Monday, December 31, 2012

Clinic Update

We are prayerfully hoping the clinic is going to be open very very soon!  We have pay for Dr. Roger, but still have expenses to equip the clinic.  As you can imagine, it's a little more difficult then just opening the doors - although - worse case scenario, that's what we will do.  However, one-time expenses - office supplies, computer tablets for electronic records, alcohol swabs, etc. can add up pretty quickly!  A lot of things we can get here, so one-time funds would be GREATLY appreciated...and EASY - just a quick CLICK HERE and away you go...

One of the things I'm AGGRESSIVELY seeking funds for is for lab supplies.  I'm working with a company to full equip the clinic, at a price of about $7500.  Now, instead of guessing, or sending people into town to try and get labs done, only to wait a week or two for results, I can run them in my own clinic!  You can give to this at the same link.  THANKS!!!

Please watch the video for a quick peek...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dr. Roger - a plea

You've seen the pictures...
Babies in baskets and boxes in the hospital

two year olds the size and weight of one year olds

moms sleeping on the floor in the maternity ward

These are things I hope to change.  Good prenatal care, vitamins to moms and children.  According to the World Health Organization, and the Center for Disease Control, these are some startling statistics:

                                                                        Honduras                    U.S.

life expectancy                                                 67 years old               78.5                 
Infant mortality rate (per 1000)                        20                               6.39
Under 5 mortality rate (per 1000)                    25                               8   
maternal mortality rate (per 100,000)              100                             21
per capita government expenditure on health  $89                            $8362
Average age for first pregnancy                      15.3                            24.9
Single mother households                                53%                           24%

The statistics could go on and on and on...but I think you get my point.  Prevention, education, and a better understanding of the overall health of Honduras is vital to make a change.  YOU can help make the change and have an impact of the lives of so many in Armenia Bonito.  PLEASE consider making a monthly contribution toward the pay of the doctor who will be serving alongside me in the soon to be open clinic.  Here is where you can go to help:   Click HERE to donate.  I need $1400 in monthly pay to hire him part-time.  I can NOT do it without your help!  All donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE and as the end of the year is coming - this is a GREAT time to help out your 2012 end of year taxes! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Honduras Spanish Institute

This is the Honduras Spanish Institute in Siguatepeque, Honduras. It is the new Spanish language school that Team Honduras will be using for all future interns and two-year missionaries.

Watch this 2 minute, 15 second tour of the campus:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kids Christmas Party 2012

On December 15, 2012 we hosted a Christmas party for 270 kids in the super-poor community of Armenia Bonito outside of La Ceiba, Honduras. Each kid received a gospel presentation, songs, a hot plate of food and a Christmas gift.

Watch this 2 minute, 35 second video of the kids:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gringo VBS 2012

In December of 2012 the Lupton family of MTW's Global Youth & Family Ministries visited us in La Ceiba, Honduras to love on our kids and to organize a four day vacation bible school for the five kids on Team Honduras.

Watch this 2 minute, 45 video to see the VBS:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Psalm 119:9-16

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

This has been a goal for me from the beginning of Kids Club.  To have kids hide God's word in their heart and to learn the basics of Christianity.  Therefore, we've been studying catechism questions, and bible verses to go along with them.   On top of that, I've wanted the kids to memorize the books of the bible.  We started a short time ago, and already have over 20 kids say all the books of the Old Testament.  When they have memorized the order of all 66 books of the bible, I give them a bible.  A few kids have taken this to heart, took home their study sheets, and are actively memorizing them at home - having their parents quiz them. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gifts for Missionaries

It's that time of the year where we are asked what we want....we typically have a list of what we want/need for the ministry, but on multiple occasions we get asked what WE's weird - we've been here for 4 1/2 years, and most of our focus and energy is on getting our ministries up and running - and let's face it - we have lots of ministries going on, so lots of needs.  But, then we get some grumpy people asking NO NO NO - not what does the ministry need - what do YOU want!  Okay - okay - so - here it goes - head over to my husbands blog and you can find out exactly how to give.  Now, don't get me wrong - my Amazon gift list is mostly comprised of things for the ministry, but there's an item or two in there for what I want.  Anyway - here's the link:  Mike's Blog.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2013 Calendar

We have designed and published the “2013 Pettengills In Honduras Calendar.” The calendar includes 36 photographs of our family serving the people of Honduras. It contains important dates for our ministry and both U.S. and Honduran holidays. You will also find monthly prayer topics that are timely for our ministry. The calendar is high quality and very attractive. It is perfect for your home or office and is an ideal daily reminder to pray for our family and the people of Honduras. It would make a wonderful Christmas gift for your friends, family and members of your church. To purchase your copy of the “2013 Pettengills In Honduras Calendar” go HERE. It only costs $20.00 and all proceeds go towards our work in Honduras.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dr. Roger

I would like to have a formal introduction of our new doctor.  His name is Roger Guillen.  A little bit about him

I'm actively looking for monthly supporters for his salary.  As a part-time employee (30 hours a week), I will need to pay him $1400 a month.  The easiest way is to click ON THIS LINK to give electronically - it's SO easy.  So - if you have ever wanted to be a part of the ministry, and wasn't sure where to be involved - this is a great opportunity to become involved.  

First-degree Specialist in Pediatrics. Training in Intensive Care Unit. University Pediatric Hospital "William Soler". Havana, Cuba.

