Buenos Dias Amigos y Familia,
It is cold here on the mountain! (We are at about 5,000 feet elevation here at TLC). Not to complain too much, as most of you are enduring snow, but it was about 42 degrees last night and with no heat – it’s pretty chilly! The sun has been hiding last couple days so electricity and internet are struggling a bit. Who expected a polar vortex in Honduras? The girls all are wearing ski caps, sweatshirts, scarves and even blankets. But the good news is the sun is peeking out a bit and we expect warmth and electricity soon!
We have some good news from Isletas, Yanetzi and Olga’s community on the other side of Honduras. These were the two young women who graduated from TLC last year and stayed with us this past December. Many of you met them and helped capitalize the TLC Investment Fund to help launch TLC graduates’ businesses.
Yanetzi received initial capital from TLC two weeks ago and signed a lease for El Classroom, her educational supplies store. She purchased initial inventory and began to install shelves and fixtures last week. She will be ready to open the store in a few days. School starts back up in Honduras next week (public schools are generally off all of January), so she wanted to be ready as parents must buy supplies for their kids to be able to go to school. Yanetzi says that people in Isletas are very excited about the store opening and that they will start buying supplies this weekend. She is very grateful for the opportunity.
Olga is continuing her work to get to the point to start her Isletas’ community pharmacy. She is working with a doctor in San Pedro Sula to try and get licensure and other requirements handled. We are optimistic but she is still a ways away from getting this business started.
Our classes are going well. Chris has the second year students and I (Dan) am teaching and working with the seniors. Chris and I leave campus tomorrow with the 4 seniors for a senior class trip! They and we are very excited. We will get a ride off the mountain to Zambrano and then take a chicken bus to Comayagua, a couple hours away. Comayagua was established by Spanish conquistadors in 1537! We will spend a couple nights in a hotel and do some “market research” for their business plans. I think that means research and talk with suppliers and competitors to their businesses, but I think the students believe that means “go shopping”! (Chris is most excited about the prospects for a hot shower.) More to come on our trip next week.
This year, Trinity UMC has sponsored three wonderful young women, all first year students. Trinity is providing financial support for the education of Daniela, Yudy (Judy) and Dayana at TLC. They are lovely young women, excited and grateful to be here. All three students study English for four hours each day. In Honduras, the ability to speak English provides improved job opportunities. Dan and I (Chris) work with these ladies several times weekly on their pronunciation, reading and speaking abilities. Their favorite question, “Can you use that word in a sentence for me?” Daniela is the more quiet of these three students, but she is always thinking and processing new vocabulary. Daniela likes to play volleyball and draw pictures of flowers and butterflies. Today is her birthday, the bulletin board is decorated for her and we all sang Happy Birthday to her at devotionals this morning. Judy is petite and lively. She approached me (Chris) on the very first day to listen to her oral reading which we do together at least twice a week, we are almost finished with The Little House in The Big Woods [by Laura Ingalls Wilder]. Judy makes jewelry to sell in her community to raise money for her transportation to and from campus. Judy enjoys listening to music, taking pictures and acting. Dayana is from the Cortez region of Honduras and knows of The Heart to Heart Ministry. With prior classes in English, she is the most fluent of the first year students. She leads worship services in English and Spanish and is passionate about her faith. She will be responsible for weekly worship (Iglesia) here at TLC beginning in April. She preached last Sunday morning about putting on the armor of our Lord. (Here’s a video of a song sung during worship.)
One last thing to mention quickly. Last Thursday, Dan drove us into Tegucigalpa. We followed Joseph Rahm in a vehicle as we needed to drop one at a mechanic. The road from TLC to Zambrano is rutted and steep in many places – more like a river bed. But we made it! In Teguc we had a nice lunch at the American Embassy with Hal Constantine and his wife Stacie; both work at the embassy. Hal is an economic advisor and commercial officer and we are quite excited that they have shown interest in TLC. It sure is a small world, as we met Hal at a missions meeting in Arlington at Little Falls Presbyterian Church about a year ago and then he was stationed here!
Well we are off to lunch soon (when the bell is rung) for plates of frijoles, vegetables and corn tortillas!
The sun has come out and all is good here!
Blessings from Honduras,
Chris and Dan