I honestly can't keep up. Whether it is blogging...or anything else. Spinning plates come to mind. Let's try to catch up on a few things?
And what else? We are right now mid way through our second of three groups here this month, two medical brigades, and the group here now is high school students using their spring break to help (painting the MP building and new clinic in Las Botijas, helping with the Milk Project in Tegucigalpa, and doing two clothing days as well.)
Channel 15, our TV station in Talanga is at a crossroads, praying what to do there, as it reaches thousands, but financially can't keep up with its needs and we will have to decide if God is calling us to go forward with that, or whether we need to literally pull the plug. Currently, the main computer is failing.
Otherwise...we are working on installing a lift for the clinic, some way to get patients up and down that have mobility issues. We have a couple trucks in the shop still, the new Land Cruisers helping out tremendously! And there is farm work brewing in Cantarranas with Luis, trying to get that off the ground slowly but surely.
I probably forgot several things...hard to keep up. But we pray for God's direction, His guiding, His leading, His Holy Spirit...to keep us up, and keep everything going!
You are getting a special treat here*, dear blog reader. We had a team last week of four people. Well below our normal for a team...but this was no ordinary team. It's hard to share exactly how all this came together without writing a lot...but sufficit to say, we wouldn't have our 1025r tractor here for the farm, if it weren't for Tractor Time with Tim's YouTube channel.
They came down last week, along with Felipe's dad Kenton, and Cecilia's fiance Dave, all of whom helped with four days of tractor. Tractor work, tractor education, tractor invesigation...it was a lot.
It was also a blessing, all the way around. It isn't something we have ever done, so we had a schedule, but none of us were quite sure how it would come together. It wasn't perfect...but it came together in a way it was clear it was God, and we were all blessed because of it. Blessings abound!
Not just the expertise shared, the progress made, the education for Jorge and Jeffrey...but just sharing stories, learning more about each other, about the capabilities of the tractor, it goes on and on.
*I took some drone videos (posted below...finally getting the mission its own YouTube page, narrated even these videos.) You can check out Tractor Time with Tim's first video here. More will be coming in the next couple weeks of the other days we worked up there.
The whole week was not only was it yet another reinforcement of the value of our tractor to the mission and communities/people we serve, it also came along at the same time to prove how useful the Gator we just purchased for Las Botijas will be for that farm as well. Expensive purchases sometimes, even when you think you made the right call, when you can see it play out in front of you...are encouraging as well.
Harvest is now in full swing, so between that, trying to finish the clinics in each location, and road work...everyone will be busy in both communities for a while to come. Glory to God!
I am currently merry. It won't stay that way, but that's ok. I have peace beyond understanding...well, when I remember Him who gives such peace.
We prayed as a leadership yesterday for requests we all had...some overwhelming health concerns, big meetings/things to do, covering vacations in the clinic for the next couple weeks, things that need to get done/be accomplished/finished, hiring needs going into 2023.
It wasn't all good or fun but regardless, we left merry and at peace.
I thought it was a reminder that others might appreciate. This season gets filled with lots of expectations, lots of sometimes misplaces priorities and focus.
While this card is from Rina, I thought I would great you with her same words meant for an unknown sponsor. I send them to all of you, those known and unknown, as well: "I greet you with love and affection. I thank God for the opportunity you have given me. Thank you for supporting us. We are praying for you, that God will continue to bless you this Christmas and may God keep you always. May you have a Merry Christmas with your family."
Sometimes in the past I have looked at the year coming up and thought/wished/prayed/hoped it would be a little more peaceful, a little easier going.
I know it is not going to be easy going next year. It is going to be busy, different, growing, and who knows what else. This time though, for the most part, we are looking forward to it. There is quite a bit of unknown, but even what we are planning will be interesting:
-lots more work on coming up with hospital plans
-starting work with the rural clinics
-17 or more teams!
-Need to hire several more people for key positions going forward
-more containers? More food?
-looking forward to a next Milk Project location?
-More training, conferences, and work
-trying to take the coffee farms to the next level!
What all will happen? How? When? Can we pay for it all? Is there time for it all? I'm not worried...God is in control, and anything we do will be by Him anyway, so we will just start taking steps and try to wait and walk in Him as He leads! Actually...we won't be able to do any of it without Him anyway, so even better to be at peace with it!