First-degree Specialist in General Medicine. Faculty of Medical Sciences of East Havana, Havana Province, Cuba.

Doctor in Medicine. Faculty of Medical Sciences "Dr. Salvador Allende. " Latin American School of Medicine. Havana, Cuba.

Dr. Roger, Mike our lawyer and I all met yesterday to work out some of the details of his work with us.  He is a Honduran, and did his study in Cuba.  He has volunteer worked with us 3 times at our mobile clinic in Armenia, and will continue to do so until the clinic is open and we raise his pay.  I've seen him at work and he is extremely professional, very knowledgeable, and best of all?!  He's from Armenia!!!!  He received scholarships to attend medical school - and he wants to give back to his community.  Just last week we had a kid come in and he diagnosed him with pneumonia.  In the past I would have given him oral antibiotics and told him to return in a week.  However, as Dr. Roger lives in the community, he saw him every day and gave him daily antibiotic injections - which makes for better health and recovery so much quicker!  How cool is that?!?!  

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and can't wait to work with him in an "official" capacity at the new clinic.  But it can't happen without YOU!!!  Please consider giving toward his salary - a monthly pledge would be incredible, but a one-time donation is awesome as well!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It Takes a Village

And in this case - that means YOU!  As you can imagine, getting a clinic started is NOT the easiest of things to do.  It takes the physical building, the overwhelming paperwork through the government, interviewing a doctor, then hiring said doctor - but of course that can't be done without funding.  Then the inside of the clinic.  I may have a shell, but what about all the equipment and basic needs of the inside of that clinic?  Picture in your mind when you go to your doctors office.  The front reception desk, the intake area, and the exam room itself.  Then there are the patient charts, and supplies and medications!  I'm almost exhausted just thinking about it!  Through some incredible people some of those things are happening.  Our sweet friend Tom DeKleer who is an active part of Team Honduras, will be sending me 4 exam tables!  Woah!  Then through a foundation (Vitamin Angels) I have all my children's vitamin needs covered for a year!  Medical Brigades have come, and doctor friends like Greg Moore (who is also an integral part of Team Honduras) my meds to start the clinic are covered.  Ah but then there's the "rest" of everything else.

Here's how you can help.  One of two way.

First and foremost - I have to pay my doctor :-)  I work for husband collects our paycheck - but a doctor can't work that way.  Here's how you can contribute - click HERE   Helping with a one-time donation is great, but I'm just going to ask - because if I don't, you won't know - an on-going monthly contribution is really what I'm looking for.  And also, because I know you want to know - a monthly salary for a part-time doctor is $1400 - so in total - that's what I'm going to need :-) (profile of our doc coming soon....)

The other way you can help is in setting up the clinic - here is a link to my Amazon wish-list - in it you will see things for as little as $3.20, to $260 (auto clave) all the way up to $1500 (defibrillator and centrifuge) - I really want to be an all-inclusive clinic.  Click HERE to browse the list. The shipping address will depend on when you purchase it.  We have short-term teams and individuals coming down a lot - so we can have it shipped there.  If it's a high-ticket item, or a heavy item, we do have a shipping company that has a U.S. address, then it gets shipped to us in La Ceiba.

Let me know if you have any questions, I am excited to be going through this process together!  You and me baby - we ARE a village :-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Clinic is coming...the clinic is coming

One if by land...two if by sea....well - I guess the British aren't coming, but the clinic is.  We are hoping to have it completed by the first of the year, and in the meantime I'm starting to support raise for a doc.  Take a peek at this 2:20 video for a better idea of what is to come.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fox in Socks and Baby in Box

Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book - Fox in Socks and baby in box...but it's not unreal - it's the state of things here in Honduras.  It's frustrating...there are incredible doctors here in Honduras - don't get me wrong - there are folks here who are striving to make a difference.  However, when you don't have anything to work with, no resources, limited infrastructure, you are left with conditions that are barely tolerable.

Babies in a neo-natal ward in a hospital here in Honduras - in laundry baskets and boxes...

 Postpartum moms lying on the floor in a completely overcrowded ward...

It truly hurts my heart.  I speak to women all the time in my prenatal class and my mobile clinic who are SO fearful to go to the hospital to have a baby because of what the "norms" are there.  So I press on - trying to take care of things before people get to the hospital - education and preventative care being such a HIGH priority for me.  Nutrition, vitamins, clean water, parasite meds - ANYTHING I can do to keep people healthy!  Please pray for the people of Honduras, for the doctors with so little in the way of resources.  I've often been inundated by people desperate - bringing their prescriptions to me because the hospital is out of meds...Pray that funds can be raised QUICKLY to pay for a doctor, and my clinic finished so I can provide even more to those I have come to serve.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Skin and Bones and Beautiful

Aisa - this little one came to see me today...
 Today I had clinic in the community of La Fe.  I have a mobile clinic there every two weeks.  This community has about 1,000 people.  So you would think in the almost year I've been holding clinic there I would have seen about everyone.  However, today a mother of 18years old came in with her one year old son and his sibling.  I saw the 1 year old first.  The weather had changed here, so tons of kiddos coming in with "gripe" (a cold).  Trying to explain to parents that this is a viral infection, and there is no "magic cure" gives me a lot of looks from parents with grumpy looks.  The average doctor here gives antibiotics like they are candy, so when they come to my clinic and clearly don't need any they at times can get very angry.  Anyway - this little guy was basically okay.

