Saturday, October 31, 2009

Visitors & pinatas

We had 20 university students come by today to play with the children. They brought a pinata filled with fruit along with soda, Chinese rice, bread, and much more. The kids had a great time with balloon art and just getting tons of attention. It's great for them to be able to interact with strangers and find out that the world is not really against them.

Right now the three girls are at soccer practice...not yet all-stars, but they love it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Judgement Day

For Padre Vincente the end has come! Today he was given a 20 year sentence for Child Abuse, Child Neglect, and Concealing Evidence! Because of his age he was given "Casa a Casa" or house arrest and I'm not sure what that means as far as his personal punishment is concerned, but I do know that he will never again abuse, molest, or neglect children...thank you, Jesus!

As difficult as it may be, as Christians, we are required to pray for this lost soul...we can celebrate his incarceration as a means of protecting children, but we must pray for this man who once followed God...or tried to follow. Now he is lost, twisted, and consumed by a variety of demons and we pray he will see his sins, confess, and seek restoration with his Savior.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yesterday cont'd

Besides spending all day in court yesterday there were other things happening:
  • Yann, our young man from Holland told us he would be leaving; his European world view and our Christian world view just were not meshing to his liking. He's only 22 years old and we told him we didn't want him to stay if he were not happy. We will continue to pray for God to soften his heart to the urgings of the Holy Spirit. (Please join us in praying for Christian helpers)
  • Our truck is back in the garage for the air after having fixed it once again, it blows hot air and I have no turn signals or brake lights, the overdrive light flashes, and the ABS light stays on....any mechanics looking for work?
  • The girls went to their first dance class lessons and they LOVED IT! Today they head for girls soccer practice.
  • The little guys came home with good reports...AGAIN!!! PTL!

Small Gifts - Big Miracles

What follows below is an excerpt from the devotional BrassTacks Sermons sent to us by a friend.

The author below is speaking of those of us who take 'exemptions' from giving because we don't have enough, and he references the boy whose lunch fed the 5ooo.

"This boy gave what he had. It wasn’t much. Jesus took the gift and fed a multitude. Big miracles happen with small gifts. Maybe we need to ponder this story before we claim a giving exemption.
Jesus blesses people through the gifts of other people. Jesus didn’t magically produce food for the crowd. He took a gift of food – and a small gift at that – and used it feed many. When we claim an exemption, God is not deprived of what we have. Rather we are deprived of the chance to be involved in the miracle of what God is doing in this world.
In the end, claiming a giving exemption saves us very little and costs us a great deal."

Ask yourselves if you've taken a 'giving exemption', if you've inadvertently deprived yourself of the opportunity to be part of God's miracles. God is working a miracle through these 10 children and you have the opportunity to be a part of that through your giving, going, & praying!

More Court Time

Yesterday was another day spent in Court in the government's effort to permanently put an end to Father Vincente's abuse of children. The wheel of justice turns slowly here, but it appears it does turn!

Gershon, Fabiola, Mauricio, and I all testified yesterday before a judge in what appeared to me to be akin to our Grand Jury setting. Present were Father Vincente & his lawyer, the lawyer for Fiscaglia (Justice Dept. or in the U.S. District Attorney) and the Judge. She first heard opening remarks from each of the lawyers and then called me to testify, asking exactly what I observed when I first went to Alzira, the children's prior home.

I told her of all the horrors we saw first hand and then she called each of the children individually to ask them more specific questions, such as: "Did you ever see Father Vincente hit any of the children, or did he ever hit you?" Fabiola was first up and she initially froze...frightened to the point of silent tears because Vincente was sitting right behind her. Although they allowed me to sit between the two of them, his presence was obviously huge in her mind. Eventually she did open up about some of the other abuses like the dirt, lack of toilet paper, lack of food and clothing, etc. I imagine at this point "Padre" Vincente was feeling pretty confident in himself when they called in Mauricio, but his confidence was to be short-lived! Mauricio unloaded everything in machine gun manner, devoid of all was clear cut, precise, and very, very damaging. He told them of Vincente beating many of the children on repeated occasions and even told them of one time Vincente swung at Gershon only to miss because Gershon ducked, and then grabbed him by throat and slapped him back and forth across the face telling him, "Because you ducked, now you're getting more." Next Gershon himself recounted many of the beatings he endured at the hands of this "Priest"!

