Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just an update on life in general

I've not written anything recently, so there are several items to be covered.

Power Outages: Every day (for about a week now), at approximately 6:15, our power goes out, for about half an hour. We don't know why. We've had some lovely candle-lit dinners recently.

Guests Coming: We have a family arriving to stay with us for ten days, arriving tonight. They are good friends I've known for years but never actually met. (The wife is an internet buddy.) They have a 7 year old son, 10 year old daughter, and 14 year old son, so there should be lots of fun times for all ages at our house!

New Year's Eve: If you recall from last year, the big event in Gracias on New Year's Eve is the burning of the Muñeco (here's the link to the post from last year). Burning is perhaps not the correct way to put this. . . the Muñeco is made of fireworks, so the Exploding of the Muñeco is probably more accurate. At any rate, our new house is less than a block from the location where this big event will take place, so we are certainly expecting an exciting and loud New Year's celebration at our house!

Christmas Gift Distribution: This process has been complicated this year by the early arrival of lots of gifts specifically for children, and the not-yet arrival of the rest of the donated items, to make complete gifts for the pastors and their families. We've delivered the gifts that only go to children (to orphans, feeding centers, the Special Needs kids, etc) and we've managed to put together about 40 of the pastor-and-family gifts. This is a rather small portion of the 250 or so families to whom we will be giving gifts. Lots of the presents will not be distributed until late January, but this has happened before, and isn't really a problem here. Hondurans are used to waiting for things, and are remarkably patient when things don't happen on schedule.

Sickness: Gus has been sick with nasty swollen tonsils for waaaay too long now. We've attacked with three different antibiotics, one after another, without success. We're pretty much resigned to the fact that those tonsils are gonna have to go . . . we just aren't exactly sure how to go about this. We'd feel most comfortable having this surgery done at a missionary hospital on the north coast, but that hospital is about 7-8 hours drive from here. I'll keep you posted.

That's about it for now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mugging and Kidnappings . . . well, sort of . . .

It's been an odd and unsettling couple of days. I'm delighted to report that we're all fine, but things have been interesting, for sure.

Yesterday, we had a man walk right into our house, and announce that he was looking for "John." Of course, we have no John in our family, and our house used to be an office before we rented it, so hopefully this was just an innocent mistake. Unsettling, though, that someone could walk right in off the street like that. We've had a lot of visitors lately, and I guess the dogs have decided that strangers are okay. We'll be working on that, and meanwhile, we're being much more vigilant about keeping the front gate locked!

Also yesterday, David was playing at the park, a bit apart from Rachel, who was sitting on a bench reading. Another little boy came up to David, and asked if he could see the toy David was playing with (a little plastic spy glass). When David handed it to the other child, the boy immediately ran off with it. We are all shocked at such a blatant crime. It is quite common for David to come home with fewer Matchbox cars than he carried with him to the park, after sharing them with the other children, but that isn't so unusual in such young children. This, however, was apparently a planned robbery! We've been joking that David was mugged, but it really isn't funny, is it? It's sad.

Then, this morning, Christopher ran an errand to the bank for us. After he left, we had a large number of visitors here at the house, and we transacted some complicated business for most of the morning. Finally, things quieted down, and I suddenly realized that Chris hadn't returned from the bank, and it was three hours later!

Now, you've all seen my stories about standing in line at the bank for multiple hours, so you know I wasn't surprised by this, but I did send one of the other children to check on Chris. She returned with the news that he wasn't in line at the bank, and he wasn't at any of the other banks, either.

Now I was starting to get concerned, so I called Allen and Russell, who were working at the construction site. When Russell mentioned that, a week ago, a young man was kidnapped from Gracias, and later released in another city a few hours from here, I began to seriously worry.

Russell came home, and started searching around the city, and we were all doing some serious praying. Eventually, Christopher simply walked in the front gate. He'd been in line at the bank for all those hours, and the other children had missed him (the bank guard, who knows us all fairly well, had told both Rachel and Russell that he hadn't seen Christopher, which of course didn't help the whole situation).

So, we didn't have a kidnapping, just a scare, but we did learn about our own need to ramp up security around here, starting immediately!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's been a while since we've posted a construction update

Recently, Allen and Russell have had some time in their schedules to work on our construction project. We have to squeeze this in between ministry events, and we have to actually have cash for materials, in order to go forward. So, things are slow.

But, here is the pouring of the final section of the floor in the bodega/warehouse. The carpenter has purchased the wood for the doors and windows, and is working on those. It will still be months before we move out there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Delivering Christmas Gifts in Quelacasque

Yesterday Allen and Alan, along with a few tag-a-long kids, delivered the gifts for the families with special needs children, in the village of Quelacasque. I wasn't along for the trip, I just received the pictures, most of which were taken by Bethany (age 12). Along with the pictures of the families and their gifts, I received a few random pictures. Just for fun, I'll share them, too.

For instance, what is this building? I'm fairly confident it isn't meant to be a house . . . but what would its purpose be, and why do we have a picture of it? (By the way, my guess is that this is a shelter for animals.)

Now, this next picture I know was taken to document the big landslide you can see in the background. You can click on the picture for a closer look. You can see how this landslide would have closed the road, although it has since been repaired. This is a very common problem in our area.

Here's a heartwarming shot of some kids and their . . . hog. Well, it warms my heart, anyway. I like pork. ;-D

Alright, I'll stop playing around now with the random photos, and show some of the ones that I expected to get - the families receiving their gifts.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's a big present delivery day tomorrow!

Alan and Faith Hayes and I spent this afternoon making up gift boxes for the families in our Special Needs Program. Because this group visits our house every month, to pick up their food packages, we know them better than we know many of the other people we help. They are a nice group of folks, who struggle to care for the medical needs of their special children, in addition to the regular day-to-day struggle of living in the mountains of Lempira.

Tomorrow morning, Allen and Alan (and whichever family members choose to tag along) will travel to the village of Quelacasque, to deliver the gifts and the food for this month. While they are doing this, Faith and I will be back at my house, making up about a dozen gifts for pastors and their families. The men will deliver those gifts to the city of La Esperanza in the afternoon.

Recent rains up in the mountains have swollen the nearby rivers, and we feared the trip to Quelacasque would have to be postponed, as there is a largish river to be forded between there and Gracias. But Alan Hayes drove out and checked the water level today, and determined that it was passable. Hopefully it will still be so tomorrow!

I expect to have some pictures of these outings to post tomorrow evening.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Whew! That's (almost) done!

I set aside the past two weeks to write our end-of-the-year newsletter and update our website. The newsletter normally doesn't take me long to write, but this one was more of a ministry report than a newsletter, and that took longer, as I had to keep doing fact checking. If you're interested, the newsletter is posted here.

I'd set myself a deadline of this past Friday to finish updating the website. I didn't make my deadline, so if you go over there, you'll see some places where a few finishing touches are needed. Still, I think you'll mostly get a feel for the whole thing. The website is www.sowers4pastors.com.

It wouldn't take as long to update the website if I did it more often. But, since I try to update the whole site as infrequently as possible, I find I have to relearn a lot of the how-to, each time I start into this major project.

I'm past the major remodeling now, and am working my way through a list of minor additions and changes. Things like: why is there no picture of Christopher on the family page? Why does the church construction page have a list, containing only one item? Etc.

I've optimistically stated on the site that I'll be done making the changes on Monday. Of course, I'm updating the entire site . . . if necessary I can update that deadline date, as well. ;-D

Friday, December 12, 2008

Apparently, you can grow corn almost anywhere

Honduras is an extremely mountainous country. Most of the rural mountain people survive on corn they have grown for their own consumption. Here is an example of some of the land being farmed in our department of Lempira:

Obviously, they aren't using a tractor, or even a mule, to work these "fields."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Junior Missionaries

We've always made a habit of involving our children in the work we are doing here in Honduras. Sometimes that works out better than other times, but it has become a way of life. The recent visit to distribute gifts at the orphanages was no exception. Here are a few pictures of the children (mine, the Hayes' and the Wards') working together and (mostly) helping out with the ministry.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just drawing your attention back to my pila post

I put in an update, with pictures of Faith's pila. I was too lazy to make my pila presentable, in order to get a postable picture. So, look here, and you'll see what a pila looks like.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas for the Orphans

I'm just swamped with the work on the website, but I couldn't wait any longer to share these pictures from the recent Christmas gift deliveries to the orphanages in Santa Rosa de Copan. The first picture below is the Hayes family, getting ready to pull out with their sleigh full of gifts!

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped to make these happy moments possible!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Busy-ness Has Begun!

Yesterday Allen, some of our kids, and the Hayes family traveled to the three orphanages in Santa Rosa de Copan, to deliver Christmas gifts to the orphans. I stayed home, to work on our website, which is receiving a major update, while the house was comparatively quiet. Feel free to browse the site and look at all the broken links and empty pages, if you like that sort of thing - www.sowers4pastors.com. I hope to finish it up in the next week. Also, please let me know what you think. It will encourage and motivate me if I know people are watching! ;-D

You'll have to wait until later for me to post the pictures of the orphans, as I have to get back to doing school with the kids right now. It's gonna be grab a minute when you can, for the next month or so, as far as blogging goes!