I'm Tired of the Rules

On the twelfth title, I have to know. "Aibileen, how long have you been wanting to ask me for this? If I'd check these books our for you"
"A while." She shrugs. "I guess I's afraid to mention it."
"Did you... think I'd say no?"
"These is white rules. I don't know which ones you following and which ones you ain't"
We look at each other for a second. "I'm tired of the rules," I say.
-The Help , Kathryn Stockett (Chapter 11)

I have been reading The Help since Monday. I got to this line and tears welled up in my eyes. Simple words that mean so much. I am tired of the rules too. I am not just talking about the race rules. (Those still exist as well.)

On the uncrowded train the other night, a man refused to take a seat. He was visibly tired of standing, but scowled at the numerous vacant seats. It was obvious that his reasoning was the company he would have had. It wasn't until a number of stops later that he found someone he was 'comfortable' to sit with. Did I feel hurt because it wasn't me?

Last night, a lady whom one would think was 'down on her luck' sat next to another gentleman. I have seen the lady numerous times on the train, so I know that she is not 'down on her luck.' Her appearance, might say otherwise. She made a semi-audible comment to the teenager she sat next to. Why did the young man looked annoyed that this homeless woman had the audacity to speak to him?

Last weekend, my nephew had a baseball game. I left my neighborhood of kept tree lines, even lanes and bakery smell to make it across town. As I approached 'historic' neighborhood, I notice the streets need care, the vegetation is overgrown or dying and I would rather roll my windows up to keep the smells out. Yet, I know there are places out there worse off than these. But, I don't have to worry about it right?

I am tired of stereotypes.
I am tired of people judging because of appearance.
I am tired of one part of my city being so disparagingly different from another.

Dr. King dreamed of a day that his kids would be judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their character.
I have a Dream Part II
Monk & Neagle sing of looking for Jesus in everyone.
21st Time
Qunicy Jones and Micheal Jackson sang of heeding the call of the world.
We are the World

God wants us to love all. God wants us to minister to all. God wants us to care for all. As his children, we have been given a great mandate. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..."- Matthew 26:19. Not just those we feel comfortable sitting next to, or smell nice, or live in the good part of town. All nations aren't always comfortable, intelligible and cushy.

Why do we pretend as though the daily games that we play do not play a part of the separatism that is rooted in our hearts? Have we become so blind that we can no longer see we are still living by rules? I am so tired of the rules.

"...that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."- 1 Timothy 2:2-6


Pura Vida

I am grateful for the mutual love we have for God and his son who died for us.
I am grateful to able to talk to you without judgement.
I am grateful that we can pray for one another and see God working in our lives.
I am grateful that we can talk about Gods miracles and not feel completely insane.
I am grateful that we get angry with God, but know that we still love him unconditionally.
I am grateful for being able to confide in each other about anything and feel safe.
I am grateful to hear, 'Have a good week' knowing that it is sincere.
I am grateful for our communion together.
I am grateful to celebrate the many blessing we have been given.
I am grateful to share storms, in hopes that we grow stronger.
I continually acknowledge God's hand in this and thank him for these connections.
Anything else in this life, I can live without...

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."- Psalm 133:1


What to post?

I have had a had time deciding what to post. I have stuff on my mind personally and spiritually. All of it is really too much to post and needs some back and forth. Instead, I'll share glimpses of them all.

Some of the Spiritual
I was talking with a friend recently about life. As far as I understand, he is a Christian. He is in a position to minister to a LOT of people. Not only by interaction, but example as well. However, in the course of our conversation he said something that took me in a completely different direction. Because I can not remember his exact words, please accept my paraphrase for sake of discussion: I am going to be me not matter what anyone thinks. I would have praised him if he meant, he was going to be a Christian against all odds. However, he was actually saying, "I am a Christian, but there are things that have not changed within me and I don't think they ever will. Nor will I try to encourage others to adjust their lives." This troubles me.
Personally, my acceptance and further understanding of Christ and God's Plan made me want to change my life. Those that I talk to regularly, know how I love to share personal testimonies of what God does for me daily (it took awhile for me to accept it and get to that point). I welcome changes God has made in me. I see ways to make my life resemble that of Jesus' so that I can be one of his disciples. Joel said something in a sermon a few weeks back. "Have you become someone that people will approach when they have a question about Christ?" This is a pretty big part of being a disciple.
I ask you to pray for this individual.