Then his sister arrived.  I'll give you a second to try and guess how old she is......
Aisa peeking in our tent - waiting to be seen...
 I took one look at her with her huge belly and red-tinged hair I couldn't believe she was 2 1/2.  She weighed in at 8.8kg (19.36 pounds).  Just to give you an idea, the average 2 1/2 year old in the U.S. weighs in at 12.8kg (28.16 pounds) or the WHO (World Health Organization) states children in Latin America of her age should be about 12.2kg (26.84 pounds) - this little one didn't even show up on the chart she was so underweight. I need to find out where she lives so I can follow up with her and try and bring her some serious nutrition.  Clearly her 18 year old mother is struggling to care for her
And finally, at the end of the day, this little guy came to visit us.  He was quite cute, but of course, being the nurse - my first thought went to the huge puddles of water around the area we were in (it POURED today) and the stool that was in the puddle - and the hookworm that comes along with it.  This is someone's Christmas dinner...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day / All Saint's Day / Halloween / Día de los muertos

Whatever you call it - it's either the 31st of October, or the 1st of November.

Jack-o-lantern and trick-o-treat goodie bag
Now - let me start by saying - I am not going to preach on the merits of having a Halloween / All Saint's Day / Halloween / Día de los muertos (heretofore referenced as Halloween) or not having a Halloween celebration.  I grew up celebrating Halloween.  Costumes, decorating the entire house, my dad answering the door in his hunchback costume and scaring the local kids.  We had huge parties, and celebrated the day.  Once I had a child, we continued, in part, the tradition.  Always had a costume for her, went trick-or-treating, and attended parties.  When I became a member of a church we continued in the celebration of Harvest Festivals, and ultimately a Reformation Party.  So - however you choose to celebrate this day - go for it!

Madison's self-made bat costume
On to the reason for this blog post.  Every Tuesday, many of you know, I host a Kids Club in the community of Armenia Bontio.  For the past almost 10 months I have been taking the kids through the Children's Catechism. Teaching them the basics of the Christian Faith.  They learn answers to basic questions, and memorize bible verses.  They hear stories from the bible, have a craft to commemorate the day, play games - you get the idea.  I often bring in cultural experiences to broaden their minds.  I teach about Thanksgiving - the day set aside in the States to remember our heritage, and to give Thanks for what we were given, and what we have.

Here in Honduras they don't really celebrate any of the above.  There is a small spattering of Halloween decorations around town.  I don't really know if it's for Nationals or for the gringos that live here.  I see the decorations in stores that mostly nationals go to, so my thought is the Halloween tradition is slowly coming into the culture?  And many people do celebrate Día de los muertos, although most don't refer to it in that way.  They go to the cemetaries, and place flowers there for members of their families that have died.  But it is NOT like how it is celebrated in Mexico and other latin-american countries.  It's honestly, a day mostly spent like any other.

So yesterday, I briefly talked about Halloween.  I talked about those who have died, and what Christ tells us about living in Him.  Then I had them make a craft.  What craft comes to your mind immediately that reflects Halloween or Harvest?  A pumpkin.  I knew it would be a LITTLE stretch - I didn't realize truly how BIG of a stretch it ended up being.  Immediately when I showed my example craft I got feedback.  Two kids yelled out "es del diablo!" (it's of the Devil).  Well - that did give me an opportunity to talk about that and affirm that in fact, a pumpkin is NOT of the devil.   ANYWAY - long story short - the kids all had a great time creating their pumpkins, and eventually of the 80 children there, all but about 10 threw them away so they wouldn't take them home to show their parents.  Course they didn't throw away their "trick or treat" bag full of candy that I gave each of them - and learn...the differences in cultures and things I won't be doing next year!

Monday, October 29, 2012

It takes a Village to build a clinic

Our future clinic
In the midst of the work we are doing in Armenia Bonito, we find out just how much it DOES take to get things done.

All of our workers on our project in Armenia are Hondurans, with of course the obvious exception of our exceptional team mate John Clow (foreman), and Tom DeKleer (architect), and oh yeah - Mike Pettengill (team leader/fund raiser), and...all the individuals and churches that have committed themselves to this project through prayer and financial support - so yeah - I guess it DOES take a village.  How cool is it that God has brought together such an amazing group of people to do His work here in La Ceiba.

My future "office"

Front intake area

Pharmacy pass-through window
For the first time since our arrival almost 4 1/2 years ago, the fruition of many thoughts/prayers and good ol' sweat is finally showing what the fuss has been all about.  The clinic is close to being done.  And on that note, I've interviews one doctor, and have another interview this week with a second one.  Then the support raising for their pay comes into play.  But I can feel it - I can almost taste it - the grand opening of the clinic.  When I was first asked to pick out a paint color for the interior I was ecstatic!  Then I was asked about the dimensions of shelving for all the ministry/supply stuff.  It couldn't be real, could it?!  After this long of hauling around boxes back and forth from my house to the ministry site - all the supplies / medicine taking up quite literally HALF of my upstairs in storage - it still seems surreal.  Granted, it may still be a long way off depending on when I can raise the sufficient money for the doctors pay...but it's there - just out of reach, but taunting me!  I LOVE it!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced Scones

It is Fall in the States - many people are talking about cold fronts coming in, rain, extra blankets and the smell of a Pumpkin Spice Latte in the air.  Here in Honduras we only really have two seasons - Hot, and Hot with rain.  However, once in awhile we get some oddly cool days.  Today is one of those days.  So, in honor of our temporary cool feel - I took the canned pumpkin out of the cabinet and made some Pumpkin Scones.  They are already half gone.

