Monday, July 17, 2017

The Short Term Missionary with the Extended Stay

It seems like ages ago since the most recent team from Edgewater Alliance Church was in Honduras. In reality, it hasn’t been that long at all. It’s simply that the Sowers can pack a whole lot of excitement into a short amount of time.  As I wrote in the May 19th blog post, “The team will be led by Pauli, an enthusiastic volunteer who will be staying on for three extra weeks, putting that enthusiasm to good use.” The team was in the middle of its visit when Allen had heart surgery and, for a while, I sort of forgot about enthusiastic Pauli and her extended stay. Fortunately, Trish reminded me and I was able to schedule a phone call with Pauli to hear about her month long mission trip. She described her month as, “filled, but good.”


When asked what she would say to people who may be on the fence about committing to a mission trip, Pauli said, “It is lifechanging! Just the impact the Sowers family makes in that area is amazing. It was great to see them in action--to see them helping people, not just in one area like the sponsorship program, but in a broad area.”


She and the original team of ten additional members visited four schools, which are part of Edgewater Alliance’s sister church sponsorship. 270 children are a part of their sponsorship area. While one part of the team worked on a construction project, Pauli’s half of the team visited four schools, spending a full day at each school. They taught Bible lessons, English classes, and handed out toothbrushes. The kids were most impressed by the stomp rockets a team member who is a NASA employee donated.


After the team left, Pauli spent the following two weeks staying with Russell and Iris. She helped register 270 children in the sponsorship program for a church in Maryland. She also helped out in the kitchen at Pastors’ Training School. She worked with two other women in the kitchen. They didn’t speak English and Pauli doesn’t speak Spanish, but they managed to communicate. The other women also got a good laugh at Pauli’s first attempts at cutting plantains!


She was able to go on a home visit to a little boy sponsored by someone at Edgewater Alliance. The boy’s mother died last year and he and his younger brother are being raised by their grandmother. The village visited has no electricity, but the house has a solar panel. The enterprising grandmother of the house earns money by collecting a fee from people to charge their cell phones.


Pauli prayed with the woman. She said she prayed for a couple of minutes and then the grandmother prayed for at least ten minutes. She said, “Of course, it was in Spanish and I didn’t understand it, but it was powerful!”



Later, Pauli and Russell went back to the village to register kindergarteners in the sponsorship program. The grandmother with the powerful prayer was there to register her younger grandson. Pauli quickly told Russell, “I want him.”


Pauli said, “The grandmother was so thankful for our help and what we’re doing for the community. It was great to be able to take people to see their sponsored kids. Most of my team members from the first week already had sponsored kids. They ended up sponsoring an additional nine kids.”


Pauli spent her last week serving as a counselor at MK Retreat. She had the opportunity to lead small group discussions and she helped out at the canteen. She joked that she was very well received because she was the lady who sold them junk food! At the end of each day, she slept in a room with some of the girls. Pauli had a little extra adventure when she found a bat in her bed. It seems a group of boys pranked the wrong room and the bat was placed in Pauli’s bed in error. Oops!

“I believe everyone should take a mission trip. I wish teenagers were required to go on a trip before graduating high school. It’s about being the hands and feet of Jesus. And, as far as the sponsorships go… For $15 a month, that’s nothing,” Pauli said thoughtfully.

- posted by Christi

Friday, July 14, 2017

Russell's Birthday Week Adventures

Russell really knows how to celebrate his birthday week! He started his actual birthday with a phone call to me. What a party animal!


Russell dropped off the Hall family and their team on Sunday. The three following days were the first ones in two months the Sowers haven’t had someone visiting Honduras. As much as they enjoy guests and visiting teams, they had a lot of catching up to do!


On Monday, Allen, Trish, and Russell all had the task of getting their drivers licenses renewed. Fun, fun, fun! I hear the Honduran version of the DMV is every bit as enjoyable as the U.S. version! Russell got to go back on Tuesday to get his motorcycle license. Did I mention what a party animal he is?


Following the fun time at the DMV on Monday, they picked up some coffee from the roaster and then drove an hour to drop a truck off at a mechanic. With so many visiting teams, they haven’t had a chance to do routine vehicle maintenance in a while.


This is Pastors’ Training School week. Melvin did the shopping and the other local missionaries are taking care of the school duties.


Meanwhile, the Sowers are finishing up the paperwork for the 2nd quarter of the year. Receipts and paperwork will be sent back to their mission foundation to satisfy IRS requirements.


Russell is also catching up on things around the farm. Of course, farm work goes on even when the Sowers are with a team, but there are some things Russell needs to supervise. He was able to sit down with Carlos to determine farming priorities for the next several weeks. They are getting ready to plant for next year at the end of July. That means they need to fertilize, apply pesticide, and do a fair amount of chopping and hoeing.


A team is arriving on Thursday for a week long vision trip. The visiting pastor has been encouraged by his mother-in-law to check out Sowers4Pastors’ ministry. His mother-in-law has been down a number of times as part of Manna 4 Lempira. The team will consist of the pastor, his wife, another couple, and the pastor’s enthusiastic mother-in-law. The team will be visiting Pastors’ Training School, seeing a church they may want to help and get involved with, and seeing some projects Sowers4Pastors has done in the past.


Now, if you’re thinking Russell’s birthday week filled with the DMV, IRS paperwork, farm work, and going over details for this blog post don’t sound all that festive, don’t worry. R.J. came to the rescue. When asked how he thought they should celebrate Russell’s birthday, R.J. decided they needed a piñata! So, Russell had plans to take R.J. to pick out a piñata. In case you’re wondering, R.J.’s love of piñatas isn’t even about the candy. He loves whacking them with sticks! Russell laughed and said, “The other kids will get the candy and take it inside and R.J. will keep hitting it for about fifteen minutes!” Feliz Cumpleaños, Russell!

- posted by Christi