Tuesday, September 25, 2012

And the work goes on....

We've been blessed this week to host our very first team from Orphan's Heart in Florida. On Saturday 9 men from FBC Milton, Florida arrived along with Orphan's Heart chairman, Ron Gunter, and the next morning they jumped into the task of building 3 houses.

Sunday we were at the site by 7:15 a.m. and this crew was eager to get their hands dirty...and did they ever! They plowed through the work at breakneck speeds and then at 3:00 p.m. we stopped to have a church service with the village. It was a great service as the village was blessed to hear 5 personal testimonies from the men...and it was very moving for everyone in attendance. At the close of the service one of the Hondurans there felt called to stand and address the congregation thanking God for sending Orphan's Heart and the men of FBC Milton! It was a very fulfilling day!

On Monday it was more of the same...early to work and no slacking; by the end of the second day they had the blocks for the walls up on 3 houses...amazing! Admittedly we were all getting stiff, sore, and drained from the heat; but it didn't deter anyone.

Tuesday morning Ron greeted me with the news that the men felt led by God to provide an additional blessing for the village. During the night they felt like God was calling them to provide a week's worth of food for everyone of the 30 families currently living in El Doradito. With the money they gave we were able to purchase enough food to provide flour, rice, beans, manteca(oil), and cookies for a family of 5 for an entire week! Other than receiving a new house that may have been the biggest blessing these families ever received.

You want all that dirt where?

I'm comin' Blackie!!! (inside joke)

Me too, Blackie, me too! (more inside jokes)

This is actually starting to look like a house!

First we move all this dirt in here and now you want it all tamped down? I'm sick of this dirt!

Two more days to go and we're closing in on completion. Please pray for continued safety and expediency in  our work.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Urgent Prayer Request...

Please lift up our Chief Medical Officer, Robin Demboski. Robin has been suffering with kidney failure for years and for the past year has been on the kidney transplant list. Today she was taken to the hospital for some type of surgery and will begin dialysis tomorrow.

Robin is a selfless servant of the Lord who gives everything she has and then some. Haiti has a special place in Robin's heart and she's made many trips there with medical supplies and treated literally hundreds and hundreds of patients...all while suffering with her kidney disease.

Please, please pray for Robin, her husband, and her children.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A very, very difficult day...

Today was one of those days nobody wants to endure, but everybody has to experience at some point in their lives. It was a funeral and it wasn't even immediate family; in fact, it wasn't even blood family at all...but it was extremely painful!

The central force of the little village (El Doradito) we've been working emanates from Consepcion and her family. Yesterday her father, Santorino who was 62 years old, passed away and today he was buried. Santorino had been in poor health for the past 3 or 4 years due to a stroke and then a fall that caused a broken hip which was never set. After the stroke he lost much of his speech capabilities and after his fall he slowly lost all of his ability to walk. During the time he was still able to walk he would often struggle to make his way down to wherever we happened to be working to just watch us. Whenever I or anyone would stop to speak with him his face would shine like the noonday sun. Despite his maladies he was always in good spirits and was revered by the entire village; to the point that most simply referred to him as "Abuelo" or grandfather! His passing literally touches everyone in this tiny village, because he displayed what so many of us find difficult: high spirits in the face of torturous physical suffering! Some would tell you that Santorino wasn't saved, that he hadn't accepted the Lord; but I'm not so sure about that. I would almost swear I could see Jesus in his smile, in his demeanor, in his aura. I feel fairly certain that there was ample evidence of the Holy Spirit working inside of Santorino even if he didn't, or couldn't communicate that to us.

When we arrived at the cemetery Dulce, one of the granddaughters Consepcion is raising, took my hand and said, "come see where my mother is buried." Five years ago Dulce's mother was murdered in a robbery and since then she and her sister have been raised by Consepcion. Reaching the gravesite Consepcion pointed to the weed covered area with a few crosses poking above the weeds and said, "there is my daughter and here are my two sisters." Clearly this would be a pain-filled day. Now we all moved to the gravesite for Santorino.

Burials here are not like in the states...here there is no embalming so the odor is overwhelming and everything is makeshift and hurried. Some men were still removing dirt from the grave as the pick-up pulled up with Santorino's casket in the back. Encircling the casket with two ropes, four men hauled the casket from the pickup to the open grave and some women began to sing funeral dirges. There were no words spoken, no gestures made; they simply began to lower the casket down into the earth and then shovel by shovel they covered over the life of Santorino. With the reality of the end setting in Consepcion began to wail and to collapse. Many gathered around her trying to comfort her, while some of us prayed, but all was to no avail. Her remorse was overcoming her and she became more and more hysterical. And as she became more hysterical her daughter and granddaughters became more and more frightened. It was painful!

