Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Our Hondu-versary, and a Birthday!

Just seven years ago, we arrived in Honduras to live. We landed in La Ceiba on February 28th, and flew over to the island of Guanaja on March 1st (2001 wasn't a leap year, of course). At the time, we expected to live in Honduras for two to three years. Now, we sort of expect to live here indefinitely. This year, I moved all of my sentimental stuff out of storage, and brought the most important things to be with us where we live. It's nice to have things like the kids' baby pictures to enjoy when we feel like it!

March 1st is also a birthday at our house. Christopher was born 14 years ago: he arrived on Guanaja on the day of his 7th birthday! This birthday marks the spot where he will have lived as many years in Honduras as he did in the US.

Chris is a strong, strapping young man now, but he was a teensy baby . . . only 4 pounds 15 ounces at birth, although he wasn't premature. For a short time after birth, he continued to lose weight, so that he got down to 4 pounds, before he finally started to grow. Here is a pathetic picture of him as a scrawny little failure-to-thrive infant:
And here he is last month, when we took a short family vacation to Copan:
The years certainly do fly by!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Telling Time in Honduras

I learned something new today! I was working through our Rosetta Stone Spanish (a computer program for language learning), doing a section which deals with telling time. I came across the phrase "Son las cinco pasadas." I knew this meant something like "It's a little past five o'clock," but I wanted a bit more information, so I bounced this phrase off Russell, our walking, talking (and eating) dictionary of local idioms.

He had never heard this particular phrase before. So I asked him, "How would someone around here say that the time is a little past five?"

He replied that they would likely just say it was five o'clock. Then he went on to tell me that, here in Lempira, when he asks people what time it is, they will generally only tell him the hour. (Rachel suggests that this may be related to the fact that, in Spanish, when you ask the time, you literally say, "What hour is it?")

So, if it is, say 4:45, the answer will be "It's four."

Then Russell will have to ask, "Four and how many?" And they will tell him that it is 45 minutes past 4.

This may explain a lot about how frequently people arrive late for events around here!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

There go another dozen pastor gifts

Yesterday Pastor Marvin, from La Esperanza, drove down to pick up a load of pastor gifts, and some boxes of food for the feeding centers and orphanages in his area. Some of the pastor gifts are packed in suitcases (we often have extra suitcases, as teams will leave some behind). The pastors really appreciate getting the suitcases, as well as the gifts inside.

Our carport is getting more empty every day. We think we have about 20 more pastor gifts to put together, and then we will be done with the Gifts for Gracias project for this year.

We are almost out of food to distribute as well. But I understand from Allen that he is already in the process of making arrangments for the next containerload of food.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Russell's Hair

On Saturday, I wrote about Rachel doing Russell's hair, for an important soccer game. By the time his hair was finished, Russell's teammates had already arrived at our house, ready to leave for the game, so I didn't have time to get a picture of the final product.

We took some pictures as soon as he got home from the game, instead. Here they are. Doesn't he look . . . interesting? I am impressed at how well his "do" held up, since he is a pretty intense player!

Pretty good, huh? Sorry for the sweaty pictures, but I wasn't sure if he was going to take apart his hairdo for his shower, so I snagged these when he first came in from the game!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Are you new to the world of blogging?

I only started reading blogs about a year ago, and began writing my own in July of 2007. The reason I started my blog, was so that the people who support our ministry (financially and prayerfully) can stay caught up on events, and so that our friends and family can keep up with our lives, in spite of the distance between us.

I am still finding out things about how my own blog works, and I thought I would take a moment to explain a few of the features of this blog, to those of you who, like me, are blog-novices. If you are already blog-savvy, perhaps you should go read a book, or something, while the rest of us go on our "Tour of Trish's Blog."

When you first open the blog to the main page, using the address, you will see the most recent post at the top of the page. As you scroll down, you will see each consecutively older post up to about seven posts. If you wish to see older posts, one way to do this is to click on "older posts" at the bottom of the page. That will show the posts back to about a month ago.

There are other ways to explore the posts beyond the first page. In the right margin, there is a section labeled "Blog Archive." You can click on the title of any post from the current month, and be taken directly to that post. One advantage to this method is that you will automatically see both the post and the comments which were made about that post.

Also in the Blog Archive section, you can see listed the earlier months of the current year. By clicking on the arrow in front of the name of the month, a list of all of the post titles from that month will appear. You could then click on any title, to go to that post. If you click on the name of the month itself, you will open a page which will show all of the posts for that month, in their entirety.

You can also click on 2007, and repeat this process, to see any of the posts from last year.

