As the road work advances in front of the clinic campus, we have been impressed with the speed at which the work has advanced, and the long hours invested. Each week produces more curiosities to see and experience, along with deep earth shaking of the walls in the buildings. We have chatted a couple times with those working on the project, and also with those in charge (especially after they have knocked out part of our fence that goes around the property...which they promised to fix, over a month ago.) Sometimes getting answers and seeing really what is being planned is not always easy.
While it is an inconvenience for all in the area, everyone is quite happy to endure it knowing what a huge step this is long term for the many neighborhoods that will benefit tremendously.
One thing we have noticed though, is that when installing the sewer system (with a 10" pipe for the entire area's main line...is that seemingly small or is it just us?) and then determining the road's grade down the hill, is that it likely means for us a major headache with our entry to the property.
You can see on this picture the sewer pipe running down the road across from the mission's property, and you can see the wall built for the ditch (and hopefully sidewalk?) running in front of the gate. This also looks to be the level of the road when it will be poured.
Looks good right? Keep scrolling
To keep the road level but descending as they have determined, that means that the entrance to the property would require a major change to be usable.
If the road level stays anywhere close to this (which looks worse in person than in this picture, believe it or not, somewhere between two and three feet above the current level), we will be looking at huge financial investment to redo not only our entire gate setup and columns to support it, but huge amounts of fill and then new concrete work to enter and get to the different areas of the property.
We thought we might have to throw a little more concrete near the gate...but this slope would require resurfacing a huge portion of the entrance and hills going up to the clinic and down to the man cave.
We are to talk to an architect/engineer next week about what options we have (including moving the entire entrance further up the property) that would be the easiest and most cost effective, but this is now a big prayer item, because we will need to move quickly once they get down our way (because closing the back entrance will likely happen shortly after that) to be able to have vehicle access.
So pray for good long term solutions, and also for the funding we are going to need to make this happen...and make it happen in a matter of weeks, not months. We have not many any budgets or estimates yet on what it could take...but I am guessing by the time the levels are set and the concrete is poured and gate moved, we could be looking at $5,000, maybe as much as $10,000?
All this is good, or will be good long term... it is just more financially challenging than we are ready to tackle right now.
Seen below...from the front door of the Milk Project building yesterday...they are close!
I thought maybe there might be more people interested in what the process is going to look like for the mission house remodel.
We will run out of funds before we finish, but by the end of June, we are hoping to enclose a hallway and the stairway to the second floor...so that the building will now be one building, and not two separate floors.
Here below you can see the layout for that first floor, when we can get the tile floor installed first (going with a mosaic of broken tiles of different colors.) The idea is to break up the bathroom and shower areas, and use double bunk beds instead of triples, with the same stairs we already have elsewhere for access.
After we get the enclosures done, we can then use groups or any special donations that come in for this project to keep going on building out the new interior and getting things installed.
Once everything is done on the first floor, then the work would move to the second floor, removing the bedrooms upstairs, expanding the kitchen, the dining area, and then the couch space, leaving a half bathroom as well on the second floor.
We are trying to do this like we do everything with groups, using groups and group or special designated funds to do the work. So far, groups help the mission overall and have not been a drain of finances, but rather helping the other areas of ministry. We might have to invest a bit this year since we have employee commitments to meet (at least to keep them employed through June) and thus some material costs to keep going, but hoping that most of the costs can be absorbed by the groups from 2018 and 2019.
If you are wondering why with so much of 2018 left why we won't finish, that is because we had to curtail how much we are planning to do and how long we will be able to do it this year because of the huge reduction of groups we are seeing for this year and thus the funds available and help to continue it.
The goal is to be done by June 2019, Lord willing. The benefits will be a more welcoming atmosphere, easier to live with for groups, nicer long term housing, more space for supplies, and more space to spread out for bigger groups. Plus, moving the bedrooms down a floor will cut down on the noise from the street, noise from those that stay up late, and to keep the temperature more pleasant for sleeping.
So how about an update?
Here you can see part of the farm in Sampedrana that has been cleared, the hodgepodge triangle-sort-of-shape of cleared, green, polka dot (avocado tree), and coffee. We own further up the mountain, we are just working on getting enough plants grown in our nurseries to then clear more and plant. This will take years to complete, as each acre roughly needs 2,000 plants, and the rough cost from seedling to going into the ground is $1 per plant, and we have well over 10 acres left to plant.
As I have written, our main need here other than continuing to develop the property is to improve the road conditions getting there, some widening, some leveling, but mostly improving the road itself for less slipping and sliding. We are going to have to invest at least $3,000 this year on this road to try to get it up to snuff. And one more thing will be building a house on the property and using it for a family to live and be daily caretakers, as well as just a base of operations to do cleaning, pulping, drying, etc.
