Team Honduras

Friday, July 29, 2011

What keeps you from attending church?

   Today I had a very nice visit with Elsie and her mom. Talking with them today sparked the idea for tonight's blog. Since, this is summertime and the time of year where church attendance is down, I ask you the question...."What keeps YOU from attending church"? Ponder on that thought while I tell you about our visit. For the past two Sundays Elsie has been attending our church, and it is awesome to see how excited she is when she is there. However, her mom has not attended any services as of yet. I asked my friend Gabby(from our church) if she would go with me to visit them, and to help me out in my speaking. We pulled up to Elsie's house where there seemed to be 2 other ladies. It is not uncommon for other religious groups to visit as well and teach incorrect doctrine or doctrine that is contrary to the WORD of GOD. Because the people are so hungry for the answers and hope they are easily persuaded. It is scary and is a major reason why we need good bible believing, preaching churches on the field here. Elsie came running to our car and I asked her what she was doing? She said that they were teaching her to read and to write but with a specific book. Her mom came over to the car and I explained that we wanted to stop and visit but we would come back in a few minutes. So,we drove around the block and waited for the ladies to leave before we got out.

  Once we returned Maria(Elsie's mom) asked the two ladies to leave. She greeted us and pointed us to a shady area under a tree where there sat two plastic chairs and a hammock. We sat down and began to talk. I began to talk about how excited we were that Elsie had been attending church. We talked about how many children she had and who all lived with her in her little home. (by the way...she also informed me that SHE built it all by herself).  Elsie does have 11 brothers and sisters however she is the youngest of them all. In her little home she lives with her mom and her mom's boyfriend.

I knew that Elsie did not attend school, so I asked her mom about it. She said she was not sure but the school would not allow her to attend. So, Elsie only has a 2nd grade education. I explained to her that in the states I was a teacher and I was willing to help her with her reading and writing. I also explained to her the importance of a good education. I then began to explain to her mom why Mark and I had moved to Honduras. She just smiled. When our friends Dave and Laurie were here they told me that during the service Elsie looked as if she had trouble with her "beautiful green eyes". I asked her mom about it and she said that she in fact did have a problem and needed glasses but she could not afford to buy them. I explained to her that if Mark and I could take her to the doctor to see how much glasses were could we take her. She smiled and exclaimed, yes that would be wonderful. We plan on taking her one day this coming week, hopefully on Monday. Please pray that we will be able to get her the glasses that she needs.

While we were talking I wanted her to know that we cared about her well-being just as much as Elsie's. We talked about the gift of salvation that the Lord has given all of us, if we only receive it. She knodded her head as to agree but never actually gave a firm answer. Please pray for her. I then asked her if she would attend Sunday's service. She began to explain why she has not attended. It is not because she has to work, or she is on vacation, or wants to go to the lake for the day. It is not because she is sick, or her car is broke down, it is not because she has a headache or a sporting event is coming on.......(have any of you said any of these before.....???????? 

    Well, I know you have never said her reason.....she sweetly replied, I do not have a door to my house. If I leave, she said, I will be robbed. I can never leave my property unattended or kids and others will come and take the few things that I have. How sad it is that she can not attend church....because she has NO DOOR to protect her belongings. Please pray that some how it will work out that she can have some kind of door put on her home so she can attend chuch.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Never Be Afraid to Be Used By GOD.....

  Since we have been living in Honduras we have had the pleasure of driving past the public hospital daily. (since it is right beside our rental house) The maternity ward is also on the side street that our house is actually on. We were blessed with tons of little outfits for Micah and truth is...he will never be able to wear them all before he out grows them and we had some duplicates of others. So, I seperated them and placed a few in a bag. I even put them in my car and took them out again many times hoping that I could share them with someone. I had even thought about walking up there but how would I decide who gets them.....being that there are always 3-5 women sitting on the bench outside.

Earlier this week Mark was giving our family devotion, in that devotion he was talking about being kind one to another. We talked about how we can reach people with Christ if we show kindness. That night I prayed that God would put someone in my path that I could reach out to and help. Never, ask God to do something if you are not truely willing to follow through because HE will in fact answer your request.

the road to our house
  On Thursday we came home and as we were pulling into the gate we saw a young lady with child walking down the street. I quickly ran in the house to get the bag of clothes. I started to talk to her and asked her what her name was. She replied,  Catherine. She was walking with her mom. I then asked her if she was having a boy or a girl and she said it was a BOY....wahoo...I was able to share with her a few baby boy items.

