Friday, December 30, 2011

MTW Newsletter

Mercy ministry is one of the primary things I do here.  One of our evaluators, when commenting on our final eval right before we were approved said to Mike and me, "Wherever you end up going, one thing is for sure.  You HAVE to go somewhere where Erin can use her medical mercy/compassion gifts.  This is such a part of her."  I have attached the end of the year MTW newsletter - it's an incredible read, and kind of neat that they included an event that happened at one of my weekly medical clinics.  You can read it here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in Honduras

Christmas in Honduras is pretty much like Christmas in the States with a few large differences. First, most Hondurans celebrate on the 24th of December. When I was out in the village doing an Advent Calendar with the kids, and a count-down until Christmas, they ALL put the date on the 24th. I think this is primarily because they open presents at midnight on the 24th/25th. So for them, Christmas starts on the 24th. Because of this, the country shoots off fireworks starting around 11pm on the 24th and ending just past midnight (and sometimes later). Here in the Pettengill household, we held to our traditions. Big Christmas Eve dinner - with all of Team Honduras over. We potlucked it and the food was AMAZING! We each pulled names for a Secret Santa and shared the gifts, final advent calendar, and a celebration of Christmas through bible verses and Christmas carols. We ended the night with a Dance competition via Wii - fun had by all (except the party-pooper guys who couldn't get their whiteness on the dance floor) - but even the ladies were up dancing away!

Christmas day for the Pettengills is a quiet day. We start with a bible reading, then opening stockings, then Christmas presents. The remainder of the day is usually filled with playing games that we opened, watching movies, and just enjoying being a family. It was truly wonderful. This was a first of many first, however. First Christmas without my mom. And, my dad was staying at my step-sisters house, and unreachable, so not even a phone call to say hello. But my heart is healing, although I know there will always be a place in my heart where my mother holds dear and it will be there forever :-) Love you sweet mom! Merry Christmas!
Madison starting to open all her goodies

Mike enjoying his stocking goodies...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gringo VBS In Honduras

Our mission team realized that while we serve the kids of Honduras every day our own kids are often neglected. In fact, some of our own children hadn't attended a vacation bible school (VBS) in almost four years. So Team Honduras organized a gringo VBS for the five kids of our mission team. The week before Christmas our own children were treated to daily bible studies, games, crafts and songs.

Watch this 3 minute and 30 second video to so our great VBS:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Celebration In Honduras

On December 20, 2011 our mission team treated five girls from the community of Armenia Bonito to a special Christmas celebration. The girls were served dinner, received a Christmas gift and attended a Christmas concert.

Watch this 2 minute and 10 second video to see the joy of Christmas:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thank You Valley Springs Presbyterian Church

Thank you to Valley Springs Presbyterian Church (of Roseville, CA) for making 100 handmade gift bags and quilts. Those gifts were given to the needy people who live in Armenia Bonito in Honduras. This video is to show our appreciation to Valley Springs and the people there.

Watch this one minute THANK YOU video:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kids Christmas Party 2011

On December 17, 2011 our mission team hosted our 4th annual Kids Christmas Party in the poor community of Armenia Bonito in La Ceiba, Honduras. Over 230 kids received games, Christmas songs, a Gospel presentation, a Christmas gift and a plate of food. This event was a great blessing.

Watch this 2 minutes and 10 second video to see the real Christmas spirit:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Madison and grades

So I love my kid...I think she's pretty cool. AND...she got her second quarter grades today - made Director's Honor Roll (the only kid in 10th grade to do this). And her teacher was sweet and told me how much she loves my kid - but not as much as I do :-) Pretty cool I might add that half her classes are in Spanish and half in English :-)

I love my girl.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Under The Mango Update - Winter 2011

We are constructing a Christian ministry center in downtown La Ceiba, Honduras. This facility will contain a high school, church, medical clinic, a theological seminary, a homeless child center and a two-story dorm.

Watch this 3 minute and 40 second video to see all the progress:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Armenia Bonito Ministry Center - Winter 2011 Update

Here is an update of the two acre ministry center we are constructing in Armenia Bonito, located in La Ceiba, Honduras. This facility will contain a high school, church, medical clinic and a multi-use building.

Watch this 3 minute and 40 second video to so all the great work:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hymns in Spanish

I have a sweet friend who has dedicated the last few years putting together an incredible web site and resource for those working in Spanish speaking areas, or who work with Spanish speaking folks in the U.S. He and some fellow friends translated, put to music, and provide demos (and a CD) to 40 hymns. His web site is If you click on the Himnario at the top of the web site it will direct you to all the hymns in Spanish. He has "okayed" me to pass this information on so you all can benefit from his hard work. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Foundation Formed

3 1/2 years ago Mike, Madison and I arrived in La Ceiba, Honduras, with the idea that we were here to do God's work. Little did we realize what HE had in store for us!  First we applied and received our residency, while at the same time establishing a recognized church by the government.  The church couldn't be recognized until it's board members (Mike and I) were residents.  Once we received our residency, the church was officially recognized by the government of Honduras.  In the meantime we started building.  Building structures, and building an amazing team!  Two High Schools, two medical clinics, a seminary, Street Children (run by Kate DeFuniak.) and a single mom's house run by our team mate Shannon Innes, and the  construction and short-team hospitality overseen by our team mates the Clow's our team has been running non-stop.  We have more coming...The Troxell's will be working in another area of La Ceiba, The McLaughlin's will be joining us and the Cain's will be coming also.  And then...we needed a Foundation.  The Foundation has become Puerta de Esperanza (the door of hope).  This was inspired by Shannon and her women's house for high-risk pregnant and/or single mom's.  The Foundation's name and legal standing will oversee all of our other ministries that we start.  It's been a long time in coming...and little did Shannon know that when she chose the name, she would be choosing the name for our future Foundation.  But what a great message. Shannon chose this name because she was inspired from Hosea 2:14-20 (verse 15 refers to the Door of Hope)

