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Beauty in the Difficulties.

Today it is 88 degrees at 75% humidity making it feel like 102 degrees, “Feels like a sauna.” Today’s low will be 81 degrees with 97% chance of rain but as of 3:30 pm, no rain. Visibility 6.2 miles, nice weather to drive, especially if you are blessed to have a/c!

Hallelujah!

 Lisa and I are alive and well as we find ourselves caring for nine hijos del Rey! (Sons of the King!)  Hard to believe six months have passed since we opened the home.  The food issues, of rice and beans with no ability of going out for a nice steak or a fresh salad has been more difficult than I imagined.  I will say that today Lisa prepared a special lunch of grilled chicken with a special sauce and a pasta salad as good as the ones I remember her making at home. I will be praying for more of this, lovingly prepared by Lisa.

I will also share that I have struggled with being task driven, causing more than its share of struggle and fatigue, between Lisa and myself and has clearly shown me my lapses and short-comings – this is where I pray for growth to continue.  Realizing it is not about the tasks or the “to do list” but that it is about building the relationships, and as in the story of raising Lazarus from the dead,  its about our privilege to loose the newly resurrected.  “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.”  (John 11:42-43 HCSB)  Jesus resurrects us and then He gives others the privilege and responsibility to “loosen them.”  We are to help the newly born again, to loose their old habits and hang-ups, and as we get the privilege to pray for them and to walk along side them.

What a blessing we are called into, helping the next leaders of Puerto Lempira grow in their faith and being a small part in the growing of God’s Kingdom here in La Moskitia. As our relationships deepen with each of these boys, it brings so much joy in realizing the opportunity they are getting because of your willingness to be used by God, coming along side us in prayer and financial support.  This boys are getting to be kids really for the first time and they are growing in Christ.  We have a Wednesday and Thursday night bible study at La Casa with our good friend and Miskito Pastor Ludy Washington.  They have been learning about a new life in Christ and what it means to be a disciple – they are able to focus on their faith and on school without having to worry about the struggles so common to this remote part of Honduras.  What a blessed life we live!

The Last Few Months:

As I have focused on tasks, mainly of the homesteading variety, I am grateful for the support we have received from our monthly donors and the visiting of family and friends.   The encouragement and love we have experienced from our visiting groups this year is what has allowed us to make it this far.  We have had five different groups to date, not including our first visitor, friend and fellow missionary from ACTION International, Patrick O’Conner. He was only with us for two days but very much enjoyed our fellowship while it lasted. God bless you Patrick and thank you for making the long journey.

Our next visitors were Lisa’s brother Patrick and his family including his wife Naomi and two of their three sons Titus and Levi who came down in late March.

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Our first visiting family! Titus, Levi, Naomi and Patrick

 

It was not their first time down so they kind of knew what to expect, but it was the first time staying at La Casa del Camino.  I was able to get the tile laid in the shower floors before they arrived, but we were still without power – and they were total troopers! We had an uplifting time while getting some important things done, like finishing up the outdoor kitchen wood-fired oven in just enough time to have a pizza party and water balloon toss on the night before they left.

The week went by way too quickly but we are so thankful as they helped us to be recharged with a much needed visit from family who loved on us the whole time! Good-byes are definitely hard.

The second group was our daughter Taylor and son in-law Bryan.

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Our girl Taylor and her husband and our new son, Bryan. We love you!

This was their first visit to Honduras and to La Moskitia.  Lisa and I seem to learn a little with every new visitor, and were excited to see Bryan and Taylor both able to enjoy and communicate well with the boys.

 

We are sure lasting connections were made.

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Chicken fights!

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Fun games with the boys!

Super special to have our girl come down and see where God has called us, and to share in the blessings of serving these beautiful people.

The third team was a group of seasoned missionaries from our sending agency ACTION International Ministries – consisting of John and Georgie Reed from Member Care,

 

Melinda Creef a professional counselor and from the International Director Thomas Smoak with his wife Suzanna and their five daughters Esther, Jessie, Lilly, Maggy and Violet. 79e93705-41fe-437a-aa3d-08a08e299e45We had such a valuable time full of prayer, great counsel, advice and help with a focus on our marriage – very important.  As a result we have been able to come up with a plan for a little time alone one night every six weeks or so. Thank you for your encouragement and well received advice, we had a great time playing games and hanging out. Much appreciated.4e2bb438-28ef-434d-a06c-6fba765eb7c9

Our last group was our first “work team” and they happen to be from our home church, Highlands Community Church.

(No photo of Spencer because he was not well most of the trip) Our time was amazing with them – they worked so hard pouring 110% into everything they did.  We got so much done, a large part of our new aquaponics system was completed along with the fence around our garden, a toilet changed out, trench and large sump pit dug for our aquaponics,

IMG-4588a track bar for our truck was delivered and installed! They even painted the kitchen, entry and living room walls! They also painted the metal entry gates for the propertyIMG-4618

and the men went and did prison ministry where we shared of the story of Jesus healing the blind man in (John 9).

