Friday, July 31, 2009

Summertime Cleaning

This past year in particular, I've become rather smitten with essential oils. I especially love them for cleaning. It's true, I do sort of enjoy cleaning. That said, it's still a job, so if my labors result in everything smelling fantastic, I find it to be huge payoff. My favorite essential oil uses? The dryer to scent the laundry, in that old musty vacuum bag, and the floor cleaner. Mmmm, yes, my floor cleaner!

I've taken to making most of my cleaners and detergents, but I've found the best wood/floor cleaner to be Glista Clean concentrate. It works well, has fairly "green" ingredients, I can order it online with free shipping, and a quart lasts a full year -- and I wash a lot of floors. In this last batch I made (1 Tbl Cleaner : 1 Cup H2O, in squirt bottle), I added a few drops of lavender and lemon essential oils. Heavenly! Fresh and perfect for summer.

Now. Maybe geranium and lemon for the glass cleaner? Oooo, the excitement!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birds in Paradise

 • Pops, the bird charmer •

• Peter, wishing he had bigger shoulders •

• Anna, slightly freaking out about the birds •

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Fearless Archeologist

The ruins of Copan were all that we had hoped for. Watching Peter was the best part. It was like introducing a voracious pianist to Mozart or a soccer prodigy to Beckham. How fascinating to see the unique qualities of a child develop and unfold before one's self.

Perched atop a Mayan temple and surveying the scene.

The chronology and history within an ancient stellae.

Climbing temples.

Peter grabs the camera and snaps a shot of mom.

Juan. Grew up with National Geographic archeologists living in his home and was so enthusiastic to share his knowledge and experiences with an eager student.

A moment in the shade. A very hot day.

Cities within cities. Juan takes us in the underground tunnels that reveal different eras of Mayan civilization.

Contented tourists.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Armload of Gladiolas

Thank you, Pops. I'm still grinning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

To Market

One of the mornings, I was able to tag along for the marketing. We went first to a local open-air market that was incredibly fascinating. The colors, the culture, the locals haggling, children dashing about, and even the occasional creepy drunk guy who makes you glad your Spanish isn't very good. As long as you've got a man in your group, it's really a lot of fun.

After, we headed to a super-mercado, looking very similar to western grocery stores. Two main differences? Product is truly packed to overflowing on shelves, apparently operating under the "more is more" theory, and the generous security guards who help you un-stick shopping baskets have loaded pistols shoved in the front of their waistbands. "Oh dear, uh ... (nervous giggle) muchas gracias, Senor."

Before we headed back to the worksite, we stopped off at a home in the village for some local tortillas. Slap a painted sign on your house and your tortilla business has begun! Fresh tortillas with locally made frijoles (beans) are muy delicioso!

video

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Noontime Comida at the Cordova's

One of the highlights of our trip was lunch in Ambrocio's home. It was so meaningful to us, to not only be served a meal in their home, but to connect to their family on such a personal level.

Right off the bat I noticed the coffee plants scattered about. They are vibrant and intriguing. When I asked if they roasted them for coffee to drink, Norma told me no, that they grow them to sell. Another small source to supplement income.

And then ... I smelled lunch. Norma had been home all morning preparing for us to arrive, as the power was out so the hotplates were not in service. So, she just cooked the entire meal outside! The tray holding the pan of food is happily resting on an old car wheel that managed to cook a meal better than any fancy-shmancy convection oven ever could.

And yes. That is fried chicken. Delicious. Just enough for the guests, Ambrocio and family declined. This was an obvious act of sacrifice and honor bestowed on us. I doubt they eat chicken very often.

Norma also served Badu. A root vegetable cooked much like a potato, but sweeter and less starchy. Combined with a few seasonings and local crema ... Heavenly.

"Where do you get badu?" I asked Norma. She turned around and pointed to this monstrously lush plant that one can find all over the place. "Just dig it up," she instructed.

