Straight on Through

Things in my head and now …. not

February Honduras Trip 2009

What do a Sales Representative, Retired Business Owner, Psychologist, Mechanic Shop Owner, Office Manager, Waiter, and High School Student have in common?

They are the group that made up our Honduras Missions Team that returned back to the States on Saturday February 28th after ten days.

So here I go, in my typical “note taking, journaling” way…. I give you the Honduras 8:

Tim Lake, Al and Julie Steiff, Steve Lanham, Justin DeChantal, Kacee Kruse, Laura Shipman (who stayed at the main Mission House helping out) and myself.

We left Wednesday February 18th and stayed over night in Houston Texas.  From Texas, we caught our flight the morning of the 19th to Tegucigalpa Honduras.

We were picked up at the airport by the Manuelito Project bus and went directly out to the Mission which is about 2 hours from the airport in Talanga.  I was able to catch some great pics on the bus of Justin talking to Antonio, an incredible man we had met before who was catching a ride with us.

Once at Manuelito the kids surrounded us.  The younger boys, Carlo (10), Christian (9) had pictures of Justin and Kacee from last year.  We had time to reacquaint with the kids before dinner.

Dinner was a hamburger, bean dish with tortilla chips, water melon and musk melon.  It was kind of like a thick chili.

Friday February (Febrero) 20th…

Up at 5:45 a.m.  Had a good nights sleep thanks to Ambien.  It is Friday so it is time to take our Malaria pill (“Malaria Friday!”)  Breakfast is scrambled eggs, cereal, musk melon and watermelon.

At 7:30 a.m. we are on the job.  We are working on an administrative building for the project.  Our job today is shoveling dirt, and lots of it.  The dirt is hard and rocky.  The temperature is about 80 degrees.

Lunch was a chicken tortilla hotdish that was SO GOOD!  Also an incredible salad made out of lettuce, peas, hard boiled eggs and a good dressing (I may have to duplicate that one here!), water melon and brownies (good brownies…. really good brownies…)

Then back to the job site where we continues to shovel until 4:30 pm.

Supper was:  meat, salsa, refried beans, musk melon, fried plantains, and oatmeal cookies.

After supper we discussed as a team the possibility of painting the interior of the main building that we stayed in.  The walls were a lighter color and the paint was wearing away and from all the kids and teams the lower parts were dirty and worn.  Jeremy (our Interpreter and Team Coordinator) told us the supplies to do all the rooms would run about $300 in US dollars.  We agreed.

We discussed paying for two of Natividad’s grand kids to go to school.  Natividad is the “Jefe” (pronounced hefey) boss of the work team jobs and a Pastor of a small church.  He is 70 years old.  His grandsons work on the projects too and the ones we were referring to we had worked with in past years.  School for the two boys would cost $200 US dollars.  We agreed to do this as well.

We needed rakes for the project and as a team we decided to purchase two.

Our Friday night devotion was on Matthew 5:14 – 16.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Jeremy read this in Spanish.  We talked about being the light and how we are to run into the darkness of the world.  Be the Light.

Saturday February (Febrero) 21…

5:00 a.m. … The geese must die.  (They start their honking at about 5 a.m. directly outside our window.

Up at 6:20 a.m.  Eat at 7:00 a.m.  Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs with bacon in it, sausage, watermelon, Cafe (coffee).

7:30 a.m. back to the work site, day two of shoveling. The weather is cooler today and a bit drizzly on again and off again.  The guys now on cement love the coolness… I miss the heat.  This is unusual weather for us when we come here it is usually HOT HOT HOT.

Lunch is a great spaghetti, watermelon, and cake.

Back to shoveling (need to work off all that pasta!)  We stop working early today because it is Saturday.  We had free time to play with the kids and get cleaned up.  We had time to use the internet in the new computer building, and then late afternoon we went hiking up a near by hill to take pictures.  Many of the kids came with us as well as Maria from Denmark who is a t Manuelito for 6 months as a helper.  She is really nice and has been at Manuelito Project for 3 1/2 weeks.

In the evening we discussed how the kids are so used to teams coming in and out of their lives.  When a team comes back again and again the kids feel loved.

Our devotion this evening was on Ephesians and we discussed how it is important to settle differences, be at peace withe veryone, and always do your best.

