Romans 8:28

Sunrise Tuesday morning, I never get tired of watching the beginning of a new day. I am very happy to be returning home to Lisa, my loving wife. At the same time I find myself juggling my emotions of leaving the friendships that continue to grow, the relationships with the kids and the ability to get a smile for smile from the many locals. I’m sure they have to be wondering, what is another gringo doing here and why is he always smiling? And saying “hola” or “knocksa”? Also I have noticed my lack of being in the Word, I feel that is is adding to my fatigue, weighing me down. I have been spending most of my time with the locals whom I’m finding difficult to share the gospel with, due to the language barrier (Looking forward to language school). Perhaps this experience is what God ordered, stamping an exclamation point on what  I have been told many times, that His Word is food for my soul. In order to grow, and be strengthened one must be in the Word. I have allowed the mission to be my priority over the last several days, that along with trying to spend adequate time with everyone. It’s like going back home for a quick visit knowing someone is bound to feel shorted because you didn’t apropreate enough of your time to spend with them, to only hurt yourself by not taking time for “you”, or in this case “Him”. I know. Dust myself off and open the Bible. Prayers welcomed.

Monday I got up early to meet Chuck at the airport for coffee as that is the only place open by 6:30 am. As I got to the property some of the guys had started dinging footings for columns for the water tower, pila and property bathroom, as we laid out the locations days earlier. I was concerned about the coming rains and was determined to have some semblance of a drainage ditch prepared to alieviate the standing water on property along with another 3-4 yards dirt brought in to fill and level.

The idea is to turn the trench outside the property into a concreted culvert and have a 75′ or so dry river bed with large rocks inside the property where I noticed the majority of heavy runoff from the rains. As we prayed at the end of the day, thanking God, giving praise for His provision asking for Him to bless not only this place but all of La Moskitia with His undeniable presence, for the people here to feel and be moved by His mighty hand at work, at that point I had lost all my composure and began to weep. Sharing with the men how honored I was to sweet along side them and to please remember, they are not working for “me” but for God Himself in order to bring Him glory. As I left I embraced each of them and told them I loved them and that God loves them for Jesus died for “them”. Pretty sure the man hug hasn’t made its way to La Moskitia, hard to believe I could be the first?

On a side note. The term “Miskito” is relatively new and didn’t exist pre Colombian era, they are a people group made up of a small Indian population that began to intermix with the fleeing  black slaves coming from various Caribbean locals. Through contact with European traders they acquired guns and ammunition distinguishing them from their neighbors as a literal “musket” bearing group. Thought this was interesting.

Sunday I was allowed to take some of the older boys from House Of Hope to church, three hour church then to ice cream and a little game of pig.

Saturday is pay day for the guys and a half day. We got the plan of attack for the water tower/bathroom hammered out. Spent rest of time with kids at HOH. And holding baby “N”asking for Gods will to be done in the life of the precious baby boy.

Friday was a big day, work getting done on septic system and beginning of the drainage system.

Even though I thought we would have the fencing delivered in time for Pat and I to work on finishing the fence and the fact that the materials I purchased on my way in, (epoxy paint for gates and container, 100 rolls of razor wire, 200 galvanized 1/2″ tubes to weld frame for razor wire, 25-1/2″ rebar, 150 3/8″ rebar, 125 100# bags cement, 80# galv. Wire, 40# rebar tie wire, 5 pair welding gloves to install razor wire.) Most of which did not arrive, with exception of 100 rolls razor wire and the epoxy paint that took several calls to track down late Monday afternoon. Today when I landed in Ceiba I took taxi to Ferreteria to inquire of the rest of materials, when they gave me two large sun/rain umbrellas one for myself and one for my wife. LOL, Then told me they should be on next boat meaning Wednesday or Thursday placing them in Puerto Limpera about the same time as the 15 100′ rolls of fencing. imageGuys are gonna get busy! Even though I thought I’d be doing something totally different God provided the plans to keep His mission moving forward and helping me to become aware of the importance of being in the word, daily. Keeping fit spiritually, not complacent  with where your at. If your coasting, you must be going downhill. Amen?

Thankyou for reading and allowing me to share many blessing, some struggles and the growing friendships of the Miskito people. Asking for continues prayers for this region and hopefully through these few blogs they have brought to life this God given purpose. I will continue to post updates when I receive them.

image.jpegThank you again, God bless.

