A Very Full Week

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Advertisements

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

Much Accomplished This Week & A Prayer Request

Good morning friends and family,

It’s Friday here at The Leadership Center in rural Honduras. We are at about 4,500 feet elevation in a beautiful mountain setting. The sun has been a bit spotty this week! It’s been cool here, blankets and sweatshirts at night.

The Lafayette College team of 12 students and faculty (nine women and three guys) departed yesterday morning. There were many hugs and tears. The TLC students and the team forged some terrific relationships in their 10 days here.

It was a very rewarding to be with these young people in service here at TLC. They came to give of course, but I know they received a lot from the TLC students as well. I know many of the relationships will continue through social media and I expect some of the Lafayette students will return.

The team worked on a variety of things while they were here:

  • They cleared a field where a new exercise facility will be built – along the soccer field. The facility will be for morning exercise and big enough for indoor wall soccer, and maybe a basketball hoop. That project will take a lot of concrete and brick work and will continue for a month led by our workers and a team coming in a week or so from North Carolina.
  • The team prepped some of agriculture fields (new one down near cook’s house). Tilled soil and made planting rows. There may be more of that to do.
  • A big project undertaken by the team was a complete reorganization and cleansing of the TLC library. We were fortunate that one of the Lafayette team was a librarian and Ana really took charge! I think this will result in much more use of the library by the TLC students.
  • The Lafayette team held three after class seminars for all students. They focused on Malala (a Pakistani woman) who led / leads social justice causes. And in the last seminar on Wednesday they asked / challenged the TLC students to describe an important life goal of theirs and draw a road map of the challenges they faced to achieve it and how their strengths and education would enable them. It was a great exercise.
  • One of the most valuable things that the team did was they loved on the girls. They read with them, they shared experiences and bits of their lives . . . encouraging them in many ways.

Teams and visitors to campus are so important to our mission and work here. It’s all about relationships. And the TLC students are so grateful for the opportunity to get to know all of us with different life experiences and to share their own experiences. To be honest, it’s pretty humbling.

My brother-in-law Jeff and good friend Dan Price came yesterday. Dan is organizing a paint crew at a nearby church in Los Valles. They will paint the only church, a small cinder block building. Jeff is already working on a couple projects here on campus.

We accept new students each year in February to begin a new school year April 1. This next cohort will be #9. Over the first 6 years, we have slowly increased the class sizes as we have garnered more resources. There are so many poor young women who cannot afford education past high school, we are usually overwhelmed by applicants. Many more qualified than we can accept.

We hope to accept 16-18 new students in Cohort 9. We are still in need of sponsors for 1/2 of the next

class if you or anyone you know is interested.

This year we have 37 applicants (all personally recommended by their community leaders or local NGOs). They are being interviewed here at TLC in three groups over the next three weekends.

Twelve TLC applicants arrived on campus last evening, many with their mother or father. They worked with the TLC students after devotional this morning and are in a class now. Interviews start later this morning. We will have a bonfire tonight for them and they depart tomorrow.

One last note, keep Honduras in your prayers this week. There are new calls for a week of protest and disruption of the Presidential inauguration on the 27th. Traffic barriers, etc. . . . we are safe here on the mountain. Most of the issue will probably be in large cities, major roads, possibly airports.

Well off to teach class now. I have 8 second year students gathering near my classroom.

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan and Chris

A Quick Check-in from Dan & Chris

Buenas Tardes from the mountains of Honduras!

Chris and I arrived Tuesday afternoon, along with a team of 10 students and 2 faculty members of Lafayette College.

They are terrific young hearts and minds and have immediately kindled relationships with the young women who are here studying at TLC.

The quarter is just underway this week. First years are completing their last quarter of English Classes- 4 hours a day. Second year students are taking Leadership, Law & Justice, Microsoft Office and Entrepreneurship Classes, a pretty full plate. There are also a few third year students here, completing their independent study classes and writing up their final internship papers.

The new electricity is terrific. It’s been on 24 / 7 and it’s so good not to rely on solar. The internet however is struggling. We have had very little bandwidth. The satellite service engineer was here yesterday (again) but I think we may need divine intervention. So I am not sure when you will receive this. But I won’t attach pictures so maybe the cloud will process it.

Chris has been swamped by her fan club of students for all sorts of help- reading club, sewing projects and just talk, love and encouragement.

I began Entrepreneurship class Wednesday. It’s going well but it’s a lot of material to cover in a month. I see some lively affirming faces and some dazed looks- so we will have fun together!

The Lafayette team has been terrific. They have been helping the students before classes each day with their daily chores. Cleaning pig pens, building a new chicken coop, picking coffee, raking the pine needles – many things.

It’s quite a change for the team participants of course. From all we have every day in the states to very modest food, cold showers and no Facebook. But it always brings out the best in people. Every time.

The TLC students are seeking out the gringo team for homework help and reading time. It’s been great.

Damarias gave a wonderful devotional yesterday morning – on her 23rd birthday. She spoke of the new year and encouragers us all to make those changes in our lives that we know we need!

The weather has been quite cool in the evening (sweatshirts) but hot and sunny by about 9 a.m. No rain in sight. Been a lot of birds around, saw a heron of some type this morning take a small tilapia from the fish tank!

Bonfire this evening – always great!

Well that’s it for now and we thank you all for your support and encouragement!

Blessings from Honduras,

Dan and Chris