No spin cycle here, but must handle the wash awfully well. We found that while our Honduran friends may not have much, they take pride in how they present themselves. Indeed, Ambrocio has a beautiful and impressive family.

Green Honduran oranges. Cut them open and they are orange inside!

Peter playing Ambrocio's Garifuna drum. Ambrocio was born in a coastal Garifuna village. A tribe who escaped slavery from Caribbean islands several hundred years ago.

Before lunch Josue, the eldest (and Peter's compatriart), took myself and Peter on a little walk to the local mercadito to by some banana soda. Think of a mercadito as a small, Honduran mini-mart. Along the way I saw fields of wild flowers.

A neighboring family's outdoor oven, and friendly donkey that so charmed me I completely forgot to take his picture.

"It is not like 'Target'," Josue informed me. No, but your shop has much more charm.

Our sweet friends, the Cordovas. Ambrocio, Norma, Josue, Angel (pronounced An-hill), Alicia, and Eliza (not pictured and pronounced A-lisa).

Americans have their own standards for wealth, but it was obvious to us that the Cordova's considered themselves very blessed. A home with electricity, a plot for a vegetable garden, wild flowers abounding, and a peaceful, caring neighborhood. The lack of Western "essentials" was apparent, but not missed. Don't get me wrong, I still love my washer and dryer, and I wouldn't mind new carpet someday. But when Ambrocio looked at us funny as we began to take our shoes off before coming inside and motioned, "Why? There is no need. We just sweep it out when you leave!" I began realizing that all my modern conveniences can often be a drag. It leads to more stuff, more care, more worry, and definitely more money. Ambrocio and his family just don't spend their minutes concerned with many of the minor things I often do. There is work to be done and people to care for!

Now really. In light of this, who is the richer?

Pie is a Good Distraction

I guiltily admit, the house is still in tatters. The laundry is now clean but rumpled in a heap. Bags and bags of ziplocs waiting to be divested of odd toiletries and bibelots. And far too many precariously stacked piles of who knows what scattered about. I've just been having too much fun bumping around with the fam and pouring over pictures (Still more to come!). Now that I think about it, I don't really feel guilty at all.

As tangible evidence of my delinquent behavior, I set about the town with the girls today. We attacked the farmer's market and made off with a basket of berries, some fresh corn, and a little bit of rhubarb (oatmeal-rhubarb muffins for breakfast, perhaps?). The sun was aggressive, but we were suitably distracted by the produce and an accordion playing shop-keeper with a penchant for singing mildly inappropriate songs. His tunes did lend to toe-tapping, and somehow accordions convince you that it is all just folksy, anyways.

For dinner we are having grilled veggies with beans and tortillas, corn on the cob, and blackberry pie. I think it will all look quite splendid with the placemats and napkins we brought back from Honduras. I like summertime distractions.

Sweet Nest Berry Pie

• 1 pie crust, baked and cooled
(I've taken a page from my clever mama and make two, freezing one. The next time you get a hankerin' for pie, it's done in a snap!)
• 1 qt. berries (blackberries & strawberries are favorites, but very ripe peaches are yummy too!)

Cream Cheese Filling:
Whip together and spread on bottom of pie crust:
• 4 oz. cream cheese
• .5 c. powdered sugar

Berry Filling:
• 4 heaping Tbl. Corn Starch
• 1 c. sugar
• 1 c. water
• pinch salt

Cook cornstarch mixture 'til thick and simmer 1 min. Mash in .25 cup berries for color. Gently fold in berries. Spread on top of cream cheese mixture and refrigerate.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

When We All Get to Heaven

The children of Honduras that we fell in love with:

video

But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
(Luke 18:16)

A Journey to Build

We embarked on a journey to build, and not just in the physical sense. It was our true privilege. Here is the first installment:

video

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.
(Colossians 1:6)

Friday, July 24, 2009

First Day in the Village

Walking up to the home we would prepare our meals, I passed by the neighbors. Out on a block of concrete in front of their home, a young baby was being bathed. The sunlight streamed down making the tableau a rather holy image.

You see great-grandmother helping joyfully. I never saw any men here, just women and children pursuing the day. I'd been told they were distant to Pastor Elmer and the church that is developing there.

But they were always willing to look me in the eyes and exchange smiles.


Little Andy was teased by the other children. "Big head and big cheeks," they called him. I thought he was extraordinarily adorable. Andy came to VBS the second day we were there. And then his sister Bessi. And then mom and baby.

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.
(Deuteronomy 10: 17-18)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And Home Again

We made it home. Missed flight in Houston (yes, I did cry) and Peter and I made it stand-by on a 10pm flight. Sweet brother-in-law managed to pick us up at 1am courtesy of a mid-flight, make-shift phone chain on a Texas woman's cell phone. Pops just got in a few hours ago, after spending the night in the Houston airport. The poor dear.

Phew! Sooo good to be back home together. I've got my girls running about me, Pops napping, the laundry machine humming (What's that?? Clean laundry?), and the house in general disorder. Just where I want to be.

Thank you dear ones for taking this journey with us! Pictures and details to come...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Experiencing

Greetings from Tela! Borrowing Pierre´s personal computer, so I´ll be brief tonight!

So...Tela. I´m not sure how we managed to get here, but we did! 4:00am wake up, tuk-tuk ride to bus station, long ride to San Pedro Sula. Two hour wait for next bus, and found route to be cancelled. By some miracle, a bus headed to La Ceiba said we could board and they´d drop us off in Tela! And where did they drop us off? Telamar, the resort that we stayed at a few days ago with the team. We knew exactly where we were!

Perused the town but it was hot, hot, hot! I opted for a swing in the hammock at the hotel with my book and the boys headed to the beach. They had some run-in´s with security, but it´s amazing how a big goofy smile will convince them you are harmless and perhaps a little addled. We´ve gotten through many issues of confusion that way!

Tonight at dinner we began really discussing and processing our experiences. Particularly those of working in the village with the nationals. The experience is so big, it´s hard to fully comprehend, as of yet. I have no idea how to express it in words at this time. But this I do know, God is mighty and at work and we witnessed it first hand. I pray those of you who supported us in all the myriad ways will be blessed as well. Thank you. It has been life changing for us and I can only imagine what he is planning to continue in our lives and those of the nationals we grew to love.

Tomorrow, a Garifuna tour and packing for our return trip home Wednesday am. Oh, girls ... we´re coming home soon!

Goodbye for now, dear friends. Most likely the last post ´til we return. Love to all.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ruined...Happily

It was as good as we'd hoped for. The Mayan ruins of Copan were spectacular. Peter was near breathless by it all. We happened upon a gentleman, Juan, who practically grew up on this archeological site. For a small fistfull of cash, we were treated to a personalized tour with details we would have never heard otherwise. History, culture, how to read the hieroglyphics, first hand information of archeological digs. As a kid, there were virtually no hotels in Copan, so the National Geographic archeologists would stay in his home with his family. They'd go out and then come home and tell him everything they did and discovered. Amazing.

He even described how the Mayan version of soccer was played. Pointing to the still existing field and then to the sloped structures on either side, it was played on field and structure, points occuring when the ball made contact with one of the six carved macaw heads on top of the structure. Incentive not to be the best player, however ... he was sacrificed on a nearby altar! A high honor, apparently. Peter was wide-eyed at this revelation.

Juan even got us into the underground tunnels for a few more lempuras. We got to explore the cities with in the city underneath the exterior temples. Wow. He said he was excited to show us everything since Peter was so rapt and enthusiastic. We climbed to the top of the ampitheater and gazed at the Honduran mountainside with San Salvador to the right and Guatemala just behind us.