Here is the recipe if you are interested:

6-12 scones depending on how you cut them


2 cups flour
7 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamnon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
(or 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tbsp half-and-half
1 large egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

1 cup + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp mild or cream

Spiced Glaze:

1 cup + 3 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp whole milk or cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch cloves

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
 2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in large bowl.  Using a pastry knife, fork or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious.  Set aside.
3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Form the dough into a ball.
4.  Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide - or 1/2-inch thick rectangle for smaller scones).  Use a large knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions.  Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough.  Place on prepared baking sheet.
5.  Bake for 14-16 minutes.  Scones should begin to turn light brown.  Place on wire rack to cool.
6.  For plane glaze, mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.  Apply to cooled scone
7.  Spiced icing:  Combine the ingredients for the spiced icing together.  Drizzle this thicker icing over each frosted scone and allow the icing to dry before serving.  A squirt bottle works great for this.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Heavy Heart

Alejandro, Carlito, Erika, Kassandra, Antonio
 This sweet sweet family will be leaving us soon.  This family has been with our ministry since the beginning.  Four and a half years ago they started attending our Kids Club and our English Class.  Their oldest son (not pictured) is one of the kids we scholarship to attend High School.  I knew their mom when she was pregnant with Carlito.  They were given an opportunity to move into a safer neighborhood, and given a home.  Problem?  It's about 20 minutes outside of Armenia Bonito by bus.  The only reason they are still in Armenia is because the oldest children are finishing up school, but school is out in November.  Their mom is having to pay for bus transportation to and from school, and it's beyond what they can continue to pay.  So...after school is out, I will no longer be able to see these sweet faces all the time.  I love this entire family, have a GREAT relationship with each and every one.  This is a huge blessing to this sweet family, but in complete selfishness, I am so so sad to see them leave.  When I first learned they "may" be leaving, my heart dropped.  When I heard it was official, I had to take some time to myself to be sad, shed a few tears, but rejoice in their relocation.  I think a few Christmas presents are going to make their way to their home.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Clinic and a doctor

And so it begins...the first stages of looking for a doctor for my clinic.  There is a LOT that needs to go into that.  I need to interview docs, know that they are ready to come in at the beginning stages of a clinic, they need to be a Christian, and they need to be able to work with little to no resources (until I have more resources).  They also need to be able to communicate with the government, order medications, etc.  And finally - they need to meet the approval of our lawyer, and I need to support raise to be able to hire them in the first place!  But, beginning in the process has got me excited, and I wanted to share :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Trying NOT to have an Unglued Moment!

I'm currently doing an on-line bible study called "Unglued:  Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" by Lysa TerKeurst.  Is there ever a "perfect" time for bible studies?  Or the perfect theme?  I truly think God places us in the perfect place at the perfect time studying the perfect thing for our season of life.  I say this because Man-oh-Man!  Living in a 3rd world country just brings up SO MANY opportunities to become sanctified.  You know what I mean?!  The ol' "be careful what you pray for thing?"  You pray for patience?  God is going to give you LOTS of opportunities to practice your patience.  You pray for a calm heart?  He is going to throw so many things at you all at once to see how often you rely on yourself, or you rely on Him!

Took pictures...can't find the cable ANYWHERE in the house to transfer the cables...oh!  I'll just run down to Target and get a new one - and yet...there is NO Target in Honduras.  Trying to finalize applying for a masters program on-line...and the credit card application isn't working and the credit card company says it's not their fault, and the application center says it's not THEIR fault!  Try another credit card!  And yet...I don't have one...teaching drama to 25 totally talkative-don't listen to anyone-noisy-"this is boring" class - bang my head against the in a new venue with pigs, dogs, and who knows what else making their presence passing through the clinic...electricity going out in the middle of doing a load of laundry...the grocery store completely out of eggs...and this - ALL IN ONE DAY!  Oh the opportunities I had to come unglued.  To let those emotions fly!  To be the emotional exploder that I want.  "That's what makes raw emotions so complicated.  They come from out of nowhere and run us slap-over."  (Unglued, chapter 5).  And yet, there stood before me, the next oh so wise statement, "Do not check in with the screaming demands of the world before you exchange whispers with God." (chapter 5).  Today - I took those deep breaths...I whispered my requests to God - and only a small grumble came out - I did NOT explode!

