Saturday, June 29, 2013

Honduras Day Seven

It's hard to believe this will be the last post about our days in Honduras. Time has flown, but yet, it also feels like we've been here our whole lives.

We were able to sleep in a little this morning since we didn't have to leave the bed and breakfast until 9 a.m. We also had enough time to do a devotional after breakfast with the extra time. 

Then we headed back to Mogote to watch some soccer games. Ruben, one of the staff members at Hope for Honduras, is extremely passionate about soccer and has started a league. We are so excited for this mission because he is getting the young boys and young men and using soccer, something they love, to teach them how to become better citizens in their community. Machismo, or the attitude that many of the local men in Honduras that they can do whatever they whenever they because they are men, is a huge issue. If Ruben can get the boys, he can get the men, and if he can get the men, he can get the families into church. 

There were cows, dogs and a horse roaming around

After the games were over we headed to Valle de Angeles (Valley of Angles) for some tourist-y shopping. We enjoyed an outdoor lunch at a local restaurant and then enjoyed spending the afternoon walking around the beautiful town and grabbing a few souvenirs to bring home.

We are back at the bed and breakfast until we leave for our week wrap-up at Ron and Shelly's house. I think it's safe to say we can expect quite a few tears as we reflect on what all we've learned this week and say goodbye to this beautiful country that has given so much to all of us.

See you all soon!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Honduras Day Six

Today was another culmination of a huge project we've been working on all week: the house dedication ceremony!

When the first group went to the work site on Monday, the foundation was already laid the workers were waiting to get started. It only took three days to build and paint the entire house, which is 16x20 feet.

In order for a family to receive a house, they have to prove that they own their property, prove they are who they say they are, and prove that they currently live there with a current electricity bill. When Ron and Shelly first started building homes, they took care of all the orphans and widows and single fathers. Then they expanded to house with more than one family (or more than 7/8 people), and have since expanded even more.

Who has bigger muscles? 
The family we built a house for has four kids. They will most likely keep their previous house to use as a kitchen and live in the new part we built. Here are some pictures:

The house has one window, and this is the view. The mom was so proud of her view, and we all agree that it is absolutely breathtaking.

This is the front of their old house.

This is the back of the old house. You can see how much work they had put into gathering scraps of wood to make a wall.

The old latrine is on the right

New latrine

We put all of the new goodies on the two full-size beds. One had pantry items and the other had cleaning items and a few toys for the kids.

In addition, we bought a dining table with four complete place settings plus a child's table with two place settings.

The ceremony itself is one of the most beautiful things I have experienced. The mom and two of her boys were home, so we each read our scripture that had to do with certain elements of Christ and/or the church and presented the gift that went along with it. At the end of ceremony the father was able to come, which really completed the ceremony. Leanne and Ernie washed the family's feet while the rest of us sang "El Nos Ama" (How He Loves Us). There was not a single dry eye in the place at the end of the ceremony.

When the family saw their new house they were speechless. They couldn't express their gratitude enough. But really, it was we who should have been thanking them. We were blessed so much more through the process of measuring and nailing and drilling and painting and praying for this family than they could ever know.

After the very emotional ceremony, we headed back to the mission to say goodbye to the staff (but just until next year!) and then set out to see the pewter factory.

This afternoon we had the pleasure of going up into a park to see the "Jesus Statue" that we've noticed all week.

Everything about the park was beautiful and we had way too much fun playing in the little "hall of mirrors" we discovered on our way out.

We are quickly bringing this trip to an end, but our work is no where close to finished. We have been changed so much already, but we pray that as we go home and resume our lives we will not forget the lessons we have been taught here.

Until tomorrow-

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Honduras Day Five

After working off and on all week on bagging 4500 pounds of food, we were blessed to the Lord's hands and feet today and pass it all out to families in need.

Each family received one five-pound bag each of rice, corn, and beans. The families were not expecting the food; the foundation chooses a different colonia every week and no one knows except two or three people which colonia it is until Thursday morning before teams leave to pass out the food. This is part of the incredible gift of discernment we have seen over and over again in Ron and Shelly; unfortunately, this society can be very manipulative and there are often people who do not live in the selected colonia who hear of the location where food will be passed out and go there, hoping for a handout. A different colonia is selected each week and all of them are chosen over the course of the summer.

The entire process is fairly long, starting with the foundation ordering huge sacks of corn, rice, and sometimes beans (because of recent droughts, beans are more expensive than they used to be). When teams arrive at the center, people spend any time between different activities filling small sacks with the appropriate amount of food. The bagging process is actually a little harder than it sounds because you have to make sure you are measuring the exact correct amount, or else at the end you won't have enough to fill all the required bags. And when that happens, you have to go back and re-weigh every single back, and the ones that are even a quarter of a pound have to be cut open, re-weighed to the correct amount, and then re-bagged. Not that we had to do that or anything...