Full of amazement, we then took another tuk-tuk to zip us up the mountain to Macaw Mountain where we toured the tropical bird sanctuary. At one point we had about 6 parrots and macaws hopping about our arms and shoulders in all their brilliant colors.

Afterwards Ronaldo, our tuk-tuk driver, took us back to our hotel. Well...almost back to the hotel. He (and an old, unknown Honduran man who came along for the ride) was busy shouting exclamations to various locals as we barreled down the cobblestone roads at breakneck paces. I barely had time to wonder if tuk-tuks tip over easily. After a particularly vigourous conversation, our tuk-tuk stalled out in the street and a police truck full of armed men started honking and exclaming while nudging the tuk-tuk with the front bumper. Ronaldo just waved, and smiled and off we continued. About 3 blocks from the hotel, we suddenly came to a halt. Ronaldo tossed up his hands and looked back with a smile. "No more petrol," he laughed. And so did we as we walked back to the hotel.

Very tired from a full day and up at 4:00am tomorrow for another bus ride to the north coast. Buenos Noches.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Traveling Solo

Greetings from Copan! Much has transpired since the last post. We finished up our work at the worksite and participated in a farewell church service in the church we were working on! It was very meaningful.

Hermano Hector Orlando was also honored for graduating from seminary. It was a very emotional event. He has had very little work to provide for his family, studying for seminary, helping build the church, and who knows what else. On top of that, they have adopted a little girl who was found on the streets. She had been unspeakably abused. I thought she was about 3 years old but was actually 6. She doesn't speak and doesn't feel any pain. Again, the abuse. But, she has a dazzling smile and is loved by this dear family who took her in despite their own difficulties surviving. Hector Orlando had tears in his eyes during his time of recognition. So much sacrificed, so many trials, yet such great hope. Immediately following the conclusion of the church service it began to rain like I've never seen before. Somehow, that felt significant.

After tearful goodbyes and tight embraces we headed back to the hotel for our last night to head off for a quick stay on the north coast. The coastal hotel was a resort and very nice. Almost too nice. We all felt a little uncomfortable being in such a grand place after sharing hearts with our new friends who have so little. The Caribbean ocean was gorgeous, the pool and waterslide fun, and the meal extravagent. Norma and Ambrocio showed up and, as always, were so very gracious. They did confide that they didn't feel like they fit in and liked their own home better. I think I felt similar.

This morning we said our goodbyes to Norma and Ambrocio. I feel like they are family already. Such a strange thing how friendships -deep friendships- can be established so quickly. There is a possibility of Ambrocio traveling to Portland to visit a church there! We were quite eager to recommend our home as a stopping ground. Wouldn't that be fun.

After breakfast, we had a mix up with the vans. Pops, Peter, and myself were the only ones in the group staying longer and needed to be dropped off at the bus station before the rest of the gang went to the airport. Our bags, unfortunately ended up in each van, not the same. We spent the next hour waiting and zipping around the city, looking for the silver van! It was quite an adventure. Time was quickly running out and there was even an obstacle of a wedged school bus that blocked and trapped all traffic. I could only laugh, it was so comical. I couldn't imagine we'd pull this off and make it in time to the bus station. It was like our own little "Amazing Race."

After manical driving, we finally managed to locate the needed bag and raced to the bus station like we were being chased by tornados. Honestly, it was incredibly unsafe, but somehow I was entertained by it. We then dashed into the bus station and somehow managed to do tickets, baggage check, and security without issue. And...the bus was running 20 minutes late! We boarded with minutes to spare.

We are now in Copan, a beautiful mountain town right on the border of Guatemala. Took a tuk-tuk from the bus station to the hotel and felt like quite the travelers. Sheesh those little things go fast! After checking in, we did a little bit of tourist shopping, had a delicious meal (here's to hoping we don't get sick!!) and now Peter is just heading to the pool for a dip. Tomorrow, it's off to the Mayan ruins.

We are doing well and are so grateful for all the continued prayers. We are missing the girls and are still processing the depth of our experience in the village. This will take time. For now, we will enjoy these next few days until we head home to those we love.

Adios, dear ones.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Update

Pops is doing better. Keeping liquids down, just exhausted. We´re leaving the hotel tomorrow for the northern coast. Praying he rests well tonight, heals quickly and is ready for more travel. We may or may not have email access at new location.

Quick note. I heard three little boys singing ¨Si, Cristo mi ama¨ (Jesus loves me) today while tusseling in the grass. It made me smile.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pops

First let me say, Pops is fine. However, he´s come down with a bacteria bug and was up all night with trouble from north to south. It was pretty bad and could barely get out of bed. We´ve now pumped him full of two liters of pedialyte and he´s taking some antibiotics. He is joking and smiling now, but he will stay in bed today and not go the village. This is a disappointment, as it is the last day on site in the village. I hope he can go to the final church service tonight. Pray for quick and full recovery. Also, I ate the same foods as he did yesterday, so pray I (and Peter) stay healthy as well.

There is a battle going on here. It is palpable. But God is showing His hand as well.

A Bright Honduran Day

What a fantastic day. Best day we´ve had yet. Peter is feeling sooo much better and I´m on him like a hawk...Agua, Agua!! We are all drinking a ton. Today we worked on the steel cross beams for the roof, digging trenches, mixing concrete, and our last VBS for 150 children!

At lunchtime we were all to break up and have lunchtime comina with families from the village. Such a great honor. Many of them had to borrow chairs and even silverware for the event. A few families did not eat because there wouldn´t be enough food for guests and themselves. A humbling, humbling experience for all of us but such a privelege as well.

We, along with another couple who speak the language and our own pastor were invited to Ambrocio´s home for lunch! Such joy! I was so excited to see his home. Norma served an incredible meal of fried chicken, beans, rice, and a tuber called Badu. All excellent. This was a grand meal that they would not often have. And the power had gone out so she cooked the whole meal on an open fire outside! Amazing.

After lunch we were driven to Ambrocio´s dental office where they offer up the free services to those who would otherwise have no access. We took pictures and gathered information for our continuing quest to accquire tools and materials for them.

After dinner this evening (pizza at Dominos, how funny is that?) we went to another local church for service. Brick building, dirt floors, a couple plastic chairs and a few cinderblocks with boards for seating for some. The worship and message was joyous. We have so much in America, yet we lack so much. We need more of their passion and perspective.

Today I heard the response of a pastor when asked the question: ¨What is the least I need to do to get to heaven?¨ His response: ¨Just walk toward Jesus. When you get there, you´re done.¨Amen.

Thoughts in brief:

-Honduran hotels do not tuck the foot of bedsheets in. This leads to exposed feet if your husband shifts at all. We now tuck before bed.
-Honduran hotels don´t use blankets. They use a bottom sheet, top sheet, and a top cover sheet. They change the top cover sheet (like a comforter) daily and change the curtains to match! The first time they did this, I thought we´d walked into the wrong room.
-Handmade signs everywhere and always in capital letters.
-It is horribly embarrasing to ask ¨This is Badu?¨ but really say ¨This is Bano?¨which is bathroom. They are still laughing at me.
-I can carry a 30 foot steel roof beam on my shoulder by myself. The hermanos were quite impressed. Well, actually, they were laughing at me as if I was the most peculiar thing they´d seen in a long time, but I was impressed with myself.
-Getting concrete out of fabric is not as hard as I thought.
-Honduran roosters don´t crow when the sunrises. They start about 3:30am to let you know the sun will be coming in a few hours and end about 11:00am once they are sure the sun is fully up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Good Day

Whew. He had me worried for awhile. Maybe it was just being sequestered in the itty hotel room with him all day, but you never want to see your kids ill. Especially in a foreign country. Thank you, thank you for praying. After much pedialyte, sleep, Honduran chicken broth and rice, and prayer, Peter is almost back to normal. We praise God and will keep his pace slower this week.

