Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10-Week English Class - La Ceiba, Honduras

From April to June of 2012 we taught a 10-week English class in the poor community of Armenia Bonito. Twenty-three students attended and passed the oral exams in 8 of the 10 classes. Those students received a certificate and a dinner out with their teachers.

Watch this 2 minute video to see the students:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Green thumb or not?

You would think in the middle of short-term teams I would be writing a blog on our current team, which of course I certainly will.  Folks come down here and work/sweat/love on people and I am thrilled to work alongside them.  However, "life" goes on as well.
My garden

I still have to pay my bills, be a mother to my child, a wife to my husband, and a caretaker of my home.  In the midst of that I am trying to have a garden.  However, there are MANY obstacles I've had to overcome.  The first and foremost - where to put my garden.  Now...I do have a "perfect" spot in my back yard.  It's in the corner, out of the way - the dogs won't get to it - but the problem?  There is a cement foundation about 8 inches below the soil.  So - that doesn't leave very much room for plants to grow.  So my idea to have little rows of sweetly growing things quickly changed.  The other "problem" is you can't just run down to the local nursery and pick up your already 6" plants to put into said garden.  No...almost all plants here that can be purchased are decorative plants, not really garden type plants.  So...the next challenge comes from growing things from seed.  Have I said before it's 95 degrees/95% humidity almost year round?  And the only difference comes when it POURS and I mean POURS rain.  So, my plants shrivel up in the sun, or get drowned out by the rain.  What's a girl to do?  Well...I've been experimenting with plants to try and find those that will work.  So far I've been extremely successful with basil (holler!!), Rosemary, garlic, a pepper plant, mint, Aloe Vera (who knew), 2 tomato plants, and sunflowers.  Those have come with varying degrees of success.  I've tried planting my potted plants into the ground and about every-other plant dies.  It dies because of the stupid cement foundation beneath it, or the blazing sun, or being drowned out in the rain.


in the middle pot are two lechee plants grown from seed, and on the left is my pointsetta from Christmas


Two tomato plants

Broad leaf oregano - smells great, but not all that great for cooking
So each year, I'll continue to experiment and see what will work.  What would be really cool would be a raised garden - but that's a LOT of money in the purchase of wood and especially dirt.  Good planting dirt does not come cheap here.  But, I'm having fun (and a little frustration) in trying.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Trinity Church Mission Trip to Honduras - June 2012

June 16-23, 2012 an 16-person short-term mission team from Tennessee served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in medical clinics, English classes, Kids Club, construction and more.

Watch this 2 minute 10 second video to see their grace, love and mercy:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Most Days...

This is being showing the weakness inside....

Most days - being hot and sweaty doesn't bother me
Most days - going to three different stores to find one ingredient that is "normally" there doesn't matter
Most days - not having electricity for hours on end (which means no fans) I'm accustomed to
Most days - being tired and exhausted just allows me to reflect on Him who gives me strengths

Last night was not one of those "most days".  We are in the midst of our third straight week of teams, and we have one more to go.  Teams give us energy, they are awesome, they often times remind us of why we are here.  They bring talent, excitement, labor, love, and sometimes even goodies.  But - I'm not going to lie - they also bring us all extra work.

So, Wednesday is our day off.  Although I use that term loosely, because typically it's our day to catch up with chores, paying bills, or even to prep for ministry days (I prep for clinic).  But, we do get some lying on the couch, watch TV, order out, and relax time.  So, we went to bed early because Thursday morning comes EARLY - Mike is up at 4:30 to get to the gym before the day starts, and I'm up at 5:30 to pack clinic stuff, and get ready for the day.  However, two minutes after we turned the lights out, the electricity went out.  No fans, no air circulation, no nothing.  Our neighbors generator went on, I looked out the window, and the entire city was dark.  So we waited, because once in awhile it comes back on quickly, but 2 hours later, wide awake, sweating, throwing water on ourselves to cool down, we were still without electricity.  Finally, as if the city finally decided it had tortured all of it's citizens enough, it came back on (keep in mind - that was the 3rd time that day we had lost electricity).

So, ladies and gentlemen, please remember those sweet "normalicies" of your life, and realize that the rest of the world doesn't operate that way.  We live without water, electricity, conveniences on a daily basis.

Hopefully, my attitude adjusted, today will once again be like Most Days.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

short term team season

This week we are hosting our 4th of 16 summer teams.  This awesome group is from Trinity Presbyterian Church, TN.  Yesterday they continued construction on a house for a family, on our ministry center, and then Kids Club in the afternoon.  Kids Club continues to be booming.  We had over 70 kids and they all learned a catechism question, watched a skit, played a game, and did a craft.  I am so excited to see where God is taking this Kids Club!

Today, the team will continue construction, then take lots of kids to the river for some swimming and playing.  Thursday is our regular medical clinic, and then Friday they are all off for a hike in the rain forest.  They leave on Saturday, and our next team arrives a few hours later.  We are all having an amazing time, but prayers for perseverance would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Faith Church Mission Trip to Honduras - June 2012

June 9-16, 2012 an 11-person short-term mission team from Maryland served with us in La Ceiba, Honduras. They worked in medical clinics, English classes, Kids Club, construction and more.