A lot more of the Personal

I have to give a shout out to Nate and Kate (Nathan Bacon and Katelyn Hinton) for coming to Dallas and allowing Joel, Josue, Debbie and me to live like college students again. Good luck in the upcoming year. Play hard and study hard. Let your light shine for all the world to see.

I collect quotes that I like to call "Little Nuggets of Wisdom". For about 8 years, I have been writing them down in a journal. I hope to one day publish it (for personal preservation) or give it to my nephew (if I have decided it is finished at a good time). Most of the quotes are from books, movies or conversation. However, I have included an original here and there. The other night, one of my originals came to mind (it happens to be first in the book). Of course no details, but I thought I would share it. I'll end this blog entry with it. Feel free to comment and tell me what you think or what you think it means. I'll try to approve comments as quickly as I can. Enjoy!
Twas never had my soul to writ
Of pain feeling such sorrow
Than that on a Throne of Anguish sit
Throughout the day and morrow

For Companionship my Heart doth cry
Out to Its bitter end
Long for the need of Love to die
Save the want for Its True Friend


Daily Pat Down

This week, I caught up with an old friend. He is recently married. We talked about how his 'Daily Pat Down" has changed post-nuptials. I suppose I should explain. Before walking out of the house, most guys perform a routine pat down. Keys, phone, wallet. When you become married (and/or if you are an Aggie) this ritual gets modified to include a ring. There is no way we can make it through the day without these items. They are basic but without them we may feel naked... lost.

Well, as of late I have added an item to my list. (No I have not gotten married.) I have a little baby blue bracelet with a wood bar and the word "Hope" engraved on it. Without this little reminder throughout the day, I would definitely feel lost. I acquired this bracelet before my recent mission trip. However, it has come to mean so much more to me since.

In the past, I would see those less fortunate than me and think, "Boy they must think God has dealt them a bad hand. How do they know God loves them too? Can I show them?" Nine times out of ten, their faith is much stronger than mine. They see God's love in the simplest things. Yet for me, it would take a punch in the face for me to feel God's presence. That is, until I acquired my hope bracelet. It has not (and will not) become my idol. Instead, it has become part of my daily pat down. As I start each day, it reminds me to thank God for ALL of the blessing He has given me and my loved ones. I pray, that you decide to change you pat down in a similar manner.

"I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."- Psalm 34:1


I am the rich man?

Transition has not been easy. I have been back for more than three weeks, yet the impact still lives deep in my heart. For at least three days, all of the missionaries had the same feelings. Jesus' lessons tell us that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. When learning this story, we never thought of ourselves as the rich. Being in Honduras, we have seen how much we have taken our blessings for granted.

This is not the end of the story. I thought once we got back, there would be nothing to write. I was terribly wrong. We have developed a bond that can not be described. We have all seen how selfish we have been and are making changes. Never before have I felt so willing to share my faith. I find myself talking about God's blessings in virtually every conversation.

When I see Joel (x2), Josue, Kristen(x2), Tony, Rhio, Archer, Savannah, Palmer, Alan, Craig and Barbara, I can't help but yell "Por Favor." The term has become out mantra... our way of remembering. It is saying, "You are loved by God. You are continually blessed. Keep remembering and continue to be a blessing to others."

My faith in Him has increased immeasurably. I have had a song in my heart for some time, but only now have I been able to give it a true voice. I was presented with an interesting challenge this past Sunday, that is a strong part of this entry. Am I living such a life, that those that know me can come to me when they have questions about Christ? I am his disciple, my life should reflect this to all who see me. I pray that my light is able to shine bright enough so that all will know that I too am a child of God.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in they sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer." - Psalms 19:14



I put off writing about today because it is the last day. I suppose it is inevitable, so I have to write. I'll save the sappy stuff for the end.

In the morning, we welcomed the next group. They are from Kentucky. I wished numerous times that I was in their shoes. They have a week of work, sweat, love and tears before them. I pray they are able to make impacts, take in all they can and (most importantly) not forget.

We visited Casa de Esperanza first. This is the children's home that Mark started when he moved here in 2000. The facility is very suiting for any kids. Their playroom is equipped with everything a kid can dream. There were trampolines, rivers, futbol courts and swings sets ready for these troubled children to use at anytime.

The next stop was quite a fulfilling prize. The playground at Hospital Escuela had been the rage of the trip the entire week. Now, everyone was going to see what all the talk has been about. They loved it. It was a blessing to see that the work we put in was well accepted by our peers, staff and patients. As everyone looked on, I took a walk with Kristen A. And Vicky to visit some of the renal patients. There were only two kids in the room that I visited. One of them was probably three years old. He was eating a lunch, but he was all alone. I talked with him for awhile as he watched Disney channel. He looked slightly scared, but more alone. He was such a sweet child, I think I will always see his face and wonder how he is doing.

