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Hello from “hot, sweet and sticky” Honduras. It is hot, the food is sweet, and between the hot weather and the sweet food it makes you sticky.  Reminds me of an old rock n roll song!  I am happy to report that my heavy heart has lightened.  As Lisa and I continue to experience all the changes that come with moving to another country, being surrounded by a different culture and our need to learn a new language, we are truly grateful for the one thing remains unchanging – our loving Father who is unchanging and forever faithful in His word and action.

As I reflect back on the emotions I have been going through as shared in my last Blog, the “detox of materialism” and the realization that I had wrongly placed an emphasis of who I was in my business, my career, my accomplishments, my things… self check,  it was a necessary experience, one, for me to truly realize that “we” as Christians should have our identity first and foremost in Him.  When we receive the Holy Spirit, His love becomes our love, His joy becomes our joy, His peace becomes our peace, and His strength becomes our strength, helping us always to be growing in likeness to Him who has called us.  Secondly, we needed to lighten our load in order to step out and understand that though God blessed us with “our things” for a season, there comes a time when He will ask something more of you and me.  It was a necessary response to let the “things” go that I was holding on to so that we could more tightly cling to Him.  God knows what is needed for the ministry in La Moskitia and He continues to provide for it.

Lisa and I have been surrounded by people who have been able to help us adapt here. Help with the residency process, help with the drivers licenses process, and help with the purchase of a Casa Del Camino ministry truck.  Even being blessed by folks Earl and Sharon who have a ministry here and are from Maple Valley! A sweet couple who have been here in Honduras since the mid ’80s and have come along side us, sharing what has worked and not worked in their experiences of working with the kids of Honduras.  They learned of CDC when Sharon was back in the states in August and had visited ACTION (our sending agency) and she saw our newsletter so after returning to Honduras they reached out to us.  God is faithful in bringing His people together, helping to support one another in every way.  We are continuing to learn the language though not speaking proficiently (yet) we are getting the conjugating of the verbs down and growing our vocabulary.  Asking for continued prayer with the language.

The truck purchase was an experience all in itself and began with a four-hour bus ride into San Pedro Sula at 4:30 am.  We were fortunate enough to have my spanish teacher Danny come along to help with the transaction and he had his girlfriend pick us up at the bus station as we arrived.  Alejandra was very sweet and drove us all around to look at the trucks.  First truck was supposed to be a  2006 F250 4×4 7.3 Diesel and instead a 2015 F150 4×4 V6 shows up! Apparently the other truck was sold 4 months prior.  As I’m explaining they should probably take down the old listing as that was not what they were selling, I had a chance to explain why we needed a rig of the sort we were looking for, and he told us he knew someone who had a big truck they were selling.  His buddy’s truck was a Dodge 2005 4×4 big Cummins Diesel with a four-inch lift.  When first looking at it I thought it was pretty cool but a little on the big side so we kept looking elsewhere.

After looking at multiple trucks with multiple issues, everything from no oil in the truck to people trying to sell trucks that weren’t theirs, we decided to go with the second 2005 F250, a truck that was owned by the bank and therefore required the transaction to take place at the bank.  This is where God stepped in again.  The bank was to close at 12 noon this day so we arrived at 11:35 to discover the bank decided to close at 11:30 instead of noon.  God’s way of letting me know this was not the truck.  As I began to feel this was a wasted trip, the first truck we looked at came back to mind, and the more I thought about it the more I began to see, this is exactly the kind of truck we will need in La Moskitia!  We called the owner back and he was happy to show the truck again. We began to negotiate and were able to agree on a price.   He had all the paper work notorized and we were able to complete the transaction effortlessly!  I must believe God is behind us getting this truck as it was not even on the radar –  the first truck we saw and after multiple issues with other trucks and a bank closing early!  I mean what bank have you ever heard of to close 30 minutes early?  God knows best, that is our story.

Tight truck, mechanically sound, big diesel has us ready for La Moskitia!IMG_1482 (1)

Next week we will be visiting the school and housing ministry Earl and Sharon began in the ’90s.  Looking forward to gleaning more from them their years of experience and insight they have in relation to the various situations that we are sure to face in the coming years. Photos and more to come.

CDC Update:  The construction of the home is winding down as the plumbing is finished.  We are waiting still for the door hardware to arrive (purchased and sent three weeks ago) so half of the doors can be installed with the remaining doors still needing to be purchased and made.  The outdoor kitchen and dining areas are progressing nicely also.

Lisa and I will be heading to La Moskitia to celebrate our 17th anniversary next weekend!  Time flies when you’re having fun! We will be lining up the remaining work to be done at the home before we arrive, with a projected arrival date on Lisa’s birthday, December 1.   Praying for the outdoor kitchen and eating area to be completed as well as the mission team rooms to be laid out with rough floors poured and beginnings of walls built before our arrival.  It is also time to begin with the transportation of the container from Seattle to Puerto Lempira – the cost of $5500.00 is needed and does not include the import tax of which we are uncertain of that amount.  God knows the details of this and we are resting in Him for the successful and smooth shipping of it all.

We give thanks to our God who lets us come to Him as He is our loving Father.  Thank you Jesus for saving me, thank you for your daily mercy and patience with me, thank you for the love and support both prayerfully and financially of the people you have chosen to join in and lift up the Casa Del Camino ministry.  We pray for each and every person reading this to be in continual surrender to You and your will for their lives God. As they do this Lord, may your Love, Joy, Peace and Strength be a visible sign to this world of the power that is in You – our mighty creator living in each of us. Amen!