The LORD’s Mercy on Israel
 14"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
   and bring her into the wilderness,
   and speak tenderly to her.
15And there I will give her her vineyards
   and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
   as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
 16"And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.' 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

To be consistent, there is a likelihood (although we shall see as time passes) to use "Puerta de Esperanza" and attach what the ministry is - "casa" - for the women's house, "hogar" - for the children's house - "clinica de salud" for the medical clinic...who knows...we shall see as the Lord leads where this will go.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Childbirth Classes

Jolie and her sweet baby wearing clothes she received from my class
I have posted before about the prenatal classes I am teaching in Armenia Bonito, and am now starting to see fruit from that.  Three moms who have attended my classes have all given birth, and to some extent all have used techniques they learned in my class.  They've also received tons of additional information about labor and delivery, and some free gifts for attending the class.  Soaring Oaks Church - my home church - held a baby shower for me when I was home.  A friend of mind, Annette C. had sent me an e-mail and asked if there was a way they could help out - and she set the whole thing up.  I would love to post pictures from the event, but on my way to the States my camera was no pics.  The ladies at the church all turned out and I was OVERWHELMED at the love that poured forth from all of them.  The gifts they gave will go a long way to provide some much needed necessities for the very poor ladies in the village.  After the moms deliver, I take some pictures of their babies, print them out at home, laminate them and give them to the moms.  These are probably the only pictures they will ever have, and I feel privileged to be able to give this small gift to them.  I look forward to when our clinic opens, and I can offer more of these types of services!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kids Club

Damaris, Keidy, Sairy
I've been doing Kids Club since summer teams left and wanted to do things a little different; to make it more of a "club", and engage the kids in some deeper thinking.  So - I started the children's catechism.  I'm taking it slow.  I want the kids to get a deep understanding of each question and each bible verse.  So - I'm taking 1 - 2 weeks per question, and 1 week for the bible verse memorization.  So - we just started week 7 and question number 3.  It is SO exciting to have 35+ kids all reciting the answer to the questions and all knowing the bible verses week after week.  I review each question and each bible verse EACH week - to keep things fresh and in the front of their memory, so they can hide Gods word in their heart.  I also have bible verse and catechism question cards to take home - many have told me they are putting them on their walls to remind themselves.  I also am sending home a take home sheet to share with their parents.  It goes over what they learned that day, verses to study, ways to apply the lesson to their lives, and a prayer to say each night.  The kids love this too - it's a way to share with their parents what they are doing and a great way of parent participation.

As for a craft today, we made an Advent Calendar.  You know - paper rings you all made as a kid as garland for your tree.  The kids absolutely LOVED it! Of  course cutting out 25 pieces of paper per kid and wrapping each up in ribbon took a LONG time last night!  Whew!  But when I explained that each day in December they should tear off a ring to count down the days until Christmas they were horrified!!!!  They all wanted them as decoration for their rooms - I doubt a single kid will tear off their rings.  Ah well - they all got the idea and were all so meticulous in making each ring perfect.

Because of the way I am structuring Kids Club, I am easily averaging 35 - 40 kids each week.  This is the most amount of consistent kids I think we've had!  And we are getting some new kids too - that are coming each week!  Praise God in the teachings they are receiving!

Monday, November 28, 2011

School Supply Drive

School Supplies for Armenia Bonito

We would like you to prayerfully consider providing school supplies for the children in Armenia Bonito.  Please purchase school supplies, have a school supply drive at your church, or have the children all bring in school supplies for the children in Armenia Bonito and mail them to this address by December 31st:

Mike & Erin Pettengill
P.O. Box 1090
La Ceiba, Atlantida
Centeral America

Let us know if you would rather send money and Team Honduras can purchase supplies in Honduras.

Video from last years school supply drive:

Friday, November 25, 2011


Enjoying the feast goes on...the world keeps on turning...who wudda thunk?  Yeah, I know - stupid to think that God would stop time like he has in the past, for me to catch up with the world.  I'm doing "okay".  Honestly, as long as I don't think too hard, I can get through difficult times.  It's not that I ignore the difficult things, it's just a way of coping.  You know - take things in a little at a time rather than be totally overwhelmed all at once.  So - that's what I'm doing.  On that note, yesterday, as most of you did - we celebrated Thanksgiving!  It was interesting to think of the similarities that we had with the first Thanksgiving meal.  Foreigners in a strange land, relying upon the provisions that were around them, and not the ones they were used to in their country of origin.  We found (or had shipped/or brought from the States) most of the things you would consider a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  It was a true group effort. All of Team Honduras, and a few other missionaries that are in and around La Ceiba, and Madison's best buddy - Rudy (a Honduran) all in all 19 people joined in the festivities.  We arrived at noon, and didn't leave until almost 8pm that night.  We ate, played games, talked, sang, hung out and just had a GREAT time.

