Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Frankies house built with love

My wireless keyboard is acting up again today.  All of the shift keys arent working correctly so, grammar police, please forgive me!

Today is Monday and it is the last house I have to build with donations.  This house was built in memory of Frankie Caratini, a young man and father of two.  He lost his life tragically at the hands of another several months ago.  His mother, friends and family mourn his loss to this day.

It was a blessing to be able to bring a small ray of sunshine to this horrible incident.

The morning started out rainy, so I was wondering if it would be another *pigpen* build.  You know like the other one where we were wallering in the mud.  It actually cleared up and it was a great day to build.

This was the beginning of the hike, but the picture doesnt do it justice!

We were told that this family was referred to us by our busdriver and the night before it was announced that it would be my last house.   In total, our team will have built 14 houses in all!

This is the mom and two of her children.  The parents said they had two more children, but we didnt know where they were.  This little girl had a dirty plastic baby doll with matted hair, but I didnt get a picture of her with it.

When you go on a build you are always wondering a few things, 1.  Will the lumber be at the site?
2.  How far will you have to hike to get to the site? and 3.  How steep will the hike be?

The suitcase is filled with our housewarming presents.  It had sheets, towels, Spanish Bible, a few toys,  linens, a pot, and other household items. 

Usually the bus can only go so far on these dirt, steep, rutted roads.  He let us out and I asked where the site was and he pointed up to what looked like a cell phone tower.  Needless to say, I was glad I had my hiking boots.  Everyone said this was the steepest site they had ever seen.  We were basically right below the cell phone tower.  We could look across the valley to the mountains on the other side and we lookee even with the Jesus statue!!!  We were lucky enough to have tire steps most of the way, even though they went straight up!!!

These hikes always make you feel out of shape, but I feel some comfort in knowing that the higher altitudes makes it harder.  Even though we had the tire steeps, there was one spot, where there was only rock and dirt and you had to find your footing just like you were rock climbing.  I always take a posthole digger to help me.  We didnt lose anyone and the built went extremely well.  We were done before 3 and and then we headed back down.  Im not ashamed to say, that on the part without the tires, I went down on my bottom.

A Honduran man saw us and came over and asked us to pray for his girlfriend.  There had been some dispute over land and a man lashed out and cut her on the back with a machete.  I didnt see it, but they said she probably had 60-70 stitches.  

This is the family and you can see whats left of there house that was torn down.

On a side note, I had two Clarksville teens on my build, Meghan Judd and Garrett Roberts.  Meghan had been with me on another build, but it was so great to see what wonderful young people they have grown up to be.  I know their parents are proud!

If possible, we try to give the family a housewarming gift.  We put household items and other things for the family.  We dont usually know what the family consists of, but Im so glad Jo Dawn put this stuffed cat in our box!!  This is one happy little girl!!  

We had a small team that went to Didasko orphanage to paint the playground and bunkbeds.  The other team broke down medicine for a medical clinic and they went on a Gatoraid blitz.  They basically went around town looking for street workers.  They give them a Gatoraid and tell them, In the name of Jesus or something similar.  Weve been told that the workers now look for us!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The fruits of our labors, Sunday

Today is the Lord:day 

By the way my little Apple keyboard suddenly won:t let me use the apostrophe!!!! I also found out that my parentheses aren:t working, so please bare with me.  I don:t pretend to be a great writer, but it:s kind of embarassing when a teacher makes simple grammatical mistakes!!  

See the houses toward the back, they are Torch houses.

Our plan was to worship with the church of Christ at El Diamante.  You may remember that this is the area that is *on fire* with the Lord.  The Keys group had already built two classrooms there and we plan and we have built several homes there.  )If you look closely, you can see Torch homes in the pictures.

)Unfortunately, many Hondurans play futbol on Sunday instead of going to church.  I was thinking they should organize a church league for after church and maybe have a meal or something.)

Church services here are always wonderful.  The Hondurans sing out and their love of God seems to surround and envelope you.  Of course, when we sing, we have to show we are enthusiastic too.  Garrett Roberts from Clarksville, TN led the singing and did a super job.

Terry had a large rock and asked what that rock was.  Of course, everyone said a rock, but he told us a story about Michaelangelo.  Someone asked how he made the scuplture of David from a rock. Michaelangelo said that David was inside the rock, he just had to let him out.   We are all rocks, but in the creators hands, we can be beautiful creations, instead of rocks.  We have to let God use us and mold us into what He wants us to be.  

Terry finished and then our interpreter started talking in Spanish with so much force and passion that other Honduran:s started coming to the windows to look inside.  I could follow most of what he was saying or almost screaming.  He was saying, Clothes don:t matter, family doesn:t matter, friends don:t matter.  God is first!!!  At one point, he got on a chair.  He continued this for about 10 minutes.  I think if I hadn:t been right with the Lord, I would have been walking up!!!  That:s how much passion he spoke with!

The invitation ended with 3 baptisms and more comments by the normal preacher.  I think he had to add to the sermon.  I think in all the whole service probably lasted almost 2 hours..  Another fact:  we have worshipped there in the past and we had to sit on the floor.  This year, we had chairs!!   I took me a little while to realize that the chairs had come from the container that had arrived a couple of days ago!   I cant remember if I mentioned it or not because I wasn:t feeling well that evening and I didn:t work as hard as most people did.  I:m sure everyone  was happy to see the fruits of their labor!!

(Torch members are touring the new classrooms which also had new desks that came from the container our team unloaded.)