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Alter call in prison

I feel as though we were all blessed by that ministry, as it seems when I am feeling tired and stuck and I do what we are all told to do, share our faith and talk about who Jesus is, I am instantly refreshed and at ease.

A lot of games were played with the boys between going to House of Hope orphanage were they did VBS, shared scripture, and did crafts.  They also visited IVA, the school our boys attend, where they did more bible verse memorization and taught the the kids how to loom.  Mama Tarras orphanage was also visited on two different occasions, played games and crafts sort of a mini VBS. The Highlands team also helped with setting up computer and wifi making the boys homework much easier, not to mention all the tools that were brought and donated along with items for the boys.  What an amazing blessing it was to have the fellowship and comrodery of our church along side us, Lisa and I miss you all very much and are looking forward to our return visit before Christmas.  All the donations and gifts made us feel appreciated and loved.  Powerful and encouraging. Thank you!  So encouraged and blessed by our church, you make everything so much better. Definitely need to up my game for this caliber team as the amount of work done was divine, out of this world!  Thank you Lord, and thank you Highlands!  We love you! Good-byes are hard.

Finally, we were blessed again to recieve yet another team from Applegate Christian Fellowship, a group of 13 teenagers and two adults who came to worship and evangelize throughout La Moskitia and Puerto Lempira. Also hard an extra special time worshiping along side the students of IVA (Instatute Vida Abudaunte).IMG-4826

We provided accommodations, meals and transportation for them as they walked along side our boys and others from La Moskitia doing worship festivals- where they played music and sang worship songs, and some even they wrote! God was so glorified  by their worship, testimonies and sharing of the good news with hundreds of people and included several alter calls. During one festival held in el centro we witnessed 25-30 people come forward to make a public declaration to follow Jesus. They were then prayed over and connected/invited to church.  It was beautiful to witness.

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Public proclamation for Jesus in el centro

 

Progress and upcoming projects:

Our latest project has been an aquaponics system that’s completion was being held up by 8-1″ bulkheads that I now have.  When completed the system will grow tilapia fish, two tanks of 50-75 fish per tank and 8 grow beds of tomatoes, lettuce cabbage, basil and other herbs.

We have completed three team rooms below the home and are currently working on the entry area and sala under the home.IMG-4920

IMG-4919We have had one 12’x4′ mahogany table and bench seating made, still waiting on the second one to be completed.

Fresh coat of paint on all property gates has been completed! ( The ones not completed by our Highlands Team) Living on the lagoon rust is a constant battle with metal gates.IMG-4512

As we are coming into a raining month of July we just completed a roof over our burn pit where we burn all our garbage. Our near future plans include construction of a pig pen as we have decided to raise one pig per year that will provide us our end of year “pig roast fiesta” to celebrate a successful school year for the boys before we send them back to their families for the Christmas break.  We will also be building a chicken coop for about 15-20 chickens mostly for egg production but when that slows, soup!

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Pig Pen and Burn pit

Our solar setup is up and running but I’m only seeing about 25.5 volts float level should be up somewhere a produce 300 w per panel and the turbines work rain or shine, day or night.  I m currently waiting for a remote start for our generator that will allow it to be started automatically to charge batteries when they are low, it will also include building a generator house off the well tower, bellow the solar battery bank.

Still needing to finish outdoor kitchen windows and railings of the palapa but have been cooking and eating meals out there for several weeks now and is working wonderfully. definitely cooler eating outside! Great idea! Also needing to finish tile work in all the bathrooms but as I said, all shower floors are in so not a priority at this point. Same goes for all the deck railings, there is no shortage of things to be done here at La Casa Del Camino!

Last blog we shared three boys Arnold, Marco and Jerbin. This time we will share the other six joven: Elvin, Kelvin, Morphy, John, Coby and Ariel.

All our boys are very unique with very much their own personalities. Even though Elvin and Kelvin are twins they are very different, Elvin92d01004-7631-48f3-be1d-dbccf106bdf8 is quite a free spirit that easily finds himself in sticky situations. None of them too serious but we spend most of our time keeping him on track and focusing at the task at hand. Elvin is light hearted and laughs always.

Kelvin on the the other hand is our one boy that will be leaving us at the end of the year, and he will be the first Casa Del Camino boy to graduate from IVA.6045187d-90cf-4606-a567-fd654f4256e5 He is a little more serious and will be testing for entry into the Honduran Navy in Oct. 2019.  A good student, very polite, very easy to encourage and spend time with.  Good head on his shoulders, using the military to pay for his future education.

Morphy has really grown spiritually, and seems to be sincerely seeking the Lord during our times of bible study with pastor Ludy.IMG-0156 Always in a good mood and laughs a lot. Once, I had hurt my leg playing basketball and Morphy came into our room where I was resting and asked if he could pray over me. Always smiling, sweet kid.

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Probably our best student, never have to chase him down about doing his homework, good grades, very competitive, gets along well with everyone.  Pretty humble kid.