This evening Julie Steiff joined our group (she flew in later due to a work commitment).  Now we are a full team!  By 9:18 I was shot and in bed.  I am working on reading our book club read for March, Firefly Lane.  This is the third book since we left Brainerd.

Sunday February (Febrero) 22…

6:38 a.m….. after the “Goose Musical” at 5 a.m., I fell back asleep.  It is Sunday and we are having Eva’s 15th birthday celebration today.  In Honduras turning 15 is a big deal, a point of growing up from being a child, to a young woman.  There will be a big party this evening and because of this we will not go into town for Church as we are helping with preparations.

The kitchen is busy with additional help today.  They will be grilling tonight and there are large tubs of meat that they are seasoning with garlic and large limes.

This morning I study in Matthew 25… (one of my favorites)

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’

The least of these…. this really gets me when we are here.   I love living out this scripture by serving in Honduras.  This led me then to Isaiah 58:7:

7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

Since we did not have church, the team gathered by the tree (my favorite tree!0 and did a little devotion together on letting your yes be yes, and your no be no. We talked about the importance of telling the truth when we speak.

We spent the rest of the morning cleaning the building that was going to be “party central” later.  We picked up garbage, swept, mopped, mowed, and helped with prep.

Late afternoon we had time to get cleaned up and relax a bit.

Eva’s ceremony was incredible.  She had a beautiful dress and close to 80 people attended this event.  Wow!  Different people would get up and speak and each one would give her something.  A necklace, a tiarra, exchanging her shoes from slippers to high heels, and Tim was the one asked to represent her father and give her a ring.

Afterwards it was a celebration with music and food and cake.  We were able to get great pictures of this event.  This went on until late.

This evening we sat in the yard with Wonka and talked about his invisible (ha ha) girlfriend, the one we hear about but never see… Wonka shares a few stories about Manuelito and how he has been involved in one way or another from the start from playing basketball at the Transition house to painting the very first building on the property.

Monday February (Febrero) 23…

Up at 5:00 a.m. but not due to geese but the guys (Jeremy, Wonka, and Steve) who ambushed the kids and forced them into the showers as a prank this morning.

Time for Cafe!!!!  Woo hoo!!!

I do a devotion on Matthew 5:38-42… (this is part of a Honduras Mission book we each receive)

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’[a] 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,[b] carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

I really try to live this way.  I try not to be negative, to fuel rumors, or respond negatively to someone elses negetive attitude.  I work at staying positive and for the most part, I believe I succeed.

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m.  Omelets with refried beans and cheese, watermelon.

Julie and I start the day by painting the bathrooms in the main house with oil base white paint.  It really brightened things up.  We chose a color for the rest of the walls, terracotta.  It looks pretty good, a rich, warm color.

We paint until lunch time while the rest of the team is on cement and dirt work.  Lunch was:  meat, vegies, fruit and green salad.

At this point in the mission, Tim, Al, and Julie are all not feeling well.  All three had felt a bit under the weather before they arrived in Honduras and it just hasn’t let go.

The weather is cool again today and a bit windy.  Great to be working outside in and to dry paint.  After lunch, Al comes in to help Julie with the paint and I go outside to help with shoveling.  We continue through the afternoon.

Supper is a spaghetti hot dish that is so good.  We really do eat well here and most of us work up a pretty good appetite.  I have two helpings.  I probably shouldn’t have but it was so good!  We also had fruit and cake.

We discussed as a team going to Natividad’s church on Tuesday evening.  Natividad wanted us to do the service instead of him.  Julie thought we should theme our talk around grace and each of us could speak a couple minutes on God’s grace in our life.

In the evening we played with the kids and Al handed out Spanish Bibles that he brought to the kids.

Tuesday February (Febrero) 24…

6:00 a.m. – Up!

This is Eva’s actual birthday today and tradition is that if it is your birthday you go into the pilla (where the kids wash their clothes).

The washer has been broke all week so many of us have been wearing the same clothes.  I try the pilla today for washing my clothes too…

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. – burrito wrap with egg, refried bean, fruit.

Last of the shoveling dirt is completed today throughout the morning and afternoon.  The painting is also completed today in the main area and our bedroom.

Lunch is corn on the cob, watermelon, lots of vegies, baked chicken and chocolate cake.

The team is pretty shot today.  The work has started to take its toll and we are all tired and a bit sore.  After lunch it was hard to get us moving again!