At any time, as you travel around the blog, you can click on the Sowers4Pastors title at the top of the page, and this will return you to the original page, where we started this tour.

Another interesting way to wander around the site is to use the labels. The list of labels is located further down on the left margin. You can click on any label, and this will bring up a page of all of the posts which I have labeled with that particular category. Some of the most popular categories to visit are "photos of Lempira," "construction updates," and "humor."

You can also leave comments on my blog. Just click on the word "comments" at the end of a post to pull up the comments page. You can read the comments of others, and enter your own comments in the box at the top right. It's fun, and it lets me know that people are actually reading all of this stuff!

So, feel free to wander around the blog! There's a lot of info about the ministry, some interesting (and some not-so-interesting) family stuff, and a batch of pretty good photos, mostly taken by my kids. Enjoy!

Saturday Morning at the Salon

It has been a goal of mine, that my kids would be friends with each other when they are adults. Some days that goal seems unattainable, but this morning it was nice to see my 16 year old daughter helping my 18 year old son with a project.

Russell has an important soccer game this morning, and he wanted to do something funky with his hair for the event. Don't ask me WHY he wanted his hair done, as I'm old, and these things don't make sense to me. But, when Russell asked Rachel for help, she set aside several hours of her Saturday morning for Russell's project.

Here is the emerging product:

It seems that Russell is pleased with the results. As an old person, I think a nice, conservative CUT would have been better. ;-D

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Tidbits of News

You remember I talked about moving? How we went crazy for a week, getting the house ready, so that the owner could show it to a potential buyer? Well, almost two weeks have now passed, and he hasn't shown the house to anyone. We continue to wait. At least our house is shiny and clean now!


We put out the word that we would not accept any more lists of pastors, for Christmas gifts, after this week. So, yesterday and today we received requests for about 35 more gifts. I guess I'm not the only procrastinator in Honduras! It will be good to have this project behind us. In another couple of weeks, the monthly Pastor Training School will start up again, after a three month break. That will give us enough to do, along with the construction at the property, keeping the house ready to show, and . . . oh yeah . . . school.


The electricity was out all day today, so I couldn't waste any time on the computer. We got a lot of school done today! I was reading aloud a historical fiction novel, about St Patrick. It was great, but after reading 7 chapters today I am hoarse. Tomorrow I'll have to make sure that our school work is a little less intensive for me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The BucketBoy's New Smile

David, our BucketBoy son, has always been known for his really great smile.

However . . . he's six now:

It's still a great smile, right?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gifts for Gracias Christmas Project 2007 . . . still going . . .

Here is an update on our seemingly never-ending Christmas project.

Okay, I'm sorta joking about this. The work probably isn't taking more time than other years, it's just that we started so late, since many of the donated items didn't arrive at our house until after Christmas. It just feels wrong, somehow, to still be making Christmas presents in the middle of February!

We have created and distributed around 180 boxes. The average size of the families who receive gifts is probably about 6 people, so this translates to approximately 1080 people who have received gifts. We have another list of gifts to create, for about 6 pastors, and we expect another 20 - 30 additional names to dribble in over the next week. Then, I believe, we will be closing the project for this year.

In a change from previous years, instead of distributing the gifts one by one, which involved many hours of torturous travel for us, this year we distributed the gifts to each denomination's supervisor, and left it up to them to get the gifts to the pastors. So, we don't have many pictures, this year, of happy pastor families receiving boxes. We would know, however, if the pastors didn't receive their gifts, because we have already had pastors who received in past years, coming by our house to see why they hadn't received this year! (Generally, the problem has been that their supervisor hadn't gotten the list to us at that time, and they simply needed to wait a bit longer to get their gift. As you may have noticed, it is well past Christmas at this point, so it isn't surprising that some have wondered if they were going to receive a gift!)

The end is finally in sight here! We're glad to be able to support and encourage the pastors who work in the remote and rural areas of the mountains of Lempira in this way, and they are extremely grateful for these gifts. The pastors really don't mind that the gifts didn't arrive by Christmas, so I will try to alter my gringo mentality to fit theirs. Meanwhile, maybe I'll call these last few gifts Valentine's Day presents.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm Exhausted!

It has now been a week since our landlord announced that he wants to sell the house we are renting. If you recall from this post, we asked him for a week to get the house in order, before he would bring people to see it.

Since the middle of December, we've been working on the Gifts for Gracias Christmas project, and this work has just taken over the house this year! Last year (Christmas of 2006), we had enough space out on the carport so that most of the mess stayed out there, but this year we had a lot of the Kids Against Hunger food boxes stored out there, so we had to use space in our big main room for sorting donations and creating gifts.

