Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pushing the boundaries




This week we got to do something that we’ve been wanting to do for a long time - we pushed the boundaries and went farther than we’ve ever gone! When we first established our boundaries for El Ayudante, it was a large area of what we estimated was 25 square miles - and we knew it would keep us busy for a very long time - and is has been and we’ve just began to touch it. We’ve been busy installing over 1,000 water filters, VBS’s in the schools throughout this area, and serving the churches as much as possible. The communities farther up have begun to come to our clinic more and more- and we keep hearing that they are walking 3 hours plus to get to the point that they can catch a ride on a truck to come down to the clinic - literally a total ONE WAY trip of 4.5 hours (and sick)!

So, it was time that we explored farther out - what was beyond the borders that we had set? Where are these people coming from and can we possibly help them more? Is that where the more urgent need is? The first step is at least to know what’s out there.

Tristan, Maddy, Ali and I set off in the small truck that has great four-wheel drive - after the 1 hour driving point we were in uncharted territory. We explored, drove, asked directions from the people working in their coffee fields along the road, admired the incredible view, and stopped to meet each school we passed.  Day 1 we did one big loop - 5 hours in total. Day 2 we did the next road and found 3 more communities.

Observations:
-       WOW. True poverty. It was very humbling
-       The road was stressful - transportation will be a problem as we start to serve up there
-       We should spend the night when we go to have more time with people!
-       We climbed 4,400 ft in altitude from our home to the end of the road.
-       There really is an ‘end of the road’…but apparently there’s more communities past it but the only option is hiking.
-       At the 6,500 ft altitude, it’s too high for coffee to grow, so they only grow corn and beans - but again because of the altitude, instead of 2 growing seasons like the rest of our communities get, they only get 1 corn crop a year because it takes so much longer to grow. Really this community has no money income - they grow enough food for their families - so where does the $ come from for buying supplies?
-       There’s a lot of “hidden’ people in the mountain! The communities were an average of 60 houses per community! I was surprised by the # of students in each school house.
-       My kids rock. They’re asking when we can spend the night up there.
-       How in the world do sick people walk down to the clinic when it takes 3 hours to just catch transportation!?
-       They have a million dollar view  - impossible to truly catch the beauty on camera.


We are praying and exploring how to reach these communities and work alongside of them to meet their needs and show them Jesus. Please join us in prayer. Pushing beyond the borders is exciting and intimidating all at once!  

The mountain is scattered with banana
and coffee plants - even in the rocks



God sure is a great artist!



This was a surprise - a huge Catholic church 
way back into the mountain

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Walking




You’d think that since we’ve been here over 9 years, I’d have figured things out – but this is not the case. I am certain that the longer I’m here, the more I realize how much moreI have to learn – about culture, about people, about loving Jesus. 

A few months ago we went up the mountain beyond where we have gone before – with the purpose of knowing the town and meeting with the pastor. Besides the nice tour of the church that was in progress of being built, hanging out with the pastors family for awhile, and seeing the town, the pastor took us to the local swim spot – a beautiful little water fall – cold and fresh. He patiently walked us up around the logs and up to where we could touch the water.

During this time with the pastor, we were talking about how the churches farther up the road met together with them for evening church services. (did I mention that this is the last community before there is no road and it’s only trail).  At this point, I asked the pastor how those other congregations meet with them seeing as there is no road. His simple response: we walk.  Duh! Of course they walk! Walking is not an uncomfortable, inconvenience – it’s a way of life! 

Last month, I was leaving for my morning jog, and slowed on our road to greet a young mom (15 yrs old?) who was carrying a bundle of blankets with a sweet babe inside. She had walked from the tip of the mountain to get to the clinic. This was 6am. We have many patients that will walk (sick and carrying a baby) for 3 to 4 hours to come to the clinic. That's their only option. I was so humbled that I was going out for a morning jog – reminded that exercise is a blessing that not everyone has the benefit of enjoying – they do it as a necessity. I do it so I can eat more chocolate. ;)

God continues to show us and guide us as we seek to live intentionally and understand people deeply – the where, the why, and the how. The more we understand people, the better we can love.

This beautiful place is a 4 hour hike from the road to a mountain top of 6 homes
where our teams have installed filters. They were shocked that we were
willing to do the hike. 
Walking through the mountain



Friday, January 13, 2017

How we celebrated Christmas this year

We have spent more Christmas's in Honduras than we have gone to the US for. Parts of that are sad because we miss all of the family happenings and that is hard for us and we get homesick. But we have also found that we really enjoy the Honduran Christmas celebrations and that it's fun introducing our traditions to some of our friends here too. So to get an idea, here's a few of the Christmas things we did this last year:

The girls and I invited a few friends over to do cut out sugar cookies - we made tons of cookies and decorated them and they each went home with a full plate and a full belly. It was great fun introducing one of our family traditions to someone that has never done it before.

A few years ago we started the tradition with some friends to make gingerbread houses with the kids - this year we did it with new friends. The kids (and adults) had a blast using as much candy as possible on their graham cracker creation. :)

                 

Almost every year we do some sort of Community Christmas Party in the community of Lo De Reina (our closest community) and this year we did a movie night and served the traditional nacatamales and coffee... over 150 people showed up and it was a great night!
These are nacatamales - THE Honduran Christmas season meal: we were given so many of these during the week of Christmas and thankfully our kids love 'em. 

This event the local community leaders participated
a lot - helping with the planning and then the serving
and clean up!
Maddy & Ali served with us the whole time!


We were invited to a Quincenera for the 24th of December - Daniela is one of our scholarship students and we've known her a long time. It was hard missing the Christmas Eve service at church, but fun to be invited to the community event. The entire evening Maddy was planning her future quincera! Her plans include a big yellow Belle princess dress. Yikes!



Over Christmas it's a big deal in Honduras to use lots and lots of fireworks! And for the 31st also! So for the 31st we went to the fireworks booth and bought a bunch and then Tristan put on a great fireworks show for everyone around. 

   

 


On New Years Day Tristan went to a local Rodeo with his friend Salvador - although not like a rodeo in the States, he had a great time. 


Over all we have learned that the birth of Jesus can be celebrated in any country and in any culture :).