team were amazing

We Have Skype!

We have internet in our house once more.  It has been a huge blessing!  Everybody has been calling home on Skype and we are so excited at the possibilities of people who want to stay in contact with the girls.  We just need you to send us your skype number and a time when we will be hovering around the computer and we will see what we can do.  We will be glad to herd everybody into the office and let them talk with you guys.  Let us know and send your contact number to my email,

WE have been in the middle of a drought.  Normally it is raining everyday this time of year, but it has been dry for a solid week.  WE started praying for rain Sunday.  It is a crucial time for the corn crop here on our farm but also to our neighbors because they use that crop for their tortillas for their main food source for the rest of the year.  

Ben and I went to a water meeting that USAID is sponsoring so that the people in the Las Arenas area can have water during the dry season.  The house that the male interns will be living in is located in that community.  USAID supply the technicians and directions and the community they are trying to serve provide the raw materials to accomplish the task.  We we holding a meeting about the water project under construction site  that had only a tin roof to keep us out of the broiling sunshine.  One of the neighbors mentioned something about the drought.  There were little or no clouds against the blue sky.  Then all of a sudden about 15 to 20 small brown grasshopper/locust looking insects flew by and one of the local campasino women who had just been elected secretary to the board of the water committee,  said "It is going to rain".  Everybody just nodded their heads and I asked why.  They pointed at the little brown flying insects said it was because seeing the locust flying about are a sign of rain.   I looked about and didn't see any sign of rain, but I figured I would believe with them, and said "Well okay then".   Before the water meeting was over which was about an hour long, clouds had started to gather all around us.  We got home, and Ben jumped on his motorcycle to get home before the storm started, and he didn't make it.
I wonder how many times we miss signs that the Lord sends to us.  It wasn't a superstitious thing that happened, like when your grandma used to tell you if you drop a fork you are going to get a visit from a friend,  it was a known fact here about the animal kingdom because the people pay attention to the happenings in nature that surrounds them.  I can honestly say, I have never seen locust flying about, or if I did I don't remember and that it is probably because nobody ever pointed out to me that those were locust that just flew by.  I just wouldn't have paid it any attention. I remember my Great Aunt Bessie telling me about when you hear a rain frog or crickets at night that meant rain was on the way and I studied on what she said and listened I found out that she was entirely correct.  It happened every time.

We all stay so busy but Jesus tells us to watch for the signs of the times. The Bible usually mentions the words "signs" and "wonders" and "happenings"together.  He tells us to look to the fig tree when it blooms and you can know that summer is near.  He tells us to look at the red sky at night that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow, but when we see a red sky in the morning, that means we will have a stormy day.  He tells us to be careful and not to let our hearts get weighed down with goofing around the anxieties of life that we end up missing the signs and wonders He will be sending to us. Then He tells us to always be on the watch and always be praying so that we can escape all that is going to happen.  

Dealing with 36 girls you have a lot of drama of a sorts every day.  Running a ministry with so many teams that have come to help us and staff members coming and going that sometimes I am weighed down by all the things I need to do for the ministry to function like it needs to. On that day, I went to the bank, went to the lawyers, went to the public defender's office, went to the phycologist office,went to the mechanic, went to the hospital with one of the girls, went to the grocery store, went to the hardware store, went and paid an employee, went and had a meeting with one of the board members, went to the water meeting, went back to the farm at the river and went home to have some supper and have devotions and Skyped someone about a situation I was having with a couple of the girls here at the farm. That doesn't even cover the phones calls I made back to the farm and to the internet guy and to the States.   But I need to do as Jesus tells me to do and stay alert and not get so overwhelmed with how to run a ministry, maintain relationships with the girls and staff, teams, officials and with the neighbors that surround us.  I want to focus on being the friend of Jesus.  He says because he calls us his friend he will tell us everything that the Father tells him.   He tells us to call upon him and he will show us great and marvelous things that we knoweth not. I know friends tell each other their deepest secrets when they get to spend a lot of time together and I want to be a friend of Jesus that He would feel comfortable telling me the secrets that He has for me and that I knoweth not. As I was sitting on the plastic chair under the tin roof watching the locust zoom by, it hit me that once again I have let the things of the world capture my attention with being so busy that I could have missed out on the cool things He was trying to show me.  I pray that God slows us all down to pay attention to Him and his great signs and wonders that He has provided for us and that are happening all around us.

I want to thank all of the teams that came this summer to help us in so many ways.  I want to thank their families for praying and keeping things running while the other team members were helping us.  I thank everyone for their support and all the love they have shown us.  There is no way to repay all they have done for us.  I want to thank Natalie Martinez and Courtney Bradford for coming back to help us get through the team marathon.  We are going to miss them terribly and will be praying for what the Lord has prepared for them and that they don't miss it.  Thanks to the mission board here, and in the States for all the assistance they send our way. Thanks to my family who are helping take care of things in the States.  And finally thanks to Jesus for calling me here to be part of something that shows me wonderful happenings He has prepared for me.  I work with wonderful people, have wonderful kids and live an abundant life.  Blessings from the Wonderfully Blessed and Always Watching Honduran MOM

Pancake Night

I found this draft in my basket of blogs and I decided to send it out there.  I remembered how much fun we had and so I am going to have "pancake night" tomorrow.

Yesterday we were all so tired we laid down to take a nap even the babies!! This rarely happens. When we woke up, we needed to come up with a quick idea for supper.  I decided to have a pancake night. The only flour we had on hand is called La Rosa (The Rose). I don't know what is in it, (I suspect dried tree gum) but it is almost impossible to make it rise. The pancakes were coming out thick, with a gummy texture and the girls were frustrated. So I raced over to the kitchen and started mixing more baking powder, adding some soda, and a little vinegar to help the above ingredients get jump started. They were a little better, but not "cake like". So I decided at that point we needed to do something different. I didn't want the girls who had worked hard on this spur of the moment supper to be insulted by commentaries on their culinary efforts. After all the alterations to the recipe we had tons of batter.

I remembered a missionary friend of mine, Mrs. B. She would have pancake night for young people at her house. When we first arrived on the mission field she invited our family of five over to her small little rental house for supper.  She was a tall, big boned woman,  with a thin gray curly afro hairdo, who was about 72 at the time.  She looked like her Norwegian background, because she was so tall. She and her husband were about 6 foot tall and her grown 8 kids were all over 6 feet tall. When you would sit down at her house she would ask who wanted pancakes. When someone would respond, she would literally throw the pancakes at them from the spatula. She loved peanut butter on her pancakes which were made with her secret sour dough recipe.

 I was telling the girls the story and before I finished telling about how she served her pancakes I said "Who wants a pancake"?. One of the girls raised her hands and I flipped it to them from the spatula. Some of the girls were on the other side of our large dining hall. It hit the rafters a couple of times and some of the pancakes fell on the floor, but I only missed about 7 pancakes. I told the girls not to eat the ones that fell to the floor or the ones that grazed the dusty rafters, but I don't remember any left overs.  The kids were laughing and we all had the best time. It is one of those moments you know they won't forget. Thanks Mrs. B.  (Mrs. B and Mr. Jack are retired missionaries that reside in Morristown TN. They are in their 80's now.  They visit us here in Honduras every year after their trip to do construction on a project that has been their heart for years.  She still drives her vintage Harley Davidson and still loves me and our girls.  Blessings, the Pancake Throwing Honduran MOM