Saying Goodbyes

Dear friends and family,

We head home later today after 6 weeks of teaching here at The Leadership Center. Our heartfelt bonds to and relationships with the 35 young women here are fully refreshed, but we are excited to rejoin all of you!

You know our mission here – it’s to empower young women from rural communities with education, leadership training and community development experiences. Our hope and prayer is that after graduation they return to their communities as changed agents.

This country is so beautiful but so challenged. Women are particularly at a disadvantage in a machismo society. But progress while slow, is happening, I think. At least with each of our graduating classes of young women. Fourteen new graduates, strong and confident, are almost done with their two years at TLC. They will begin three month internships at NGOs and other entities and then be ready to claim their future.

Our final exams were yesterday. The students are very glad. Cindy was studying hard for it, as evidenced here.

I think we have 4 second year students who will start small businesses this year. I believe several of the new graduates will become teachers in their home communities. And a number are interested in working with local NGOs helping children and women. We will see. But I assure you that your excellent support and encouragement has enabled another fine group of young women to help themselves, their families and their communities.

Jeff finished the Ethernet system; the classrooms and library are now internet capable. (Bandwidth is still a challenge, but we are increasing the learning opportunities with the access points)

Speaking of Jeff, it’s hard to see how TLC exists without him. Cabling, electrical work and most importantly guitar lessons and playing for the girls. He led our TLC praise band on Sunday.

Chris and I hosted a special dinner for the 14 second year students , celebrating their final exams in our classes. We made (mostly Chris made) Chicken Parmesan a la Honduras, garlic bread and salad. They loved it. A first here. Brownies for dessert with whipped cream (also a first for many students). The sugar high and craziness that followed two cans of whipped cream was a bit scary!

Well, we are headed to the airport. Again, thank you so much for your help and support on this beautiful mountain campus.

Let me close with a refrain from a praise song the girls love to sing.

“From the mountains to the valleys

hear our praises rise to You,

from the heavens to the nations

hear our singing fill the air!”

 

Dan, Daniela and Chris

Blessings from Honduras!

Dan and Chris

 

 

We Must Lead the Changes

Good evening friends and family,

It’s been another wonderful week here at TLC.

The students are making nice progress in their classes this quarter. The second years are busy writing research papers for Mrs. Chris, revising their business plans for Entrepreneurship Class and struggling through my profit-margin problems.

In devotionals this morning, Daniela and Dania spoke about how important it is to this country that the students and graduates take on leadership roles in their communities and throughout Honduras. They feel and embrace that responsibility.

Tonight, at dinner, one of the girls shared a story about a close friend who had a baby while they were in high school and how it changed her life. I asked how many of their friends had children at such a young age. The answers varied a bit depending on their home community, but collectively they said many girls have babies as early as age 13, and 15 was typical. Expectations for the girls and young women in rural areas (like where most of our students are from) is just so modest or honestly really low. Start families and stay at home. So, I think that explains the importance of Daniela’s and Dania’s message this morning. “We must lead the changes.”

Meals are a production here. But they always start with grinding the corn for the tortillas. Frijoles, broccoli and eggs are standard fare.

We had two young Honduran men here to speak with the students about their own businesses. Glen Evans, who many of you know was the founder of TLC, brought the guys here. They were great and offered the students many ideas. They told us they were extremely impressed with the girls’ English and their confidence.

We have some really special birds on campus. Turquoise blue jays, many red throated woodpeckers, bright yellow fly catchers and the occasional road runner. Really quite a place on this beautiful mountain of pines and coffee trees. Consider coming here to see for yourself – not for the birds – but for the relationships these young women will share with you!

Have a great week and blessings from Honduras!

Dan

 

Friends All Around

Dear Family and Friends,

Dan and I are now halfway through week 4 of our 6 week visit to TLC. Students are very busy in both our classes.

In Research and Writing students will submit the first draft of their research paper this Friday, I will have a lot of reading to do this weekend. They are working on some very interesting topics including Barriers for Women Entering Politics, Causes of and Solutions for Motor Vehicle accidents and Recent Changes to Adoption Laws— All in Honduras.

For business class, students are preparing power point presentations on proposed entrepreneurial opportunities in their communities. Businesses include Raising Chickens, Selling School Supplies, Internet Cafe and Coffee and a Sewing Room.