Now - don't get me wrong - the most recent episode I had of an all out explosion came when I was teaching 80 kids about a month ago.  These are all Honduran children that range from 3-16 years old.  Often I'm totally by myself, so needless to say, it can be a bit challenging.  The day had gone well - I've implemented some rules that help things go that way.  I've had to be stern, and send some children away if they are just out and out awful.  But today was not one of those days...until the very end...One of the kids in my group came running up to me talking so fast in Spanish I just couldn't follow it!  But the panic on her face was real!  I got her to calm down, and tell me what happened. of the 16 year old girls had locked two kids in a room.  And guess where the keys were?  Locked in the room with the girls.  The problem?  The ONLY way to unlock the two doors (one was a steel door, and the other a security door) was from the OUTSIDE!  And I was the ONLY one with keys - which were INSIDE the room with the girls.  I admit it!  I exploded!  I looked at the girl who had done it and shook my head and asked her what in the WORLD she had been thinking?  And how does she EXPECT me to get the girls out with the keys locked safely inside?  (are you getting the visual here?! - arms waving, voice elevated, words not so kind).  Honduras is a rainforest - with an average temp of 95 degrees, 95% humidity.  Those girls were in a small stuffy room and I couldn't get them out.  I was mad, I was disappointed, I was frustrated, I was worried, and I exploded.  I admit it 100%.  Not a shining moment for me.  Bottom line?  About 20 minutes later we got them out after fishing the keys out with a piece of wire through a small opening, and I opened the doors from the outside - all was well - and I was calmer.  And then my thoughts really didn't handle that situation the right way AT ALL.  I exploded!  Yes, there are a thousand ways I should have handled that situation better - and being frazzled with 80 children by myself, a long day, and children being naughty doesn't excuse my behavior.  So next time?  I will "exchange whispers with God."  I will approach the situation differently (prayerfully) and the explosion will not happen!  And where do I look to help with my "explosion" moments?  No farther than:

1 Peter 5:8, "Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

I do NOT want him to devour me in exploding words!

Day Of The Child

"Day of the Child" is a big deal here in Honduras. We recently celebrate "Day of the Child" with the kids in Armenia Bonito. Eighty kids received games, snacks, crafts, the gospel and some great gift bags. Valley Springs Presbyterian Church provided the gift bags for the kids. Thanks Valley Springs.

Watch this 2 minute, 10 second video to see the joy on the faces of the kids:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

School Supplies

Kids listening to a health education class at the school in Armenia Bonito
School in Honduras runs from February through November.  Each year we have been here we have had a school supply drive.  This is HUGE for so many families!  The degree of poverty can be a bit overwhelming to figure out how to help without having it be a reliance issue.  One way we have felt called to help is offering supplies to children that would otherwise go to school without anything.  Imagine attending school where you have zero school books, are only in school 3 hours a day, and then not even having any paper to write down the few assignments you are given?  We all know the importance of breaking the cycle of poverty through education, so we as a team are committed to making this possible.   We have found that many kids in Sunday School classes get together and commit to getting school supplies for kids - a GREAT way for kids to connect with other kids outside of the U.S.  Get them involved in missions in this way - picking up a package of crayons, or a pair of scissors, and know that a kid many countries away will hugely benefit from their contribution!  Or put on a change drive - and all the change collected the kids send to Team Honduras to purchase supplies here - and they can see their handiwork in action.  We ALWAYS make a video and post it so the kids can see how they can make a difference in a child's life.  Just a few ideas :-)


We would like you to prayerfully consider providing school supplies for the kids in Armenia Bonito.  Please purchase school supplies and mail them to this address by December 31, 2012:

Mike & Erin Pettengill
P.O. Box 1090
La Ceiba, Atlantida
Central America
Let us know if you would rather send money and our team can purchase the supplies in Honduras.

Monday, October 8, 2012


our dock
Every morning around 5:30 or 6:00 I would wake up and walk out to the front dock of our little cabin.  I would take my Kindle out to this little spot and sit and enjoy my time with Jesus in the morning.  My Kindle has my bible, my bible study, and a few devotional books I've been going through.  It was the perfect spot.  The little minnows would jump as a school out of the water, the dolphins would be jumping and playing, the cool morning breeze would greet me each morning and I would just soak in the time.  That was my morning routing during last week's women retreat.

It was such a joy!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Women's Retreat

Summer has come and gone....stress is still here...mentoring continues...ministry continues....and somewhere in the middle of that we try and find time for ourselves!  Not so sure when that happens, and I'm sure most of my readers understand that 100%.  It always seems like our time is not our own. We either are a mother, a wife, a teacher, a (whatever your job is), a cook, a chauffeur, etc. you get the drift.  Hence the name of my blog, "Missionary, Mother, Wife, Nurse". husband being the AMAZING team leader that he is realized that we (the ladies of Team Honduras) were looking a little frazzled.  He realized that most of us, if we had been attending a church in the States, would have gone on a women's retreat.  I attended our women's retreat EVERY year I was at my home church.  We didn't have anything of the sort - so he created one.  So, we are off for our second annual women's team retreat for the women of Team Honduras - this includes women who are not actively on the field (yet).  Example - Michelle Cain - who is currently in language school and will be joining us sometime next year (August...mas o menos) flew in today to join us.  Renee (another future team-member) currently living in the States was not able to join us - given the fact that she just had a baby 2 weeks ago - we are giving her leave this year - but next year....

So, we will be gone for the week.  Each of us have been given a topic to teach on.  We will have 7, 40 minute sessions where each of us will teach on an aspect our team leader has given us.  I will be teaching on Suffering.  I realized, while preparing for this session, that I've endured a LOT of suffering in my life.  From a very traumatic childhood, an abusive first marriage, my mother who passed away last year, I certainly feel qualified to teach on Suffering.  Why?  Because I "came out the other end" better for having been through it.  A couple of quotes I will be using for my teaching (hopefully none of my team mates will read this before we leave) are, "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."  Friedrich Nietzsche.  "God had one Son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering."  Saint Augustine.  "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."  Helen Keller.  And one of my favorites, written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a renowned author of many books on suffering wrote this, "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen."