Coby,595ab834-cac4-4e8f-b460-4134382246c9 loves football and is known for his goal keeping abilities, follows instruction well, works hard also doing well in the discipleship program that the boys are working through with pastor Ludy.  Our last boy Ariel, 48115e80-43a5-4b10-bf3b-0bff459781ec happens to be pastor Ludys nephew.  Sweet kid and plays the guitar during worship at church.  only has to be told once when help is required. It has been easy to love these boys, giving God thanks and praise for allowing us to be the ones that help them through these next several years.  It gives Lisa and myself so much joy as we hear these boys laughing and joking with each other.  I really believe they are having an experience of a life time getting to grow together and build life long friendships with one another and having fun doing it.

Prayer.

Continued prayer for Gods sovereign provision.

Please pray along side us for not only our boys at La Casa Del Camino but for all the families that struggle to make ends meet here in La Moskitia.  As you may of heard on the wold news, July brings the beginning of lobster season in Honduras that goes through November and recently a local lobster boat was capsized claiming the life of 27 men.  In this small community,  it seems as if everyone has been touched in some way by this tragity.  One of the work crew here at La Casa, Delino who has been with us from the beginning,  has lost three of his brothers and two nephews on this particular boat, causing a huge burden on his family as now not only are three of the men dead, they where the ones providing for their families.  Life is hard here and death is always difficult and sad but seems even worse here as many do not have a personal faith in our Lord and savior. So sad for the lost. Pray for the survivors of the lost to seek God through this tragity.

Please pray for how God may be wanting to use you in this ministry, be it praying for us or becoming a sponsor for one of our boys, giving financially and or praying specifically for one of the boys, or even being part of the next mission team to experience what God is doing here in La Moskitia with these young lives.

Please be praying for our health and stamina as we try to stay focused on Him and make time everyday for us. We are a team, neither one of us could do it without the other so keeping our marriage strong is a priority.

Please pray for me as I try to make more time to write and share how I see God working in this ministry.

(Philippians 1:3-5) I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

We miss and love you all,

Mike (and Lisa too)

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“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” Eph. 1:4

Peace to those who are near and to those who are far away.

I apologize for it being so long between writing.

basic information to catch everyone up to speed:

Lisa and I moved into La Casa Del Camino on December 12, 2018. On January 28th the home opened to 9 boys ages 14-18 yrs. First day of school was February 6th. Still no power in the home or outdoor kitchen. Boys are doing homework by small solar powered lights; had two sets then one was outside charging and got caught in rain shower, so now we have just one.

We have a couple cooks – starting to gain some weight back. We are trying to speak more Spanish (and Miskito) everyday with help from our boys.

Pastor Ludy Washington is coming once and sometimes twice a week for bible teaching and a discipleship program we are doing with our boys from 6-8 pm. Boys really seem to be enjoying it, lots of discussion.

We employ three watchies that tend the gates to the property while helping with yard work, watering plants etc. I let the work crew go once we moved in and shortly realized there is more work to be done than five of me could do in several years. So I brought back three of the construction crew and two wood workers who are building shelves, beds, doors and windows.

A couple funny stories: one day the pila shower was left on emptying the entire 600 gallon water tank so no water for showers – in turn the boys had a few days of lagoon showers morning and night. Then there was the time when everyone was dragging their feet getting ready for bed on a school night; we normally have everyone showered by 9 pm. At 9:30 none of the boys had showered so I told them they had 3 minutes to shower so they all ran for the shower stripping down to their underwear, they all showered in about three minutes. Lisa and I were dying laughing as what I meant was they each had three minutes in the shower but they thought they all needed to be done in three minutes. Lost in translation.

Or one of the chores is wiping down the table and sweeping the floor after meals, they love to wipe down table with hot pads. Then the time when they needed to shower in the lagoon they thought it best to use laundry soap to get clean. Many miscommunications resulting in some good laughs.

There are many battles going on here in La Moskitia. As we learn and adjust to our new way of life one of my personal struggles is within myself. My own hang ups and control issues, my own selfish desires, thinking I know what’s best. it’s the old pride thing. I find myself expecting stuff to get done in a timely fashion, they operate with a different program here, nothing is as it once was for me. I want to be tranquilo but in reality I think I’m a bit uptight because I have an idea how things should be done in an order and I’m having a tough time finding any order here. I believe the Lord is allowing me to see myself for who I really am in all my many shortcomings. There is a lot for me to learn to feel at home here in La Moskitia and I am praying for God’s peace through these struggles. All the while, trying to be a good example to these boys. I can share with you that, yes, I have “dropped the ball” a few times already. Gladly I have been able to humble myself and to apologize and ask forgiveness. I am hopeful that these accounts have shown them that we all make mistakes, but then too, how we can move past an offense. This experience continues to make me aware of my deep need for Christ to be the center of my life, and that takes the focus off of me and my shortcomings and puts the focus back on our glorious God and what He has done for me and every believer in Christ Jesus.