At the end of the day we had to sign our testimonies and when we did the court stenographer told us the Judge had decided that Father Vincente was guilty of Child Abuse and Concealment of Evidence. That means that he will be held over for an actual trial. He ask for permission to leave the country, but it was denied him until he has gone through the trial.

It was a necessary, but traumatic day...for the children. Father Vincente's actions in the court room were child-like, repulsive, and reviling. He made many attempts to gain the attention of our kids, by coughing, laughing, gesturing, staring, etc. It was difficult to not say or do anything, but the Lord prevailed and allowed Vincente to expose himself!

Much more happened yesterday as well, but that's enough for now.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sat. in Oct means College Football, right?

Wrong, Saturday in October in Honduras means 10 hours of drilling in the tough Honduran sun! I'm fried, but we battled through a lot roadblocks and finally hit another aquifer at 110'. We ran into some problems with the mud pump so we didn't get the casing set, but hopefully on Monday. Pray for the mud pump.

Gershon, Mauricio, & Fabiola went along and become the pied pipers of the village...they took cookies and gave them out to the children and then to the adults as well. Needless to say they were the hit of the village and they even wound up eating tamales in one of the homes, and Fabi came back with her finger and toenails painted! Our Ambassadors!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Perfect Timing

The brutal heat returned today, just in time for the air conditioning in our truck to go out...AGAIN! Seems Honduran fixes don't last long.

Our 3 young non-conformists who last week finally came home with glowing remarks from their teacher came home today with this notation: "He hitted another child"....that's not a misspelling!

Finally found a dance studio for our three's a beautiful facility and they are going to take our girls at 1/2 price! They start on Tuesday and are already excited.

Joyce and Fabiola got three McQueen cars for Angel's up-coming birthday, 100 twinkle lights for our Christmas tree, a candy cane for the front door, angel ornaments for the tree, garland for the tree, Christmas tree balls (24), and a family sized umbrella all for $20! Good shoppers those two...and they have plans to make the rest of the decorations themselves.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dentist Report

I told you we were taking the kids a few at a time to the dentist for the first time in their lives. With two kids left to go we are at 39 cavities and counting....................

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Christmas Prep

I know it's way early to be talking about Christmas, but here the longer you wait the more things cost you, as they raise prices the closer you get to the actual date. So, today we purchased our first Christmas tree...I know to some that may sound like frivolous spending, but for children who've never had a tree of their own this is an important step in our coming together as a family!

It's true that we're short on money and that we are always asking for more, and that this isn't a necessity; but.............imagine, if you can, what this will mean to 10 children who all their lives have been cast-offs. This year they, too, will be able to celebrate the way others do, this year they won't be different, this year they won't have to look at the trees of others with longing eyes...this year they will have their own!

We are hoping that at least 10 of you will volunteer to send finances to purchase Christmas gifts for the kids. We understand it 'feels' much better to buy something yourself and then ship it here; but the cost of shipping is prohibitive.

So, with no apologies, we announce to you that we have our 1st Christmas tree and are looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cold Weather Gear

Things to Ponder

Things to Ponder:
  1. Ever set the table, prepare the food, serve the food, clean the table, wash the dishes for 39 meals a day?
  2. How many boxes of tissues can 10 runny noses consume?
  3. Ever look for long sleeve shirts or jackets only to find out someone (Carla) cut all the sleeves out?
  4. Ever take 10 children to the dentist who've never been there before?
  5. Ever do 3 loads of laundry EVERYDAY?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Earthquakes, downpours, & the return of the Monkey

In the last three days we've had two earthquakes; one was 4.3 and the other 5.3 on the Richter Scale. No damage at our home... We have also just had 24 plus hours of unbelievable rain accompanied by a very welcome cold front. We actually have not had to have any air conditioning all day...and that is unbelievable. Lots of minor flooding in the area and more rain forecast, but again, God has spared us from any damage.

