Martes 6.4

Today we built a house for Maria. It is one thing to build for a stranger that has been selected to get a house. It is another to have known the family for whom you are building. Maria works at Casa and has a family of three children. Since they didn't have a home, her children had to live with family far away. That is going to change tonight. After we finish our work, their family will be together under one roof.

As we were laying floors, Luis realized the center posts were not flush. Though the corner posts were perfect, the center of the walls bowed. I could see the how wheels turn in Luis's head as he tried solution after solution. Ultimately, he used the center beam of the roof as an internal stress member to shore the walls into their permanent positions. The solution is probably best explained with a sketch, however the typical reader of this blog is probably bored and confused by now. Let's just say, "We messed up and Luis came up with a way to fix the problem without tearing out a lot of work.

I was most impressed with the work I saw from Brayan. He has been with Casa since he was very young. He took it upon himself to say that being at home was not healthy for him and sought help. He has been in and out of Casa due to his age, but he works hard to be a good person. Today he is seventeen and working Matt, Nicole and Luis to lead groups on missions. Today I saw him humbly take instructions and boldly step into leadership rolls. He did both in almost perfect form. He listens intently and implements directions with the utmost precision. When instructing, he took time to explain the job and goals in order to impower the person he was instructing. We have seen Brayan grow up and it has been a pleasure.

Timoteo joined us for dinner to talk with Josue, Gordon and Alan about the work at his church. We wanted him to stay for devotion, but he had to get back to his community. Gordon did a great job of leading devotion. It was a good day in Honduras.

Karol and Kelin joined us for the evening again. It is nice to have them around every night. They are very sweet, loving and strong. I love their humor and whit as well. Karol showed me images of a beautiful wooden candelabra that she carved on a lathe in a workshop earlier that day. She is awaiting her professor's recovery from illness before she can do her semester presentation. Kelin and I continued to give each other a hard time. This time, she asked me to share piece of my frozen Twix with her. As we broke one of the bars, she ended up with roughly 80% of the bar.  This was NOT my plan. After sharing my intent to only share a small bite, she swiftly pointed out that this only happened because I didn't really want to share.

Dennis, Doni, Olivia, Jordan and I stayed up with the sisters playing Spoons and Speed. I was not quite the winner of any of the games, but it was good to stay up and fellowship.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15 


Lunes 6.3

Today, we went to the feeding center in a Buen Samaritano. As we walked up the hill we were greeted by lots of faces that remembered us from previous visits. I was happy to see them again and have the chance to meet new faces. This time, we served lunch to the children and spent free time with them.
First, I met Jennifer. She led us in a game of Bailo. This has been my favorite hand game since 2012. As we played, I was trying to be fair and not beat children at a children's game. However, Jennifer would not allow me to bow out gracefully. Even when I tried to make it seem like I lost, she would declare me the winner. It was actually funny. All the other kids took their losses well. Well, except for Alan Greene (one of our elders). We were the last two left. She declared me the winner even though I accidentally skipped a number in Spanish. I didn't cheat on purpose, but I got away with in and was declared winner.

Next, I met Dana. She was into playing one-on-one hand games. Well played a game where you do the motions in repetition, getting faster and faster each time. We had so much fun. We could even do it with our eyes closed.

After leaving the feeding center, we went to Casa de Esperanza to do work on the property. We moved rocks and debris that clogged a waterway causing flooding. We pulled weeds and prepared an area for gardening. The most difficult task was scrubbing the inside of Matt and Nicole's home to prepare for Haley's return from the hospital. Unfortunately, we are not qualified to do this work so this task was not completed. But we have such faith in God and love for Haley that we made an attempt.


Domingo 6.2

Today, we had breakfast with OP before they went back home. I could tell they had an eventful week because it was hard for them to go. They were trying to tie up lot of loose ends and ensure items they left behind had proper homes. I am happy to know them and that they are excited about God is using them.

We attended service in Lomas Diamantes with the Casa Kids. In the past I felt we were "looking in on the service". This time it seemed like we were part of the congregation. We worshipped as brothers and sisters of one body. It was wonderful to worship with Timoteo. His message was moving, we had lunch at the church and there was a baptism at the end of service.

During service, Timoteo announce that the funds will go toward building a building for the children of the congregation to worship away from their parents. Oddly enough, Josue (our resident translator) incorrectly interpreted this as "funds will be sent to the Dominican Republic." This was corrected, but not before giving Josue an extremely difficult time. It was also nice to have the Casa Kids with us so they could see us worship with them.

After dropping the Casa kids off, the group had downtime while Terri and I looked at the scope of work to be done at Casa. We also set up areas for Donna and Dennis to do crafts tomorrow morning.

During devotion we were joined by 18 people from a group that supports a few kids at Casa. I gave the devotion message, speaking from John 3:16. After devotion I missed the chance to fellowship with the group because Alan and I were talking. We talked about the history of the Church of Christ and why some things are considered conservative, liberal and authoritative. I am learning a lot.

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness." - 1 Timothy 4:4-7


Sabado 6.1

Upon arrival in Honduras, we met 5 other people. Dennis & Vicki and Doni are from Antioch, California. Doug & Donna are from Joplin, Missouri. They all mesh well with our group. Once we loaded the buses we were ready to get started.