“The one who boasts must boast in the Lord!” 1 Cor. 1:31 (HCSB)

As I begin to feel stressed and not in control, I can rest in Him, knowing full well who’s in control and that

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” Eph. 1:4 (HCSB)

With all the things to be done and trying to choose the importance of each, prioritizing and multi-tasking while managing the schedules of 9 junior high, high schoolers, I have become almost overwhelmed at times. I am finding rest in this verse today, grateful to realize through our obedience God is accomplishing His will. I’m looking forward to seeing the fruit, I’m humbled to be a part of this ministry to these boys, and I’m completely dependent on our Lord and savior to provide the strength, stamina, knowledge, patience, love, willingness, peace, health and funding needed to get La Casa Del Camino up and running.

The young men the Lord has brought us to live here are all unique in their own ways and we are finding pleasure in developing relationships with each one of them. And as I mentioned before, I cannot help but feel a deep gratitude for what God has done through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and how this ministry is affecting us all. Happy to know that in our obedience, He will remain faithful and

” He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion” Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)

Photo and brief summary of a few boys including prayer requests:

Arnol

Arnol is one of the first boys we met here in Puerto Lempira back in 2011. Lisa and I were blessed to attend his baptism, Jan. 2015. He is also one of the older boys at CDC at 17 yrs. born June 1st 2001.

Sad to say last year he attended IVA as a seventh grader and after doing well all year stopped attending after we left in from a short visit in October, and subsequently he failed the year. The teachers did not offer him another chance so through your help in supporting the ministry of CDC we have hired a tutor for the year (2-4pm everyday) then he can test out of seventh grade. The hope is that he will be able to re-enroll in IVA next year as an eight grader. He is very street savvy and a smart kid to boot.

I am very fond of Arnol and have a very close relationship with him as we spend most mornings together running errands and he helps me with projects around La Casa.

Prayer request for Arnol may include:

*Continued support to afford his tutoring program at $80 per month.

*That he remain committed to his education. Arnol comes from a family of 10 siblings and he wants to help them however he can – often causing his own needs to take a back seat to any hustle on the streets that will be an immediate help to his siblings.

*For his free spirit to be harnessed and nurtured so as to grow strong in his faith and walk with the Lord here at La Casa Del Camino.

*Softening of his heart as he can be somewhat mean-spirited at times liking to dish out criticism and teasing, but does not receive it well.

Arnol is a delight 95% of the time. The other 5% he is a typical teen. He has been a great assistance to me and my goings about.

Marco

Marco is another of the first boys we met in 2011. He is 16 and birthday is August, 31st 2002. I have quite a history with Marco, we have needed to work past many troubles, but he is beginning to grow in his knowledge of a loving God. Marco is the perfect example of why we are here, boys needing encouragement and accountability in order to realize the God-given potential in each. He is in ninth grade and towards the top of his class academically.

Prayer requests for Marco may include:

*a fervent desire to know God resulting in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit giving him power over temptation and sin.

*honesty and humility

*continued excellence in school

Marco is a very smart kid who speaks three languages and has been very helpful to me in learning Spanish.

Jerbin

Jerbin has always been in our hearts from the first time we meet him at House of Hope back in 2011. We call him Cinco because he was five when he came to live at the orphanage. May 27th 2004 is his birthday. Jerbin is the smallest and youngest boy in the house. At 54.5″ and about 60lbs. he can eat as much as anyone in the house. Jerbin is one of our biggest joys, he has a tremendous sense of humor and has been blessed with a great attitude towards life even though he has very little.

Jerbin and Marco were two of the three boys we tried to adopt back in 2014 in order that they might have better opportunities in life with us in the U.S. That was when we were told kids from La Moskitia are not adoptable and the seed of La Casa Del Camino was planted in our hearts all from a desire to help three Miskito boys from Puerto Lempira, Hon.

Lisa and I are very excited for what this year will bring, including our first visitors.

Guests and visitors this year:

The end of March we will be blessed to have Lisa’s brother and my closest friend, Doctor Patrick (who helps keep us healthy) and his family including his wife Naomi and two of their three boys, Titus and Levi. It will have been about 10 months since we have seen them and as you can imagine we are very excited for our time together.

Patrick O’Conner a friend and encouragement partner from ACTION International Ministries, will have a short three day visit to La Moskitia at the very end of March.

In the middle of April we will get to spend some time with our daughter Taylor and her husband Bryan as they are coming for their first visit to La Casa Del Camino.

The end of May will bring us another group of friends and their families also from our sending agency ACTION INTERNATIONAL with John and Georgie Reed and a freind of theirs, Melinda Creef, who is employed as a grief and abuse counselor in the school system back home in the states. She can offer help with the boys. There is possibly another couple who also worked with the Miskito people years ago who may come as well. And finally rounding out this group is our International Director, Thomas Smoak his wife Susanna and their three daughters.

