Thursday, May 29, 2008


As I talk with various people about being “called” to Honduras as missionaries, I suppose one question that needs to be addressed is this: “what does it mean to be called to be a missionary”?
Indeed, many people simply accept that they are called, or that someone else is called, without really questioning that. I don’t believe anyone has specifically asked me “why do you feel called” and “what does being called mean”. I’ve asked myself that question quite a few times and what follows (lengthy, I’m afraid) is the answer that I’ve come to thus far.
First of all, the greatest call that has ever been issues is probably the “great commission” that Jesus issues to His disciples just before His ascension into the clouds.
Matthew 28:16-20 (New International Version)
The Great Commission
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

It is generally accepted in the Christian community that this commissioning applies to all of us who claim the Name of Christ. Therefore, one could certainly argue that no further calling is needed for mission work. I do not know who said it, but I’ve read that "You need a specific reason to stay home, not a specific call to go to the mission field . .”
Still in all, we speak of being called to the mission field quite often. I did some reading in Acts last night and tried to examine they “why” involved with Paul’s missionary journeys. As is so often the case, the details are not always as clear as we’d like them to be. Most of the time, Luke reports that Paul and Barnabas, or Paul and Silas, went somewhere, it is the exception that he tells us why they went there. In Acts 13 we see Barnabas and Saul (I believe that this is actually Paul being called by his “old” name before conversion) set apart for “the work” during a time of worshipping and fasting. Perhaps if anyone fasted anymore, we might see more of this type of “setting apart” however, now it seems that we must end our Sunday evening service promptly at 6:30 so that we can all get home to dinner. Again in Acts 13 we see the “two of them” (Barnabas and Paul) “sent on their way by the Holy Spirit”. This certainly seems to indicate that they were lead by the Spirit, but no details are provided as to how this worked. Was it supernatural instruction, or simply them using their best judgment augmented by prayer? We simply don’t know. From here, Luke tells of lots of places that they “went to” or “returned from” but from my reading, I don’t see much detail at all about why they went certain places until we get to Acts 16. In Acts 16 (6-10), we see Paul and his companions having been “kept from preaching the Word” in some provinces of Asia. One again, we don’t know if this was a physical impairment, some type of supernatural blockade, or simply a deep sense of foreboding by Paul. In verse 9 of Acts 16, we finally get down to something that we sink our teeth into. A Macedonian appears to Paul in a dream begging him to come and help them. Well enough, Paul concludes that “God had called us” to preach the Gospel to the Macedonians. Finally! Someone is called! Well, this calling lands Paul in Silas in a bunch of hot water. Beaten, jailed, and in stocks, they worshipped their way out of near death and ended up being escorted out of town by the city officials. If you haven’t read it, it is a great story in the sixteenth chapter of Acts, verses sixteen through forty.
The pattern that I see in Acts seems to be simply that Paul goes places as he is lead by the Lord. I can only conclude that he went to those places seeking (and believing that he was following) the will of God. I don’t know how this looked for Paul, but I’ll bet it was rooted in prayer and that most everything that he did came from an abiding relationship with Christ, whom he loved. A simple study on the word “called” in the New Testament seems to reveal to me that the word called is used in much more as it refers to our calling by God to be reconciled to Himself through Christ, i.e. our salvation.
So why are we going to Honduras? Did I have a dream of Honduran man pleading with me to come and help? No. Simply stated, we go believing that we are following the will of God for our lives. We believe this on the basis of several things:
• This is the desire of our hearts. The missionary hospital in Honduras answers many of the deep desires that we believe God put in our hearts. It is in a Latin culture, out of the US, in an area of abject poverty. It is a warm, beautiful place where children are valued and where God is at work among a very deep community of believers who choose to take the Gospel seriously. God put these desires in our hearts, and He met them in this “call”, we believe.
• The “calling” has been confirmed by local church members and our pastor here in the Gulf Coast. Our friend and family have ALL told us that this seems like a good fit for us to them. Our parents are in agreement. We (husband and wife and children) are agreement. No one is dragging anyone to Honduras. We all want to go. We all believe that we are supposed to go.
• The “calling has been confirmed by a two week visit to Loma De Luz. As you know, if you read this blog, we’ve just returned from a two week (Marinajo one week, Dave two weeks) visit there. We went at one of the hottest times of the year, to a place that was over 100 degrees (without air conditioning for the most part) and simply had one of the best times of our life. The community welcomed us with open arms, asked us hard questions, and we asked them hard questions. At all times, we felt like we were exactly where we were supposed to be. At the first Thursday evening Praise and Worship session my heart was absolutely broken with love for this place and for the people of Loma De Luz. I worked with the living and the dying, and in every way possible, submersed myself in the mission of Loma De Luz. I returned with only a deep sense of confirmation and a strong desire to return as soon as possible.
One friend (who serves the role of contrarian in my life often) says that we are simply “infatuated” with the place, and to some extent, that is true. However, I think that we understand that this life will be very difficult and that after infatuation ends, there is a deeper sense that this is what we are supposed to do that will abide and keep us there, when all else says “go”. Where, then, does that leave us? With a belief that we are both called to be children of God and we are called to go to Honduras to be missionaries at Loma De Luz. If it is indeed God’s calling, then it will come to pass and if it is not – then no amount of effort will get us there or keep us there. We look forward to proving out this call together with you as we walk forward. Thank you for taking the time to read this and may God add His wisdom to all that has been written. Amen.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Here's a slideshow of our Honduras pictures. Feel free to use this instead of the link below if it is easier for you just to view them here. The link below will take you to a place where you can view the same slideshow, but much larger - pretty much full screen.

We've got pictures!

Honduras trip May 2008

Click on this picture and you'll be taken to the "web album". Next, just click on "Slideshow" in the upper left corner and sit back and enjoy or cruise through the thumbnail pictures and click the ones that you want to see full screen. We'll add more comments in the next few days to explain the pictures. We also have some short movies to post soon. We'll let you know when we get them added.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day 13 - May 24 - Back home safe and sound.