The Return of the Monkey is actually a misnomer...he never went anywhere! But he did come back in a big way today. I was standing outside laughing as he "hitched" a ride on the back of a teenage girl on roller blades who was doing everything she could think of to get him off, when he decided to get down and get into the car of one of our teachers. His windows were down and our 'friend' decided he'd better take a look, so he climbed into the front seat. We quickly found out our teacher was a smoker because the monkey came out of the car with a pack of cigarettes in his hand and climbed atop the car. There he sat pulling out one cigarette after another, chewing on them a bit, looking quizzically at them, and then throwing them to the ground. The teacher was frantically running from side to side of his car trying to reclaim his cigarettes when the monkey decided to get down, run across the street and sit on a rope fence. There he pulled out one more cigarette, put it into his mouth and leaned back on the rope as if he were just relaxing with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth! One mad teacher, one pack of cigarettes destroyed, & one funny monkey!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rainy Season?

Today must be the official start of rainy's been pouring non-stop since early this morning! We braved the weather and made it to church, but have been stuck inside ever since. Hoping to finish a well tomorrow, but can't do it if this doesn't let up.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

No Stroll in the Park -part 4

Plates, we finally have plates!!!

Nearly $5000 & 3 weeks later, we have plates.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No Stroll in the Park -part 3

Another day passes and no everything was shut down for an unscheduled National Holiday...Honduras qualified for the World Cup in 2010 for the first time since 1982 and so they declared today a National Holiday...can you believe that? In a country that is the essence of inefficiency they close the country because they won a soccer game...and got lucky! (if the U.S. hadn't tied Costa Rica in the last 30 seconds, Honduras would not have made it). So, I couldn't pay my bribe AGAIN!

I did manage to get a mechanic out to the drill site to do some minor repairs on the rig; hopefully it will run tomorrow if I can get my plates.

Dentist appointment at 6:30a.m. for Mauricio! Actually, that's when we sign the waiting list; who knows when we will actually see a dentist?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Stroll in the Park -part 2

Day 3 of getting the tags for the truck...that's right Day 3! Went to pay the aforementioned bribe, but of course he wasn't ready to accept it, because he didn't have all the PAPERWORK! It takes approximately one ream of paper for each license plate (my calculation).

First we had to go to the bank to pay another fee (no idea what this fee is for); however, after waiting at the bank for 2 hours our "bribee" told us we couldn't pay because the tax office forgot to enter the amount and our code into the 'system'.

Next, we went back to the tax office to get our 'code' entered into the system, but guess what we didn't have? The correct PAPERWORK! Across the street to make copies for the umpteenth time.

Tomorrow they promise me I will be able to pay my bribe and collect my the way, I am now officially illegal again!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Stroll in the Park

No matter how difficult things get in the U.S., don't complain it could be Honduras! I told you a week or so ago that I finally had the truck legal and was finished with the hassling. Turns out they were just playing with me...I spent most of today standing in line, again! Seems the Hondurans invented I was supposed to get the plates for the truck and then it would be over.

You must've guessed that I didn't get the plates! I only got the papers to go to another office for another paper. Oh, they did give me a temporary driving permit that was good for two days; then they told me I could get the plates in eight days! When I asked what would happen after the two days they told me the truck would be towed.

Now, I know that you know what comes next...the bribe! If I pay 1000 lempiras I can get the plates tomorrow...since I really have no choice, guess what I'll do...PAY AGAIN!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Drilling update

We've been drilling for the past 5 days in La Sabana where the earthquake 'took out' our previous well and a second attempt was not successful. It has been extremely difficult but today we reached 87-1/2 feet with an aquifer of 25' and a clay barrier of 35'. So, I think we will be able to ream the hole again and set casing and a pump. This has been one difficult well...the first day we couldn't get past 4', the second day we couldn't get past 10', and so it went with one problem after another. But, we kept praying and believing and returning to try again and God is about to reward this village with potable water.

The real deal is this village knows how hard three different crews worked to bring them water, and we keep telling them we only continue to try because Jesus loves them and is showing them through our efforts on their behalf. So, this will be a 3 crew well with all the glory to God!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Answered Prayer

God gave the children a great example of the power of believing prayer this morning...

Fabiola had gotten a new watch a few weeks ago and this morning couldn't find it. Needless to say I wasn't very happy with that news, but didn't say much about it since it was time for our morning Bible Study. We begin our study with prayer everyday and ask who wants to pray, and then allow those who volunteer to pray. This morning Fabiola wanted to pray and when she finished I asked her if she thought it would be a good idea to ask God to help her find her watch. She nodded, but seemed unenthusiastic...I told her it wouldn't do any good to ask if she didn't believe God wanted to help her. She thought for a moment and then said she did believe it and she wanted to ask for she did.

