New Friends & Old Friends

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Dear Family and Friends,

After a devotional from Genesis led by Adam and a breakfast of eggs and tortillas, we departed TLC campus yesterday (Friday) around 9:30 a.m.  Truth is that we started to say our goodbyes to the students about 8:30, but a lot of laughing, a bit of crying and a ton of pictures were taken. The 6 days had been such a blessing to us.

We were excited to have Yanetsi, Olga and Alex, the three senior business students,  join us on our trip to Heart to Heart. I will not spend time on the details, but the 7 or so hour trip was long but enjoyable and no van incidents! We visited a market in Siguatepegue and had a nice lunch there. The roads are good/decent and the journey thru the mountains was quite spectacular.  We hit San Pedro Sula at rush hour unfortunately and it slowed us down an hour or so. We arrived at Omoa last night about 7 p.m. and had dinner at the small hotel here where we are staying. We had to juggle beds a bit and the girls including Jessica are all together in one room with one extra queen mattress on the floor!

We were grateful for hot showers and air conditioning – it’s so much hotter on this side of Honduras.

We were up pretty early and Luis led us in a devotional about how God is here in this place but most importantly in our hearts. We talked about Nehemiah and his prayers to God for the great needs of Jerusalem; then we talked about how great the needs were at TLC and what we needed to do about it – prayer for sure and to witness with you, our friends and family. We sang Dios Esta Aqui together and even enjoyed a solo verse by Mike!

After breakfast we walked out on the fishing pier a bit and then headed to Tegucigalpita and the Heart to Heart Children’s Village. There is another team here from Washington State led by our good friends, the Stephens. We spent some time with them at the village.

The kids at were really glad to see us.

Heart to Heart is home to about 80 children, most from the streets or state orphanage, some from broken homes.

image-1Most of the team  headed back to the girls and toddlers house where we played with the little ones for about 2 hours. There are about 16 preschoolers and kinders now. Just sitting on the floor brings wonderful opportunities for love and affection. The kids are well loved by the house mommies but they don’t get as much one in one time or holding or carrying around as they want (or need?). They are such sweet kids and they just want to be with you. It’s heart warming to be sure, but it also is sad at the same time.

Meanwhile Mike and Adam were playing basketball and soccer with the boys in about 90 degree heat and very high humidity.  (It’s almost exhausting to be outside now – so hot, especially coming from the mountain where TLC was located.)

Zulema the head house mother and cook at the boys house made us a special lunch of beef and vegetable soup with rice – very tasty.

After lunch we celebrated the kindergartners graduation and all the May and June birthdays! All the kids, mommies and volunteers gathered in a room and clapped and sang with the kids. Cake and soda pop was enjoyed by all!!

All the graduating kindergartners received a small soft pillow made by Trinity’s Crafts for a Cause team- the kids really liked them and clutched them tightly.

We unpacked our large Cabella and other bags of things for the H2H kids and were well thanked for Trinity’s generosity.

The H2H ministry has extended into the local community of Puerto Cortes as the Christian school now has about 140 kids in total including about 70 from the community. The ministry is running at about a $7,000 monthly deficit however. One of their largest costs other than food for the kids, is electricity which is very expensive in this area.

image-2We just returned from Church about an hour ago. Oscar Serrano, the Honduran H2H Director and pastor (who preached at Trinity last September) asked Pastor Luis to preach tonight. And did he ever! The church was packed and after about an hour of praise songs and prayers, Luis and Jose took the microphones. Luis preached about change and how God is watching us in everything we do.  Jose translated for the gringos and the two of them are quite a team.

Luis acknowledged Joseph Rahm and the students from TLC and told the congregation about the changes the TLC students were going to make in their communities and in Honduras. Luis told us that it does not matter how poor (or rich) we are, God can use any (and all) of us to effect change in ourselves and our world. Luis gave his personal testimony and the response was powerful. At the end of the service he invited anyone who wanted to change their lives and the situation of the families to come forward. Virtually the entire congregation crowded to the front of the church to receive God’s blessing thru Luis!

After church we talked a bit as it began to rain hard on the metal church roof. A number of the older Heart to Heart girls (and a few interested boys) gravitated to the TLC girls. There was good discussion and smiles and a couple of the H2H girls expressed serious interest in TLC.

After stoping for gas and snacks, we arrived back in Omoa about an hour or so ago.It is still pouring outside but maybe that will cool it down some.  We will be back at church in the morning!

Please pray for the people of Honduras; the needs are great virtually everywhere in this poor country. Especially pray and consider acting upon the needs of the important ministries of TLC and H2H.

For the Mission Team,

Dan

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Praising God and Learning from Each Other

Buenos Tardes:

It’s about 1 p.m. and the sun is out.

We just finished lunch of fried beef, potatoes and rice (no beans!). Sort of a special meal, as they bought the beef for our week here. It’s tasty but a bit tough and it’s normal to pick up beef to chew it.