In the San Pedro Sula Airport:
You know how it feels when you leave something or someone that you love? You don’t want your time there (or your time together) to end? That is how it feels as I journey back to the states. I am left with a little bit of a disappointed feeling in my chest as I sit here in the San Pedro Sula airport. Yes, I’m thrilled at the prospect of seeing my family – but I’m not ready for this ride to end yet. I think that one skill a missionary has to learn is the art of coming and going. There is plenty of both in this business and nothing, nothing is permanent. You’d have thought that we’d be good at it by now. Those of you who know me know that we tend to roll around the states like a tumbleweed in a stiff wind. This has been different. This is kind of like the first time I left Mississippi after our initial visit. The experience was so intense, that there is almost a fatigue associated with it. And a let down.
This morning I was, once again, the recipient of the servant-hood of Ian Mackenzie (missionary from Scotland) who got up and left his family and home at 6am to take me to the airport. This was just another day for Ian – many, many miles on the road between the hospital and La Ceiba. Pick up this and drop off that, Ian defines what it means to serve amongst a community of servants. Thank you Ian. You are a true inspiration of how the Christian life is to be lived.
The flight from La Ceiba wasn’t nearly as adventurous as I’d been lead to believe. Actually it was rather “ho-hum”. I did not get to “roll the window” down on the plane. I was so close to the pilot that I probably could have reached over and touched him on the shoulder. He did have a window that opened, but I didn’t feel lead to ask him to open it.
I now sit in the San Pedro Sula airport trying desperately to listen to all of the announcements to hear when they are to begin boarding my flight. The funny thing is that they give the announcements in English and Spanish and they sound almost exactly the same! “Blah blah blah blah, Houston, blah blah blah blah”. The airport is filled with blue shirted Baptist returning home from their short term mission. In the Body of Christ, can there be any more imposable force than the Baptist short term missionaries? They are everywhere – the “Borg” of Christianity. I seem to be sitting next to a door in the airport that used to be a bathroom door sometime in the past. It is now the “Office de Immagracion”, closed for the weekend, with a dark tint in the window. People creep up to the door, peeking in – trying to see past the dark tint – wondering why in the world the bathroom would be locked and why it would have a tinted window at all. I say to the anglos “over there” and to the locals “por aya” and point to where the new bathrooms are. I say it smugly, as if I have been here hundreds of times before. I have become the bathroom director for this portion of the airport.
I’ll soon be back in the states, where the bathrooms have toilet paper in them (and you are allowed to flush the toilet paper), where air conditioners rule, and where (according to Hillary) we all have a right to have access to health care. As I reflect a little bit on the last two weeks, I realize how much better it is to leave works of compassion to private, faith-based entities. The government has failed the people of Honduras a hundred times over in terms of health care and many other “cares”. Yet, God’s people go to this country (and to so many others) to provide services in His name. What if the Christian community in the states provided health care to the poor? I realize that we are called first and foremost to preach the gospel, to be His witnesses, but as I have seen - providing health care to a sick person who sinking in poverty is a pretty good vehicle in which to deliver the gospel.
Hint: when they say “final boarding call” here – they do not mean it. They continue to call out "Continental Airlines to Newark" as if they were pleading for just one more person to please decide to come to Newark. I wonder if that flight will ever take off?

In the air between Atlanta and Gulfport:
The flight from San Pedro Sula to Atlanta went very well. When I arrived in Atlanta at the international arrivals I was awed by the difference flying into the USA and flying into Honduras. It is like the difference in going to the ballgame at the local little league ballpark and going to Yankee Stadium. Honduras (San Pedro Sula) has a small little concrete customs area, hot and a little dirty. They have a dozen registration lines at best and those aren’t terribly full. Atlanta must have several hundred lines in a beautiful, air conditioned auditorium that could easily hold several football fields. I think that one thing that happens to you when you travel to an underdeveloped country like Honduras is that you are a little awestruck at how big and perfectly everything is constructed here in the USA. The difference is astounding.
After making it through one customs line, we went to get out bags at baggage claim. Remember all of those Baptist that I mentioned at San Pedro Sula? Well, they were all going to Atlanta. I was literally surrounded by blue shirted Baptist on the plane. I couldn’t have ordered a beer even if I had wanted one just for the sheer guilt of it! At baggage claim I met a quiet lady, obviously Honduran, and began conversing with her in my limited Spanish and her limited English. Once I told her that I was a missionary and that I had been working in a hospital in Honduras, her tears started flowing. She was from Honduras, living in Canada, and had just spent two months in Honduras. She had returned home to bury her 25 year old son who had been murdered in Honduras. As she now returned to her home in Canada, she was returning as an empty, heartbroken mother. “You must not move your family to Honduras, it is too dangerous”, she said. “I understand, but it is God that has called us and He will protect us. People are murdered in ‘Estados Unidos’ (The United States) too”, I said “But in Honduras”, she replied, “there is no justice. I know who keel my son, but the polica do nothing.” This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this about the polica in Honduras. “There will be a day of justice for your son’s killer, God will avenge”, I said. I prayed for Suzy that God would give her comfort and peace. As she cried quietly, I prayed that God would convict the killer of his wrongdoing and that she would find forgiveness in her heart for him. As we pulled ourselves together and got our luggage, we discovered that her suitcase had arrived with a broken zipper, clothes hanging out of it, disheveled. God, why would something like this happen to this poor lady at a time like this? I got her over to the ticket counter, where it turns out they have large bags for such a problem as this and left her there, still trying to pull it together. Please join me in praying that Suzy will find God in the midst of all of her pain.

Finally at home!
My flight from Atlanta to Gulfport was delayed a bit, but otherwise uneventful. As I write this last paragraph for today, I am so thankful to be back home and yet melancholy too. I’m overwhelmed, to say the least, at the events of the last two weeks. The tornado hitting our house in Colorado has really magnified the emotion of this whole experience the last several days. There is a concept called “re-entry” that we talk about after coming home from a life-changing short term mission experience. It refers to the difficulty of coming back home and resuming normal life after having such an earth-shattering experience. I am definitely going through re-entry right now. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the ones that have been in the field for a long time when they come home. I look forward to sharing my re-entry experience over the next few days and weeks with those that are reading this blog. I also look forward to sharing the journey together that we are about to embark on. Stay tuned; the adventure is only just beginning!
God Bless and good night.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Day 12 - May 23

How to make toast at Loma De Luz:
First, push the lever down on the toaster for about 10-15 seconds to heat things up a bit so that the ants can do their "fire drill" and exit the toaster. Next, Make sure that they have completely evacuated the area, and THEN put your bread in and set the toaster. If you find ants in your cereal, the simple fix is to pour the cereal out onto a towel on the table outside in the sun. In a few minutes, the ants will have left (they hate the direct sunlight/heat) and you can gather your cereal back up and put it back in the box for consumption later. I just wanted to pass these little items on in case you ever find yourself down here and needing to make breakfast. (yes, I do the toaster trick - no, haven't had to do the cereal trick).

