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