Our Bible Study was about Samson and at the end when he ask God to help him again, we told the children that all they had to do was ask, and God would help. Mauricio said that was just like Fabiola and her watch. I thought that was a neat connection he made...then the study ended.

Fabiola went to her bedroom, where she had previously looked and looked for her watch, and there in plain view....was her watch! What a lesson all learned when they heard of the discovery and how quickly God responded to prayer!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Other Three

Don't you wish you looked this good in your pjs?

All but 3

Sugar & Spice and everything nice....

Care to guess what might be on their minds?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Honduran Justice System

This morning Gershon, Fabiola, Mauricio, Marvin (translator), & myself left home at 7:00 a.m. to go to the District Attorney's office. Once there we sat & waited for the child psychologist who would prep the children for questioning and cross examination in a courtroom procedure (he never showed). Finally at 8:30 we headed for what is effectively the Appellate Court in Honduras to await a hearing gathering more evidence for the arrest of Father Vincente. We we arrived at the court house we were told the hearing would be delayed because Father Vincente and his lawyer had not yet arrived. I told the D.A. he wasn't coming...I told her that was his modus operandi, so he could flaunt himself to them, as if he were saying, "You don't tell me what to do." She told me he had to show, that he had no choice. One half hour later she told me the hearing was seems Father Vincente had a medical emergency!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Daily Travails

Had to take care of some financial business this morning which caused a late start for drilling...hate miss the 1/2 hour of cool!

Drilled all of 4 feet when the drilling mud started escaping underground (earthquake), thickened mud and left it to set overnight...we're praying God will help us past the fissures tomorrow.

Received a phone call that I had to take Gershon, Fabiola, Mauricio, & myself to the Fiscaglia office at 7:30 a.m. They won't tell us why; just have to be there.

Had to call the village and tell them I didn't know when I could get there tomorrow...I feel badly for our new friend Won who made the trip from CA. to drill.

Pedro came home from school with raves from his teacher about his obedience; however, the other two are still stuck in the same mode.

Yann arrived from Holland today and has moved in with us(we are now 13). Joyce and I are looking forward to the help Yann will be with the kids.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Friend, Dog, & Grasping at Straws....

Yesterday Joyce & I picked up Won Kim from San Jose, CA. who is here for eight days of drilling. Won is an experienced driller and a real asset to have around, physically & spiritually.

Last night Fabiola got bitten by a dog while riding her bicycle and we had to take her to the emergency room for a tetnus shot and some meds. I told her to pedal faster! Kids never listen!

Today we returned to La Sabana to drill a new well where the earthquake crushed our previous well. We got a late start due to some unexpected problems at home, but accomplished what we needed to for the first day....tomorrow is another day.

Our 3 four year olds are giving us fits. They are about to be kicked out of school and it's not a laughing matter. We've tried everything we know and they are oblivious to everything. Please pray for Angel, Jesus, & Pedro.


Come into this house at your own risk!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

God's connections

At church today the worship leader was a Filipino woman who asked for prayer for the tsunami victims. After church I approached her to tell her Joyce, the children, and myself were praying for some personal friends there, the children of the Traballos, missionaries we help to support there. She asked about the children and where they were going to school. When I explained their situation and that they were too far behind grade level to enter school, and that we were trying to tutor them she said, "I'm a teacher and I have my own bi-lingual school. Perhaps I could come on Saturdays and give the kids a reading lesson, or phonics which is my specialty." I told her we had a child, Pedro, with a speech defect and that we could definitely use help getting the children evaluated.

She told me she was sure she could gather some of her Christian teacher friends and come to the house, perhaps every other Saturday, and work with the children! This could be nothing short of a miracle if it comes to fruition, and I completely believe it will!

Ain't God great?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Easy Day

We have 4 children on pretty severe restrictions because of various behavior problems, so that makes the day easier for us. Sad for them, easier for us....Antonio & Cesar are still on restriction from last week's bell ringing episode and Angel & Pedro for their disobedience in school...Angel hit two little girls and pulled one's hair, and Pedro hit the teacher in the face! Our little angels!

Gershon had a soccer game this morning and scored a nice goal, his team won. He's getting more confidence in himself and it shows in other areas as well. Mauricio & I had a good time watching Gershon while the others were entertained by a group of college kids.