The farm in Las Botijas was one we took over from another missionary when they left the country. There is one big homestead, and several other pieces of property, several of which have coffee growing on them. We were concerned about getting a proper caretaker for several years, but God had not opened any long term doors until August of 2017, when we moved Rony and his family from Sampedrana, where he had transplanted almost eight years ago to work with Don Escoto on his farm, but was going to lose his job because the farm was being divided and given to his children.
There is quite a bit to do here as well in terms of planting more coffee and other improvements on the multiple properties, and that is exciting, but even more exciting is that after a brief time working in Las Botijas, and not having a place to worship, just by worshipping as a family, Rony has turned into a pastor by opening doors to what is already 15 believers and six friends in the community. Seeing how we can help this burgeoning Church will be a bigger priority moving forward.
Finally you can see here below the property in Cantaranas. We have received funds to plant the hill of this property this year with fruit trees, which should provide more long term investment and return for the property such as we already get from the two avocado trees there. The valley Jonathan and the Church are still currently trying to use (you can see they have the greenhouse there) and we will see in the next twelve months about the long term housing on site about maybe developing that even more.
So you can be praying for the workers, and their families, for their safety, for good crops and harvests, and ways in which we can use those harvests more in our local areas, and abroad, to further the work of Christ. Finding buyers abroad especially for the coffee we produce would be a great way not only to help us locally more but have more ties that could help us improve what we produce, but also to reach our goal of being self sustaining and starting to really invest some of what is being done into the other areas of ministry as well. That could be helping hire more clinic staff, planting a new Milk Project, a new Church plant...the options, even limited just to what we are already doing and in areas where we already work, are numerous. May God guide us and direct us through it all!
Just wanted to upload some pictures of the special Christmas gifts the sponsors made possible this year, the Christmas party, a couple of building construction pictures, and other Milk Project December pictures.
It has been a great 2017, looking forward to see how God grows and shapes the project and these kids for the future in 2018!
I am amazed that it has been over a week since the elections here (November 26th) and that the amount of coverage internationally to the growing problematic situation here has been so very little.
Honduras needs your prayers.
The short version of the story is that we have a president running for re-election, a first here, and controversial in and of itself. The main opposing candidate is representing an alliance of a couple parties whose main goal in aligning was to get more votes than the president, as otherwise he looked to be the clear winner. All the other parties here were quite assuredly before the election running for a very distant third place.
The socialist party which is pretty much led by the ousted president from the 2009 coup, where ironically he was also trying to get re-elected, has made statements they are not accepting the election results, which have been quite slow to be reported, and quite close in the outcome. Accusations of tampering have been flying as the results being final and (however one deems) transparent have been slow going. There have been calls for continual protests in the streets, even some not so subtly suggesting violence play a part in overturning this "dictatorship." And for a couple days, there was quite a bit of destruction of private property and looting. That has calmed a bit after a curfew was put in place, but still the streets are being blocked in key areas for some periods of time, making transportation of goods difficult, and cancelling school (for the schools on the US schedule...Honduran government schools are out for break until February) for over a week now because of safety concerns.
Politics (not just lately) in many parts of the world seems to have more to do with the power for those fighting for it than it does for real change for the people being served. While those ardent supporters of both sides claim it would be a disaster for the country to have to live through four years of their opponents, the reality is that for the vast majority of the country life will continue with little or no change. And the vast majority are the economic poor.
These disruptions really are not hurting the wealthy and those with steady employment. To be sure, they hurt service industry businesses quite a bit, those whose stores were looted and/or burned and others, but the greatest hardship is for those that daily are seeking a paying job just to make it through another 24 hours with something to eat.
Right now our mission is operating as normal as can be...construction continues on the Milk Project building, the Churches are meeting, the clinic is open (although...service industry, patient load is down since many have trouble getting transportation), and since all the kids from the Milk Project live within walking distance, they are meeting daily as well. Things are seemingly normal sometimes and in some places here...but not really. How this will play out remains to be seen...there is international interference behind the scenes, along with international observance front and center trying to help, the parties and what they are doing behind the scenes is shrouded. The curfew was established Friday for 10 days...but police are now resisting enforcing it (although violence has not escalated yet) and even still, there are no signs that the situation will be resolved by the time that curfew is set to expire.
So pray if you would...
-for God's touch on the hearts of those waging political war, and for all of us that get wrapped up in things like this so tightly sometimes that we forget where our faith, our sight, and love should be.
-that He would help ministries and their staff, volunteers, congregants all share Christ's love with everyone around them through this time regardless of what their political position is.
-for peace, for stability...so that there could be fostered an environment for economic growth to provide employment for roughly 50% or more of the country, for assurance of being able to leave your home without worry of being able to return for protests, curfews and violence, and done in such a way that only God can get the glory.
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