Friday, January 27, 2006

Letter from Pastor Juan Ramirez to the January DRE MAMA Team Members

The following letter was given to each DRE MAMA Team Member by Pastor Juan Ramirez during our good bye session this past Monday morning. Pastor Juan spent four days working along with our team in our medical clinics this past week. Pastor Juan was a man of many smiles except for picture-taking; then he would always put on a serious expression.

Evangelical Church Prince of Peace
Col. Gracias a Dios _ Thanks to God
San Pedro Sula, January 22, 2006

To: All the members of the team:

We thank God for your presence in our country and in our church. Your coming here motivates us to continue praying to God to continue with your mission helping the needy.

We really appreciate everything you did for my people here in the colony Gracias a Dios. Your work here has motivated me to continue working not only for their soul but to help their body as well. This colony has a big grade of infant malnutrition which is 60 % in all terms and 20 % which is very severe. Our church has been trying to help, but we are limited with money and we don't have any help from anyone else. I just get the daily offering from my members in the church, but I'm willing to continue helping.

We want to create a foundation to focus on helping the children with problems. Please continue praying for us. I hope you will return back soon, since you were here and saw all the needs. Please remember you have a good friend here who loves the Lord and the children. I just want to share with you, your heart will stay with us here since you came to help us. You have earned our love and respect.

Your servant,
Juan Ramirez

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Report

Today we went back to Colonia Gracias a Dios of San Pedro Sula but served the people of the nearby community (within walking distance) of Rancho El Coco. We drove by their community at the end of the day's work. It was heartbreaking seeing the rundown shacks lived in by the children and adults that one has just ministered with face to face. And just across the road from them were homes that wealthy Americans would be proud to live in. This community is often called "The Pit."

Dr. Kathy (who is pictured above) identified two malnourished babies today. Help would be available for the mothers and babies at a MAMA Center. But each mother and child would have to move their for a month to bring the child back to nutritional health and to teach the mother how to properly care for their children. But the mothers expressed more concern about who would feed their husbands. It may be that the mothers fear that the husband would find another woman if they left for a month. Pray for these mothers and the babies.

In the first of the following two pictures, Kathy and Phyllis are working our pharmacy dispensing the medicines. In the second picture, Terri is giving deworming medicine to the boy and Rachel has a Gummi vitamin to give afterwards.

Today, after initially helping with the deworming pills and vitamins, I (Tim) blew bubbles with the children, showed them story books (that in most cases I let one of the Honduran children read out loud to the other children), and played soccer with them. The children really appreciate it when we spend time with them. When I played soccer, all of them would want me on their team even though I'm not all that athletically skilled. I will miss them.

For devotions, Rolando read from Hebrews 11 noting that faith empowers the accomplishment of impossible things. Bob noted that the work of mission is about building relationships. And Carmen read from Ezekial 37 from the "dry bones" passage and what God can do with dry bones.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday´s Events

Today, we went to Colonia Linda Vista of Santa Rita Yoro. We set up in a family´s house; we don't think the village had a church. At other villages, we had set up at either a church or a school. We gave deworming medicine and/or vitamins to at least 150 children today. Today, I (Tim) spent a lot of time with the kids with those in the picture below being only a portion of them.

Initially, I started out by taking some pictures. They begged me to take more because they love seeing their pictures on the camera screen. They don't experience this real often. We exchanged questions about what things were in English and Spanish. Shortly after that, they came to me and asked me to play soccer with them on a rutty, dirt road. The first time I got my shirt a little dirty, they got real worried and tried to rub it off. But I told them, "No problema" which after a bit seemed to reassure them. Later they invited me to play a form of baseball with six bases on the same road. I felt blessed. We also blew bubbles for them which they really enjoyed. At the end of the day, several of our MAMA team played soccer with them and one could see that the children really appreciated that. When it was time to leave, many followed us out to our van which was parked a good distance away because the road was unsuitable to drive on.

This was a village with many desparate people. Most of the men have already left the community. And many of the mothers are departing too with America as their destination leaving the children with the grandparents. The people are so poor and little food much of the time. Those leaving may have no idea of the distance or how they're going to get there; but they feel it can't get any worse than it already is.

Pray for this village and the people in it that they may have reason to hope again. Some of us also have participated in home visits. Today one of the home visits was with an 86 year old woman who has a tumor. Given her age and poverty, there is no treatment available for her. Pray that she would have peace and experience little or no pain. Pray for her family who just found out about her condition today. Also in the village we visited yesterday, there was a man with nose cancer; most of his nose had already been eaten away by the cancer. There is no treatment available for him; we prayed for him and ask you to pray also.

We don't do many home visits; there isn't enough time. But some of the value of the home visit is just as much for us. It's a way we learn how the people live and how their circumstances directly impact their lives. It gives us a view of how difficult their lives really are.

Below are two more pictures from today. The first is of Terri mixing up the cream to treat some skin disorders. The second is of Bob blowing bubbles with the children.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wednesday Report from Rolando Zelaya

First, the day started as usual getting ready for the next village (El Ciprés of Santa Cruz de Yohoa) which was located about 2 hours away from the hotel. As always, I was looking forward to serve the people and yet at the same time struggling with not feeling overwhelmed by the crowd that I knew was going to be there.

Today, we saw 60-70 patients - all kinds of people and ages but pretty much similar circumstances. Always a lot of kids, many rashes (common thing in rural areas), and some others malnutrition, and still others extremely neglected to the point of hopelessness.

Now, I going to be a little personal. Marta Lydia, less than four years old, and Josue, one year old, belong to those whose hopelessness is their ever present companion since her mom Iris, age 27, shows a lack of desire to keep on living.

When it was Marta's turn to see the doctor and me, she was just another needy, "dirty," little girl in need of medication and little affection. But she sat next to us in front of us with her mom and brother with a big smile on her face showing us she had found a little hope in that place. In the process of our conversation about the medical condition of the family, Marta had already made herself comfortable leaning her body back against my left arm joyfully moving her two hands as when little children play.

Impressed by her action, I said to Doctura Katarina, "Look, she feels so comfortable here!" Really I was impressed by Marta's boldness. It was an awesome experience that brought to memory a burden that God had laid on my and my wife's hearts about adopting one or two kids from Honduras. Marta's little act of boldness confirmed in my heart that this is what we, the Zelayas, are suppose to do.

Please pray as we start the process of adoption. Could it be Marta and Josue? Only God knows. But if its them, we will gladly and humbly take them in so that they can have a "comfortable", meaning godly family that will take care of them. Thank you again very much for your prayers.

[The following pictures and commentary are from Tim Rice.]

In the picture below from left to right are Rachel, Rolando, Dr. Kathy, and Terri. I think the picture was taken during our lunch break.

On the right side of this wonderful and friendly girl below are two lemons that were the size of grapefruits and on the left side are mandarins the size of oranges. They grow some giant fruit here.

These are some of the many children who came for the deworming medicine and vitamins.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday´s Actitivities

Today, we went to Colonia El Buen Pastor in Santa Rita Yoro about an hour´s drive from our hotel. Today we gave deworming medicine and/or vitamins to about 140 children; yesterday, we gave the same to about 225 children. Our doctor Kathy and our nurses also diagnosed and/or treated a number of adults and childrens with skin and other medical problems. Many of those problems result simply from lack of good hygene, a lack of knowledge, or lack of even small amounts of money due to poverty and lack of opportunities.

Today, I (Tim) had a wonderful time with the children. I played marbles with them. In one marble game, the goal was to snap your marble against another child´s marble and another was played alot like soccer trying to make goals while preventing the other player from making goals. With some of the younger children, I played "Growl." I went for long walks with the children. They loved to hold my hands on these walks or else climb up on me so that I would carry them. They enjoyed getting their pictures taken and seeing it on my digital camera. The children also took me a couple times to their swimming hole.

Coming back through San Pedro Sula on the way home, we saw a number of homeless people and young people obviously using drugs. There is a significant problem with air and other types of pollution there, too. There is much need here.

For devotions, this evening, Rolando read from 2 Tim. 2:20,21 and 2 Tim 3:16,17. Through these verses, he noted that when we purify ourselves we become a consecrated vessel for noble use ready for any good work. And that the best tool to purify ourselves is Scripture inspired by God in our hearts. After devotions, we had a valuable team sharing time. God is blessing us as well as those we serve.

Continue to pray for the needs of the poor in Honduras. Pray also for our team's continued health and safety. Pray for those serving as interpreters that they don´t suffer from mental fatigue in their service.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday's Journal

Today after eating our continental breakfast together at the hotel restaurant, we left for the San Pedro Sula MAMA Center. From there, several of our team went to the pharmacy to buy needed medicines. After they came back, we left for Colonia Gracias a Dios also in San Pedro Sula where we set up the medical clinic for the day.

Among other things, we worked at dispensing vitamins to the children, treating certain skin problems, and treating those with other medical conditions. Some of us had the opportunity in the afternoon to play with the children blowing bubbles, giving the children coloring book pages to color, and just talking with one another.

When I (Tim) was with some children who were coloring, I noticed that one of them had a numbered connect the dots pictures. So I pointed at the dots and started counting, "uno, dos, tres,...." The children then started counting with me or I with them all the way to 100 in Spanish. From there, we started asking each other, "What is this in Spanish or in English?" And time just fled by; it was time to go back to the hotel all too soon. As we were leaving there, many of the children freely gave us hugs.

The pastor at this church was named Juan. He is man with a great heart for the well-being of his people and all the people he meets. While we were holding the clinic at his church, we served a great lunch of "pastelitos." These pastelitos contained rice and small pieces of some king of meat. On top of them, they heaped large amounts of salsa.

This evening back at the hotel, Aurora, our cook, served us delicious beef, rice, cauliflower, and carrots. After the meal, Rolando conducted devotions from 2 Thess. 1:3 which talks about the Thessalonians love for one another increasing. Rolando then pointed out that our love for God and one another increases by our serving one another. If we want to improve our relationship with God, we serve one another and grow close to one another.

We continue to feel and appreciate your prayers for us before God. Keep praying that we make the most of our time with the Honduran people as we serve one another. The hospitality of the Honduran people we meet has been more than wonderful. They make us like part of their family. Pray, too, for the health of the Honduran people many of whom who have few material resources.

Below is a group picture of some of the children from the Gracias a Dios community. The children of this community were among the happiest of the communities we visited. Look at their smiles!

Below Kathy is conducting a bubble blowing time with the children. We often would go back and forth between us and the children blowing the bubbles. Many times the children would chase after the bubbles trying to catch or burst them.

Below is a view from Gracias a Dios. It is often striking how geographically close together the rich and poor live in Honduras. Most of the common people would not be able to afford the homes seen in the distance in this picture.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sunday´s Events

This morning we ate continental breakfast on the hotel restaurant as a group together. After breakfast, we went to Iglesia Mennonita for church in San Pedro Sula. The church was overflowing with people. It was also a special service serving as the conclusion for a children´s Bible Study week. We felt right at home with them even though not all of us could understand what was being said or sung. We really are members of one body together!

After church we stopped briefly at the San Pedro Sula market. It had many shops with many beautiful craft items. From there, we went to Power Chicken for our noon meal. They served an abundance of foods on three platters including pork, ribs, beef, chicken, fried rice, fried plantain, fried yucca, and tortillas.

In the afternoon, we sorted medicines and divided them up into smaller quantities for use at the medical clinics this week. Later afternoon and early evening, we went to the MAMA Center at San Francisco de Yojoa to prepare and learn more about our work for the week. While there, some of us also learned how to make tortillas. San Francisco was around an hour's drive out of the city into the country side.

After we got back from San Francisco, we had some free time before our supper. After supper, Rolando conducted devotions from 1 Thess. 1:2-4 which talks about the work of faith, the labor of love, and our hope. It also pointed out that God has chosen us.

Tomorrow, we will need to stop at a pharmacy to buy more medicines before going on to Colonia Gracias a Dios in San Pedro Sula for our first medical clinic. The MAMA Project people also want to conduct some training first thing in the morning.

We appreciate your prayers. We believe your prayers enables us to better do God´s work. In your prayers for Monday, our team members said that I should request that you should pray for all that we will encounter and do. Gracias.

Below is a picture taken during adult Sunday School in the auditorium of Iglesia Mennonita. The church became much fuller during the main service.

Here we are sorting and repackaging medicines and vitamins that we would be dispensing throughout the week.

Yesterday's Events and Observations

Yesterday afternoon, after we arrived, some of us spent time informally talking and getting to know all the team members and some of us took naps. We have our own Honduran cook to make most of our meals. Last night for supper, we had meatballs, rice and peas, and a lettuce sald made Honduran style - very delicious (muy rica). For snacks anytime, we have been provided with bananas and pineapple. After supper, we had a meeting time together in which everyone formally introduced themselves sharing things like what we do for work, our avocations or interests, and why we chose to come on this project trip. It was a great way to start the week.

Even here at the hotel, we have to adapt to things different from America. We have no hot water unless we would heat up on a stove. So we wash our dishes and get our showers in cold water. And when one has to use the restroom, toilet paper goes in the waste basket not in the toilet.

I am not sure what we will do today. It is somewhat weather dependent. Right now, it is sunny which is a good sign, I think.

We are thankful for everyone´s prayers.

Below is a typical breakfast view of our team for the week. For most of us, most of the time, breakfast was scrambled eggs, toast, and orange juice or coffee.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Safe Arrival

We all arrived safely but we´re still waiting for Dr. Kathy. It was raining when we left, was sunny inbetween, and raining when we arrived. Our flight was delayed an hour and a quarter and we think Dr. Kathy's flight may have been delayed due to weather and traffic. We are just settling in at the hotel now. The rooms are nice. We thank God for safe traveling.

The picture below is an aerial view not far from the San Pedro Sula Airport in Honduras.

This is the hotel we stayed at - Hotel Villa Nuria. The women stayed in two units on the left and the men in one unit on the right.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Beginning Prayer Requests for January DRE MAMA Trip

  1. That Honduran children continue to improve their health through proper nutrition, medication, and good clean water.
  2. That the MAMA staff in Honduras is healthy and ready to receive another team from the States.
  3. The the DRE MAMA team works well together, and fills the needs of all the people that come to the clinics.
  4. That the people might see that Jesus is the reason for our being there -- out of our obedience to Him and our love for Him and our neighbors.
  5. That all would be safe and secure -- in the air travels as well as on the ground
  6. That Hondurans would be blessed through our visit, and that the DRE team would be blessed through their contacts with the people of Honduras.
  7. That people would encounter others personally, and that new relationships might be formed.
  8. That the medicines being shipped out of New Orleans to Honduras would arrive in time.

Prayer requests written by January team leader Bob Moyer