Next we made a visit to a Boys Home. It was similar to a detention facility, but the boys are not necessarily locked down. It is more of a way to keep them from making trouble on the streets. We joined the for a catered cookout. There were carnitas served. The style was very similar to the style found at a taco stand. If you want to talk about putting things into perspective, this cookout did it. I cleaned my plate and began gathering the plates of others as they finished eating. Right when I was about to dispose of the scraps, one of the boys jumped at the opportunity to take the scraps from the plates. I was floored as he enjoyed the food that we were too full to finish. His belly ached and he was more than content to eat our leftovers.

Our next stop was to the Valley of Angels. It was a tourist trap, but I was not falling for it. The group I was with decided to use the time to hang out and say goodbye. We had pupoosas. We were supposed to get professional shaves, but we ran our of time. The bus ride quite a treat. We had a great tome goofing off and singing to the radio. Then, I played DJ for Archer and Cali.

Devotion was extra special tonight. My new friend Katelyn decided to get baptized. She had been contemplating for quite some time, but I have faith that she will be quite Christian. I can't wait to see the work she does.

A few of us stayed up all night. I got the opportunity to get to know Morgan and Nurse Callie. It was quite an evening. As the night went on, it set in that we would not all be together for much longer. No more Honduran coffee. No more 'Por Favor!' No more Driver Willie. No more gringos. I no more 'Una fila'. No more karma bus and missing muscle milk...

Until next year!

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." -Matthew 11:28-30


Un comienzo de Honduras

In Honduras, 7:00am really means 8:30. Though I woke at 5:30, that is the time we really got on the road. I wasn't too upset because I was able to drink three cups of the amazing Honduran coffee. It is so addicting and I don't even drink coffee.

Our first stop was to the limber yard. On the way, we picked up Josue 2.0. It was great to talk with him. He loves to talk. We all joked about driving and GPS in the US and in Honduras. Going through the limber yard was fun. We picked out our exact pieces and the people we nice and helpful. Apparently, the yard from yesterday did not have such great service. However, we were stopped on our way out because the yard inspector wanted to recount our pieces three times. Josue 2.0 and Mr. Smith were not happy about that.

The build still took longer than expected, but the decision making was better. Each person completed tasks as needed and looked for the next thing. The swings and platform were completed quickly. The time consumers were the benches. For the bulk of that time, Brian and I were visiting patients in the hospital. I found myself completely out of my element at first. After I learned how much the kids lobe 'bombas' I was a hit. I thought up all sorts of silly ways to blow up the balloons. I pretty much made a complete fool of myself to get a few smiles from some sick children. I think it was worth it. I had fun.

When we returned I was anxious to finish so I could get pictures of the finished product. I think everyone was else was too. Before we finished, the head nurses came to thank us and asked if a few children could come and play. They arrived just as we finished cleaning. At the same time, it began to rain. The words she said were so great that I was in tears. Click the following link to see what she said. Translation was performed by Josue 1.0.

Nurse Lydia's Speech

Marc led devotion. He shared his path through Christianity up to now. He told us of his reasons and reservations for moving to Honduras. Then he challenged us to write and remember our testimonies. We sang a few more songs and then hung out for awhile. I am already starting to miss my new friends. I decided to take some random shots of them to make a collage.

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." -Matthew 5:6


De incia la construccion

"No! Oh, no. This did not happen."
"What's the matter, Joel?"
This is how the morning started. It has been truly hilarious. We have developed the 'Karma Bus' and currently, Joel is the victim. It will be interesting to hear how this develops through the day.

Today, I am with the group that builds the playground at the hospital. It is going to be interesting. There have been no final decisions regarding layout, program and materials. It sounds like this will be design-build at it's finest. I am the only one with design experience and I am dealing with a team of contractors. God has given me this gift, now it is time for me to use it to further his kingdom.

The work was great. Design-build in a third world country can be very frustrating. A foreman was never 'elected' so everyone had their own way of doing things. However, I think the proper people were making the decisions by the end of the day. We didn't finish, but we made great headway. I pray that we are able to finish by lunch tomorrow and then do other activities. Tomorrow starts at 7:00am.

I was taken back by one event that happened. I did not have interaction with the patients because I was focused on building. At one point, one of our nurses was sitting on the side crying. I later learned why. Two babies had just been born, both requiring the use of a ventilator. The NICU is only equipped with a single ventilator. The nurses had to choose which newborn got to live. I was at a loss for words. These are decisions that the nurses at the hospital have to make everyday.

