try to keep up
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!
How do you see?
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.
En Del af noget stØrre
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.
Ending and beginning
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.
September 20th, 2021
I have just had a great devotion meeting with our leadership team. Every week's isn't great, some are just good or ok, but this one was over the top. We laughed, we cried, we shared, we talked about getting angry and sinning, and avoiding that fine line. We talked about death...of loved ones, a missionary, a father, a mother. It was deep, rough, and raw at times.
We need more of that.
I was having a conversation this week and accidently came upon the realization that life never gets easy. Duh.
I guess the realization was more that the curves that life throws at you, the things you don't know how to do, how to react to...that there isn't an age or level where those things go away. It was one of those comforting and terrifying realizations.
Sometimes you just want things to be easy, or known quantities.
There seems to abound new things to contemplate and work on, and a bunch of old things that require help beyond our scope of knowledge (website improvements, legal paperwork and errands, insurance, etc.) that certainly can add stress and unease to the days...and nights.
The struggle is to remember that in the middle of the battle (of what to do, or the battle of the mind) to remember who is in charge, and who has control.
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