And finally - a quote to end on by Tennessee Williams:  "Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you are dead."  Amen brother!  Our life is full of suffering, but how do you come out on the flip-side?  That's what makes us who we are.  

So blessings to everyone!  I'll be out of contact with you all for the week - no internet where we are going...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bible Study

4 1/2 years ago when our family moved to Honduras I found a local women's bible study!  Yes - it was lead by gringa women who were either missionaries, or Christian women who lived in this city.  Not knowing ANYONE else in town, it was a great opportunity to get to know other women, study God's word, and fellowship.  Through the years, I've grown away from this group because I'm looking for something more in-depth, and truly wanted to read some good books.  So, I moved on...I looked and looked for something that would fill that nitch.  I found it.  I found it in an on-line bible study.  The blessing of having a Kindle, I could download the book, follow along the study, engage with women all around the world on the internet!  It's awesome!  So I have stayed.  Through many different bible studies.  The current study I am going through is called, Unglued:  Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst.  Now, those who know me know that I am either 100% passionate about something, or 100% indifferent.  There's really not much middle ground.  However, in the midst of that, often times I find myself speaking out of hand and know...thinking first!

As you can imagine, living in a 3rd World Country, a different culture, confronted by poverty, severe lack of medical care (being a nurse that one hurts!), and children that are left to care for themselves, I get "passionate" a lot!  And...out comes that naughty tongue...before this bible study is right up my alley!

This week we've read through the first two chapters and boy have I gotten some great nuggets of truth!  The first chapter caught me with my favorite sentence of all time (at least for now) - "Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace..."  followed closely by, "Progress.  Just make progress.  It's okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs.  It's okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again - and again.  Just make sure you're moving the line forward."  Woah!  This book is speaking directly to me.  Then came Chapter 2.  "We won't develop new responses until we develop new thoughts.  That's why renewing our minds with new thoughts is crucial.  New thoughts come from new perspectives.  The bible encourages this process, which only makes sense because God created the human mind and understands better than anyone how it functions." 

Whew!  Heady stuff!  And hits straight to the core!  I can't even WAIT to see what is coming up in Chapter 3!  And I'll be honest - in my CRAZY/BUSY/INSANE schedule - doing an on-line bible study is RIGHT up my alley!  I love it!  I love the ladies!  I love the videos, interaction and everything about it!  It's been a TRUE blessing indeed!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kids Club

Por qué Dios nos dio el Antiguo Testamento?  (Why did God give us the Old Testament).  One of the catechism questions we are working on = #17.  What else are they memorizing?  The books of the bible - we are starting with the Old Testament, and they can say them all the way up to The Psalms!  It's been a blast!  And yes, that gives me an "excuse" to learn them all in Spanish as well - since I'm teaching them.  SO exciting to see the kids rise to the challenge.

gathering to watch the skit

Nubia showing her craft

working on their craft

forming lines for the relay game
The answer (by the way) to catechism question #17 is God gave us the Old Testament to show us path of Him sending us the promised savior.  The story from last week showed how a sacrifice was needed from the beginning (Adam and Eve) and all through the Old Testament - and the ultimate sacrifice was Jesus.  That being said, the craft for today was making a sheep.  They loved it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Being a Nurse...

Someone who will cry with you
Someone who will meet your needs before their own are met
Being on time
Going to work even when your own child is sick
meeting people where they are
holding a hand
giving others a chance to be heard
feeling the hurt of others
having other people's bodily fluid on our skin, and don't think it a nuisance
being an encourager to someone who has lost the be...
listening to a mother grieve for her child
listening to a child grieve for their lost parent
giving a person a chance to be free from pain
working late to offer one last chance
going to work even when sick knowing others are worse off than you are
working with shin splints, sore feet, blistered feet
Being honest
a 24-hour job
a job that lives in our blood
until our last breath we still think of ourselves as what our job depicted us as....

Being a nurse
A gift from God
One I've done for 17 years, and will continue to do for the rest of my life

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I wonder...

At clinic today I had one of those moments.  One of those, "I wonder if that child was in the U.S. if they would have lived."  My conclusion is most likely, yes.

This woman came to me with her 8 year old daughter talking about non-descriptive "pains, and insomnia."  I dug deeper.  Something seemed not quite right.  Finally, I got from her that 3 months ago her baby died.  She was only 3 days old.  I asked her how she had died, and the response I got was, "the doctors told me she died because she was yellow."  So...the best I can assume is she had jaundice...a severe case.  I don't know if she was compromised in any other way, but there the mother sat, still clearly mourning, with tears streaming down her face and only knowing that her baby died because she was "yellow."  So, for the next 20+ minutes I talked with her, told her what I thought, let her know that it was NOT her fault, that if she ever had another baby, the odds were it wouldn't happen again and explained to her (most likely) how/why her baby died.

Today was one of those days...I wasn't there to help physical ailments (although I did send 2 people to the hospital, and and gave a lot of antibiotics), the primary reason I was there today - was to meet they emotional needs of one mother who had not had an opportunity to grieve.  We cried together, I prayed with her, gave her a hug and sent her on her way.