I went out and took a picture of Gexon and Christians mom’s memorial marker.  She died of aids at the age of 23 three years ago.  She lived behind the Manuelito project with the kids in a small wood and cardboard shack for lack of a better word.  As she became really sick she gave the kids up to Manuelito Project to raise.  Julie and I had a chance to pray with her that year that she gave the kids up.  Our team was actually at Manuelito when all this took place.

Tuesday evening we went to Natividad’s church and I seen Freddy, a little boy that I had met 4 years ago.  Every year I have looked for him and this was the first time that I had seen him since that first time!

We all spoke at church about Grace in our lives.  When we arrived back at the Project I was shot (not literally) and went to bed.

Wednesday February (Febrero) 25…

5:58 a.m. – Up….

Breakfast is french toast with honey instead of syrup, scrambled eggs, watermelon and sausage.

40 Days of prayer is starting at church back at The Journey North so Al leads us in the devotion book for this.  Today we are praying for:

  • God and His people
  • Our Country
  • Teenagers to make decisions for Christ

We are traveling to Tegucigalpa today.  We leave at 7:30 a.m. and our first stop is at AFE to see this mission and how it is doing.  This is where the November 2009 Team is going to work.

We are all amazed at how much the project (AFE) has changed since last year!  They have a man Rey, and his wife that have started working with this project last April and what a difference this help has made!  There is 2 more building up than last year, they are putting on a kitchen area and dining room, they have plans to put in housing for mission teams and for the older kids to stay in once they need to move on to further their schooling…. it is INCREDIBLE!  They have 15 people on staff now compared to last years 3 or 4….  I am really excited to work there this November!  (People interested give the church office a call 824-5617).

We go into the mall in Tegucigalpa to pick up a new washing machine for Manuelito.  As a team we decided to purchase one with the money we brought with us from the mission account.  This is a good purchase as the mission needs it to wash bedding and the large amounts of laundry they have between teams coming in and all the kids.  We get a chance here to stop at a coffee shop where we get a Honduras favorite for me, Kacee, and Justin – the cafe granida (I think thats what it is).  Kind of an iced mocha flavored coffee… takes almost like a milk shake.  It is so good!!!

Next stop – Transition House above Jorge’s church.  This is where the kids go when they are brought off the streets.  This is where they stay for usually 6 months or more, learning, getting off the drugs (in most cases glue), and prepping to go to Manuelito.    Currently there are 11 kids in the Transition House – 8 kids, 3 babies (5 years old or less).  22 kids are at Manuelito.

We eat lunch at the Transition House and hang out with the kids a bit before we move on to Jeremy’s house.  Lunch is Fresca, Diet Coke, fried plantain, ham, vegies, refried beans, and rice.  So good!

At Jeremy’s we are picking up the fish and plants for the aquaponics at the Manuelito.  We have to empty the talapia out of the 50 gallon tubs and put them into another 50 gallon tub that we will take on the bus with us to Manuelito.  It is a pretty cool system…. the fish waste is what fertilizes the plants and you are able to grow vegies or whatever.  I don’t know a lot about this so I am probably getting the details all wrong…

We get a chance after this to stop at yes, yet another coffee shop – Coffee Americana and we load up again on caffeine – ha ha!  Another cafe granida for me please!

Back at Manuelito supper is ready when we return.  Tortillas fried with cheese and refried beans, watermelon and brownies.

After dinner we put together the fish pond thingy… then we did our devotion in the yard where we talked about going the extra mile (more Matthew 5…)

If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,[q] carry it two miles. 42Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

We discussed how we go the extra mile in our lives and we gave examples of what we were currently doing on the project like seeing the need for painting, or a washing machine – we are not asked to do these things but we see the need … we discussed how we do it at home…. staying late on the job to finish, not only giving someone a ride when needed but fixing their car…

It started to rain so we finished our devotion inside.  We had a great discussion on friendships.  During our talk we lost power which is not unusual for this area.  We grabbed flashlights and our head lamps and talked on.

Thursday February (Febrero) 26…

5:00 a.m.   hear the kids

6:00 a.m.   Alarm

A cooler foggy morning… I actually wear a sweatshirt this morning.  Breakfast is pancakes w/ honey, scrambled eggs w/ bacon, musk melon.

40 Days of prayer this morning asks us to pray on:

  • Solid marriages
  • Christ calls many to Himself
  • Intercept our runaway Faith

This morning Tim, Al, Wonka, and I go to Nathanial’s church to talk with him.  I am the writer so I go to document the discussion.  Nathanial is a Pastor of a church in Talanga who we have partnered with and send financial help to through The Journey North.