Grateful All The Way Around

From left to right: Pastor Roberto (Pastor of a Miskito Baptista Iglesia), Winsis (my foreman Chuck’s righthand man), Herman (the happiest guy on the crew – always smiling), Chuck (our foreman, who I am completely confident in, not to mention he speaks Miskito, Español, Garifuna and English), yours truly, and finally the youngest on the team, Ebenor, who I have nicknamed “Romeo” because he talks to his girlfriend several times a day. LOL.  The only one not shown here is the night watchie, Aldolfo. These guys are great, hard workers who love the Lord. I am blessed to have this group of guys and they tell me that us coming to Puerto Lempira has blessed them as well. “Grateful all the way around.”

I was sad to see my bro Patrick leave on Wednesday; I so enjoyed what he helped us to accomplish with his trip.  As God would have it, we awoke Wednesday to a beautiful sunrise I wanted to share.  Isaiah 45:6 So that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting, there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. 

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After Pat’s plane took off I stopped by Mama Tara’s to see Linda, a single gal who with the help of a couple of locals takes care of 27 orphans ranging in age from 1-22 years, not including Moses, and I’m not sure of his age.

After a short visit I made my way to Red Sea Ministry property where changes were being made to the sea wall. Over the last few days the sea wall is finished and we couldn’t ask for a better job.  Hopefully you can see how the extra section provides much better protection for that corner fence post.

Osiris has brought in a crew of guys to help with the septic system, headed up by my friend William who I call “Willie”.   I met Willie several years ago as he works for  Habitat for Humanity, and I have in past visits down here helped him build several roofs on Habitat homes.

Osiris also brought in a truck with four guys to move the dirt that was dug out of this 7’x7’x25′ septic hole – turned out to be 16 truck loads, moved to the low area on property.

I woke up this morning to thunderstorms. Incredible amount of rain. Needless to say the ride in on my bike was a challenge. By the time I got out to the property the rain had quit though and within an hour the sun was out causing a sauna effect yet we were still able to move all the dirt to level out what we could.  I’m really going to miss the camaraderie with all these guys; what an amazing plan that God is unfolding right before me.

Glad we moved that dirt today because it’s dumping outside as I write this, complete with lightning storms. God’s timing is perfect.

 

At the end of each day we gather at the bodega and give thanks and praise to God for this place and for it to be filled with His presence, for the relationships that are built here to grow into lasting friendships, and for what He accomplished for once and forever, for all who believe.imageMissing my beautiful wife who couldn’t make this trip and praying for our reunion. Otherwise there is a lot to be done here – I could be here a minute!

Iron Sharpens Iron

Today I am grateful to have spent the last week hanging out with one of my best friends, doing what we love to do, mostly exploring the area by bicycle on our way to and from the property, getting some exercise as well as discovering the lay of the land.  We located all the important commodities – hardware stores, bike shops, solar store, restaurants, hotels, the best place to find apples and liquados, all while introducing ourselves to new and old friends and stopping and talking with people best we could, whenever we could.  I thought I would just share some pictures of some of what we saw today.

The dock and downtown, including the improved prison. It appears they no longer allow the inmates to sit out on the street.

Progress on septic system and backfilling the low areas.

A boy playing in front of his house, acouple guys fixing their fishing net and a lady trying to beat the heat.

Adding a bit more sea wall.

Visiting kids at House of Hope.

imageThe workers who prayed over then said good-bye to Patrick.

Dear Lord, Heavenly Father I thank you and give you praise for bringing along side me Patrick, who has blessed me with his time, his wisdom and encouragement. I pray for his safe travels back to his wife Naomi and to their boys Titus, Levi and Shad.

Thank you brother for helping strengthen my walk and keeping me accountable. You are loved and missed already. Godspeed my Brother.

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

~Update on Katrina, I was told the surgery was a success removing 95% of the tumor and she is expected to be released within two days. Thank you for all your prayers and thank you God.

Prime Candidates

This is four of five boys that I personally have seen grow in the last four years that I know would be perfect candidates for a boys home, to nurture and guide them as they furthered their educations, guiding them in a life rich in the love of Jesus, helping to allow them to see and dream of a future they could attain.  From left to right: Marco, Jerbin, Errias, Tony; they are all between the ages of 13-14 years old and in forth and fifth grades.

