Goodbyes and Returning Home

March 26

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, we are almost headed home! It has been a bittersweet week, but we are excited to depart Tegucigalpa tomorrow afternoon.

the seniors at graduation

the seniors at graduation

The seniors graduated Sunday evening. The new salon was decorated beautifully and the 4 seniors’ families were all here for the special occasion. Speeches, recognitions and many smiles and tears. It was wonderful to meet the families. They were so proud and appreciative of the education and opportunity that their daughters had at TLC.

We know that education of women in lesser developed countries is an investment that pays big dividends. Empowering young women changes their futures and causes improvements to communities. photo 10But on a personal note, seeing the sheer pride on the graduates’ faces and on their families’ faces was very satisfying.

The seniors were so sweet with Chris and I, many kind words and long embraces. We have provided three of them with a ” to do list” of several things they need to do in the next month to validate their business plans and then I hope we will be funding three new business starts for Betis, Gaby and Esperanza. Angela has decided to teach English at a primary school for a year before starting her business. The seniors left campus Monday morning with their families.

Chris had her final two days of classes with the juniors and her final exams on Tuesday. Her 6 students are really going to miss her and they have been staying close by her all week. The sewing machines have been on a tear all week. Virtually every shred of material is now a pillow case, a cell phone case, a neck cozy and so on.

bonfire last night

bonfire last night

Last night we had our final bonfire of the quarter. It was great fun with many different acts and talents – Chippy Chippy dancing, opera singing, a follow the leader game, pantomime, guitar music, and some silly jokes! (Who does the sick farmer call for help… A farmacist! I had a couple better ones also.) Many of the girls made loving remarks and gave thanks for our service – it was very sweet and touching. We were presented with a number of handmade gifts, among a lot of tears. These girls are each so firmly etched on our hearts at this point. It has been a blessing to serve here – we will never be quite the same!

devotionals this morning

devotionals this morning

Today is packing up day. And cleaning the casita day. A number of the girls have been stopping by this afternoon, just to talk a bit more. The girls leave campus about 4:30 a.m. tomorrow, all in the back of the truck and hanging onto the trailer. They will all catch buses home from Zambrano and hope to be on a bus by 6 a.m. Holy Week (Semana Santo) starts tomorrow with many community pilgrimages and processionals, so that is bound to cause some delays for some of the girls. Some will be home by noon, but many late in the day. They will return to classes in two weeks, joined by thirteen new students! (For more information about The Leadership Center and the students, visit www.leadershipmissioninternational.org).

Again to all of you who have supported us, encouraged us with your notes and prayers these last three months, we thank you. We have many stories to share with you about TLC and these wonderful young women. We will see you soon!

Dios los Bendiga!

Dan and Chris

 

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Exams and Other Final Things

Dear friends and family,

I want to start this message today with a note from Daniela, one of the first year students. Here she is:

To: Trinity Church and my friends in the United States,

Hello! My name is Daniela Valladares and I am studying in The Leadership Center (TLC). I am in the first year of English, by the way this is my last quarter of English here, but in a couple of weeks I will be starting my second year, and I am happy for that.

Let me tell you, that when I came here I did not know any English, in the beginning it was really difficult for me to understand the language or when people spoke with me, I didn’t know how can I answer them. I think this is one of my big challenges in my life.

Also, I am really happy because I am going to be on vacation and is really excited because I will be doing many things for example: going to church with my family and enjoying the traditional food the we make is really delicious also, I hope go to swim and past a good time. in fact, we are going to celebrate the Holy Week. I have two younger sisters and we will have a wonderful time together for two weeks.

I think it is a good time to be near to God and remember Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us.

So I am really grateful with you for the things that you have been doing for my classmates and I.

Thank you so much for praying every single day for us and I hope God continue blessing your lives.

Finally, I would like to continue telling you more about my experiences at TLC, I am sure that will be great. Thank you for everything that you do for us.😉

Another thing I would like to know more about you and have a wonderful communication too.

With love. Daniela🐜

 

Now a word from Chris:

As we begin to count down the days until we leave TLC our emotions are mixed. It will be hard to say goodbye to those we have become so close to; but we are very ready to return to our family.

Graduation plans and preparations are on everyone’s mind, food, flowers, table cloths, new curtains for the salon, cleaning up the front entrance (stump removal and grading work) and pretty dresses for the graduates.

Dan’s final Entrepreneurial Class exam was today ( 2 1/2 hour exam) and his students surprised him this afternoon with a Father’s Day Party. (Today is Father’s Day in Honduras). They prepared a treat of homemade chips and queso bean dip with chorizo. It was delicious. The seniors were so sweet and they gave us each a nice gift.

