Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Armenia Bonito: A Daily Search For Hope

The vast majority of our ministry work takes place in Armenia Bonito. This 3,000 person community sits just west of downtown La Ceiba, Honduras. We spend most of our time serving this community with health care, English classes, children’s Bible programs, discipleship and more.

Take a look at this 3 minute and 20 second video to learn more about Armenia Bonito:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Training has begun

After 15 hours of travel, 2 delayed planes, 1 hour to get through customs/re-check my bags/transfer concourses, and loss of a bag, I finally made it.

Our training has begun...we started, in the very cold region of Asheville, North Carolina. I left Honduras sweating while I was brushing my teeth, and here I've sat listening to our first discussion and my nose is so cold I had to warm my nose in my hands. And so it begins - will be jaming through two full volumes of village medicine. Pray for me! Pray for all the people here! It's going to be great information, but very intense.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Medical Clinics At The City Dump

This past week we hosted two medical clinics in the city dump. At the dump thousands of people live in and on the trash of others. We provided them with free medical care, medicine, prayer, evangelism, shoes and toys. There were some very sick people there.

Take a look at this 3 minute and 45 second video

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Health Classes

This week we had another opportunity to teach healthy eating to the two local public schools. This time we did a skit. It included the serious chef (me), the crazy chef (Andy), our narrator (Lindsey), and our "bad example" (Josh). We had an interactive skit, which had the kids howling, but they learned a lot! They learned about drinking water (NO ONE does - only soda), adding fruits and vegetables into their diet (another thing they don't do) , and an overall balanced diet. It was fun, and we look forward to our next class.

The larger public school - 1st through 6th grade watching our skit:

The local kinder watching our skit

loco chef and and serious chef

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Step 1

So I met with the Secretary of Health for the States of Atlantida (the State that La Ceiba resides in) today. In coordination with a national doctor, I'm trying to become "registered" with the State. This acknowledgment with be good for our ministry, and will make me become recognized through the country of Honduras, and not just affiliated under a physician. The next step on their part is to research California State Univesity, Sacramento, to make sure that this is a "reputable" school for nursing schooling. They were quite impressed with the level of schooling I had. Most nurses here only receive a few years of schooling. They were very impressed that this was an option for nurses in the U.S. and that I had a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I had my friend, the MD who is a national, with me so he could better explain what their equivalent of schooling was. Now I wait. They will research the school, then will grant me a badge of identification with the Department of Health. I'm excited for this step, but a little anxious to see how long this process may take. Like many other things in Honduras, things take quite a bit longer here. So pray for the quick process. I will return to see them once I return from my trip to the States.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Too much to do!

This week is even busier than last week, if one can believe that. We have our team meeting Monday morning, right after that we have practice for a skit we will be giving on Tuesday, then about a 2-hour re-stock, re-organize session from last weeks clinics. After that I will need to go to the pharmacy to buy everything for this weeks clinics. That evening we have an event at the kids program - it's a parents invite day to see what their kids have been learning, and to participate in the activity for the day. Tuesday we are giving a health class to two schools in Armenia Bonito, and ESL in the evening. Wednesday is the clinic at the dump, Thursday is our normal clinic in Armenia Bonito. Friday most of our team is heading out to Roatan, one of the islands off the coast of Honduras, and I will be packing for my month long trip to the States. I leave Saturday to North Carolina for a 2 1/2 week long medical intensive training.

I will then be taking a 6-day diversion to California, time to re-coup and refresh with friends and family. After that I'm headed to Mexico for a 10-day medical advanced leadership training through our mission organization. It's a mandated training on how to put on medical clinics for teams. Although our team has already been doing this, and we hold weekly medical clinics, this will equip us and give us ideas we hadn't thought of yet.

Because of how busy we have been, and how exhausted I've been, Mike treated me to a 2-day hotel stay. It was me, my book, my computer, and the TV for a 2 day, 1 night stay at a local hotel. We have had people living in our house since our arrival in Honduras. This is a huge blessing to us, and we are excited to be able to share our house with others. However, it does leave quiet, alone-time almost non-existent. So, this was something that I was needing badly. Also, Mike and I have a date-night coming up. We are going out on Tuesday - just to enjoy time being together. This is another thing we used to do routinely in the States, but we have yet to have had this chance. A good way to end out our month!

