Monday, June 30, 2014

Monkeys & a Flat Tire

Today is Sunday, a day of rest and travel.
Hot, even in front of a fan!


We headed back out to Agua Agria to worship with our brothers and sisters there.  After spending the day up on the mountain at Mission Lazarus, we weren’t real excited about heading back to the sweat box. (Sarah said they thermometers were reading 102 degrees the other day before she even tried to use it on the patients!)



It wouldn’t be Honduras if something didn’t happen.  We had just gotten on the rocky road to our village, when one of our tires blew.  We travel around in an old school bus, so we have a total of four tires.  There was no place to go for a repair and we didn’t have a spare, so we carefully made our 20 minute drive down the rocky road to our village.

Steve Johnson from Bell Shoals church of Christ entertaining the children before church.


It always is wonderful to worship in Central America.  The members always sing out with passion.  No can say they are truly participating in the song service.  Jeremy Myers , a youth minister from Cave Springs, Arkansas, gave the sermon and did a wonderful job.  I was actually one of the lucky ones and got to sit in front of a fan.  IT WAS STILL HOT THOUGH!    

If you look in the background, you can see Bev and Amber waiting for the bathroom!


At the end of the service, the ninos came in from Sunday school and handed out cards they had made.  It was very sweet and touching. Also, Sirhan got up and thanked us profusely for helping the community and showing the community that the inglesia de Cristo (Church of Christ) wanted to help them. (Even though it is the only church building there, everyone in the village does not attend church.)  Outside of the church, we learned that some of the ladies had made us a treat.  It was like a fried tortilla with refried beans and parmesan cheese on it.

This was right across from the church, the piglets were sure enjoying the mud!!!


We always spend 20-30 minutes hugging and saying “Proximo Ano”. (Next Year)  We are always sad to say goodbye and the little follow us to the bus, holding our hands, hugging and laughing with us.

views on the ride back

We had a long trip back to Teguc, but it was fairly uneventful.  As we went up the mountains, the temperatures start to drop and we started cooling off.  We did take a bathroom break at a very nice place that had a restaurant and a small free zoo out back.  It was a nice place to look around, buy water and stretch our legs.

This monkey was enjoying the water.

We stopped for dinner in Teguc and made it back to Villa Gracia around 7.  Room assignments were handed out and we had a short devotional.  There is another group here from West Virginia, so we have many people trying to use the internet.  That’s why I’m typing this around 5:30 am on Monday.  I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do today.  Some of us are coming down with tummy issues, but I’m still fine!!

We know we are close to the city when we see these.


Hasta luego!


PJ  xoxo



Sunday, June 29, 2014

No Trabajar!!!!

morning devo

Normally on Torch trips, we work 6 days a week.  I guess our leaders took pity on the fact that we had been working in indoor steam rooms for 3 days and they let us have a day off!!!
Walking up to the covered pavilion where we had lunch, heaven on Earth!




First of all, we could eat breakfast anytime between 7 and 9, so that meant we could sleep in.  I sleep till after 6, which was late for me.  Devo was at 9:30 and the plan was to hit the road around 10.  I was very excited that we were headed to a beautiful place I had visited on my first Torch trip.  We drove about an hour up into the mountains to a community called San Marcos to spend time touring Mission Lazarus.


Local wildlife, One of these landed on my shirt later!
About 10 years ago, they were able to buy thousands of acres of land for a great deal and their mission was started there.  Jarred (Brown?) has a great story of how he ended up there.  He was not a Bible or a missions major, but a business/finance major, but he had gone on a mission trip.  After graduation, he started a lucrative career, but basically gave all of that up to come down here.  When he called his dad, his dad said, “Honduras has enough poor people, they don’t need one more!”
This is my delicious lunch, chicken skewers.




I won’t be able to describe all of the things they do as eloquently as he did, but I’m going to add their website address and list at least a few of the things they do.  Their main goal though is to plant churches.

This is a cool gift shop they have built.

Leather making school

(Dairy farm, gardening, beef, evangelizing, job training, medical clinics, economic development, orphanages, coffee plantation, and I’m sure many more things.)