My finals will be next Tuesday for the second year students, then we will pack up and head home Friday. I think the students are anxious to get home, too.

We have much more to share with you and will be glad to speak with you about our experiences here at TLC.

A quick note from Dan:

Betis

Betis

Betis, gave the devotional this morning: Proverbs 2:1-5. She spoke about turning your ear to wisdom and your heart to understanding. She tied it into seeking counsel and love from our Heavenly Father and from our earthly fathers on this Honduran Father’s Day. Betis lost her father about 10 months ago, in a tragic household accident. She was consoled by her classmates as she spoke with us.

The seniors are very excited for graduation Sunday evening – they all have 6-8 family members coming in to campus on Sunday and then they depart Monday. There will be many tears.

Well, I am off to grade the final exams. The seniors will meet with me tomorrow to review the exams and learn their final grades (they will all do well I am sure).

It’s been a nice day here at TLC.

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan and Chris

Click each photo to enlarge it:

Meet Judy

Buenos Dias Amigos y Familia,

Well, we are coming down the home stretch – just about two and a half weeks to go. We are excited to see you all again soon.

At Bible Study last night we had about a dozen of the students. We closed the fellowship with each person witnessing a bit about how God is engaged in their lives right now. Some of the girls had some very powerful and emotional things to say. What struck me was that despite some very poor circumstances and even difficult home lives, these girls are so thankful to God for the opportunity to be at TLC and to have the chance to change their lives for the better through education and leadership development. However, even with the free education provided by TLC, some students’ families feel their absence at home as their daughters are not there to help or to provide support. A number of the girls talked about that pressure and concern and their seeking of God’s direction. One of the first-year students left campus about 6 weeks ago to care for her sick mother. We all hope and pray for her mom’s recovery and for Helde to be able to return to TLC.

Business Planning Class

Business Planning Class

This afternoon my senior class delivered their business plans to an assembly of classmates and teachers. While not quite done, it was the culmination of about 3 months of work. These 4 students will graduate March 22. Today each student made a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation and outlined their addressable market, financial forecasts and operational plans. Each of the 4 retail businesses will be in a different very small rural community, where no similar business exists-an agricultural supply store, bakery & coffee bar, a dairy store and a fast food restaurant. Each business may be started for $3-4,000, most of the capital goes to initial inventory or equipment. It’s interesting to know that operational costs are typically modest, as rent and labor is inexpensive. However goods, such as equipment and merchandise, is relatively expensive. This is one of the challenges of Honduras- low wages but fairly expensive “things.” Over the final couple weeks we will tweak the business plans and then consider how to launch and fund the businesses. The girls did a great job; they were much relieved this afternoon and at the same time very pumped up.

We have a very special treat for you now. One of our sweet and beautiful freshman is Judy Canelas. She is one of Trinity’s sponsored students. She is in my vocabulary group and she and Chris read a book a couple times a week. She has a wonderful sense of humor and is a joy to be around. I am handing the iPad to Judy now, for her to write you a message. Here’s Judy!

Judy

Judy

Hello! My name is Yudy Canelas, I am from Francia, Limon Colon. I am twenty years old and this is my first year in TLC.

Thank you for sponsoring me, I am very grateful for that. God bless you all of you.

Here at The Leadership Center we are grateful for all the members of Trinity Church, thank you so much for helping us and helping in the development of this country.

A couple months ago I met Mr. Dan and Mrs. Chris, they talk about Trinity Church.

Mrs. Chris brought materials from Trinity for pillows, blankets, hairpins and curtains. I made a blanket and two hairpins. Also she sent material to make earrings and necklaces and I am starting to make them and I sell. I discovered that I am good in that.

My spiritual goals for this quarter are read the Bible and go to church on Sundays.

Also I have academic goals, they are read books with someone else, improve my pronunciation and listen to English music. I have been reading books with Chris and we have almost finished the last one, it tittle is “Little house in the Big woods” Mrs. Chris said I did not need to read aloud with someone else, I can do it for fun. I was very pleased with that because that means I am improving my pronunciation.

Every Monday in English class the teacher gives us vocabulary words. Afterwards two classmate and I have pronunciation with Mr. Dan.

Every morning and afternoon my task is to feed the fish and check the water, I like to do that.

This is my last quarter of English and I am excited to begin the leadership year.

God bless you, and thank you again for your support and prayers. I hope to meet more members of Trinity church, it will be a pleasure to have you here because this is your house and you are very welcome.