Rudy and Madison filling up their plates

The "Kid" table
Thank you God for the blessings of friendship, great food, and fellowship!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Jesus wept.  Two of the most profound words in the bible.  The least verse in the bible, but inferior to none.  "Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those that weep." (Romans 12:15).  God knew there would be much sorrow in the lives of His people.  He longs for us to cling to Him and through His Son understands the sorrow and so understands us.   We can be amazed and in awe of a creator who cares so much for His creation that he weeps along with us.  And I believe the choice of the words is no accident.  Wept, not cried.  The depth of the sorrow is expressed in the choice of the word.  Thank you God.  Thank you for loving me, caring for me, weeping with me.  You are my refuge and my strength.  And so tonight...I wept.  I wept great tears of grief and loss.  I mourn for the mother I will never see again.  My heart is heavy with the tears yet unshed.  I understand the sacrifice of being on the mission field and know that there will be times I am away from family.  This was the most difficult thing I've had to do.  I had the privilege of being able to spend some sweet time with my mother in her last days, if not her last hours.  I return to California to be with my dad and mourn together.  My small little family just got smaller, and this is a part that cannot be replaced.  I love you sweet mom...thank you for the life you gave to me, the memories that will forever remain with me....and so I weep...yet again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Soaring Oaks Missions Conference

Had a lot of fun reconnecting with people, and hanging out with friends! The missions conference was a lot of fun - I had the opportunity to speak a thoroughly enjoyed it.  Today my friends are hosting a "baby shower" for me so I can bring back things for the prenatal classes I am teaching.  It's been a great trip, spending time with my mom and dad, my friends, and eating some yummy food.  However, I look forward to being back home with my husband and sweet girl :-).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back in California...

...but this time it is a scheduled trip.  I'm speaking at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church's missions conference this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I came early to visit with friends and family, and just catch up with people.  Will be returning Sunday to Honduras, and as far as we know, that is the last scheduled trip we have to the States for a long time.

My mother has made vast improvements!  After being in the ICU for over 3 weeks, she has "graduated" to a step-down unit.  She still is on a lot of medical support, so there is no immediate plans as to when she will actually be able to leave the hospital for a sub-acute hospital (medically speaking - it's a facility that is somewhere between a skilled nursing facility and a hospital).  As she will always have a trach (the tube in her neck), and only partial ventilator support, she will need to be in some sort of medical facility always, unless something can ultimately be arranged to get her home with 24-hour nursing care (this is what we are praying for).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Making Bread

not the green back type, but the yeast type.
Raisin / cinnamon bread

For Christmas my dad got me a book called The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  This is a 640 page book.  I realize that Christmas is still 2 months away, but since I went to California last week, my dad gave me my Christmas gifts early.  And...since I was spending 8+ hours at my moms bedside, it was a great opportunity to read this great book.  I know that reading a recipe book isn't normally what one does, but it is FULL of incredible information - from the science to what makes bread bread, to tricks of the trade, and even pointers for success.  So, the day after I got back from California I started...

So far I have made:

White sandwich bread
raisin / cinnamon bread
beer bread
mushroom bread
sourdough starter (waiting for it to fully ferment)

Beer bread - look at all those airy holes!  Yum!
So far my favorite has been the beer bread.  It has such a rich flavor, it's light, and SO amazing!  What I didn't know/realize about bread - good bread that is - is it's quite complex.  There is pre-fermentation (sponge, poolish, or biga), resting, rise, mold then rise again, ice cubes in the oven, pre-heating for 1 hour, etc.  In other words, GREAT bread can take from 8 hours to 3 days (baguettes).  Whew!  Can't wait to see what else I can make.

Friday, October 28, 2011


For the first time in 3 weeks our family will be together - ALL together.  Mike's been in the States for three weeks attending to medical needs and attending his first seminary class at RTS.  I've been in the States with my family as my mom is pretty sick.  Madison has been holding down the Pettengill household, and hanging with Caitlin (an intern working in La Ceiba), and our team mate Kathy and her children.  Mike arrives home LATE tonight, and tomorrow - Saturday - we will be all together!  Woohoo!

On a fun note - when I go to the States I always take the opportunity to bring back things that I miss.  What did I bring back?

Instant Yeast
San Francisco Sour Dough bread - hand carried in my carry-on bag the whole way
Chocolate Chips
Kettle Chips - salt and vinegar
cast iron pan
Candy Corn

And most importantly - I bagged/iced/wrapped two bags of fresh cranberries!  One of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving is this amazing orange/cranberry sauce - but not having access to fresh cranberries I haven't enjoyed it for almost 4 years!  Can't even wait!

I know...probably not the first things you may have thought of, but these are the things I miss or can't get here.  I often wonder what the x-ray guys think, or when my bags get searched (as both my bags were) by Security what they think when they look at my array of things.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Do you want to live?"

If you've not been through something like this before, it can be quite a life changing experience.  If you haven't sat at someone's bedside and have had to ask them the most difficult of all questions, "do you want to live?" this kind of thing can be humbling.  Looking into the face of someone you love as they silently scream or cry (silently because there is a tube shoved down their throat), as they pound their fists as best they can on their bed, as they frantically nod "yes" when you ask the question, "do you feel like your body has failed you?"  And time and time again you have to hold their hand back from pulling out the very tube that is giving them life.  And finally, as the realization hits them - "this is what my life has become", and they rage against their very bodies, cry out (silently) "it's not fair."  Watching this and providing encouragement is all I have to offer.  It's a tough place to be...and this is where I find myself...