Work is steady in the village. Poured concrete roof crossbeams yesterday and continued on foundation for parsonage. Today we had about 80 children show up to VBS. Some are so poor they have no shoes and very little food. But today they were loved, they smiled, and they heard how much Jesus loves them.

Thoughts in brief:

-Honduran chicken stew is delicious and verrrrry calliente. They put all sorts of veggies in it including yucca, and plantains! Seemed very odd to see bananas floating in soup, but they actually tasted like squash. Really good!
-I have never drank so much water in my life. The days revolve around it.
-The Hermanos (Honduran ¨brothers¨) work so hard. They do bone aching work all day long.
-Pops is amazing. His stamina, attitude, and hard work make me proud.
-Honduran stairs are very variable. They range in height of 1.5 inches to about 7 inches and will change within a single staircase. This is cause for much toe stubbing and occasional tripping that leads to large bruises on shins.
-So grateful for my friends and family that are supporting us in prayer and excitement.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Update

Peter is doing better. Possible it was just heat exhaustion. Slowly getting the fluids down and he´s eating some crackers now. Definitely perking up more. Still just "worn out" as he says.

Still keeping a close eye on him. I´m trying to find things to do to stay busy in a small Honduran hotel. Washing laundry in the sink, hanging it to dry on the roof, organizing drawers, kicking the hotel staff off the computers to do email, reading, remaking the beds...that sort of thing.

Pray for Pops and team too. It will be an unusually long day in the village of very hard work. This is unexpected. Something about concrete and cross beams. I´m concerned about them all being out in the sun with no extra food and working so hard.

Still, we´re doing fine--just appreciating the prayers!!

Prayers Needed

Peter is battling some dehydration today. Started last night, but is now 11:00am and doing better. Staying home from village to watch him and keep the fluids down. We are okay at this point, but please pray for quick recovery of his little body.

The Joy of the Lord

Another very full, but good day. We rise at 6:15am and I think I´ll be able to hit the pillow tonight at 10:30pm. Lots of digging, cleaning, cooking, sharing, smiling, and attempts at Espanol. Thank goodness the villagers are patient and gracious.

Thoughts in brief:

-Healthy tummies are a good thing in a foreign country. We are doing well so far.
-Peter is diving into this experience in a grand fashion and making friends quickly. It is our delight to watch.
-Pops is a pick-axe tossin´champ.
-Families of taranulas live under bricks. Eeeek!
-Newborn infant bath in plastic tub on tree stump with 3 generations attending. Beautiful.
-Pastor Elmer reminds us of our joy. Our joy is complete in Jesus.
-Hondurans love to sing praise songs and clap...a lot!
-Foundation for parsonage in full progress. A joyful family of 5 will live in this 10x10 foot home.
-Little Honduran girls named Ruth make me smile.

Prayers:

-Continued health as well as good sleep.
-Safety in travel.
-Spiritual protection. We sense the need.
-Patience and effective communication.
-Relationship development with the nationals.
-God´s continued hand at work.
-Missing our sweet girls.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We are Here!

We arrived in Honduras with no major issues. Praise God! My brain is too weary to write a detailed report but here are my thoughts in brief:

-The nationals are so very happy we are here. They have been praying for us and our trip.
-Church service last night under blue tarp with one lightbulb dangling by cord was inspired. God´s church is truly His people, not the building.
-The children have sparkling eyes and ready smiles.
-Honduran bean quesidillas are absolutely fantastic.
-Riding in the jumpseat of the van up pot-holed hills is a hysterical event. I think my bum cleared 3 inches on some of the biggies.
-Vans stuck in craggy roads at night can be pushed out by 7 American men.
-Honduran dirt is as hard as concrete. Even with pickaxes.
-Duck, Duck, Goose (Pato, Pato, Gonzo) is fun for children of all nationalities.
-This is an adventure I am so glad to be experiencing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The World Awaits

Arrangements have been made for the house, for the girls, for the travel. Pops saw God's hand of provision completely cover complications at his work and allow for another opportunity to find peace and joy in the plans laid before us. Tonight we will be on a plane heading for Honduras, setting forth so we may be lead. We are excited.