Later that day she walked back down the small dusty road to our house with her mom. You could tell that she was wore out and in a ton of pain. Her mom asked if she could possibly take a shower to cool off. You see here the women have to wait outside on a bench until they are dilated so much and then they will be placed in a room...also they do not get to reap the benefits of pain medication here...totally natural childbirth.  I thought to myself....hmmm I just had a baby and while I had a c-section I still was able to be in a hospital room with a bed. If that were me, I would hope that someone would at least allow me to use their restroom. So, I led her in to the shower and gave her a clean towel. She came out clean and refreshed to walk her way back up to the waiting bench, but not before her mom reached in her purse and extended 50 limps for her daughter's shower. I pushed her hand away and replied that there was no need to pay for that shower. She again tried to hand it to me. (by the way 50 limps is half of what the people here make in 1 that was a whole $2.50) (the average person only makes $5 a day here). I merely, expressed that it was my pleasure and that one day another lady or person may need their help and they could lend their services or that 50 limps to them.
We chatted a few more minutes with smiles of gratefulness on each of their faces. Again the mom asked how she could repay me for my kindness so I replied with this....after Catherine is well you will have to bring that baby boy by so that I can see him.  Well, at  around 9 on Friday evening a handsome baby boy named Isaac weighing 8 lbs was born. His momma (Catherine) were at my front gate knocking at 8:45 Saturday morning..not even 12 hours later. She was so excited to be able to share her little one with me. He was a cute little guy with a head full of black hair. They turned to walk away and I expressed that I wanted to give them a ride home( they didnt live to far from us). So, I packed them in my car. That day I was able to express love and kindness not only to Catherine and her little baby, but her mom, aunt and brother. When we arrived at their little white house her mom ran inside. The next thing I know her grandma came out to greet me and tell me how grateful she was that I had helped her. She said that she would be thinking of Mark and I and praying for our ministry. Then as an expression of love and friendliness, she kissed me on the cheek, and this was followed by the same actions from Catherine and her mom and aunt. God placed Catherine in my path along with her family members. I was able to invite them all to church. Please pray that just like Elsie a seed was planted and God will mature it.  Hopefully, I will be able to get a picture of Isaac and share with you all. (by the way this young girl is only 17 years old). Please pray that we can be a good influence in her life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There are no coincidences in life....God has a purpose and plan.....

This is Elsie's house
This story is a follow-up to a follow-up of the "little girl with green eyes". As you all know we crossed paths again on visitation the Saturday before last and were able to invite her to church yet again. I was a little saddened when I did not see her on Sunday morning. I just knew she was going to be there. I was even hoping that she would come in after Sunday School for the start of the regular service. God has really put a burden in my heart for her and I know that he in fact has a plan.

Those of you who know me....know that I am directionally challenged. (I fully admit that)...however once I learn a place I will never forget it. That Saturday afternoon we walked the slender street to her house God burned that image in my mind. I believe it was Tuesday or Wednesday morning I wanted to drive by for Mark to see where this beautiful little girl laid her head every night. We both were just heart broken.

I went to bed thinking how sad it was for her and her family. But at the same time they had a kind of peace on their face that just showed happiness. See they do not know any other way of life so the one they have  they live to the fullest.

Elsie and her momma Maria holding Micah
  I prayed that night and asked God to show me what I needed to do or put something on my heart for her. When Dave and Laurie arrived we shared again with them about Elsie, of coarse they were familiar with her from reading the blog. I shared with Laurie how the Lord had placed on my heart to buy her a few groceries and so Dave and Laurie chipped in and helped. We went to the store and bought some corn flour, shortening, rice, beans, Zuko(drink mix), milk and a treat for her and her sibblings. When we pulled up to he fence it looked as if she recoginzed the truck and put her hands up but she was just playing around. I had pulled a little passed the house but decided to back-up so that Taylor and Whitney could see from inside the car. I knew that they would love to see Micah so I used him as an excuse to stop. I did not want them to think that we were just driving by to see their house.

