Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't stand under a tree in a storm

A few months ago, one of the trees on our property was struck by lightning.

I found it interesting to see the marks left on the bark of the tree, from the lightning strike.

Here's a closer look:

Very cool, huh? Although I have to admit, I'd be enjoying this science/nature moment a bit more, if the tree hadn't been right next to the building we're about to move into!I'm gonna hold on to that bit of folk wisdom - that lightning never strikes twice (in the same place)! I sure do hope it's true!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Selling Bibles

Just over a week ago we held the final set of classes for the pastor training school for 2009. In November, the students and their families will gather for a graduation ceremony, and then the school will be closed for a few months. During the months of December, January, and February coffee beans are harvested, and many of the agricultural workers in our area make their entire yearly income working for the coffee farmers during the harvest. Since many of our pastors are also agricultural workers, they can't afford to take time away from work during the harvest, so this is when we take our annual break.

In addition to holding the training sessions to help these pastors (and future pastors) learn more about the Bible, another of our goals is to help these pastors acquire a small library of Bible reference and study materials - Bible dictionary, Bible atlas, concordance, etc. Here is how we pursue this goal.

First, we maintain a Bible bookstore in our home. We can't advertise this store widely. We sell all of the materials for less than what we pay for them. Occasionally we have had to deny a purchaser, who wanted to buy Bibles from us and resell them at a higher price to others. Although we'd like to encourage this entrepreneurial spirit, our ministry can't financially support other businesses like this!

So, our private little bookstore sells a variety of inexpensive paperback New Testaments and Bibles, plus levels of better quality Bibles, large print Bibles (very popular amongst those who read by candle or lantern light), and study Bibles, as well as the reference materials mentioned above. Many of these Bibles end up in the hands of the pastors' congregations or are used in evangelism - to date, we've distributed approximately 7500 Bibles.

Second, the pastors and church leaders who attend the training school receive credits toward purchases at the bookstore, for each school session they attend. After each set of three sessions, we haul all of the books and Bibles out to the school, and set up the bookstore there, so the pastors can use their credits (and their lempiras) to make purchases. Here are some pictures of the recent Bible sales:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Now for scenes of the building interiors

I had Rachel grab some more shots of the insides of our buildings yesterday, as the work was progressing on the tile floors (in the team house) and on the painting (in the bodega). Enjoy!

Here's Russell (well, Russell's backside, anyway), working hard on the team house. He is in charge of installing the tile floors in this building. He also put up the tile roof (you can see the roof in the picture posted yesterday). Notice the cheerful wall color - we're using the same paint on the bodega walls, but the color is more true in this picture than in some of the others.

Here's how the tile floor is shaping up! I'm loving it!

The decision to paint the interior of the bodega came late in the game. Since this building will eventually be used as a warehouse, we don't want to put much money into nice finishes, but since we'll be living here for a good long while, we also don't want it to look depressing. It was looking depressing before, with grayish, waterstained walls. Now it's getting a nice yellow facelift! (In the picture it only has a first coat, so you can't see the color very well, but check out the color in the first team house picture, for a more accurate depiction.) Painting this building, with it's very high walls, has been a huge chore, but in the end I think it will be worth the effort.

Allen had to run into town for more paint yesterday, and his workers (Rachel and Boo, in this case) had a bit of fun during his absense. Can you read their work? It says, "Coming soon - Bath Room. Rated R." The cinderblock walls are where the bathroom will be located, and there's the bathroom door, leaning against the wall. All the doors and windows, by the way, were handmade by Russell's girlfriend's father.

And finally, just for fun, I'll include a picture of the view, from yesterday. The mountains seem to be especially beautiful on rainy, overcast days.

Thanks for coming by to visit our place!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Scenes from our new home

We're getting so close to our move-in date! I've had requests for updated pictures of our property and buildings, so here are a few from this weekend.

The picture above is the bodega, where we will actually live, until we build our own residence.

This is the cute little 2-bedroom team house. I'll put up some interior pictures tomorrow. This building has been painted (on the inside) and some of the floor tile is installed. The bathrooms have a long way to go, though.

Here's the water tank. It is not yet completed - but it's about seven feet tall now. The tank sits on a hill above the flat spot where the buildings are located. This will give us greater water pressure.

Looking down from the hill with the water tank, you can see how the two buildings are situated. The building on the left is the team house, and you can just barely see the bodega off to the right. Between the two buildings is a foundation, which will eventually be another small residence, for housing interns who stay for a few months at a time.

We still have a ton of work to do, like dragging in topsoil and doing lots of landscaping - but the buildings are almost habitable!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I don't need to write my own post, about the bridge projects

Since Allen and Russell neglected to bring me pictures of the recent bridge construction work, I thought I was going to have to write a post describing, without any photos, things I have not actually seen for myself.

Although that might have made for an interesting creative writing assignment, I'm spared the task, because Alan Hayes took pictures and wrote about the work on his family's blog.

Hurrah! I'm off the hook on this one. Head over here for all the news - it's a fun read.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Apologies

I am sorry - I didn't mean to alarm anyone with my long absense. Here are my excuses:

I was sick, with lots of coughing and wheezing nastiness.

Then, Allen and I took a trip to San Pedro Sula. I was still recuperating, but we thought perhaps a couple of days in an air conditioned hotel room might perk me up a bit. One goal of the trip was to pick out ceramic tile flooring for the team house. We chose this:

The picture above is from the samples at the tile store. Allen and Russell are installing the tile in the team house this week, so hopefully I'll have some pictures of the actual tile floor soon.

We also needed to purchase some lumber, to use in building some rough storage shelves. We wanted pressure treated lumber, and couldn't get that closer to home, so we loaded up the Land Cruiser and trailer to maximum capacity, and hauled it home all the way from San Pedro. (There were hundreds of pounds of ceramic tile and cement inside the vehicle, plus various groceries, dog food, two new tires, . . .)

Four looooong hours up and down the mountains. Part of the time it was raining. The lumber kept trying to slide off the back of the trailer. Oh, and our headlights developed a short, and we had to drive with the special forward flood lights on - except of course when we faced oncoming traffic. Then we were in the dark. Fun times.

While we were in San Pedro, the computer at home started having difficulties. Now we have that fixed, and I think I'm back in business!

Thanks for missing me!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bridge Projects This Week

Once again, the menfolk have had to set aside the work of getting the property ready for our move, because certain work on bridge projects demanded their attention. This week they spent about 4 days on bridge-related work, and they neglected to bring me any pictures!

So, in order to have something visual to share on the blog, I took a picture of what Russell looks like, at the end of a day working on a bridge project:

Hopefully I'll have some actual pictures of the bridge project to share soon!