Last Saturday we celebrated National Women’s Day in Honduras with pizza for dinner.

 

 

I was able to make a short trip to Lake Yojoa and visit with three of our graduates. It is always wonderful to reconnect with former students. They are pursuing careers, raising families, continuing their education and serving their communities. We are so proud of them.

Yesterday, first year student Johanna shared a beautiful message in the morning. She explained that in high school she did not have many friends but when she came to TLC so many of her classmates have offered their friendship to her. She is very grateful for these friendships and she expressed this gratitude so sincerely.

About one week ago tragedy stuck a family in nearby Los Valles, a community we are very close to. They lost their home and all their possessions to a fire. Our students responded immediately by collecting clothing, shoes, bedding and money. All students and staff participated. All the items were delivered by our student outreach team and it was wonderful to see the joy on their faces at being able to help this family. Here you can see the delivery team and our truck loaded with supplies.

Uncle Jeff has been busy cabling the campus and we now have more reliable internet in the classrooms. We are still limited by our bandwidth but this is progress!

Kathy Albarado and Mike Waddell are visiting for a few days and have been a big help in the classrooms. We had a bonfire Monday night with singing, games, marshmallows and Uncle Jeff on guitar.

Weather is very warm today, we are enjoying the sunshine.

See you all very soon.

Love,

Christine Moore

Life at The Leadership Center

Jan. 18, 2020

Some of the team after rain shower!

Good day friends and family!

We hear many of you may be getting ice or snow. While it’s been a bit cool here this week in the mountains of Honduras, it’s not like at home! Some rain showers and wind but sunny and warm much of the days.

We have had a very busy, somewhat intense second week in classes with the second-year students. They have a lot of homework this weekend. The parade of students seeking extra help is wonderful.

Chris has her class researching and writing papers on various topics. Research on the internet is always challenging here- and we did lose power for three days. Apparently a fallen pine tree in another nearby rural community took out more than just wires.

My business students are doing pretty well. Understanding basic financial statements and transactions – just enough to evaluate profitability and breakeven points has been challenging this week. The girls work very hard to understand and are always asking for extra practice problems. In my class we talk about having an entrepreneurial mindset – not just for business, but for life.

The Arise Ministry Team from George Mason University departed on Tuesday and a team of 13 (11 students and 2 faculty) arrived from Lafayette College. This new team is very interested in sustainability projects and has been spending time in the finca planting rows of corn. They are also doing interesting seminars with the TLC students.

Most of the Lafayette team has been getting up at 6 a.m. for wake-up Zumba dancing in the salon. (I am sleeping.)

English Cafe

Yesterday the Lafayette team participated in “English Cafe” with our 18 first-year students. A fun close out to the week. They were doing three-minute speed dating interviews. Trying to learn as much as they could about the other person in three minutes. Fun and very noisy.

One of the first-year students, Merary, had sad news late yesterday. Her uncle – who was like a dad or older brother to her- died at home in some unusual way. We took her off campus today and she will spend time at home next week.

This week we are feeding 60 on campus; 38 students, staff and the team. It’s a lot of meals. The food here is modest but nutritious. Slowly the girls are coming around to more vegetables. But frijoles, broccoli, eggs and tortillas are staples. We are hoping to harvest Tilapia next week. They make some fine eating.

lunch

Today’s lunch was outstanding. Picture at right is of the girls eating fried chicken and tajadas (fried plantain slices) and watermelon juice. Everyone cleaned their plates to the disappointment of the campus dogs.

Chris is working with many girls in the sewing room. Second years are making quilted blankets and first years are knitting hats and making scrunchies (whatever they are).

Off now to some games in the soccer field. The students have prepared some games and fun activities for the team.

Thanks to all of you for your support.

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan

Starting 2020 at The Leadership Center

Jan. 9, 2020

Hola friends and family,

We arrived last Friday on campus in the beautiful mountains. The students came back on Saturday from their Christmas break. Most had returned to their home communities across Honduras. We had a lot of joy reconnecting Saturday and Sunday with the students and staff.

Classes for the quarter began on Monday. Chris is teaching two classes a day in Research and Writing. I am teaching Entrepreneurship and Business for two hours a day as well. Between us we have the 14 second year students – Cohort 9. Wonderful young women, all of them, now in their final quarter before they graduate at the end of March. There are 18 first year students – all in their last quarter of English studies.