When I opened my door and walked to the front of my car, I greeted her with .."Hola mi amor" (hello my love") she shouted "Hola Hermana" and ran over to me like she had not seen me for 5 years. It was so sweet! Then her mom came out to greet us as well. They both held and loved on Micah and kissed his little head and feet. We chatted for awhile and then we shared how God had pressed on our hearts to help them with a few groceries. We pulled them out of the car and you could see just how thankful and grateful "Maria" (her momma) was. I began to compliment her on her nice looking garden of corn and squash. She relpied with this, "in 4 months the corn will be ready for harvest please come back and get the first fruits of our garden" That just broke my heart. One it takes a long time to grow corn and you need a lot of water and a ton of plants to receive a large enough yield but she was offering me not just what was left over but the first from the harvest. What a gift she was extending to our family. What little she had to offer she was willing to give up.

(That makes me think about our lives for we offer him the first fruits of our life or do we just settle for giving him what is left over. I know that I fall short here sometimes not giving God my best.)

We left that day excited to see that God does in fact have a plan for them and invited them to church once more.

Laurie and I both had tears in our eyes as we drove away and Whitney asked if that was their garden shack? Laurie replied: "No Whitney that is her house."  Her eyes were opened that day to how life is not the same for everyone.

Sunday morning we head to church and start to prepare for the service and I see a glimpse of a pony tail that looks familiar. The girl was standing by the nursery door so I went over like I was checking on Micah to find that Elsie had washed her hair and bathed that morning and put on her very best dress. I was so happy to see her and she hugged me and held my hand. She did not want to let go at all. Mark and I teach children's church and so she sat with Dave and Laurie as well as Taylor. It was probably her first time in church because she did not know that you sit still, and don't talk etc. However, she has never been taught any different. There is no doubt that God has placed her in our lives for a reason.  We are very thankful that she was able to come to a church that preaches the Gospel. After church, she ran into our classroom and hugged and loved on us both until it was time for her to catch the bus. Please pray for Elsie; pray that she will continue to attend services, come to know Christ as her Savior, and for us to see God's plan.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lights, Camera and Action......

 Wednesday nights we usually eat dinner after church. However, this past Wednesday night we decided to have dinner before church because Mark had to head to the airport to pick up The Eatman Family. So, we went to Wendy's for dinner. While we were waiting for our food...we saw lights....police lights....then all of a sudden we saw a camera crew come in. It was the local news station. After we had some serious action while the police stormed the store and surrounded the restaurant with men. We were like .."What in the world is going on?" We never found out what happened but it was some "Lights, camera and action." This was something that we had never experienced before. How crazy it was to see all of that. Everyday is a different day. In the words of Forrest Gump..."life is like a box of never know what you are gonna get."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Take Another Sip.....a follow up blog

    Recently, I posted a blog about two little girls and their sweet efforts to help the children of Honduras. They made signs and pitchers of lemonade to help raise money for the cottage. While they worked very hard to sell their lemonade they made $7. I am sure that to some it is little but grateful that God can use any amount, any talent, and any person to fullfil HIS work. God is true to HIS promise about taking care of his people and blessing the fruits of their labor. I can say that I know this for a fact. I have seen God's hand of provision many times since we took the step to become missionaries. Today, I want to share with you to keep the faith and run the coarse because your work is not in vain.....Miriah and Crosby...the Lord has seen your gift and your heart and HE has placed it on someone else's heart to help increase the fruits of your labor. A few days after I posted the blog about the lemonade stand I received an email from a lady whom I have never met. She said that her boss was touched by the girls hearts to give to others and serve the Lord at such a young age. In fact he has multiplied the gift by 70. God will never cease to amaze me at how he puts people in your path when you need them. It is so comforting to know also how those people move and respond by giving or helping when God presses on their hearts. Since we have been on the field..not just here but in Costa Rica as well, I have prayed for God to put someone in my path so that I could be a blessing to them....each time he did. However, I ended up receiving just as much or more of a blessing than the ones I wanted to help. Final thought before I close.....Have you ever asked God to put someone in your path?.....has he? did you respond or say I will do it next time? never know until you take that step or say that first word just how your life can change with doing something for someone else.
  It may just be you who can stop or continue "The Pay It Forward for THE LORD".

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update on the Little Girl With Green Eyes

 This is a follow up to a blog we did a few months ago. One day while heading back and forth to the property we saw a young girl on the pathway to the church. She was standing beside a pile of thin and short sticks while her brother cut them from fallen trees in the field. We stopped and talked to her and she told us her name, Elsie. Our heart was touched by Elsie and we left to buy her and her brother a bottle of water and a pack of cookies. They were working hard to help their family.....not in school...working...gathering the much needed wood that their mom would use to cook their meals. After that day we thought we would never see those two children again.