I would you like to know about you and the church.

P.S: especial hello to Jose, Victoria and Sharon! Missing you.

With love… Yudy!

Well I hope you can get a sense from Judy’s note about how we all are playing a role in these wonderful girls’ lives. Whether it’s your prayers, financial support or donations of goods – we are all playing a part here.

The wind is whistling just a bit tonight, we can hear it in the mountain tree tops. The stars and the moon are very bright, I wish you could see it. Someday?

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan and Chris

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waiting for frijoles

waiting for frijoles

Dario and Brittany

Dario and Brittany

March 7 in Honduras

Dear Family and Friends,

image 5It has been so wonderful to have Jose, Victoria and Sharon this week.

They accomplished so much, helping in classrooms, working on a couple projects but mostly just loving the girls. Spending lots of quality time interacting in so many ways. It’s so important and it just warms my heart – they created a set of lifetime memories for themselves and certainly for 23 beautiful students!

We are sitting in the volunteer house right now while rain is coming down on the metal roof. It’s a soft pleasant sound and it is accompanied by Maholly strumming the guitar and singing. We are headed to a bonfire and a talent show for tonight’s entertainment!

Ok just back on line, lost internet on CPUs last night and… after a long Saturday.

The bonfire was very fun last night but it ended up we relocated to the library, all soaking wet. Evening ran quite late for us (9 p.m.). We had magical acts, singing, dancing, joke telling, a game called bump and much more. It was great fun and included Jose’s fried tortilla strips with cinnamon and sugar!

After tearful and joyful goodbyes this morning the Trinity team left campus. We dropped Jose, Sharon and Victoria at the airport. It was a heartfelt goodbye, but we will reunite soon

Chris and I, and Joseph and Hailey are spending tonight in Tegucigalpa at a Holiday Inn Express! After food shopping for campus and a trip to the hardware store, we toured the local mall (huge and Tyson’s like) and then ate dinner at TGIF! Real burgers were a treat. Now warm showers, nice comfortable room and no mice! Chris is very happy. We facetimed with the grandkids and now have unlimited internet.

Thanks for your ongoing prayers and support.

Blessings from Honduras

Dan and Chris

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Adventures and Achievements

Greetings from Honduras!

Victoria here, reporting live. Today has been an exciting day here at TLC. It started out like any other day, but it has been filled with adventures and achievements.

Victoria writing Trinity gift notes to students.

Victoria writing Trinity gift notes to students.

This morning after breakfast I had the opportunity to accompany some of the girls on their work assignment picking coffee, while Dan and Jose continued their beautification efforts in preparation for graduation in a few weeks. Sharon and Chris spent some of the morning compiling small gift bags for the girls which we plan to give to them on Friday night.

One of the big achievements of the day was determining the depth of TLC’s new well. Dan and Jose were told that the well was approximately 550 ft deep, but there wasn’t a precise measurement of where the water actually started. What they thought was going to be a 15 minute project turned into several hours as they tried several methods to accurately gauge the depth. In the end, a makeshift bucket and two different types of rope and a tape measure tied together managed to pull up water from a depth of 450 ft.

Lunch: malanga, rice and water spinach

Lunch: malanga, rice and water spinach

After lunch Chris took the second year students, Sharon, Judy (another volunteer here) and I, on a field trip during their afternoon class periods to a nearby ruined house. It was a beautiful day for a hike and while we were there we collected several huge lemons growing near the ruins.

It’s been a great day here and I’m happy to have been able to share it with you all. We look forward to the last few days we have here with these wonderful girls.

Hasta luego,

Victoria

Jose hard at work

Jose hard at work

The Daily Routine

Saludos y bendiciones desde Honduras!

photo 2As I usually like to do, I want to use the opportunity to tell you about the number one asset at TLC; the students. I want to tell you about a routine day in the lives of these wonderful young ladies. First, I want you to know all of them feel privileged to be here and are very thankful for this opportunity and eager to face their everyday challenges. They are also very thankful to all of the long and short term volunteers, and all of the wonderful people back home who make their dreams a reality.

Many of the students at TLC get up around 5:30 a.m. to either workout or do their laundry, which is done by hand and clothes are hung to dry after praying for sun. Some go for a 3-mile run on a very hilly and bumpy road; others do 45 minutes of either Insanity or Zumba. After their workouts, they get ready for breakfast. photo 3Every day, three of the students are assigned to cook the three meals for everyone on campus, which is currently 40 people, so 120 meals a day plus doing the dishes. After breakfast (7 a.m.), some students and volunteers participate in morning devotions (7:30 a.m.) which includes Bible reading, short reflection, and prayer. The devotions are led by one of the students.