Prayers for my dad, my mom, the doctors and nurses as they care for her the best they can.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I'm in San Jose hanging out with my mom and dad.  My mom is in the hospital very sick.  Her current state:  she has a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in her lung), her kidneys are failing, infection, and intubated (a tube in her lungs).  Had a meeting with the doctor today to decide on the next step.  My mom is a "full code" meaning that she wants everything done for her.  So, based on her desires, the next step is to put in a tracheostomy (a tube into her windpipe - and the ventilator attached to that tube) so the tube is not down her throat.  This is done for long-term care of people on ventilators.  The next step is to place a feeding tube directly into her stomach so she can receive tube feedings.  And another thing is, because she has a clot in her lungs (pulmonary embolism), she is at a huge risk for additional clots because she has some unknown bleeding disorder.  So they want to place a filter near her heart so if a clot does come, it won't go into her heart - which is a death sentence.  So, that filter is probably going to be placed in the next day or two, and the tracheostomy will be placed as soon as the surgeon is able to get her in - but that still may not be for another week.  So, prayers for clear guidance of the best care for her, the hands of the doctors and nurses providing that care (she is receiving EXCELLENT care, by the way) and for peace.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Invasion!    In the past we have been invaded by ants, mice, the occasional tarantula (had one in the house yesterday), but lately we have been invaded by these little goodies:

They are millipedes and they love the current weather we are having, so are breeding like crazy.  Because my doors are anything but sealed, they can wander freely under my door.  They are trying to get away from the wet ground and rain, and my house seems right up their alley.  I'm getting 2-4 of these guys a DAY in my house.  They used to kind of freak me out, but now they are so commonplace I just scoop them out of my house with my foot or my hand.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Traditions

So what do you do when you don't have a Michael's or a Target to run out and go get decorations?  No pumpkin patch to spend the day at (going through hay mazes, or eating pumpkin pie)?  There have been many books I've read about being a missionary, and one of the things that most all of them say is keeping traditions alive in your family.  No matter where you are - those things you can do.  Even in Costa Rica I managed to decorate the house - although it was only with paper rings made into a huge chain that had the colors of Fall, then the colors of Christmas.  I know...kind of pathetic...but when that's all you have...

Here, since we plan on staying forever (unless God calls us somewhere else), one of the things I want to do is bring things back from the States each time I go, or I've even had some teams bring decorations with them.  Fall is difficult in Honduras.  There are two seasons here - 1. Hot  2. Hot with rain.  That's it.  Kind of weird when you set up decorations and you are sweating while doing it.  Imagine yourself baking pumpkin cookies with a fan blowing full on your face because it's 92 degrees in your kitchen (I have a thermometer in my kitchen so I know).  Just doesn't quite go with what I remember.  Ah well.  I will persevere!  So, here's my Fall decorations - collected over 3 years of trips back to the States, and teams bringing them.
"Fall" in my house :-) - yes...those ARE real pumpkins!  I found some here in La Ceiba!!!!

Something to ask when you go on a short-term trip.  What does the family there need?  Almost every team without exception, has asked this!  We have been SO blessed to get a box of double-stuffed Oreos, or Cheez-It's.  Or even some household goods - silicon spatula, that kind of thing.  Impossible to buy here.  One thing that ALWAYS makes my day - decorations.  Silk flowers that represent any holiday, knick-nacks that represent as well.  I only have decorations for Fall and Christmas - that's when (if we do) go back to the States - during that time.  Try finding Easter or Valentines' decorations in October.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Children's Catechism

Ever's "image" of himself

Genesis with her marshmallow man

I have made books for the kids that include the questions/answers and all the verses.  At the end of each 8 week section they will get their books to keep, and we have a big feast for those kids who were able to come for most of the weeks.
Last week I started teaching the kids in Armenia the Children's Catechism.  You know, "Who made you?" in addition to weekly bible verse memorization.  The kids are eating it up!  It's SO exciting to see.  It's also very interesting to see what their bible background is.  When I asked them who paid for their sins, they immediately responded "Dios" (God).  But when I talked about who is Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and their relationship with God, there were blank looks all around.  I was SO thrilled that the basic children's catechism can answer these type of questions.  And they even learned Genesis 1:27:  So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  But of course in Spanish,  Dios creó al hombre a imagen Suya, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó. Génesis 1:27.  And of course since I'm quizzing them and giving them treats if they can say it, then I'm learning the verses along with them!  How cool is that!  So, they all made "images" of themselves as a craft, then made marshmallow people that they could eat when they were done (course I looked ALL OVER the city to try and find straight pretzels to no avail, so toothpicks had to do). 

Saturday, October 8, 2011


So I have this tree in my backyard.  It's one of my favorite trees.  I use it's fruit for LOTS of things.  But I forget, sometimes, how odd it actually is.  Can it really be good being so huge?  What am I talking about? My lemon tree in the back yard.  So's a lemon tree.  But I have a LEMON tree!  My gardener wants to cut it down because the spines on it are at least an inch long and he has often been stabbed and cut by them.  But I couldn't possibly get rid of my tree.  I love it.  You may look at the picture and think that it's impossible to have juice come out of it, that it must be dry.  But au contraire.  I only need 2 1/2 lemons to make 4 liters of lemonade!  They are amazing.  No...they are NOT grapefruit...I promise!  It truly is a lemon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We want You...For VBS

(copied directly from my husbands blog)

We Want You…For VBS

Our team wants to organize a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the five missionary kids on our team. And, we’ve come to the conclusion that our kids would get more out of the VBS if it wasn’t our team doing it.

So…we want you! We are asking for a friend or church to 
come to Honduras and put on a small VBS for five missionary kidswe want youDecember 19-22, 2011. Would you or your church like an opportunity to serve a bunch of missionaries? Does your church have a knock out youth coordinator you want to loan us? Did your church put on a great VBS this summer and you want to do it again in a third-world setting?

Our kids are ages eight to fifteen. We will provide lodging and meals for the VBS organizers.

If you or your church would like to come to Honduras and put on a VBS for five missionary kids this December please contact Mike via e-mail ( or US phone (916/273-8776).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Women's Retreat

Just got back from a women's retreat.  It was a time of refreshment, study and fellowship.

