Friday, May 24, 2013

The price of poverty...and lack of basic food

Mrs. Hubbard went to the cupboard - but it was to get her poor doggy a's it's more basic then that - to feed your children...

What does your monthly grocery bill look like?  I shudder to think what mine looks like, I honestly don't have it down to a science.  I get "basics" once a month - toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. and then probably go weekly shopping for the rest - perishables, fruits/veggies, etc.  But I'll be honest - I've not really sat down and looked at what I spend on monthly supplies/groceries.  I think I would be shocked at what I spend - I don't know about you - but it's probably way more than I think!

Imagine, if you will, if you are a single mother, raising 3 children and are without work or a husband.  If your monthly income came directly from your husband who has snuck illegally into the United States to better be able to care for his family.  Now hear me out here - I do NOT condone illegal status!  I know there are those in Honduras who are here illegally as well.  It makes me just as grumpy!  Don't go someplace and confess to trying to "help" but be illegal about your own status in said country.  But this is not a blog about legal/illegal immigration.  I'm saying that if I were a Honduran, and my family was starving, I too would do what I had to do to not let my kid go to bed with an empty belly!  The options here are few.  There are no social programs like food stamps, etc.  You don't don't get don't buy food.  Period.

When my dad came down to visit last year, he saw me purchasing a "food box" for a very needy family in Armenia Bonito, and he wanted to know how he could help.  Since then he has been sending me a monthly contribution solely with food in mind.  So what can I buy for $25?

5 pounds of beans
5 pounds of flour
2 pounds of corn flour
15 eggs
dried milk
vegetable oil
pancake mix
laundry detergent

That's what I provide in my "canasta basica" - basic basket - of food.  I keep a basket of food in the clinic and as the need arises, I have it to provide for those who are without.  And when I mean without - I mean they are surviving on food that their neighbors give them, what they can pick off of trees, what they can scrape by on.

Celia is in that position.  Why bring up illegal immigrants?  Her husband was/is one of those.  He crossed the border a long time ago - collects more in a month than he makes all year in Honduras, and sends some of it back to his family.  He was recently arrested and thrown into prison, where his status is currently unknown.  Here is this mother of 3 whose littlest is 2 years old with severe medical problems. How do we help?  She receives free medical care - professional consult by a pediatric doctor, and free medicine that would otherwise cost her a fortune, or just not be available at the local public hospital.  And...she received a "canasta basica" to help get her through this most challenging of times.
Celia's little boy

Friday, May 17, 2013


It's hard to wrap your brain around...what would it mean to live on just over $1.00 a day?  Well...50% of Hondurans - that's the reality!  69% of the country live in poverty, and 50% live in extreme poverty.  According to a recent article:

 The National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Honduras yesterday reported that an estimated 5,889,545 Hondurans live in poverty. The figure represents 69 percent of the country's population of 8.5 million. A total of 4,213,746 Hondurans, or 50 percent of the population, live in "extreme" poverty. A total of 1,995,200 Hondurans live on less than Lps 20.42 (US$1) per day. The poverty has risen dramatically under the administration of President Porfirio Lobo (2010-2013). According to the Economic Commission for Latin American (CEPAL), the poverty rate in Honduras declined to 63.1 percent in 2008. The decline was largely attributed to expanded spending on social programs under the administration of President Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009) and significant increases in the amount of remittances from Honduran nationals in the United States and Europe to their families in Honduras.
Honduran economist Carlos Urbizo said that fundamental changes in the country are needed for the poverty situation to improve. "The fight isn't against poverty. It is against a political and economic system that generates poverty. The anti-democratic system that exists, the anti-capitalistic system that we have -- because it is mercantilist -- does not allow this situation to improve. If we do not change the political and economic system, we will continue with the same for the next 192 years," said Mr. Ubrizo, who added, "We have to begin to resolve this problem. It was easier 20 years ago than it is now, but now is easier than it will be in 20 years."

Mr. Urbizo also noted, "We talk a lot about poverty in urban areas, but when you understand the [poverty] rates in the interior of the country, it makes you want to cry. The rates are 70 percent, 80 percent, and perhaps even more. The poverty in [rural] areas is deplorable." Meanwhile, Congressman Augusto Cruz Ascencio, who is the head of Christian Democratic block in Congress, believes the [poverty] rates cited by INA are overly conservative. "There are more than 7 million Hondurans in the country who live in poverty in different forms and at different levels," he said. (5/15/13)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The States

It has been just over a year and a half since my last trip to the States, and honestly, my last trip was one of the hardest times of my life - my mother passed away.  So, this trip was to commemorate that time, and to see new and old faces.

I started my trip by surprising my dear Best Friend of all - Mindy Hertzell - and showed up at her graduation from nursing school, and had the honor of pinning her during the ceremony.  I then spent a Sunday School hour at their church plant, Corem Deo, speaking during Sunday school, and heaing a sermon preached live for the first time in a long time.  I was able to participate in communion, and was filled anew by the Word.

I then spent time with my friends, and ultimately made my way down to San Jose to spend some sweet time with my dad.  He spoiled me rotten, including a feast of filet mignon, coffe and lunch in bed (what a great guy), and then was able to go speak at his church, Grace Presbyterian Church. My dad has been a member there just over a year, and they have heard all about me - it was so wonderful to put a name to a face, if you will.  I met so many of the people he worships with, and I was able to share about what God is doing in Honduras.

My return home was bitter sweet.  I love my sweet dear friends, my awesome dad, but I truly missed my home here in Honduras with my family, and the ministry that God has put before us.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ministry & Family Update From The Pettengills

Thanks so much to all of our prayer partners and financial supporters from the Pettengill family, your missionaries to La Ceiba, Honduras.

Watch this 3 minute video showing a ministry & family update:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Soaring Oaks Church Missions Conference

This last Sunday I had the privilege of speaking at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church's missions conference.  I spoke on "Why Missions", "You and Missions", and "What Missions Looks Like".  It was great seeing folks I hadn't seen in a LONG time!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Story Behind Every Face

What do you see when you look at the sweet smiling face of a child?  You look at the hopes and dreams of things yet to come.  What do you see when you view the weathered face of a person who has stood the test of time?  You see the life that has been lived and the time yet to come.

Behind every face is a story waiting to be heard.  A story that isn't always seen on the outside, but one that is in their heart.  Will you take a minute to hear their story?