Devotion tonight was a less intense. It started with a song that Nathan (from the farm) wrote about the common experiences with Hope for Honduras. It was a humorous way to get the evening started. The song service was very energetic and heartfelt. Caitlin had made a number of requests prior to service. It was her 21st birthday so Josue obliged.

After devotion, Archer shared photos of the many places Muscle Milk went during the day. Then, Joel began his retribution on Archer. That is all I have to say about that.

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."- Matthew 5:4

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."- Revelation 14:13


La escribire en tu corazon

The nights here are cold and humid, but I slept well. I woke to the first Charlie horse I have had in awhile. I decided to get up and explore my surroundings. The structure and surroundings have been beautifully crafted, but not complete. It is great to see their construction methods. I am learning so much.

Today, everyone visits the dump. There is a population that lives in the dump. They scavenge for items that can be collected and resold. The situation is hard to swallow. We started by participating in devotion, led by the dwellers. After heartfelt singing and praying, we distributed water. Soon we set up a wound clinic to deal with minor injuries, headaches and itches. It was amazing to see people that were extremely grateful to have someone touch their hand and clean it. I gave one of my t-shirt to a girl whose name was Alejandra. I saw her walking and the shirt she had was ragged, thin and revealing. She was happy to see us in this dreadful place. As we left a few people had trouble because they were leaving these people to go back to their great lives. I will never forget what Joel said of one lady that said, "God bless you. I don't know why put me here, but God is good." She walked away with the smile.

After lunch, we went to Nueva Orienta, to play with the kids. I met Kevin first. He was three and simply wanted a balloon to play with. We became friend rather quickly. His olde brother was always looking out for him. Next, I met Vanessa (11) and Naomi (2). They were cousins. Naomi was so cute. Unfortunately, my funny faces scared her while I was blowing up one of the balloons. She was so adorable, but I was unable to get a picture with her. As we closed up, the kids were anxious to get toys, balloons and candy. We were mobbed. However, we were happy to spend the time with them.

Devotion was very difficult for me this evening. Joel opened his sermon by making a request of everyone. "If you don't remember anything about this trip, remember the face of someone you met during one of our services. Then, think of what it will be like when you meet them in heaven." I was already in tears and the sermon hadn't started. Kristen A. was sitting across from me and began tearing up during the sharing portion. I tried to look away, but I teared a bit as well. However, Josue was able to put all our thoughts into words. He explained how uncomfortable he was, knowing that he had a warm bed, good food and shelter, but the people at the dump do not. It was hard to imagine sleeping knowing that a few kilometers away, there were sleeping in cardboard homes with trash foundations. What do you do with that?

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."- Revelation 21:4

Lo Siento

We have had a bit of trouble with Internet. I have been keeping a journal of events. My life is changing by the minute. It seems like we can never do enough. There is so much need, here. This will definitely not be my last trip. I am already looking to coming back next year and projects to do from the US. I'll post more when I can.


Soy en Honduras, ahora!

What an amazing day. Joel and Marc picked me up from the airport in Tegucigalpa! Yes, I am finally here. We left the airport, got Popeye's Chicken and went right to work. A number of things changed, so options were limited.

As we pulled into a small block, we were met by the nursing portion of our group. I stepped onto their bus and was greeted by cheers and hugs. I was so happy to see everyone. We intended to spend the day unloading rice meals for the village. This also means that I did not miss the playground building activity. SCORE!

We started off playing with the village children. They are so sweet and would melt your heart. I met Maria. She was very loquacious, but looked confused that we could not understand her. I met Roberto (10). His aunt was very proud as she told us that he spoke English very well. He attended a vocational school. He became our junior translator when we couldn't understand the three year olds. Everyone fell in love with Juan Diego. He was probably two or three years old. He wanted to play with everything we hands out. At one point his hands we so full, he chose to stick his half eaten lolipop to his shirt to receive a super ball from Krissy.

After playing for two hours, the crates arrived and we immediately began working. We unloaded 600,000 rice meals to for the village. As we worked, more and more people showed up. We sang, we unloaded, we sweated. I really don't think a shower is going to do much good. It was fun and hard at the same time. Even the children wanted to play their part. It was hard to tell them that portions were too hard or heavy for them. In the end, they were allowed
To throw out the packing scraps as we worked. They organized and took pride in their work.