Today was a tough day. Not only was it incredibly hot again, it was the day to say goodbye (for now) to these new found brothers and sisters at Loma De Luz. Fridays are a quiet day anyway, most of the missionaries go to La Ceiba (about 45 mins away) for groceries and treats. I spent almost the whole day working on computers for missionary families here. One computer in particular fought me very hard today and almost won, but I was able to squeak out a victory over it late in the ninth inning, thank the Lord. Did I mention that it was hot? I have found that the heat just saps the energy/strength out of you and that the old idea of a siesta might make a lot of sense after all. Too busy to rest, but I can't keep this pace up when we come back down full time and it is super hot. Lord, please help me to remember that.
Olympia went home to be with the Lord last night. I am thankful that she has entered into her rest. The funeral, I'm told, is already done and she is buried. Wow - another thing that we take for granted in "the states". Here, there are no funeral homes, no embalming, no long goodbyes. May God be with her family tonight.....
Our house in Windsor appears to have taken on a bit more damage than we first thought. Several broken windows, the outside electrical panel (service) was ripped off of the house when branches fell on the power lines. Looks like we'll be without power for a bit. The Harrises (who are renting the house) are safe, thank God, and have been evacuated for at least 24 hours until the gas leaks have all been identified and secured. Several of our friends made it by our house in Windsor today and I suspect, have already started working on things. I'm eternally grateful for each of them and if any of you who stopped by are reading this, thank you - from the bottom of our heart.
I had one last enjoyable, memorable meal with the Faulls tonight before heading out in the morning. I have one quick story to tell and then it is off to bed: Working at a hospital in Honduras means that you can be asked to do some rather unorthodox things. Tomorrow morning, when Ian Mackenzie (missionaries from Scotland) takes me into La Ceiba, we are also going to take a large jug of urine in to a laboratory there for testing. Well, when Ian was telling me about this, he said that Dr. Renee had mixed up a (hear this in a thick Scottish accent) "lovely jug of lemonade" for he and I and that she'd be giving it to me later tonight for our trip in the morning. It was homemade lemonade, so I had to be sure and put it in the fridge for overnight. He quickly set things straight and told me the whole story, but I almost died laughing before he got it all out.
I'm so thankful for the time that God has given me here. What a hot, sweaty, tearful, blessed two weeks it has been! I end tonight with a simple meditation from the Psalms: The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord lasts forever. Amen!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Day 11 - May 22

It is with a heavy heart that I sit down to write today’s blog. A tornado has hit our home town of Windsor Colorado and while we are not currently living there, we do have a house there and many many friends there. First of all, we do not believe that anyone we know was hurt. We believe that all of our friends their families are ok, thanks be to God. We are still waiting to hear on one family whose house seems to have been in an area that was hit hard, but we remain hopeful that they are ok.
Our house appears to have been spared from anything but minor damage. The Harrises, who are renting our home, are fine and the report that the items that were outside of the house (bbq grill, patio furniture, etc.) are all heavily damaged and that our big tree in the back yard is heavily damaged, there doesn’t seem to be much damage to the house itself. It is possible that several windows were broken. Marinajo is unclear on this. This tornado seems to have taken a path right down the east side of Windsor and by all accounts, the neighborhoods surrounding our house took a huge amount of damage.
We offer this prayer for the folks in Windsor:
Father, we lift up all of the families of Windsor tonight, especially those whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the tornado. We know that some lost everything they had and that there was even a death caused by this storm. We ask for comfort and peace for all of those involved. We ask for wisdom and safety for all of the disaster response effort that is going on right now. We ask for special favor for our own Crossroads disaster response team as they mobilize to respond to this catastrophe. Please give them wisdom on how to mobilize and whom to help. We pray that no one else would suffer harm because of this storm and that You Lord would rescue your people from rubble and debris. Lift up their spirits, please Lord, and give tired rescue workers energy and safety as they continue to render aid. Please help everyone there in Windsor to see You as the One who sends help and the One who cares, not the One who destroys, but the One who rebuilds what the enemy has destroyed. Amen.
I got to learn a missionary lesson first hand today. When disaster strikes your friends or family, you can’t be there to help. You are barely able to be informed. You are of no help at all (save prayer – which is important). You can pray, but you just can’t be there. It is part of the life of a missionary, but it is difficult. I have a real “rescuer mentality” and I’m quite sure that I would be in the car heading for Colorado right now if I were in the states. Oh well, this too – is in God’s hands.
I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. A few more short notes about today and then off to bed…It is about 11:30 here in Honduras local time (CST) and it has been a very long day. It has been HOT today. Someone said that a they took the temperature out in the sun today and that it read 108 degrees. Even the locals are remarking on how hot it is. A missionary friend here has a window unit air conditioner that they turn on when it gets too hot and they had to run it for some time today in order to get one small room DOWN to 90 degrees. And it felt cool! I can tell you that I’ve never experienced anything like it. And yet, despite the sweat and the intense heat – I am still absolutely in love with this place. Only God can do this. I love how He not only calls us; he puts the desire to be there deep in our hearts and then gives us the desires of our hearts. Isn’t that amazing?
I end on yet another sad note. Olympia (the lady from yesterday) is still hanging on, but just barely. It doesn’t seem like she could possibly make it through the night. I suppose that we have no business being sad for a Christian (this woman is known to be a believer) who is passing away, but it is still sad. We watch with her family and pray - for her and with them – that she will make some kind of miraculous turn around. Secretly, I pray that God would just take her home peacefully and not let her suffer any more. I wonder if it is ok to pray for that?
And so there are many sorry hearts tonight. But the Word promises that there is gladness in the morning. For we have a “hope that does not disappoint” and that “through all of this, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus”. Amen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 10 - May 21