Friday, March 20, 2009

clinic at the dump

One of the houses at the dump where I made a home visit.

An asthmatic boy

A pregnant mommy who received a "good bill of health"

The front of the house where we had our clinic.

Today we worked with our friend Mateo, who has a ministry at the city dump. This is a community that has built homes on the trash from the dump. Currently the city throws it's trash on the land at the top of their community. Here is where people who can't afford to live anywhere else come. There are some people there that came from the area we work who could no longer afford the meager rent there, so moved to the dump. Our friend asked us to bring a mobile clinic there for two days. Today was an invitation only clinic. He spoke with the families of the people he works with. We saw almost 60 people. The primary things I saw there were severe malnutrition, infestation of gastric worms, "granos" which are basically severely infected areas from bug bites - they get bit by a mosquito, ant, etc, then they scratch it with their filthy nails, and they get infected. Some have required antibiotics, others just require a good washing with betadine, application of antibiotic cream, and band-aids. Saw a family of 7 - mother of 22 with 6 children, the eldest was 8. One woman who was bi-polar and an alcoholic, a child with a fractured femur who had sever diarrhea, etc. Just lots of sick people. A HUGE amount of meds were handed out at the clinic. This is one of the reasons we are only able to offer one mobile clinic a week in our ministry area - becasue of the cost of putting on the clinics. They are anywhere from $200 - $300 dollars a week. We probably doubled that amount at our clinic today. But it was such an overwhelming need, we were happy to be able to help those that NEVER go to the hospital or have medications, or vitamins.

We prayed with all the patients, and are excited to go back next week for another clinic there.

One the garbage trucks get there, part of the responsibilities of the children, and some of the women is to sort through the garbage collecting items that may be useful for the house - or to refurbish and sell - or to supplement their kitchen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

State of the Economy in Honduras

I know that right now, on most everyone's mind is the state of the economy in the U.S. However, what is hard for folks in the U.S. to see is how the downturn of the economy effects the rest of the world.

In January Honduran President Manuel Zelaya raised the minimum wage in one big jump from $157 to $289 per month. That's an increase of nearly 60%. If you're earning the minimum wage in Honduras, it's good news for you unless, of course, you get laid off because your employer can no longer afford to pay you!! And that is exactly what has happened. 15,000 Hondurans (out of only 7,000,000) got laid of the first month this proposal took effect. The unemployment rate is now almost 30%. The average Honduran makes only $3,000 a year.

As an example of how this is effecting Honduras, a friend of ours discussed the state of the Honduras economy with his favorite Honduran taxi driver / electrician, Sergio. He has had it rough in the last few months. Since more and more people are loosing their jobs, fewer people are taking the taxis to get around. So there is a taxi glut. Which is amazing because taking a taxi only costs $1. The city has stopped issuing new taxi permits. Surg's revenues dropped in half from December to January. Drivers are competing for fares and driving longer hours and more dangerous routes to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, Surg has been robbed by gang members in his taxi three times since Christmas. Two times were at gun point. They took his cash and cell phone. Because of this he no longer drives after 7:00 PM.

It's hard, for us in the U.S. to even contemplate what the economy in a third-world country is like. Yes, people worry about losing their house at times, figuring out how to pay bills, but I would venture to say that none of us have EVER known what it was like to go a week without anything other than rice on our plates because that's all that a family can afford. None of us have probably ever had to consider that they have to move to the dump to live because the small rent that they have to pay is even beyond their budget. That people are deathly ill, but can't even afford the 35 cent bus trip and all day expenses to get to the local hospital an hour away, wait all day, and may not even be seen, or be able to pay for the doctor, or much less the cost of medications. We worry about us having to pull our kids out of private school because we can no longer afford it - how about not even being able to send your kid to 7th grade because the $5.00 a month fee is way outside of their family budget, so their kids continue living in squalor because they aren't educated. As North American's, we can't even wrap our brains around this, but this is something that is a daily occurrence to the people we minister to. As you are praying for the economy in the U.S. PLEASE keep Honduras, and other third-world countries who are being hit even harder than you can imagine!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mike Preaching In Spanish

For the past three Sundays Mike has preached at each of the three Evangelical churches in Armenia Bonito. These are the first three times that he ever preached entirely in Spanish. He preached on “Prayer”, “The Bible” and “Salvation”. Preaching in Spanish was a great stretch for Mike, but a great opportunity for him to work on and deliver three original Spanish sermons.