On Saturdays we have a church wide visitation day. We go in pairs and knock on doors to invite people to church and share the gospel. The short path that myself and a teen had only had a few homes so we went walking on other streets to find people at home. After walking and talking with people we covered a small and short 5 extra blocks of road and houses. The last little stretch of road that we got to contained a young girl gathering the chairs and putting them away in her families yard. This area was a tiny yard with a hammock between two trees, a wood fire burning close and a short fence made of different sizes of tree limbs with barb wire wrapped on them. When the little girl approached the fence my heart was filled with joy.....I knew those eyes....the most beautiful green eyes on a tan little face with a few light freckles across her nose. I called her by her name....and her smile covered her entire face....she then ran out of the fence and hugged me....announcing "you remembered me." The last time she saw us I was still pregnant with Micah. Her momma came out from the back of the house and Elsie began to tell her momma about us and how she had met Mark and I and how when we met I was pregnant. It was so sweet. I then mentioned her son Miguel. The momma had a smile just as big as Elsie...and proclaimed "you know my children?" I told her again how we had met and how sweet they were and she ran over to me and hugged me also and kissed me on the cheek. It was such a sweet moment. At this time Elsie and her momma were the only ones that were at home at this time. However, when I saw their home my heart broke for her and her family. Like many people here they do the best that they can to take care of their own. They did have a little plot of land....however I am not sure if they own it or not...I have posted a picture similar to the house that they live in...however this is much larger than their actual house.

If you divided this house into 3's they would have just 1 part of that for their whole family. No indoor plumbing and I do not remember seeing a power line. Please pray for this little girl and her family. Also, don't take for granted your nice warm bed, the times you gather around your kitchen table or even when you step into your warm shower or bath your children in a clean bath tub. I know that Elsie knows no other way of life than the one that she lives. When I think of her I think of the story of the rich man and Lazarus. If she puts her faith and trust in Jesus Christ she will one day be clothed in righteousness and have riches beyond measure.

First Work Day

Oscar worked hard
Saturday morning we held our very first workday with the people from Iglesia Bautista "El Faro". The Sunday morning before we put out a sign up sheet to see how many volunteers we would have. By the end of service we had 27 signed up. When Wednesday came around our list was up to 33. On Friday Mark and I went to buy all of our supplies such as brooms, mops, buckets, etc. We also purchased ingredients to make banana muffins for a breakfast snack and had lots of fresh fruit. Mark and I both had many pick-ups that morning so that those who wanted to help could get to the cottage.

We started by preparing the plates with muffins, watermelon, pineapple and papaya. Then we could see the people walking the paths in all directions coming to what will be our new home. Very few people in our church have a car or truck so they walk or use a bus. It was so exciting to see them all coming.
Teens helping
No matter the job they helped

After we had breakfast we divided them all into teams and gave them their supplies. They all worked so very hard and the building looked great. Now we are just waiting to get the remaining donations so that we can call for a container. Once we have all that we need or can fit in a 40 foot container it will be shipped to Honduras. The people were so very excited about helping and being in the cottage. I know that they are just as eager as we are to see the cottage decorated and opened.
The Whole Group 31 with our family

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lemonade Anyone?

Back when we lived in North Carolina I had the pleasure of getting to know a sweet family through teaching at Hilltop. I had their son Michael in my class and his sister Mariah was a grade ahead. We have kept contact with them as our journey has taken us to Florida to train, Costa Rica to learn Spanish and our final destination Honduras. Their mom sent me the sweetest email today. She had told me how Mariah and her friend Crosby had decided to make their very own "Lemonade Stand". This was not just a summer time stand to have some extra change, this girls had a plan. They had made a lemonade stand to help the children of Honduras. Jessica, Mariah's mom asked "How much are you going to charge per cup?" They replied, with $1.50 it is organic lemonade. So, these sweet two little girls who live in an area with not much traffic  managed to earn $7 for the children of Honduras. They told each person that purchased a cup what the money was for. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my hear knowing that even children want to help children. We pray that GOD will multiply their $7  7x7. After all (7) is God's perfect number. I have posted pictures of the girls and their efforts to help the childrens home.