Daily Report from Honduras
HONDURAS CONSTRUCTION TEAM AUGUST 2016
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2016
DAY EIGHT – Last day at Mt. Horeb. We look forward to coming home! Covenant will have our picnic on Sunday and we look forward to share with you all. Today we had a picnic here at Mt. Horeb. We started the day off with a hike to the prayer rock. What a joy to be able to climb up and look out over the horizon and see the Pacific Ocean. We are blessed to be in a partnership such as this one that ministers in Christ’s love!
We had a good old fashion fish fry for lunch and enjoyed local catch fresh from the Pacific. The entire team of Hondurans plus another local missionary joined in the feast. Twenty-six people sat down and ate together. The afternoon proved to be an even bigger blessing wit the workers playing softball with us into the late afternoon. What a joy to see the men and women playing ball for the first time; hitting, throwing, and catching while playing the American pastime. The softball game was followed with corn hole. The Hondurans had never experienced this game either, but we are all amazed at the incredible hand eye coordination and the manner that they took to the game immediately.
We ended the day with devotions led by the Greene’s. Mike and Ginger asked us a simple question: “What is keeping you from being fully committed to following God?” We each wrote our answers down on paper and carried the paper to the cross. Mike then burned the papers and stated that once we have laid it down at the cross, we carry it not more. What is stopping each of you?
Please pray for safe travels on Thursday and easy reentry into the States. Mike and Ginger are traveling back to Atlanta with us. The Greene’s are going back to North Carolina to visit family, meet new grand babies and take some time for themselves. Please pray for the Greene’s and their ministry as they are away. We are excited to be home. God bless you all!
TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2016
DAY SEVEN – The final chapter of the building is about to begin! We cannot wait to see the center to be complete. We woke up with encouragement and enthusiasm to get up the mountain. We left a little later than normal as the amount of work left is minor. We arrived at the site and there were more people waiting than ever. There was an air of excitement around the community. We had morning introductions and a word of prayer to start the activity. We watched Mike Greene and Pastor Carlos put the roof in place. We watched for the most part but we did hand up the sheets of metal to Mike Greene and Pastor Carlos. We were glad that Michael was with us to add some height in getting the sheets up onto the roof! After the roof was up the building was complete! WE had a building dedication and presented the key. The community leaders all spoke and thanked the Covenant family many times. They are overwhelmed that believers in Maryland would provide such a gift. The local Sunday School teacher, Edith, presented us with a beautiful handmade decorative wall hanging made from local material and presented each team member a handmade necklace. We completed the ceremony and then the fun began! The community dismissed the school and all the children poured into the site. It was an incredible and amazing site! We played Frisbee, wife ball, football, jump rope and bubbles with the children. The entire community came out and watched everyone play. We enjoyed several hours of just pure play. Most of the children had NEVER hit a baseball. It was incredible to watch them hit a ball as if they had done it for years. Their hand eye coordination was exceptional. Time came for all the children to leave and we were sad. We wanted to take more selfies with them!!! We cleaned up and loaded up the truck for the last time. We prayed one last time over the building and took one last look behind at what had been done here. God is good, all the time and all the time, God is good!
MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2016
DAY SIX – Praise God from who all blessings flow!! We are missing our Covenant family but can feel strengthened by your prayers. Today was to be the hardest day by far. We needed to dig out three inches of dirt and packed sand. There was too much fill added after the foundation was made to allow the cement floor to be poured. This was all to be dug out by hand with shovels. We were not looking forward to this. Our collective prayer was for God to give us strength and encouragement to complete this task. We drove up the mountain in a somber mood. We arrived at the site and God had already worked! Fifteen men from the community were already there and ready to go! We gathered to pray with all of these men to start our day and the foreman of the crew spoke up. He thanked us for being there to support the community with the medical center. He was in awe that Americans would come down and work side by side with his people. Funny…he was thanking us and we were praising God for him and his crew. We always say it in church but we truly mean it…”God is good all the time and all the time God is good!” We not only believed it; we witnessed it in action! We serve a mighty God! Amen! We started working and it was amazing to watch the ability of the local men and their skill. They dug out the area in less than 30 minutes. They proceeded to screen out all the rocks for sand mixture and get two quadruple batches of concrete ready to pour. Under Pastor Carlos’ guidance, the floor was poured, the trusses for the roof put in place, and ready for the final step tomorrow. We rejoiced with our Honduran brothers all day and enjoyed our interaction. Each day we feel and witness stronger and stronger bonds with this community. We praised God all the way down the mountain back to Mt. Horeb.
Dinner was a local treat; Iguana soup courtesy of our host cook’s husband. It was delicious and filling. We look forward to raising the roof and dedicating the building tomorrow. Pray that we could reach those who are lost and witness to share of God’s great mercy and love.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2016
DAY FIVE – This is the day that the Lord has made! We have been so looking forward to worshiping with our Honduran brothers and sisters. But first….BREAKFAST!! We all got up and made pancakes, eggs, bacon and Honduran sausage. Gabe was the grill master on the bacon and sausage. Danny flipped the pancakes, and Mike made scrambled eggs from local Mt. Horeb chickens. YUM!
We had the joy and priviledge to worship at Pastor Pedro’s church. This is the same church that one of our medical mission trips served. Bob particularly was moved to be back. The service was God-breathed. Songs of praise in both Spanish and English as Jon, Gabe (playing guitar), Bob, and Mike sang for the congregation. Pastor Pedro welcomed us with open arms and praised God that we are content. Amazing! Content….how can that be? You are poor remember? But then God entered in and struck us with the truth. WE ARE CONTENT IN CHRIST! What joy of being free in Christ to get out of the way and be content! The normal worship time for this church is Saturday night. We enjoyed interacting with the congregation with a multitude of children, women, and even some of the men. We were touched by the genuine welcome that the church gave us.Hugs for the children and warm greetings from the adults. What a treat for us. Mike even got to hold a baby! Pdan gave the message and Maida translated. What a dynamic duo! Danny taught from Revelation 3:7-8, 11. It was a blessing to hear both languages and incredible to see God work. Danny spoke with passion and zeal that the Hondurans enjoyed.
We enjoyed a local restaurant for lunch with Mike and Ginger. Again, delicious food and we were all satisfied (even Jon!). We went to the local Maxi Depensa (Walmart) to do some shopping. It was quite the experience! Mike and Derek also went to a local Burger King. Cool to see that the menu is almost the same as in Maryland.
We drove back to Mt. Horeb and enjoyed a quiet afternoon. Derek orchestrated the building of corn hole boards for Mike and Ginger. were were to play baseball with the staff but God had other plans; He sent the rain to refresh us and cool things down. Dinner was a good old fashion hot dog roast. Devotions focused on 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2 about how an old man and new man bring reconciliation. Prayer focused around healing and strength for the team. We look forward to go back to the work site and start on the roof. We miss our families greatly and thank them for this opportunity to serve and follow where God leads us!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2016
DAY FOUR – What a glorious day to praise and honor God! We had an early start as usual. The team has found an unspoken rhythm of chores, responsibility and duties. Gabe has become the mix master with the Gatorade and water coolers. Mike makes the sandwiches. Danny jumps in and helps everywhere. We all pitch in to help just like the Body of Christ, many parts with many gifts to make a whole.
We were honored and surprised to have extra help today. Wilmer and Manual from Mike and Ginger’s team came with us. What a joy to have them both as they are super workers and lovers of Christ. We gathered at the work site and introduced every member that was present; Covenant, Honduran, everyone.
We quickly found out why today was the hardest day. The gable assembly is very precise and requires great care and skill. Praise God that Pastor Carlos was leading our team. It is an honor and joy to watch how he builds and corrects. The morning passed as we set up scaffold and laid the next set of block in which we sawed a channel down the middle. This channel is created to add rebar and concrete to straighten and lock in the corners to each other.
We broke for lunch and the next thing we knew, the children of the community showed up. Jon quickly took the opportunity to get out the balsa airplanes and some Frisbees. Play ensued and the Covenant team responded and started to play with the children. At first, only 3 were present but soon more arrived. We had planes and Frisbees flying everywhere around the building. Derek showed off his mad skills in chasing a Frisbee down sheer cliffs. Danny showed that the old dog can still move. Jon smiled the biggest smile and just soaked it in. Work began again, but due to the nature of the work, not all of us were needed to support the building. Mike, Danny and Derek continued playing with the children and soon the mothers in the community joined to watch their children squeal with delight and laughter as the Covenant men continued to play with their children. This was the best time of community and social interaction we had experienced so far. Each of us felt such immense joy that our hearts were filled with the same joy as Christ must have felt when he looked into the crowds of people whom He loved.
We left the site rejoicing in God and singing His praises. We drove home after saying “Adios” to Pastor Carlos and Jose who both left us to return to spend Sunday with their families and serve AND be served to allow others to be a blessing in our lives as we try to bless those we serve. What a great reality to experience if we allow God to work around and in us. We look forward to a day off tomorrow that will include worship with a local church. We have been asked to bring a message and sing songs for the church. We are praying God would be seen and heard, that lost may be saved, and the Kingdom would come down on us!
Peace and glory to our brothers and sisters who will be worshipping at Covenant as we pray for these things to happen in Maryland as well! Agape!
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2016
DAY THREE – Rise and shine! for the second day at the job site! Boy are we all feeling yesterday! What a blessing we feel. It was another smooth ride ;-)!!! up the mountain road. We are all amazed at the countryside and all the activity. The traffic stopped on the PanAm highway this morning for a herd of cattle to walk down the north bound lane. That is not the amazing thing!!!The amazing thing is that no one honked, yelled, cursed, or got mad. It is just a fact of life here that everyone understands. Respect for each other and a compassion in understanding that people are doing what is needed to survive. The Covenant team continues to draw closer and gain strength from each other. We are so blessed to be here and together!
Mike and Ginger stayed at Mt. Horeb to take care of some ministry needs but we pressed on with their blessing and encouragement. This day continued the same as the first where we laid five more rows of block. However we started getting higher and needed to add block and beams to reach. Some of the team was height challenged while others were not! It is amazing how God uses all of us just as we are to be a blessing to others! We learned a lesson today. We did not get or ask for the Hondurans’ names who helped us. This made for a different spirit at the job site. Not bad, just different. We determined not to do that the following day. We ended the day with all four walls up 10 rows high – straight, level, plum, square and standing!!! What an amazing site to us all.
We drove home to a wonderful dinner of Jon’s favorite; beans and rice! WOW! One plate was not enough. We did the clean up and had devos. Incredible opportunities to share and praise God. Some past pains came up, past regrets, and old habits. Words shared from God gave insight, healing, and strength. We are ready to face a new day! Praise God to all our Covenant family. We are all strong and in good spirits!