I decided to start our report a bit early today as the Internet is on now-it’s been a bit spotty, as it comes via satellite service.

Last night we had a wonderful worship service around a huge Bon fire. The girls sang praise songs (both English and Spanish). My favorite was How Great is Our God. Yenetzi and Angela led the service for us. Pastor Luis preached and as usual, Jose translated the message for us gringos. Luis preached about the story of a young person named Joseph and how, even though abandoned by his family, God choose him to leave his people and save his family. He challenged these young women to use their education here at TLC to change their future and the future of their families, communities and country.

Many of the girls stayed by the bonfire as it burned down singing songs and laughing until lights out at 9 p.m.

I am off to a class right now and will finish later….

I am back; it’s 4 p.m. and it’s raining again.

I had wanted to mention, that we began the day today with a devotional about how our lives are impacted by those we seek to serve. Jessica said she was learning more from the girls than she was teaching them. Mike commented that God lets us touch these young lives in a way we may never understand.

working togetherToday was a special day. After their regular 9:30 classes we split the girls into three groups of 8 each. Mike and Luis taught volleyball fundamentals on their new court. Jose and Adam led a personal safety course and taught some techniques to avoid or escape difficult situations. Jessica and I had a leadership seminar where we did some trust exercises (e.g. blindfold fall off a log into teammates arms, no casualties) and some other fun but challenging exercises. The girls rotated to all three of our classes and we encouraged them along with way with treats we had purchased at Erlindas house about a mile away.

We have had a wonderful day. Now I am sitting under the porch with the rain hitting the metal roofs, talking with the girls and waiting for dinner about 6.

Betis got my laundry done but not sure how it’s going to dry.

Jessica had her nails painted by Gabby- very cute. I am trying to talk Mike or Adam into getting his nails done also.

One of the biggest pieces of news is that the three senior business students have petitioned Joseph to join our team when we go tomorrow to Heart to Heart. They presented a paper and argument to him about how it would help them learn more. They succeeded and we are all glad.

We will be headed to San Pedro Sula and the Puerto Cortes tomorrow in the TLC van (now with a new alternator, jack and repaired tire). We expect about a 6-7 hour trip. We will appreciate your prayers for travel mercies!

We are all very excited to go to Heart to Heart and see the children and extend our collective love to them.

If you don’t hear from us until Saturday don’t be surprised.

For the mission team,

Dan

Dan on porch

Another Day at The Learning Center

Saludos desde Honduras!

It was another wonderful morning here at TLC. Luis woke everyone up around 6 a.m. with his typical whistle. This was followed by our morning devotions led by Jessica. As usual, our devotions were accompanied by a cup of delicious Honduran coffee prepared by Candida. During our devotions, we studied Acts 9, 1-18. This reading talks about how our Lord could call upon and use anyone regardless of the their past.

Later during the day, our team embarked in a project to replant a cotton tree to save it as the area where it was originally planted is soon to be covered by concrete for a new dormitory. new and the old dormitory.

Joseph and Zeida took Cecilia to see a Doctor, as precaution, to make sure that the were no broken bones from the incident yesterday. They went to Comayagua and the X-rays were negative. God is good!

Later during the day, Jessica, Mike, Luis, and Adam were involved in several construction and cleaning projects. I had the opportunity to join Dan during his business classes to the senior students, Alex, Olga, and Yunetzi. During Dan’s class we went over their business plan and I played a banker and they tried selling me their Business Plan to obtain a loan to start their businesses. It was a good exercise for the students as they practiced their delivery and got some observations as to what questions to expect during such process.

For lunch, we had a delicious homemade chicken soup prepared by Marcos’ wife. Marcos is one of the local employees in TLC and is man to the left of Luis Polanco on today’s photo (coming soon). By the way, the chicken was from his farm so it was fresh from today. Also, this was coordinated by Luis. Since we had the soup, we gave our lunch to Marcos, Marcos Jr., Christian, and Elias. The last three are also employees at TLC.

After the reading comprehension in the afternoon, each student received a digital watch. They were very thankful, as they always are. I had lots of fun later on, setting up more than 20 of these watches and explaining to the students how to do it themselves.

We had baleadas for dinner. Jessica was involved in the preparation.

I have to leave as we have a worship service around a fire and I have to translate for Luis’ sermon. Talk to you soon.

Jose Rivera

WOW What a day!

Buenos Noches family and friends:

We had a beautiful sunrise over the campus about 6 a.m. – such a start to our day. At devotionals before breakfast, we read from Isaiah and talked about how God calls us; sometimes not with a trumpet but maybe a whisper or just a feeling in your heart.

After breakfast of strong Honduran coffee, fresh picked scrambled eggs and boiled vegetables – we headed in different directions to help today around campus.

Jessica worked with Haley and Micah placing rocks along the road; Luis and Jose worked on rebar pillars for the new student dorm with the local Honduran work crew (who are very good guys); Adam and Mike took on a big project of cutting and placing boards over culverts on the road; Dan gathered trash around campus and paper from the bathrooms and spent quality time at the burn pit before teaching business classes.