Friday after Pat and I staked out the corner columns  for the house foundation,image we stopped by House of Hope to deliver some baby items and crib bedding and to see the kids and babies. I am happy to report, most all are doing well and were happy to see us. I was saddened to see one of Lisa’s favorites, we will call him baby “N”, is having some medical issues that are being addressed.image I am glad to have gotten to see baby “N” and would like to ask for prayers if it be God’s will, for urgency and healing to come upon this helpless, innocent, loved baby of God.

After we had a chance to spend some time in the nursery with the babies we were able to take some of the older boys swimming at our hotel, they had never been swimming in a pool before this. We had a great time playing Marco Polo, seeing who could swim the farthest under water, doing crazy dives and flips and just allowing them to be boys and have fun doing something they don’t normally get to do. After we all had our fill of swimming we realized how hungry we had become so we then walked to a small place to eat.  We had fried chicken over a bed of cabbage and fried plantains drizzled with mayonnaise and catchup – and we were able to catch a little bit of tv entertainment with Jim Carry as The Mask! It was great to hear them all laugh and joke with each other.

Before long, I realized we needed to get two of the boys back to HOH so as Pat walked back to the hotel, I jumped in the front seat of the taxi, the four boys piled into the back seat and we were off to HOH first, then Jerbin got dropped off were he stays and Marco at his place, now all I had to do was get back into town. Easier said than done!  Maybe a mile later the taxi driver had gotten his taxi completely high centered on a rutty road with both tires spinning freely in sloppy wet Honduran mud!  It was pitch black out, and not completely able to communicate in their language I decided to call my friend Osiris Sanchez. Within 15 minutes he showed up on his motorcycleta, took one look and saw his bike was not the right tool for the job and road back to HOH and got the 4×4. When he arrived back at the slough we saw another problema, the chassis was completely stuck in the mud with nowhere to tie a tow rope, so we then began to disassemble the taxi’s grill and front bumper.  Once that was removed we could fasten the rope.

After the car was freed and we re-assembled the bumper and grill the taxi driver asked me to get in and he would take me home; Osiris would have none of that and he let the driver know he had taken me far enough and that he would get me home.  I was back at the hotel around 9pm.  Thank you Lord for surrounding me with good friendships.  I am truely blessed to have people I know I can count on anytime, any reason, any place.

Saturday, Pat and I got to sleep in a little.  Although our hotel has a pool and a/c, which stayed on most nights until midnight when the power goes out, then the room heats up very quickly and we are unable to sleep past 6:30-7am, so we start the day with a cold shower.  And did I mention, the hotel’s wifi that never worked! That is the reason for no blogging the past three nights.  Sorry.  So, Saturday we got up and had coffee. We had asked Alex, Chuck and Osiris, to get together as I wanted to go over the plans for the house that my friend/retired architect drew up for me using my sketches.image  I had asked to meet around 11 am, so we could look at the plans then have lunch. Well at 11:30 I started calling the guys to remind them of our plans and we were gathered by noon.  When in Honduras it is like many other third world countries where time is an irrelevant thing.  No problem.  Mostly this was a meeting to share and discuss what we are aiming to accomplish here, to give a little clearer vision.  Almost a team building opportunity and I wanted to get Alex’s thoughts on the size and scope, making sure it fit the need and would not be over built for the area. Alex then agreed the vision was a commendable one and that if he had do his place all over, it would more closely compare to what we want to do in this project.

After lunch Pat and I decided we would enjoy spending some more time wth the boys so we got permission to take one of the HOH boys along with Jerbin and Marcos with us. As God would have it three was just the right amount due to the fact we only have two bicycles and I’m not sure how I could have fit a third boy on my bike!

We got to show them the progress on the property.  None of them had seen the fence, the gates, the sea wall, the beginning of the septic system, where the well will be, and the well tower and pila for washing clothes will be, along with a bathroom and a shower for the yard, plus where the house will be built.

imageAs you can imagine they were quite excited to see “their” place being built with the understanding that they must continue to do well in school in order to be candidates for furthering their education at IVA. (Please learn more about the IVA school at http://www.reachouthonduras.org). Later that evening we were out at the property with our friend Walter and his daughter, Osiris, and another friend Willie (who works for Habitat for Humanity).  While showing them the progress we got caught in a Honduran down pour and we all huddled under the shelter of the watchie.image

Sunday we went to church with Jerbin and Marco then took them to breakfast. We got to expound on the good news of the gospel and they were eager to hear.