You may recall these pictures, posted back in early January, showing the condition of my living room, front porch, and carport:

Although many gifts had been distributed since those pictures were taken, we had also received another shipment of donations (half of a 40' container). . . so things looked pretty much like those pictures last week, when we got the call from the landlord.

We've been scrambling to sort, organize, and distribute donations for a week, and finally today I can say that we have reclaimed the house. The carport still has lots of boxes on it, but it now resembles an organized work space, instead of a disaster scene. The front porch is all cleaned off, and the public rooms of the house are cleared of all evidence of this project.

We still have to do a bit of work on the bedrooms, tool storage room, etc, but that is just normal organizing and cleaning stuff, not a massive operation like what we've just completed. We expect (hope) to have everything looking ready for visitors by noon tomorrow.

We're all exhausted, but it is really nice to have my house back again!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Cheeto the Size of . . .

If Morph were the size of a human, how big would that Cheeto be? A baseball bat? A fence post?

And here Morph gives that look which so clearly means, "Don't even think about messing with my Cheeto."

"Don't try to sneak up from that side, either."

"You'd think a bird could eat one single Cheeto in peace . . . "

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sometimes we do get to see that we are making a difference

Working with the desperately poor can be a daunting job. There are always (ALWAYS) more needs than resources. Sometimes we wonder if we are even making a small dent in the situation.

One of the programs we run involves helping families in which there is a child with special medical needs. Many families in the department of Lempira are barely surviving, and the extra stress and workload caused by the addition of a child with medical problems can easily be the factor which takes the family into disaster. In the families we work with, many of the children have problems involving mental and physical handicaps that will never be resolved. Although we help them get needed medical care, sometimes the main impact we have is in helping the family get enough to eat.

This morning, the mom from one of our Special Needs families came for a visit. Her daughter, Kenia, is severely handicapped, both mentally and physically. This is an older picture, showing the mom and Kenia.

The reason for her visit today, was to show off her new baby, Maria Carmen - affectionately called Carmencita.

Would you just look at that chubby, healthy baby? She's breast fed, but the food we provide is making it's way to her, you can certainly see that!

This family is no longer suffering from malnutrition, and this baby is looking . . . just so delightfully normal! We encounter many children who have suffered permanent damage from malnutrition. It's great to see a child who has been helped to avoid the damage!

I so enjoyed this opportunity to confirm that the work we are doing is making a difference in the lives of these families, and I hope that you can share with me in this joy. We couldn't do this work without a LOT of support from our friends - and you know who you are! Thank you so much for your willingness to be a part of showing Christ's love to the people of Lempira.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Glamorous and Adventurous Life of a Missionary

Some of you read this blog because you are interested in Honduras, some because you are interested in blogs of homeschoolers, and some because you are related to me, and you know I'm going to check and see if you're keeping up with the family news. But some of you read this because you are interested in missionaries, and missionary work.

As I child, I enjoyed hearing about the work of missionaries. It seemed so adventurous and important. Even glamorous, to someone like me, with a slightly skewed idea of the meaning of the word. As an adult and real-life missionary, I enjoy reading missionary biographies to my kids, as a part of their school curriculum. It still sounds exciting in the books.

But, it's funny - now that I'm a missionary, my life doesn't seem to be especially adventurous or glamorous.

Today, for instance, here is what I did, pretty much all day. I sat on my couch, and my strong 13 year old son, Christopher, brought me large black trash bags, stuffed with donated used clothing. I opened each bag, and sorted the contents into two piles, determined by the condition of the clothing. "Like new" clothing went into one pile, to be used in Christmas gifts for the pastors and their families. Everything else (from "slightly used" all the way to "rags") went into the pile to give away, to these same pastors, but not as a "Christmas Gift." As I neared the bottom of each bag, Chris brought me another bag full of clothing, and took away the bags of non-new clothing I had packed up. The non-new clothing will be stored until we have enough bags to fill the back of a pick-up truck, and then we will arrange for a pastor to pick this up. Throughout the day, Rachel and Bethany would swoop in from time to time, and take the pile of Christmas-gift clothing I had made, sorting it further by gender and approximate age, and adding these to existing piles, which have been cluttering my living room for over a month now.

By my estimation, I sorted approximately 60 large black garbage bags full of clothing today. I made a significant dent in the pile on the carport, which was the goal of the day. I need to get a lot of the shipment stuff moved out of the carport, so that I can move the piles from the house onto the carport, so that the house will look better when the potential buyers come to see it.

I'm thinking this is going to make a particularly boring chapter in my missionary autobiography, someday.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Guanaja Photo Flashback

A good friend who has participated in several mission trips, both to Guanaja and here to Gracias, sent us these fun pictures. We don't know the exact dates they were taken, but probably it was in the first year or two that we lived on the island. We lived there from February 2001 until November of 2005.

See how hot and sweaty - and sunburned - we look? That's about how we looked, for five solid years. We never did adapt well to the heat on the north coast.

Russell, on the left, is now 18. He was approximately 12 in that picture. Kirstin was 14, and is now 20. Both of them now stand behind me when we line up for pictures! That's Rachel in front, she was about 10 then, and is now 16.

Kirstin just looked over my shoulder at this picture and said, "Wow, that isn't a very flattering photo of any of us!" She's right, but that is just what we looked like. The hair style for the girls was almost always pulled back into a high ponytail, with no layers or bangs to get into your eyes when boating. Wearing long hair down on your neck was too hot to be endured for long, and any kind of styling would just fall apart in the humidity. We all had to learn how to handle our hair all over again, when we moved to the mountains!

Ahhh, there's Boo at the beach. She looks like she's enjoying herself, doesn't she? Boo was only four when we moved to Honduras, so she doesn't remember living in the states. These beach shots always made people raise their eyebrows, when we talked about the hardships of living on the island. ;-D

Saturday, February 9, 2008

500,000 Meals Served

We're almost out of the boxes of food we received from Kids Against Hunger in late October of 2007. Food has been distributed through the public schools and through private schools. It has gone to supply feeding centers in especially needy areas. It has helped the pastors working in the poorest areas of the mountains, to feed their families and members of their congregations. Food has also gone to several orphanages. We worked very hard to document the food distributions, trying to get food to the neediest areas, and keep it from falling into the hands of those who would sell it for personal profit (corruption is a huge problem all throughout Honduras).

We have enough for one more distribution to the Special Needs families, and one more delivery to the orphanages and feeding centers of La Esperanza. After that, it will all be gone. Within the next month, there will be no more boxes of food on our carport. This is a good thing, because, of course, the food was distributed to and eaten by those in need. But, it is now time for us to start the process of getting another container of food delivered from Kids Against Hunger.

As before, we will need to raise the funds for the cost of shipping this container. We were blessed to receive private funding for the shipping of the first container - and, to our generous donors we say: ¡Muchas Gracias! Now, we're waiting to see how God will provide for the next container. If you would be interested in helping with this financial need, please contact me at trish @ (but leave out the spaces around the "@"). Even if you can't help with the financial need, please pray with us for the funds for another container of food. Thanks!

Friday, February 8, 2008


We just got the word from our landlord this morning. He is selling the house we live in, as soon as possible. The timing for this is especially difficult for us.

For one thing, we are still in the process of making and distributing Christmas boxes to pastors. I know, I know, it's February already, but remember, we didn't receive the shipment until a few days after Christmas. We are trying to get the remaining gifts out as soon as possible, but for now, the carport, front porch, and main room of our house are all pretty trashed. I asked the landlord for a week to get things in better shape, before he brings anyone to see the house. So, as you might imagine, we are working like crazy around here. School has been thrown out the window for a few days.

The worst part of this is that we are already planning to move, within the next 6 - 8 months or so, into the buildings we are constructing on our property. If this house sells in the meanwhile, we may have to move twice!

Our hope, at this point, is that perhaps it will take a while for a buyer to be found.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gringo Church

Although we can attend many different churches here, in Spanish, there is something very special about worshipping in our own language, with a group of people who are from our own culture and who understand our struggles in a non-crosscultural manner, and singing the songs that we have loved for years.

This morning, for the first time, we attended "Gringo church" at the home of our friends Trish and Brad Ward, in Santa Rosa de Copan. It was such a blessing! The plan is for us to meet once each month, in the future.

There were about 20 people in attendance, and we had such a nice time. After the service, we had a pot-luck lunch and then the kids played together while the adults enjoyed some English conversation. We can't wait for next month!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Things That Make My Life Harder, part 2

Head lice. They have been making my life harder (and itchier) lately. As long as my children continue to play at the park with other children, it seems this is going to be a constant battle.

Yes, I've tried mayonnaise, vinegar, and other non-chemical remedies. For that matter, I've used the chemical remedies, as well. We still have lice. A few weeks ago, I really thought I'd eliminated them, but yesterday I found some new ones. Sigh.

I'm starting to think having my whole family shave their heads is a viable option. Is that a bad sign?