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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. Visability 6.2 miles, nice weather to drive, especially if you 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 being here is about building relationships, and as in the story of raising Lazarus from the dead,  its about our privilage 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 privilage and responsibility to “loosen them.”  We are to help the newly born again, to loose their old habits and hang-ups – we get the privilage 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 our and your willingness to be used by God. Thank you for continuing to come along side us in prayer and financial support.  These 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, starting with 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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The first from our family to visit! Titus, Levi, Naomi and Patrick

It was not their first time here 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.

 

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Spent time loving on all the kids!

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Removing tree stumps and roots from garden area and three of them required use of the dodge 2500 to pull them out!

The week with the Grimsley’s 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! A great big thank you hug goes out to Naomi who organized a huge undertaking of collecting donations for our boys and gifts that they brought down to us. We are so thankful for everyone who gave and to the Grimsley’s for hauling it all here. Amazing!! We miss you guys so much!  Good-byes are definitely hard.

Two weeks after the Grimsley’s left our daughter Taylor and son-in-law Bryan arrived just before Easter.

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Our girl Taylor and her husband, Bryan. We love you two!

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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Fun games with the boys!

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Chicken fights!

 

 

 

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 our International Director Thomas Smoak with his wife Suzanna and their five daughters Esther, Jessie, Lilly, Maggy and Violet. 81be7471-9fcd-4ed4-b96a-065266eee62e

 

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The Smoak girls out for a sunset cruise.

We 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.

At the end of June, our first “work team” arrived and they just happen to be from our home church, Highlands Community Church.

 

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, a 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 property, and the men went and did prison ministry where we shared of the story of Jesus healing the blind man in (John 9).  I feel as though we were all blessed by that ministry, and when I am feeling tired and stuck, I need to do what we are all told to do – share our faith and talk about who Jesus is and with that I am instantly refreshed and at ease.

 

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Building the fence for a garden.

 

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Completed garden area – minus the plantings.

 

A lot of games were also played with the boys, and this in between going to House of Hope Children’s Home were they did VBS, shared scripture, and did crafts and they also visited IVA, the school our boys attend and Patty taught the kids how to loom.  Two afternoons were also spent at Mama Tara’s orphanage – sweet times playing games and crafts – sort of a mini VBS.  The Highlands team also helped with setting up a new lap top computer and wi-fi 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 of our church along side us.  Lisa and I miss you all very much and are looking forward to our visit in the states before Christmas.  All the donations and gifts from our church family made us feel so appreciated and loved. What a powerful and encouraging time. Thank you! I definitely need to up my game for this caliber team as the amount of work done was out of this world!  Thank you Lord, and thank you Highlands!  We love you! Good-byes are hard.

Finally, we just received another team from Applegate Christian Fellowship of Jacksonville, Oregon.  A group of 13 teenagers and two adults who came to worship and evangelize throughout La Moskitia and Puerto Lempira.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 20-30 people coming forward to make a public declaration to follow Christ. They were then prayed over and connected/invited to church. it was beautiful.

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Public proclamation for Jesus in El Centro

 

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Alter call in prison

One of the more special times for me was the morning worship and bible study every morning held in the La Casa palapa.  I cannot describe to you what a rejuvenating and invigorating time of fellowship it was for me. Thank you Lord, You always know just what I need.  And thank you Applegate for the amazing time of fellowship, and fun playing games while pouring into the boys lives. We pray this to be a lasting relationship. We love you. Good-byes are hard.

Progress and upcoming projects:

Our latest project has been an aquaponics system. IMG-4600 The completion was being held up by 8-1″ bulkheads that I was waiting for, due to be delivered by a close friend and driving force behind House of Hope Orphanage, Tom Brian.  He just arrived in Puerto Lempira last Saturday so I am looking forward to getting back to work on the system. Once completed the system will grow tilapia fish, with two tanks of 50-75 fish per tank and 8 grow beds for vegetables and oher plants.

Below are some photos of the three team rooms that are now completed below the home. We are now currently working on the entry area and sala – an outdoor living space under the home.

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Mission team rooms.

IMG-4920We have had one 12’x4′ mahogany table and bench seating made, and we still waiting on the second one to be completed.IMG-4905

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

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Prepping gates for paint

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.

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12’x12′ Pig Pen

We will also be building a chicken coop for about 15-20 chickens mostly for egg production and when that slows, soup!

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PigPen and Burnpit

Our solar setup is up and running but I’m only seeing about 25.5 volts float level and should be up somewhere to produce 300w 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 the batteries when they are low.

We are still needing to finish the outdoor kitchen windows and railings of the palapa, but we have been cooking and eating meals out there for several weeks now and it is working wonderfully.  It is definitely cooler eating outside! Great idea!  Also, I’m 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!

In my last blog I shared about three boys Arnold, Marco and Jerbin. This time I’ll share about the other 6 young men: Kelvin, Elvin, Jhon, Ariel, Morfy and Coby.

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Kelvin, Elvin, Jhon and Ariel

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Morfy and his Dad, Yampody from the village Lisagni Pura

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Coby

All our boys are very unique with very much their own personalities. Even though Elvin and Kelvin are twins they are very different.  Elvin 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 other hand is our one boy who will be leaving us at the end of the year, and he will be the first Casa del Camino boy to graduate from IVA (Instituto Vida Abudante). He is a little more serious than his twin and he will be testing for entry into the Honduran Navy in Oct. 2019.  He is a good student, very polite, very easy to encourage and spend time with.  He also has a good head on his shoulders, thinking that he will use the military to pay for his future education.

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

Jhon is probably our best student.  We never have to chase him down about doing his homework.  He is in the 10th grade, he gets good grades, is humbly competitive, and gets along well with everyone.

Coby is in the 11th grade.  He loves football and is known for his goal keeping abilities. He follows instruction well, works hard and is also doing well in the discipleship program that the boys are working through with Ludy.

Our last boy Ariel,  happens to be Ludy’s nephew.  Sweet kid who plays the guitar during worship at church.  He 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 who 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 God’s sovereign provision.

Please pray alongside us for not only our boys at La Casa del Camino but for all the families who struggle to make ends meet here in La Moskitia.  As you may have heard on the world news, July brings the beginning of lobster season in Honduras that goes through November, and just recently a local lobster boat was capsized claiming the lives of 27 men.  In this small community,  it seems as if everyone has been touched in some way by this tragedy.  One of the work crew here at La Casa, Delino who has been with us from the begining,  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 were the ones providing for their families.  Life is hard here and death is always difficult and sad but seems even worse 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 tragedy.

As the summer begins to pick up speed in the States, enjoy your families and friends. And please continue to remember us in your prayers.  Without you this ministry would not be possible.  I would suggest prayers for discernment of how God may be wanting to use you in this ministry.  We are in the process of organizing a monthly sponsorship program for each our boys – and maybe you want to be a part of that? Maybe you want to come down to Honduras on a short term mission team trip and experience what God is doing in La Moskitia? We would love to have you and you’ll be blessed for saying “Yes, Lord!”

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, and neither one of us could do it without the other so keeping our marriage strong is a priority.  Lastly please pray for me as I try to make more time to write and share how I see God working in this ministry.

In Him,

Mike (and Lisa)