In final confirmation, I received this last email just minutes ago:

Greetings from San Pedro Honduras. I arrived this afternoon. Everything continues to be normal here.

The supporters of the new government had a demonstration here today. It was only couple blocks from my hotel so I went over to it. Everything was completely calm. It was like a campaign rally in the States with musical groups and motivational speeches.

I talked with Eric. He was in Siguatpeque where he went for the day. He said that everything is completely normal.

I talked with Ambrocio and he is ready for the group. He will be at the airport tomorrow to meet you.

I have to leave first thing tomorrow morning for Guatemala so I will not be able to see you. You are in great hands with Eric and Gloria, rick and Lee Ann, and Kaytie.

I am praying for your trip.

In His Love,
Steve

If access to the internet is available, I'll post the good news and progress of our trip! Bendiciones!

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."
Mark 16: 15

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Heart

I snapped this photo as Peter was winding up the hose after giving the garden a good soak. The girls had finished picking peas and skipped over to observe their brother at his task. Such a simple slice of life.

Oh, I love these children. The most difficult part of our Honduran expedition is leaving these sweet girls behind. While I can't wait for the trip, there is a part of me that can't wait to return, so we can be whole again.

Watch over this family, Lord. Use each of us for your glory, hedged by your protective provisions. Thank you for the gift you've given us in each other. Amen.

Finishing Swimming Lessons

• The Zesty Swimmer •

• The Diligent Swimmer •

• The Serene Swimmer •

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And Another

Just received another confirmation, this time from Ambrocio:
-----
Thanks Here is all just normal time that the president thinks many will come to expect because entuciasman always sympathetic but definitely not in the country.

the moment it's all normal. the news always takes the most extreme of evil.

Thanks for your mail.
Ambrocio
(Computer Translation)

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Path of Confirmation

Two email confirmations this morning. This is what we asked for at our prayer meeting last night. The path continues to lead us forward.

-------
Greetings from Home. Our first groups canceled against our council. The group was ready to come but the leadership of the church said no. We do have a group that is arriving tomorrow and feel that there are no problems with them coming.

I got back on Saturday and will return to Honduras on Thursday. There was nothing going on to cause any fear in the areas we are going to be in. We sent to Siguatepeque last Thursday and there was no evidence that anything was going on. The only problem was the road construction which is always going on.

I talked with Mike, he is in Honduras, three times yesterday and he says that nothing has changed. Everything is working, stores and buses are running, the airport in San Pedro Sula is open, and the road construction continues. There are some problems in Tegucigalpa around the airport. Otherwise the word we received is everything is functioning as normal.

We can see no reason for you to cancel the trip. If we felt there was any danger we would not have you come. We are long ways for the capital.

I am around if you want to talk. If any of the team members have any questions, please have them contact me. I am praying for the group. God has brought you a long ways to now have it canceled.
In His Love,
Steve
-------
and
-------
Since we are NOT currently in Honduras to report directly, all I can really say is we are getting on a plane tomorrow and going to Honduras. We will let you know if anything should arise that you should know about. We anticipate nothing.

We have no concerns and, frankly, we are very excited to go back. We can't wait to see and visit with old friends and work on the Lord's Kingdom expansion. And, we are anxious to introduce y'all to Honduras and it's people.

See you Friday!
Eric and Gloria

A Loss

Pops' Grandmother Florence passed away today.

I didn't know her well, but I do know she was an intelligent, driven, hard-working woman and her pride was her family. She has eight children and a bounty of grands, great-grands, and even great-great grands to call her theirs.