After dinner each night, we have devotion. We sing together, a brief message is delivered and we share our days' experience. Builders, painters, nurses and packers all shared there vastly different activities, but echoed the same sentiment. There is no good reason for the quality of living to be so low in Honduras. This is stepping out for us, but it is the norm for them. We prayed that this experience, though short, resonates with us for the rest of our lives.

After devotion, I sat in as Rhiannon interview and young man named Nathan. He recently moved here to improve the lives of those living in the dump. He spoke of families, but specifically of children born there and never knowing anything else. He has interviewed a couple of them and they don't see that there living is not normal. Yet, the thing that bothers Nathan most is going out there and being so overwhelmed by the situation that you feel there is no way to begin to make an impact.

As I pray and as I act, I hope that I am able to stay focused and humble about what living for god truly means. I bet most of you didn't expect this curve ball at the end of the day!

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:40


"Una respuesta suave aparta manera ira." -Proverbios 15:1

All of the planning I had done was destroyed by eight words, "There is nothing we can do for you." They hurt more coming from the person I hoped had an understanding heart. However, he was right. There was nothing this passport agent could do for me.

I had been standing in line an hour before the passport office opened. There were others that had been there longer. We weren't in the building, but corralled in the garage. Orders were given to allow 40 people in without an appointment. Understandable, considering this was the busy travel season. The office had enough trouble handling the load of those with an appointment. We were only adding to the problem.

The morning started by being instructed by Officer X to stand in the line of people without appointments. I was probably number 120 of about 250. I had my powerbars. I had my movies. I mentally rehearsed my plea. Over and over, I repeated all the resaons why I should be granted entry into the building. And I continued to pray. The agent walked up with his passport officer (and possibly body guard). After listening to and accepting the first 40 urgent stories, his response never changed. People argued, complained and blamed. But the agent moved on and allowed the officer to handle the mob.

Knowing the obvious outcome, I still wanted to plead my case. I tried my best to seperate myself from the mob. As the agent came closer, I became more anxious. When asked, I calmly pleaded my case as rehearsed. I didn't embellish. I told him I was from Texas, my passport had not expired, but it would not allow me to travel. He gave me his routine eight words. I had two or three follow-up questions, but the response remained. As I finished, the mob ensued and I once again backed away. I did not wish to be associated with their complaints because this would not turn his heart.

I called Schylr, Skillman and left messages with James Smith in hopes that someone with power could intervene on my behalf. All my work was torn assunder by those eight words. I was at a loss, but Chuck had previously told me, "Keep the faith." Remembering this, I prayed again. I ate a power bar and began queuing up a movie. I figured, I had nothing better to do with my day but stay in line until the office closed. At this time, the bodyguard came up to me (for protection of the innocent, we will call him 'Officer F')
"Sir, they really are not letting anyone else in without an appointment."
"I understand, but I have someone working on another plan."
"Well, if you would like to come back tomorrow, maybe you will have some luck."
"I am afraid I don't have that option, sir. I am sure something will happen any minute. When it does, I want to be ready."
"Well, you can go across the street to get breakfast or there is a hotel you can cool off in."
"Officer, I appreciate it but, I think I will be fine right here. Thank you, sir."
"We are really trying to clear this area. People will only complain and no one will ever leave."
"Officer, I honestly have no place else to be and no place to go. I promise I will not bother anyone or cause any trouble. I will just keep to myself."
With that, Officer F walked away. After 45 minutes, I was the only one in the garage. I was awaiting a call from Dallas or DC. I hoped for some suit to step off the elevator and say, "I am here to see Mr. Brandon Hepburn."

As I waited, another group started to form. There were 20 of us now. Then a new officer appeared. Suddenly, everyone rose and formed another line. The officer said this was a line to possibly see a supervisor. I got in line and happened to be at the end, again.

I was in line for five minutes when Officer X reappeared. He walked straight to me and said, "You already spoke with the agent this morning. Come with me, sir." A mix of anxiety and excitement came over me. I hoped I hadn't done anything wrong. We stepped onto the elevator. "So you are from out of state?"
"Yes, sir. Texas. I am actually supposed to be on a mission trip in Honduras, but my passport is not valid enough to allow travel." With that we, were off the elevator and at the guarded entrance to the passport office. Another officer cracked the door and said, "Who is this young man?"
"F said he wanted to see him." Suddenly Office F reappeared. As he placed something in my hand and said, "Turn off your cell phone before you go through the metal detector because you can't use it in there. When you get inside go to the line for appointments. Don't say anything because I could get in a lot of trouble for this. Just know, that I am doing this because you actually listened to what was going on. You did not complain and you acknowledged everything you were told respectfully." I looked in my hand at the fittingly pink post-it. On it was written today's date, 8am and an appointment confirmation number. I was puzzled and surprised. I wanted to hug him and bless him a million times. I struggled to keep my composure as I walked through the line.

Nothing but the grace of God could have caused Officer F to act on my behalf. I thank God for him. For allowing him to see that I was here on God's business and I was very serious about it. God's authority is far more potent than that of man. He has agents in places everywhere. Only He can make the impossible come to fruition. I am greatful for those that helped me keep the faith.

After going through the application line, I sat in the pool of people. Soon, a lady and her daughter sat in front of me.
"I saw you outside. I thought you weren't going to make it in.", she said.
"I felt the same way. By the grace of God, an appointment materialized."
"Hmm. For a minute, I looked over and thought, 'Is he praying?"
"Oh, I was. It looks like he came through. I just had to wait."

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." -Matthew 19:26


Voy a Esperar a que El Dios

Today was not very eventful. I had a very big breskfast. I was anticipating seeing my aunt, but the call never came. I hate to say I am used to the disappointment by now, but it still hurts a little. But, I am still here for another day.

I spent most of the day trying to get things together for the passport office. I went online trying to figure out exactly what I need to do and costs. Joel and Brent Eastman were right. Miami is the best place to hamdle this. Had i stayed in Dallas, i may have had to fly to Houston for a passport on the spot.

I filled out and printed every for that may apply to my situation. Considering the situation, I am trying to give the agent every reason to let me 'skip' in line. Due to the lack of a car, I also researched the best means of getting to the Passport office. I want my cab to get me to the building no later than 7:30am. Now, I wait with patience.

I spent most of the day in silence. I am not lonely (Remember I am single). I am just bored. I did strike a brief conversation at breakfast, and again at dinner. The individuals asked me if I was "on the ship." I still haven't got it clear because they have had heavy island accents. Either there is a cruisline or oil rig that brings people in for the day.

Micah played in a baseball tournament this weekend. Though it breaks my heart to say, his team is the DeSoto Heat. I told Meshallyn that the team name was an omen. They made it to the championship, but lost. I am still proud of him. I missed the text, but the game ended at midnight. She says they are the runner up for thw World Series 12u Texas Division. I think this calls for snow cones!

I spoke with Debbie. She and then Curtis's enjoyed their first visit to Twisted Root in my honor. They are such great people. I was so jealous, that I had a burger for dinner. It was VERY big. However, we are spoiled with great meat in Texas. I am learning this more and more as I travel.

I missed Joel's call which is a bummer, but hopefully he will try again early and we catch up then. He mentioned thta he lost his passport on the plane to Honduras. I just pray this does not cause trouble when he returns.

Thank you to all that have been praying for this turbulent trip so far. That is all I have for tonight!

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope..." -Romans 5:3-4


El Plan de Dios: Segunda Parte

Things have taken a sharp turn. They told us to be prepared for our plans to change, but this is not what I envisioned. Though I could not smile at the time, I can only laugh at the events of the day. At the same time, God quickly revealed his plan for me.

Needless to say I have learned that nothing I do today is going to go as 'ever-so-properly' planned. Things started at the ticketing counter when the American Airline Agent told me, "I can not clear you to board for Honduras because of your passport's expiration date." I have known that my passport expired toward the end of July. However, to use your passport for travel, it must be valid at least 6 months past your departure date (no mater how short your trip). Who knew? Apparently no one. My world stopped as panic set in. I was only able to think clearly enough to summon Joel for assistance. As I was in shock, Joel was able to keep the agent from completely butchering all of our plans. With a cool head, Joel informed her that she was going to clear me to Miami and allow US to solve this problem.

I endured the two hour flight to Miami through prayer and following the lead of Josue. We were knocked out before the plane took off. I was awake for a total of 20 minutes the entire flight. I spent this time praying that God intervene in the situation.

The plane touched down and I completed a prayer when, there was a sudden cry of confusion from my immediate left. The gentleman that sat across the aisle from me had risen from his seat and froze in a fit of terror. His family sat in shock as he experienced what could only be a paralyzingly seizure. He continued to cry out as passengers looked on in fear. In the chaos, I managed to yell, "Kristen, come help!" Josue managed to put last names to this utterance. Kristen A., Kristen S. and Barbara Gray (Skillman nurses) came to the mans aid as we pulled into our gate and waited with him until paramedics arrived.

