Saturday, June 28, 2014

the end

The last few days have flown by quickly. I'll try to summarize. After our men's conference on tuesday Jorge, the preacher at Santa Ana, held a men's discipleship meeting on Thursday. 20 men showed up to study together. This is a big deal! 4 of the men that come have to walk an hour and a half to board a bus for three hours to get here. God has truly blessed our time together.
Our ladies' days have been tremendously effective. From washing feet to Bible studies, our young ladies have dove deeply into the work God has called them to. One powerful story out of their efforts involves our girls hiking up a mountainside to visit a young girl who was unable to come down to the church. Sara, with God's guidance brought two pair of men's shoes that just happened to be the perfect size for the father and boy who lived there. billy removed the man's shoes, put socks on his feet and then the shoes. The Girl was able to come down the mountain.
I'd say the true success of our mission to walk along side the church this year was made evident on our last day working. The members, both women and men wept as got up to leave. Jorge was giddy with excitement between tears of joy. We have made true friendships and look forward to a sweet reunion next year.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Do you have a window in your office? Does the sun draw its rays across your shoulders? We work inside a beautiful painting every day. Our second house build occurred alongside a mountain ridge. Six giant windmills dotted an adjacent ridge. Their 60 foot long blades spun in a never ending circle challenging us to work as long and as hard a they do. So we did.
Our second house of the week went up swiftly and smoothly. The girls from our group put up a wall all by themselves. Their first board was a smattering of bent nails and missed hammer strikes followed by curses of acceptable nature. By the sixteenth board they were pros. They worked hard until noon and then left us to help with a ladies day on the mountain. They performed pedicures and manicures washing the hands and feet of the hard working women of the mountain. The women were overheard whispering about our girls being angels and marveling at their humility. Only through Christ can we make such an impression.
The weather has been beautiful for us as we build. Temps have been in the low eighties with a constant beach style breeze. Normally we're clamoring for water and fighting hand cramps but this year we've prayed with the family the house belonged to still feeling refreshed. Thank you Lord for blessing us in this way.
The most comical and most dangerous part of building a home is climbing down from the roof after we've finished placing the tin. 1/4 inch siding juts out from the walls in odd lengths forming our ladder. Some of the steps are difficult to reach and are almost impossible to find when legs are shaky with fear. This makes for a hilarious one step forward two step back rooftop cha cha unless you're the one doing the dance. I typically am the one. We wound up borrowing a rickety piecemeal ladder from a Honduran to get Hannah down. Still she stood on my shoulders for the descent. It broke and we got down faster than expected. No Gringos were harmed during the telling of this story.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Billy's Post

I gotta tell the story of Lomas de Diamonte.  This community up on the 'mountain of diamonds' as it is called is relatively new.  No electricity.  No running water.  No convenience stores.  No community medical services.  And certainly no diamonds.  It is called the 'mountain of diamonds' because of the layer of quartz way down below the almost barren soil.  The well diggers hit this quartz and got excited because it appeared to be a huge slab of diamonds.  Their excitement was short-lived; however, they did find water.  Soon the community will have running water and electricity will follow.  So as of now, there are people, about 1500 of them in the most basic of tiny wood houses, and little else.  That is, until recently.  We heard that the church in Los Pinos was in the process of planting a church in Lomas de Diamonte.  Note that I didn't say, us gringos from the USA and Los Pinos were planting a church.  This is their work, planned and carried out without outside help.  Just them and God.  Lest you not grasp the import of this, let me assure you that this is a huge deal.  Los Pinos is a church that we helped plant almost ten years ago and have watched them grow and mature to the point where they no longer need our services.  But there is more.  You see, Los Pinos is not a wealthy church; in fact, most of their members are still mired in poverty.  Where you and I might hop in the car or the church van to take a trip, they lack those resources.  Sunday morning they worshipped in Los Pinos and then about 30 of them WALKED 8 kilometers across the mountain, down through the valley and up the mountain that Lomas de Diamonte sits on.  That's about 6 miles give or take.  Teenagers, older men and older women made up this caravan to bring the gospel to this community.  Nicole Tindall, Bryan (an awesome 15 year old young man from Casa) and myself drove up there for their 3 pm service.  We were blown away by the over 200 people from this community who showed up.  I found out as soon as I walked in the open ended abandoned warehouse (with no chairs, furniture, etc.) that I was to preach.  So as I preached, Nicole wrestled with her two year old (Emma) and translated as I spoke.  Such a cool experience.  Lisa and I have always had a special relationship with Nicole, so this was really rewarding to get to partner with her.  We were the only English speaking people there!  Two women gave their lives to Christ in a 55 gallon drum of water in the back of a pickup truck…imagine that.  We said our goodbyes about two hours after we had arrived and left, realizing that these brothers and sisters from Los Pinos had another 8 kilometer walk back home.  And they do this every Sunday afternoon.  Some even make the journey on Saturdays to teach classes.  I wonder if we would worship if there were no A/C, no chairs, no electricity, no bathrooms…how far would we walk to worship God, or to take the gospel to someone else in a another community?  It was neat being there and getting to participate, but very humbling.  Would I walk 8 kilometers?  Would I do that every Sunday?  Could it be that God would work through us in ways that we cannot envision, if we would but step out of our comfort zone and risk something?
The Los Pinos church could teach us all something about faithfulness, courage, boldness, trust and commitment.

Keep praying for us.