I had a chance yesterday to talk with the team now in Honduras from Casas Por Cristo, an organization that builds homes through pastoral networks, hoping to help the church do outreach into their communities, reaching people for Christ through helping them physically, specifically through home building. They are praying about where to set up shop in Honduras, and how that will unfold (so you can be praying for them...lots of need, lots of possibilities) but it was also very cool to see how many times it seemed like a small world just talking about their general experiences, places in Honduras, opportunities, connections, etc.
It reminds me that while right now looking at the soon beginning new year, and the changes coming, and potential changes/growth/hiring/building/etc. coming...that we have to trust, obey, follow and move, trusting God will bring it all together. That faith...beyond what we can see but leaning on the everlasting arms.
Funny how there is such joy in that...and yet, to be honest, also at least a bit of trepidation, mostly related to how I could screw things up.
Even as areas around us in Tegucigalpa enter later today into a "state of exception" where certain constitutional rights will be forfeited in order to try to prevent extorsion and problems from gangs, meaning, apparently, that the police can pick up anyone they even suspect of committing, assisting, or benefitting from a crime. This will last for thirty days.
Sounds a bit scary to be honest, especially looking into the future of how this will be implemented and seeing just unknown (some of those 89 areas are directly around us.)
Apparently the writer of Leaning on the Everlasting Arms wrote that hymn in 1887 after two friends wrote him letting him know both their wives had died. He wrote back, including the verse "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27) He thought about that...and coo coo ca choo, came the hymn.
So, we will keep walking, but not alone, and not by our own power. We will, we must...keep leaning on the everlasting arms.
Want to hear a cool version of this hymn?
Early Sons of the Pioneers this one made me cry
The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi this one made me move
Got one I missed you love? Share it!
All this to get the gravel there to work on building the clinic next to the Milk Project and church there in Las Botijas.
Just one trip...but represents a weekly battle, just getting around.
Those who have been around for this year especially, and for a while, know we share about these pesky issues, and our poor vehicles that make the trips and sometimes don't make it back.
In the not-great picture above taken by our customs agent, you can see the next step forward: we have purchased a new Land Cruiser pickup to help the farms/moving material work!
This one will be for Sampedrana primarily. The white 2000 F-250 we have for that farm...has been down almost all year with problems. This Land Cruiser should last 20 years or more with good care, and given the global craziness, we were fortunate to be able to get a new one, and even fully optioned (for us...that means a winch, cow catcher, and other safety equipment) will be about $35,000 all told.
We have been saving what we can from people drinking coffee, but we are still about $17,000 short of having this fully funded. We have been using our group vehicles to help with this, but that isn't helping us maintain those vehicles for when we have groups!
Want to donate to help us pay this off? It will be coming home this week, so it will be working while we figure out how to balance the books, but given the options available, this was by far the clear winner on all fronts.
If you have questions about the backstory of how we could get this with supply chain issues, want to know why this is the best overall option, what it is equipped with that makes it great for this use, or anything else...please send me an email!
If you want to donate though to help us get this funded and take a load of our minds, click here to help!
Where did I leave off? We are in Columbus Ohio currently, getting ready for several days of ICOM (International Conference on Missions) and then next week to new ground for us, the GMHC (Global Medical Health Conference) and I wanted to give an update...but not comprehensive, as praise God, that would just be too much stuff to fit in one blog post.
vehicle woes continue, which is a pain...but a good pain. We are driving so much, doing so much with the churches, that unfortunately this is just a byproduct of that. If we stayed put more, less issues. Sure, some of the trucks are getting older, and we are working on some replacement plans, but for now, I get excited seeing that the funds have come in for the new clinic construction in Sampedrana (almost done) and Las Botijas (just starting) and the road work. If we worked in parts of the country that were already well established...we wouldn't have these issues. But we are working in areas that are largely forgotten by the government and everyone else.
We are trying to help build something bigger than us, than the areas we serve.
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.
Who do you trust
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.
If you want to sign up to receive these blog posts in your email inbox, email us here and we will add you to the list!