This afternoon Joyce took the three girls for some shopping...nothing really, just a trip to the store to do some girl things. I took advantage of that to watch Penn State football!

Tonight 6 of the kids (the ones not on restriction) went to church and now all are in bed, but the 5 oldest. Quiet time is the best time!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Today's headlines..........

Excitement a la Casa: Went outside this morning to find the guards all throwing sticks up into a tree and pointing up and talking excitedly. When I went to inquire what was going on they pointed out a lime green snake about 5 feet long high in the tree. I asked why they were so animated and they told me it is extremely poisonous...that if it bites you it causes your organs to swell and burst, killing you within 30 minutes! Anyone care to go for a casual walk? (they did get it)

La Sabana: Took a ride to La Sabana to tell them in person why we haven't been able to get back to finish the well and to check on our equipment. The equipment was exactly where we left it(as I expected) and after telling them why we hadn't returned and that we would begin again on Tuesday, everyone left happy.

Surprise Visit from IHNFA: At lunch time today there was a knock on the door and three people said, "Hi" and started walking in. I started to move toward the door and the lone guy said, "You don't remember me do you?" I confessed I didn't and he told me they were from INHFA...turns out there were with us the day we got the kids. Anyhow, they were here for a surprise inspection and after talking with me, the children, Joyce, and looking around they left with big grins on their faces. They obviously thought we were doing things the right way. We are trying very hard to keep IHNFA appraised of every situation so no one gets any opportunity to turn anything against us.

Antonio: We had a doctor's appt. for Antonio today and this guy turned out to be a real doctor...imagine my surprise. Without knowing Antonio's background he could only make some educated guesses, but he said after evaluating Antonio he felt he had some retardation as a result of hereditary factors, i.e. alcoholic & drug addict parents. He has prescribed a new med that supposedly will control his epilepsy and his behavior problems. We had him scheduled for special classes beginning on Wed., but the doctor asked us to postpone that for two weeks to see how we need to adjust the medications.

College Kids Visit: We had six college students visit this afternoon to play with the children...some of them had been here before and they love the kids and vice versa, so it's a good time for all when they come. They took the kids to the tree house and they all had a great time with our newest 'wild creatures'...white-faced spider monkeys...little fellers, but cute!

College Kids Adeux: Tomorrow morning we have more (10) from the same college coming to entertain the kids, so they should get the day off to a rousing start.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What did you do today?

If someone asked me what we did today and I responded, "We took Antonio for an evaluation at Teleton." They would probably ask me, "What else did you do?"

The answer, other than get dinner & clean-up, and then get the kids ready for bed, is nothing! We did nothing else because it took 5-1/2 hours to get, not an evaluation; but an appointment! You say that can't be; but it is! We went from office to office, we waited and went from office to office; then they went to lunch. We waited and went from office to office and 5-1/2 hours later we have an appointment with a doctor tomorrow to evaluate Antonio...well, we sort of have an appointment. They know we're coming, but we don't know when the doctor might come so we just have to go early and wait for him, or else there will be many in front of us. It is unbelievable how inept the world without Jesus really is!

We got 4 of 5 bikes repaired today...they weren't maliciously destroyed; just ridden to death! Tomorrow we'll get the other one. Tonight all were happily terrorizing the neighborhood as they zipped up & down the street.

Have Truck Will Travel

Yesterday was the first day of trying to catch up on our the errands we couldn't do for the past 11 days. Most of the day was spent in a conference with the three little boys teacher and principal. They were dismayed at the task we had given them...they told us some parents were coming to school telling them their children didn't want to come to school because of our kids. You better be tough if you're going to interact with this bunch!

However, they did say the three are beginning to make small steps of progress and we discussed various means of instilling discipline into them. We also had the opportunity to fill them in on the children's background which gave them a new sense of what the children are battling and what it will take to help them. Overall the meeting was very productive and we look forward to seeing the kids start to show respect for others. That sounds so simple, but you have no idea............

Then, it was a trip to the vet, a stop to get a watch repaired for Fabiola, head to Cepudo to pick up money for downhole pipe, look for a pharmacy, drop Gershon, drop Mauricio, pick-up Gershon, pay internet, pay water bill, pick-up Mauricio and finally return home. That may not sound like much, but believe us it took ALL DAY!