In the end of June we are going to be blessed with a group of possibly 12 from our home church, including our missions pastor Tom Dabasinskas who is leading the group. As you can imagine we are so grateful to see God bringing us family, friends, supporters and encouragers, counselors and the likes caring enough to make this somewhat difficult and expensive journey down to the Miskito Coast.

To all who are coming and plan to visit, we thank God for you and your desire to help this ministry flourish. We are praying for you.

PROJECTS TAKING PLACE:

We need to finish the outside kitchen including the construction of the oven and windows. We are in need of funding and construction of two large dining tables and bench seating to accommodate 30+ people.

Tile in all 6 showers. All the tile, mastic and grout have been purchased, need time to install it.

Railings on the verandas.

Construction of shelving in the closets including special storage for plates, cups and glasses.

Construction of visitor/team rooms below the home. This project is well under way though we are in need of funding for cement for the floors, materials and construction for six more bunk beds and the mattresses for bunks +1 we are needing in the house (13 total) in preparation for our guests. There is also need of 10 windows – three to four in each team room and 4 doors, one for each of the three rooms and one that combines two rooms into one larger room.Solar panels mounted need fuse panel box and to run wire in house

Needs and prayer requests:

*Please pray for the financial needs of La Casa Del Camino to be met. Our God is an awesome God and we are certain that as He brings us together, every need will be met in His perfect time.

Dollar figures that would certainly help with meeting these ministry expenses mentioned above:

$500 for the two dining tables and bench seating

$1020 for six bunk beds

$2600 for 13 mattresses

$1000 for the 10 simple screened windows

$800 for 4 doors needed in guest rooms

$1500 for 125 bags cement (mission team rooms floors and beams above windows)

$300 for ten loads of rock (for concrete)

$100 for six loads sand (for concrete)

*Please pray for our marriage to stay strong and grounded in Christ. Giving of our time to one another, able to rest together, enjoying each moment, for this is where our good Father has us today.

*Prayer for patience in all areas.

*Prayer over our health and the health of the boys at La Casa Del Camino

* Prayer for each person God is inviting to Honduras this year, for their health during their visit and that their trip has a lasting effect on their lives all for the glory of God.

Thanks be to God for each of you who bless us in prayer and who have helped us to meet our monthly support needs

Hoping this has helped inform everyone of the amazing ways in which God is at work here and providing you with some good prayer requests.

We miss you and send our love and thanks,

In Him,

Mike (and Lisa)

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Long Road Home

IMG_2126I will be the same even to your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray.  I have made you, and I will carry you;  I will bear and save you.” (Isaiah 46:4 HCSB)

I always loved the ride.  Getting away,  a way of escape,  a way out,  to seek the unknown, the excitement and uncertainty of what the open road holds in store each day.  But then, everywhere I ended up, there I was, same as always ever was.  Empty always searching for the next RUSH.

Then I found Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, my peace, comfort, joy, strength my all in all. Since then I have continued to see Him provide for me in my life,  He has changed my heart,   He has protected me,  He has empowered me,  He continues to strengthen me,  as He builds my character,  He has healed me,  He is developing wisdom in me and He has given me purpose and direction in my life. During this ride I saw and experienced all these and more!  God is so good.

Most rides I spend all of the time riding away from this or that but on this particular ride I found myself on a ride to, a deeper relationship with God, and a ride to, my gift from God, my best friend and my wife Lisa, and to, our future life together pouring into the lives of the boys of La Moskitia.

I am sorry that I was not able to write as often as I wanted due to the tempo of the ride, most everyday waking at 4am for devotion, on the bike and riding before first light 6am. The Ural is a bear of a bike, quite big and strong, often times feeling as if you are wrestling rather than riding, and it is not known for its speed which means that in order to make our 350-450 miles a day, we were riding 12 hr days with our longest being 16 hours.  As many of you already know I made it home to Lisa Wednesday night (November 7).  Yesterday was spent changing fluids in the bike and adjusting the valves, and the moto is running very well.  After the beating she took in the Guatemalan mountains, my confidence has been renewed in the Ural.  The bike is going to do very well in La Moskitia, and the reception it gets everywhere I have been leads me to believe it is sure to be a hit with the Casa Del Camino boys.

A few highlights you haven’t heard about would be the young guy “Israel” that I met on the long boat ride across the Gulf of California from the Baja to Mazatlan.  Israel was a religious guy but he didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I was able to share some biblical truths with him and some of the ways I have experienced God in my life, and I got to pray for him and his current situations.  The next morning, Israel was crying as he told me that he had just spoken with his mother who told him she had a dream last night that he (Israel) was standing before Jesus who opened His arms and had embraced Israel with a tender hug, telling him he was loved.  Please pray for Israel to come into that personal relationship with Christ.  I exchanged numbers with him and will be following up with him this weekend.

I got to spend November 2nd in the beautiful city of Guanajuato, Mexico for the Day of the dead festivities that night.

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Street art made with different grains and flowers poured on the ground “Keep Off”

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More street art. This is one of the “voted best”

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Amazing architecture and live music

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Many mummies, each with its own story.  The tunnels are actually old mines that have been turned into a road system under the city.  Cool history in this city.