Watch this 2 minute and 30 second video to get a taste of Mike’s preaching:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To the Dump

Friday, Mike, Jamie, her friend Ellen, Bob, our friend Matt and I went to the local dump. It's about 5 minutes outside of town. Our friend Matt has a small ministry he does here - right now he is developing relationships and wants to get a little more into the community, and hosting a clinic is one way of doing that. So, we went out to the dump to assess the area and look for a location to have a clinic. It will be a busy week as we are still having our normal clinic on Thursday, then another clinic on Friday. We will be doing another clinic the following week as well. Please pray for us as we have a busy week for the next two weeks, and for the contacts that are made in the dump.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

English Praise and Worship

Last year we had an English Praise and Worship, and it was so successful and well received by everyone, we did it again! All is all we had about 24 people - a representation of about 10+ families. We sang many familiar songs in English, read bible passages to go with the songs - and basically just had a time to sing in English. Everyone brought something yummy to eat and we fellowshiped from 6:00 until 9:00 in the evening. It was a GREAT time of just being together - all with people who have something in common - our love for Honduras, being Christians, and wanting to sing in our heart language.

Monday, March 9, 2009

This week

This week is a little crazy. I know, par for the course for us. However, Madison has quarterly exams, we have things we are preparing for summer teams, Madison has a dentist appointment, bible study, praise and worship event, Clinic, and we are scouting out another area we are going to do some ministry work in. So pray for us as we are trying to figure out how to make it all fit.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Maddy Back In Front Of The Net

Back in the U.S. Maddy played eight seasons of indoor and outdoor soccer. She spent most of her time as goalie. On Friday she got back to her old position.

In PE class the girls play soccer quite often, and Maddy has spent much of that time at goalie. Her classmates liked her effort and asked her to play in an after school, inter school girls tournament on Friday. So she joined the 7th grade girls in their quest to topple the 8th grade girls. The 8th graders had their way with Maddy’s 7th graders. She only allowed two goals, but her teammates managed none. She stopped five shots on the day.

Maddy had a great time and was excited to be asked to participate.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Things are just different here. Different language, different culture, different way to teach in school. Different understanding of children, differences all around. Madison continues to struggle in school. She has found a friend, but still hasn't found a nitch. It's hard. She's different from everyone else here in the same way. They don't understand her. She's 12, starting out on the mission field, not a young impressionable 2 year old. Because of this, she is struggling. Please pray for her. My heart hurts for my girl on a daily basis. Doesn't make being so far away from home any easier.

On to lighter notes - some things that AREN'T different - the every desire for a straighter smile. Well, that day has come. Yesterday afternoon, Madison had her braces put on. Now I'm not going to go into the cost of them, I might find my house swarming with people coming down to have them put on (yes, the cost of the flight for 2 people, the x-rays - panoramic - and installing braces is STILL TONS cheaper than getting braces put on in the States). But I digress. Madison being Madison, couldn't possibly only pick one color for her bands - so purple and light blue for the first go-around. Her top teeth lean down on her bottom teeth - so she won't get her bottom ones put on until her top are tilted up a little more - 1 to 2 months





Wednesday, March 4, 2009

From Scratch

There are many things that I love to eat that are not available here. So - as in Costa Rica - when I couldn't find sourkraut - I made my own . So - this was the same thing with sour dough bread. Not able to find starter, I made my own starter, then made my own bread. The first loaf didn't come out so pretty - but it SURE tasted good! Dipped in EVOO and a smidge of basalmic vinegar, and some black pepper! Pure joy! The second loaf was much prettier - but I didn't get a picture of it.

The Starter:

Rising Dough:

Final product: Honestly - it tasted GREAT!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Girls Day Out

On February 28, 2009 we treated 60 girls from Armenia Bonito to a special day. During the first half of the day we went down to the river cleaned them up. Hair washing, brushing and cutting. We removed lice, painted fingernails and gave out beauty supplies donated from friends back in the U.S.

During the second half of the day we took them out for a movie night. We rented a bus and drove the girls to downtown La Ceiba. We reserved a large auditorium and served pizza, popcorn and drinks. We prayed and delivered a Bible study from the book of Ruth.

This was a rare treat for these girls. Take a look at this 3 minute and 45 second video to see the joy: