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

Reinforcements Required

Tuesday morning 5:30 we woke without the alarm going off, but soon after, everyone on the top floor of the hotel was being woken because of two missing phones and one jacked iPad. Let me set this up for you…

Lisa and I in one bed, three boys in the other, the room was feeling a bit stuffy so, as I often do, decided to leave the door open. After all, the hotel is gated with a watchie, and I had never felt un-safe here before. Obviously we all slept well because in the middle of the night someone came into our room and had helped themselves to Arnold’s phone, my phone and my iPad. I immediately went to the watchie to let him know I was upset about this news.  He let me know there was only one other room occupied upstairs other than the two our team had and it just so happened to be the room right next to ours.  As it was further investigated, the man in said room had paid three girls to come to his room and apparently as they left, they couldn’t help but notice the electronics.

Giving credit where credit is due, Apple products rock! Find my iPhone alone, makes the apple product a very good deal.

The police were contacted and I had little hope of finding any real help. But to my pleasure these fine, professional men in uniform, donning bullet proof vest and packing M-16’s arrived in their four wheel drive commando rig looking ready for the task and more than prepared to retrieve my belongings.  Without any real good-byes with my wife, Pat and Paul (they were catching a flight out in a couple of hours), I jumped into action with the boys in blue.

After a ten block ride it looked as if we had closed in on the beacon. The officers surrounded all corners of the shack structure and started knocking on doors.  Soon after this, the girls that were at the hotel the night before were ID’d by the hotel’s watchie (who also came along) and soon after that, the iPad was returned.  Then I let the police know it wasn’t only the iPad we were locating but my iPhone as well. Shortly after that my iPhone was retrieved.  Arnold’s little track phone wouldn’t be so fortunate, as it was unable to be retrieved.  Sorry Arnold.

The police asked me if I would like to press charges and told me if so they would need to keep the items until the girls were charged.  After thinking about how good and full of grace God has been to me, I told the police I would just like to pray for the girls.  And so they brought them out to me and I laid hands on them, lifting them and the man at the hotel – my neighbors – to our Lord, giving the situation to the one who really knows what is best for each of us.

On the way back to the hotel I asked the police if they would take me to the airstrip where me wife was getting ready to leave so I could return her phone which did the tracking and get a proper good-bye – which they did gladly.  All that excitement before most of us have had a chance to drink one cup of coffee. Nothing but my highest regards for these guys – a job well done. Bravo officers!

After Lisa, Pat and Paul were safely on the plane I headed back to the hotel to get my bike and to sadly watch the plane fly off over the lagoon, (my lonely moment).  I then headed off to help our friend Mateo and Oriellio frame up Pastor Ludy’s new house floor.   I did this same work also on Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was so nice to work along side these two guys again as they were the ones I helped build five new church buildings with in remote La Moskitia beginning back in September 2012. 1A2A83A8-2F9B-425D-A53B-02FCDB7EF50F

9477A725-2FA5-4A44-9352-F1621DAE6E745E194D6C-5474-48F2-BA13-530CB7D572BAThe boys have had a great couple days start to this school year.  They all seem excited and happy and really it has not been too bad to get up by 4:00AM as they need be at school for breakfast by 6 and it’s an hours walk from the hotel. I have to say they are starting out strong, washing their clothes every night and doing homework.E2DD61CA-E8B9-4C26-8FF0-E5A06F0EDB97

Today, (Thursday) was a good day.  The new solar pump is up and running and with full sun the last couple days we have filled both tanks – 600L and 2500L.  I will be getting a fresh sample for another water test tomorrow.  Please pray that our well water will be free of ALL contaminates.

GREAT NEWS!!!  We have received all but 74 of the 400 1”x12”x16’s and we also received the remaining 15 – 4”x6”x25’ beams.  I am praying this wood will dry quickly so that we can begin placing them on the roof.

On the down side I’m praying that the new table saw I brought down is not ruined, as we got it quite hot fighting each other trying to rip one of the 25’ 4”x6”s. Once the saw was shut down it wouldn’t turn back on?  Maybe a circuit breaker of some sort?  Also, I was prepared to share some reading of Galatians with the guys in the prison this afternoon, but Ludy was tending to Mateo and Oriellio and Walter was out with a team translating so I was unable to share with the prison men without a translator.29C5CDD4-40C5-4BCA-BC2B-6682F14FD3662204E1AB-1B3B-41DA-ADFC-85B31ABEE740

63CB671B-7857-486D-9E84-894E2CA10D8FA67D4D04-5B72-4EC8-9F71-2DA461E59C07God is alive and well, and I can see Him at work everywhere I look! I’ll reflect more in the next couple days but wanted to catch y’all up a bit, just trying to hold on it’s gonna get busy starting manyana!

Welcome to La Moskitia! Two steps forward three steps back? Thank you for your prayers, not sure I could do this without them. I love you and God bless you!

Miskito Mike

Mike and Lisa at Action International

Raising The Roof!

Hello everyone, God is good. Everything is fine here. I will do my best to write more often in the coming weeks.911518D6-5A66-4645-9002-0613761673D6.jpeg

We got into Puerto Lempira on Saturday a week ago, after checking into the hotel, we spent the day visiting the property and then some time catching up with Alex and Laura at IVA. When we arrived back at hotel Yu Baiwan we were greeted by one of our boys, Arnold (a very street savy 15 year old that we’ve known since he lived at House of Hope when he was 9 yrs old) not really quite sure how he knew we were coming but they seem to always know when I’m coming to town. He’s still with us.

Sunday was spent visiting places like Mama Tara’s orphanage, our freind Walter, House of Hope orphanage and then ended the afternoon with Pastor Ludy and his home church. We then went to Ludy’s new property where he is building his family home and church to do some prayer walking. When we arrived back at hotel Yu Baiwan we were greeted by two of our other boys, Marco and Jerbin. Marco has been doing amazingly well after his first year at IVA and will be starting his second year at IVA next week February 7th. Arnold and Jerbin have been accepted into the IVA program and will be starting 7th grade this year as well. The three amigos have been with us night and day – these boys are a big part of why we felt lead to build Casa Del Camino, a place for these boys to feel loved, and encouraged to have a relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and savior, as the one true authority in life.65FD5613-01C6-4D86-A5C6-1494C95A2D75

2D2343C7-BE69-4F63-AFA3-578D7485E38D1783DD09-6ECF-42AC-960B-A2139D75189B0BF06138-951E-4708-A7CB-DE93A8CD0A99178E5E5C-1B83-4B4A-8018-D11B85A670B8Monday morning we all got up and ready to spend the day at the property working. Alex has been very accommodating and gracious, picking us up every morning and delivering us back to the hotel every night. Our days are spent at the property 6:30-4pm.

The work has gone as well as could be expected in La Moskitia, with the typical setbacks like materials not being delivered as scheduled or the fact that not all the wood beams have been delivered as promised and some that were, needed extra milling, as they had begun to be chewed by termites. (Simple fix with a good table saw and some termite killer).

Most all the roof beams are in place now, waiting on the remaining 15 – 4”x6”x25’. We are also expectantly awaiting the delivery of 400 – 1”x12”x16’ tablas (boards) that go on top of the beams. Going to property tomorrow in hopes of them being delivered tonight or mid morning as they will all need to be set out to dry under the home for about 5 days before being ripped into straight 12” boards.  Many have live edges and are greater than 12”.

The guys are working the last top part of the walls in the bathrooms and the others are finishing the window openings in preparation to receive windows. One good note, all the roofing tin and 100 of the 300 bags of cement were delivered to our container Thursday afternoon.

There is still much work to be done but at this exact time last year we were forming the top section of the water tower, mind blown! All praise and glory be to God. img_0917

We have also been blessed with a crazy good cook that has been preparing the team lunch everyday. I am fairly certain Casa Del Camino has found its first cook.  She also has a sister that will help in any scheduling problems as they both cook well.

Thursday, Patrick, Paul and I left the property early so we could visit the prison by 3 pm. We usually have pastor Ludy go with us to share.  Please pray for Ludy as he just lost his brother and needed to travel to be with his family during this difficult time. We asked our local Miskito freind Walter to please come and help translate, which he graciously did. Thank you Lord. We went around and greeted all the prisoners and asked for them to come and hear Paul’s word in the book of Galatians. About 20 men showed up for chapter 1 and we will try and finish a quick study of Galatians in the next several weeks. Please pray for me to be full of the Spirit and to share God’s word clearly.

Something else, Lisa had a short bout with some kind of virus or demon as she was bedridden for about 24 hours saying it felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to her body. Thanking God for brother-in-laws who happen to be doctors! His support in many ways of this ministry is also appreciated and grateful for his participation on this trip. Lisa is at 100% now so no worries.

Our friend Paul has also been a true blessing and a delight to travel with.  His expertise in all forms of construction has lightened the load dramatically and the kids and work crew have been blessed by his freindship and are enjoying his presence as well. 3894E831-0830-4E9E-9CCB-C57DD53F3368BAF40012-DC67-4DD2-AF63-5628BD49D70F2B1D2ED7-8205-4DBD-B6DD-F88C48D922D0

427FD1BF-DF75-4E45-95DB-642A276CAA478658E695-BE6C-411E-AD3A-A75E26DBF9EA800772D9-1A2C-4BD9-BAAF-3D4043663104I think this could be one of the hardest things in ministry, is leaving the relationships behind that you have built and shared with others.  We think at first we are going somewhere to do something to help someone else in need, but really it’s the work God does in us through our contact with others that changes us and allows us to see, we are the ones who are being blessed.

Wishing you all to have a chance to feel the power of God working in your life, I pray for us all to boldly share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to continue to walk closely with Him.

Saved by Grace,

Mike

 

Philippians 4:17 “…what I desire is that more be credited to your account.”

Thank You! And praise God, for He has provided exceedingly abundantly and through your giving we have all the monies needed to purchase the remaining roofing, and anticipating the window and door construction to begin. Thank you for your concern and for your obedient heart, we couldn’t go without senders and supporters as you.  It’s beautiful to think about how God has brought us together all for the opportunity that will be afforded the boys of Casa Del Camino and in the disciplining of the work crew, helping them to see God at work, alive in their lives, and learning from His word. When you give selflessly as you have it’s obvious you care about the things our Lord cares about, reaching the lost and caring for the needy.  When I think about your selfless giving to Casa Del Camino I am filled with gratitude and think about a great bible principle, the more you give to the kingdom, the more God is going to give to you.  This is a comforting principle although I have a hard time thinking about what more God could give us, than He already has.

(Ephesians 1:7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

(1 Peter 1:3-9) Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold, which perished though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  Amen.

Freinds we all need God… through Him every single need we have ever had has been met, and will continue to be so. May God forever bless you, and us in our obedience to Him, with Him, in His great commission. Together, awesome things are being done, all in the name of Jesus.

IMG_3014The evening of January 25th Lisa, myself, Lisa’s brother Patrick and our friend Paul will be heading down to construct the roof of Casa Del Camino along side our regular work crew. The three of them will be returning home on February 7th, I will remain in Puerto Lempira returning home February 26th. Please pray for safe travel, for good health, for the Lord to be glorified in our word and deed, for the Lord to go before us preparing the hearts of those who will receive us. Wednesdays will include prison ministry and I will post regularly.

Thank you and praise God for all He continues to do in and through all of us.

May our Lord continue to guide us and direct us,

Mike

Aside

We are pressured in every way but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair

Hello friend! Our ministry in Puerto Lempira is doing well – Loving God and helping people.   Deneve, the 10th grade girl we sponsor at IVA is doing very well. Miguel, the 10th grade boy we sponsor at IVA has made it to the final round of a national physics competition.  Three kids in all of La Moskitia made it, and two of them attend IVA!  Miguel will be traveling to the capital for the next stage.  Pretty sure this will be his first time out of La Moskitia and I am very excited for him!  I’ve gotten to spend quite a bit of time with Marco after he gets out of school and band practice.  He is doing very well academically and he really enjoys playing the drums in the school marching band.

Puerto Lempira had the marching band competition today (Thursday 9/28) consisting of four schools, and the whole town was on hand.

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Marco and Irias

It was a beautiful morning turning to thunderstorms just after the competition concluded.  Then, of coarse while I was in route to the Casa Del Camino property on my bike it poured down rain! I must say it did cool things down nicely though.IMG_2326Arnold has applied to start 7th grade at IVA next year, and he has been to the property several times already since I arrived last Saturday.  He has helped out as “the cleanup crew” and has tidied things up around the property outside of his school time.

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Arnold 

Jerbin is also doing well in school and I have been talking to him about registering for IVA next year.  The teaching and learning the students at IVA experience is life-changing! Please pray for both Jerbin and Arnold to be steadfast in their studies and in the school application process, so they can attend IVA at the beginning of the next school year (Feb 2019).  

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Jerbin 

I have also been by the House of Hope and all the kids there seem to be doing quite well too.  Pastor Ludy continues to meet with the Casa Del Camino work crew 4 or 5 days a week, as his schedule permits.  Pastor and I also went to the prison on Wednesday (9/27) and we spoke on the first two chapters in the book of Jonah. The men there really seem to be opening up to me, I even got beat in a game of checkers and I pushed a little weight around with a couple of the guys inside the walls – (I’ll take a 15 min. workout any chance I get).  My relationship with the work crew is growing nicely and I genuinely enjoy working among each of them.  I can’t wait to be able to communicate fully in their language.  I know I will have lasting friendships with a few.

Now with the rest of my time: I have tested the well water and am grateful and excited to report all 23 tests are in the good range and the bacteria is negative! Praise God! There is no need for any filtration system and the solar pump has filled both tanks to capacity. This means there is no more water expense – neither by time or financially.

Trees: We planted 17 more fruit and spice trees at Casa Del Camino property.  Thanks to a new friend we met in La Ceiba – Barb who owns and operates Rainbow Village Hotel. She was able to purchase them for us from the university in Ceiba and I picked them up from her on my way down to Puerto Lempira.  Even though it cost more to fly them to PL than it did for us to buy them we are excited – future nutrition for the kids and us!

We’ve purchased the remaining parts to hook up a small solar system to power the pila/bano as well as a couple outlets to the container.  The 4″x 6″ wood roof beams have been ordered and I was surprised to hear we will have them to the property before I leave on the 7th.  We have dealt with this gentleman before for some of the concrete form wood so I am confident this wood transaction will go well too. Some of the work crewmen have been doing rebar and setting bond beam forms for concrete.

We will be ready to pour the second casting above the windows Friday (9/29) with another casting above that for the veranda roof support.  I’m trying not to panic, while getting one end of home set in stone for them to have a reference to work off of once I leave again.  With every passing day I am feeling stress to focus on the correct things and at the same time there are plenty of tasks requiring attention.  I read this once and it comes to mind:

The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water.  Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus.” (Charles Spurgeon) 

My time here in La Moskitia never seams to be enough – trying to remain focused on Jesus while He puts everything together.  Praying for wisdom in the construction of this boy’s home, and feeling blessed and grateful for the relationships that continue to be built.  Recognizing ALL of this is possible only with, and through the power of Christ our Savior.

The love of Christ controls us. (Cor. 5:14)IMG_2285

LORD, let your love set me free to live not for myself but for you. Amen.

Thanks for Reading and for Praying,

Mike

Casa Del Camino Mission Info & Donation page

Email Us by clicking here or for future reference jot it down: mike.lisa.brenner@actionintl.org

 

 

Buckets For Hire…

To God be the glory. The challenge was real and it was a great learning experience for me. The language barrier makes everything much more difficult especially so with this size production. The end result: Amazing!

I woke up just before 4am Thursday morning the 17th of August. I had some devotion time and coffee with God before riding in the dark to the property where there was already about a hundred men waiting. At 5am the selection began and the number outside the gate was closer to 200. After trying to pick guys through the gate and letting them force their way through the crowd, we opened the gates for all and finished the selection process of choosing and listing all names of the men while standing from the top of the house.IMG_1697 I agreed to 100 men then raised it to 110 and then remembered the day before when some cement was delivered and one of the men had his 14 year old son with him who asked me for a job. I had asked the boy, Boris, to get me a bag of cement, (weighing 100#). He ran across the yard grabbed a bag, threw it over his little shoulder and ran it back to me.  I then said to him to “please take it back.” And he did, so that made 111 plus the five ladies it took to cook for all of us, plus nine full time guys made it 125 total. Pastor Ludy led us in prayer then the ladies served us coffee and bread before work began at 8am. Brother Randy did some calculations for me via Instagram and came up with 50 yards of cement, that’s 5 cement truck loads all mixed by hand and bucketed up then dumped onto the floor. IMG_1777

IMG_1776At noon we took turns of about 40 men eating at a time and began winding down at 3:30 or so when the cooks started to give out food again and the guys were somewhat out of steam. It was difficult to get men back to work to finish, the floor was very close to finished but the steps needed to be poured as well.  In hindsight I should have called it a day and paid all but about twenty and paid the twenty extra to finish the steps but as it was I kept everyone around until the job was completed, at about 7pm. FullSizeRenderOne important side note:  As you can see much water was needed to do this job in one day. And as you also know prior we had some difficulties with getting good water on the property, which included one well just outside our fence that had water but was bad for drinking, another existing well located under the home that we tried to dig out to make useable and then our current well with good water. As God would have it, it took moving the gas well pump to each of the three wells multiple times for water as we would pump one dry and go to the other while the one would replenish. God knew, we didn’t only need one well but He needed us to dig several. What an amazing God, that I love!

It got real interesting when I began to pay the guys – while they didn’t think the pay was fair I was thinking they agreed to work for a flat price and to work until it was finished. After talking with Pastor and Chuck we decided I would pay them double because of the time they were here. That’s when a handful started shouting they wanted 100 more! No, 200 more! And on and on. lt felt as though things could go sideways very quickly as a handful were getting people all wound up, funny thing is a couple of the instigators were guys I mostly saw standing around leaning on a shovels, regardless,  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and was told by Pastor and Chuck that doubling the pay was fair, so I held my ground and most agreed it was fair.  After sleeping on it and talking more with Chuck we came to the conclusion that I would pay the 6 finishers an extra 100 to have everyone feeling good about their day’s work. Friday, Chuck and I found and paid three of the six men. I told Chuck to please continue searching for the other three – it won’t be difficult in this size community. Anyhow that proved to be a good choice as they appeared to be grateful. That is something you would think abounds due to lack of work and difficulty in finding monies in this area? Not so with everyone; please pray for softening of hearts.

I confess that situation had me battling with the flesh of the “old-Mike.” Hearing certain people yell at me, words I didn’t understand, had gotten my heart rate up and feeling the hair standing up on the back of my neck, I was beginning to feel a bit froggy. I was ready to defend myself and my heart sank. I love these people, we are here to help, how could this be? I feel God certainly had his hand on this situation, and I’m grateful He carried me through this making sure the monies were available to double everyone’s pay, keeping arms, machetes and shovels from swinging and allowing such a massive undertaking to be successfully completed.  After everyone had left, our crew, Pastor Ludy and I gathered in prayer over all the workers giving thanks for the completion of the casting. Big difference in ten to twelve guys working or a crew of 125, all in a days work in La Moskitia.

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Friday was spent running errands getting materials to finish hooking up the solar pump for the well, ordering block and locating yesterday’s finishers to give more monies.FullSizeRender

I forgot to get good pictures of the well progress but the solar panels are mounted, the pump is set and pumping about three gallons per minute, 180 gallons per hour, 6-10 hours per day, everyday! And the well is not running low on water. Praise God!! I did also forget to pack a water testing kit, but the water is running clear so I drank it…it’s all good. Thank you Lord.

We were also able to layout all the walls, doors and windows by marking the floor and going over the drawings with Chuck, Winsis and Jonny.IMG_1827

Lisa and I also got to spend some time with Miguel and Deneve, two of the IVA students we have been blessed to sponsor since they began 7th grade.  They are now 10th graders and doing very well!  They will be part of the first class to graduate high school in 2019! Also included is a picture of Marco and Irais (pronounced Edious).IMG_1885.JPG

IMG_1882 FullSizeRenderAt 5:30 pm Friday I remembered I had told a prisoner at the jail on Wednesday that I would come and purchase a boat he built for me on Friday before lockdown at 5:00 pm.  It helps him to purchase food, laundry soap, body soap, toothpaste that sort of thing. At about 6 pm I arrived at the prison, and thankfully the guards and warden know me from visiting the men on Wednesdays. I explained how I had given my word to purchase a boat from one of the guys and asked if there was anyway they would allow this man out from lockdown to sell me his boat.

(Picture of the craftsman with his boat and the area where they can cook their food inside the prison yard.)  Again I’m grateful the warden was moved and allowed me to keep my word. FullSizeRender 2

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From top left: Alli, Winsis, Lucas. Lower top left: Delino, Jonny, pastor Roberto standing and Marcos brother Pablo. Not pictured, Chuck project manager, Aldolpho watching, and Ebenor who we call Romeo worker.  Please continue prayer and safety over these men who God is using to build Casa Del Camino.

Mark 16:15-18 (HCS)

15 Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.  16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; 18 they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly it will never harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.”

Thank you all for reading. May you be deeply blessed for praying and supporting this ministry. We are currently 72% funded.  If you are feeling led to give a one time donation or to give monthly to support the boys who will be living at Casa Del Camino please check out our mission page ACTION International: Mike and Lisa Brenner.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”

Thank you all for the prayers. Things in La Moskitia have been extremely hot and humid, upper 80’s to low 90’s 100% humidity. We have been just trying to keep up, initial perspective we had easy days working up to the pour day scheduled for tomorrow.  With a closer inspection of the form work for the steps, they were not to code…. there is no code here.  Regardless, I needed to have the steps rebuilt, adding two stairs and decreasing the slope that in turn created the need for the lower stairs to be moved two feet to the south with additional form work for all three landings.

Monday was spent removing first attempt, Tuesday spent reworking stair forms along with marking all plumbing location in the home with 6 bathrooms including additional rebar added to wall column locations that will reinforce future walls. Today, Wednesday August 16th we put plumbing in place before floor pour, stair forms were completed and began to pour concrete steps.  Also we started the installation process for the solar well – the pump is functioning correctly and the solar panel mounting assembly was built. Oh yeah, it’s Wednesday so Pastor Ludy and I went to the prison for prison ministry. *Note to self, when told visiting hours pay attention what time it is. I wasn’t quick enough in checking out before they began lock-down so I didn’t get cut loose till all that was finished.

Lisa and I were able to enjoy some wonderful fellowship with Alex and Laura Waits, friends, brother and sister in Christ and Directors of the IVA Christian school that the Casa Del Camino boys will be attending.  They continue to share invaluable experience and wisdom to help equip us for the years ahead.

Its been all I can do to keep things on schedule. *Note to self, one week not long enough here.  Time is a funny thing in third world situations, no one cares about it other than you. Grateful for God’s timing and timing is everything. As God would have it, out of the additional rebar and concrete I had ordered three weeks prior to this trip that would complete the stairs, only the rebar was delivered so the steps were unable to be poured until after we arrived. Funny how you can begin to see God at work. I promise to follow up on our way out with another blog detailing more of our experience here as we continue to strengthen our relationships and understanding of this beautiful culture. We are truly blessed to be included in God’s gracious works here deep in La Moskitia.