Wednesday May 21 -
Back in 2000, I laid down a dream that God had let me hold onto for about 10 years and resigned from being a firefighter and an EMT. I knew then that I would miss it dearly and hoped that one day God would allow me to pick it back up again. Well today, He allowed me to hold it again for just a few minutes, and it was wonderful. The best part of being a firefighter for me was the EMT part and the involvement in all things medical. I had explained to the folks here at Loma De Luz that I had this medical background, but to say the least, they received it coolly. The last thing real doctors need down here is some fool running around who “used to be an EMT” thinking that they know something about medicine. EMT training (at the basic level that I was at) is really more a form of advanced first aid, and some basic life support – it is not medical training. Knowing this, I’ve been very quiet about medicine during my time here, even though I’ve been fascinated at the excellent, caring medicine that I’ve seen practiced. The medical stories down here are like a black hole for compassion, they will draw in you and use up all of the compassion that you have, and you still won’t have enough to fill the void of sorrow. There just isn’t enough. Still in all, I’ve been quietly watching the medicine aspect of this place every chance that I got to.
Today, I was able to participate in just the smallest way, but it was such a neat blessing. I have gotten to be friends with one of the visiting surgeons this week and the person doing the anesthesia (I believe he is a nurse anesthetist – but I am not certain). Both of them are just really neat guys and one of them even brought his whole family with him. They are just wonderful folks. They had been talking about various surgeries that they were going to do and I realized than one of the surgeries this afternoon was on a young boy who has a condition that I also have. Young Marcelina and I both have bony tumors that grow in and around our bones, and the surgeon was going to remove some of these tumors. This is a surgery that was performed on me several times when I was young, so I was intensely interested in it. I asked him if he would mind if I observed.
Greg (the orthopedic surgeon) and Tom (anesthesia) are two of these really neat guys that have the gift of making you feel important. They were both glad to have me observe the surgery. Not only was I able to observe the surgery – but I got to run and get them a lamp and move a few things around and got to help out a little bit. What fun! I was like a kid at a carnival! It was really the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I know – I know, you’ve got to be pretty sick to enjoy watching someone get their arm cut open and have some extra bone knocked off with a hammer and chisel (literally) – but hey, I loved it. I had the privilege of praying with team before surgery and of seeing Dr Jeff literally envelope the boy in an embrace and talk softly to him while he was being put to sleep. I’m telling you – the love that is displayed here on a daily basis is really hard to even type into this blog without tearing up and just weeping. It is the simplest expression of love administered at just the right time that is so amazing to watch.
I was able to hold the hand of a woman in the “wound care” clinic today who was having a wound dressing changed on a terrible wound on her leg and who was in horrible pain. Understand this: that elderly lady and I couldn’t possible have come from more diverse backgrounds and cultures, but she just buried her head in my chest and cried in her pain. Pain bring us together in a way that very little else does.
Lastly we come to Olympia. She is a lady who is very sick and is really in trouble physically. She has played all of her cards and the deck is still stacked against her. Her liver is likely failing and kidneys may have already failed. I have had the privilege of watching the staff attend to her with care and comfort in this most likely one of her last days here on earth. Behind closed doors, when there is no family around, no one is watching, there is only professional and loving care for this dear lady. As one doctor speaks to her family, he says it so accurately when he say it is in the “manos del Dios” (hands of God) now. He is so right. The staff here knows her to be a Christian and so there is a softening of the grief, and yet a lot of concern. This one is beyond medicine. Only a miracle can heal her now.
And so in a place where I came to work on computers, I got to touch and hold and pray with some people today, and what a privilege it was. I got the chance observe some of God’s best doctors today. Thank you Lord for this day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day 9 - May 20

I’ll start today’s entry with two stories from the hospital:

A man came in today with three bullets in his head. He had been shot by a large caliber handgun (probably a .45) three times in the head from close range. He was lying out in the hallway… while he was in some discomfort, he really wasn’t in a terrible amount of pain. I looked on as one doctor showed his x-rays to another doctor. Even with the untrained eye, I could see what looked like a damaged x-ray. It wasn’t. Two bullets were lodged just under the skin and the third was lodged in his brain. He had no use of his left leg – but the doctor told me that this was probably due to the swelling and likely to go away once the swelling went down. They decided to wait on surgery for a week or two and let the swelling go down and let his brain “calm down” from the obvious trauma that it had been through. One of the doctors presented the gospel to this man today. Perhaps God allowed him to live so that he could come here to hear about Jesus. You’d think that this would be one of the easier conversions to have ever taken place in the history of mankind – but this wasn’t so. The man said that he would think about it.

A lady came in today, in her early sixties, with some type of very serious infection in her body. Her organs were starting to shut down. It is unlikely that she will live much longer (days). The doctors don’t know what is making her sick. It is possible that she won’t make it through the night. The family brought her from far away because they had heard about the light on the hill (this is what Loma De Luz means in Spanish). It is easy to see how God uses these humble missionary doctors to bathe his people in Love at some of their most absolutely terrifying times in life. We have absolutely no idea what a blessing it is to have access to fast, professional, affordable health care in the states. To these people, Loma De Luz is an oasis in the middle of an ocean of suffering and hurt.

The weight of what God has done (and is doing) here at Loma De Luz It is starting to sink in on me now and honestly, it weighs in on me like a weight on my chest. Life here in the “campo” (country) isn’t like anything we know or have experienced. For many, I think that life is simply survival. When, in the midst of a life of survival, you get sick, it isn’t just an interruption in your day. It isn’t simply a matter of emails or meeting missed and work piling up on your desk. It is a matter of who is going to feed your family? How will the children be taken care of? How can one possibly survive a serious illness or injury here? Simply stated - many do not. But having Loma De Luz here can make all of the difference. To receive quality health care can easily make the difference here between continuing to survive, or losing the fight. The work that this hospital does is vitally important to God’s children in this area. I see that in a new light today. I’m sure that God will reveal this over and over again to me during our time here.

On to the mundane - I fought with some computers today. I won some and lost some; pretty typical. The difference is that it is harder to do the simplest things down here, because you can’t just run over to Best Buy when you discover that you need something. It is either here or it isn’t. Time to improvise. I think I was able to solve a problem with getting video off of the camcorder and into a video editing software (on a Mac no less). This will help the staff here be able to produce videos that help “tell the story” of Loma De Luz. It is a good feeling being able to help a little bit. I also helped a visiting surgeon look up an article on the web and print it out so that he can study for a surgery tomorrow. Such a little thing, but in some small way – I was able to help a little boy get relief from a “club foot” by helping the surgeon prepare for tomorrow morning. He was kind enough to make me feel like a computer genius for helping him. Such a small thing that we would all take for granted back in the states is turned into an exercise in patience and grace just simply by applying God’s love. God’s lessons hang like low, ripe fruit here – all you have to do is reach up and feast!

We finished the day off with a nice group dinner here at staff housing. We had a Spanish couple in attendance, so I got to work on my Spanish some. We definitely have more ground to cover in learning Spanish than I thought we did. We will most likely end up having to spend three months living in La Ceiba going to “Language School”. This will be four hours a day for each of us in the family (probably less for the kids) with one-on-one tutors. We won’t be fluent after that, but we’ll have the framework in place from which to gain our fluency much more rapidly.