Each of us was given a topic in advance and asked to prepare an hour-long discussion. The topics were based off of the personality and strengths of each person. Ashely  talked about Prayer. Kathy talked about Finding Balance. Shannon talked about the Will Of God. Erin talked about Compassion, Mercy And Justice. And, Kate talked about Loving The Unlovable. Each of us led the group in study, prayer and discussion.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Women's Retreat

Today is the first day of a women's retreat that my sweet husband put together for all the ladies on the team that could come.  Kate (our future team mate) arrived a few days ago for the retreat.  She will be joining us for two years come November.  The Troxell's (our future team mates) are currently in language school in Costa Rica, they have joined us so Ashley could come to the women's retreat, and Mike Troxell will be hanging with my Mike.  They will be joining us for 2 years come December.  Shannon (2-year) and Kathy (career) will join us from La Ceiba. Unfortunately, Renee (training in Atlanta) won't join us.  Don't know about internet access - so I'll possibly not be posting for a week.  Back on Saturday.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Just added a new tab to the left side of my blog entitled Publications.  It's about my journey.  My journey as a young nurse, as a Christian, and of the experiences that God has provided for me.

Modern Medicine -  The Other Side of Nursing - By remembering why she became a nurse and helping those less fortunate, this nurse has finally found the fulfillment she'd been looking for.

RN Journal -  Disaster Relief Response to Haiti

Young Life - Building on a Foundation 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Prenatal Class

Awhile ago you may have seen a post on making a placenta and a uterus.  The purpose of that was to start preparing for giving a prenatal class in Armenia Bonito.  As far as I know, there is only one other person in all of Honduras that is giving prenatal classes.  The concept is, if you will, foreign.  So I honestly didn't know if anyone would even attend.  How could I lure women to come?  I finally decided that if they came to my class, learned what I taught, they would receive the necessary items to have their baby at the hospital (a hat, socks, diapers, onesie, blanket), and I would attend them in the hospital when they were in labor.  And not one, but four ladies came!  Now, my Spanish is definitely better than when I first arrived 3 years ago - but explaining labor, Kegel exercises, Braxton-Hicks contractions, perineal massage can be challenging in English - so I knew my Spanish was going to be put to the test.  But all the ladies had a GREAT time!  And hour and a half later, I had taught them so much stuff, sent them home with lots to read, and plenty of things to practice at home.  The funny looks I got when we were practicing our patterned breathing was quite comical to see - but I expressed the huge importance of this, and I think they got the idea.    I plan on having a class the third Tuesday of each month - and am hoping to educate a lot of ladies!  I look forward to seeing where this will take us!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Highwaymen and Hymns

Along with Bethany, Kathy and myself, we took 5 young ladies out to a concert at one of the local churches.  This is a huge event, and we had to buy tickets a week in advance to even get in.  First we picked the girls up in Armenia, took them out to dinner, then headed over to the church.  Two hours later, including a Passion Scene with actors and all, we headed back to take the girls to the village.  We were in two cars, Kathy, her girls and Bethany were in one car, and the girls from the village and I were in another car.  So, Kathy and her crew headed back to their house, and I took the girls to Armenia - it just didn't make sense to have both cars drive in the opposite direction from our house.  However, that's when things got a little hairy.

Leili, Sairi, Iris, Nancy, Graci
First, I was unable to call Mike and let him know I was leaving as the cell phone service was overworked, and no calls or texts were getting out.  The entire way to the village I tried to call or text him to no avail.  I pulled off the main road and started driving down to the village.  It's about 2 1/2 miles off of the main road.  You have to pass two communities before you get to where we are going.  Needless to say - it seems even longer when it's pitch black and you are the only car on the road.  And that's when I noticed it.  I was being followed by two motorcycles.  They were keeping their distance, but following me none-the-less.  I got to a split in the road.  You can go either way to get to the village, it's just a big circle around the second community, but I typically take the road to the left - it's a much larger road.  That's when I saw them - they split up.  One went right, the other stayed behind me.  They were going in for either an ambush, or were going to be waiting for me when I got back so whichever road I took, they would be waiting for me.  I immediately picked up my speed.  I was flying.  I wanted to get ahead of the other motorcycle.  I was totally keeping my cool, not letting on to the girls in the car that we were being followed.  But these are not stupid girls.  They know the dangers.  As soon as I got into the third community where I was taking them - that's when they all erupted.  "Tere (my nickname) ...there's two motorcycles following you....Tere....they are waiting for can't go back!". hiding it from them.  They knew what had happened.  I dropped the first girl off at her house, and went another 1/2 mile into the village to drop the other girls off when they all started talking again.  " CAN'T leave!  They are waiting for you!  It's what they do!  You have to stay!"  Now keep in mind - I still hadn't been able to reach Mike.  It was past 10pm at this time and I KNEW he would be so worried about me!  But my cell phone still wasn't connecting.  All the other girls tried their phones as well, but we all had the same service.  I finally asked all the girls if any of their parents had the other cell phone service, and one girl did.  So we all piled back in the car and drove over to her house.  We were able to get through!  Mike, of course, was VERY worried at this point.  I discussed with him what had happened - I told him there was NO way he could come out as then HE would be ambushed!  So - I told him I would wait it out.  I would stay the night in the village.  I was immediately offered a bed to crash in and so I did.  Unfortunately, for most of the night, if I heard a noise or any dogs barking, I was afraid the guys had come looking for the car...come looking for me...I was someone who had money and a car - and both could be used!  But no one ever came, and first thing the next morning - once LOTS of people were out and about I called Mike and headed for home.