Consepcion is the spiritual gyroscope for this village...they see her strength daily, they watch as she endures through her prayers and her faith, and they gain strength from her. As they watched her unravel in grief you could almost see fear and uncertainty washing over them. For me, it etched in stone how vitally important it is for us to sow the words of Jesus into this village so they can endure the trials that are coming their way!  They desperately need to be weened away from depending upon their matriarch and guided to the Father in heaven! Perhaps today will be a day of new beginnings for them, perhaps today will help them to see the truth of needing Jesus for themselves, perhaps today will bring about a communal healing for this tiny village that will truly turn them into the body of Christ! Pray for Consepcion and her family; but pray for this village, as well.

As we were driving back we received a call telling us that a 12 year old girl from the village had been tortured and murdered in San Pedro Sula this morning. Maria, a young girl who had stumbled into the snare of gang membership, was stabbed repeatedly with a fingernail file to where she was almost unrecognizable and then HUNG!!! Let that sink in for a moment...HUNG!  In the 21st century, in the Western Hemisphere: HUNG!  Displayed publicly to send a message... It makes me sick to my stomach to know that this news will not illicit much, if any, response from the citizens of San Pedro and the surrounding areas. Why? Because it's so commonplace here. People are calloused to death, to senseless killings...the notice of her death, and it's manner, will not be read anymore than the next day's weather report! What does that say about the spiritual condition of this country and the people living here? And it's not just the natives who are calloused, it's not just the unsaved; it's the churches and even the missionaries also. It's the schools, the government, the whole fiber of this country and those of us who live here are in danger of becoming hardened. So much senseless killing grows spiritual apathy like moisture grows cultures in a petry dish. It's the 'what can I do syndrome'? Recently I tried to stir up some churches to enter into a commitment of prayer and fasting. I visited several churches, large and small, several denominations, men's groups, convocational meetings, TV stations...all to no avail! Why? I believe we're becoming duped into believing we're powerless to do anything about the hold evil has on Honduras; and it eats at me! How can we be powerless? Did not Jesus tell us in Matt. 28:18-20 that He had all power on heaven and earth and He was sending us to teach, baptize, and make disciples? Again in Matt. 16:19 He told us He would give us the keys to the Kingdom of heaven and we could bind and loose! With these promises how can we be powerless? The totality of the presence of evil here slowly grows a veil over our hearts, and I believe that although we continue to do good deeds, continue to share the Word; we grow disconsolate and apathetic! We don't do all that we could be doing, all that we're called to do; we come up short and rationalize it away with our myriad of excuses. We need your prayers, we need to be strengthened so we can help to strengthen others. 

Today was just a day like every other day here in Honduras; and that is the danger of it!!! It's become the norm and we accept it! If we are to overcome the evil that is resident here, we need an army of intercessors and we need you now! Make a commitment to lift the people of Honduras in a breath prayer daily. Lift the children, the youth, the adults, the unsaved, the saved, the missionaries...all of us need you.

Thank you for your faithfulness; we lean on you!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pedro didn't have a program, but check out his slick new uniform!

Pedro standing tall!

Pedro says, "It feels good to look this handsome!"

Independence Day school celebrations...

Rosa joins her class in reciting an Independence Day reminder.

She takes the mic to share a poem.

Fabi & her Catracho partner 'steppin' out'!

Mister Catracho, Mauricio, grabs a woman for himself!

Traditional Catracho dancers...

Angel holds the Honduran map in his skit.

Soon those teeth will be back!

Cesar is lookin' happy for his turn on stage!

I hope that dove of peace comes to reside in our home!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Sunday in El Doradito...

Yesterday Will, Alba, Joel (a new friend), all the kids, and myself headed out to the village to do some sharing of the Word, playing games, and filling a swimming pool!

