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

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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

Reflections & News After the First Week at TLC

Dear Friends and Family,

Chris and I have been here at The Leadership Center for a week now. We are happy to be back and are getting to know the newest class of students, the first years.

Honduras is very much in the US news lately. Immigration, caravans, violence, poverty … many opinions.

And it’s also a topic here at The Leadership Center as most of the 30 young women on campus have family or extended family in the states. Most of the stories we hear about people that leave Honduras for the US, are very sad. They love their country but feel they have no other option to escape desperate poverty. Families break up as often fathers or mothers leave with some children but not all. Their intent generally is to make money to send home. But the continued societal problems here in Honduras are the root cause of the issues that force people to desperate actions. That is exactly why our educational mission and ministry here is so important. We want to enable these young women to make positive changes in their communities and in their country. And believe me, our students and our graduates are doing that in real ways. Over 90% of our graduates are employed and helping their families and their communities.

The first year students are a very lively bunch. They have four English classes a day and are doing well. I was reading with Eva, the student we sponsor, this afternoon after her last class. Actually she was reading to me!

The picture is of the first year students eating a plant, La Penca, that grows behind a couple of the casitas. It’s a cactus type plant. They skin it and put it in a mixture of cumin, hot sauce, lime and salt. It’s very tasty.

Chris has been sewing with the second year students and they have also enjoyed knitting caps, which they are all wearing at night since it’s been cold.

Right now Chris has a reading group in our casita so I am hanging out in the Staff House as I send you this note. The girls love to read short stories with Chris and hot tea and cookies are enjoyed as well!

Second years are studying community development and leadership this quarter. They are working on a clean water project in a nearby community. I did a couple entrepreneurial warm up classes with them earlier this week. A prelude to coming back to teach business classes in January.

I thought you would enjoy this picture of the guy on a horse riding through campus yesterday. He was delivering some kitchen supplies (Amazon light!).

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be thankful for – so many blessings. And that is how these grateful young women feel and act every day here at The Leadership Center.

Blessings from Honduras!

Dan

Our Next TWO Mission Trips

Dan and Chris Moore announce their next trips to The Leadership Center in Honduras. They would love to share this experience with you.

The destination, The Leadership Center, is a post-secondary school for women unable to afford University schools. We offer a two-year residential program in English, Leadership, Community Development and Liberal Arts.

The next trip is scheduled for November 9-26. Interested persons could join Dan and Chris for all or a part of the trip.

Another trip is scheduled for January, leaving about the 9th and returning on February 5. Again, joining the team for part of the time is possible.

The cost for the trip is between $500-$750 plus airfare. Partial stipends are available for Trinity members.

We would love to share this experience and interested persons should contact Dan or Chris.

Success for All!

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope you are all well. We are fine here at TLC. We fly back today and are eaded to the airport very soon.

It’s been an amazing last week on campus. It is such a blessing to be here.

A mission team of 10 folks from Raleigh (Genesis UMC) arrived Sunday. They have been here a number of times. They worked on the new multi-purpose exercise facility, leveling the foundation with rock fill and building walls. Two of the guys also breathed new life into the 25-year-old beat up diesel truck we use around the farm.

Jeff has continued his guitar lessons and the whole campus has enjoyed his music. He has worked a lot with one of the first-year students Saylin, and her confidence has grown measurably in many ways. Last night, around the camp fire, Saylin played Wagon Wheel on the guitar as Jeff entertained us with an accompanying harmonica.

Jeff also did more electrical and other projects this week. But as he told me last night – his best time here was spent reading with students in the evenings. The first-year students particularly always need English help and it such a good way to get to know them well.

Chris held our usual “free yard sale” for the students earlier this week. We put on tables in front of our casita small items, gifts, used clothing, chocolates, make-up … things we brought or have left from our 4 weeks here. The girls draw numbers and then pick their choice item. It’s fun and they are always excited for it! It’s less about the gifts and more about sharing time together laughing about the “free yard sale.”