First, we enjoyed lunch at a mall in the city of Teguchigalpa. Next, we went to Casa de Esperanza to meet with the children in the home. Teri has explained that it is her wish for the kids to really know us on this trip. All of their lives, people have come into and gone from their live at  4-year cycles. Physiologically, it can make them feel alone. Teri also admitted that she won't be around much longer. We have been tasked with changing the cycle for them. There are 19 kids in the home. We have our work cut out for us.

I spent most of my time with Josue, little Josue, Olman, Katy, Marguerite and Yair. I saw Rosie, Noemy, Cindy, Daniella, Jackson, but didn't really spend a lot of time with them. We played futball, keep away and a myriad of other games. Our group just may be perfectly made for the task ahead of us.

After time at Casa, we moved on to the mission house in Ojojona. Though there was a slight mix up with available rooms, we were pleasantly surprised to learn the group currently there was Overland Park (the good friends we credit with getting our Honduras mission off the ground). We caught up with old friends and met new ones that we had heard so much about over the years. Specifically, we learned Olivia Taylor is one of the summer interns. We get to spend the whole week with her again. This was the OP's last night in Honduras. We really wanted to stay up all night with them, but they had a lot of business to cover after devotion and we were tired from travel. 

So far the trip seems to be going smoothly from a mission standpoint. However, all of us are concerned about Haley Fitzgerald  (Matt & Nicole's oldest daughter). She has asthma and has had trouble breathing for almost a week. Things took at turn for the worst tonight, so we are all apprehensive.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” - Psalms 133:1


This morning was great… sans ice!

I entered the office today thinking of how hot it will be today.  As I walked to my desk, I relished in the idea of getting a nice cup of ice cold water before logging-in to my computer.  I arrived in the 3rd floor breakroom only to find  the ice maker was broken.  Ugh!  No fretting, I will simply get ice from the second floor for today.  CONFOUNDED!  The ice maker is broken there as well.  A very wise gentleman in the breakroom saw my frustration.  He softly remarked, “There is ice on the first floor.  There was an email written about that.”  I wanted to complain and lash out.  How convenient for the icemakers in this large office to be broken on what may be the hottest day of the summer thus far.  Instead, I thanked him, turned on my heel and trudged to the first floor.

As I walked, I began to think, "How silly I must have looked".  There is so much going on in the world.  Am I really going to allow “my lack of ice” to dictate my mood and reactions today?  I sit all day in a well-conditioned space with free drinks and ice on demand.  There are others down the street (literally) that dread the remainder of the day because they may be battling heat stroke and can do nothing about it.  Thank you, God for the blessings I have each day.  Thank you, very wise gentleman, for reminding me that I should not allow such trivial things to cloud my view of what was otherwise a nice morning.  Sometimes, we need a glimpse of our foolishness to appreciate the blessings before us.


Jueves 5.6

I woke up to find a text message that my God-Brother (Vernon C. Broadus III) passed away in the early morning. I felt as if I was reading wrong. Reginald and Alivia were taken too soon. Vernon C. Broadus Jr. died in May. Now this! I don't know that this family can take anymore loss. Honestly, I didn't want anyone to know and I wanted to stay busy all day. I managed to do that, but I still thought about him, his wife (Tara), mother (Diana) and daughter (Alec). Kris is the only one on the trip that knows what is really going on.

We went to the market, distributed food at the feed center and did crafts with the kids. I tried to concentrate on the kids but found I was distracted. My ribs hurt, but it paled compared to my confusion. I couldn't understand exactly what happened. He was fine just yesterday. All I recall is the last time I saw him... At the dance recital. His wife and daughter were on stage together and I was telling him how well I thought they did.

Today was our last day of work. We arrived at our dorm to find the store flooded. I found it easier to comfort Terri than to comfort myself. I was happy to see Karol and Kalin again. They helped clear and clean the store before dinner. Christina showed up also. We roasted marshmallows and caught up. All three of them are still working hard in school. Christina is getting her Master's degree and hopes to return to help Casa one day.

So much happened today, but it us shadowed by the fact that I have to re-enter reality in a few hours. Why this? Why now?

"No I'm not colorblind, I know the world is black and white. Try to keep an open mind, but I just can't sleep on this tonight."- John Mayer

Viernes 5.5

Today we split the group in half to build two houses. The day was filled with tension. Initially, we all thought we would split teams according to skills. However, the Tennessee group wanted to remain together because of promises to parents. We accepted this and the tension began. I won't go into details because the lesson is not there. I knew Texans were competitive, but today I learned the depths of our passion for competition. Mistakes on both sites were made, but I can say mistakes from the Texas group were a direct result of lack of concentration, haste and strong wills. During our break, we had time to be reminded of the reason we are here.

I realized how small we were as I saw the state of the community. I saw a mother and her daughter grateful to have a home. I saw neighbors celebrating as they watch a new structure come together. I saw hungry children, barely clothed as we toiled over who was in charge or next steps to take.

We had to acknowledge that our petty quarrels will not matter after we have finished these two houses. It will not matter which house was completed first. It will not matter who drove the most nails or which wall was put in first. At the end of the day two families received two houses completed because someone prayed for their well-being. God was not happy with our conduct, but he still used us to do his work.

As I write, I am embarrassed as I recall our behavior. During one of the house dedications, the father, Walter, commented that we worked as a family to build a home for his family. I suppose God put the language barrier in place so that Walter could not see the times we were not being brotherly. If we were a family, we were disfunctional. At the end of the day God will do what he wants to no matter how we behave.

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."- Galatians 6:25-26