One of the biggest goals we have with the village is to get them to change their mindsets and the way they view everything going on in their lives. For example, here in Honduras nobody, and I mean nobody, starts anything on time. However, we've worked very hard attempting to explain to them that if they want different results in their lives they must make some changes and the first one is punctuality! Our Sunday meetings are to begin at 3:00 p.m. and now when I show up at 2:45 they are there and waiting for me! This is so huge; I'm sure you can't understand the big deal of it, but here it's absolutely unheard of! I don't mean most of them are there; I mean all of them! It's awesome and it's a beginning!

I arrived yesterday expecting to conduct a meeting to elect a committee to oversee their electric and water strategies. Everyone in the community has to pay an initial fee to have the poles installed and as you might expect some are resistant to the idea; thus the need for a governing committee within the community. Upon my arrival I was thrilled to see they were already conducting the election without any input from me...they were taking charge of their own situation, which is another change from their previous mindsets. With that process out of the way we went directly to sharing the Word. Again, we're going very, very slowly trying to build a firm foundation for their faith, trying convince them that they're important in God's eyes. When you live in a dirt floor shack all of your life and everyone looks down on you and talks down to you, it's difficult to believe that God, Himself, could see you as important.

A couple of months ago Joyce bought the village a large blow-up swimming pool and yesterday they decided they wanted to set it up and use it again. All of our kids had a blast helping to get that underway. Then after the message we set out to take some more 'before' pictures of families who will soon be getting a new home. (one of the things required is a picture of the family and the land beforehand, and then one of the family and the new home afterwards) While we were walking from site to site a storm rolled in and we all got soaked; in truth it felt pretty good when contrasted against the terrific heat of the day.

Please continue to pray for the people of El Doradito; we believe God has a very special plan for them!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Almost a week and we're still okay...

Well, mama (or Joyce) has been gone for 4 days now and we've not had any emergency room visits, no one has been restricted to sit in the chair in the corner, and no bad reports from school. But that doesn't mean we  all don't miss her greatly. After the kids have to endure my cooking over the weekend there will be a heightened state of longing!

Joyce is taking advantage of the opportunity to visit with our daughter, Nicole, in Plant City, FL. It's a great time of refreshing and renewing for her and she's already been able to catch up with some long time friends whom we haven't seen in years.

No major occurrences here...our truck is in the garage for a problem with the brakes, the drill rig is at a diesel repair shop to get the rpm's up to speed, I have an appointment for the van to have its' 20,000 kilometer check-up on Tues...but no big roadblocks, thus far. Thank you, Jesus.

Fabi's been battling a cold all week, but we think she's about over now, and the rest of the kids are all in good health. Joyce sent me a monetary gift to buy a stationary bike (recommended by our physician) and it is now assembled and on the porch. I keep looking at it with a coke and bag of chips in my hand trying to determine the best time to climb on it!  Maybe tomorrow...

Please pray for Joyce to have a great time and for us to stay out of trouble until she returns.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Continued growth in El Doradito...

Every Sunday that we're available we head out to the village to do some teaching, preaching, and youth activities with the people. We're trying very hard to remain focused on the spiritual goals here and not just the humanitarian side of things. That's not always easy to do when God has exploded the building process the way He has. We now have 18 homes complete an occupied by families who can't believe their good fortune.

But....these homes are meant to be tools or door openers for us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and as such, they are great tools. Because of the sweat equity we have in each one of their homes they will listen to us, trust us, and allow us to teach them the tenets of Jesus Christ and how to begin to walk with Him! This week as I was addressing the village I had to stop mid-message to allow four people to come forward to make professions for Jesus! We are intentionally going very, very slow in our teachings, attempting to set a solid foundation, to break up fallow ground, and to plant seeds in fertile ground! We're not enticing them into making public professions so we can count their numbers; we're leaving the decisions up to them. We ask them each week to consider it, to think on it, and then tell them it's their decision and they can do it wherever and whenever they please. 

It's so neat to see their attitudes toward each other, toward their children, toward the land they live on changing so dramatically without us directing them to change. The Holy Spirit is moving in them in unmistakable ways and we continue telling them God has chosen them for a very special work. As they learn more and more about their Father in heaven they are beginning to see that they are important, not because of what they have or what they've accomplished; but because of who has chosen them! With that understanding comes self-respect and with self-respect comes the ability to believe that God can use even them for some special work. 

In addition to my teachings we now have Will working with the youth of the village and his girlfriend Alba is working with the younger children. We are really beginning to become a community, a family...and it feels so good! Please pray that our ears and hearts will stay open to the urgings of the Holy Spirit, and that we might continue to help this special group of people find their walk with Him!