On my way back - my dear sweet friend Mindy texted me (yes...from her US phone to my Honduras phone because she loves me THAT much) - the PERFECT scripture (as she ALWAYS manages to do):  "The name of the Lord is a strong tower.  The righteous run to it and are safe"

Unfortunately, because of this incident, we know that mothers are not going to let us take their girls out again after dark.  For their own safety, and for ours.  So - in the future - we are either going to have to do our activities during the day - or let the girls sleep over our house.  I know they would love that :-)

So what scary moment have YOU been involved in?  How did you respond?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Raising the Roof

Raising The Roof

It is time to raise the roof in Honduras. Three buildings we are constructing are ready to have their roof erected. When complete these three buildings will provide great services to the people of Honduras and great glory to God.

We need your help. We have the workers and the tools to build these roofs, but we do not have the materials. Will you provide the needed financial resources so we can purchase the materials to raise the roofs on the following buildings?

Medical Clinic In Armenia Bonito
medical clinicThere is no medical clinic within walking distance of the 3,000-person, super-poor community of Armenia Bonito. This four-exam room clinic will provide a state-of-the-art medical facility directly to the most needy people in La Ceiba. We need $6,500 to purchase the materials to finish this roof. If you would like to make an on-line, tax-deductible, credit card contribution towards this roof go HERE
. Make sure "92412" is in the designation.

Indoor Soccer Field in Armenia Bonito
soccer fieldSoccer is life in Honduras. A facility like this in the middle of the super-poor community of Armenia Bonito will be amazing. This soccer field will instantly make our ministry center the focal point of this community. The facility will also be used for community events, assemblies for the high school and church events. We need $12,000 to purchase the materials to finish this roof. If you would like to make an on-line, tax-deductible, credit card contribution towards this roof go HERE
Make sure "92412" is in the designation.

Second Floor Of The Dorms In La Ceiba
dormsThe first floor of the dorms is already completed. Finishing the second floor will enable us to sleep up to 60 short-term missionaries. Short-term missionaries do so much each summer to benefit our ministry. This is a huge investment in the future of our ministry and the expansion of the Great Commission. We need $5,000 to purchase the materials to finish this roof. If you would like to make an on-line, tax-deductible, credit card contribution towards this roof go HERE
Make sure "92410" is in the designation.

Your prayers and your financial resources are needed to raise these roofs. Like Noah in Genesis 6:16 we desire to “Make a roof for the ark” that the Lord has commanded us to build. Please consider partnering with us to complete one of these three projects.

Please share this on your Facebook, blog and Twitter.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You?

While I was growing up, the things I always heard asked, "Where were you when JFK was shot?"  "Where were you when Martin Luther King was shot"..."Where were you during the moon landing?"  Most of these I really had no answer to.  However, "Where were you when the twin towers went down" - now that one I can answer.  I got a phone call from my mother in law.  It was early on a Tuesday morning. My husband and I were both tired, and not really understanding what she was saying on the phone.  I finally decided to turn on the TV.  And there we saw it.  Live and in person.  The first tower had already been hit.  Both Mike and I sat transfixed as the second tower was then hit, and then we sat in horror as the first tower went down...then the second.  We stood - not really understanding what happened.  This was not something that happened in OUR country!  Madison was only 5 years old, and getting ready to go to Kindergarten.  We got her off to school and Mike and I both left for work.  I kept the radio on the entire way to work.  That's when I started hearing evacuation orders for the State Capitol.  And rightly so.  The 6th largest economy in the world is the State of California.  Mike works IN the state capitol - it seemed a good target.  I called Mike.  He was diligently working, refusing to leave the building as it was being evacuated.  I was so mad!  After threatening to come down there and haul him out myself - he finally left.

It was a Tuesday - all the nurse managers work day shift so we can have meetings to discuss the pediatric floor.  How we can make things better, things we were working on, staff issues, etc.  But we really couldn't rouse ourselves to have any type of official meeting, and our boss said it was fine it we wanted to leave for the day.  I think we all left.  I went home and sat in front of the television for most of the day, that night, and into the next day.  Mike and I talked about it - what do you tell a 5 year old about this tragedy?  How do you explain that they are still safe.  Do we even tell her?  We finally decided to tell her - we knew they were going to talk about it in school and didn't want her to hear things from other 5 year olds that may be inaccurate.  It was that day, that we all lost some of our innocence.  Some of our naivete.  I know that many many people will be writing a blog about 9 - 11 and I'm okay with that.  I'm okay that I'm "like everyone else" on this day.  It should NEVER be forgotten!  That day is burned into my memory and 20 years from now...40 years from now - I will have an answer for the "where were you when the twin towers went down....when the Pentagon burned....when the brave people on flight 93 took back the flight that was headed for more death and destruction".