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A witch kept in a locked cage

We traveled many beautiful mountain passes while heading to Veracruz, Mexico then encountered many, many miles of country roads with scattered pueblos to San Pedro Tapanatepec, Mexico along the Pacific coast and more Mexican mountain roads to the border crossing at La Mesilla, Guatemala.  I saw many people on tops of trains heading north, and also semi truck trailers loaded with people heading north. The small border crossing we chose was at a standstill just inside Mexico from all the foot traffic heading north.  The idea that these people are making this trip on foot is staggering to me, just the distance we are talking about, and I don’t understand the thought that somehow America is their fix?

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Looking for something

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Not seeing many women or kids – only able-bodied guys?

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Mexico to La Mesilla, Guatemala, border crossing funnels down into a smaller and smaller road

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Border crossing

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“You are not bringing any of the Mexican dirt into Guatemala!” Seriously though a respirator?

From the almost unnoticeable border crossing into Guatemala, we began to climb. We opted for the remote route and ended up in some of the most beautiful mountainous, rural areas of Guatemala!  Just as we were getting into a groove setting the pace for the day we came up to a national protest where college students, families and faculty had organized a shut down of all the roads in the country.  We arrived at the blockade about 7am and worked our way to the front line where the Ural received a lot of press.  We were first told the protest was to last a couple of hours and we should be back on our way by 9am. Then we were told it would go on until noon.  As we began making friends with the crowd, I was able to share some of my testimony with a small group and about the meaning behind my tattoos with Matt translating for me.  It was a huge success and shortly after, we were told they would let us pass as we had nothing to do with the problem and they seemed to understand that we had ministries to get back to.  Again, thank you Lord.

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Frontline, now what?

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Some guys who heard the Good News!

Eventually we found ourselves on a grueling, bike pounding three-hour stretch of un-managed dirt and rock roads.  The continual beating finally had its way with my spare tire carrier and rack causing lost nuts and bolts, that eventually required additional straps to secure for the remainder of the ride.

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Road conditions were worse than this actually shows.

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Usually I was unable to take pictures as conditions were not safe to do so.

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Lowlands subsistent living

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The whole family is in on the action

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Mountain farming. Hard work anyway you look at it.

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Clearing land for crop

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Long Road Home: 4 Countries 4,000 miles, 23 days, 2 motors and roughly 70 tanks of fuel, many, many smiles but none as pretty as the one I received when I arrived home.

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Other difficult ways we saw at making a living – breaking rock all day.

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We were in the clouds on more than one occasion on this trip.

The next morning we found ourselves descending out of the mountains of Guatemala with more of the same beautifully majestic scenery shouting of God’s majesty.

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The valley below

 

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Thank You.

Keep in mind at every border crossing we had to “exit” with our vehicles that required additional securities and insurance.  We needed to verify all VIN numbers and receive a partial refund of monies then we need to go through that same process for the country you are “entering” it can be a several hour delay.  When we cleared the Honduran boarder at 2:30 pm I knew I could be home to Lisa by 8pm, with only three hours of night driving I knew we would be together again that night!!

Thank you to so many, for all that have lifted us in prayer during this journey, helping to keep us safe as many of those roads could have been a bad situation.  Thank you to Dale and Ron, for without you, this trip would not have happened when it did.  I thank my beautiful wife Lisa for being so understanding and supportive to allow me to take on this experience.  And most of all I thank my Lord and savior for guiding and directing my steps during this ride while continuing to stretch and grow my faith and bringing me to an awareness of my tendency to be a one man wolf pack, understanding that the only thing I can control is my attitude and outlook on any of life’s problems.  God is so full of grace and mercy that it has helped me to soften my heart, loving others as He has loved me and the way He has rescued me from the pit of dispair over and over again makes me want to help rescue others from the same fate.  My brother-in-law Patrick once asked me, “How much must you hate someone to not tell them about Jesus?” and that has really soaked in and has been a reminder to me that we are all called to share the gospel and to share the light that we have received when we first proclaimed Jesus as our Lord and savior.  Praying for you all to share your faith boldly, helping the lost to be found. Grateful I have found my way back, from the long road home.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We are not fundamentally free; external circumstances are not in our hands, they are in God’s hands.  The only thing in which we are free is in our personal relationship to God.  We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us , or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.

God bless you all.

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One fail (the engine), though it was a doozy, I think if I treat her right she’ll be good for years of service.

 

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Job 2:10

“Should we only accept good from God and not adversity?”