Though eerie and sad, this bought me time to call the passport office to check on my situation. To obtain the proper passport, I would have to visit this office under an appointment. Unfortunately, the first appointment they had was July 7. Once again, hope began to fade away. However, God was still moving.

After more brainstorming we found the best thing was for me to stay in Miami, find the earliest flight and change my reservation. Next, I would have to visit the passport office on Monday morning and have a new passport expedited. All I was thinking was how expensive this was going to be. We parted ways in a bitter sweet manner. I was happy the group was able to to on, but I wanted to be with them.

First, I visited the AA ticket counter and explained the situation. This time, the agent was very kind and quite helpful. She explained that the situation was not my fault and AA does not charge for revising reservations in this type of situation. My reservation was set for Tuesday. Next, Debbie, Josue and Alan Green stepped in to help me secure a hotel room at a Sheraton with a good rate. Later, I was able to talk to James Smith who walked me through the basic procedure to get a new passport. Currently, all I could do was obtain a passport picture. The clouds of my experience were beginning to disappear.

On a whim, I decided to call Meshallyn to see how my nephew's baseball tournament was going. After telling her the situation, she told me my Aunt Sharon lived here and would be mode than happy to see me. For years, it has been difficult for me to contact this side of my family for emotional reasons. However, I think God put me in this situation to push me a little in the direction of the Christian path. Ain't Sharon was very happy to hear from me. She and my cousins will be coming to visit tomorrow afternoon. I won't be able to participate in a worship service, but I will be able to become a better person.

Upon arrival to my hotel I had two hours to kill until check-in. I decided to walk to the nearest Walgreens. It wasn't bad, but should have changed into my running cloths before leaving. I arrived in a dripping sweat. However, I was determined. I purchased baby wipes to clean myself up and requested my passport pictures. The lady said (in very broken English), "You can not take picture in t-shirt with no collar. Office will not accept." I pleaded with her because I was wearing on of the best shirts I had (remember part one of this entry). She took pity on me. She and her manager let me borrow a polo shirt to take my photo. Mission accomplished!

Finally, I was back in a positive mood. All I wanted to do was check into my room and shower. I patiently waited to check into my room. At this point, I was able to laugh at the situation. As checked in, another young lady was checking in at the same time. They had us queued because they were experiencing difficulties with their system. I received my key and went to my room. Upon entry, the first thing I say was a baby gecko scurry up the wall. I left the door open to track and catch it. As I searched, I heard footsteps stop at my door. Then, the voice of the girl from the lobby uttered, "I think she booked us in the same room." To which I replied, "I would let you have this one, if I wasn't trying to track down a gecko."

So here I am, typing as Dark Knight plays on TNT. I slept most of the day away. But I have learned that even in the darkest hour, God will be with me. He will also use the situation and his children to bring me to a better place than I planned to be. I am praying that my visit with my aunt and her children is a positive on. Goodnight everyone.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." -Jeremiah 29:11

El Plan de Dios: Primera Parte

We are on the bus and I already have a great feeling about this trip. Harold & Billie Faye Curtis and Debbie Villareal stayed up to see us leave the building. Our group is very diverse and energetic.

As time for our flight draws nearer, I can feel my adrenaline rising. We leave DFW and land in Miami. Then we have a trip through customs and fly out to Honduras. We are the first group to arrive, so we are tasked with organizing the container of items that was sent ahead.

The colors for today are pink and blue! Led by Kristen Smith's suggestion, our bags have been marked with pink duct tape. Her brother-in-law, Kyle Calvert, designed our group's navy blue shirts. There is no mistaking members of our group.

Already, I have learned a bit about nursing. I have also added my word 'vindicted' to the vocabulary of a few attendees. There is no telling what other shenanigans we will get into.

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." -Zephaniah 3:17


Esta es mi oración

Right now, I am sitting in my bed... thinking. First I thought, this is the last time I will be in my soft bed for a week. For a week, I will be without luxuries that I take for granted on a day to day basis. I can send an email to Mark. I can make a phone call to Greg. I can send a text to Elaine (you read right, TEXT!). I can take a drive to see Micah. Life here is so easy, and I am happy. Now, I am embarking on an adventure... for a week.

My second thought is of where I am going. The inhabitants of my destination are there now and will be there long after I am gone. I am only there a week. The may have a bed (or they may not). Their connectivity is a far cry from anything I have ever experienced. Text? Facebook? Their drives are on unpaved roads. And lets not begin to consider how gas prices affect them. All the luxuries I take for granted... this is their daily life.

So as I sit here on my last night, I open my heart and I pray...