Proverbs 11:25 “He that waters shall be watered also himself”

After breakfast with the boys we noticed Jerbin was still wearing the pair of shoes I had brought down for the boys over a year ago, so we decided to take them to get a new pair of shoes.  We then stopped back at HOH to talk about baby “N” before heading out to the property where we sat at the waters edge and read a little Matthew 9:27-31 and some in depth commentary.image

We have only everything to be thankful for, humbled to understand that without Him I could do nothing.

Today is now Monday and we moved hotels as my usual hotel, Yu-Baiwan, had a room open up for us.   So tonight you can all rest assured we are safe and securely bedded down with a US Marines attachment also based here at the hotel.  They are here to build a school and help do some much needed work on the hospital.  If you ask me I think there may be a bit more to the story as this area is one of the most heavily trafficked cocaine distributors in the world.   Regardless, after making acquaintances with several of our service men I must admit it feels good knowing we the Americans are down here militarily to help out – we don’t get to hear much of the good stuff on our media. Why is that?

As we prepared to ride today I noticed the extra weight on the bike the day before was a bit much as my rear tire was bulging from the rim, so we spent the noon hour with my friends at the bike shop who helped me replace a broken rear derailleur the time I was through here – all for the grand total of three dollars then, and this time it was only $7 for a Knobby tire and intertube.

Bicycles are surely the affordable mode of transportation here in Puerto Lempira.  I received word that our cyclone fencing is made but it missed being delivered to the port in La Cieba  making the expected delivery date to the property to be moved out to Sept. 4-5? More of that “time is irrelevant” thing.  So I am working on getting materials for the well tower, pila and bathroom,  delivered along with the galvanized tube to build a frame to be wrapped in razor wire -it’s $500 more than 3/8″ rebar but will not rust.  Pat has been working on a spread sheet for the house footings, columns and floor, so I feel our time thus far has been a gift of God.

Tonight one of our issues was to find our night time watchie a good flashlight and after finding every possible hardware, I know them all, four in total – we were told by Cenna the lady who owns YU-Baiwan, about a newer solar store that might be able to help.  After going there and much discussion with Gabby the owner of El Solara, we went into the back and brought out a four battery led Rayovac covered in dust. Following some haggling we got her down to 1350 lempiras.  That had to be the most expensive “foco” in all La Moskitia. Thank you brother, I’m sure Aldolfo, our watchie is enjoying it as I write.

In closing, please pray for our dear friend Katrina (former director of HOH) who underwent another operation in her battle with a brain tumor today.  Praying for God to be glorified and thanking Him for all she continues to do in His names sake.image

Oh What A Feeling!

I wonder how many get to really experience this feeling? The feeling of how great it is to be alive!  As we sit confined in this small twin prop airplane being bounced around like a little baby on his daddy’s knee, I feel tremendously grateful for God’s provisions in my life, knowing my heavenly Father has me; humbled to know He is willing and able to use me, and that He is allowing us to reach out and do something bigger than we ever could have imagined, or even thought to accomplish without His dream.

After catching a red eye Tuesday night that left around 10:30 pm out of Portland, Patrick, my brother-in-law who I’m traveling with, and I gained three hours as we landed in Atlanta, Georgia at 6am Wednesday, August 17th.  After we exited the “A” terminal, we made our way completely across the airport to the “F” terminal where we waited to catch plane number two to San Pedro Sula, Honduras that was scheduled to leave at 9am.  No sooner had we got our “Pouch Couches” imageset up for a little slumber and we started to watch CNN coverage of our most embarrassing political situation, we were told they changed our gate to the “E” gates!  So, we packed up again and made our way to our new fully crowded departure gate (where there was no chance to break out the Pouch Couches).  We eventually got to San Pedro Sula at 11:30am as we lost an hour on the 3-1/2 hour flight; thankfully  we were able to get a little shut eye on that flight.  As we made it through customs and got our 4 items checked onto plane number three to La Ceiba,  again we had to go through security screening, and without fail they decided to tear apart my back pack (that’s two for two).  15 minutes later I was able to call “el Hefy” over and after much petitioning to keep my bar of soap, he finally gave in, allowed me to keep my soap and let me go.  Feeling a little sleepless in San Pedro Sula Pat and I spent the next hour or so, running around the terminal thinking we were missing our flight and trying to figure out what time it was, all because the time on our phones “couldn’t be correct” – there was no way it was only 12:30pm as they read-and with 32 hours and little sleep, we felt like it had to be 3 pm (our flight departure time).  Well, 3pm came and went, and our flight was late. I had intended on buying materials once we arrived in Ceiba so that they could be shipped to Puerto Lempira due to expense and availability.  Thankfully it was a short 30 minute flight to Ceiba and we landed around 4:20pm.  We stay at the Pico Bonita Hotel; it is very close to the airport as we need to be back there by 5am Thursday morning (August 18th) for the fourth and final flight to get to Puerto Lempira.