My entrepreneurship class finished yesterday. We had the test in the morning and then just a general discussion in the afternoon. The 8 students scored between 70 and 100 on the test … much better than the test two weeks ago. I told them they were either getting smarter or I was making easier tests! They all agreed that it was they are smarter.

One of the possible plans that several of the second-year students are considering is a social entrepreneurship endeavor. They like the idea of starting up an educational venture of some kind – perhaps in a poor neighborhood of a city where they could teach and counsel.

I spent some time with Marileth, one of the second-year students, this week. Marileth is from a small farming community called El Socorro, near us (about a 2-hour walk). The village has about 20 families and 100 people. Very small. No electricity. I asked Marileth how long her family had lived in El Socorro – she said, “always”. She means that all generations of her family have always been there. Marileth is about 31- our oldest student. Before she came to TLC, she had taught all the children of El Socorro for a couple years- ages 8 to 18 – all in a one room classroom. She was not paid as a teacher as the community had no resources. Anyhow, Marileth has done well at TLC. Quiet, but reasonably self-assured, she wants to teach (as a career) when she graduates in March. But her mom is very sick (recent cancer surgery) and as a result, Marileth is going to return to El Socorro to take care of her family.  We talked about her starting a small chicken farm and selling eggs and meat in her community. (Today there is no local provider of eggs in her community.) This could be an interim step to financial security for Marileth and her family, a help to her community and a path to continue her teaching dream.

Last night the second-year students surprised us with a dinner of baleadas and cinnamon rolls in our casita. It was so generous. They had baked and cooked for hours. It was fun fellowship and a bittersweet reminder of our departure today.

Thanks for all your support and prayers of these young women of TLC. It is much appreciated by each of them, and us.

Time now for hugs, goodbyes and a few tears.

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan and Chris and Jeff

New Experiences, New Students, New Businesses

Dear Friends and Family,

Another week has flown by here at The Leadership Center and it was a busy one.

Last Sunday, I gave the message at the worship service. A big step out of my comfort zone, but as I continually encourage the students here to always be looking to try new experiences, I felt I must do the same. I spoke about “The Hands of The Almighty” and how they are often to be found at the ends of our very own arms. I give myself a solid C for my first sermon.

Our dear friend Dan Price was here for 5 days. He came specifically to paint the Catholic Church in our neighboring community of Los Valles. This undertaking was a huge success that involved many community members and students from TLC over a 5-day period of hard work, fellowship and a lot of laughter. The finished product is lovely and the community is very grateful.

Dan Price also brought Sweet Virginia shirts for all the students, they are very interested in his bee business.

Jeff Hayes, our wonderful brother-in-law also arrived last week. Jeff is a multi talented man and is making many friends here at TLC.  He is a carpenter, electrician, painter and accomplished musician all rolled into one lovable guy. The ladies gather around in the evenings to enjoy his guitar and harmonica. He’s now giving several of the students guitar lessons.

The second group of applicants are now on campus for their interviews. Selected students will begin studies in April as Cohort 9. We hope to accept 15-18 students and will be looking for sponsors very soon.

My short story discussion groups continue and it is a time with students that I treasure. We meet in the evenings over a cup of tea to talk and share time together. It is amazing how perceptive they are of the nuisances of these stories which they read in their second language. I admire them so much.

Business classes continue with Mr. Dan and a quiz is on deck for today. Break-even analysis is a challenge in any language. I am supplementing this class with a reading and discussion of “Who Owns the Ice House,” a guide to the entrepreneurial mindset. Students are enjoying the book.

Cirse Cruz, a third-year student, was here last weekend to consult with Dan about her business plans. Third year students are currently off campus for most of the time, working at internships and following a plan of independent study. Cirse now has a fledgling internet business selling perfumes on What’s App. She is applying for a loan to expand this enterprise and she still has a long-term plan to start a day care center to support working parents in her community. She truly is an entrepreneur in action.

That’s all for now, thanks for your prayers, encouragement and love.

Chris