I am up on the mountain surrounded by coffee bushes.

The land was as beautiful as I remembered, but there were many additions.  Mission Lazarus is now equipped to house and feed mission groups and actually other groups that might travel through.  We ate a delicious meal of either beef or chicken under a pavilion up on a mountain.  The views were breathtaking!  The temperatures were probably 30 degrees cooler, plus it was very windy and there was no humidity.


After lunch, Jarred shared about Mission Lazarus and answered questions.  As he was talking, I had an insect that was about 4 inches long land on my shirt.  It’s a good thing I’m not scared of bugs because I didn’t scream and interrupt our speaker.  


This is the chief of the coffee production. No, his name is not Juan Valdez.


coffee, up close

 It was a little hazy, but we were looking at Nicaragua and a volcano. (Maybe not in this exact view.)

We stopped at this patio, enjoyed the sights and had a fresh brewed cup of coffee.


 Selfie from an overlook.

Jarred also offered us a four wheel tour drive tour up into the mountain and about 26 of our group took the tour.  I have lots of pictures, so enjoy!!!  I won’t try to describe them all.  Tomorrow is Sunday, our plan is to worship with the brothers and sisters in Agua Agria and then make the 3-4 hour trip back to Teguc.


Hasta luego!!


PJ  xoxo


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Even the birds speak Spanish!

I’m sitting here in the courtyard of our hotel enjoying the fact that it hasn’t gotten too hot yet.  I come out every day because I’m an early riser and I don’t want to disturb my roommates.  It’s so neat to feel the early morning breeze and here the birds chirping.  Today, I’m seeing what appears to be a common looking brown bird like we have back home, but its call was different.  Hmmm…..even the birds speak Spanish!  J
morning devo





You often here other animal sounds and I found out a noise that I thought was some kind of cricket, was actually a gecko.  We seem them all around the hotel.  For some reason, we have also seen several little frogs in our shower.  They must come up through the drain because I took one outside and then the next day there was another one!



On Friday, the plan was to serve the community of Agua Agria by giving the 150 people in the community a food bag and clothes.  I had been very concerned since we left Teguc because we didn’t have room to bring all of the clothes in our warehouse.  Usually we don’t have enough small men’s clothes, so we tried to get enough for them and bring all of our shoes.  We ran out of room in the truck, so we brought what we could.  I’ve told many of my friends, but the men here are much shorter than North Americans.  None of them wear over a size large shirt or a size 10 shoe, so many of the donated clothes won’t work.



By the time we reached the village, as always, there was already a line of people waiting to start.  Diane and I went to the classroom to prepare for her Ladies’ Bible lesson while the rest of the team either organized clothes and shoes, broke down the bulk food, brought up rocks for the foundation of the outside construction, or played with children.  Our multi-talented Pat Gutherie installed ceiling fans in the church.
This is the preacher's son that was born right after we left last year.  He enjoyed putting the Bibles in the suitcase. 


Diane’s lesson today was about prayer.  She had purchased about 50 Spanish Bibles and had the ladies of her congregation write their names and a prayer request in the Bible.  She included a picture of the lady in the Bible with her name.  The plan was to give each lady a Bible and we would give them a card and have them write back to the lady in the USA.  I prepared the cards by putting the names on them.


The lesson went really well.  Diane did a great job and Lily Perez from Brandon, FL translated. (I believe that she is originally from Puerto Rico.)  I said a pray in English and she said one in Spanish.  The ladies loved looking at the pictures of their North American “prayer partners” and wrote notes to them.  Diane had also purchased an Instamatic camera and we took pictures of all of the ladies to add to the note.
  At the end of the lesson it started raining and I don’t mean a sprinkle, I mean a monsoon, so all of the ladies stayed there for another 45 or minutes or so.   It is interesting how you can make friends and fellowship even when you hardly speak the same language.  I got out the camera on my phone and they all loved taking “selfies” with me.  It was so dark because of the rain, they didn’t turn out well.


Yes, I know I look like I have jumped in a pool.  I am wet, but it was totally from sweating.  It was very humid today.  The picture is so grainy because we didn't have electricity and it was pouring down rain outside.
A lot of our young people enjoyed playing with the little kids.

Diane and I worked in the Sunday school room all day and apparently the rest of the people worked on food and clothes all day.  Every time I checked on their progress, it seemed as if the line wasn’t getting any shorter.  I had been very concerned that we didn’t bring enough clothes, but when we finally finished around 3:30, they were still giving out clothes!!



FYI:  If you ever donate clothes for Central America, here is what is needed:  Women’s blouses, skirts and dresses (nothing over a large, most need smaller than that), Women’s sandals, and low-heeled shoes size 8 or less (no high heels), Men’s pants and collared shirts (Size large or less).  Some of the women will wear pants, especially the younger ones.  Most of the adults and older children do not want t-shirts.
Our bus driver picked up another lady and her baby to hitch a ride with us.  This is Pat holding the little baby.


All in all, it was a good day.  I hope my thoughts are not too scattered!  Today was our last work day in Choluteca.  The plan is to go back and worship with them on Sunday morning and then we will head back to Teguc.
This is Pat, one of my good Torch friends, he has been coming about 12 years.  He can pretty much do or build anything.


Hasta luego!!!


PJ  xoxo

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rain does NOT cool you off in Choluteca

We finished up our medical clinic on Thursday because both of our doctors had to either go home or had other commitments.  Our medical/eye glass teams saw a total of about 340 patients in two days.
Our bus driver always picks up the ladies and children and lets them "hitch" a ride with us.
The nurse and doctors mostly gave out medications for parasites (most of the little kids) and antibiotics for upper respiratory system.  There were  only a couple of potentially serious cases.  An elderly lady was taken to the hospital because of her blood pressure and she was admitted and there were some babies with fevers.

Here's some of our medical team.  They have done an amazing job considering we are very short of translators.



  I worked in the eye glass clinic again today.  We had several older people who had very poor vision and they would just have to try on all of the glasses until one worked.

Donated prescription glasses (These plastic bins later served well for our foot washings.  You get pretty resourceful down here!)

Diane had this little old lady who said she had cataracts.  She kept trying them on and would make faces when the glasses didn’t work.  Diane said she tried on almost every pair she had and then finally she found a pair and she started reading the Bible.  She kept reading the Bible as tears were running down her cheeks.  Almost every one of us had similar touching experiences.
I believe this was the lady with cataracts. If you will look closely, we have rigged up boxes and suitcases to make a table for our donated reading glasses.


In the afternoon, I helped Diane in the Ladies’ Bible class.  Thursday’s lesson was about baptism.  I had brought some of my earrings and had hoped I would have enough to give to all of the ladies in class, but I didn’t,  so, I decided to mark 5 chairs and give those ladies a pair of earrings. I used an illustration that I got from our preacher to give out the earrings.

This is Karen with her children.  She helped us all day inside the church and came to everyone of our Ladies' Bible classes and church services.  She made a special connection with Diane's preacher's wife who came the year before last.  You can see she is wearing the bracelet that I made with the ladies on the first day.

I told the ladies that  I had a gift for 5 people.  I held the earrings up and asked if they would like to have them and I just stood there.  Then, I said, “If you want them you must come and get them and receive them.”  I then asked them, if the earrings cost them anything.  I asked them if they earned the earrings and they said, “No, they are free.”
This is Aaron Erkleman, one of our big guys.  You can see how we can get inventive.  Some of the men worked on a covered area where additional classes can be help outside.
  I asked them if they had to do anything to get the earrings and they realized they had to do what I asked and get up and get them.  I explained that we must obey God by repenting and being baptized for remission of our sins.  It is a free gift that we must receive from God.  We finished the lesson by giving the ladies a sugar scrub, foot washing and a new pair of flip flops thrown in for good measure.


While we were having our class, many of the young people had a VBS lesson for the children.  We finished up the evening with a gospel meeting at the church.  Today was a little different because we had a hard rain.  It seemed to cool off everything for about 10 minutes and then it was even more humid.  One more day to work at Choluteca!!



Hasta luego!!
We start the day and end the day with a devotional to God. Steve Schneider from Mobile, Alabama is leading this one.


PJ  xoxo