Hello everyone! So much to report to you on, I know we have all been in battle of some sort or another over this last seven months. Praying this finds you stronger in your faith because of these battles and that the LORD has given you wisdom and peace in this time of unrest.
“The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul” (Psalm 19:7 NLT)
I am saddened by not writing as I should. There is so much to praise God and give thanks for in my life. You, our faithful supporters through your generous giving and faithful prayer deserve to hear of the blessings you are so very much a part of here in these boys lives, their families lives and the mighty works God is bringing about here, in me and in this lost corner of Honduras.
We left you off right after the two hurricanes hit La Moskitia in November 2020, causing much damage to our solar system and many if not all of the family run farms that support this area with food.
God has done what only God can do. All our immediate needs were met! The panels were replaced, batteries added, additional bikes supplied and two more laptops donated! And all the funding necessary to care for all the boys has continued to the praise of His glory. There is still struggle and suffering here presently in La Moskitia as it will take much more time for the crops to recover.
Some rather significant news since we returned, is that we have added another area of ministry. God has opened doors that led to an opportunity to bless a few remote communities, those of which our boys come from. Along with the devastated farming lands, many of the small foot bridges in these communities had been completely destroyed leaving in it’s wake very precarious means of crossing the water ways. Imagine young mothers with their babies in arms or the elderly needing to travel out of these remote areas crossing waterways on a felled tree branch and navigating slick muddy slopes. This was all brought to our attention through the families of our boys. They simply asked us for help after having been told by the mayor and others in charge here politically that “they” would help but eight months later, still no action.
So…God put it on my heart to take action. After all, how hard could it be to build a few bridges? Clearly after visiting the locations of past bridges, I could sense how significant a good bridge is to a people whose daily life is comparable to the days of homesteading over 200 years ago. This proccess has been a great learning tool for teaching our boys the value of hard work, negotiating, teamwork and giving back to their communities.
The size of the bridges and wood needed to do it “right” is grand with the first two bridges built measuring 80’ long 10-15’ high and 6’ wide. These projects have many moving parts and a lot of discussion in order to convince folks of their need to also get involved as it is for their benefit. So far I have been able to make good progress with getting the communitues to come together in order to harvest all the wood needed for each bridge. We couldn’t afford to do what we do without you coming along side us so that we can supply everything needed to make these bridges happen. Thank you for the generous donations. I have had other villages already asking for help with their bridge needs as word continues to travel surprisingly well here in La Moskitia. This is proving to be a very valuable ministry – Building Cross-Cultural Bridges. I see us continuing to fill this need as able.
Along with our bridge building ministry we have continued to pour into the lives of our boys here at La Casa del Camino. One boy in particular we have been blessed with the ability to come along side and show the love of Christ is Arnold. He ran away last year during the pandemic but since returned. My prodigal son of sorts. Arnold has been of much help to me not only through the construction of these bridges and communicating with the local peoples (he speaks excellent English along with Spanish and Native Miskitu), but also with the ongoing work around the home – most recently the tiling of showers and sinks. Arnold’s work around La Casa is allowing him to make monies to provide for his new family because January 2021 brought Carla and Arnold a son, Cristan. A beautiful, healthy baby boy (see below).
We have been able to guide Arnold and encourage him to make some good decisions concerning the direction and plan of course with having a new family. So far with the $10 a day wage we are able to pay him, Arnold has acquired almost all the materials needed to build his first home. Arnold also is purchasing a piece of property to build his home on, not far from La Casa del Camino, with plans of having the property paid off within the year. Yes, there will continue to be big trials surrounding Arnold for the next year or so, mainly because they cannot be legally married until Carla is 18 yrs old. But we continue to pray for and with Arnold and talk over these situations and possible outcomes with a very open-minded and ambitious young man. We see God continuing to use all of our mess-ups and failures to bring about His glory and it is beautiful.
Now backing up a bit, as we started the 2021 year we had received 17 boys ages 13-21 yrs. Through God’s sovereignty that number was reduced to 13 within the first month. And then it became clear that the two oldest boys had outgrown their ability to be coached as they would blatantly disregard house rules concerning girls and I was forced to make a decision best for the home by removing the two boys from our care. Additionally another boy has since returned to his village to work on the family farm, which brings our current number to 10.
This has been an interesting year once again due to Covid-19 restrictions. The school the boys attend is only open part time – allowing the kids to attend every other day, every other week. The junior high kids attend school 6 days a month and the high school kids attend four days a month. We are praising God for his soverinty as the La Casa ministry has been blessed to be able to hire a teacher who comes to supplement the boys school work and to assist with homework four hours a day each day they are not attending the private school. Please pray for schools to be open full time as the kids want to and need to be in school for so many reasons.
Another significant event at the begining of this year was in February, when I was installing solar lighting for the boys’ rooms. I had two sections of scaffolding set up and a 16’ ladder on top of that in order to access our roof and overhang. Given all the years leading up to this moment using scaffolding and ladders as my career in the States, I knew better but ‘it was only going to take me a minute to drill through the concrete under the overhang’ so I did not secure the scaffolding or ladder. Nope only a second! is all it took to come crashing down.
Immediately I began praying to God that my back was not broken in the fall, because the direction and force of the fall had me thinking I had surely broken my back! As I lie there in the dust, a tangled mess I began to size up my situation – my thumb is messed up! that’s a problem; it hurt to take deep breathes, most likely another problem; my thigh was very scrapped up and in pain, and my back, please Lord heal my back. Eventually I was helped to my feet, and it was painful to walk. Lisa took me to the hospital (there is not really ambulance service here to speak of) for x-rays. They showed an impact fracture of my thumb, two cracked ribs and a broken pelvis (only a chip off the corner, not too bad). I was told I would need to be flown out to Tegucigalpa for further evaluation which is what we did the next day. I saw a Orthopedic/Neurologist Specialist who thoroughly examined me and all the x-rays. After he asked how far I had fallen and I had told him 20+ feet he continued telling me just how lucky I was, although we all know better. Blessed is what I would call it.
The fall resulted in seven weeks without lifting but it didn’t slow me down too awful much. I had a little pain getting out of bed, and while coughing and I was sore when walking for a couple weeks. Mostly though, it was having lost the function of my left hand that created most of the problem. Still, I am grateful for the outcome. I have had no problems with my back. Another of the many miracles we witness here in the field. It all could have been so much worse.
First of June: Lisa returned to the States for a follow-up medical examination, and thank you Lord for the clean bill of health for her. That is until she returned to Puerto Lempira with her mom and her very own covid infection! Terrible timing, because her mom Rita would only be with us a short five days. So it goes without saying that with Lisa bed- ridden and me left trying to keep everything moving in the right direction, I don’t feel that we were able to give Rita a true experience of our lives in La Moskitia, but we are praying for another opportunity some day. Within 20 days Lisa was beginning to move around again and now is back to 100% of all that she does so well around the home. Grateful for my beautiful, strong-willed wife. She’s a total trooper, minimal complaints through her experience, and I feel blessed in that I have been spared thus far from a diblitating illness, and none of the boys contracted the illness either.
Last weekend was a very special time for La Casa del Camino as four boys from La Casa decided to get baptized as did Arnold’s girlfriend Carla. (Cor. 5:17 NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. What a joyful day of fellowship, that included a meal we shared afterwards with our church family in attanedance.
To close I want to share a couple other side notes. One, we have added to our food production with one hundred plantain trees, about 25 banana trees of various types, close to 500 yuca plants and we are getting closer to having the aquaponics up and running! Parise God for these future provisions. We also are blessed to be able to give a starving artist a little work – he has helped to brighten La Casa with a very cool mural in the entry way of the home (see below).
I must also mention the constant vehicle repair of some sort that seems to occupy much of my time as well. So, I have a list of things I am trying to get done this year but only God knows what each day will bring which continues to help me learn patience and the ability to rest in the LORD, for ‘this is what He has for me today.’ Thank you God for your kindness and patience with me as I am learning to trust in you 100%.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7)
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Thank you for reading, I hope this catches you up some on the happenings of La Casa del Camino this year.
Newsletter to follow.