One thing that has been going through my mind is how grateful I am that God even in my trial, is good to me, allowing fellowship with Patrick and Mateo made the situation bearable. As I continue to wonder “why do you suppose God allowed that happened?” I think it could be for a lot of reasons, undoubtedly to keep me dependently focusing on His presence in all this. God had His reasons why and that is good enough for me. I certainly do not deserve the blessings I have been given and also realize how sad life would be if our just God actually gave to us what we deserve. So my advise to you is count your blessings because it could always be worse.Friday , 26 Oct we rode about 300 miles to Oakhurst, CA. in the Sierra Nevada foot hills day full of picturesque roads. Saturday, 27th was long day 430+ miles, off hwys. Until 125 miles out of San Diego via Bikersfield California, where we entered the rat race and experienced the thrill of being overtaken by hundreds of motorist traveling nearly twice our speed. It was a first for me and didn’t particularly care for that part of the trip so far. Amazing to think of all the oil we get from this area, there’s black gold in them there hills. (1000’s of oil rigs, really a sight in and of itself)

Guys doing what we enjoy doing when we in the middle of nowhere!grateful we grabbed an quick visit with my beautiful girl Taylor and our son-in-law Bryan. Blessed and loved.

God is with us on this ride, though it cost Pat an amazing three days ride down the Baja. entering Mexico on Sunday at Tecate getting all paper work, insurance took a couple hours time but necessary.awesome fish tacos! We rode about 280 miles and we stayed at a church where Matt came to serve when he was 17 yrs old. That was also the youth ministry where he really began to feel called into missionary work. Needles to say very special moment for Matt to revisit and quite coincidental that they had some good worship going on as we pulled up on a Sunday night. Monday we road just under 400 miles to Santa Rosalia. Up at first light and road 400 ish miles to La Paz. We arrived at the boat terminal at about 5pm to discover the 8 pm passengers ferry was not operating until Saturday and we had one option that left at 6pm. That option was a Barca de carga so we raced around getting weighed and loaded on boat. And it was a 17 hour ride.did catch a cool sunrise and got to share lunch with some old friends from our small group back home and meet some new friends as well pictured below: me, Matt, Tom with back2back ministries, Fred who is involved in a church planting ministry, another Tom, has a couple coffee shops where He disciples 60 employees all at risk kids. Wes and Barb and finally Karen the first Toms wife. All involved involved in ministry and iI was able to glean from their sharing. we got to stay the night with Wes and Barb (thank you) and we are up now and I’m just finishing this update. Thank you for all your prayer and please continue as we have only about 1500 more miles before we are back into beautiful Honduras! One last thing, wow, it’s HOT!!

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“Joy in the morning”

Weeping may spend the night or a week but today, Joy came in the morning!!

Unbelievable. God has worked so many miraculous details in my life, yet I continue to be completely surprised by Him.

Just about the moment when I began thinking, “how am I going to fix this problem” it was at that moment when I was able to see God clearly putting ideas into a whole coalition of people’s minds, bringing them into one accord, it all happened within maybe 30 minutes, but from total dismay, looking like my friend and riding partner would be forced to cancel the ride – it happened. No, the ride was not cancelled. God put an idea in brother Dales mind, willingly and faithfully he acted on it and sent me an email with his offer. Through much communication between myself and the Irbit office, Patrick and Danny from the Ural Portland store, Brandon of Roseville Motorsports who communicated with Cameron of Irbit Motorworks of America in Redmond, Wa. It was Between each of these communications, rules were messaged, deals were offered, parts were transported, problems were solved, fellowship was experienced, I was blessed and God is glorified! Can I get an Amen! From no plan to God’s plan. It all “came in the morning” and it’s these kinds of things that make me realize I can count on His favor for a lifetime.

Thank you to all the prayer warriors out there, you are so powerful, please don’t ever stop.

Praying for each of you men that allowed God to use you to bless me. May you be strengthened in your desire to know Him and may He continue to use you for His glory. Thanks guys, grateful you listened to that still small voice.

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The wait is over…

Today was the turning point, after six days of uncertainty, not knowing what was broke on the bike, or where we would find parts needed for the repair, or not knowing how soon parts could be delivered.

This has got to be one of the longest weeks I can remember. One minute we were having the ride of our life’s the bikes where preforming great and then in an instant all our plans came to a screeching halt! The first couple days I was praying for God’s will to be done through this experience. A couple days later I was wondering if my will was different from His. Then a couple days after that, even after experiencing many last minute “saves,” I began to wonder… where is my faith? Why are we here in limbo? What do you want me to do Lord?

This morning we woke up and started making calls to find out if the motor had been secured or shipped as we were told it would likely take three days for delivery, meaning if it was on the truck Wednesday afternoon we might have a chance to receive motor Friday or Saturday and about 5 hours to install. BUT! if motor was not on truck we would certainly not receive motor until at least Sunday, shop is closed and Ural mechanic isn’t in on Monday’s so earliest repair would be Tuesday, putting us too far behind schedule causing Matt to back out leaving me to make the ride solo.