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2016
DAY TWO – Our first work day began at 5 AM. We left after a quick breakfast and prayer from the Greene’s. We actually drove down the Pan American highway that runs from Panama to California. It was incredible to ride on such a storied road. The ride was about 90 minutes. Half of that was off road on some of the most amazing views we have ever seen. The cars drove up almost vertical roads pointing up to heaven and drove along shear drop offs that fall a thousand feet. We arrived at the job site and were met by the local community leaders. They were rejoicing in the fact that the community was going to have a medical facility to provide care. The closest medical support is a five mile walk! Mike Greene and Pastor Carlos started the work by setting up the cornerstone block. The community leaders placed the block and the entire team with all the local Hondurans prayed God’s blessing over the building. Mike then gave the Covenant team a quick mortar and block crash course. We all grabbed our gloves and started right in! We caught on quickly and the blocks began to rise off of the mountain. Pastor Carlos ensured that we stayed on track and we got to 5 rows high on the first day. Jon was a monster on the block saw and Bob quickly became the best “mudder” (putting the mortar on and between the blocks). He was known as Dr Mud!
We ate another fabulous meal at Mt Horeb. Evening devotions featured sharing of the day and songs that filled our hearts. We all are feeling “at home” in Honduras.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2016
DAY ONE – Our travel day began with a 4:00 AM arrival at the airport and travel went off without a hitch. Flights were on time, there were no problems with security or customs, and Mike Greene led us on a smooth ride to Mt. Horeb filled with great conversation. You really couldn’t ask for an easier arrival. Although he wasn’t needed at the airport this trip, our driver, Jose, brought the traditional tacos for dinner. There must have been 50 tacos in the container and Jose’s wife makes them every week, for every team. Most of us have never even met her, but she faithfully serves by kicking off our week with delicious Honduran cuisine.
The Mt. Horeb campus is incredibly beautiful. August is part of the rainy season in Honduras but the past few years have been filled with drought. This year, everything is green and growing; our team was even treated to a quick afternoon thunderstorm. Even though things seem better than they have been, continue to pray for the weather here, they still lost the first crop of corn because of not having enough rain. After dinner, everyone enjoyed watching that same thunderstorm as it continued moving out over the Pacific ocean with lightning to the right and the remnants of sunset to the left.
Devotions tonight really revealed how the individuals in the group have already come together as a team. Through a rich time of sharing together, it was clear that everyone feels blessed to be here. Travel day is long and tiring so it was early to bed. Tomorrow we meet the folks in El Corpus and get started on construction of the medical clinic.
HONDURAS MOVING DAYS – FEB 2016
Day 8 – The last day is always bittersweet. We go home tomorrow and everyone is looking forward to seeing family and friends, but it is hard to leave Mike and Ginger, this country, and these people. It has been a very busy week and we’ve done a lot of work, but in the midst of it all, relationships were built. I will miss each of the folks from North Carolina.
We have finished the bathrooms for the dorms, installed a septic system, moved two houses, built beds, added some touches of home, and tried out a new menu of meals for the week. The next group coming down is from Campbell University Medical School and they are bringing 30 people. That wouldn’t be possible without this campus.
Mike led devotions tonight and shared one verse. When it was time to pick a name for the campus, Mike and Ginger wanted the Hondurans to choose and they settled on Mt Horeb Baptist Camp. Deuteronomy 4:10 says, “Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’” This campus is a place for the people of Honduras to hear the Word of God and teach it to their children. Please know that your prayers and offerings have helped make this happen and are greatly appreciated by all who benefit from this place.
Breakfast is at 7am and we will be on the road by 8am. I will be back in Baltimore around midnight. Thank you all for your prayers this week and please continue to pray for a smooth trip back for all of us.
Day 7 – Not much to report for today. On the seventh day God rested and so did we. As promised, we slept in a bit and had pancakes and bacon for breakfast. After cleaning up, we had a short church service one the front porch of the multipurpose building. Mike shared that yesterday was exactly two years since the first brick was laid in place for that building and there we were having the first meal there yesterday. He originally thought it might be five years before that building was completed but God had other plans.
We went into town in Choluteca for the afternoon and had lunch at Wendy’s before grocery shopping. We stopped by the hardware store that had burned down to pick up a couple of supplies; they are working to rebuild but have a long way to go. Then we headed back to Mt. Horeb for afternoon naps.
Ron led devotions tonight and covered a very applicable passage in Romans 10:10-15, “…how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?” Ron pointed out that each of us is preaching the gospel here on these trips even if we never speak to a Honduran directly. Our lives are meant to be an example to those around us and to those we serve.
The plan for tomorrow is to finish whatever projects we can in the morning and then have a baseball game after lunch. The Hondurans have been practicing since Covenant’s construction team held the first game here in August 2014. Pray for us that we have better luck with baseball than we do playing soccer!
Day 6 – The campus seems to change just a bit more each day. We made more progress getting the bathrooms ready and the building that will be the camp store is totally cleared out and ready to set up. The backhoe finished up with the drain field and moved on to some other projects like smoothing out the dirt driveway up to Mike and Ginger’s house. Rita worked with Ginger to get their house unpacked and organized. Ginger also met with the staff today to express their gratitude for the flexibility they have shown. Having Mike and Ginger live here full time and the teams staying here means changes to the routine and more work in some areas and everyone working here has been fantastic about the changes.
Rita led devotions tonight and went back to the Old Testament in 2 Samuel 22:20 and Psalm 18:1. She reminded us that King David, a man after God’s own heart, had some big sin problems, but he always loved the Lord and God delighted in him. God delights in each of us loving Him no matter how or how often we may fail.
Tomorrow is our day of rest. We will sleep in a bit, have pancakes for breakfast and then a church service right here in the multipurpose building since we aren’t working with a local church this week. After church, the plan is to go into town for lunch and grocery shopping; then it’s back here for an afternoon/evening of just taking in the beauty of this place and spending time with friends.
The week has flown by and we’ve accomplished more than Mike and Ginger thought we would, but there is still a lot to do. Please continue praying for the development of this property and for Mike and Ginger as they work with the local churches to make this a place that the Hondurans will use to grow the Kingdom right here in their own backyard.
Day 5 – There was a lot of progress made today. After getting things to their proper places, Ginger and Rita got to work setting up a relaxation area in each of the dorms. Nothing fancy, but it’s a nice touch of home to have a table set up with a lamp to sit and read or just talk with your teammates. Eventually, these spaces will have hammocks hung for a quick nap before dinner. All of the stalls have been built for the bathrooms and are in the process of being painted and the extra lumber will be used to make boxes so the chickens have a place to lay their eggs.
We had our first meal in the multipurpose building for dinner tonight and then we had a special guest for devotions. After spending the week working and supervising the various construction projects on the property and riding his motorcycle up the mountain to Las Uvas (the site of one of our previous medical clinics) to preach, Pastor Carlos usually makes the trek home to see his wife for the weekend. This weekend, she is staying here at Mt Horeb with him and they both sat with us to listen. Our lesson tonight was from Ephesians 4:1-6 on unity in the body and spirit. It is clear that this team of previous strangers came here with the intent to serve “one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
By the end of tomorrow, the bathroom stalls should be painted, the drain field completely dug out, and the camp store set up will be started. We have completed almost all of the major projects that were planned and are moving towards some of the “nice to have” projects. We will also make the trip up the prayer rock after breakfast so Jose can join us before he leaves to go home to see his family for the weekend.
The first picture for today shows most of the campus. The big blue building is the dorm for the North Americans and the three buildings in the back are homes for Pastor Carlos, the guys that stay here to provide security, and the home under construction is for the ladies who will be doing the cooking for all the teams that come down. The second picture is the stockpile of coffee I’m bringing back. Stay tuned on Sunday mornings for fresh brewed Honduran beans in the coffee lounge!
Day 4 has seen the last of the bunk beds assembled which means there is room for 16 men and 16 women. The team is still working on improvements in the bathrooms; shower curtains went up today. We have cut the dividers for the bathroom stalls to be installed tomorrow. We haven’t seen much of Rodd today because he’s out in the field working with Pastor Carlos and a few others to dig trenches for a drain field – one of the few tasks the Hondurans use power equipment to do. The backhoe operator drove the backhoe to the property in Pavana this morning from Tegucigalpa. That’s about a 2 hour drive by car so it probably took him 5-6 hours and he’s doing it again tomorrow.
After work was done for the day, I climbed back up the hill from yesterday and spent an hour just sitting and taking in the view. As hard as the Hondurans work, one of the best lessons they teach every team that makes the trip is to be still and know that He is God. These beautiful people depend on God for their next meal; they take nothing for granted and they take the time to appreciate everything around them.
We had devotions tonight on the front porch of the dorms, another first for Mt. Horeb. Once the sun goes down, the temperature drops to a very comfortable 80 degrees and with the breeze that comes down from the mountain behind us, it’s a perfect setting. Philip led tonight from 2 Corinthians 9 on being a cheerful giver and everyone took something different away from the discussion.
Tomorrow brings another day of trench digging, bathroom stall construction, and hopefully finishing touches to the kitchen in the multi-purpose building. Thank you all for your continued prayers.
Day 3 is in the books. Philip and his uncle, Joel, went back to the mission house in Choluteca today to get more stuff from the bunkhouse while Rodd cut PVC pipe for a plumbing project here at Mt. Horeb today. Gorden, Ron, and I also stayed at the property to start assembling bunk beds. We were almost finished when Joel and Philip pulled up with another full truck load of beds to be put together. The men’s dorm is almost completely set up and we’ll work on the women’s dorm tomorrow.
Rodd’s wife, Rita got her new passport and joined us safely here at the property as the day was wrapping up and we all shared a good dinner together in Mike and Ginger’s house after watching the sunset. Rodd led devotions tonight and shared an interesting view of the beatitudes as commands: be meek; be thirsty for righteousness; be merciful; be pure in heart. Rodd and Rita didn’t know anyone else on the team before getting here and both expressed their appreciation for the prayers on their behalf for her safe arrival. Rodd also shared that he felt blessed to have watched our team exhibit these qualities as we interact with the Hondurans.
While sharing God moments at the end, Mike Greene reminded us of the video they filmed with interviews of some of our Honduran partners. He reminded us of how our driver, Jose, said that this ministry campus will be used for not just years, but generations to come to reach and teach the people of Honduras about Jesus Christ. It is humbling to be able to have some small part in preparing this place for that purpose.
The group picture attached is the group as we were leaving the house in Zamarano for the final time and the sunset was my view from one of the small hills just outside the main gate before dinner. Not a bad way to end the work day at all.
DAY 1 – Buenos noches y’all!
The team has almost all arrived. One of our team members was not allowed to board the plane yesterday because of an issue with her passport. However, she drove from North Carolina to Atlanta today to get a new passport and will be flying in to join us tomorrow. We have already moved everything from the house in Zamarano, near the airport, and most of the stuff from the mission house in Choluteca. Tomorrow we will start putting beds back together and get the last items from the mission house.
For tonight, everyone is sleeping on mattresses on the floor and couldn’t be happier to be here. Almost everyone on this team has seen the property develop over the past few years and feels a sense of accomplishment to finally be moving in. There is still a lot of work to be done this week assembling bunk beds, hanging shower curtains, and putting things in their proper place but this is already home for Mike and Ginger.
I am joined on the team this week by 6 folks from various places in North Carolina including a husband and wife, uncle and nephew, and two friends from another church. Even though not everyone knew each other, the hardest part of the trip has been locating one another at the airport in Atlanta. By the time we sat down for evening devotions last night, everyone was old friends. Even when we all come from one church, there is always someone that others don’t really know and it is always such a blessing to see the relationships form so quickly and this team is no different.