A few years ago I had the privilege of being at the location of downed flight 93 during one of the anniversary days.  There were representatives from the government there, and they asked if there were any veterans there to fold this huge flag.  One of my duties while I was in the military was to take the flag down once a week.  I've folded the flag at two of my great-uncles funerals who were World War II veterans. I was privileged that day to be able to fold the American Flag for those who lost their lives that Tuesday morning.  There is a memorial book at the sight of downed Flight 93.  I wrote this, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many peopleshould be kept alive, as they are today."  Genesis 50:20

Let us never forget the lives lost, the duty done, the lives saved.  Let us never forget that the U.S. stands for an amazing people - who live life to it's fullest...who love God...Let us never forget 9 - 11.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Flying Solo - Kids Club

Bethany (our final intern) is leaving soon!  In like two weeks!  This will be the first time (besides the time when it was just Mike, Madison and myself) that we will be without an intern!  Kind of a strange thing.  Interns have been invaluable!  They jump in and get to work!  We recruit very specifically for a type of intern - one who is self-motivated, a go-getter, and can handle ministry work.  Therefore, we've always had them intimately involved in our on-going ministry.  So now we are looking ahead and realize that English class and Kids Club will be taught by just one of us.  So, Mike has picked English class - and he will be teaching and leading it by himself.  I chose Kids Club.  I worked a lot with children (was Children's Ministry Director for 3 years at our home church), so this seemed like a good option.  Today was Kids Club - and it's times like this that you remember what it was like when we were here by ourselves.  It was a challenge!  I'm just going to say it!  Playing with, teaching, leading, presenting crafts, etc. to 32 kids by yourself was a bit hectic!  And typically every year for Dia de los Ninos (Day of the Child) we have a special event.  As we are pretty short-staffed, we opted not to do that this year.  Instead, I had a special treat for the kids at the end of Kids Club.  Hotdogs!  And BOY was it a huge hit!

 The lesson today was on - How many times do I forgive someone who has sinned against me?  They all learned the answer - again and again and again!  So, in honor of that they made paper cut outs of multiple people, and wrote (in Spanish) on the first person - "I forgive".  On the second person they wrote "again".  On the third person they wrote "again".  On the fourth person they wrote "again".  Get it?  They LOVED it!  In a few weeks I'm going to introduce the Children's Catechism.  I will continue on this series for quite some time - I'm excited for the kids to learn the answers and can't wait to see how it goes!
I forgive again...and again...and again...and again...
waiting in line for their hotdog
can't forget the ketchup and mustard!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Mom

So my mom...she's a really!!!!!!

She had a cranial aneurism that ruptured...she should have died...but she didn't
she's had multiple strokes...she should have died (multiple times)...but she didn't
Was in septic shock and in a coma...she did die - flat lined - several times...a month into her coma, with instructions from her living will and the advice from all of her doctors (of which she had many) - we went to pull her off of life support, and that day - that HOUR - she opened her eyes...she should have died...but she didn't

Madison, me and my mom - Christmas 2010

Over the last 5 years or so my mom has been IN the hospital more than she has been OUT (at least it seems that way - but not too far from the truth). Right now she is in with congestive heart failure, severe sepsis (blood infection), and fluid in her lungs. She is often times confused, but as per usual - she has such an amazing heart (now if her physical heart would just cooperate). She is kind, soft spoken, lovely, amusing, funny, and always asking about others before she tells about herself.

Prayers for her would be greatly appreciated!

Mike, Madison and my dad - Christmas 2010

 She is in for a long recovery - when she is eventually discharged from the hospital - she will go to a skilled nursing facility where she will be for a few weeks regaining her strength. I love hear dearly, and want her home with my dad. Also prayers for my dad. He has loved her through thick and thin. Through all her illnesses and he does it with a loving heart. If you want an amazing example of what it truly means to be in love - all you need is to spend the day with my parents. I love them dearly.

Being on the mission field has it's challenges - oh boy does it!  Ministry, team, illnesses, break-ins, thievery, etc.  But one of the hardest things I find is being away from those who need you.  Being so far away when my mother is ill, and my dad alone caring for her hurts my heart.  But I persevere, because that's what we do.  If we threw up our hands every time in the face of adversity, our fingers would become gangrenous due to lack of blood supply :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week "off"

Last Saturday officially ended our summer teams. So this week we have "off". Our team mates took this opportunity to go to the islands, while we each are playing some small roll in watching their 4 kids. Mike and I are staying in town as Madison has school, so can't get away, and our team mates Shannon and Bethany are keeping our team mates kids during the night, so are hanging in town as well. However, in a small way, each of us are taking some time for ourselves. But, as you may know us, we can't completely take time off. For some reason it's just not in our make-up (unless we get away and are forced to take time off). We have dental appointments this week, and I am headed with my team mate to a meeting with Child Protective Services this afternoon to see how we can better serve abused children that we come across.

Mike and I are still trying to determine how we are going to be doing our ministry in Armenia. Bethany, our intern, is the last intern to be leaving in a few short weeks. In the midst of Madison in school, no more interns, etc. it's just Mike and I doing English Class, Kids Club, clinic, and special events. So...prayers for clear guidance and wisdom would be greatly appreciated as we figure this all out. The continued pull between being a missionary, mother, wife and nurse. To be there for those we minister to, but to be there for each other, and our family as well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Covenant Presbyterian Church Mission Trip to Honduras

August 20-27, 2011 we hosted a short-term mission team from Covenant Presbyterian Church of Paso Robles, CA. The team put on a medical clinic in Armenia Bonito and treated 38 patients. They also did construction on a house and a ministry center, taught English and organized Kids Club.

Watch this 2 minute 30 second video to see their amazing work:

Friday, August 26, 2011

The week has ended

It's been a long week. I've been sick, then Madison got sick. Pretty bad too. High fever, severe cough, and other symptoms you don't need to know :-) Just that she was sick...and is still sick. What's a missionary to do when there are pulls from the team...pull from the long term team...and pull from your family. It's hard. Hence the name of my blog - Missionary, Mother, Wife, Nurse. It's hard - filling all those hats. Unfortunately, Madison was most sick on Thursday - I say unfortunately because that's clinic day. Fortunately, as we didn't need too many interpreters, Mike was able to come out with us to the village, set up, then was able to go home to be with Madison. But it's hard - being a mom - you want to always be there for your kid. But Mike's a good dad - and a great nurse - brought her home some gatorade, and took care of her. We were able to serve 38 people in clinic, a few who were as sick as Madison - so I felt good being able to bring them medication to make them feel better and get well. Madison still continues to be pretty sick, but I was able to put her in bed with me last night (as Mike is at the dorms), and take care of her during the night. Today the team is off to the local islands enjoying the beautiful water and the amazing day, and I'm hanging out with my kid and my husband. Tomorrow we send the team off - and it's the last team of the summer. We are currently making decisions on what our ministry is going to look like.