Watch this 2 minute video to see their work:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Makin' the piecaken

Final product
I looked and looked and looked for a web site, or a recipe, or something that gave complete instructions on this elusive piecaken, and honestly, couldn't find one.  So (NOT that I'm an expert - just have done it twice and have some definite words of wisdom/advice).  So - here it goes.

What is a piecaken?  It's a pie baked inside of a cake.  What do you need:

8" pie plate (any bigger and it just doesn't work well)
LARGE Springform pan
cookie sheet

I've made two piecakens, and each has been different, and each has had varying degrees of success, the second one MUCH better.  The first was blueberry pie and white cake with cream cheese frosting.  We all enjoyed it (my family and I), but I think it's a bit on the too sweet side.  Blueberry pie is not tart, and with all the extra sweetness of the cake and frosting, I don't know that I'll make that particular one again.

The second was cherry pie with vanilla cake and chocolate frosting.  A much better choice - with the tartness of the cherries, and the sweetness of the rest - it was a good choice.

Here are some tricks for the pie:

Day 1 - make the pie - Line the pie pan with wax paper - completely on the bottom, and up the sides.  OR - generously grease/flour the pan.  I did it both ways, and found that the wax paper a much easier option (you will see why later).  You have to make the pie at least a day ahead of time.  I have not made a pie without a top, because I'm just not sure how it would set in the cake, so both times I made a pie, and then put pie crust on the top completely sealing it.  After it has baked/cooled - I put it in the refrigerator for a full day so it is nice and cool/hard.  One thing about the pie - MAKE SURE that if you are doing a fruit pie, your juice is nice and thick.  I'll be honest, I used canned pie filling.  However, if you make your own (apple pie for instance), just make SURE that in the end the syrup part of the pie is going to be thick - because when you serve it, it WILL ooze all over the place if it's too thin.

Day 2 - break out your largest spring form pan.  GENEROUSLY grease and flour the bottom and sides of the pan.  I made the pie from scratch, but used two boxed cake mixes - I would assume if you made your cake from scratch, you would need to double your recipe.  Place about 1 cup of cake batter on the bottom of the pan - spread it around so it is even on the bottom.

Next, take a look at your pie.  Look at the crust and make sure that you have trimmed any excess crust off around the edges.  The thing is, the cake batter needs to completely cover the pie crust, with no crust sticking out (I'll discuss why later).  I thought mine was fine at first, but once I got it into the pan I trimmed it a bit more.  So - what do you do with the pie?  You FLIP IT OVER (why I found the wax paper easier) onto your hand - because it's completely cold and solidified, it should easily stay together in one piece.  Now gently place the pie upside down into the spring form pan.  This is one of the things I learned from my first attempt.  The first time I made this, I put it into the pan right side up, but I found that the top of the cake kind of collapsed in on the pie - this time was MUCH better because the bottom of the pie is completely flat.  So - now with your upside down pie in your spring form pan, check the pie crust.  Make SURE that there isn't any pie crust touching or close to the edge of the spring form pan.  Why?  It will leak.  Trust me on this.  This is what happened the first time I made a piecaken.  So, this time I trimmed all the crust and it turned out perfect.  So, with the batter oozing down the sides of the pie, one thing to keep in mind is to give it some space to rise.  Again - I learned this with experience.  If you fill up the pan, it will WAY OVERFLOW ALL OVER YOUR OVEN.  :-)  Yes....that was a mess - but more on that in a second.  The way my cake batter looked is it kind of was a small dome in the pan - with a little more batter on the top of the pie.  I then put this on top of a cookie sheet (for the batter that overflows), and pop it into a 350 degree oven.  Now here's the tricky part.  I can't really tell you how long to bake it - except it's for a LOT LONGER than you think.  I think I ultimately ended up baking it for an hour and 45 minutes?  I kept checking the top and sides with a toothpick until done.  You must check both - the sides of the cake cook faster then the top - it's the top that takes the longest because the pie is blocking the heat from baking the top portion of the cake until the end.

Some tricks - once the top of the cake has cooked a bit - generously grease (I used Pam) a piece of tinfoil and put it on top of the cake, and let it fold down a little on the sides.  Because the cake takes SO LONG to bake, you don't want to over bake the top of the cake.  I did this for awhile, until the sides of the cake baked until completeness.  However, the top part of the cake takes longer.  So, I ended up cutting a whole in the center of the tinfoil, to protect the sides and top of the cake, but allow for good heat to get to the center of the cake.  Next time I may just start it that way - with a hole in the center of the tinfoil, because the center of the cake never looked overbaked, but I could tell the sides were going to get crispy if I didn't do something about it.