We all had a great time celebrating Mike and Ginger’s anniversary last night and they appreciate all the well wishes and love being sent down from Covenant Park. I will try to get some pictures uploaded in the next day or two.
Thank you all for your prayers for the team this week! -Derek
Honduras Medical Team August 2015
Saturday, August 15
The last day of clinic began early for Steve, Josiah, Debby and Pauline. They wanted to leave early for the church, hoping to complete the inventory of medicines before having to open shop for patients. A breakfast of bacon and eggs, prepared by our breakfast crew Bob and Eli, was just what they needed!
During inventory, the group found that most of the medicines and vitamins we brought were prescribed and given to patients! Praise the Lord! We’re praying they go a long way in helping heal those that received them.
Hospitality and community are two words that perfectly describe this past week. We have felt so welcomed and cared for. Like Matt said, “The church here is different. They feel closer and are closer as a community. The community feels different because they live close to one another and take care of one another.” Mama Greene agreed, “They really do. Everyone really looks out for the other.”
We saw love in action in the way the doctors really took time to care for each person they saw. Debby shared how, “They really inspire me. They are humble, knowledgeable, and resourceful. Every time they had a complicated case they would personally see me to explain the situation. It’s not just about filling prescriptions, but working from both ends to provide care. Also Doctor Brenda fell. Doctor Winston immediately took out a small tiny case with a bit of everything and pulled out two tiny ibuprofen.” It’s amazing to spend time surrounded by such a community, to see what it looks like when we all treat one another as brothers and sisters. What a week!
This caring also translated into service. Specifically, through Pastor Pedro’s wife Maria, who prepared Honduran-style chicken soup for us today. Or so they called it…
Last night, during group time, the Greenes announced they had something important to tell us. With eager anticipation, they told us, “About this chicken soup. It’s actually iguana that they’ll be serving. I hope y’all are okay with that.”
Okay? We were excited! We were even more excited because Matt, Dan, and Derek, who decided to sleep at the property that night, didn’t know about the special surprise. They found out later, as we were all gathered together for lunch…while they were eating! No one could contain their laughter. And if anyone is wondering, it was DELICIOUS! According to Debby, it tastes exactly like chicken. Or rabbit. And Matt said, “Too bad we can’t get this back home.” Being treated to a local delicacy is only one of the many ways the Lajero Blanco community has welcomed us.
Another blessing today was witnessing an elderly man regain his hearing. For many years, this elderly man’s daughter thought her father was deaf. He always had trouble hearing and being able to communicate. But as he sat with Steve that day, we found out this wasn’t true. All he needed was a whole lot of ear cleaning! As soon as his ears were cleaned, he could hear again! He could not contain the smile on his face. Josiah said he has never seen anyone so happy in his life! Praise the Lord for how he cares for his children. He really is the God of healing and restoration.
It was also Maria’s birthday today. We all sang happy birthday to her. She had spent the whole morning cooking for everyone and making sure we had fresh coffee. What a blessing she is!
Since this is our last day in Choluteca, I’d also like to share how blessed our team is by the people who work with the Greenes. Derek brought up Jose, who works as the driver but helps out in any way he can. Much like Meida, one of the translators, he goes above and beyond, always willing to serve, teach, and care for people.
We’re all excited to worship God with our new community at Lajero Blanco tomorrow. Praise God for how He brings people together and binds them together with His love! Tonight, we spent time practicing for our parts in tomorrow’s worship service. Bob, Josiah, and Pauline will be playing and singing a special song. Eli will also be singing with one of Pastor Pedro’s daughters while Ryan will be sharing God’s Word.”
This has been a week that has blessed and challenged us. What a mighty God we serve!
Friday, August 14
“Are y’all going to start the kids’ stuff early?” asked Steve.
It was already 9:00 a.m. and Dan, Ryan, and Eli had registered around 113 people. The waiting area was filled with giggling kids.
“We’ll wait a few more minutes to figure out what we’re going to do.” replied Pauline. Here’s a hint—if you’re going on a mission trip, know that there will be a lot of times when you’ll have to think on your feet. In our case, all we had on hand was copy paper and some crayons.
Then Matt suggested, “What if we make some masks? No tape. Hmm. Hand puppets?” Perfect!
Pauline remembered how to do an origami hand puppet and taught Josiah, Bob, and Matt how to make them. Then Josiah asked Ronnie to call the children inside while Dan, Eli, Ryan, Bob, Matt and Pauline got ready to sit and work their creative muscles.
As the children filled the room, Ronnie asked them to sit in a circle on the floor. Matt started showing the kids how to make the masks. The room fell silent! You could have heard the proverbial pin drop! All the children were so intently focused on learning how to make their own hand puppets.
Some minutes later, we started to hear giggles and the sound of running children from the other end of the room. Josiah and Matt were playing puppet tag with a big group of kids! Dan, Bob, and Pauline joined in on the fun! While they were running around like crazy, Ryan started making origami hats and playing with a group of children who wanted to make pictures using the crayons. Eli played with a few of the little girls that were trying to find shelter from the silly adults and bigger kids.
Throughout all the running, screaming, laughter and, thankfully, no tears, the doctors, Steve, Derek, and Debby continued to provide excellent care to the patients that needed check-ups, medication and ear irrigation treatment.
By 10:45 a.m., all the adults were exhausted! Bob said, “I can’t believe I’m so sweaty from making paper airplanes, coloring, and making puppets! I think my favorite part was seeing the kids throw the paper airplanes at the ceiling fans!” A few team members surrendered and sat with the kids to color pictures, some went back to registering more patients, and the rest joined the pharmacy.
Disclaimer: No one got hurt and no damage was done, we promise!
After lunch, Dan, Matt, and Derek left for Mt. Horeb to complete the markings needed to put up the dorm ceiling. It grew more calm inside the church as the children left to go to lunch. Although the afternoon was slow, a few of the little girls came back to color. Eli and Ryan played with them while the rest of the team helped out in the pharmacy.
We are all sad that tomorrow is the last day! The clinic will only be open for half a day since we will be having fellowship with Pastor Pedro and his family and those from his community who have been helping us throughout the week. As Debby fittingly said, “Isn’t it kind of sad how the last day you feel like you are really, really, getting to know the communities we’re in?” This is so true. Just when friendships are deepening and community is being built, it’s time to leave. But how great is our God! He brings His children together, not only because there is work to be done, but also because He knows we need each other. God, indeed, is good all the time.
Thursday, August 13
We woke up this morning to a Southern breakfast! Papa Greene, Bob, and Eli treated us all to quite the spread: grits, red eye gravy, eggs, toast, country ham, and chorizo. Papa Greene made red eye gravy, which has coffee, and according to him, “won’t keep me awake, but it’ll keep my blood pressure high.”
We started the day with eager anticipation for what was to come. Since we’ve been serving the same community, today had a steady, if slower, pace of patients. And because we weren’t as busy as we were the prior days, we had more time to connect with the community through conversation, music, children’s dances, art, and teaching each other our native languages.
One of Pastor Pedro’s daughters wanted to teach us the Honduran-style chicken dance so we could do it with the children. Let’s just say, there may or may not be evidence of Debby, Josiah, and Matt shaking their tail feathers! It was a wonderful time to get silly and get to know the kids!
Prior to shaking our tail feathers we had asked Ronnie to bring the children inside for coloring time and making paper airplanes. They were very skilled in making very fast paper airplanes—one of which flew straight into Pauline’s face! Totally worth it! Also, as Debby and Steve observed, it was wonderful seeing how creative the children were in their drawings. It’s really amazing how both art, music, and dancing are ways in which God allows people of all ages to connect.
Another example of this was when Bob and Josiah were practicing a few songs in Spanish. Pastor Pedro came by and asked to play one of the guitars. He then proceeded to play “How Great Thou Art” in Spanish. As soon as Bob recognized the tune he grabbed the hymnal Pastor Pedro lent him. They both stood there singing and playing together, filling the church with beautiful music. How great is our God?!
Remember that family I asked you all to pray for? Well, earlier in the day, Steve and Doctora Brenda joined the Greenes in visiting them. As Steve reported back, the eight-year-old daughter’s burns are healing well. The three-year-old son, who has asthma, was feverish and had an ear infection as well, received Nebulizer treatment as well as the necessary medications. Praise the Lord for how He takes care of His children. Please continue to pray for this family.
Additionally, Dan, Derek and Ryan finished adding the trimming to the drop ceiling in the dormitory at Mount Horeb! Soon enough, Mount Horeb will be ready to serve Honduras just as the Greenes envisioned it would!
At the end of this day, the team reflected on how loved we felt by the community—not just because of their kindness and fellowship, but also because of the deepening relationships we are experiencing. How great is He who binds us all together!
Wednesday, August 12
Last night, we were brainstorming ideas to reach the children. Although we have the coloring books with basic hygiene tips, we wanted to do more. With two guitars available in the mission house, Mr. Bob had the great idea to play a few songs. Steve actually brought along a few song lyrics that we could use.
The next morning, we were all teeming with excitement! After a refreshing night of rest, we headed to the community earlier than we planned. When we arrived at the church, we saw that many people had already lined up to be registered. There were many more children than we ever expected!
We prayed and began prepping for the day. Steve had the initial idea to see if the children who were waiting with their parents wanted to join us inside to hear stories, sing some songs, and color the hygiene book. We shared the idea with Ronnie and he shared the idea with the crowd of patiently waiting patients. To our surprise, only one child showed up. Ronnie explained that many of the children were actually the ones waiting to be seen by the doctor.
All the while, Bob, Josiah, and Pauline were trying to learn the two Spanish songs- Este es el Dia (This is the Day) and Yo Tengo Gozo (I Have the Joy) Steve had brought.
It was a bit nerve-wracking for all three since their Spanish speaking skills aren’t so good. Thank the Lord for Meida! A few minutes later, she came up to the group to introduce Pastor Pedro’s two daughters who helped them learn the songs. One beautiful thing about music is that it brings people together in wonderful ways. After struggling to communicate (Si? no? catamos? otra ves?), they learned not only the two songs, but three! The two daughters taught them “Shout to The Lord” in Spanish!
After about twenty minutes, we were ready. Steve offered the idea of going outside to the patients to share the hygiene lesson so that both the parents and their children can learn.
With books in hand, Bob, Josiah, Eli, Dan, Pauline, and the two pastor’s daughters went outside. The team introduced themselves and they began to sing the two songs. To say it was easy singing songs is Spanish is a bit of a stretch, but God can use our weaknesses to glorify Him. Pauline then read the book…did I mention it was all in Spanish as well?
After Ronnie explained that the children may join us inside to color in the books, a whole crowd of children rushed into the church! The building was full of smiling and joyful children! It was wonderful to see everyone getting out of their language comfort zone. Josiah, Matt, and Bob were all spending time with children, asking their names, looking at their drawings, and even coloring beside them (well mostly Matt).