Once we checked into our hotel room in La Ceiba, we called our friend Matt who lives in Ceiba and I asked if he might be able to help me with another purchase from the same company we bought the galvanized poles from.  Matt said he could meet us there since it was close to his house, but with traffic we would be hard pressed to make it before they closed at 5pm.  We grabbed a taxi and explained that we needed to go “rapido” to the construction store. The store was beginning to close as we pulled up along with our friend, Matt.  Long story short, I was able to negotiate a great deal on the price of the razor wire because of the amount we were buying – 100 rolls.  I was also able to get acquainted with the purchasing manager well enough that he is now going to let me do transactions via email for materials that they will then ship to our property!  Unheard of!  God is good.  As we left the construction store Matt suggested we try and run by  Pintura Americana, the paint store, that also just so happens to close at 5pm.  As we pulled up, we noticed a guard holding a shot gun behind a half closed gate, in front of a locked door with a “Closed” sign hanging on it.  We all exited the car and the three of us went to the door where Matt calmly explained that the gringos had to catch a flight to Puerto Lempira manyana and we wanted to buy some supplies.  The guard then disappeared, and a woman came to let us in!  We were able to purchase 5 gallons of epoxy paint needed for the property gates and for the container!  Can you believe it?!  God is great! Always going before us and preparing a way. Although I am quite exhausted as this day seems like it is never-ending, I am filled with awe and gratitude for the time God continues to multiply for a guy like me.  Thank You, God. Hour 42 on maybe 2 hours sleep. Goodnight.

Today, Thursday August 18th, started with a 4am wake up call and we were at the airport by 4:45am.  Our plane had a 6am scheduled departure, but as you are probably realizing (I know I am), Honduran time is a bit more casual than back home.  We took off around 6:30am and we landed in PL at 8am; even better everything made it with us, bicycle, tools and all – Praise God!  Pat and I were met at the airport by our friends Alex and Osiris. Alex then drove us to where I usually stay, and we discovered that there was no room at the Inn! For some reason the military was taking up all the rooms. We were able to find another hotel, perhaps a bit nicer but more expensive at $45 a night double occupancy.  However, I’m getting fairly good at making deals and was able to negotiate a rate of $30 a night, and that includes a/c and a pool.  By 9am we were on the bicycles heading to Red Sea Ministry property, about a three mile ride from town. The weather today was what I call, “rolling sweat” 85 degrees, 90 percent humidity.  As we arrived at the property we noticed Osiris was there at the gate waiting with the man who will drill our well.  We talked price and came to an agreement within minutes.  We then firmed up my idea to have Osiris tackle the septic system and saw that we also had a need to bring in some fill dirt to level out the low lying areas – with hopes of the Mayor helping us out. Seeing that the mayor offered  to help us develop this land initially, and keeping in mind that we could not have purchased this land without his help, I hold high hopes for his assistance.  Not to mention, the mayor is the one with a large dump truck and a front end loader.  God will guide.

As Pat and I walked the property for the first time since March, we were impressed with the work being done by our five full time workers.

I thought I would include a picture of the properties first dwelling, our night watchie shelter.  Pictures do Not do it justice.imageAll of the materials needed to finish the fence are in transit to the property, and with the fence nearing completion we will begin the septic system next.  God is transforming this place right before my eyes – very similar to His transforming powers in my life that I have expressed during this labor of love, that will in turn eventually have transformative afffects on the children that will call this place home.

Once again I am giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for this land and for the people here who will grow in their faith by being a part of this mission.  I am also thanking God for His unwavering grace.  I’m asking for prayers over this property, and over all the men and their families who are involved, that they too will be blessed by this project.  Also patience for Lisa and I as this building project continues- realizing God’s timing is perfect.  Praying for our Lord’s continued provisions that allows us to steadily continue to move towards completion and giving Him thanks for what He accomplished on the cross for all of us, knowing that without Him we can do nothing.

Thank you for reading.

May God bless you.