We are thankful Pops' parents had already taken the trip to Montana to be with her. They were with her at the end and said she took her last breath and set her lips in determination in "the way that she does." It was as if it were her decision and she was now ready.

Thinking of her full life and feisty personality this evening. She will be deeply missed by many.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Good Morning

Spent the morning at a beautiful memorial service for the life of little Leah Grace. A little life that amazed the medical community at her 99 days and blessed everyone who was privileged to know and love her. Truly, there is joy in the suffering.

At the reception, I was able to share and chat with respected, longtime friends. They asked about the upcoming trip and were aware of the current political conditions. Naturally, no one claimed to have a revelation from the Lord, but did have wise words to share. I found their perspective immensely encouraging.

They have committed to praying with us that the Lord would slam the doors of opportunity shut if we are not to go and to give a clear sense of direction and peace either way. Amen to that!

When I returned home, I found an email from Ambrocio in my inbox. Again, encouraging. Compliments of Google Translator, here is his roughly translated text:

No classes and much silence and manipulation by the media, but everything is normal and we're eager to see them and spending time with you. and do many things.

I hope the situation will be resolved soon, or maybe time will allow the spirits to become normal.

We're just my good man died Monday night after the coup, the buried Tuesday, but that is not Pienc war, no way was a stroke that hit him and God has strengthened us all.

I encourage you today to see my mail, but we are praying for good and all.

love in Jesus Christ.
Ambrocio.

We remain willing to cancel our trip, but continue to receive messages of "go." Here's to praying, waiting, and listening ...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Honduras Update


Here is the latest update from our missions director:

Greetings from San Pedro Sula.

Everything is calm here. We can move about the city without any problem. There is a curfew but that is no big deal. They have had demonstrations in favor of the exiled president every day. They have burned a lot of tires and screamed a lot. Besides that there have not been any problems. Tuesday those in favor of the new government and president had their demonstrations. There were kept apart and nothing more happened. Today will be large demonstrations in favor of the new government

We left the city yesterday to visit a national missionary in the countryside. There was only one place where there were soldiers. That is common all the time. We drove through Siguatepeque and everything was normal.

Our group has put off their project until Saturday. They will only be here for five days. I think the group really wanted to come but the church leadership made them put it off. We were convinced that there was no problem with them coming.

Our staff has a group in La Esperanza (30 miles outside fo Siguatpeque). The team is doing fine. They are on their free day today and will leave tomorrow.
We still do not know what the exiled president is going to do. He says he is going to return but we have no idea. From the papers this morning, I would be surprised if he ever returns. Several countries have already recognized the new government.

According to the papers everything is back to normal. All the transportation is running. All the roads are open. I cannot see where anything has changed.

Pray that our team will get here on Saturday. Please pray that the situation is resolved and we can get back to serving the poor. They are the ones that affect the most when things like this happen.

Hondurans do not have a history of being a violent people and this is evidence that nothing has changed.

I do not see any problems with travel in Honduras.

In His Love,
Steve

Sure is a different perspective than the western media, isn't it? Still praying for His direction. No plans are final 'til we step on that plane ... and really, are our plans ever 'final' in light of His?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Discovering the Trocadéro

A few weeks ago I sold my first item from my little Etsy shop. I was most surprised and delighted, as I'd quite forgotten about the shop and instantly became re-inspired to sew for it again (at least after the trip!).

In celebration, I decided to do something extravagant ... buy ridiculously priced French caramels from Galipette. It's like they were free. Right? With my earnings and all...

The treasure package finally arrived, all chic in it's simplicity.

And inside? The Trocadéro caramels. The enclosed description bearing words like: Normany cream, Brittany butter, and flakes of fleur del sel (why, hand-collected petal-like crystals of Guerande sea-salt, of course!).

Oh, mercy. The sweet, the salty, the creamy ... and then I realized ...

... that heaven just might indeed be made entirely out of French caramels ...