After most of the children left for school, Derek, Dan, Eli, and Ryan left with the Greenes to run wire through the Mt. Horeb dorm and visit one family that Doctora Brenda will be seeing tomorrow. Eli later shared that the family they visited is struggling. Maria is a single mother of 4 children. One child had died recently, one son is currently sick (asthma, fever, ear infection), and a daughter has recently been badly burned when a pot of boiling beans spilled on her back. Please join us in praying that God would bring healing, both physical and spiritual, to this family.
As the afternoon wound down, Matt, Dan, and Josiah spent time playing soccer outside with the boys. Like music, sports can be a great way to start conversations, helping to build bridges between strangers.
So many patients were seen today. Debbie kept the pharmacy team focused and organized, so much so that we were able to help 145+ patients today with all the needed medications! Steve provided 3 ear cleaning and 3 Nebulizer treatments, on top of ensuring our team was helping out in anyway possible.
This is only a short summary of what happened today. God indeed has done exceedingly more than we could have ever imagined or expected! I hope the pictures encourage you to keep this wonderful community in your prayers this week! Please pray for our team as well. We’re all doing well, and that is because we know you all are with us, holding the line through prayer.
God is good. All the time, indeed.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
God certainly has blessed us with great weather! The morning was already warm and breezy. We met our new friends- Doctor Winston and Ronnie the translator. We were able to prepare early this morning and leave earlier than scheduled to get a head-start on setting up the clinic.
We drove about 20 minutes to the community called La Jera Blanca (roughly translated) “The White Rock,” where we’ll be holding the clinic this week. The church is beautiful! You could feel the breeze blowing through every part of the church. As we went inside the church, we were met by Pastor Pedro’s brother Martin and a few members of the church family.
Papa Greene introduced all of us by saying, “we have 6 nations represented here- the United States, Philippines, India, Nicaragua, Panama, and Honduras.” He then asked Steve to say a few words. Steve said, “Although we’re all from different places, we all look the same on the inside. We are all washed by the blood of Jesus.” With “Amens!” in affirmation, we all held hands to pray and got started with setting up the clinic. After about an hour the clinic was up and running.
The morning was buzzing with community members lining up for registration, laughter and the sounds of vegetable vendors driving by. Since this was our first day of clinic many of us pitched in to help with the remaining organization of the medicines. Thank the Lord for a prior medical team leaving more than enough medicines to share!
At about 10:30 a.m. we already registered 129 people to be seen by the doctors! God is good. Steve mentioned that the doctors asked what he expected of them. He encouraged them that we’re not here to rush them, they can take their time, and continue to give the same quality care they always give. We are so blessed and thankful for such humble and loving doctors that not only care about working as a team, but loving each and every person they help.
After about an hour, things slowed down a bit, so a few of the team members went to explore the community with Jose. The community is so loving and welcoming. After they came back we gathered for lunch to get refreshed and refocused. During lunch, a few team members sat down with Pastor Pedro to ask about the needs of the community. The three greatest needs are prayer, church attendance, and prioritizing time to go to church. There are about 110 houses in the 2 surrounding communities. Let us continue to pray together for God to bless their community.
As the afternoon shift began, we were busy with filling more prescriptions (109 to be exact!), providing nebulizer and ear cleaning treatment. Some team members spent time having good conversations with the community members and some went to play soccer outside with the children. Thank the Lord for the opportunity to develop deep meaningful relationships with our extended Honduran family!
Let us continue to pray that God would continue to send workers into His harvest (Luke 10:2) and do abundantly more than we ask or can imagine.
Monday, August 10, 2015
Day 1 – Beinvenidos Honduras!
We gathered at BWI Airport at 5:45 a.m. with 17 (actually to become 18) check-in bags!
Why 18? Because after scrambling to check all of our bags in, we found that many of them were a bit overweight. Unsure if we were going to be able to check-in, get through security and make our 7:20 a.m. flight, we prayed a lot! Did I mention that Bob’s flight was accidentally voided by the travel agency? Thank the Lord for his provision and more flights available!
After hurrying to repack, and recheck, our bags, we filed into the long security line at 6:45 a.m. It looked like it would take at least 30 minutes to get through.
God provided yet again! Our whole group was moved to the express security line! It was by then 7:00 a.m. We ran and we made it with time to spare.
We arrived in Miami around 9:30 a.m. for a short layover and grabbed some breakfast and rest a bit.
At 12:20 p.m. we boarded for Tegucigalpa. It was a bumpy landing, but we made it!
Hello warm weather! We were met by Mama and Papa Greene, Doctora Brenda, and Jose! Such a warm welcoming! Then it was time to drive up to Choluteca. Four of us rode with Jose while the other six rode with the Greenes.
Those who rode with Jose had the treat of stopping by Jose’s home. With excitement in his eyes, he had purchased live iguanas (a local delicacy) and had them prepared. Boy, what a treat! Debby said, “the tail was still wagging!”
Those who rode with the Greenes had the treat of stopping by Mount Horeb. It’s amazing to see how God is at work in the development of the property. The dorm is almost ready and it is beautiful! Exciting to see how God continues to work and provide.
Speaking of which, it rained today! Mama Greene said, “It hasn’t rained, but 5 days since November.” Praise God for providing much needed rain.
After a long and beautiful drive, we arrived at the mission house in Choluteca. Rosa’s handmade tacos were amazing. As I write this, we’re done prepping for the clinic this week. Oh! We’ll be serving at one location this week and two communities will be going there for health care. This week, the Greenes will also be dropping off the hygiene kits at three schools on Wednesday for the teachers to distribute.
Please continue to pray that the communities will see Christ at work through us and that we’ll be sensitive to every opportunity to share His love with the new friends we’ll meet this week.
Excited and thankful!
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20
Honduras Construction Team August 2014
Read Mike and Ginger Greene’s daily account while our team was serving in Honduras
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Today was our final working day at the property. Over the last week or so our team assisted in putting up ~2000 blocks, making significant progress on the dormitory. But this was the least significant of all things today. The most significant event was when our Honduran brother Danny (we asked for you to pray for him previously) decided to committ his life to Christ today during lunch!! Eli had the opportunity to pray with him along with Pastor Carlos and Pastor G. Ryan had the brilliant idea of making a baseball bat for Danny on which he wrote Matthew 7:7. Please continue to keep Danny in your prayers as he starts his new life.
We did a small dedication of the building at the end of work today. Ryan, Pastor Carlos, Pastor G, and I spoke. One consistent message among all of us was about how God would use this property to bring people from North America and Honduras together for the greater glory of God and God’s people. (Isaiah 2: 2,3). Pastor G gave a moving sermon at the end asking all who hadn’t yet, to commit their lives to Christ, as tomorrow is never guaranteed.
Ryan’s baseball bat idea led us to having the inaugural baseball game at the property. We converted the work site to a make shift baseball field and taught our Honduran brothers to play the American national pasttime. It was a sight to behold – grown men and women, some from the US others from Honduras just playing together in a small village in southern Honduras, without a care in the world. So many of the workers said they hadn’t laughed and played this hard in years. Such a blessed time!
If you look at just two pictures all week, please look at the following: – The Group picture with all of us (the team, the workers etc) together and – The picture of Pastor G with his arm around Danny, with Pastor Carlos. The unity, the fellowship and the spirit of God is all observed in those two pictures. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We leave for Tegucigalpa tomorrow and then on to the States on Thursday.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Today was an extremely hot day at the property (the temperature soared into the mid to upper 90s). But the team was busy and productive in constructing several walls of the dormitory structure. We had a few special moments amidst all the busyness including one in which Ryan and one of the young workers, Danny, attempted to chisel a baseball bat out a piece of wood. This (seemingly) small interaction has us planning for a baseball game tomorrow! Please keep Danny in prayer – he is a young worker at the property and eager to talk and interact with us.
Tommorrow will be our last day building here in Honduras. There will be brief dedication of the building and for the work we have done with everyone on the property. Please pray for us as this is a great opportunity for us to interact with our Honduran brothers at the site in a meaningful way.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
We worshipped at a local church that was built by Mike & Ginger’s mission here. It is a small congregation with about 30 people, led by Pastor Nelson. Ryan and Bevin gave testimonies to the congregation and Vicki and Elizabeth led Sunday School with the children. It was a truly blessed time for all of us. Their passion for the Lord and the unwavering faith they exhibit touched all of us deeply.After an eventful lunch break at Pizza Hut (yes, Pizza Hut!), we headed out to Cedenia to the home that our Covenant Construction team help built in August 2013. We met with Fernando, Tio and many of the local residents and children, who were ecstatic to see some of the team members from last year again. Vicki managed to pull off a VBS type lesson with the kids which had their undivided attention. Ryan, Eli & Derek had the opportunity to witness to Fernando’s neighbor and we all played a game of ‘competitive’ soccer in a space barely 15ft x 50ft. The visit was capped off by a quick walk to the beach (Pacific Ocean) where Ryan, Dan and Fernando decided that they had to go for a swim. On the way back home, we got caught in heavy rains with many of the local streets flooded, but thankfully we reached home safe.
The team would agree that today offered so many ‘God moments’ for all us from worshipping with a local Honduran congregation to seeing old friends to telling children about the love of Jesus. On a personal note, God tugged on my (Bevin’s) heart today about creating more educational opportunities for children here in Honduras – I’ve spent much of the day thinking what this means and what it would take to start acting on this. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
It was another productive day here in Choluteca. We spent the day at the property erecting the right side wall, while getting to know our fellow Honduran brothers better. The highlight of the afternoon was the fish fry lunch (including fish heads!) for everyone at the property – over 23 people including us. A friendly football kick around once again reminded us that we still had a ways to go in our football skills compared to our Honduran friends.
Pastor ‘G’ (Guillermo) told us his testimony after work today. I won’t repeat all the details but it’s a great example of how someone, despite some very difficult life circumstances, has put his complete faith and life in the hands of Jesus. It is that faith and trust that carries him everyday, and just in our short time here, it’s clear to us that his actions reflect his faith.
I leave you with Psalm 139 which Pastor G referenced and which became our Devotion for the evening. Verse 23, 24 says “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thougths. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to visit a local church and some of our team plan to give testimonies. Vicki plans to lead Sunday School with the kids as well. Please continue to keep us in prayer.
Friday, August 8, 2014
Today was a very productive day at the work site. Over 3000 blocks were delivered to the site for the new dormitory building. Our team along with our Honduran brothers laid block along the entire back wall of the structure.
We also had the opportunity to start building relationships with some of the workers such as Danny and Alexi. Each day we are here, we are amazed by the commitment and dedication of the workers here. Their gratefulness and joy, despite very difficult circumstances, is something we all can learn from.
We also hiked up to the prayer rock which overlooks the entire property and was a brilliant reminder of God’s great creation and His blessings and goodness on the land (Deuteronomy 11:11,12).
Tomorrow will be a busy day. We do have 3000 blocks to work on!!
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Today was our first day at the worksite in Mt. Horeb. The temperature reached over 95 degrees. Pastor Carlos & Pastor Guillermo prayed over us as we laid the 1st block for the new dorm that will be built on the property. It was a long day but we had some good opportunities to get to the know our Honduran brothers and sisters on the property.