The other thing I did was a home visit.  I visited the family of Teresa - many who have come to Honduras know this sweet family.  Teresa's mother suffers from hypertension and diabetes.  Teresa called me while I was at clinic saying her mother was bad!  I told her - GO TO THE HOSPITAL!  She hesitated.  She wanted a confirmation that they truly needed to go.  After clinic - about 2 hours later - I was able to visit her home.  Her mother had suffered a stroke.  In the morning, she was walking, eating, talking.  Now I looked at her, the entire right side of her body was immobile, she was drooling, and on top of it all - her blood sugar had bottomed out.  I quickly started the process of elevating her blood sugar, and advised Teresa that her mother had a stroke, and she was quite sick, and needed to go to the hospital.

The outcomes, in both cases, may have been very different if they had been in the United States.  It's the level of medical care here that makes my heart sad.  I wait to see if Teresa's sweet mother will even survive this incident or not....

Please pray....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Therapeutic Touch

Hang with me here, this is a long post, but has some good nuggets in it. In nursing school we were introduced to the concept of Therapeutic Touch ("feeling" how a person feels by placing your hands above their body - not touching - and receive their "vibes").  Now, I'm not one of those people who disregard alternative medicine.  I definitely think there is a time and place for non-Western medicine, if you will. You can decide what you think either way.

One thing I DO believe in - 100% - is physical contact. MY version of therapeutic touch. Touching a person - recognizing that they are a person, and you want to reach out and connect with them.  I will also admit that at times I forget that.  In the business of seeing a lot of patients, my desire to reach them all, I sometimes am not as personal as I should be.  Most of the time I like to think I really try and connect with the person in front of me.  This time is theirs.  I make eye-contact, listen to them, and touch them.

Maria, a sweet 77 year old woman came to my clinic yesterday.  She was suffering from things I simply couldn't help her with.  As I reached out to hold her hand, we made eye contact, and just connected.  One suffering human to another.  I may not be suffering physically the same way she was, but I suffer from seeing so many suffering.  I suffer from the pangs of seeing children go hungry, babies born into a difficult world, children neglected and ignored by their parents.  This is the world I am in - I see it 100% of the time every day.

Maria and I "caught" in a moment
And as God would have it (imagine that) the ladies on our team just started reading a book by R.C. Sproul -  Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life.  In it R.C. writes, "I remember the story of a distraught father who was deeply grieved by the death of his son.  He went to see his pastor, and in his bewildered anger he asked, 'Where was God when my son died?'  The pastor replied with a calm spirit, 'The same place He was when HIS Son died.'"  Another area he writes, "God knows our limits far better than we do...The promise of God is not that He will never give us more weight than we WANT to carry.  The promise of God is that He will never put more on us than we CAN bear."

Mike caught me in this moment.  I didn't realize he was even there until I saw the picture posted on FaceBook and was caught off guard.  I had given Maria my undivided attention.  I can't empathize with her physical suffering, but I certainly can sympathize with it.  My sweet mother lived the last 10 years of her life with debilitating ailments until she finally succumbed to the final infection that her poor little body could no longer endure.  She was an amazing woman, and carried her burden of suffering that should be a role model for all!  And in that moment, I saw my mother, suffering things I couldn't even imagine, but I loved her with my touch and with my eyes and with my time.

So remember - touch someone.  Give them a hug - it may seem like such a small act, but it's one filled with the contact of one human reaching out to another.  A sweet friend of mine gave me a mug years ago because she knew how much I loved her hugs.  She just envelopes you in them - it's not just a quick squeeze, but one in which I felt wrapped up in the love she wanted to give.  The mug says "Free Hugs."  And I think of her every time I drink from it.  Who have you given a hug to today?  Who WILL you give a hug to today?

Monday, September 3, 2012


Madison "dancing at a disco"
I've been teaching at Madison's school for just over a month.  Selfishly, the reason I wanted to teach was to introduce Madison to acting and to Shakespeare.  My idea was to offer an after-school program for kids interested in drama.  What I ended up was offering an elective for High School 11th graders.  Her school teaches a "block" schedule.  What that means for me is Wednesday am one week I teach, and the following week I teach both Wednesday and Friday morning for 1 1/2 hours.

Some of the activities I have them do are to highlight the right side of the brain - so that's included drawing, miming, charades, and impromptu-acting in front of the class.  Some of her class mates have ZERO problem acting in front of their classmates, there are, of course, a few hold outs who just aren't overly interested, but are good sports and do it.

Carolina "terrified of the zombies coming"

The girls trying to come up with the "next story"
They are currently memorizing a one-act play, and then we will be planning/writing the Christmas play for the seniors as well.  This week I will be introducing them to Hamlet and finalizing it by watching Hamlet by Mel Gibson.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Peace Presbyterian Mission Trip to Honduras - August 2012

August 18-25, 2012 a 13-person short-term mission team from Cary, NC served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in a English class, Kids Club, construction, a medical clinic and more.

Watch this 2 minute and 40 second video to see their great work:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Covenant Presbyterian Mission Trip to Honduras - August 2012

August 18-25, 2012 a 8-person short-term mission team from Paso Robles, CA served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in a English class, Kids Club, construction, a medical clinic and more.

Watch this 2 minute, 15 second video to see how they did:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Soaring Oaks Mission Trip to Honduras - August 2012

August 11-18, 2012 a 4-person short-term mission team from Elk Grove, CA served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in a English class, Kids Club, construction, medical clinics and more.

Watch this 2 minute and 10 second video to see their work:

Friday, August 17, 2012

A New House For The Ochoa Family

In the summer of 2012 we constructed a new home for the 7-person Ochoa family in Armenia Bonito outside of La Ceiba, Honduras. With the help of short-term mission teams the home was complete with cement floors, running water, electricity and a septic tank.