Nathanial tells us that he has seen growth recently in his church.  He currently has 150 members but has seen a large growth spurt over the past month.  He wants us to pray that by the end of this year he will have 500 members.

They are preparing for a big event where they are inviting the community.  They will feed them, baptize those who wish, and offer membership.  He then took us to a home near by that has 7 kids that our support from TJN has allowed him to feed once a week, buy them school supplies and pay for their schooling.  Our financial help this past year has helped them do this for 20 kids.  This year he hopes to help 30.

On the may back to Manuelito Tim is pulled over by the police for making a u turn.  (Had to mention that…)

With the washing machine, Julie and I start working on the laundry.  We get the teams clothes all cleaned up and then help with the kids.  We do this until 11:30 when we lose power due to lines being hit by construction workers in town.  Time for lunch anyway….

Lunch is lasagna, salad with peas and hard boiled eggs, water melon.

After lunch a few of us (Julie, Justin, Kacee, me, and Wonka) walk into Talanga to grab a few things from the shops.  I like to buy hot sauce in Honduras and we were picking up soap for Karol, Kacee’s mom.  Hot sauce there is 10 Limperas each (about 55 cents) and we purchased pop for the team (bottles are also 10 Limperas each).

It was actually hot and sunny out by later afternoon!  The guys finished up with the cement work by 2:30 and part of the team worked on clothes until late afternoon.

We had a little internet time before supper so we were able to send emails out and catch up with friends and family back home.

Supper was:  Chicken, melon, sweet rolls (so good – I ate two), toast

We had short showers tonight as the water was just back on and we were told the water would be low.

Tonight was the good bye program the kids put on on teams last night.  The kids sing and dance and this year for some reason it hit me a bit harder than past years.  At the end the kids sang a song about friendship and I lost it.  Jeremy ended the program with saying something really important.  He said that it is easy to come to Manuelito and see things that need to be worked on or point out flaws (as in anything)… but we need to look at these kids.  Kids that were once homeless, on the streets.  You see them now and you see Eva – who just had an incredible celebration for her birthday…. you know God’s hand is on this project.  God is working here.

This was our night for good byes.  The younger kids had school early in the morning so this was our last chance to hang out with them and it was an emotional one.

Friday February (Febrero) 27…

Up at 5:57 a.m.

It is “Malaria Friday!”  (Time to take our medicine….)

We clean up our room, start the sheets in the washer, pack up… Wonka, Julie, Tim, and Al take extra supplies we brought to Nathanial’s church in town.

We had breakfast, packed up the bus, and were off to the valley of the Angels at 8:30 a.m.  We had an opportunity to shop for an hour, grabbed coffee, and then drove into Tegucigalpa for lunch at Popeye’s.

We then went to the Mission House, set up our rooms for the night and relaxed for the afternoon.  I went with Laura and ladies from the mission house to the outdoor market for fruits and vegies.  We walked the streets of teguc… that was cool.

We left for supper at 5:00 p.m. to a nice restaurant where the portions are HUGE.  All leftovers went with us to our next stop – the streets.

We went out on the streets to give food and juice to the street kids.  We were able to go with all the older kids of Manuelito which is just amazing when you think that they were once street kids and now they are helping other street kids – in some cases, their friends.  This years group was… calmer.  It was a different feeling as it really is every year.  It is always so sad to see these kids strung out on glue.  We are told time and again that it is too late for these kids – we are here to see where the kids we just spent the week with came from.

We drove to another part and were able to see Heydi who was at Manuelito up through last year and is now with her mom.  It was good to see her.  Tim had a chance to talk to her with an interpreter.

A verse comes to mind…. “You will know we are Christians by our love…

Over all thoughts…  It was another different year.  It felt different and it of course, was.  I had moments where I would sit back and just observe what was happening.  The kids running… wrestling… laughing…. and then there are moments like with Christian who sits next to me on the grass and as I rub his back this tough little kid just melts into me… and I see a glimpse of the child under the strong front… the child who lost his mom to aids, who had an abusive father… and for a moment I am allowed to see that child before he runs and plays again with his new family of Manuelito.  I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing mission and I will be here as long as He says “Go.”

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion, Just me, Life thoughts | 9 Comments