Please continue to pray for our time here – for good health and opportunities to relate to people around us in Christ. Mike and Ginger send their greetings.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Hello Covenant Family, We arrived safely this afternoon. Mike and Ginger’s warm reception with lots of hugs at the airport was just the right introduction to our week here.
With homemade chicken tacos, lots of good conversation/laughs, and a great devotion time on Obedience led by Ryan, we have quickly settled in to our home here in Choluteca.
Tomorrow (early!!) starts our 1st day of work at the property in Mt. Horeb. We will be laying the first block for the dorm building.
One important prayer request – Honduras is in the middle of a severe drought. With this being prime farming season, this is impacting people and the economy significantly. Please pray for rain and relief for the land here.
Honduras Medical Team February 2014
Mi Dios es tan grande, tan fuerte, potente, no hay nada que no puede hacer… My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do…
The road to Las Uvas is covered in rocks–steep and treacherous. As a result of yesterday’s journey, we found that the Kia had a flat tire when we woke up this morning. Mike and Jose put on the spare, and we stopped at the Llantera Milagro (“Miracle Tire”) repair joint on the way out this morning, but they were already booked for the day, so we proceeded on in faith, and the Lord carried us there and back safely.
We saw 75 patients today, bringing the total in the 2 days of clinic in the mountains to 226. All in all, we’ve been blessed to care for to more than 580 people here in Honduras.
Some of today’s noteworthy moments:
Yesterday, a woman asked if we had the necessary tools to take a cast off. Our initial assessment was no-can-do, but we asked Dr. Brenda, and without hesitation, she said the man should come. When he arrived at the clinic today, we found that the cast wasn’t for a broken bone, but rather to cover and protect the sutures for a deep machete wound to the base of his thumb. Dr. Brenda called to Pastor Carlos, who dissappeared and quickly returned with a hack saw, and Dr. Brenda (a.k.a. MacGuyver Doctor) went to work. After 30 minutes of careful surgery on that cast, and help from most of the team, the cast was off, the wound was cleaned, and the man filled the church with his smiles, thanks, and praises. He went around shaking everyone’s hands (even those of other patients!) and gave hugs. He was one happy man.
The highlight of the day was the special time we had with the children. Stephanie finally got to break free of the pharmacy, and she worked with Pauline and Lizzy to teach some Bible stories and color with the kids. They told the kids about how Jesus loves to welcome children to come close and spend time with Him. They also told them about the time that Jesus called His first 4 disciples.
Dr. Lea and Dr. Brenda also got into the action. Dr. Lea taught us all to sing “My God is so Big!” in Spanish, and Dr. Brenda sang “I’m in the Lord’s Army!” and welcomed the kids to sing and pantomime along as well. The joy and laughter was amazing, and we’re certain that folks on the other side of the mountain at the Property could hear the children singing. After we finished singing and coloring, Riyadh, our crowd-control master and defender of truth and justice had the kids line up so that they could receive some rubber-band bracelets provided by some of the North Carolina churches that work with Mike & Ginger.
There were also rumors of an interesting discussion between Riyadh & Meida. Meida was curious about how old Riyadh was, and when he told her, she was very surprised to find that Riyadh was “only 36”, given his salt & pepper hair and ultra-mature attitude… Imagine that! 😉
Thanks again to all of our Covenant brothers and sisters who sent hygiene kits for the Honduran people! Our kits have been safely transferred to the care of Pastor Carlos, and he will begin distributing them to the folks in Las Uvas this weekend.
Back at the Mission House, we had a delicious dinner prepared by none other than Rosa famosa. We enjoyed juicy and delectable chicken and baked potatoes. After devotion time in the evening, Jose shared with the group that it’s been many many years since a medical brigade has traveled up into the mountains to Las Uvas. His “God moment” for the day was seeing the fondest of farewells from the church members who lined the road to say good bye and God bless! Their sincere gratitude was a tribute to God’s goodness in all of our lives and an example of the gratitude we should give God every day.
We closed off our final night in Choluteca singing praise songs led by Pauline at the guitar. The highlight was singing Matt Maher’s “Lord, I Need You”, a great reminder to us all to depend daily on our Vid Verdadera (true vine). There’s nothing our God cannot do.
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need YouMonday, February 10, 2014
I am the true vine (la vid verdadera) …. you are the branches… (John 15:1, 5)
The community in the mountains is called Las Uvas (the grapes), and the church is called La Vid Verdadera (the true vine). Ginger wasn’t kidding when she said we’d be up in the clouds… The view is spectacular, and the breeze is cool and refreshing, which is so different than where we were last week. There is a small, close-knit community of 60 children and 40 adult believers who are a part of the church in the southern Honduras highlands.
Setup went smoothly at our new location, and before lunchtime we had seen and treated more than 75 patients! Dr. Brenda and Dr. Lea were in top form, and all in all, before the day was through, we had seen 151 wonderful Honduran men, women, and children (from throughout the community, church members and non-members) who rarely, if ever, see a doctor in their remote mountain-side home.
Some highlights from today:
Dr. Brenda was weighing herself, and Riyadh snuck up behind her and placed his foot on the scale. You should’ve seen the look on her face as the weight started going up and up, and you should’ve heard the laughter throughout the church when she figured out what was going on…
Steve worked with several children, cleaning out ears and restoring hearing and comfort. Jose was struck by one little boy who was so focused and in sync with Steve, following every direction and keeping his head steady and in the proper position for the medicince to take effect. The boy was so calm and at peace throughout the treatment, and in the end, he was smiling ear to ear. 😀
Pauline and Lizzy led an awesome lesson with the children on how to wash their hands, followed by coloring pages with lots of giggling and good reminders of how important clean hands are to good health. At the end of the session, the church was filled with applause and beautiful smiles!
Riyadh helped a woman in her late 40s who was brought in by her 14-year-old daughter. The mother suffered from severe rhumatoid arthritis, and she had major trouble walking & standing. Her daughter literally carried her from their home in the mountains to the church, and Riyadh helped carry her to the scale for her weigh-in, and then through the waiting line of chairs before she finally got to see the doctors. Afterward, he helped her out of the clinic, and her daughter then carried her home. Later in the afternoon, the 14-year-old returned to spend more time with the team, the church members, and especially the children–laughing and playing and soaking it all in.
Eric was inspired today, and throughout the trip, by the selfless, giving spirit clearly demonstrated in the lives of so many Honduran believers, and in particular Lala and Meida. Their selfless care for one another and for other friends in the name of Christ is a living testimony and an encouragement.
Tomorrow is our final day of clinic in Las Uvas. Pastor Carlos said that there’re another 150 folks ready and waiting for care.
Many thanks for your prayers, Covenant family! God is good, all the time. Buenas noches!Sunday, February 9, 2014
Today was a very special day. It all started with banana pancakes expertly prepared by Stephanie and Pauline, followed by an amazing church service at la Iglesia Bautista Emanuel. Steve, Derek, and Jon were able to share their testimonies with the congregation. Steve closed his testimony saying that he hopes to see everyone again here on earth, but if not, that we’ll see everyone again in heaven… and there we’ll all be speaking Spanish! The kids led an extra special worship session after the testimonies where they chose their favorite songs and led the congregation to sing along. The pastor and the church elders then called the team forward to lay hands and prayed for us (which was a first, according to Mike & Ginger). There was time for hugs, handshakes, and a few more caballo rides before saying goodbye.
After church, we were blessed to have another visit with Lala. She got her camarones (shrimp) at last, but despite all of the finest spices (that Debby provided), Lala still thought they needed more salt! Ginger said that Lala had more spunk today than she’s had in a very long time. Dr. Brenda and Meida got Lala to take her medicine. Lala generously offered another of her chickens (she always has 2 or 3) as a donation to the property, and asked Mike and Ginger to bring her a new nightgown. In the evening, as we were all winding down for the day, Pauline smiled and quipped: “Oh, Lala. She’s cray-cray, and I love her!”
Lunch time brought us a little taste of home: We enjoyed some awesome KFC for the main course, and swung by Wendy’s for some dessert Frosty’s. We wisely avoided the Pizza Hut this time around…
In the afternoon, we had some special time to visit our old friends in Cedeño. Fernando’s house is still standing (praise the Lord!), and is in great shape. Fernando greeted us wearing his Covenant t-shirt. He had some fresh coconuts waiting for us, and he said that we are always welcome in his home. The aviones and the pictures we sent are still hanging in a prominent place of honor in his home.
We also got to catch up with some folks in Fernando’s neighborhood: Merardi’s mom told us that Merardi still listens to the recording of Jonny singing, and she still practices those songs. She wanted to know how Ryan and Eli were doing, and asked about the whereabouts of her special “charco” (puddle) friend Jason. Some of the neighborhood kids (Kevin & Edwin, in particular) asked about Mr. Bill, remembering all of the fun they had with his special airplanes. The twins from down the road are happy and healthy.
As a special treat, one of Fernando’s neighbor kids (a 6th grader) accompanied us to the beach where we ran into Cristian, who is doing well. He asked how things were in Maryland, and his eyes lit up when I told him about the cold winter and all of the snow and ice we’ve been having. Riyadh and Steve took a swim in the Pacific, and one of the children swam along with them. Stephanie, a future naval officer, refused to go into the water for fear of sharks. She didn’t notice when our guide got into the ocean, and when she saw him pop up near Steve and Riyadh, she actually thought she was seeing a shark in the water. That being said, she didn’t scream or try to warn the guys… She just stood there on the beach, and watched.
Dinner was special as well. Seafood feast at the mission house, prepared by Chef Meida, Dr. Brenda, and Riyadh. Dr. Lea and Ginger had supporting roles, and one day hope to be nominated for an Oscar or some other noteworthy award… 😉
After dinner, with the night winding down, a scream rang out from the end of the hallway. A monstrous “sewage green” toad had taken up residence in the girl’s shower. Stephanie fled, narrowly escaping with her life, and our brave and loyal Jefe Mike faced the toad head on and sent it packing.
Tonight we’re fixing to sleep early, since tomorrow is an early start, and a climb up a mountain to our next clinic location. Breakfast is at 5am, and we’ll be on the road shortly after 6am. Ginger said that we’ll be up in the clouds, and that there’s no place in Honduras closer to heaven…Saturday, February 8, 2014
The clinic was firing on all cylinders on Saturday at Emanuel Baptist Church in Pavana. When we arrived at 8am, there were already more than 30 people inside the church waiting, and by 10:30am, Orfi, Lizzy, Riyadh, and Jon had registered and taken vitals (temp, BP, weight) for over 150 patients for the day, bringing the total to over 360 patients treated. Riyadh welcomed a lovely lady in her 90s to the clinic, and at Orfi’s direction, they did a tango over to the scales to finish up her registration. Her face could light up a whole room. There was much joy in the registration area all week, which made the patients feel at ease and set the tone for the clinic ahead.
And 150+ patients meant 150+ prescriptions to be filled. Steve conducted the pharmacy as a maestro oversees an orchestra, and Stephanie, Pauline, Eric and Derek worked in perfect harmony to get the job done. Meida double-checked each and every prescription, and took extra care to make sure that the patients knew exactly when to take them and how much to take.