The weather is beautiful all day, sunny and warm. But afternoon clouds and some light rain cool the air in the late evenings to about 55°. Nights are pretty good sleeping except for some howling coyotes and dogs. Not to mention the chickens and roosters – who clearly do not just crow at dawn. But it’s all good!

As many of you know, we have a new Campus Director. Mizraim Tovar and his young family arrived three months ago. Mizraim is doing well. He is experienced with educational missions work in Honduras and has a great heart for service. We are excited to have him at TLC.

A small service team from Virginia arrived yesterday from GMU’s Arise Campus Ministries. Great to have them here. They were working some in the farm this afternoon as well as sitting in on some classes.

We will keep you informed as things progress over the next 6 weeks. But I will tell you, the love and appreciation that these young women express every day for this educational opportunity is gratifying. And I want to thank all of you, for without your support and generous hearts, it would not be possible!

Blessings from Honduras

Dan

Daniela second year student and (also) Daniela TLC graduate who works as a teacher at a nearby NGO
Dan and Joanna , a first year student from La Mosquitia
Chris with a first year “Short Story” reading group this evening

A Quick Check-Up with TLC Students & Alumni

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Dear Friends and Family,

Last Wednesday I flew to San Pedro Sula to visit Leadership Center graduates Mairyn, Yolany, Yudy and Lenis. They are staying in an apartment and attending University Classes as part of a pilot program sponsored by TLC. I had a wonderful visit.

On Thursday, Yudy and I took a bus to the inner city to distribute dresses for young girls and new shirts for young boys to the homeless. The city was quiet and the experience humbling.

In the afternoon, the students gave me a tour of their University. They are working hard and very grateful for the opportunity to study.

On Friday we boarded a bus for the 4 1/2 hour trip to Zambrano to meet up with returning undergraduates of TLC just back from first quarter break.

Here on campus, second quarter is underway and the first years are experiencing the English only policy for the first time. They are trying so hard to make conversations. Their efforts are inspiring.

I have visited English, Community Development and Psychology classes and can report that the teachers are doing a wonderful job and the students are so glad to be here.

My visit is short this time, I return home Thursday but I know I’ll be back soon!

Sent with love,

Chris Moore

New Students Preparing to Make a Difference

Dear Friends and Family,

We send you best wishes on behalf of 30 wonderful young Honduran women here at TLC!

Last week was very full and rewarding.

The second-year students continued their entrepreneurial studies. This week we worked on business planning. The class divided into three groups and developed business plans for small businesses in a rural community. Most of the students are from villages or communities where agriculture / small farms are the primary source of income for families. Typical monthly wages for agricultural jobs would be about 7-8000 Lempira a month or about $350. That provides virtually no discretionary income for people to spend, so most businesses that we consider are about needs or necessities for households.

Chris also continues her activities in the Craft Room with the students. A lot of blankets, hair bows and pillows are in various states of completion. Usually about five or so girls seek her guidance after classes most days for craft help, depending on their homework requirements.

We had another group of applicants here the last few days. We will accept 18 -20 young women for a new class that will begin in April. They interview here at TLC and spend two nights here. We have about 50 applicants this year and narrowing that many to 18 young women is difficult, since so many need an educational opportunity such as this.

I guess that reality is why our students are so grateful. They recognize the opportunity they have here at TLC – to better themselves, their communities and their future.

Thanks to all of you for enabling that opportunity!

We had a big bonfire last night. Games and singing were very fun. Jeff had four of the students playing guitar with him – a TLC band. Tu Palabra and La Bamba were crowd favorites!

Three of our graduates started university together last Monday in an apartment in San Pedro Sula. A very exciting day for them and us. We are experimenting with a pilot program to help some graduates with University degrees. Many of you will recognize Lenis, Yolany and Meyrin.

Yesterday I spent some time with one of the first-year students, Carolina. She is a very fun, loving and popular student. We were reviewing her reading assignment. At one point she began to talk with me about the importance of family relationships. My sense was she had some struggles in her family. She was not specific but there was a sort of sadness in her voice. Well this morning she led the devotional and talked about relationships and sounded hope-filled. She quoted Matthew 19, “…with God all things are possible.”