Sundays always consist of visiting La Esperanza, the mission that trains women with skills so they can get jobs to support their families.  Our group spent about an hour or more shopping there and then we headed to Valle de Angeles for a relaxing day of shopping.  We ended the day back at the mission house with dinner provided by a restaurant that caters called Taco Loco.  Sunday is the one day that the Villa Gracia staff gets off.  They worked so hard Saturday that it is too bad they can:t take more time off!!

Valley of the Angels pictures

Evening devo, plus you will see another tradition.  If you leave belongings around you have to perform to get them back.  It might be singing, Im a little teapot, or some other stunt.

Stay tuned, tomorrow, Lord willing, will be my last house build!!!  Please forgive the wacky punctuation marks!  I don:t have time to change them all, even if I could!!  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

6/27 Market shopping & Feliz cumpleanos!

Saturday was Jenny Lovell's birthday. If you have ever gone on a trip with Torch, you know Jenny.  She has a heart that is as big as Honduras and she loves every single person in Honduras.  Not only does she loves them, she lets them know it, and she is not shy about it.

Jenny has been coming many years and her birthday always  falls while we are here.  Diane and I had heard that she would be going to the Saturday open air market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.  These are bought to be added to the food bags we make and give out.  What if you only had a couple of dollars to buy food for your family.  You wouldn't spend it on fresh fruits and vegetables.  Ad healthy as they are, they are not very filling.

Diane and I had also heard that the budget had been cut for the fresh foods.  We each wanted to use some of our extra donations to help.  Of course, that was much appreciated and it ended up that we got to go too!

If you have ever been to a farmer's market you have an idea what this one was like.  This market had every kind of fruit and vegetable you could imagine and some you couldn't!  Several of us got the pleasure of watching Jenny bargain for the best deal.  She is not above using a little guilt by explaining that the food goes for the poor families.

I already wanted to buy some fresh pineapple and mangos, but then Diane, another lady and I got the idea to make some special things for Jenny's birthday.  We ended up shopping to buy items for fresh fruit salad, cobbler and guacamole.

All in all, Diane and I had a relaxing day shopping at the market and preparing our fruit and guacamole.
Sarah Hinson worked on another house that was sponsored by her church.  Another group made the long trip back out to Didasko to do another day of VBS and play with the children.

(market selfie)

In the afternoon, we had a group of about 20 arrive from the airport.  This group included Brett and Judy Mitchell who have been coming forever.  They also brought their two oldest children, Reid and Carter. (Around 5 and 3)  This is Reid's third trip!!!  Even though there is no way she could have remembered me, she popped right down in my lap during the evening devo.  She is one sweet girl!!

(Dona Katia, the head cook, with Jenny, Jenny bought the beautiful apron for Katia at the market.)

We ended the evening with our birthday day treats.  Besides the food fruit, guacamole, and cobbler that we prepared, Terry also purchased a cake.  We had so much that we were able to share with the workers in the kitchen. (BTW, they had worked hard all day because not only did they prepare two meals for us, they had two weddings and a group dinner!)

Tomorrow is the Lord's day, so I should have a short post with lots of pictures!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, Food for the hungry

Friday was the last work day for the Florida Keys group because they will be leaving tomorrow.  We'll be losing a group of about 20, but another group of about 20 will be coming in.  I know a few of the group are from Clarksville, TN!!  This year's trip has been a logistical issue for our leaders because groups have and will be coming and going the whole time.  Terry has really tried to save money by not hiring a third bus for transportation.  We don't really need for the number of people, it just gets complicated getting people where they need to go.

Friday's work consisted of:

1.  The Keys group finished painting at the Didasko orphanage.  This is an orphanage about an hour away in the country that we have been going to for many years.
2.  VBS team also at Didasko (This is not your run of the mill VBS.  These young people come up with awesome skits, costumes and props to act out Bible stories.  Of course, there is always a craft and a snack.
3.  A group will visit an adult special needs home that is near the mission house and then do a food distribution.  (We use the work fund to buy non-perishable food in bulk.  We then break it down to smaller portions.  This food will last a family of four for several weeks.  It usually has:  lard, spaghetti, rice, beans, coffee, flour, spaghetti sauce, bouillon cubes, & possibly more.)

I had a little unfortunate excitement the night before.  I'm not the best sleeper anyway and around 2 am my watch alarm went off.  I turned it off and went back to sleep and it went off later.  By then I was awake and I didn't want it to wake up the rest of my roommates, so I started trying to turn it off.  I tried every combination of buttons and this time I realized it was going off every 5 minutes!!!!

I was half asleep, but I decided when it was later in the morning I would get up and google how to turn off the alarm. (Wifi is poor here and I have to go outside and go to the porch on the second floor.)  Needless to say, I got it turned off, but waking up at 2 am is not the best sleep!

Not only that my stomach had been a little touchy. (I always thing it is the fat they cook with.)  Diane was having the same issue, so we didn't walk down to the orphanage, but rested.  We did go to the food distribution.  It was fun and Katie Well's was with us with her son who will be 2 on Sunday.  He is an awesome little boy who is so well-behaved and has been great down here!!

(This man and his wife has potlucks and Bible studies on his carport for the people of this community.  Here you see our group getting their contact information.)

(Goofing off with Jose on the bus!)

(This young lady was having to perform.  That's what happens when you leave a personal item somewhere.  She either had to sing, "I'm a little teapot" or do an imitation of Jenny Lovell!)

All in all it was a great day.  I'm pretty sure that tomorrow I will be able to use some of the ladies Wednesday night Bible class donations to go to the fresh market.  We will be buying fresh fruits and  vegetables to add to our food bags.  I have gone a couple of times before and it is awesome!!