Please pray today for the floor pour where at least 100+ Miskito men will come together in order to complete this in one day. Asking God for safety and blessings throughout this day of work for each of the men, helping them to provide for their families, and blessings over the women who will be preparing coffee and bread starting at 5am and for all their hard work in preparing the lunch to feed the crew. Please also pray for wisdom in directing these men and peaceful interactions among all at the property.  I am so excited I could probably write all night but will be riding to the property before sunrise, so until next time here are a few pics.  Gracias A Dios. FullSizeRender 2

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Caught sunset looking east

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John 4:14

But whoever drinks the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 (KJV)

Hello my friends, I am happy to report this trip has been one filled with blessings for all. This verse has multiple meanings to me as God has provided the well for Casa Del Camino!  David our well man worked late into the night on Thursday (1:00 AM) to finish drilling a 8″ hole to a depth of 85′.  He returned around 9:00 AM this morning (Friday June 9) to blow out the well and install a 6″ pipe, and then he filled the remaining hole with fine white rock to help aid filtration.  By 4:00 PM we were pushing clear water!

This was completely up to God as to when this would happen, and as He so often does, came through in the eleventh hour of our trip.   I think of the physical as well as spiritual blessings people will receive from the clean water and of the spiritual health from the discipling the boys will receive at Casa Del Camino.  God is such a faithful Father!

Below is a short video of the final moments of this desperately needed project.  I would like to thank David for his hard work, although I think we all know Who ultimately gets the glory, Amen?

As the men constructing Casa Del Camino are being blessed with Pastor Ludy’s faithful discipleship, they too are growing in the Spirit of the fountain within them – they can and will draw strength from His “springing water” that will allow them to lead a life of delight even in the hardships of La Moskitia.   I am resting in the promise that this “water will spring up into everlasting life.”   What a blessing this home will be to the impoverished boys of this area – coupled with Pastor Ludy who is amazing with the adolescents as well as the God-sized works being done at IVA.  Jesus we seek to be your hands and feet.

(Below) Randy and I have been blessed to spend much time with several of the boys I’ve come to know over the past trips down.

Construction: (Below) are some shots of well tower improvement.  We added a floor in the middle section that will double as a roof for the future battery bank for Casa’s solar power.

All the beams for the house have been completed as well!  Much work was accomplished on this trip, all to the glory of God, for without Him none of this would be and certainly not within what is His time frame.FullSizeRender

“We live unto the Lord…”  Romans 14:8

As I was reminded in one of my readings today,  we are to be sowers of good seeds, that by our living unto the Lord, it may bring others to know His love.  I think of those men at the prison we went and met with along side Pastor Ludy the Wednesdays Randy and I were here this time, and how that prison ministry glorifies Christ – being the salt of the earth while blessing the world around us.  Many of the men held in Puerto Lempira prison have no release date, and in turn that only extinguishes any sense of hope.  Pray with me that the men rest in the hope and peace of Christ – as we know there is only One Way to find true joy no matter where we physically live.

Making friends with the Warden.

Please join us in giving thanks to our Lord for His provision of the well and for all of the generous-giving hearts of the donors to Casa Del Camino – without whom none of this would be possible!  Also let’s lift a special blessing and prayer of thanks for the servant heart of Pastor Ludy Washington and for his family.   We pray Lord, for the softening and preparatory work of the boys’ hearts God has ordained to be at Casa Del Camino; for the safety and continued growth of the work crew – praying still for God to do a mighty work in the lives of those men in prison who are seeking Him.  We pray Father for more monthly donors to partner in making a difference in the lives of impoverished boys in this remote area of Honduras – and a very special ask for healing over my dear friend and Project Manager Chuck (below), as both he and his wife Beksy are experiencing abdominal issues.  IMG_0691Finally, I ask for wisdom and understanding for Randy and me as we transition back to the hustle and bustle of “USA life” and reflect on the vast need of our Savior in the lives of the suffering.

A huge thank you for your continued prayer support of this ministry and for reading.  ~Mike

If you have any questions about the Casa Del Camino Ministry, Lisa and I can be reached via email at:  mike.lisa.brenner@actionintl.org  

You can also see more photos on Instagram @ “Chosen2followhim”