I could write a few paragraphs on all this, but instead, just going to pray for the kids of Honduras today, and how we can, and are trying to help in His name.
We have a team here this week doing medical brigades.
Since we have not had an optometry/eye team for many years, and thus can't do a rural brigade for that since we would need quite a few folks to pull that off...at a minimum at least we can take reading glasses for those over 40 to compliment the medical (and for this trip, dental and gynecology with some of the gang from the clinic going with us.)
Valerie needs to be in the clinic in Tegucigalpa of course, so I have been handling dispensing the reading glasses...and addressing any other vision complaints, giving advice or pointing them to the clinic or public hospitals depending on what they need.
What I am continually amazed to see is how often places here try to sell glasses to people that do not need them...or at least, sell them glasses that arguably aren't worth the investment.
In Cantarranas yesterday I saw a prescription that was the minimum you can put in a pair of glasses (also optioned with expensive add ons to increase the price) and the patient was told she absolutely needed these to see clearly and be able to function.
They wouldn't hurt her of course...but this was a money grab for sure, not really thinking in her best interest.
Just yesterday there were several other such stories, and over the years we have heard and seen countless examples. It definitely makes it hard to know who you can trust. Especially since the above prescription I saw was given at another church and was presented as a brigade, not a for profit business (which it is.)
So...I could just post here Matthew 10:16 "“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
But there is a reminder there to check ourselves when we act/react to others in all circumstances as well.
So I will add two other verses about trust:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." I Timothy 1:15
We are hosting another team from CIY (Christ In Youth) this week, and looking forward to another medical brigade arriving the day they depart.
It has been good to have groups back in force this year, it just opens doors to ministry opportunities that otherwise we don't have usually, in the past including hospital visits, but that is still not possible with the restrictions there.
We are now able to get out to do more clothing though, and seeing that the need is certainly high, just like a lot of things that have been stopped or curtailed in the last couple years. The picture above is after a distribution this week at a church that pastor Manuel knows (about 20 minutes outside Talanga) and the pastor and other leaders asked to pray for us after the distribution. They were thankful to God for the help to the community, after being let down by someone else in ministry who promised the same thing in the past but just took (money, food) and never delivered any clothes.
Maria hitched a ride with the group this week, as they were going to Las Botijas to work on the floor for the new Milk Project building there. She has been working with Oscar and pastor Rony to find a director and cook for the Milk Project...and confirmed in that trip we have both now! The goal is to get everything else we need, and for a time to cook in the mission house there, to start on August 1st. The rest of the building work will take a while, as it will then start to get down to slower items like cabinets, buying appliances, etc. But...we have a start date and the people needed to do more house visits and give classes every day.
Then comes the hard work where we need to pray that everyone adapts well, works well together, for all the communication and help from Tegucigalpa to coordinate together, and of course for the impact this will have for the kids and families.
My, my, not since March have we blogged eh? I do enjoy blogging, but clearly, when things get busy, this particular aspect of my job gets put to the side.
And since March, we were extraordinarily busy. Many of you know that we (Valerie and Felipe) are now empty nesters and thus are trying to help the mission in a new way this year, spending roughly half our time not in Honduras, but working in the US...visiting churches, coordinating containers, trying to promote Hill Climber Coffee more, attending a few conferences...you get the idea. Lots of travel, lots of work...plus at least for me, I still have a lot of the work I do in Honduras that fortunately travels with me. It was good to be in the USA for almost three months, but wow...it is different. Good different, and also hard different, because that type of developmental work is often times with a long term lens. We were very blessed to see doors open quickly and God bless us in our doubts, giving us some clear answers to why we were there. We got funding for one of the clinic projects, in Las Botijas, that otherwise...would not have happened, well, for sure not the way it did, and some other things as well. But overall, it is a different muscle, and we are learning still how to do things like this, especially long term and as the mission is growing.
The good thing is that everything in Honduras continues when we are gone. We do miss our live/in person leadership devotionals every Monday, we try to do them via WhatsApp when we are not here, it certainly isn't the same, but beat the alternative.
The physical and spiritual work in Honduras is going great...but we are still praying, wrestling, and struggling with how to do the end product side yet. Be praying for us, because it is quite the conundrum for us. And if you have any advice, or glaring reasons why it isn't working, or we aren't working, on that front...please let us know! It feels like we are doing things well...but maybe also like there is some glaring issue we aren't able to see, a blind spot if you will.
We are hosting three more teams this summer, and two more in the fall...very exciting, and opening lots of doors to some familiar places we have not been for a while, and to some new places as well. Things are still a little different compared to pre COVID with hosting teams (we are still masking here everywhere, and the hospital visits are still not possible) but for the most part there is a lot we can do and a lot of places to go. We will be doing more clothing this year with groups, and a lot of construction in Las Botijas and Sampedrana, helping with the new clinics there, and the Milk Project ongoing construction specifically in Las Botijas.