I am off to spend some time with a couple students now … it’s another beautiful day here on the mountain. We return next Thursday night and are looking forward to being with family and friends soon.

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan

A Week at The Leadership Center

Dear Friends and Family,

We understand that many of you are experiencing very cold temperatures. Looking at sunny skies and feeling warm breezes makes us so glad to be at The Leadership Center.

Student and Faculty Visitors from Lafayette College arrived last Tuesday. They have been hard at work providing seminars, cooking meals, performing morning chores and tutoring all our students. Our lives are enriched by their activities and friendships are forming. They are giving of themselves and being blessed by our students in return.

Today they are off campus exploring nearby Comayagua.

Our weekly activities continue: teaching class, tutoring, bible studies, reading group and sewing. Accounting class and Entrepreneurship is well underway for Dan. It is a challenge for students and the teacher alike. We hope they are learning the valuable life lessons of the entrepreneurial mindset.

First year students will analyze Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man at the Bridge tonight at reading group. Tea and cupcakes are a part of the attraction.

Four second-year students will take an SAT-like exam in March and I am trying to assist with an extensive Algebra and Geometry review. It has been awhile….

I am also undertaking the painting of the fence surrounding Bloom Park. I am hoping for a Tom Sawyer-effect. Only a few takers so far.

We are also lucky to have ever-so-handyman Jeff Hayes with us for a few weeks. Many are asking for repairs and new projects, so he is a very busy man on campus.

On Thursday we will receive the first of three groups of 18 applicants for their interviews. It is wonderful to have so many interested prospective students. Selected students will begin at TLC in April. This will be Cohort 10, surely a milestone.

We are in need of a liberal arts teacher beginning in April and appreciate all our friends and family keeping their eyes and ears open for possible candidates.

We are ever grateful for all our supporters back home, you are a very important part of this ministry.

If you ever wish to see firsthand all that God is doing here, please let us know.

Sent with love,

Chris(tine) Moore

A Very Full Week

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Dear Friends and Family,

We send you the very best wishes from The Leadership Center. Chris and I have been here a week now. We arrived with a great team from Arise Campus Ministry of George Mason University. The team also included a couple friends from Floris UMC and Trinity UMC. The team has had a great week, really jumping in and working with our 30 students, attending classes, and tutoring/mentoring students.

We have 16 first year students and 14 second year students here at TLC. The first years are finishing their last full quarter of English immersion classes. The second year students are taking Community Development, Entrepreneurship and Latin American history classes.

Chris and I are team teaching entrepreneurship- two classes a day. I am working with the students on starting some business plans, which interestingly include a number of “social businesses.”

The young women here are wonderful and so grateful for the opportunity for further education. They really appreciate spending time with visitors and teams. I think one of the blessings of spending time here is the realization that they are so appreciative and so grateful for what they have – and it really is very humbling.

One of our graduates from three years ago arrived Friday afternoon – Judy C. She came really to visit with Chris. Judy is an impressive young woman. After graduation from TLC in 2016, she started a retail resale business on Facebook. She fully repaid her micro loan from TLC in 12 months. She worked for 2 years at a call center – doing medical translation services. She also volunteers with US Medical Brigades – taking teams into rural communities. She told us that in one week – a recent team saw over 800 patients. And she has started a cooperative of women/stay-at-home mothers in two communities making and selling jewelry. Finally, she is taking classes at University. Her future is limitless and she will definitely brighten the future of Honduras.

Our weekend was very full. Friday after classes was a campus soccer game, and Friday night was Movie Night featuring My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Saturday afternoon was a hike to the waterfall and that evening was a bonfire – marshmallows, games, singing, skits and general silliness. Yesterday we had a picnic lunch along the river – it was a very beautiful sunny day. The girls made chicken salad. Last night was our praise worship service and a wonderful message from the book of Luke.

So we are back to classes this morning!

The GMU Arise team leaves tomorrow and a team will arrive from Lafayette College. Teams are very important to ministries and missions for many reasons – but honestly its so wonderful to see the experiences and benefits that participants on teams receive. For many it is a life changing experience.

We know the snow has been challenging for many of you. The TLC students have really enjoyed seeing the pictures and videos some of you have sent of snow activities. They are jealous! Can you imagine if you never experienced snow in your life?

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan