Monday, January 26, 2015

Catching up on stuff . . . Christian Radio Station Project, Part 1

Here's a report on a project we've been helping with for several months - I just haven't posted about it yet!

If you follow our ministry in detail, I'm sure you know that we don't run a Christian radio station, LOL. However, in the past year we have been pleased to have several opportunities to use our construction skills to help other missionaries with needed building projects for their ministries. It's fun to be a part of a type of ministry we wouldn't likely do on our own, and to be a blessing to those missionaries who don't have the same construction skills and experience we do. You may recall the small bridge we constructed (with help and funds from a visiting team) for an orphanage in another part of Honduras last summer. This time, we partnered with a local missionary, just a few miles down the road from us . . .  AND (here's a teaser for you) . . . there's another project in the works which might have Allen and Russell traveling to build a bridge in Haiti in the next year or so, for a ministry there!

But now . . . the radio station project!

A Christian radio station was started in our area about 4-5 years ago. Currently, a missionary from Texas, Shannon Hopkins, is directing the station. Shannon, like us, has multiple ministries going, including this radio station, a feeding program, and working as the chaplain at the bilingual school Ben is now attending.

There was a need for housing for a watchman at the radio station property. Shannon asked Russell to oversee this project. Like the bridge we helped with at the orphanage, a team from the US raised the funds for the materials, and came to work alongside our crew for a week during the actual building process.

Below is Boo's photo chronicle of this project, as the house for the watchman was built. Since there are so many photos, the rest of the work we did at the radio station will have to be included in a "part 2" post. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Before you know it, we're going to have a ROOF on our new house! I'm so excited! The men have worked hard on this house, but only during the lulls between other, ministry-related construction projects, so it's been a slow process. We've been living on the property, in our bodega/warehouse, for five and a half years now  - it really is time for us to have a house, and amenities like interior walls!

The lumber for the roof was purchased back in August of last year, and has been sitting out drying (and getting rained on, and drying again) all this time.

Off and on, when they've had time over the past couple of months, the men have worked on planing the rough lumber. Once a large enough pile of planed boards was ready, they started staining them.

Gradually we are amassing a pile of dried, planed, bug-treated, stained boards. These will be the rafters of our roof, and will be visible from inside the house, as part of the ceiling.

The photo below is the ceiling of the "team house". . . which is similar to the ceiling which will be in our home, except that we're planning to whitewash the flat boards, and just have the support beams stained. 

The house will have porches in front and back, so we have wooden posts for porch roof supports:

If you're good with your imagination, you can look at these photos of the house, and imagine what it will look like with a ROOF and covered porches.

Back porch-to-be
Front of house (porch will be on the left)

So, there you go! A ROOF in the making!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Can you help us with this problem, RIGHT AWAY????? It's (almost) URGENT!

I hate to use the word "urgent" in anything I post, because, after our kidnapping situation, people might see that word and think that danger is involved. I'll reserve the word "urgent" for when I need you to drop everything and pray immediately, okay? Meanwhile, I'll go with VERY IMPORTANT AND TIME SENSITIVE, for this post. How's that?

This is a VERY IMPORTANT AND TIME SENSITIVE POST!!!! Please read it right away, before we're OUT of time!!!

In addition to filling the annual shipping container with donations, we also have to receive permission from the government to import the container and contents duty-free. This year it was MUCH harder and took MUCH longer to get the duty-free situation in hand. That's why (in case you haven't already heard) the container hasn't shipped yet. 

We received the preliminary permission this week, and we'll be shipping before the end of January . . .  but there's a hitch . . . . we will not be allowed to ship the huge spools of cable, which have been collected for us to use in building bridges here, in this particular container. We expect to be able to ship them in the future, just not this time.

So, we have permission to ship the container, but with the spools removed we are back to having EMPTY SPACE TO FILL! And those spools are huge, so it is a large amount of space!

Oh my! We DO NOT like to pay to ship EMPTY SPACE! Noooooooooooo!

So, my request is as follows: Can you help us fill the empty space in this container, in the next TEN DAYS???????? That's how long we have for this!

Ways you can help are listed below:

- if you live in the MD, northern VA, DC, and southern PA areas, you could possibly collect items and deliver them to Thurmont or Walkersville Maryland. I will list the delivery locations below, but you MUST call to make sure that someone will be there at the time you deliver. Allen wanted me to mention that he has asked, in the past, at Salvation Army locations, and they have been willing to donate items if you tell them that they are going to be put into a missionary container. Just an idea, if you have a place near you!

7047 Blue Mountain Road
Thurmont, MD



Fredericktowne Baptist Church

8645 Biggs Ford Road 
Walkersville, MD 
(301) 898-8600 

- if you do not live locally to the connection sites, or you don't have items to donate or time to deliver things, you can still help. There is still (barely) enough time to purchase items on Amazon and have them delivered by the time the container ships. We never have enough school supplies, backpacks, small gifts for men (wallets, pocket knives, ties, socks, etc). All of the other items listed in the linked post can also still be sent . . . they will NOT go to waste!

If you are shipping donations, use this address:

Gifts for Gracias c/o Jim Cofer

7047 Blue Mountain Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

Can you help with this? We would be SO GRATEFUL! I think you all know how much we abhor wasting donated funds, and we are just finding ourselves backed into a situation which may force us to be inefficient with money - and none of us want that!!!!

On the chance that anyone here is completely unfamiliar with the Gifts for Gracias project . . . here is a link that will give you all of the details: Gifts for Gracias: See What We See

From the Sowers family, I say:

And from the actual gift recipients, I pass this along:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gifts for Gracias - A Post From a Very Special Donor

We appreciate everyone who helps us create gifts for the Gifts for Gracias project every year - those who put together a gift for a boy or girl of a specific age, or a family gift (which blesses the parents as well), those who send bulk items we use to create additional gifts, and the people who collect and donate used clothing and bedding in good condition, which are valued parts of the entire gift package - but I think you'll agree with me that this donation is something unusually special!

Meet Jules - a long time friend of mine, even though we've never actually been in the same place at the same time. We connected through an online homeschooling forum more than a dozen years ago. Jules is a quilter - she pieces and quilts lovely items herself, and also does quilting for others, as a business. This year, she decided to do something extra-special for her donation to the Gifts for Gracias project . . . but I'll let you read the details in her own words from her blog. 

This year when I saw blankets as a need on the list and saw what a blanket costs (when did I buy a blanket last???), I figured I had fabric, I’d make quilts for part of my box.  I officially took off the week of Thanksgiving from customer work and spent my quilting time making quilts for an unknown loved one in a faraway land.  It was so fun to make from what I had and be able to do whatever I wanted.  I ended up playing quite a bit with my quilting.  Midst the work, my mind prayed for the Sowers family and those that will receive my meager gifts ... read more here

Click on this photo for a close-up on the amazing detail in the stitching!

Head on over to Jules' blog, And Sew On . . . , to see the quilts she made for us. I'm so excited for the opportunity to give these lovely gifts away this year!