After several calls with no answer and a couple of emails Patrick thought he could call one of his Ural contacts, Danny at UralPortland. Patrick asked Danny to call the head office and see if he could get them to take a call? Well they did and we were told the motor had not been packed up but would most likely be on a truck this afternoon. Meanwhile a couple brothers in Christ who had been following the blog offered to deliver the motor ASAP! I couldn’t believe the offer, once again God has surrounded me with His people with willing hearts. I thought, “that sure is a nice offer,” but was quite certain that Headquarters would not release the motor to my friends. That’s where Danny of Ural Portland and Camron of Irbit Motorworks of America were able to talk this through and due to the time constraint agreed to allow our dear friends, Dale and Ron to pick up motor and parts from Ural Headquarters in Redmond, WA. and had them on the road by 2:30 today. That started the 13 hour drive south. The plan was for them to drive to Ashland, OR. tonight, and stop to get a bit of shut eye, then continue on to The Roseville Motorsports, hoping to be there around opening! All this so that we can once again start our treck south to Honduras arriving by the 8th of November. So many moving parts in order to accomplish this task. I am humbled by the serving hearts of our friends and how I was so surprised by the way our loving Father managed to bring us all together to fix one moto. After all the many experiences I have had with God’s perfect timing.

The Ural is a perfect ministry vehicle made for off-road conditions and that is exactly why it is going to La Moskitia. A very demanding, remote area in Honduras. One more praise and shout out to Irbit Motorworks of America for their helping us get the parts we need with urgency. They have a great team up there in Redmond, WA. Ready and willing to make your experience with a Ural the best it can be.

Praising God for His faithfulness and the way He works in people’s hearts, allowing them to show God’s mercy to a brother in need.

Please pray for all the guys mentioned here, for them to be filled to overflowing with His Spirit and safety as they travel.

There is still much that needs to happen with little room for problems though when I see God continuing to work in the eleventh hour, He is growing my perseverance, and my faith. Starting a ride this way has a way of putting any other issues we may have into perspective.

1 Peter 4:12,13

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

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Fellowship a must…

First thing this morning, we were on the phone talking to different folk about our options. I decided to go with a rebuilt motor from Irbit Motorworks of America, hoping the American rebuild would get better reliability than any of the others options. As I understand it, Irbit is the Ural Headquarters located in Kirkland, WA. I briefly shared with them of our ministry “Casa Del Camino” and how I felt the Ural would be an asset to us on the mission field, but that my motor had a catastrophic failure 600 miles into a 4000 mile trip. They seemed excited and willing to help, saying they would put this issue on the “front burner” 12 hours later I have no idea what that meant, as I have no clue as to what was done today. The motorsports store that has my bike also was told by me, to go ahead and order the motor so that we are not wasting anymore time than needed because the motor needed to be delivered from the great NW. I was told they would call me back and let me know what had been accomplished at the end of day. Twelve hours later I do not know anymore than I did this morning. Super frustrating as I like things to be done professionally and in a timely manner. Not saying it wasn’t handled but if anything was done it wasn’t communicated to me.

This whole experience has left me feeling completely drained, but then something wonderful happened. Our friend Mateo had looked up a Calvary Chappel near us, someplace for us to get some fellowship and what an incredible blessing it was to worship with this congregation. They also asked us to come up to the front and share a little of our ministry and if they might pray over our journey and ministries after. I didn’t realize how tired and dry I was feeling until we got to fellowship and worship with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Feeling renewed and strengthened and encouraged by pastor Joshua and his flock. God is so good! Thank you Calvary Chappel Newcastle, CA.

You are a blessing

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Stuck in Roseville

Day four. Didn’t learn much today other than the hits keep coming as my helmet was stolen last night. Also we tried to get our minds off the “situation” with a round of put-put miniature golf, that did not go good for me either. Ughh… positive note I did win 2 out of three Monopoly Deal! And we did put new pads on Pats rear brakes for his bike and did add some additional back lights to Matts bike for safety.

The shop opened at 8:30 this morning, Ural mechanic had the day off so we have to wait another day to have more information of our situation. The shop manager Zack was a nice guy and told me that even though they are busy he will help us out and get his guy on it first thing Tuesday. I will be reaching out to Ural headquarters tomorrow as well to talk with them about expediting any and all the parts we will be needing. Looking like the best case scenario will be for us to be on the road end of week. Also looking at different routes with the hurricanes hitting the Baja and Matzalan area. Looking like we could have been into some bad weather if this delay had not happened.

Really missing Lisa. Things are tougher without my best friend.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” – Ecclesiastes 4:9

Another cold night sleeping in a u haul in the Walmart parking lot.

Looking to find out the options for repair tomorrow.

Thank you for prayers. Doing my best with what I got.

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Carson City/ Roseville

Day three, got a 20′ box truck, put the motorcycles inside and drove the 125 miles over the mountains to Sacramento the closest Ural shop. The shop had good reviews and thankfully is open tomorrow.

We have done all we can do, motor is out of bike and separated from the gear box. Now it is up to God and the mechanics in the shop. Doing what I can to remain positive in a very discouraging situation. Again thanking our Heavenly Father for the fact that I am not alone and for Patrick and Mateo that continue to be a great help and encouragement for me.

Thank you for your prayers, I am excited to see how and when God will answer them.

Camping in the back of the truck tonight. At least it is warmer on this side of the mountains.