We finished bagging everything yesterday morning. This morning the guys hauled the 100-pounds sack down the stairs and into the back of a truck. Shelly explained that we were to follow the two workers from the center who would be telling us who to give food to. The rules are that we only give food to people who are in their homes unless one of the workers feels God telling him differently. If we gave out food to people in the streets, the truck would be swarmed and everything would be gone within minutes.

These people were lucky to have enough space outside their house to have a kitchen. Most people have their kitchen inside. Since they cook over an open fire, the heat can be unbearable inside. 

We followed our two workers through the streets, up the mountains, and down the alleys. We worked all morning passing out food, took a lunch break, then came and finished up in about 1.5 hours after lunch. The people were so thankful when they opened their doors and saw the bags of food.

Today was a happy day. The past several have been pretty emotionally taxing, and though there were tough parts to this job, we were part of sharing God's bounty with his children today. How much more could we have been blessed?

But of course, we were blessed more. Since we had a little extra time in the afternoon, we were able to spend time in the streets just playing with and loving on the kiddos. Some people also went to the bilingual school at the foundation and helped the kids practice their English.

Until tomorrow-

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Honduras Day Four

I've collected some short stories from the other team members to share with you today.

First up is Ernie, who went with the group to help feed the kids in the street today.
Today I experienced God working during the feeding of the children. We ran out of food and saw a child smiling, ready for his daily meal and then turned away because there was no more food.  For me to see the sadness and the disappointment in this one child sadden me.  I firmly believe it was God in the child. I hope and pray that God was able to provide this child something to eat."

From Leanne: 
"Today Sheri, Leah, Jenn, Caden and I went and painted the house which will be presented to the family Friday. The family who will be living there currently lives next store and as we were painting Daniel, who is 3, kept peeking around the corner and watching us. Occasionally we would catch a smile.  About 20 minutes before we left the mother came out and told us there are 4 children, Daniel and 3 other boys. She was very grateful and had a lovely smile. He ended up getting paint on him and wanted to show Jenn every spot. It was very sweet.
The home is very small for a family of 6, but the view is spectacular. The home overlooks mountains and took my breath away. 
Today I faced my fear of heights by standing on a ladder over the top of a cliff to paint the top.  I knew that God was there and was safe.  This family doesnt have a lot, but the love I saw on their faces was priceless."     

From Krissy: 
"Today I went to the womens class in la colonia de Berlin.  We shared our bible lesson with the women about how much God loves them, talked to them about how they are a treasure of God.  We sang some worship songs and loved on them, hugged on them.  We also laid hands on the ladies who were sick or who had prayer requests.  It was very powerful and spirit led." 

And from Abby: 
Today I helped with the kids' crafts in the morning. The kids were learning about pride and how we have to lay it down. We gave the kids pieces of cardstock, traced their hands, and then had them draw pictures of five things they could pray for, like their parents, siblings, the church, Honduras, or the world. The kids love the opportunity to get creative, but sometimes they like the opportunity to get their picture taken just as much! 

In the afternoon I joined Shelly and two other ladies from our group to go into Tegucigalpa and buy the furnishing for the house that was finished today. I am so excited for the house dedication on Friday when the family will finally receive the blessing they have been waiting on for so long. 
Wednesday has become a day of fasting from lunch at Hope for Honduras. Instead of eating, the staff comes together to worship and find the presence of God and pray for the foundation. I think a few of us, including myself, weren't too sure about the whole fasting thing at first. Just before the normal lunch time, several of us mentioned that we were hungry. But as Krissy played her guitar and allowed the Holy Spirit to move us into the secret place, we were filled with the nourishment of Christ. We were reminded that He and He alone is sufficient for us; our flesh is weak but we can find solace in the presence of the King. When we emerged from lunch time, we were full to the brim and had no problem going until dinner. 

It is amazing what a simple act such as fasting does for the spirit, especially when it is done purposefully and with a group of like-minded brothers and sisters. Not only were we reminded of how weak we are without Him, we were given a teeny tiny glimpse into the life of many of the people in Mogote, who are hungry on a regular basis. 

The Lord orchestrated the fast to fall on today, the first day that our team ran out of food while feeding the children in the streets. For many of these children, this is the only meal they will receive all day, so when Mario had to tell children, "No mas comida," our group was slapped in the face with the harsh reality that so many have to face. We were reminded that God is the provider of all things and without him, we can do nothing- we have nothing. 

Until tomorrow-
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