I love you and am blessed to call you family, friend, brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for your continued prayer.

All for His glory,

Mike

 

 

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Go! Sell! Give! Come! Follow!

We are in transition.  A trying time as the things that have been left behind are still close in heart.  I must confess it is difficult for me to not reminisce on all that I had put so much effort into obtaining and is now gone.  Realizing it was all a false sense of security makes it no easier.  Though our earlier lives had its challenges, it was easy and familiar, it was comfortable, and had a certain degree of dependability.  I was certain as long as I continued to work my best, work would continue to come in.  I had relationships with people.  I miss those relationships very much.  There is a void in my life as we need fellowship and community.  I am grateful to have a blessed marriage, the source of much comfort during these days.  I can speak for Lisa as well when I say that we are truly homesick; we miss our family and friends, our church, our coworkers and bankers. We love you and miss you dearly.  It will be so good to see you all again December 2019. Already looking forward to our visit then and to some of your visits next year!

The transition I referred to is that of having a new “job” – Many of us realize that our needs have always been provided by God but when you leave your careers to follow Him, you find yourself truly relying, solely on God to provide along with filling the ability needed to learn a new language.  These have been a bit of a challenge for us. We are encouraged and do feel as we are making progress with our language skills, only not as fast as we had been praying for.  We are in a new country and we are now the foreigner, the odd man out so to speak, and without the skills to communicate clearly, our relationships are limited.  Sure, we could be surrounding ourselves with other missionaries or our other English-speaking friends here, but that would not help our learning of the Spanish language.  I feel that things will get better as we move into Casa Del Camino and look forward to building relationships with the boys and with the people of La Moskitia.

I find comfort in the verses in Mark 10:28-31 (HCSB) Peter began to tell Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.”  “I assure you,” Jesus said, “there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time  – Houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions  – and eternal life in the age to come.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Who? No one! or better yet, everyone who has left anything or anyone, not for their own good but for my sake and for the gospel. Who will not have, how much? One hundred times as much! When? When you get to Heaven, or after you die? No! You will get one hundred times as much NOW! In the present age! And that’s not all, we will have eternal life! We already have joy unspeakable because of our relationship with God.  We have the peace, love and joy the world longs for because of His spirit that dwells in us.  In God we have complete security, nothing can harm us until we finish the work that He has set before us in this world, and then we will be received by Him with great rejoicing! Knowing all this and I still struggle, caught up in internal turmoil, wondering if the cause is of being in transition? Feeling called but not yet fulfilling the calling? The transition is real and it is tough. I believe what I believe, and yet my mind still plays tricks on me, getting me to second guess all that’s going on.  I reckon that’s why it is so very important to stay in the Word, keeping God’s promises fresh in our minds able to call them out in the time of need.

Keeping this BLOG has also been a good reminder of how God has been faithful in His word all throughout this ministry, so that we can look back and see how He has answered prayers and met our needs helping us to live expectantly in His word. I wonder how much more joyous life can and will be by, living the life He has called us to live? But yet we are still in transition.  I think that is what He is telling us in these verses – is not to let our possessions be master over us. Our safety, relationships, possessions, worldly success, trials and troubles there will be, but that it is all for our good and His glory.  God is always good and God is always wise. I am a work in progress, still working out some internal things, and the whole idea “first will be last and last first” is one of them.  I love being first and hate being last, competitive maybe to a fault?

I know that it is only through God that any of this is being accomplished, still I can’t help but continually think about what needs to be done next; spinning my wheels over the details trying to figure out how all this is going to happen.  I would like to clarify, I do not believe the verses in Mark mean, that if I gave up two Cadillacs He will supply me with 200 more, or that by walking away from good paying jobs we will be supplied with even better paying jobs – I believe the things He does and will supply us with are to be so meaningful and magnificent to us, according to His riches in glory! That we will experience the “less is more” effect. That the happiness we felt from the hoards of belongings we were allowed to have earlier, will pale in comparison to how He will supply for us now and the joy we will experience in the days to come.

It is much easier to communicate these thoughts than to actually live them out without being anxious or worried about where the next crews’ payroll will come. Even though a lot of the heavy lifting may be done, there is much more to be completed.  It has become very clear to me that, no longer can I rest in any way of my own doings as I am fully reliant on God’s provision. In doing so, I’m telling you, I feel as if He is treating me to a slice of pie.  I love pie, just not sure about the flavor of humble pie.

Prayer requests are that we be gifted with the ability to learn and speak the Spanish and also Miskito language; to be honest with Jesus and aware of our shortcomings, trusting in and resting in Him fully; to have a great awareness of God’s power, majesty and mercy; to continue to grow and strengthen our knowledge of God’s Word and that we can respond generously to the needs we are made aware of around us. Lisa and I give all praise and glory to our Heavenly Father for all of you in our lives, and pray that you may clearly see Him at work in your daily lives.

Please feel free to comment as we are encouraged by your words and get a certain amount of reassurance knowing that I am communicating clearly about our struggles and praises.

                                            Wisdom From Oswald Chambers

The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else. “Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord”…

A few pictures of people we have met.  Getting used to seeing the difference in first world and third world lifestyles, and La Cieba is a world apart from where we will be ministering in Puerto Lempira, with much less infrastructure.  Please join us in praying for the Honduranian people, most who are living on less than $10 per day with the price of gas over a $1 per Liter = $3.90 per gallon of regular gas just to help put it all in perspective.

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Camiones De Trabajar

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Fruit Stand

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Our Favorite Swimming Hole… Muy Fresco!

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“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil. 4:4 (HCSB)

Psalms 23:6 (HCSB) Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Lisa and I have been in Honduras for a month and we have continued to be full of joy and graditude due to our opportunity to be here. Praising God for all the pieces that needed to fall into place in order to get us here and the experiencing of all we continue to experience in this new culture. God has given us several new relationships that have been an encouragement to us. By being called we are free to rest in Him, as He tells us “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:30).  Knowing, just as we were, and continue to be helped along by God’s chosen, we also, will be helping God’s chosen as we pour into the lives of La Moskitia kids helping them to understand their God-given potential, as an unlimited source of power and protection.

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Marco, Jerbin and Arnold

We continue to have class five days a week 8 am till noon with a half hour break at 10 am. We each have our own instructors and are in seperate classrooms. Lisa is doing very well with her English speaking instructor Ligia – they have built a strong relationship together.  I have been struggling a bit as they gave me an instructor who speaks zero English, and after 4 weeks I tapped out and requested a new instructor, as the frustration level was getting unbearable.   On Monday I will be getting a new instructor who will be able to speak some English – I’m more than excited.  Then, somewhere along the line the house mother/codirector of the school (Maria) decided she had a problem of some sort with Lisa, making it uncomfortable at best, until now where she is outright rude to both Lisa and me. God is working in us, patience, forgiveness and helping us to keep in mind the log in our own eyes.  I would ask for prayer concerning the softening of all of our hearts toward one another and reconcilliation.  Also prayer for Lisa and myself to be good students and to be a good reflection of the love of Christ who is in us. That we would be blessed with a gift of communication in Espanol, and for the Lord to continue strengthening us allowing us to be people that glorify Him in word and deed.

As you are probably sensing our time here hasn’t been without some struggle as I felt it necessary to find us different living arrangements after three weeks of very uncomfortable, almost hostile conditions in more ways than one.  A room that was unbearbly hot, on top of that the power was out many days for about 3 hours at a time with not even a fan to create some air flow – it was miserable, then the Lord stopped the flow of water in our bathroom for three days and with the personal tension, I’d had enough!  After many emails to the director of the school (Maria’s husband Manuel) we were refunded the amount owed for rent that we had prepaid. God then delivered us to a small two room unit including a kitchen, hot shower and a/c for less than the school was charging us. Thank you Jesus. The new landlords have also befriended us and they invited us to Geraldo’s (landlord) birthday party at their home outside the city.  On Sunday August 19, we spent the day hanging out with Geraldo, his wife Gladys and their family. Good food, good times, good fun. There was lots to talk with Geraldo about because he is a civil engineer and builder. Geraldo also has a friend with an aquaponics system farming tilapia and has offered to draw up plans for above ground fish pond. Again God putting all the resources needed at my disposal! Thank you Lord.

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Geraldo in white, his wife Gladys, brother, sister and kids

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Beautiful pool

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Home in the country

A couple of weekends ago we flew out to Puerto Lempira to check on the progress of the home. It is amazing!  All the windows have been completed, the floors have been finished and all the floor sealer has been purchased.  We have now started to make all the doors, and all of the plumbing for the home is about finished.   We have also started to layout the foundation plans for the outdoor kitchen and palapa for the dining hall where all the food prep and cooking will take place.  A large palapa off the kitchen is where we will share family style meals.  Additionally, we were also able to get a good idea of future plans for mission team quarters to be built under the home.img_0889

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Traditional fogon

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Traditional stove

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clearing area for kitchen and comador

Over another weekend Lisa and I went to the island of Utila with two other students, a girl (Emily) from England and a Irish guy (Adrian). Nice break from school and we enjoyed sharing time with some other foreigners. I gather there is quite a bit of history between the Irish and the Brits due to all the off-the-cuff remarks that flew back and forth between the two.  We had a lot of fun.  I’m always saddened when we come across the lost, someone who for one reason or another is not willing or ready to put their hope in our loving God. Please pray for Adrian, very much the doubting Thomas.

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Profesor Jose Luis, Emely, Mike, Profesora Ligia, Lisa and Adrian

In Utila we went diving and enjoyed an afternoon of snorkeling. Much needed time away from the school. The rest of our time we have been out and about in the city of La Ceiba, meeting people and trying to practice our Spanish.img_0415img_0405

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It can be difficult at times as I now realize how much I enjoyed my career.  I reflect on how easy life was, having everything, needing nothing. I must remind myself of how much God has taken care of me my whole life. “If then, you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? Luke 11:13 (HCSB).  Then I can’t help but feel peace knowing God will surely continue to provide for our lives here, as we look to Him for our every need. Believing that the only blessing that really matters is the one we receive when we put our trust and faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as payment for the sins of the world.

Thank you all for your support and faithful prayers. Please know we thank God for you and pray for you as well.

In Him,

Mike

 

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When You See The Work Of God In Your Life! 3 Months In A Whirlwind!

Hola Amigos. We are praying this finds you well. I am writing this from La Ceiba, Atlantida, Honduras. Sorry this has taken so long, just been trying to keep my head above water. Intend on writing every couple of weeks with pictures following this post.

The last three months have been a rollercoaster ride of emotions for Lisa and me as we prepared to depart.  Leaving behind our family, friends, home, careers, pets and selling most all of our belongings in order to boldly step out in faith, learning a new language and moving to a distant location with little infrastructure – many have accused us of losing our minds. Trading in the first world problems of a dead cell phone battery or a car that won’t start or one of the worst yet, everyone hates being stuck in traffic. Instead, we will be faced with some third world problems of no electricity, lack of food to eat or clean water to drink.  In all honesty there have been times when Lisa and I have questioned our decision for our direction in life. As we continued to look to Jesus for all understanding, He closed certain doors as He opened wide new ones. By walking through those opened doors we really began to live, depending and relying on God for our needs and requests has grown our faith tremendously. As we see Him at work daily, almost moment by moment in our lives and the lives of those we are close to.

Talking about going on mission, and actually doing it is very different.  I can now see why I’ve been told that many missionaries do not make it to the field. Without the help and support of our many friends, family and brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m not sure we would be where we are today. Please forgive me for not mentioning each of you by name but what I can say is that we have been blessed so many times in so many ways by so many different people I cannot begin to compile a list adequate enough to express your importance in this journey. We want to thank our home church our church leaders and body as a whole including but in no way limited to the morning bible study brunch group, our small group, our close and not so close friends, Columbia Gorge Christian Fellowship, our sending agency ACTION International and all those who have touched and influenced our lives over the years, our family that has been oh so supportive as it has been difficult for them as well to stand in support of our decision. Lisa and I pray you all find it as uplifting and encouraging as we do, to know that no matter what your role, we will all share in the same treasure on the other side of eternity. For we could not go without senders and we would surely be overcome without the protection of your prayer strengthening and keeping us. We love you and pray the peace of our Lord and Heavenly Father over each of your life knowing that you in turn are creating opportunities for these boys that they would never have otherwise – making a difference in La Moskitia one boy at a time.

We give all praise and glory to God for our dear friends and family who came along side us in the final days, helping us to utilize every moment; for their endless effort they put into always being available to us, without being asked or told what was needed. Truer angels than these cannot be found.

Thanking God for our extraordinary daughter Taylor and her loving husband Bryan whom we adore for all their help as we prepared to leave, giving me peace by providing man’s best friend – my dog Reilly,  a loving home. Thank you to each of you who helped handle the last minute details that were responsible for us being able to leave on time without a minute to spare.

We thank God for bringing just the right people along to purchase all that was sold. I praise God for answered prayer as He brought a buyer for the business, the deal closed on a Friday we flew out of Seattle Sunday. Lisa’s car sold earlier on Sunday, the day we left, my Cadillac also sold that same day.  Just God working in the eleventh hour like only He can do, as we were about to concede, that it must not be part of God’s will for our lives, He continued to show us His faithfulness over and over. All for His glory.

As we arrived at the airport with long lines at the ticket booth we were waved over to the mileage plus line with hardly anybody in it. As our bags were weighed some of them overweight we are told “this is your lucky day!” as the computer system went down and we were told, all of our bags would be checked for free! Six bags total, two of them over weight, about a $300.00 savings! Praise God! Who has ever heard of such a thing?

After arriving in La Ceiba, we by chance met Rod, a local American missionary at the super market  After briefly discussing the vision God had placed on our hearts – the boys home and an aquaponics system to help guarantee a food supply, he shared with us the fact that he knew of a man visiting La Ceiba that was all about aquaponics, and that he would be having lunch with him the following day. I asked if I may tag along, and he agreed. It just so happened that the meeting was scheduled a couple blocks from our school at 12:30PM, and our language class goes from 8-noon. As we arrived we realize this was a gathering of maybe 50-60 people American missionaries and several local Honduran pastors. We had an incredibly blessed, spirit-filled time of fellowship connecting with many local and foreign like-minded folks. Two of our new contacts are both heavily involved in established aquaponic systems here in Honduras. Jorge, the lead aquaponics specialist here in La Ceiba for Connect Global out of Tampa Florida is a Honduran native that has wanted to do work in La Moskitia, he will now have ample opportunity to use his expertise in Puerto Lempira. Again God connecting His network in amazing ways, as our missionary friend Mateo, who has been serving here in Honduras for the past 25+ years had never heard of anyone doing aquaponics here in Ceiba and it only took us less than 24 hours to be connected with local professionals with up and running highly productive systems.

I feel as if we have been blessed with so many divine appointments; God guiding and protecting us the entire way. By answering God’s call or promptings in obedience  we can expect Him to manifest His will and plan for our lives step by step. With each step God has afforded me opportunities to share the gospel with many already.   It began with the director of the language school as he shared some personal struggles with me within the first couple days of being here.  I was able to point him to the redeemng power of Christ.   Almost effortlessly we have been able to share with each of the students our faith in Jesus. My teacher has a second job teaching at a local public middle school and has asked Lisa and me to come and share some of my testimony and our mission in Honduras with his class on Wednesday. There will be an English teacher there to do the translating. Please pray for that experience to be spirit-led, conveying the love and joy only felt by the power of a living God. Just when I feel as if, what more could I possibly do, God allows another opportunity. How exciting it is proclaiming His glory!

We have begun our second week of language school, 4 hour days of one on one instruction and about two hours homework. Lisa and I are grateful for this opportunity to focus on learning this new language. Looking at it as our job for the next four months, we are hopeful and expectant for God to loose our tongues and bless us with a second language. You will know this has happened when I am writing thoughts in Spanish.  We do feel as though we are learning, only not at the miraculous pace we desire, yet we remain confident in He who called us. Please pray for understanding and patience.

We were blessed at our first church experience this past weekend as the church we attended had a guest pastor from Florida, Pastor Mitch who shared with us a valuable truth, in English, translated into Spanish. As we try to settle into our new routine we feel as we just exited a storm, but the truth of the matter is we are all either entering a storm, in a storm or exiting a storm. The story in (Matthew 14:22-29) was shared and a timely reminder of the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, as the safest place to be in a storm is close to Jesus. For when we obey and keep our eyes on Jesus we can defy our own fears and limitations, but if only for a moment we glance away we allow fear to set in. Peter looked away, a casual glance and began to sink. Thankfully, Jesus saves sinking people who call out to Him. So wherever you may be in relation to the storms of life,       (Hebrews 12:1-2) “…let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith…”

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Casa Del Camino…Never Say “Never”

 

*Lisa and I would like to give a special thanks to David Newcomb and Highlands Community Church for the production of this video.

For more information on the ministry of Casa Del Camino or to donate please visit our mission page by clicking here.

In order to receive a brief quarterly newsletter with updates and prayer requests via U.S. Mail, or to further connect with us, please email us including your name and street address to mike.lisa.brenner@actionintl.org

 

 

“Thou Shalt Be Called, Sought Out.” (Isaiah 62:12) KJV

One of the things I must continue to reflect upon is that, it’s not…I that have got God, but that He has got me.  I was lost, but He found me.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. (John 15:16) HCSB

As I am on my way out of Honduras I feel a longing that God has created in my life to serve Him. Realizing all He has done for me, my life, filled with gratitude will surely be a life filled with service for His glory.  I feel the greatest gift life has to offer us all, is that we walk closely enough with Jesus to hear our calling, and that we may be faithful enough to fulfill the ministry God created us to accomplish.  Nothing easy about this, as I battled defeat and what I call, “an emotional rollercoaster” for the last couple weeks.  In need of continual reminders that it is not “me” that has to get “this or that” done but that it is God, who is responsible for the amount of work happening on Casa Del Camino. Knowing this vision was given by God helps me to rest at the end of this trip, taking pressure off me, by believing all things were accomplished on this trip in His timeframe and according to His plan for His ministry.

Low point of the trip:

Making a tough decision with adverse affects on someone’s livelihood, who I claim to be a friend of.

Sorry to say, I had to fire one of the crew a few days ago.  One of the initial guys, one of the first five that were hired to work this project from the beginning.  This was not easy… After multiple issues, everything from our property being broken into, to him having his boys doing his job (unknown to us) and caught sleeping while they were supposed to be doing it, to not bringing his watchdog to the night-time watchie shift multiple nights in one week.  I felt as though he was taking advantage of our desire to be a reflection of God’s grace, and his attitude was that of one who acted like he was above being held accountable for these issues.  Truth be known, we are going to all be held accountable for what we have done with the opportunities and resources we were given here, this side of Heaven.  He had worked for us for two years, without contract, and as I just learned, a workers contract is very important in Honduras.  The following day the ex-employee filed papers with the “Ministry of Work” and the day before I left I was given notice that I had to go in and have a hearing that would determine how much severance I must pay him.  For a worker that is fired unjustly, that amount can equal one years pay.  Gratefully, we had documented said issues and were able to show his release was warranted, and that allowed us to negotiate a severance that started out at two months pay, down to two weeks.  Thank you Lord.

On to good things.  In my additional two week stay, along with good progress at the property, I was able to make some new, invaluable contacts:

One of whom is a Honduran civil engineer who also happens to be an attorney named Roberto.  Roberto is from Tegucigalpa and is friends with the new Mayor of Puerto Lempira.  Roberto had been visiting PL in an attempt to figure out the best way to resolve some drainage and infrastructure issues in the downtown area.  When served with the Ministry of Work papers I immediately thought of Roberto, as we had just met when I had shared a table with him over dinner a few nights before.   It’s funny how God works – all the restaurant tables were full and he was sitting alone at a four person table, I was hungry and ready to eat so it was a no-brainer for me as I motioned to sit down across from him.  We decided to share contact info as he felt he may be able to offer us some service in regards to our mission sometime.   Then, a couple of days later I would call Roberto to explain what I had received from the Ministry of Work, and he was able to meet with me and prepare me for what would happen at the hearing.  He also offered to prepare a simple two month contract document that would protect us in the future and could be used for all of our current employees.  I am so thankful for Roberto.  He drew up a two page contract for 15 employees, he also provided the 30 copies needed, all at no charge.  If our meeting was not a divine appointment between Roberto and I sharing dinner in the middle of Puerto Lempira, and the fact that he happened to speak a little English, two days before I would need his help, I don’t know what is.

Then on my last night, our good friend Walter Tatallon, who is the artist of the featured image above, was coming to deliver my painting, and as I walked out to meet him, he began speaking with a man, who as it turns out is the new Mayor of Puerto Lempira.  Subsequently, I was introduced to Mayor Etgado Alkade, who inquired as to what had brought me to Puerto Lempira.  So! I was able to give God the glory in front of the town’s Mayor.  He then proceeded to tell me he has many resources at his disposal, and if we need any help in the future at Casa Del Camino, to not hesitate to call on him or his second in charge who he then introduced to me.   Mr. Mayor Alkade even gave me his personal cell phone number to call, because he “loves construction and loves that we have come to help the Miskito people, his people.”

Along with those two contacts, God blessed me with yet another one, Earl.   Earl has been working in the Puerto Lempira area for the last 11 years or so with the Rotary, doing various humanitarian projects.  He left the states a couple of years ago and is now based in Roatan and makes several trips to PL each year.  His organization as it happens, is also responsible for providing the power generator system for the House of Hope orphanage and the IVA School.   Presently his organization is currently working on a clean water operation.  Earl and I were able to share the ride out of Puerto Lempira to La Ceiba in a small single prop plane the next morning, and we made sure to have each other’s contact information to touch base as we return home.

I am feeling that by me trying to walk in obedience, every step with God, by desiring to stay longer to accomplish more, I was provided these three incredible connections as they didn’t happen in the previous three weeks.  God always at work and providing opportunities for future friendships – all to help fulfill Lisa and my calling to serve the boys of La Moskitia – for them to know our Savior’s love.

Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth.  For I am God, and there is no other.  By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked;  Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance.  Isaiah 45:22-23

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Front deck around to front porch.  We got two more pieces on and call it a trip.  

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My ride out of Puerto Lempira

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View from my seat – those are my knees nearly touching the dash

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Property being cleared to help limit the snake population: No place to run, no place to hide!

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Burning the grass piles on the property

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Casa Del Camino.  Amazing progress.  Broke ground Feb. 2016, realizing the fence alone took one year to complete

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Something is wrong with this picture?  God’s my co-pilot, no fear.  

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Super remote area of La Moskitia from 1200′ just east of Reserva Biologica Rio Plantano

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Trujillo, Honduras.  West side of Reserva Biolgica Rio Plantano 

 

Thank you all for keeping me in your prayers, and for lifting Casa Del Camino boys and all the work crew to the Lord in prayer, praying God’s will be done!

I thank you God Almighty for surrounding me with your people Lord. I give you thanks for all the many blessings You continue to pour out on me keeping me safe as I notice all the physical pain and death that haunt many in La Moskitia Lord.  I pray for them to know You personally Lord.  Thank you for your provisions – for providing me people with the ability to help in situations as they arise God, I owe everything to You Jesus.  Please give me your heart for all people God.   Help me to express my love and appreciation to our family and friends God, who are involved in this ministry.  Heavenly Father, I pray and lift each person reading this, that you may meet them wherever they are Lord, and provide them with Your comfort, let them share in Your peace that You offer so freely, to those who follow you God.  Allow us each the ability to see You God at work in our everyday lives.  May You, the Creator of all that is seen and not seen continue Your great work in each of our lives, as we join together in Your Great Commission.  May You Lord continue to strengthen our faith, empowering us with Your Great Holy Spirit – produce in us a powerful witness to You God, and may we share Your love for one another, this day and everyday forward.  We love You Lord Jesus and we praise You and give You thanks for everything – thank you for what You lovingly accomplished upon the cross for us God, helping us to see it is not what we do, but rather what has already been done for us by Your free gift when Jesus paid it all.  In love we respond.  We praise You God as we wear the name of “Sought out.”  It is in Your blessed name we pray.

Amen.

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:6-7 HCSB

My Best for His Glory,

Mike

Click here to go to: Brenner Mission Page

Strengthening My Patience

The above picture was taken last Friday, the day before I was due to fly out of Puerto Lempira heading home to be with my beautiful wife Lisa. Even though we were able to place all the roof beams, I had a certain feeling that my work was not done here on this trip.

I called Lisa and shared with her the defeating feeling I was experiencing, and that I felt I needed to stay a bit longer, not really sure if what I was feeling was God challenging me or?  But I can say I desired to offer Him more, although I know we are no real service to God for He can accomplish anything without us lifting a finger.  God doesn’t need me but am I going to be faithful to Him in even the simplest or most difficult of ways.  This may have been the test for me.

Even as the work I came to do has not yet been done, I feel God providing me opportunities in the most ordinary ways – from sharing my faith in Him with so many hurting people here or simply praying with the boys before they head out to school each morning and before meals.  I see that I have surrendered to God and His will for me today, and my patience is being strengthened knowing this is God’s will for my life this day, and I ask, “What will I do with it?”6F042D68-E054-481C-8B81-798B75C63224“For you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:3-4 200BE072-B7E1-4158-98E3-16D6BD612668

This trip has clearly been God’s timing.  It might not have been the exact timing I had planned out, but I am certain God is continuing to do a work in me, allowing me the extra time it takes to nurture my relationships with the boys.  You have got to put time in with someone before you can truly know them.  I thank God for my extra time to spend with these boys.

Arnold has been with me since we all landed in Puerto Lempira on January 27th, Marco and Jerbin showed up the day after, and they each continue to be on my shirt tails daily.  Since then, there have been several calls to Lisa, sometimes at the end of my wits, overwhelmed from the boys looking to me for the provision of all their needs, or the frustration I’ve felt dealing with their shortcomings, only to be lovingly reminded, who “I” once was, and that God created me perfectly to fill the need and to clearly share Christ’s love with these lost boys.  My time with them continues to be a blessing to me, and even though they can never take the place of our daughter, they do have a sincere commitment from us to continue encouraging them, as I share with them the truth that we will all be held accountable for the choices we make, while focusing on the love of Christ that fills me – it is clear to me that I cannot do this without God.

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Arnold & Jerbin (back)

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called! Amen.

Saturday, February 24th, I had the guys work on the fascia board around the perimeter of the roof and pour concrete at the top of the walls, between the roof beams.07855D31-E0BB-48E7-BABD-C25F1AD99BD1

Sunday the 25th, I went to the property to work on the front porch roof and I was able to finish all but a few boards before heading to Miskito church at Pastor Ludy’s.

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Entry Porch Roof Completed

710AA00B-2945-452E-B685-8F362534E994Monday, the 26th I was able to buy 14 of the 28 mahogany windows needed for the home.  I also bought a second replacement saw in PL for L3000 (about ($128.00) so we were able to have one saw on the ground ripping boards and one on roof to cut boards. The roof over the front deck was completed and I had the guys cement between beams on the north wall.  I also laid out the kitchen counter appliances location.

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Porch off the Living Room and Master Bedroom

Tuesday the 27th, we installed wood roofing on the deck closest to the water tower and began roofing in the living room.  I also laid out the bathroom shower shelves and sinks, and had the guys take down the concrete forms between the beams and start laying block for the bathroom vanities and kitchen counters.

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Porch off the Back Bedrooms

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Cement Kitchen Counters Going In

Today, Wednesday, 28th we finished the living room and dining room roof, and began to prepare the remaining entry roof area.  Also when our good friend Mateo (who was building Ludy’s house) went home on Monday, I had him take our DeWalt worm saw to have the switch repaired at the Central American DeWalt dealer that thankfully happens to be in La Ceiba just a block from the airport.   The switch was rebuilt for L125 (just over $5.00) and was flown back to us for another L250 and arrived today! 9CFFEE5E-3483-46F9-AAE0-9A384091FEE5

D6EE2807-81B5-4C74-A1D4-3C7B54332BD4All in all, it is beginning to look as if the majority of the roof will be installed before I fly out of PL on March 10th to begin my journey back to Seattle arriving on March 13, 2018.  Our days working at the property are 7am to 5pm and the weather has been cooperating amazingly!

Giving all thanks and praise to God almighty, the Creator and sustainer of everything – for sustaining me and renewing my strength every night.  Giving thanks for the work crew safety, for the dialog with the boys to be God-centered more and more.   I’m grateful for Marco’s continued success in school (8th grade this year) and a great start of the school year for Arnold and Jerbin who are not used to the idea of homework but are beginning to understand the priorities (they are both in 7th grade).

Praising God for His sovereignty and for bringing knowledgeable people (brothers, Cesar, Carlos and Eddie who went to school for solar) for their help with hooking up the well solar pump and for offering their help in designing our solar system for Casa Del Camino. And for all of you, God’s faithful servants lifting us and Casa Del Camino in your prayers and generous giving. How great is our God!

Not to us Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give glory because of your faithful love, because of your truth!  (Psalms 115:1)  HCSB

In Him,

Mike

Click here to go to Brenner Missionary Website

 

SURRENDERED

Be silent before the Lord, and wait expectantly for him. (Psalms 37:7)

This trip has been a challenging one on many levels.  At the same time, I have continued to feel so very blessed that our Lord continues to show me His faithfulness in all things.

I am aware of my commitment to serve the people of La Moskitia, and am feeling more surrendered to God’s will with every passing day.  I feel as though our Lord May be using Lisa and me to help to fill the hole – the hole left by the loss of Mama Miriki’s life of service to these people.  Surely we could never take her or her family’s place but I’m confident God is using us that we might be a reflection of His guiding light in the lives of the lost – people who need Jesus here in this remote corner of our world.

I am finding opportunities daily to point others to Jesus, and at the same time I am being stretched beyond my comfort zone, challenged to handle situations with my beloved dysfunctional boys; loving them, encouraging them, providing for them, having fun with them – yet trying to reach them in a way that will help them to grow up healthy and strong physically, mentally and most importantly, spiritually.  It reminds me of just how difficult the teen years can be especially for kids that may not have had a typically “good” childhood.  All of this and…the language barrier, I am challenged at every turn.

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From Left: Arnold, Jerbin, Mike and Marco 

Following God’s lead without truly knowing where or what He’s asking has become more of me just making myself available.   Many times I feel totally inadequate as a representative or witness for the Lord; and yet I find myself praying for people I don’t know.

Or, like today for instance when we do the usual topical Scripture study at the prison, with friends Pastor Ludy and Mateo, who are so much more well read and knowledgeable of Scripture than me.  Still, I feel the desire to share what I do know, and I’m blown away by the fact that God has used me to play a part in His master plan by getting Pastor Ludy involved in prison ministry – it’s just cool!

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At Puerto Lempira Prison today (2.22.18) with Mateo and Pastor Ludy

The issue of waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come has been another ongoing theme this trip.  Mostly having to do with materials but, I do know this, “Miskito time” is totally different from “Millitar (military) time.”  I’m getting mucho practice in patience.

Well water.  Expecting the miracle without knowing how God will provide.  I have a big expectation that our well will test clean after it has tested positive for chloroform.  I’m praying for this daily.  Since the test came back positive for chloroform we did a little research and discovered that some wells that test dirty need to be shocked with bleach to remove contaminates.  While a little chloroform is not dangerous because we already have that in our systems, I don’t know what level our well is at since the test doesn’t tell me that.  And because our water in the States is treated, there is zero chloroform so our prayer for this well here too is the same.  When we did the shock treatment the water went from totally clear to slightly cloudy, and is now getting clearer with the more water that is pumped out.  We have pumped roughly 6000 gal. since.  Please pray for the water to be clean.  

Death.  With all the death involved on this trip, understanding God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances has been a challenge as I try my best to pray for those involved in the suffering.  Especially when the lost one didn’t have a relationship with God.  I’m planting seeds of love and at every opportunity sharing Jesus and the truth of an all-faithful, Almighty, All loving God – an important step in true healing for those who are suffering. Please pray that seeds planted will sprout in fertile soil, grow and produce a fertile crop a hundred times as much as has been planted.

Values.  I have noticed the high value placed on relationships here as compared to the “high-value” placed on things or time, in general back home.  People here love to stop and talk.  You just don’t see everybody running around in a big hurry to get somewhere.  Lisa and I are both very excited to get into language school.   That’s another miracle we are looking forward to – being able to communicate in their native language of Miskito. Please pray that we would learn the language thoroughly and quickly.  

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Lucas – fearless on the roof

Other news to share: Casa Del Camino is progressing nicely as all of the roof beams are up and cut to length, fascia boards have been installed, and we are running the first course of 1”x12”x16’ boards.  The security gate on the battery bank has been installed, decorator block has been put into the window openings in the water tower bathroom, solar panels for the new 24v solar deep well pump and mounting bracket have been made, along with the fence surrounding the panels and well is also going up. 

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Front Porch Roof Beams

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P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S

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Looking out the front door from the entry way

Please continue to pray for the people of Puerto Lempira,  for our fellow missionaries serving here and especially for softening of the hearts of our boys.  Pray for clear communication with all, for blessings and safety on the work crew and their families, for the growth of Pastor Ludy’s church, and also for safety and peace over my beautiful wife until I return, and for my continued renewal of strength needed on a minute to minute basis.

A HUGE thank you for all you continue to do in helping provide for this ministry, with prayer support and for your financial donations.  And thank you Jesus for your Holy Spirit, for your grace, for your love and for your guidance in every step of this journey.

To God be the Glory,

Mike

ACTION Website

Life/Death In The Balance

…Grace to you and peace from our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:1)

And as I am learning, grace is always first, as there is no peace without God’s grace.

A certainty here in La Moskitia, is that life is hard and death is certain. On our last trip one of the work crew, Herman lost two of his brothers suddenly within a couple days of one another.  This trip, Rudy, another of our crew, lost his mother unexpectedly last Friday afternoon, after one day in the hospital.  Saturday we called it a short day as to support and help Rudy build his mother’s burial vault.

Everyone is buried above ground here, I believe due to the fact that the water table is so high.  This probably goes without saying, but La Moskitia is not the place for urgent care.  If that wasn’t enough, today when we came back into town, we were met by crowds of folks gathered around with news that one of the water taxis, (a 25’ boat with a 200hp motor) that was carrying 24 people (safely made to carry only 12 people), combined with the high winds capsized the boat.  Several people lost there lives, six others hospitalized. Prayers for all the families involved are needed as most do not know the Lord.977FEE19-DB40-4AC8-815F-2242B6605702

3916804C-3A82-4C2B-AB68-388B9AB543D5On a way more positive note, I am loving the time with the boys even though it can be draining occasionally.  I laugh because we are only talking about three boys here at the moment, so we will definitely have our hands full at Casa Del Camino with 8+ boys.  They are such a joy to be around – full of life, even as difficult as it is here – and we pray for their hearts to be opened to the beautiful truth of Jesus. Amen.   E2DD61CA-E8B9-4C26-8FF0-E5A06F0EDB97(Isaiah 40:28-29) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.

I see God teaching me that I must renew my strength, daily, and I’m not talking about pushups or pull-ups. I need to remain focused on the battle and the fact that it’s a battle that has already been won!  I realize that even in my strength I am weak.  I can’t control most things, only the direction in which I look to be renewed.  And while I feel the spiritual battle intensifying with each step we are taking, it is good to know that these intermediate struggles are nothing compared to the vastness of God’s purposes.

As we continue taking the steps of faith God places before us – the uncontrollable logistics of material delivery from the mainland, and the language barrier (the bilingual manager at the construction supply store is no longer employed), limited cargo space for material delivery with a “first come first serve” mentality of the shipping company, and a material supplier that has a bigger supply of excuses for not making the boat than they have of product, even the delivery of the local woods have been frustrated by all the heavy evening rains producing impassable mountain roads for the heavily loaded timber truck, the frustrating fact that we have been unable to find any dry wood to use as our material while what we do have is drying under the house, the well water although looks very clear tested positive for bacteria, or the fact that the table saw that we delivered this trip was over-worked within a couple days and melted down the motor windings, and our DeWalt worm saw that has been reliable since day one of this project has stopped working due to what I’m hoping is a simple switch fix (of course there isn’t a DeWalt dealer this side of the Rio Plantano Biosphere), the issue with my iPhone and iPad being temporarily stolen before being retrieved – are just a few of the challenges being prayerfully handed over to the Lord, because I am certain His plans and reasonings are far better than any I might have had!

I’m grateful for His faithfulness in allowing me to continue to grow spiritually and for His indwelling Spirit.  Although we are waiting delivery of plaster for walls, more cement, rebar, plumbing, roof vapor barrier, and while much of the wood needed has been delivered (though freshly cut, needs to dry), we were able to purchase a back up saw here and have made contact with the Latin America DeWalt repair shop in La Ceiba to avoid possibly having to return parts to the States.

The new solar well pump we brought down this trip is incredible! And we added a couple gallons of bleach to the well to see if we can shock it clean. We will continue to pump water out of well because they say the well gets cleaner the more water it passes, and I have one more bacteria test to perform before I leave. The guys are making good progress on finishing the window and door openings and will begin plastering walls after that.

Giving praise to God for bringing Pastor Ludy and his Miskito church to the property last Sunday for a baptism service.  Three ladies were scheduled to be baptized and it turned into 6 girls and three boys!  I’m sure the enemy wasn’t happy about that. (This was the third baptism service that has been held at Casa Del Camino property).

Thank you for your prayers, not sure where I’d be without them. I had kind of started thinking this mission was untouchable for Spiritual warfare, I was wrong. Game on!

 

DC4C2582-E96A-4E54-9C3E-3A8CB8E9D463Psalms 4:8  “I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, LORD, make me live in safety.”

Resting in His Peace,

Mike

Brenner ACTION Web Site