A very special lady made the trek from “across the street” (which we figured out later was actually several miles away) for a third day in a row, and again today she arrived after we had already closed registration for the day. We were so thankful that she came back, and this time we asked Dr. Brenda to treat her shortly after she arrived. This woman had such a joyful spirit, and she never complained for a second. Her daily trek to the clinic was a real example to the whole team of perseverance in faith, and her attitude was humbling to say the least. We were so glad that she could receive the much needed treatment at last!
After lunch, Riyadh, Jon, and Pauline spent some quality time with the kids, this time coloring sheets that depicted God’s creation story from Genesis. The coloring pages included the 7 days of creation, and a nice globe that said “God created the heavens and the earth” in Spanish. The kids loved to show us where Honduras was on the map, and they knew where the USA was as well. Their favorite part was coloring the animals, and teaching us the animal names in Spanish. In return, we did another English refresher, including the colors, the months, and the numbers 1-10. Riyadh was touched by how the older girls were so patient and helpful with the younger kids, making sure that they got the crayons that they needed and that everyone was sharing.
Once things started to wind down, Derek and Eric joined in the fun. The kids loved to jump on Derek’s back and pretend that they were “caballeros” (cowboys) and ride him like a “caballo” (horse). By the end of the day, Derek and Eric were running around with 2 or 3 Honduran children on their back at a time, and everyone had a wonderful time! Riyadh broke out some more of the “aviones” and kids of all ages enjoyed flying more planes in the church.
As the day came to a close, we packed up the pharmacy and started loading the trucks. Many of the children were sad to see us go (“please don’t leave”), but they smiled again when we told them that we would be back again tomorrow to celebrate with them during the worship service in the morning. The pastor’s son gave Derek a big hug before leaving (which was Derek’s “God moment” of the day), and the Pastor and several church members thanked the team and praised God for the wonderful blessing that the clinic has been to their community.
Prayer request: Please continue to pray for Dona Lala. Dr. Brenda and Meida stopped by to deliver antibiotics and other medicine to her, but she still isn’t eating, and Brenda is concerned that she is literally starving to death. Mike is going to make sure that she gets the special roasted shrimp that she’s been craving tomorrow after church. Please pray that she’s able to enjoy the shrimp tomorrow and receive some much-needed nourishment.
Thanks for your prayers church family, and enjoy the worship time tomorrow!Friday, February 7, 2014
The name of the Baptist Church in Pavana is “Emanuel”, and God is definitely with us as After lunch, Riyadh, Jon, and Pauline spent some quality time with the kids, this time coloring sheets that depicted God’s creation story from Genesis. The coloring pages included the 7 days of creation, and a nice globe that said “God created the heavens and the earth” in Spanish. The kids loved to show us where Honduras was on the map, and they knew where the USA was as well. Their favorite part was coloring the animals, and teaching us the animal names in Spanish. In return, we did another English refresher, including the colors, the months, and the numbers 1-10. Riyadh was touched by how the older girls were so patient and helpful with the younger kids, making sure that they got the crayons that they needed and that everyone was sharing. we do our work at the clinic. Today was an excellent day. The doctors, the pharmacy, and all the coworkers were firing on all cylinders, and we were able to see ~120 patients today, bringing the total to around 207 or so… As we rest tonight, there are 3 brothers from the church standing watch over our meds. Tomorrow will be the last day of clinic at Emanuel.
The highlight of Steve’s day was digging deep and striking gold! An older woman (late 60’s – early 70’s) came into the clinic, and she said that her ear has been plugged up literally for years. After 30 drops of medicine in the ear (when normally only 4 or 5 are needed), Steve found the buried treasure, and you should’ve seen the woman’s eyes light up when she could hear again! So cool that God used Steve to bring hearing and relief to this woman after years. Dr. Brenda quipped that she thought the old woman just didn’t want to pay attention to her when they were talking in the exam room, but now she’s certain that it was just that she couldn’t pay attention to what she couldn’t hear.
Pauline was able to get some time out of her comfort zone and out of the pharmacy to teach the children about the importance of washing their hands. Equipped with coloring pages and crayons, the children excitedly colored pictures telling them about all the times one should wash their hands. Pauline also did a demonstration with Riyadh’s help to show the kids how to lather up with soap, clean under their nails, and rinse well. The kids loved showing us the difference on the coloring pages between the dirty hands and the clean hands!
After packing up the clinic for the day, we had a special time to visit Dona Lala (the water pot lady). Lala described herself as “nothing but skin and bones”, and again expressed much concern about her dirty clothes and appearance, but that didn’t stop her joy for one second. She was thrilled to have a house full of guests and welcomed us all to sit around as she told us her special stories, the problems that she worries about, and how thankful she is for Mike & Ginger and all of us at Covenant who help to take care of her. A couple of important prayer requests for Lala: Her lungs are infected, and Dr. Brenda said it’s possibly pneumonia… We’ll be bringing her much needed antibiotics tomorrow. She also has no appetite, and wouldn’t eat any of the pudding or soda that we brought for her. She said she gets “cravings like a pregnant lady” and that her current craving is for shrimp. We’re going to do our best to oblige that craving on Sunday after church.
After dinner, Jose and Jon had a chance to reminisce about the 2012 medical team. Jose still remembers Debby, Victoria, Vicki, Nikki, and Marchele very clearly, and he sends his greetings to everyone who was a part of that “special” team (Jose’s words).
During God-moment time at the end of the day, Jose told us about a young man named David, who is 19 years old. Jose was able to talk to David about Christ throughout the day, and David prayed to receive Jesus into his heart. Ginger said that Jose has the gift of evangelism, and that we are all dancing with the angels in heaven to welcome David into the Kingdom… 🙂
Thanks again so much for your prayers, Covenant Family. We’re so blessed to have your support in prayer.Thursday, February 6, 2014
Day 1 started early, but a little less bright since the mission house in Choluteca lost power during the night. We all woke up a little bit earlier and a little bit hotter than we may have liked, but nothing could stop our joy. Mike and Ginger fired up a generator so that we could all get our morning caffeine fix, and by 7:15am we were on our way to the clinic.
We arrived at the Iglesia Baptista (“Baptist Church”) in Pavana before 8am and were greeted by a fabulous church family down here ready to help. We introduced the teams to one another, and the local pastor said an awesome prayer, and then the setup began. By 9am, we were up and running! Orfilio, Lizzy, Riyadh, and Jon worked to check folks in, measuring temperature, blood pressure and weight. Steve rapidly trained Pauline, Stephanie, Derek, and Eric to be awesome pharmacy technicians, and he and Meida even threw in some expert training in how to decode doctor handwriting. In total, Dr. Brenda and Dr. Lea were able to see and treat 87 patients, most from the local church, but several from the larger community as well. Tomorrow the focus will be on bringing patients in from all around the community. Ginger remarked that the flow from check-in, to the doctors, and back to the pharmacy was remarkably smooth. Taking a page from Bill Kohler’s playbook, Riyadh brought some paper airplanes for the kids, and we all had a blast playing with them together in the afternoon when things were winding down.
The church in Pavana is less than 1 mile from “The Property” with the prayer rock, and Mike & Ginger opened the day saying that soon they will be a part of this local community as well. Ginger said that she wanted Covenant to be the first medical team to help establish good relationships with the pastor and the folks there, so that they would know that we’re more than just folks who bought some land nearby, but rather that we’re there to support & encourage one another, both physically and spiritually. By the end of the day, Ginger was happy that we all made a great first impression!
After the clinic for the day was complete, we packed up and drove over to see the Property first hand. Wow, so much had changed from the last time we visited. There’s a new building on the property which serves as a bunk house with 3 hammocks for Pastor Carlos and Pastor G who spend most of their days and nights there. They’ve also begun to dig (by hand) the foundation for the multi-purpose center complete with kitchen, indoor and outdoor areas, and seating for 100 people. (Mike showed us some really cool 3-D drawings of what it will look like on his computer!) They’ve also leveled out the land where the dormitory for future North-American mission teams will be.
When we got back to the mission house, Mike & Ginger surprised us with some giant papayas, and also some fresh watermelon and sour passion fruit, which Eric got to experience for the first time. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of red beans and rice, sweet plantains, and ice cream for dessert. Afterward, Steve led the devotional time referring back to a message that Pastor Danny preached last August where he talked about faith that is being stretched is faith that can grow, and how we all have been stretched leading up to the trip and in our first day here. We shared our God moments and spent some good time praying to close up the first day.
One item for prayer: While on the Property, Dr. Brenda told Jon about an epidemic that is sweeping southern Honduras. An unusually large number of folks are developing kidney infections and reduced kidney function, including many of the local children. Dr. Brenda has suspicions that the water is being contaminated by the local plants that process sugar cane. She also noted that the government is either unable or unwilling to help out, and therefore many of the patients in dire need of dialysis can’t get it, and when they can’t get dialysis, they don’t survive. She said firmly and gravely that “Esto no debe ser.”, i.e. “This should not be.”
Thanks so much for your prayers, Covenant family. God is good, and we’re looking forward to another great day tomorrow!Wednesday, February 5, 2014
On Tuesday afternoon our team was informed their Wednesday morning flight out of BWI was canceled. This was due to the projected ice storm. They were shifted to a flight out of Reagan National Airport. To avoid traveling to to Reagan in the early morning hours for a 6:15 AM departure, the team went to Arlington, VA and spent the night airport hotel.
They made it to the airport and left Reagan after only a 40 minute delay. They made their connection in Atlanta and arrived on time in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Mike and Ginger Greene met them and with their helpers they all made the two hour drive to the mission house in Choluteca, Honduras.
Tired but happy they are looking forward to their first clinic tomorrow.
Please keep them in your prayers and updates will be shared as they are received.*************************************************************
Honduras Construction Team 2013
Tuesday, August 20
¡Alabaré alabaré alabaré alabaré a mi Señor!
The morning of Day 6 started with the team mixing up some more huge piles of concrete “mezcla” which were used to finish off Fernando’s floor. While most of us focused on the floor below, Dan, Brad, and Mike installed the roof, putting the finishing touches on Fernando & Moises’ new house. By 10:15am, Pastor G gave his seal of approval, and the work was done. Now it was time to celebrate!
Brother Elías skillfully scaled one of Fernando’s trees and sent coconuts flying down to a mattress laid out on the ground below to make sure that the coconuts didn’t break and spill their delicious water. Everyone enjoyed fresh coconut water while the nieghborhood women cooked up a feast for lunch, which included shrimp, chicken, and whole fish graciously provided by Fernando and the community. It was a special meal that no one will forget.
As promised the day before, we had one last soccer match: North Americans vs. Hondurans. This time, the Covenant folks fared much better. At one point, we were leading 1-0, and the match ended up with a tie score: 1-1. Ginger says that’s the best a North American team had ever fared, but Jon Crow observed that if the field were larger, there’s no way we could’ve hung with the Hondurans. Fernando and Uncle Moises are both awesome at soccer, and in the end, the North American strategy devolved into “keep the ball away from Fernando.”