Overall...things are busy. Too much going on, and plans for what might be going on, to go over here now, but I will try to keep up better on this great platform to go more in depth than we can elsewhere. Got something you have been wondering about but that I haven't addressed or mentioned? Drop me a line!
It's hard to share what the clinic does on a daily basis via a blog or photos on social media. Usually the biggest things for God that they do (or you could say that He enables them to do), are also the hardest to "capture."
Here are a few recent "histories" though
We got an initial estimate for turning the clinic into a hospital from the construction firm. To do everything needed to go to three stories, double wide from what we are now...from about 8000' to 24000', done to a hospital standard and built to withstand adding more floors in the future...over $500,000.
That might be more money than we have raised in the last 20 years combined for building projects. Just looking at the number, it seems unlikely.
It seems that way, it really does. The word "daunting" comes to mind.
Time to pray to Him who turns what seems unlikely or impossible into possible, start working on a plan, and see what He does. And keep helping people in His name as we go.
Hospital visits here are scary things, regarding the reason. Some things are available for a price, some specialties or treatments just aren't available no matter the hospital you can afford. One visit may end well (whether quick or exhaustingly long) and another quite differently, often without answers or reasons.
The realities of that are faced every day throughout the mission, throughout Honduras, in different ways. It gives us pause to pray, to see how we can do more in the clinic and Churches, and to focus ultimately on each moment we are given and not look too far down the road, as bumpy or smooth as it might currently seem to be.
I was thinking today about what I needed to get done. I briefly was thinking about the multitude of things being done for Christ throughout the mission. As the mission has grown, I find it harder and harder to visualize that in my mind.
That isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Another thing is trying to keep up with God on what will happen. Someone asked me recently if we "ever tried to do something, and didn't pray about it, and it didn't work out?" They asked because their experience (someone very close to us) was that everything always just came together.
I agree...God has done amazing work in the mission throughout the years. But of course, not everything has worked out, or at least as how we thought/planned. And certainly we got ahead of ourselves, ahead of God, at points along the way. Hopefully, with growing in Him and His wisdom, less now than when we started, but it happens. Plus there are times you think you are as sure as some other time...and the plans fall flat. Or...seemingly fall flat.
This isn't Lucy pulling the football though. Occasionally it might feel like that, but knowing all the other times He kicked the football Himself, you can still hold to the right perspective when what you see would try to convince you otherwise.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
We are rapidly approaching ending another year. I say rapidly, because I am aware mostly in what we have yet to do as a mission, and it is a bit yet, and how I am losing touch with the holidays that are involved.
Going in to 2022, we have a lot of irons in the fire. What I love about ministry is also what makes planning and predicting the future difficult...people. Plans are great...but they all depend on people.
This hospital expansion could end up being bigger in scope/cost/involvement than every other construction project combined we have done in the last 20 years.
Already for Janaury 2022, the clinic will go from working 8-4 Monday to Friday, to 7-5 Monday to Saturday. That will tax the existing staff, and require adding more staff...a big leap on both fronts, and praying/planning some of the extra cost will be offset by seeing more patients. We should be hiring another pediatrician soon, and interviewing another medical doctor to train in optometry, not to mention nurses that will be trained to float in different areas.
I promise, the plans that seem to come up and grow year after year are not born of personal ambition or desire for more work, more people, more ministry. Some days, we already seem to have more than enough going on. But...this is not my ministry, and not using my vision. Some things are seasons, some things may not work, but we keep pushing forward trying to keep in step with the boss.
I think of Paul in Philippians 3 "...forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
May we finish this year, this day, this hour...straining forward to what God has ahead for us.
I'm here briefly to give you a special Milk Project update. As you can see above, the first pad for the future Milk Project location in Las Botijas. More work will be coming, but the usual major hold up is first getting all the supplies there. For this pad, there were 9 different trips...by two different trucks. It is time consuming, but worth it.
We had a group here, the second of 2021, last week, a huge blessing to all of us. For some, more than we knew...
Maria shared with me today that Mariza, one of the children in the project, will have to be changed in 2022. Why? There is no one at home to watch her, and so her dad made the tough call to take her to live with her grandmother a few hours from here. That is a bummer, but, understandable.
But she was there on Friday for the brief activity the group did with the kids (we had about ten minutes with each child, separately, to talk with them and pray with them...we wanted to do something even though we can't do what we normally do yet.)
Maria clarified that Mariza knew the group was coming and what activity we had planned. There was no way she was going to miss that. So her dad went and got her and brought her back, just for those ten minutes. Four or more hours of her travelling for those ten minutes.
Good thing we didn't know that at the time, because there would have been waterworks.
Bottom line for today...sometimes what you do doesn't seem to matter, or that no one cares or is paying attention.
They are...and it does matter.
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