This afternoon we did more reading comprehension classes with the students. At the end of those sessions, we passed out the necklaces to each student that the Crafts for a Cause group from Trinity had provided. The girls were thrilled!

Although the day had been hot, about 4:30 the skies let loose – we had about 30 minutes of torrential rain. Jose and I were trapped in the comedor with the freshman for some time – which was great. We learned more about a number of the girls and they asked us a lot of questions.

The rain stopped and it dried out. A volleyball game pretty quickly commenced. But in 25 minutes Mike came running down to the comedor, Cecilia had dislocated her shoulder! I tried to maneuver her arm a bit to pop it in at the court but it was not happening. We got her to a room , she was in great pain and the dislocation was obvious. Honestly we were all pretty scared. It brings home very quickly how far away from civilization we are here at TLC. The ride into Zambrano in the truck or van would be painful for Cecilia. After much talk, and attempts to calm Cecilia and then reading a medical booklet section on reduction, we felt we needed to try to put her shoulder back in the socket. Haley, Adam and I were able to follow the instructions and with prayers from Luis, her shoulder was back in position. God did it for sure! Celia was fine – a cold pack and ibuprofen and in 30 minutes she was smiling again.

We had a relaxing dinner, much relieved. Beans (frijoles) and chorizo (supplemented by peanut butter) were enjoyed.

The girls had a pronunciation class after dinner and our team took it easy and talked as it turned dark.

That’s about it for tonight – it’s been a long day. It cooled down some and should be good sleeping tonight.

Please pray for the students and volunteers here at TLC. / Dan

Arrival

Good afternoon friends and family:

We are in our second day at The Leadership Center here about 3 hours north of Tegucigalpa.

We arrived about 5 hours later yesterday than we had expected. We arrived about on time at the airport but were delayed a bit in immigration. We headed out with Joseph, TLC’s director,in the TLC van.  We got to Zambrano a couple hours later to pick up Joseph’s wife and two small children. About 1/4 mile from the home where we picked them up the van died. About 20 minutes later it started again. We let it run as we gassed up before the trek out the dirt road/ river bed into the mountains to the campus.

Then! The van died 10 minutes into our hour long ride to Campus. We called for help , a friend to come jump start the battery. But since that would take an hour, Mike Jessica and Adam walked towards campus and get picked up by us on the way in. After about two hours, we finally got battery swapped out and got 100 yards further and blew out a rear tire. Then no jack. Got jack an hour later. Finally got tire in and it was too low to run. Drove back to Zambrano to get air and then set out again. The road is in just terrible condition right now. Heavy rains have really washed much away and it is a slow bumpy rocky ride.

Got to campus an About 8 p.m. Mike and company arrived on foot , very hot and tired, a couple hours earlier. We unloaded the van and ate some cold dinner but it tasted good.

The girls had a Bonfire for us; they were all happy to see us. We toasted marshmallows and sang around the fire! We went to bed early since we had been up since 4 am!

The roosters started early this morning , about 3 a.m. but it was fine. We barely heard them!

We started our day about 6 a.m. with a devotional about God’s gift of ” grace” and its ability to transform our lives.

After a breakfast of coffee, chorizo and beans we worked with the students in a garden before their classes.

Dan taught 2 business classes and the rest of the team gathered rocks for the foundation of the new student dorm under construction.

There are 24 students here now, including a newest freshman class of 11. Dan taught the 3 oldest girls finance fundamentals this morning while the other girls went to world history and math classes.

The Leadership Center is focused upon enabling poor young women by furthering their education, teaching them English as well as entrepreneurial and other leadership skills. Honduras is in desperate need of new leaders in virtually all aspects of their society and government.

Our collective support here at TLC , including all of your help and prayers, is about showing these girls that we love and respect them- is that not ” kingdom work”?

Lunch today was special , a piece of chicken , rice, carrots, and fried yucca. Not a morsel was left and the dogs ate all the chicken bones!

This afternoon, some of the group worked planting seedlings on the coffee farm. Harvest was finished a couple months ago and now another 1000 trees are being planted over the next month now that it is winter (rainy season).

We just completed English comprehension classes – Mike, Adam and Pastor Luis taught the freshman while Jose and Jessica had the other classes. I had a session with Olga on planning for her senior leadership project for a business plan to have a small apartment building in her village for workers at the banana plant.

Now we are relaxing before dinner. Luis and a few of the students and I are sitting on the porch. Luis and Molly are leading us in Spanish praise hymns.

Mike and Jose ate playing volleyball with some of the students.

Big news… Shower pressure is back! The intake line in the river had washed ashore so it’s fixed and showers are in progress.

It’s been a great day. These young women are just wonderful in every way. Full of laughter and spirit. Grateful for the opportunity to be here at TLC to continue their education and take leadership and skills back to their villages to help build a better future.

For the Mission Team,

Dan