After lunch, we had a very special ceremony to pray and celebrate as we dedicated Fernando’s house. Fernando told Pastor G that his heart was racing as we all gathered at the front of the home for the dedication ceremony. Ryan gave a moving exhortation based on Isaiah 40:11 and 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, and he told Fernando that his faith has inspired all of us, including folks in Maryland who have heard of his story and his changed life. Ryan encouraged Fernando to use his new home to bring God’s blessings to the entire community. Elizabeth presented Fernando & Moises with a Bible which was signed by the team. Fernando teared up as he shared words of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for this wonderful blessing. Pastor Paul prayed as everyone laid hands on Fernando, Moises, and the house itself, and Jon Nedel presented Fernando the keys to his new home. With Fernando looking out the door of his new home, everyone sang a song of praise to the Lord, one of Ginger’s favorites: “¡Alabaré!” which means “I will praise!”
After the house dedication ceremony, it was time for us to leave. The team exchanged hugs, thanks, and encouraging words with their Honduran friends. Fernando said that if we don’t see each other again in this world, we certainly will in eternity!
After a quick trip to the mission house in Choluteca, we said our goodbyes to Orfilio, Meida, and Rosa Famosa, and then we had a safe trip to Mike & Ginger’s place in Tegucigalpa. Tomorrow is shopping in the Valley of the Angels, and Thursday the journey home, suitcases filled with the best hot sauce in the world, and hearts filled with the joy of the Lord, forever changed!
Thanks for praying, Covenant family. It has been a truly amazing trip! God is at work in Honduras, and we are all so blessed to be a part of it. Please pray for safe travels, and Lord willing, we’ll see y’all soon!
Monday, August 19
Gloria aleluya Padre del cielo adorarte quiero sólo a Tí
Day 5 – Not sure if it was a hangover from lots of Machete work yesterday or just the mid-trip blues, but Monday morning’s construction work seemed to be one of the toughest yet. Several members of the team reported that they were feeling more tired or not their best, and we had a huge new pile of dirt and rock that greeted us when we pulled up at the job site in the morning. We soon learned that the pile needed to be put inside to raise the level of the floor. While we were working on hauling in the pile, bucket by bucket, it was time to install the cross beams that would support the roof. This required Dan to use the saw up on the scaffolding to cut holes and Brad to clean them out. Paul drilled holes in the beams so that they could be anchored to the block. After those were in place, we removed the scaffolding and began the process of preparing the floor for concrete pouring. This involved raking out the larger stones and using water and a tamper to flatten and level the floor. Finally, there was lot of mixing and carrying concrete to do as we began pouring the floor inside the house. The concrete mix includes extra gravel which makes the mixing process even tougher than normal. The team did a great job of rotating to keep people from burning out and offered many words of encouragement to each other.
In the afternoon, Elizabeth and the Jons held a mini VBS at Merardi’s house. Over 20 kids participated, and many of them signed Jon Crow’s journal so that we can continue to pray for them. Elizabeth led a lesson on how Jesus welcomes all children to come to Him, and that they can pray to Jesus anytime, anywhere, and He is happy when we pray to Him. Merardi led songs, including one about Noah’s Ark where the kids could shout “Praise the Lord!”, and the Spanish version of “I’m in the Lord’s Army.” Jon Crow sang “Gloria”, a song that he practiced and prepared in Spanish the night before (“Gloria aleluya Padre del cielo…”). Everyone was moved by the words of that special song, and Merardi is learning the song so that she can share it with her church in the near future. The VBS closed with coloring pages of the animals exiting Noah’s Ark, and the children signed their artwork and gave it as a gift to Elizabeth when they were done.
In the evening, the team got to pay a visit to Doña Lala, the woman who sent her water pot as a gift to the church. She is a firecracker! She was overjoyed to see such a large team from the States here to serve in Honduras. She welcomed us all into her home where we sat around and shared encouraging words. Lala told stories about her life, and the challenges that she’s facing and overcoming. She taught us that words are important, and encouraged us not use words like “friend” and “brother/sister” lightly, as many folks in her life have thrown around, but not followed through on. It reminded us of the admonishment in James to not only hear the Word of God, but to do what it says. Lala also enjoyed the chocolate pudding that Mike & Ginger sent for her. We closed with a special time of prayer with our special lady, and she thanked us for visiting and said that we’re welcome in her home anytime!
Day 5 – bonus updates
Honduras 2012 update: Jon Nedel had a special opportunity in the morning to run errands with Ginger & Mike, including a trip to the hospital to deliver the baby kits that Covenant sent down with the team. Mid-morning, he also got to stop by and visit old friends at the school in Limonal next to a church where the Honduras 2012 team held clinic. The children were delighted to visit with Jon & Ginger, and the teacher reported that they love to spend their free time reading the books that we sent to them. Some of the kids were taking an English test when we arrived, and the teacher allowed us to provide the kids with a little bit of extra help on their exam questions. The identical twins were there with big smiles on their faces, and another child, who had done repeated breathing treatments, reported that his breathing was much improved and proved it by climbing over the desks and making a ruckus in the classroom. 🙂 And a special update for Nikki Clarke: Despite all of our efforts, William still doesn’t come to school… 🙁
**TMI alert!** (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.) Immodium bottles should come emblazoned with a kinder, gentler message. Something like: “If you’re reading this bottle, we’re really sorry, because you’re obviously having a bad day…” Ironically, it wasn’t Honduran food that caused the problem (for most of us anyways); it was the Pizza Hut pizza the night before that created the line at the restroom throughout the night, affecting most of the team. Jon Crow took the brunt of it, though, because he unwittingly partook in a frozen treat sold by the locals at the Property which Ginger calls “Diarrhea in a Bag.” Jonny later dubbed the treat: “Dia-Rita’s Italian Ice,” which deceptively seem like a good idea when working with a machete out in the hot sun, but clearly isn’t worth it in the end.
Sunday, August 18
Este es el día que hizo el Señor
día de alegria y de gozo
This is the day that the Lord has made!
We will rejoice and be glad in it!
On Day 4 Mike, Ginger, seven pastors, and over 150 people gathered to dedicate the property that God provided for the new ministry center that is being built in Honduras. It was a special day which started with a word from Mike and messages of encouragement from each of the pastors. Pastor Paul spoke on the unity that we all share in serving One Lord, and on how we were working side-by-side in building this special place. We sang praise songs in Spanish and in English (including “This is the Day” in both languages) and prayed together before getting to work…
The day that the Lord had made was not only a day of dedication but also a day of work. Most of the team brandished spanking-new machetes and were taught by the locals how to sharpen them and how to use them to clear out brush, thorns, weeds, and fire ants in making a place for the new bulidings, buildings that will include a ministry center, dormrooms, a medical clinic, and a dental clinic. Our machetes are now battle-worn (and a couple are a little bloody from nicks), and the Hondurans were encouraged at our willingness to work along side them (and of course impressed at Jason’s special ability to toss large stones aside in clearing the path for the new road to the center of the propery.) When it came time to leave, we almost had to drag Dan away, for he seemed to want to deforest the rest of Honduras with his hot machete.
At midday, we took a hike to the Prayer Rock at the back of the property, which will be a place for quiet times with the Lord, and for reading His word, praying, and communing with Him. On the way there, we passed the dam that was recently built as a water source for the property. The team climbed the rock, 140 feet in the air, and saw firsthand the verse reference that Orfilio had painted there a few days earlier (Deuteronomy 11:11-12).
Immediately after our visit to the prayer rock, Fernando and Brad took his GPS on a walk around the property in order to upload a map of the perimeter. Along the way, they crossed paths with a tarantula; Fernando immediately dispatched the spider–finding yet another use for his machete.
The kids had a blast with Pastor Paul, Mr. Bill, and Brad while coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark. Pastor Paul made custom “zebra print” bracelets out of tape for the kids, and they kept coming back for more! Mr. Bill also flew a plane out into the crowd, and for the first time, “el avión” didn’t return…
As things were winding down for the day, a local neighbor of the property, Sr. Cecilio Ortiz stopped by to visit. Don Cecilio has lived in the area for his entire life, more than 60 years, and as the local blockmason, he will be providing all of the blocks for the buildings on the propery. (Mike and Ginger love the fact that they can support the local community by buying the building materials locally whenever possible.) Don Cecilio was so excited to share several legendary stories about the propery with Jon Nedel, Brad, Derek, and Jon Crow. Some of the legends included local history that has passed down from generation to generation, including a giant footprint with 6 toes (called “the footprint of the devil”). Don Cecilio said the Prayer Rock has been known as the “Piedra Gorda” (“the fat rock”) for years, and some of his folklore led us to an interesting conversation about spiritual things.
Don Cecilio’s wife and children attend a Catholic church, although he himself doesn’t regularly go. Jon Nedel and Brad both shared how they had Catholic backgrounds, and that they now attend an evangelical church in which they have found a vibrant relationship with Jesus. One of the local Christian church members, Digno, also joined in the conversation and encouraged Don Cecilio to look up Deuterononmy 11:11-12 in his Bible, and in general to read the Bible more. As the team was leaving, we saw Pastor Carlos talking with Don Cecilio, hopeful that God will continue to move in his life.
Just was we were ready to leave for the day, Jon Nedel looked up, and in the back of one of the trucks that was getting ready to leave was Saul, the groom from the wedding that the Honduras 2012 team attended. Saul recognized Jon right away and greeted him with a great smile, and then he told his friends how Jon and the other team attended his wedding. Jon was very thankful for the opportunity to see his friend from last time, and as Saul left, he shouted “until next time, brother!”
After a long day of work, the team was stoked to have takeout Pizza Hut for dinner! Pastor Paul said that the local Pizza Hut was the nicest Pizza Hut he’s ever seen. Jon Crow wanted to let everyone know: “If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 9 ‘grande’ pizzas … for 12 people.
Saturday, August 17
Day 3 started off in a very special way. Shortly after we arrived at Fernando’s home in Cedeño, Elizabeth had an awesome conversation with a ten-year-old boy named Cristian. Cristian was faithfully helping at the job site throughout our time working on the home, and Elizabeth started talking to him about spiritual things. It turns out that Cristian used to go to a Baptist church, but his grandmother now takes him to a Catholic church. Elizabeth asked him if he knew how to go to heaven, and after explaining that Jesus was the bridge from us back to God, Cristian said that he wanted to pray to accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation! There was much rejoicing, and Elizabeth made sure that Cristian received a Bible and that Pastor Carlos could follow up with him.
Throughout the day, the expert team of Hondurans and now more-experienced North Americans together completed two more courses of block and the gables for the roof. Dan was a block-cutting machine, expertly cutting custom blocks as Pastor G, Pastor Paul, and Fernando called out the necessary measurements. Brad also started painting the channels for the roof, and even taught a couple of Honduran kids (Egui and Alex) how to paint! Pastor Paul shared at the end of Day 3 that he noticed a change with the team — the more the work continued, the more the Hondurans trusted the Covenant team to get the building work done. We were now truly one team united in the work of building Fernando’s home.
The day included several delicious moments. Mid-morning, we were asked if we would like to try a small snack of fried plantains, and we agreed. A few minutes later, the “small snack” arrived: a plate filled with tortillas, beans, plantains, and cheese. Wow! And that was small compared to the lunch that they prepared which included rice, meat, potatoes, and wait for it … more tortillas!
