Thursday, March 21, 2013

Brief Weekend Wrap-up

Our group spent part of the weekend traveling to and from Copan. Half the group chose to see the ruins in the early afternoon. Eight of us went to Macaw Mountain later and 6 did the zip line Sunday morning. We ate at Carnita's for supper Saturday night, where the lights went out again! On Sunday afternoon we went to Gracias a Dios to say our final goodbyes. Pastor Juan read a letter to our group and gave gifts to everyone (and one IOU!). There were gifts given from various families to members of our group. Personally, it was a very moving and humbling experience. It was extremely hard to finally let go of the kids and climb back in the van. There were many tears. This is a special community to so many of us. They are examples of Jesus in the flesh- humble, loving, giving. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday - Medical and Construction teams in Gracias a Dios

We were looking forward to this day all week, as we served in the community of Gracias a Dios, where Pastor Juan lives and is a shepherd to a church that has grown from a few members to one over one hundred.  As Larry said, we had the opportunity later in the day to walk down to the new church building which has the perimeter walls built, and may be under roof in a few months.  The new church will seat between 400 and 500 people, as well as have 3 classrooms for children and a medical clinic which he plans to run daily.

The medical team had a good day, and found ways of spending more time with each family as they came through.  We saw many familiar faces, and received smiles and hugs from most of the adults and children.  The community has adopted our team as official members of their church!  The construction team finished the house for Aurora and her children, and they now have a house of their own to live in instead of living with 3 other families. Working space was very small for 7 people, so a couple of us took advantage of that and looked for more of the children that we sponsor and write pen pal letters to.

When the medical team had finished and the construction team came back to the church, we gathered together in the church to listen to Pastor Juan. He led a very emotional time in which he talked about Aurora and her family, and then let Aurura say a few words to us, expressing her appreciation to God,
to Pastor Juan and the church, and to our team.  Afterwards, the rain had stopped, so we went down to the new building to see the progress of the construction and take some pictures.  And, as Larry said, we may have been the first group to sing in the new church.

After saying our good-byes, and with feelings of joy and sadness, we returned to our hotel.  This was our night for Power Chicken, so at about 7 o'clock, we met at the restaurant with Gustavo and Aurora,
Dinora and her family, and Pastor Juan's family, as well as the MCC volunteers, and a few others.  I think we had 26 people!

We continue to thank God for opening doors and preparing the way for us as we build relationships with our brothers and sisters here in Honduras, and especially in the community of Gracias a Dios.
And, we are grateful for all the prayers that have been lifted for our team and our friends in Honduras.

Saturday we will be heading to Copan, where we're hoping to see the sun!

March MAMA team   -  Bob Moyer

Friday, March 15, 2013

Long day today, posting will be delayed.

Due to a long day, posting of today's report will be delayed.  In a short summary, the team had a wonderful but very rainy day as both the construction team and the medical team served in the Gracias a Dios community.  The construction team put the roof on the new house shortly after the rain began to fall so almost perfect timing!  We also visited the construction site of the partially constructed new church and sang a wonderful rendition of Jesus Loves Me.  The new church when completed will be much larger and enable Pastor Juan's vision of the church to come to greater fruition.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Work and Fun!

The construction team moved to a new site today, very close to pastor Juan's church.   We will be putting a roof, floor, windows and a door on a new house being built for a young mother and her two children over the next two days.  Work started a little slow, since we first had to carry sand, stone, and wood up the hill to the site.  We were all very thankful for Dave and Eric's strong backs!   It was good to be a community where many different people and many children came to visit us through out the day.  Terri and Larry had a great time playing with the children in the afternoon,  and their laughter was sweet music to everyone's ears.  I think a few of the children may have sore hands tonight from playing 'patty-cake' games with Larry.   He hits harder and harder as the speed gets faster and faster...the children loved it! (So did Larry) I was especially touched today as Bob introduced me to several people in the community, that everyone was so happy, and gave me a hug, even though I was sweaty and dirty.  It was a real lesson in the truth that happiness does not come from having possessions,  and the joy that comes from knowing Christ transends any living situation.

Stories were shared by the medical team after dinner tonight of their experience's today.  Everyone shared stories of patients who were dealing with very difficult situation's, and also positive stories of some people who have shown great improvement since the last time MAMA was in this community. I have truly been blessed to be part of this team this week, and I hope we have been able to show Gods love to those we have spent time with this week.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Changing Roles

Today the medical crew headed to El Cayo, a community that was an hour and a half drive on a winding dirt road lined with beautiful cascading palms.  We saw a total of 226 people, ranging from months old to 93 years old.  For Colleen, this was her fourth trip back to the community, and it was so rewarding to see so many familiar faces.  For years, Bob and I have talked about building lasting relationships, beyond just our close friends in Gracios A Dios, and today this relationship has seemed to flower.

We decided to mix things up a bit today, so Terri put on her construction pants (leaving white but coming back black in color) while Dave and Eric joined the medical crew.  Eric started the day with giving deworming pills to many children, including classes of students, but then ended the day playing soccer, which was more like mud ball thanks to the afternoon showers we had.  Dave found a second career option for himself, working very hard beside Mari (an MCC volunteer from Nicaragua) in the pharmacy.  Rosita is another volunteer that has been working alongside us as well for the first time this year.....yes that means we have two Rositas with us is this year!

In comparison to yesterday, Connie and Colleen noticed more disparity between patients; some came with multiple prescriptions from doctors while others struggled to even get food every day.  Connie was amused by the various responses that she would get to the question "Embarazada?".....some would quietly say "no" while others quite emphatically said "NO! I'm not pregnant!" It was very heartbreaking to hear many of the stories, including many young teenage girls that face a world caring for their own young children, as well as many times their siblings, all the while with no husband to help as they have been forced to go to America to find work.  This idea can be scary, as many do so illegally and so there is no way of family here knowing for sure if they even survived this long trip.  And if they do make it, it will be hard for them to find substantial jobs as they are illegal
immigrants in the country.  For us, it's hard to imagine a world where you would be forced to leave your family, traveling miles away to only maybe earn a few dollars here and there.

On the construction crew, the team finished painting the school for special needs children they have been working on all week.  They have had a lot of fun working beside the Hondurans of the community as well as a Pastor Juan, but tomorrow the locals will probably find themselves doing "touch ups" to some "oops!" painting by our crew.  They accomplished a lot this week so far, painting not only a school, but tell us the outhouse they also painted looks also looks like a Carribean cabana....on the outside!!!

We closed the night with a very fitting and inspirational devotion time led by Rolando.  With a focus on Matthews 9:36,  he stressed the importance of compassion.  He even took a page out of Pastor Juan's book, singing to us!!! Who knew Rolando could sing! :-) He sang of a song that says "I don't want to go through the motions, I don't want to go one more day without Your all-consuming passion
inside of me.  I don't want to spend my whole life asking "what if I had given everything, instead of
going through the motions...."  leaving us all thinking about how we can continue our work from this
week even when we return home.

For the team, by Connie and Colleen

A Very First Day

MAMA mia! Que una dia! As one of the newbies on the team, I can honestly say I came with no expectations.  I would experience each day as it came and today was no different. Aurora drove a large van with 13 people and many medical supplies to a remote village where we would come face to face with poverty.  Along the way we passed banana trees, coconut palms and bamboo shoots growing along the river. Rows of corn planted into the hilly scenery was a sight to behold. Nothing compared however, to the poorly constructed wood and tin roof homes of the impoverished people we came to serve. Roosters, hens and chicks walked along the edge of the bumpy dirt road we traveled.Emaciated dogs roamed the village. Upon reaching our destination we unloaded the van and carried our supplies into the pavillion church of this poor community.  We set up shop and soon the people came. Registration. deworming, blood pressures, and diagnosing pointed these dear ones to the pharmacy area where they picked up their prescribed medications. Such a small thing we'd done for them and they thanked us like the one leper who returned to thank Jesus. Alphonso, Maria, Sindy, Manuel, Supaya and Jose
are among the many faces I will never forget.  Thank you for enriching my life. God has used you  to be a blessing to me.
Written by Cindy

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Morning at Work & an Afternoon at the Orphanage.

This morning Pastor Juan joined the menfolk and we went and put in some manual labor shoveling and mixing two large piles of cement for a floor as well as painting the outside walls at the Seis de Mayo tutoring center.  A nearly two year old did cause some excitement when he decided to stick his hands into the oil based paint but thankfully got no farther with putting his hands anywhere else!  The women spent much of the morning bagging vitamins and labeling although they did take a few minutes to relax by the pool... As we were without much sun screen thanks to the luggage issue, we were all thankful that the work was largely inside or in the shade.

We returned to a delicious lunch of soft tacos with a chicken, cabbage, and something else mixed together with fresh salsa topped with fresh pineapples for dessert.  Nothing is better than fresh pineapple on a hot day - so refreshing!  After lunch, the luggage arrived and most everyone took the opportunity to freshen up.

The whole group headed off to the orphanage for a couple hours interacting with the kids.  Initially, we spent twenty minutes with the babies and the special needs kids holding them and doing all the stuff one does with babies.  Afterwards, we headed downstairs and spent quite a bit of time with the older kids.  Some went off to play soccer in the afternoon sun and heat (not me!); we also colored pictures with the kids, played basketball, painted fingernails of the kids (again, not me!), and swung them around or threw them in the air, etc!  It was quite interesting to be dictated which crayon I was to use to color certain places on the picture that one of the boys decided he wanted me to color for him which he planned to give to the director of the orphanage!  At the end or our time there, Pastor Juan led the kids and us singing four songs and ended with prayer before some tearful farewells.

We spent some time relaxing in the pool before another delicious dinner of beef patties topped with Alfredo cheese, rice, and zucchini.  The rest of the evenings was spent talking over the day's experiences and planning for tomorrow.  Barry sent along some photos of Terri to be posted around the apartment which were enjoyed by most everyone.  We also labeled vitamins and prepped suitcases for Tuesday before everyone went to sleep.

We appreciate your prayers!

Written by team member Larry Rice.

The most unusual trip...

We want to thank you for all your prayers. This has been such an...ummm...interesting trip so far. After we checked our bags early Saturday morning, we were informed by a driver of a tram car that our flight was cancelled. We waited in line for over an hour only to be told that the ONLY flight available was leaving on Sunday through Miami. We found hotels, used their shuttle and checked in. Some of us spent time wandering around Newark, buying something to sleep in and anything else we needed or napping. We each had an early bedtime, got up at 3AM and a hired van took us to the airport. We were assured that our luggage would be changed over to our new flight. We took off around 6:30 and landed in Miami. We had to go through security again and wait in 3 different lines. Landed in San Pedro Sula around 1:30 and then found out that only 1 suitcase out of 24 arrived. We headed to a store  and bought some clothes and undies. We enjoyed an incredible church service with our friends at Gracias a Dios. For me personally it was very moving to see kids and families that I hadn't seen in 3 years. The Holy Spirit was present and all of us felt refreshed and blessed. We headed to an eating place with some of the GAD families and enjoyed a meal and picture taking together.
This morning the men went to work at a school. The women and Rolando packed pills. We are hoping our luggage is arriving on an 11:30 flight. We will then have lunch, find our gifts for the orphanage and head there this afternoon. Tonight we will meet and we hope to feel caught up and possibly feel as if we are ahead of the game. Tomorrow we will start clinics and the men will continue work at the school.
Thank you again for your prayers. God is present and is working and even though it's been discouraging to miss a clinic and not have your own clothes, we know His presence and provision.
Terri for the team