Watch this 2 minute video to see the new house:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Medical Brigade

This week we hosted two teams, one from our very own home church, Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church, and another great group from Florida which consisted of an MD, Physician Assistant (PA) Instructors, and many PA students.  We broke the week up by hosting 2 medical clinics in the community of La Fe, and 2 medical clinics in the community of Armenia Bonito.  On top of the clinics, we continued with our on-going ministry of English Class and Kids Club.

patient education in La Fe

Provider station in La Fe

Provider station in Armenia Bonito

Taking kids to the river in Armenia Bonito
About half of what I do in my weekly clinic is patient education.  I really feel the only way to change a community is through good, basic, general education.  So, this was a great opportunity for the students to do teaching of their own.  I had them focus on water purification through the SODIS process (a plastic bottle, UV rays, and 6 hours is all you need), healthy eating, dental health, and parasite prevention.  They did a great job!  They did the education at both communities.  Total for the week they saw over 323 patients.  Meanwhile, the group from our home church continued building on the house for the sweet family of Oneyda, Carolina, and Samuel.  GREAT job gang!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Faith Presbyterian Mission Trip to Honduras - August 2012

August 4-11, 2012 a 14-person short-term mission team from Balentine, SC served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in an English class, Kids Club, construction, sewing instruction, dental clinics and more.

Watch this 3 minute 25 second video to see their amazing week:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rincon Mountain Mission Trip to Honduras - August 2012

August 4-11, 2012 a 7-person short-term mission team from Tucson, AZ served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in an English class, Kids Club, construction on two houses and more.

Watch this 2-minute video to see their work:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dental Clinics

This week we hosted two dental clinics in the community of La Fe, and two in Armenia Bonito.  All in all 83 people received free dental care.  The dentists tell me that most were cracked/rotten/abscessed - imagine not being able to eat due to the pain in your mouth, and not being able to afford dental care.  What a huge blessing it is to have a great dental team care for the needs of the people of La Ceiba.

Carolina having her teeth worked on

Children working on puzzles while they are waiting to be seen
The teams leave tomorrow morning, and our next two teams arrive.  Next week is going to be a big week!  We have a huge medical brigade coming.  Included in this week we are going to be doing two days of education in both communities.  The education is going to include water purification, dental health, pregnancy health, and parasite prevention.  Education is the key to changing the overall health of the folks in both very poor communities.
Madison's first day of her senior year.
And finally, Madison started her first day of her Senior Year.  School here ends at 11th grade.  So she's a Senior!!!  I'll also be volunteer working at her school.  I will be teaching a drama class - it's an elective, so I will see how many kids may or may not be interested in doing drama.  My "first day" is next Wednesday, and am excited to be able to bring some Shakespeare to some Honduran kids!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

During orientation we express to people the importance of the "F" word - flexibility!  Things may change, hurricanes may come, and we need to be ready to change with it.  Hurricane Ernesto came flying by and basically left us with a lot of rain - it was far enough off shore that we really weren't hit by any winds.  Because of this, however, it changed construction plans, and had people from the village staying at home - we still were able to treat a number of patients at the dental clinic.  The first two days we have been in the village of La Fe, for the next two days we will be in the community of Armenia Bonito.  Armenia hosts our huge project, which will provide plenty of rain coverage, so hopefully this will bring people in.

Both teams, Faith Presbyterian Church of Ballentine, SC and Rincon Mountain Presbyterian Church from Tucson, AZ have been troopers!  They've been involved in English Class, Kids Club, Dental Clinic, Sewing with the girls at Puerta de Esperanza, construction, and all around loving on kids!  It's been great to see and can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings for us.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


This week we have had time to take a deep breath.  This is a time to become rejuvenated before our last month of teams.  Included in this next month we will have a dental team, and a full medical team.  So we will be busy.  And in the same time, Madison starts school next Thursday - so the logistics of getting her to and from school and working with teams will be a bit tricky.   God's busy, keeping us busy, yet healthy, so we are thankful for that!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Valley Springs Mission Trip to Honduras - July 2012

July 21-28, 2012 a 10-person short-term mission team from Roseville, CA served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in a medical clinic, English class, Kids Club, construction and more.

Watch this 2 minute video to see their great work:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Medical Brigade

Patients waiting outside the "doctor's office"
In four days we saw almost 500 patients.  Okay - 495 to be exact, but 500 is just a nice round number.  During that time we had a dentist pulling teeth, a doctor with his ultrasound, and 3 other docs seeing "general medical" patients.  On top of all that the other half of the team spent the time doing construction, Kids Club, and English Class.  Our ministry goes on!

This week we have a church from home :-)  Valley Springs Presbyterian Church is our mother church.  They planted Soaring Oaks Church, our home church.  So it's cool to see some folks from our neck of the woods :-)  We will be starting on a new house for Oneyda (those of you who know her), and doing Kids Club, English Class, 1 clinic day, going to the river, etc.

Next week we have off, then we start our final month of teams for the summer.  I'm excited to see what the Lord brings out way.

Kids Club making their craft
On a side note - Madison is back from her 2 weeks serving as an intern in Belize.  She had an AMAZING time, but is definitely glad to be home.  She starts school in three weeks - her final year in a Honduran school