We also had some time to play soccer with the local children across the street from Fernando’s home. It was Hondurans vs. North Americans. Most of the members of the Honduran team were not yet 10 years old. The Honduran soccer ninjas defeated the North Americans with a final score of 10-5. But for the record, it was 2-2 when Pastor Paul and Jon Crow left the game. And Jon Nedel is happy to report that no children were injured in the playing of this game (that this time, no one took a ball to the face).
Several of us had another special visit with the next-door neighbors. Merardi sang several Spanish praise songs, and Jon Crow reciprocated by sharing songs in English. At one point, Jon Crow offered to join Merardi in singing in Spanish–Merardi and her mom were thrilled! Later the Jons (Crow & Nedel) taught Merardi how to sing “Yes, Jesus loves me!” in English, and wrote the lyrics from the chorus into her journal. Afterwards, Melba (Merardi’s mom) invited a few of us into their lovely home, where we got to see the incredible tile work and the beautiful wooden plaques custom-made by her husband. She shared some tamales with the team, and gave a couple of their plaques to Elizabeth and Jon Crow: a sign saying “Dios bendice” (“God bless”) for Elizabeth, and a fish for Jonny. We’ve agreed to sing together again on Monday and have made plans for Merardi to gather the neighborhood children, after school lets out, for a Bible lesson from Elizabeth and Jon Nedel.
At the end of the day, Ryan and Elizabeth payed a visit to the family down the street with the twins who were ill that we prayed for at the end of Day 2. The mom was overjoyed to report that soon after we prayed and headed out for the day, the fevers dropped and the kids felt much better. All praise and glory to the Lord, our Healer and our Maker!
Friday, August 16…Hola, Covenant family!
Day 2 has wound down: Fernando’s house is now 8′ tall, complete with 2 doors, 2 windows, and 10 courses of block. It’s great to see everything coming together, working with joy, and building this new home. Fernando’s uncle (Tio Moises = Uncle Moses) remarked “Wow, those North Americans really work hard!” That was cool to hear from a fifty-year old who works barefooted and wields a shovel faster than anyone we’ve seen. The entire team, those from Covenant and those from Honduras, are working so well together, and Jason and Pastor Paul rarely stop to take a break…
The children are very fond of Mr. Bill, who brought a wooden airplane (“un avion”) to the job site. All of the kids enjoy playing with it, and they’re sharing it and bringing it back at the end of the day like we asked them to. (Miss Ginger was amazed and thankful that they did without further prodding!) Yesterday Mr. Bill gave them a lesson on the speed of light and taught them about light and darkness, and asked them which one they thought was more powerful. There was a great spiritual lesson in there, and the kids were overjoyed to answer Mr. Bill’s probing questions.
Elizabeth made friends with several families in the community, and you should’ve seen their eyes light up when she told them that she had brought Bibles for them. They were so excited! In the afternoon today, Fernando’s next door neighbors invited several of us over to hear the oldest daughter sing praise songs in Spanish. Merardi, age 19, leads the singing time in her church on Thursdays and Sundays, and we were all encouraged and blessed by her songs of praise. Elizabeth asked what passage they covered in church the night before, and they went through 1 John 4, the same chapter that Jon Nedel led in devotional time the night before. As we enjoyed the praise time and talk, we didn’t know that God had something else in store.
Merardi’s dad came back, and he and his wife started to share with us about how disillusioned he had become with life and with God, and how he had really given up hope. He said that before, the local church in their community was full of people willing to help others out, but that nowadays, there are fewer and fewer who are willing to help. He carried with him the address in the U.S. of a friend of his who had left 15 years ago and promised to bring him along someday. He’s never heard from him since. Ryan and Elizabeth both gave encouraging words about God’s faithfulness, and how God is always here to help, even when it doesn’t seem so, and that all of us have had low points, but God has carried us through, lifted us up, and brought us here to meet them today. We closed the time with a beautiful prayer for encouragement and blessings with the family.
Elizabeth writes: It has been a blessing to be able to talk to people around here and share the love of God with them. I’ve never thought I was going to find myself praying aloud in front of strangers or just sharing with them, but being here changed all of that, and talking to them about God has come so easy now, because it is God Himself who puts those words in my mouth when I start to share with them how amazing God is. Being around this family made me realized just how much we can come to take so much in life for granted, including God’s love. We forget how easy we have it in life, and how much God loves us. Being here right now has been an amazing experience.
Before we headed home for the day, another family from down the street came to us asking for prayer for their children who have been ill. It’s awesome to see God working to build a house, and to build relationships in the local community. And it’s clear that everyone can see how much Fernando has changed in the past 3 years since he became a Christian. (Yesterday was 3 years to the day.)
Thank you all for your prayers! God is at work in Honduras, and we’re so blessed to be a part of it, and blessed that you’re supporting us through it all!
**One special request: Please keep our team leader Ryan in your prayers. He’s been suffering with severe migraines each night that we’ve been here. Please pray that God would give him healing and relief and protect him from any spiritual attack that is targeting him. –the Honduras team
Ginger & Mike say “Hey y’all!” and send their love to everyone!
Thursday, August 15…The work has begun. That’s Fernando laying the cornerstone for his new home.
Wednesday Night, August 14…We’ve all made it to Honduras and had a pretty uneventful trip. Mike and Ginger met us at the airport and were happy to see us! We’ve already visited the future site of the ministry center and have seen the huge prayer rock; right now we’re getting ready to eat supper and finish our orientation. Tomorrow we eat breakfast at 6:00 am local time and then head to the house site where we’ll be putting down the first layers of blocks. –Bill.
Sunday, August 11…Prayer time for our team at the picnic.
Honduras Medical Team 2012
Monday, November 26 – Our Mission Team has landed in Honduras.
They left Monday at 6:30 AM and we have received word that they landed in Tegucigalpa and were escorted by Mike and Ginger Greene to Choluteca. That’s a 2+ van hour ride and the end to a very long Monday.
The clinic is scheduled to be open Tuesday-Saturday. We are anticipating an email update and will provide that update here once it’s received. One last minute change to the trip plans, Pastor Mike was unable to go along due to a family matter. Please continue to pray for our team of 7 as they serve in a medical clinic in Choluteca, Honduras.
Tuesday, November 27 – First clinic day
Jon reports a good first day and that everything so far is going well. The clinic was open today and they saw 156 patients! They had multiple opportunities to talk with patients and even had a visit from a local TV station. Jon, who is fluent in Spanish, was interviewed and able to share with the TV audience why they were there – to share the love of Jesus!
Thank you all for your prayers- it sounds like the week is off to a great start!
Wednesday, November 28 – Day 2 at the clinic
Today the clinic staff saw 102 patients. They are very organized and work flow is going well. The doctor that was scheduled to be with team is not with them as his mother is dying from cancer. His wife, who is a doctor, is staying with the team. Please be in prayer for this couple and their family.
The team is at present site through Thursday. They will be at a different site on Friday and Saturday. They are hopeful to make a stop at the local hospital to deliver the baby kits in person.
Several reports have mentioned the joy of interacting with the children in the area. The team has been invited to a wedding on Saturday and will be able to provide some photography needs there.
Thursday, November 29
From Jon: Thanks so much for the encouragement and prayers. It is clear that God has put things together perfectly for this trip. Every little detail. And it’s also clear that the powers of darkness doesn’t like the light that we’re bringing, and they’re fighting against us. Whether by vans breaking down at the last minute (we’ve been traveling in alternate vehicles all week), or cancer in the mother-in-law of one of our doctors (that doctor is leaving today to be with her family, so we’ll be a smaller team from here on out), and Pastor Mike’s daughter… but God is bigger than all of that! We saw 55 patients Thursday morning, taught a bible study and played soccer with over 30 kids who fell in love with Nikki (and she with them), delivered baby kits throughout the hospital (Victoria even delivered 3 stuffed animals to comfort women whose babies didn’t survive delivery), and treated the leg and the spirit of Doña Medarda (the woman who sent her water pot) who gave glory and thanks and praise to God and touched us all. She shared, “Praise God for the medical brigade that He sent! I have no family, no one who will help me, except the ‘gringos’ that God sent to me.” We are all so blessed by her.
Friday, November 30 – Day 5 and we’re doing well.
Marchele: “It’s so nice to see patients with people singing praises to God in the background.”
We saw 137 patients today. It was at a new site, and in a more depressed area. The stories broke our hearts, but there was such comfort in knowing that all God wanted was our obedience.
Our presence at the clinic helped bring about a church reconciliation. More on that later! But for now, God is so good!
While at the clinic, a lady went up to Jon and said “we appreciate the medical help but we want spiritual food as well.” And we did share the gospel. In different ways.
Nikki, Jon and Vicki did registration and shared Bible stories with the children. They asked for more, and they will get more manana. Debby, Steve, and I were in the pharmacy. Marchele saw patients and played with the children.
Tomorrow will see us at the same site. We will close early to go to a wedding. I was asked to do the wedding pictures! Please pray for me! This will be such an awesome gift for a faithful servant of God and his bride.
Almost done. We’ll see you soon. You will welcome back seven people who have been changed through serving and we pray we will keep that joy these past days have given us.
Hi P. Mike! Send us updates on Jeni. We pray for her daily. -Victoria
Saturday, December 1
Here’s a video posted by Vicki – there are so many reports of the many children that flock to the clinic.
Here’s today’s update: Today has been awesome! Thanks to all who have been praying! Although we were one doctor down and one day fewer, we ministered to 318 people in total at the second clinic location–5 more than the first location! Praise God! Vicki shared her testimony as the patients waited (they love it when she mentions sled riding!), Marchele prayed with a majority of her patients, Nikki got a multitude of kids to sign their names in her prayer book (and also a drawing with a heart that said “God bless you” and “I hope to see you in Honduras again soon”), Steve patiently cleaned out ears to restore hearing and bring comfort, Debby & Victoria worked tirelessly in the pharmacy to fill all the scripts (and are taking pictures with a bride-to-be as I write this). And I got encouragement and a gift from a 12-year-old boy named Cristian (more on that when I share at Covenant, including a picture with Flat Stanley)! Tomorrow we’ll be sharing testimonies in church and then making the trek to Tegucigalpa…
Now we’re off for the wedding. (Though, we just received word that Ginger was bitten by a scorpion! Please pray for her.) God is good, all the time.
P.S. Egla sends her greetings to Pastor Paul. -Jon
Sunday, December 2, 2012
We had a blessed time at church this morning worshiping the Lord with our Honduran friends. We were at the church where we had our first 3 days of clinic. Our whole team shared our testimonies–some brought laughter and others brought tears. It was so good to encourage one another and to be encouraged by the church members there. The kids came back from Sunday school and recited their memory verses in front of the whole church. (They are precious!) We even got to sing happy birthday to a little girl, and the whole church came forward to hug her and to wish her well.
Now we’re off to Tegucigalpa as we begin our journey home… -Jon
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Travel day to arrive home and be greeted by family. We pray safe travel for our team and a warm reunion as they share many stories from their experience.
If you are interested in future mission trips, contact Pastor Mike to be connected with the team leader. Another Covenant trip is being scheduled for 2014.