Ladies Monday

What a day! 46 ladies and 15 preschool children met at Santa Ana today for our first ladies day event. Marta gave an excellent lesson on the birth of Ruth. Lucy prayed in Spanish, I prayed in English, we sang several songs in Spanish together. These ladies sang with such enthusiasm. After our lesson, Leslie, Addison, and Sara played the Spanish version of, "Lets make make a deal". That was great fun but very hard to explain. Luckily they caught on as we progressed. We ended the day by dividing into three groups. We asked the ladies three basic questions:
1)What do you need at home? (George foreman grill, hand mixers, hair dryers, blenders, baking pans, 6 women who make and sell food asked for large pots with lids, 2 ladies who make jewelry need jewelry supplies, school supplies such as uniforms food and clothes)
2)What skills do they want to learn? (cooking, baking, cake decorating, sewing, jewelry making, computer skills, crochet and embroidery, cosmetology, English, nursing)
3)What community improvements they'd like to see? (community center, public library, public playground, soccer field, computer center, bible studies, houses)
The highlight of the day was when four women expressed a desire to put on Christ in baptism. This will make 11 people who have given their life to Christ since we've been here.


Pancakes in honduras are a special treat! The usual Honduran breakfast is rice, and beans and eggs covered in cheese. Sending up praises, we gorged ourselves on syrup drenched buttermilk pancakes and sweet sweet pineapple. We were then ready to worship. If you Missed Matt's song leading this Sunday, Your loss was our gain. He did a fantastic Job in our small church at the bottom of the Casa de Esperanza campus. Little did we know this church would become a sweatbox before the day was through.
one of the things about worship in Honduras that always leaves an impression is how the members here sing with reckless abandon unconcerned with notes and only intent on giving the Lord everything. Another powerful thing is listening to the preaching of our Honduran brothers in Christ. With Cisco serving as translator we were treated to the message version of his sermon and it was excellent. He spoke of how Christians will face trials and that we must continue to be faithful. In hearing him preach we realize that the only difference between us is the language we speak.
After services our ladies went back to Ojohona while we held a men's conference. Some of the men had traveled for 4 hours to be a part. To think that as we would be readying ourselves to bed that night they would just be disembarking the bus they took back home is humbling. Their understanding of the gospel and God's will for marriage and fatherhood was very encouraging. In many ways we were taught as much or more than we hoped to teach. At 4pm we concluded with handshakes and hugs and commitment to lift our brothers in Christ up in prayer.
Our evening devo tonight was a discussion of the sovereignty of God led by Matt. The discussion was as heavy as the rain pounding on the tin roof above us threatening to overpower our voices. It was filled with much joy and appreciation of the fact that we have been blessed to hear the gospel. Afterwards all of our girls hung out together in animated conversation and laughter. To see them all get along so well is heartwarming.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Saturday in Honduras

We were assigned to hard labor today. We worked alongside a group from the Mount Dora Christian Home and Bible School to build a all at Casa de Esperanza (Terri Tindall's children's home). After two hours of picking up large rocks, setting them in a wheelbarrow, and desperately trying to hold onto the handles as it pulled us down a tiny dirt trail we decided that God had put the rocks at the top of the hill for a reason and that perhaps we shouldn't mess with His plan. Terri wasn't agreeable so we continued our work dodging the large dark flat spiders that seemed to appear only after we'd lifted the boulders up.
Many of you may remember the playground we built last year. It is no longer with us. After three days boards began falling off of it. (Don't worry. No children were harmed in the recounting of this story.) There is now a play fortress standing in its place. All it needs is a moat. We'd like to thank Pinterest for providing the picture, Timoteo and Luis for drawing up the plans, and the Orlandians for rebuilding the temple. Also we'd like to give a shoutout to Danny who traveled from England to entertain us with his accent. You'll all meet him soon. He plans to spend a year with us working with our youth ministry.
Terri is doing a tremendous job at casa. She and Nicole and Matt have been blessed with God's wisdom and strength as they slowly but steadily undo the damage that has been done to their ministry. We were blessed to spend some time in prayer with them and are greatly encouraged by their desire to stay and finish the Work God has given them to do with their children, the feeding at the dump, and Honduras Hope Missions teams.
After the rocks were moved the boys gathered together in a small church nestled at the bottom of the property to speak with the men of Santa Ana about God and his greatness. We ate rice and some type of meat that was well seasoned and unidentifiable. All the men were excited to shake hands and hug us along with a smattering of young men eager to hear about the Lord. After the message Jorge, The local preacher then gathered several men for a bible study with the topic, "what is the gospel?" After speaking, three men decided to give their lives to our Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism in Honduras is always interesting. I've seen people immersed in cisterns and oil drums and in some pretty disgusting rivers. The church in Santa Anna has a baptistry. It is on the stage of the church and is covered by two large steel plates that must be drug away to reveal what can only be described as a tiled pit. Most Hondurans are short so i'm not sure why the baptistry needed to be recessed ten feet into the ground but you get the feeling your watching the beginning of a cage fight as the three men entered into the knee deep water. Jorge had each man kneel and then sit into the water as they confessed their belief. As their heads were about to go under they were admonished not to swallow the water. One of them did and came out in a coughing fit. He was happy but half drowned. Afterwards we all enjoyed wet hugs from our new brothers.

Day 2

Wow, what an amazing day in Honduras! Our Saturday was spent seeing what God is already doing in Honduras. Leslie and I took the girls to Janet Hines’ house so they could see the Casa de Esperanza girls in their sewing class.  We discussed and vowed to take action to support this program. A sewing machine costs $150, which is about the cost of a month of junk food for us. We also saw the jewelry making school headed up by Julie. What gorgeous pieces. Their need is for tools for each girl to have when they graduate ($65). Janet, Julie, Leslie and I spent the rest of the morning brainstorming how we could partner up with each other to strengthen the women in Santa Ana. We thought about doing a women’s retreat and letting the women know that we are hear to listen to them and that we intend to grow by sharing and not dictating.
I look forward to worshiping together today. Please pray for our three days of ladies day ministry that will begin on Monday. Hello to my children and grandchildren.