"Dear Lord- my Father who loves me so. I ask you to allow me to be a blessing. Through an outpouring of love, it is more than obvious that it is in your will for me to have this experience. I am humbled that you see that I am fit to move forward and share your love with others. Thank you Lord for all that you have blessed me with. Thank you for loved ones. Thank you for my home, work, food and friends.

Please be with all missionaries around the world. They work daily to let their light shine amongst men. I pray that they are strengthened and encouraged by your presence in their works. I also ask that you be with the specific groups that are traveling for this next wave of activity. Please continue to build us up so that we too can be a positive presence in the lives of those we visit. I also ask that you grant us safe travel, safe stay and safe return.

Lord, this experience is new for many of us. I pray that we are all changed. Please open our eyes to the world while we are abroad and allow us to see through the eyes of a child. Give us the willingness to learn and to share will all whom we come in contact. Release us from the bonds of fear that may hold us from sharing the glory of your love with others.

I ask these things in your Son's name.

One more post state-side and then it will all be from Honduras. Goodnight.

"Hitherto, have ye asked nothing in my name: Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."- John 16:24


Gracias por su ayudo y apoyo

I would be remiss if I didn't offer thanks to those that have supported me financially, physically and emotionally. Mildred Wallace used to sing to me, "Count your blessings, name them one by one..." She showed me that blessings are not only things, but people as well:

Those that continue to build me up...
Zairreus Patterson
Gregory Franklin and Dr. Danielle Jones (soon to be Franklin)
Kofi and Taniquia Barkoh

Those with a giving heart...
Cletus Pippin & Family
Sidney Miller
Michael Steiner
Mary Hart
Jada Roseman
Jason Mellard
Ken Robinson & Donavan Wheatfall (CIS)
Elizabeth Jackson
Dawn Chisholm
Strider & Kassie Steel (and Breckyn & Xander)
Jason Alexander
Kammie Anderson

Those in a class of their own...
Elaine Brown (The 3rd World travel veteran)
Lauren Kuluva (I still got room in the suitcase, cousin)
Al & Stephan Wallace (Two GREAT Uncles and Better Men)
Joel Sanchez and Kristen Smith (Your idea= The most exciting thing I have done in a long time)
Josue Villareal (For taking this risk with me)
Debbie Villareal (For allowing Josue out of the house and the ride you are giving me that you don't know about)
Erin Wiggins (Just do it right?)
Jacelyn, Meshallyn and Kayshellyn
Skillman Church of Christ

May God bless you in many ways, continually adding to his Kingdom.

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth"
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3


Calendario de actividades

There are seven days until departure. I have been excited about this for more than 8 months. When I got the list of activities for the trip, excitement only heightened. Now that I am seven days away, I am having trouble concentrating on anything.

We were recently given daily options to schedule our activities. I felt like an 8 year old at the Cici's Pizza buffet. The activities are so exciting that I had trouble choosing my personal schedule. I am going to be really busy.

Saturday- Arrival, Sorting donated items for distribution
Sunday- Devotion with Casa de Eperanza
Monday- Build Hospital Escuela Playground
Tuesday- Build Hospital Escuela Playground
Wednesday- Nurses training session; VBS at Hospital Escuela
Thursday- Clinic at Onjojo; Late Night Hospital Blanket Ministry
Friday- Work at the City Dump (Food and Medical Ministry)
Saturday- Build a house
Sunday- Travel day

Though I am very sure of what I want to do, we have been told that everything is always up in the air. Each day, we pick the activity we want to be immersed in for the day. All I know is that I am going to have the time of my life. God willing, this is only the beginning for me.

"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."- Philippians 2:4


Hope for Honduras: Cuenta atrás

Welcome Hep Blog new comers. Welcome back regular Hep Blog followers. It has been awhile since I last posted and things have changed quite a bit. The way I will blog for my Honduras trip has also changed, so I thought I would use this first post to fill everyone in on what to expect.

I intend to post every other day. After the 20th, I will increase frequency as I can. I intend to post daily by departure time (25th). New items will be post by midnight.

Connectivity is not great in Honduras. Uploading images can take up a great deal of bandwidth. As a result, my blog will not have images initially. However, I plan to add them upon return to the States. I will try to make my descriptions as vivid as possible to keep your interest.

I am excited about this opportunity and I would love for everyone to be able to share in my experience. Fell free to comment on my posts. I don't know that I can respond, but I encourage you to say anything that is on your heart as you read.

Thank you to everyone for your love and support. God Bless.

"Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."
-Mark 5:19