Once done, I then placed the piecaken on a cooling rack, and after about an hour or so, I took off the sides of the spring form pan to let it cool the remainder of the time.  I did end up trimming some of the cake that had overflowed the pan a bit before I took the sides off so I wouldn't tear the cake, and it made for a prettier cake anyway.  The center did end up sinking in just a bit, but nothing like it did the first time.  Once completely cooled, I frosted and decorated the cake, then put in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

When you are ready to cut, just be gentle.  It's a little tricky to cut, and know that some of the pie gooey goodness is going to ooze out, but if you have made it thick, it will only ooze a little.

Side view of the sliced cake

Plated piece of piecaken
I didn't take pictures along the way - next time I will.  I wasn't thinking about doing a blog about it until after it was all said and done.  But, hopefully my mistakes will help make your piecaken the best.  If you have made a piecaken and have some additional words of wisdom, or ways that made yours easier to make - please feel free to add your comments in the comment section.

Buen Provecho!

Friday, June 15, 2012

This week

Working on the foundation

English Class

Kids Club

This week our team worked crazy hard!  Part of our crew did construction, English Class and Kids Club, the other had clinic three days during the week.  They also took about 20 kids to the river, and then a hike through the rain forest.  During kids club this week we had 92 children attend, and at clinic we served 215 patients.  What a great week!  We send them off tomorrow, and welcome another 16 person team a few hours later. the midst of all that - Madison turned 16 years old!  We celebrated on our day off by hanging out at the river with her sweet friend, out to dinner, then a movie. Tonight is the piecaken.  I'll blog on that tomorrow if it actually turns out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Medical Clinic / Construction / English Class Day 1

Today Faith Presbyterian was BUSY!!!

The day started with a medical clinic where we saw 60 patients.  Both docs were going strong.  We had an "evangelism" station, where Ted was busy praying and talking to folks, Cindy was seeing patients at intake, and Ana was helping translate for her dad.  Meanwhile, the rest of the crew was hard at work pouring the foundation for a new house.  After lunch the construction crew changed hats and helped teach an English class.  It was a great day - and I know Day 2 will bring many more opportunities to serve.
Ana and Dr. Roy seeing patients

Giving some much needed health education

Cindy doing her thing

Ted doing evangelism and prayer with everyone

Bekah listening to some wheezy breath sounds

Keilah doing a urinalysis

A true servants heart...

Taking a break after a long day of construction

our waiting room

Monday, June 11, 2012


So...this week we have some great folks from Faith Presbyterian Church of LaVale, MD.  They are a cool mix of medical/construction/Spanish speakers.  We will be hosting 3 medical clinics this week, and continue construction on a house for a very poor family.  Along with their willing hearts, they brought all sorts of goodies!  Okay - goodies to me means medical stuff.  I know....not quite that exciting for most of you - but for me - this means medication I can't find here or is way too expensive!  They also brought along supplies - sutures, staple sutures, gauze, tape, you get it.  WAY COOL!!!  And not only did they think of our medical supplies, they brought stuff for our other ministries.  Children's books, Spanish language devotionals, children's devotionals, craft supplies, etc.  Children's books in Spanish are almost non-existent here.  So, whenever we can, we have teams bring down children's books for us - and the children here LOVE them!  I celebrate birthdays for my Kids Club kids.  And each child receives a gift and a celebration of cupcakes for everyone!  For most children this will be the only celebration of gifts and sweets they will have.  So it's important to me to recognize and celebrate with them!  And included in their gifts is always a books are a HUGE blessing to us.  All that to say - I am feeling blessed, loved, and excited for what God will do through our hands with these blessings of items and people!  So bring it on!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kids Club

Libni and Genesis celebrating their birthday
Today we celebrated birthdays for two of my frequent kids.  Libni, turned 9 years old, and Genesis who turned 12 years old.  Most of these kids don't have a chance to celebrate their birthdays because parents don't have time or money to make a cake or purchase gifts.  Today these two sweet girls received cupcakes, and each attending kid received a cupcake as well, and the two girls received a gift bag full of fun things for a gift.

70 Kids at Kids Club - that's a record!

Allen, Madison, Abigail and Rebeka putting on a skit
Also today we had a record.  We had SEVENTY children attend Kids Club.  It was amazing!  For the most part, all kids were well behaved, and learned a new Catechism question.  So far the kids have memorized 12 Catechism questions, and 11 bible verses.  It's SO exciting to see how much the kids are learning and how much the are LOVING to learn!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Let the Summer Begin!

Broken down cars, lost phones, inactivated phones, illnesses, hardships, ministry problems, exploding hot water heaters...OH! That must mean summer teams have started. Satan definitely works overtime on Team Honduras when summer teams come. The joy is - he wouldn't wast his miserable little time on us if we sat idly by and were ineffective. So, we "rejoice" in that. We definitely must be doing something right.

Our four interns, Keilah Holliday and Jeff Harvey will work primarily in the community of La Fe and Allen Hawkes and Becka Sipma will work primarily in Armenia Bonito. They already jumped on board and were working yesterday! What a great group of folks!

And our two first teams have arrived. We are excited to see what the week brings!