What does our current ministry look like? Bethany who has been an amazing intern, will be leaving us in a few short weeks. Shannon is starting her full-time ministry with high risk moms, and John continues to be our foreman for construction. Kathy is monitoring our scholarship kids. That leaves only Mike and I to continue the ministry in Armenia. So, we are trying to figure out how to do English Class, Kids Club, clinic, discipleship, etc. with just the two of us! Going to be quite a challenge indeed! Oh - AND be a mother/father, getting Madison to and from school etc. We are hoping some interns will come soon so they can help out with the ministry. It's the first time in 2 1/2 years we haven't had interns! Boy do we miss them! But - this is how the ministry all started...just Mike and I...doing all the it's kind of interesting seeing it come back that way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Final team

Our final team of the summer is here. My schedule has been SO crazy lately, that I'm so behind on so many things! Pulling 15+ hour days can leave you that way. So, yesterday, I stayed behind in town. In the morning I spent some time with Shannon going from house to house assessing and evaluating potential young ladies for her future ministry house. She will be opening a house for high risk young moms. Got home around 1pm after going grocery shopping. Cleaned house, and then went to pick up Madison. Got her home in time to run back to the school for open house. Was there for almost 2 hours, back home to make some dinner as I missed dinner with the team. All in all a productive day, just not in the way I had planned. Today I will be trying to do some data entry - I have over 500 patient data sheets to enter into my computer! Yikes! The team will continue construction, and this afternoon will do Kids Club in Armenia.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coming and Going, Rats and Lizards

Tropical Storm Harvey came in with a boom! The rains came it rained pretty heavy all night - we monitored the track of the storm because our team leaving needed to get to the airport! Gratefully there was a break in the storm long enough to get them where they needed to be. Our final team of the summer has been traveling since late last night - so we know they will be exhausted when they arrive. We continue to pray for the weather that it will not hinder their arrival.

On an interesting note - we have a rat in the house. We've seen his evidence. However, last night we had Max in our room with us - with the Tropical Storm, we wanted him in the house and out of the storm. Right before bed, he jumped up, looked under the bed with a lot of interest and went nuts. Uh oh...we thought...and the next thing we knew, there was a rat streaking across the floor and climbing up my robe that was hanging on the back of the door. I'm not afraid of rats, and Mike was sitting up on the bed with his legs curled up under him - so I opened the door and managed to scoot him out of the room. We were so exhausted, it was no time to chase him around the house - so we will set out poison or traps soon. Sorry no pictures, I was too busy chasing him and Mike was too busy squealing like a girl.

This morning I went outside to check on my water-soaked garden to see what had managed to survive the deluge last night when I looked over at our washroom in the back. There, sitting on one of the window slats trying to keep out of the storm was a pretty big lizard that lives in our yard. I had seen him earlier this week in our tree. From head to toe he's probably at least a foot and a half long. Pretty cute.

In our tree earlier this week

Trying to stay dry

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Medical Brigade Day 4

Today started out with a bang! One our way to clinic, we had gone about 10 minutes down the road when we saw a motorcycle coming toward us on the opposite side of the road. He hit a patch of gravel, started fishtailing, and then totally spun out and flipped his bike! I guess the best place to have an accident is right in front of a truck full of not only doctors, but medical equipment! So Dr. Greg and I jumped out of the car, grabbed our stuff, and took care of this guy. Had he not been wearing his helmet, we may have been driving him to the hospital. He hit his head pretty hard on the curb, and then flipped over and face planted! As it was he will probably be VERY sore tomorrow, perhaps a mild concussion, neck strain, but mostly some pretty scraped up skin which we cleaned, bandaged up, prayed with him, and gave him some supplies to take care of his wounds at home.

The day continued by seeing 22 ultrasound patients, 24 dental patients (for 72 teeth), 65 medical patients, for a total of 111 today.

For our weekly totals:

Ultrasound2 - 72 patients
Dental - 79 patients, 179 teeth pulled
medical - 181 patients
Total seen in the clinic - 332
Total seen during the week (including the school) - 457

Tomorrow we are all ready for a much needed day off - this team has worked VERY hard and have been a HUGE blessing to all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Medical Brigade Day 3

Our day started out GREAT! We worked at the local public school in the village. There we had different "stations" throughout the school - stations like Parasite prevention/information, Bible Story, Crafts, Food Pyramid, Physical Fitness, Dental Hygiene, and a vitamin/deworming station. The other station we had for the 5th and 6th graders was abstinence. After that we grabbed a quick lunch, then went back to clinic to finish out the day. In 2 1/2 hours we did 13 ultrasounds, dental had 19 patients for 45 teeth (they did not come to the health day - so were there all day), and our providers saw 30 patients - so 62 patients in total.

Jairo teaching parasite prevention
Greg, Gina and I at the vitamin/deworming station
Shannon and Nancy telling a bible story
Katie and Bethany teaching Dental Health (each kid received a toothbrush)

Pam and Kathy teaching the food pyramid
Matt and John with physical fitness
Heidi with her "train" taking them to the next station