After morning devotions which last approximately 10 minutes, all students are assigned chores around campus. These include feeding the pigs and chickens, watering the plants and crops, gathering fire wood, and working the coffee farm among many others. Around 9 a.m., the students take a very cold shower (the temperature of the water in the morning is in the 50’s) to get ready for academics. The morning sessions are from 9:30 to 10:20 and 10:30 to 11:20. In the afternoon, classes run from 1:30 to 2:20 and from 2:30 to 3:20.

photo 1During the break after the morning session and just before lunch, some students work on homework, study for tests, do arts and crafts, while others are doing laundry. After academics in the afternoon, students continue doing homework and more studying, and reading comprehension and pronunciation. The latter is done one-on-one with one of their teachers or any of the volunteers. They also work on their reading comprehension and English pronunciation in the evenings after supper. They also work with volunteers and teachers when they need math tutoring or on any topic. They do not mind working long hours to improve themselves and to be better students every day. After all teachers and volunteers retire for the day, around 8:30 p.m., many students will go to either the library or one of their classrooms to continue working on their academics and to get ready for the next day. They are truly amazing and they really value this opportunity and their education.

Well, I think I’m going to stop here for now, although there is plenty more I could tell you about the students. However, I’d rather tell you more when I return home. Who knows, maybe I won’t have to tell you because you might join us on our next trip here. I guarantee it will change your life.

In the meantime, I will ask to continue praying for this ministry, the students, the workers, the staff, and the volunteers. I will also ask you to continue contributing to this and other ministries. Also, make a point to talk to others about it. We want to spread the word and continue helping TLC. This is looking promising and the Lord is doing wonders, but there is so much more to be done.

Jose

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Our Mission Team arrives in Honduras

Saludos y bendiciones desde Honduras,

We dodged the winter weather! Well, at least for a few days. Our small team (Victoria Todd, Sharon Tanner, and Jose Rivera) escaped the cold weather to come to Honduras to join Dan and Chris Moore, and the wonderful people at the TLC. Our trip was uneventful; well, not really, but I could tell you more if you approach me after I return to Trinity.

Victoria and I departed DC very early on February 28 to join Sharon Tanner in Miami, FL and then fly to Tegucigalpa, Teguc if you talk to any local. The flights were very smooth and even the challenging approach at Teguc. Our luggage made it with all the things many of you graciously sent made it here intact. Even the TUMC mugs.

Our trip from the airport to TLC was also a smooth ride and included a stop in Zambrano for a delicious lunch. After lunch, we headed to the TLC down the bumpy road, although this time wasn’t as rough as previous occasions. In part, this was due to improvements made to the dirt by a hydroelectric contractor working near TLC to install a turbine to generate electrical power. Once at TLC we received a warm welcome by Dan and Chris, the staff, volunteers, and the students.

By the way, we could not have asked for better weather. Although this is the dry season and they haven’t had too much rain since early in 2015, the temperature during the day is between high 70s and lower 80s with a nice breeze. During our first night, we had some short periods of rain, which was music to my ears as our dorms have tin roofs and brought me back some memories from Puerto Rico.

Sunday morning, we woke up to delicious coffee, which I had the honor to prepare with some guidance from the students. Making coffee here is a little more complex than what we are used to back home. Later we had Sunday service at the new multi-purpose building. We sang every song in both Spanish and English. Joseph Rahm, the director of TLC, delivered a great message based on the first chapter of Joshua, when the Lord chose him to guide the Israelites after Moses died. His words touched all of us and made us reflect on those times when the Lord calls us to do something and we have doubts or second thoughts.

Dan. Jose Victoria and Sharon at El Angel.

Dan, Jose, Victoria and Sharon at El Angel.

After lunch, some of us decided to go for a hike to see the waterfalls (El Angel). The sights are truly breathtaking and gave us a great opportunity to reflect on many things and also for Dan and I to try to solve the world’s problems.

Well, I’m going to sign off for now, but before doing so, I want to ask all of you to keep this ministry in your thoughts and prayers. The great things the Lord is doing here with the students, the community of Los Valles, the people of Honduras are possible because of people like you who are willing to pray and contribute. Please keep doing both. I would also like to ask you to consider joining us during a future trip, come see for yourself and experience something which is beyond rewarding and fulfilling. Muchas bendiciones y hasta pronto.

Jose O. Rivera