Lastly, it is laundry and dishes. Oh, how I miss Marinajo! I love you honey. I do miss you for more than laundry and dishes – I miss your cooking too! I miss you Mariah and Benny! I’ll be home in just four days – and then the next phase in our adventure begins. God is good!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 8 - May 19

Monday May 19th. One thing about living in the campo (roughly translated “in the country”) is that you have to “go to town” to get pretty much anything. Hence, as in rural (really rural) America, going to town tends to become a fairly big deal. Well today we had to “go to town” to put Marinajo on an airplane from La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula. She will then catch her flight in San Pedro Sula back to the states. I am going to be staying here a total of two weeks. We knew that two weeks was too long for both of us to be away from our kids, so her stay is only for one week. So with a combination of hating to leave, and ready to see the kids, she is off on another adventure – getting home. The flight from La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula is new. We took the bus for that leg fo the trip last time, but consistent schedules don’t really exist for the bus routes back to San Pedro Sula, so a flight seems to be a better option. I am really looking forward to hearing about her trip. The planes used for the short flight are apparently (ahem) “vintage” aircraft in which you get a history lesson on how it used to be to fly in the states back in the fifties for no extra charge. I’ve heard that if you are feeling a bit hot on the airplane, you simply roll the window down. Wow. I’ll be flying the same route home on Saturday, so I’m anxious to hear about it.

The other thing about being so far out in the campo is the rule that no trip can be wasted and that there are lots of others who have needs besides yourself. Hence, we are waiting in La Ceiba today until late afternoon when some short term medical missionaries arrive so that we can take them home with us.

This means that I get to spend the day and experience La Ceiba, a town of about 80,000 and the closest thing to modern that can be accessed with any regularity from the hospital. Many of the hospital missionaries make a one day excursion into La Ceiba each week (Friday or Saturday) to shop, eat at a restaurant, etc. Some spend the night in a local hotel here for a short mini-vacation.

One of the most entertaining things about this town (as it is in many places in the world – I’ve heard) is to experience driving or riding in a car here. It is mixture of adventure and terror simply to get around. Think roller coaster and bumper cars all rolled into one. It is as if all 80,000 people are in their car at any given moment and all are about an hour late and trying to get to the exact same place. At one point as I was waiting for Dr. Renee to pick me up after having run an errand, I sat on a street corner (not too close) and watched the action unfold before me. It looked like a thousand school children who just got out for summer break and were trying to rush to the ice cream truck to get one of the two remaining ice cream cones. And this was just one intersection. Bicycles with one, two, three, even four people on them weave a snake like dance in between motorcycles, cars, delivery trucks, buses of all shapes and sizes, and yes – the occasional old man walking along pushing a cart. It is completely miraculous to me that hundreds aren’t killed daily here just getting from point a to point b. From the youngest child to the oldest Viejo, they all join in the dance and somehow, they all seem to make it through. What incredible fun to watch. You don’t need television here, just go out on the front porch and watch the traffic.

The whole idea of stop lights, stop signs, two lane roads, and generally obeying traffic laws is so, so….. American. The police will pull you over in a heartbeat if you don’t have a license plate installed properly on the front of your vehicle, but you can roar around them at any maximum speed that you can achieve and then careen back in ahead of them just missing oncoming traffic in the other lane while causing chickens, pigs, and people to dive in every direction and they will simply smile and keep right on driving as if nothing happened. It is truly amazing.
In the midst of all of this, our wonderful Dr. Renee is driving us around town pointing out landmarks, talking with her hands, shifting the manual transmission on the Land Rover and gently honking her horn every few minutes. Her hand seems to actually grip the steering wheel about once every fifteen minutes. And she is from Greeley, CO! Not even a native. Aerobic exercise is no longer needed to achieve optimal heart rate.
One thin g that we have learned down here this week (Marinajo would tell you that she already knew this and that indeed it is I who have actually learned it) is that we don’t really know Spanish very much at all. We (I) thought we (I) knew Spanish. Going to the Honduran church last night cured me of that. Wow. These people speak with a dialect that is very hard to understand and they speak at a speed that can only be compared to their driving. It pretty much sounds like to would if you took one of our slow Spanish teaching tapes and put them in the tape recorder (remember those?) and pushed the fast forward button. I can discern that Spanish is being spoken to me but I understand almost nothing that is said to me down here by a native speaker. I’m telling you all of this to let you know that part of our plan to come down here as full time missionaries now includes something called Language School. In other words, we’re almost certainly going to have to take some dedicated time out (perhaps three months) to learn to speak Spanish here in Latin America. We might be abel to do this in La Ceiba. We might want to do this in Costa Rica, where I understand that there are some excellent schools. Basically, you live somewhere and a tutor works one on one with each member of the family for four hours per day of intensive formal Spanish training. Let’s call it Spanish boot camp.
While we can communicate with our fellow missionaries here at the hospital, we can’t communicate with the Honduran staff (who have computer problems too) or the Honduran people (who we are ultimately here to minister to). So, as urgent as the need is here at the hospital, we will most likely have to take time out for language school before we “get here” full time. We’ll know more about this as we work with our Missionary Sending Agency.
So right now, the process is starting to look like this:
Find a Missionary Sending AgencyEstablish a realistic budget for monthly expenses. Demonstrate income or support that can meet that need monthly.Setup a timeline for language school, moving down here and getting a vehicle and getting settled in.
I think that once we have those pieces in place, then we can expect a formal acceptance from Loma De Luz. They (very understandable) do not formally accept missionaries who haven’t completed the steps above. I may be missing some steps – but I think this is basically how the process will work from now until the time when we can get back down here. It is time to start working on those steps and getting specific about them so that we can get moving!

Day 7 - May 18

Sunday May 18. We went to Sunday school and a small worship service here at the hospital. We had lunch with Margo Concepcion and her daughters.

Margo's husband Nelson is gone for a week on a "visa trip". Visa trip is a new term to us. A requirement for being in country here in Honduras is that you must leave the country every 90 days. You don't have to go home, but you do have to leave the country. Four countries (Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and ?) have joined together to prohibit us from just running across the border to satisfy these visa requirements. Like Nelson, we will have to travel to the closest/cheapest "legal" country to satisfy our visa requirements each 90 days. This will be a huge inconvenience and expense, but it is unavoidable until we can apply for and receive residency (applying for residency costs around $1500 each and takes around 2 years). As soon as we can afford it, we'll apply for residency - but we'll need to make visa trips for at least year or two. Some of these trips will undoubtedly be to the US to visit family and friends.

Sunday afternoon we had the great privilege of attending the home school graduation of the 2008 class of Loma De Luz. As with everything that the home schoolers do here, the graduation was an amazing affair, complete with an keynote address, speeches by the graduates, a time of praise and worship, and a full reception afterwards. I was really struck by what a time of change it is here at Loma De Luz. As the graduates leave and as the Faulls leave (one of the core families here) there is the certain knowledge that some really key people won't be here by the time we are able to move down here full time. There is a sense of sadness among the group as some long and very deep friendships are about to be separated. I also believe that this is a difficult reality of this type of work: deep friendships that are often interrupted by the constant flow of lives coming and going in response to or pursuit of "God's next step". I know this even as we begin the process of leaving Mississippi after 2.5 year and extracting ourselves from some deep friendships down there and then revisiting (briefly) some old friends in Colorado and then planting ourselves in the fertile soil of friendship down here in Honduras. It comes with the territory. We are fortunate that we will have eternity together to spend time with all of these wonderful people that God keeps placing in our path.

The end of the day Sunday was the real highlight. We went to a local Honduran church with Mark and Heidi Merrit. The first thing that I want to say about it is that I thought I knew Spanish (or at least a little bit) until I went there! I was completely lost in the flood of rapid fire Spanish preaching that we heard. I did join a group of men up front to sing a Corrito (Spanish verse). Pictures (and even a short movie) will be sold to the highest bidder! The sea of children at this small church were so beautiful! There were probably 100 people in attendance at this church Sunday night serve (including children), but it seemed like there were 200 children running around. Smiling, beautiful children all of them. Old women kneeling down on the concrete floor into their chair praying. Bright, bare light bulbs, and ceiling fans. A sound system that is too loud, and one electric guitar playing and strong voices singing. Much singing. The Latin people are nothing if not happy in their little church on Sunday evening. There's more joy here than I've seen in a long time in the American church. I wonder in God's eyes who is really poor and who is really rich?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Day 6 - May 17

Saturday May 16 was another exhausting, eventful, beautiful day. You can't sleep in here - it is too hot and there is too much activity - but we were able to get up (around 6am) and spend some good quiet time together out on the porch of our building overlooking the jungle - absolutely beautiful. We had lunch with Kenton and Saundi Brown. Kenton is the outgoing IT missionary here and they were full of wonderful advice for us on what to do and (even more valuable) what not to do. I love Kenton's sense of humour and Saundi is just one really gracious lady who definitely has the gift of hospitality. We were also able to meet the Rumbaugh's, a veritable dynamo of missionary activity and were able to get some fantastic ESL resources for a Colorado church that we work with that does quite a few ESL classes. The hospital hosts ESL classes for local youths - one of the many, many non-medical related outreaches offered.

After lunch we were able to take a ride to some water falls about 30 minutes away. This was the first time I had left the hospital campus since being here and words cannot describe our experience. Many people have told me of the beauty of Honduras. When you tell someone who knows Honduras that you are going to Honduras, they will respond with two things: 1) it is a beautiful country and 2) it is full of warm friendly people. When you hear this you nod your head and smile and slip that information neatly in your pocket filed with what you know to be beautiful and who you know to be warm and friendly. Great. Then, if you are incredibly blessed, you get to see what we saw to day. To describe the little stretch of Honduras that we saw today as beautiful is to do it a real disservice. To say it is indeed on of the most beautiful, lush places on the face of the earth must be much more honest. While I have not traveled enough of the earth to be able to say this with authority - Honduras must simply be one of the top 5 most beautiful countries on earth. Did I mention lush? Fruit that looks like it was grown in a mad scientist laboratory - large beyond belief. Trees so tall that they define the jungle canopy in the middle of the sky, or so it seems. The only thing that detracts form the beauty here is the poverty. With poverty always comes trash. We drove through several very small villages with very small (incredibly humble) homes and we forded (yes drove through them) several small rivers for about 20 minutes. We pulled off to the side of the road and all piled out (many of the Missionary Kids - MK's - came with us) and took a short walk up river to an absolutely gorgeous little water fall area. Before we could get there, the kids were all in the water, splashing and having the time of their lives. We climbed up above the falls, only to find pools and more falls that were even more pristine. I know that we haven't begun to tap the beauty of this country yet - but we were stunned by what we saw. Driving home, we watched the sun set over the jungle, deep red from the smoke of the local farmers (tragically) burning off jungle. It was incredible. We will post pictures when we get back!

We finished off the evening with yet another meal with two more warm, gracious, and sincere missionary couples. We've just about made the rounds now in terms of having supper with almost all of the full time missionaries here and I don't know that I've seen a more loving group who genuinely care for each other and the local people that God has given them to to minister to. Who knew doctors (most of them) could be so kind and caring? :)

We've just been blessed beyond belief. My health appears to have returned. For those of you who have struggled "with me" for years in my attempts to lose weight will be gladdened to know that this appears now to be quite inevitable. We walk everywhere here and often up very steep hills and we sweat buckets and bucket. We eat simple food with very little in the way of chemicals and preservatives. Sounds like God is finally calling Dave to some real weight loss! :)

Day 5 - May 16

Friday May 16 - things are starting to settle down into a little bit more of a routine for us. One of the biggest blessing of being here has been having dinner with a different missionary family each evening. If I said what wonderful people they were, you might just slip that it some pre-defined slot you have about clergy/missionaries and say - "sure, they're wonderful people". No surprise there. What we are finding here aren't people who have their head in the clouds and who aren't trying to impress us with their spirituality. What we find are just really warm, caring people who are involved in a intense community. I say intense here to refer to the community because they work and socialize (for the most part) together. Yes, there are enough families here that they can "choose" who they will be closest with - but everyone knows essentially everything that is going on with every family here (it is a fishbowl - very little privacy). In the midst of that, we see grace and genuine caring. That's not easy to pull off here - and that is where their spirituality (spiritual maturity) really shows it self. One of the best examples of this is the Faulls. Ted and Maggie Faull and the five daughters define all that is good about missionary families here at Loma De Luz. We had a wonderful dinner with them last night. Each evening, we sit around the table lingering long over dinner discussing all of the things that are new to us and so familiar to them:

What will your budget be when you are down here? In the missionary world (at least here) everyone's monthly support amount and expenditures are an open book. In order to move down here, we'll have to a) have a realistic budget and b) demonstrate income and/or support that will meet that budget for the amount of time that we are pledged to be down here. Initially, it looks like it will cost around $3,000.00 per month to live here, but we still have a lot of work to do on this topic.

Who will your "sending agency be"? The term sending agency was new to us before we encountered Loma De Luz. We now understand it to be the organization under whom we operate from here in the states. A sending agency functions as our "covering" - meaning that they pray for us and the hold us accountable to Christian standards in the field in terms of behavior and how we spend our money. They accept tax-deductible contributions on our behalf and then disperse that money to us in a way that keeps us accountable for how it is being used. They help us with things like stateside mail and stateside financial matters, insurance, etc. We had done some initial research on this - but have many more ideas now that we have been down here awhile. Needless to say, we have a lot of work to do in this area.

Will you be going to language school? There is a deep deep need (obviously) for the missionaries here to be able to reach out to the local population with the love of Christ. This can't be done unless you can reach out to them in their own tongue (Spanish in this case). Our situation is a bit different in that my position here will be IT related. I will interact with many English speakers. It may be possible for us to come down here and get to work (on the computers) and then get a tutor to complete our Spanish training and gain fluency. We may, however, just have to go to a full time (4 hours per day) language school for three or six months before ever coming here and get that taken care of first. There are a lot of reasons why language school makes sense for us. We still have a lot of work to do on this topic as well.

Who knew that there were so many administrative type items that had to be considered and determined before going to serve!? We felt the call, and we are ready to move. Unfortunately, many missionaries who feel the call and "just move" end up having to move back home because they didn't have the finances straightened out before hand or they didn't have a good grasp of the language.

Well, I'm not sure that any of this is even remotely interesting to anyone reading all of this, but I did want to share some of what we've been learning the next few days. We would really appreciate your prayers as we begin to grapple with these very important matters that don't at all have clear or immediate answers. As in all things we must "dedicate our ways to the Lord, and He will make our paths straight"!

So as our dinner wrapped up with the Faulls - I think we left with more questions than answers, but that's ok - God will take care of this all in His timing. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 15th - Our fourth day in Honduras

Thursday – May 15th. What a wonderful day! I am still a bit sick, but under the care of about 3 doctors at any given time. Mostly just stomach cramping now – no big deal. Thank the Lord that it wasn’t something more serious. I worked with Kenton (the current IT guy) a good portion of the day and started to really get my hands around how the network was setup. I had great visits with several of the missionaries today. The daytime though was really a highlight for Marinajo. She got to go swimming in the ocean today with one of the missionary families and she got to spend some quality time observing Howler Monkeys just next to the building that we are sleeping in. We have some great pictures to post when we get back. You can start calling her Dian Fossey!
Thursday evenings are fellowship time at the hospital and tonight I got to see a picture of what the early church used to be like. It was wonderful! All of the missionaries meet at 5:30 for a meal. No one is assigned the task of fixing the meal. There is no sign-up sheet. We share a meal together amidst the pleasant chaos of kids and conversation. Eventually, a small praise band (complete with a simple sound system) start the first praise song in Spanish. The songs alternate between English and Spanish. Praise is heartfelt and robust. Then a leader calls on someone (to the best of my knowledge this is not pre-planned, just organic sharing) to share. This time it was a doctor from a visiting surgical team. The message is simple (God’s wisdom existed before the creation of the world). Simple stories are told – the sharing lasts for 20 minutes or so. Lastly prayer request are spoken and then the group shares a time of prayer together.
A missionary who is in trouble in Africa All of you back homeThe United States of America. BurmaThe patients at the hospitalFunding for the hospitalTravelling mercies for all of those who will be coming in and going out of the hospital this weekend
Each of these is prayed for in turn and then we close in a prayer of thanks. Even though the meeting is dismissed, people remain for a long time in conversation. As is always the case here, lots of people are coming and going. Goodbyes are tearfully exchanged with those who will be gone by the time we meet again next Thursday.
Personally, I was simply broken by the simple grace of it all. God was in this little concrete building on a hill in Honduras in a way that I could not have expected. What a beautiful sight. In truth, it is more beautiful than the ocean here (which is amazing – trust me) or the jungle, or anything. It is God at work in His people and we are so privileged to have been a part of it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May 14th - our third day in Honduras.

Apparently God wanted me to take it easy today. I’ve discovered that Montezuma fellow is still around. I was up about half the night – but already feeling better. I believe that this will be mercifully short. As I sit here on the back porch of “staff housing”, I look out over many acres of jungle. The ground slopes radically downward just outside of the building as if we were built almost right into the hillside. Huge trees grow up out of the valley that slopes away from us such that we are looking eye level out into the top of the jungle canopy. Oddly, the jungle is quiet. We were told of all of the noise from the Toucans and the Howler monkeys (reported to be the noisiest creature in the Western Hemisphere) and they are simply absent right now. I’m a little disappointed and a little relieved all at the same time. I’m told that we won’t go much longer without seeing them. For those of you who read the first night’s blog, that noise that I thought might be a monkey right outside of our window was actually a gecko. The small, harmless lizards are everywhere and a great friend to the missionaries here. They do not bite, spit, sting, or in any way offend; they just sit around and eat bugs. What a blessing. I’m told they do occasionally leave little deposits on the counters, but this is a small price to pay indeed for their service. We hear of a few more dangerous creatures, like the scorpion, but honestly – we’ve experienced less bug and insect issues here than we have in Mississippi. Scratch one concern off of the list.
I rested most of the morning and tried to let Montezuma go and find someone else to bother. We spent the afternoon riding around with an absolutely wonderful man named Ian Mackenzie. Ian is the kind of person that you just feel privileged to meet. He and his lovely wife Liz are opening a new children’s home here as part of the hospital ministry. It will not be an orphanage, but rather a shorter term facility for kids to have a loving caring environment whilst another part of the ministry works with the family – with the goal of restoring the children to the family whenever possible. It is clear that God has taken the ministry of this hospital and turned it into a regional center for all kinds of Christian based services that point people to Christ.
We finished up the evening with supper at the home of Jeff and Roseanne McKenny the founding and leading family here at Loma De Luz. They have built an absolutely beautiful home onto the side of the mountain overlooking the Caribbean and the view from this Swiss Family Robinson home is quite beautiful. As expected, we found the McKennys to be a quiet, gracious couple with wonderful children.

What are you looking for?

Marinajo asked me an interesting question this morning. “What negatives have you seen so far?” After thinking for a minute, I answered that I wasn’t looking for any, so none had appeared. I'm really glad she asked the question, because it lead me to think about something that I think is an important lesson in life. There are plenty of “challenges” here (I’m not just using semantics to exchange the word problem for challenge), but I think in all of life, you’re going to find what you are looking for. If you are looking for negatives, there’s plenty to be found, in Mississippi, or in Colorado, or yes – here in Honduras. If you’re looking for God’s hand and direction, your not going to find a lot of negatives. We had to pay a bunch of money to fly down here and we are going through a very formal process of “trying to discern God’s will for our lives”, so that makes it easy to know what we are doing – we are looking for God’s will. The challenge lies in looking for God’s will in our daily lives, not when the spotlight is illuminating everything – but rather when we wander around in the dim light of the routine. How’s your outlook right now? Are you actively looking for God’s will in your life? What is God doing in your life? If your answer is “nothing”, then it is probably because you aren’t looking. If all you see is negatives, you probably aren’t looking for the right thing. I’m not preaching, just sharing something that is more clear to me today than at any time before. I hope it helps you as well.

May 13th - our second day in Honduras

Tuesday (5/13) was our first day at the hospital. We awoke hot and tired, but so thankful to finally be here. We attended the morning devotions (in Spanish) sparsely attended and a very quiet, humble affair led by a local pastor. He lead is in one song while playing guitar and then spoke for about 10 minutes. I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words about the humble and poor in spirit. This man qualifies, I think. A missionary named Nelson greets us and takes us under his wing and begins to give us a tour and introduce us. This is a working hospital. We are wandering around the hospital among the local Hondurans that give us a warm smile for a greeting. Instead of the full Buenos Dias, we get the local greeting of simply “Bueno”. There is a quiet peace about the hospital, partially because it is a quiet day, mostly because it is here in Honduras among a quiet people. No one is complaining that they haven’t been seen yet – no one seems to be complaining about anything. The doctors and nurses move about with friendliness and closeness to the patients that wouldn’t be considered “normal” to us. I think that if this missionary hospital were within a day’s drive of you, you would want to come here. It feels like the kind of place that you would want to be if you were sick.
We are warmly greeted by the missionaries here. We learn that they have been praying for someone to help out with the computers here for a long time. They do not want to seem overbearing in this, but it is obvious that the really hope that we will stay.
I spent my first time with Kenton today. Kenton is the current computer technician and will be leaving June 4th. He is torn between his love for the place and his strong desire to get the heck out of here. He takes me through the hardware, software, and phone systems. It is a complicated setup, mostly governed by the fact that all communications, including phone, go through the satellite. There is now local cellular service here, but most people use the ip phones to call (and to receive calls) from the states. Kenton has arranged a really amazing way to work phones over the satellite.
We spent our first evening having supper with a couple of the missionaries here. Nelson (who took us under his wing earlier today) and his lovely wife Margo invited us over for supper. It is a blessing to get to know some of the people here. There is an incredible sense of community here – it is obvious that the missionaries here depend on each other greatly. I have the feeling that this is the way that the church is supposed to be – a community of believers all pressing together towards the same goal and depending heavily on each other. Here there are needs that no one person can meet, so it is push forward together or fail. There a lot to be said for that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our first day In Honduras - traveling to the Hospital

The San Pedro Sula airport was no problem at all. While not O’hare or DIA, it was a clean, serviceable airport with signs and announcements in Spanish and English. Our concerns about going through customs with an entire suitcase of prescription medicine (donations for the hospital) were unfounded. When we walked out of the airport it was like walking into an oven; an oven full of wet towels. The heat and humidity were truly astounding. The folks here tell us that this is about as hot as it gets here. We sure hope that they are telling us the truth – ‘cause it is hot - around 90 degrees and very high humidity. Wow. We soon found the bus terminal at the airport (air conditioned, thank God) and got on our transfer bus to get us from the airport to the bus station.

At the central bus station we soon meet some other people en route to Hospital Loma De Luz and discover that they had been looking for us. I don’t know how they found us; I blend right in with all of the locals! Actually, the common assumption amongst the locals seems to be that Marinajo is a Honduran and I’m her American husband. The three hour bus ride from La Ceiba was long, but very comfortable. During this three hours we ride by some of the most incredible poverty I’ve ever seen. San Pedro Sula is a city of over 300,000 and Honduras is the poorest nation in Central America; you do the math. My Lord, just the bus ride is an education that you would never see in the states. It is so different to be there (even seeing it through the window of a bus) than to see scenes like these on television. Little children in the midst of great heaps of trash (no doubt rummaging for food). Families living in block houses that wouldn’t qualify for a shed in our back yard. I know that a good portion of the world lives like this, but it is in your face here – it is everywhere. As we leave San Pedro Sula and begin to climb up out of the city, the scenes of poverty and trash quickly give way to beautiful scenes of lush river valleys, banana and sugar cane crops as far as they eye can see. Green is everywhere, the jungle is right there. We now see scenes of small family units living near the road (in better housing, but still far simpler than anything we can imagine). Every river has several families bathing and washing clothes in it. Older children bathe naked in the river, a scene that would quickly summon he police in the USA.

The higher we get, the more beautiful it becomes. This is an incredibly beautiful country. The scenes of low lying hills, and lush green grass and trees are simply breath taking. Fruit is everywhere. Houses are painted with bold colors of green, purple, and orange. We are in a large, very modern, bus passing cars and motorcycles on a curvy two-lane road! Suddenly, it feels as if we have run right off of the road just before a bridge that appears to be under construction. Without slowing down much, the bus driver simply drives down in to the dry riverbed, around the bridge that is under construction, and up the other side and back onto the road. Later, I learn that the water had been diverted and that a “dirt road” had been cleared around the bridge for the construction.
When we finally arrive in La Ceiba we are met by a young missionary couple who help are to take us on the final leg of the journey to Balfate where the hospital is (about 45 miles). We throw our luggage on top of the Land Rover and sit on bench seats (inside)in the back. Think African Safari here – it is pretty much exactly what it felt like. The last 20 miles is over a very rough dirt road. There is an interesting traffic (speed) control policy in effect here. Anywhere that folks think that the drivers are going too fast, they simply build a dirt speed bump (hill) in the middle of the road. We’re talking 6”-10” of dirt piled up along the full width of the road. If you are riding in the back of the Land Rover when one of these speed hills are traversed, you are going to gain some air between yourself and the seat. It is inevitable.
After the longest day of travel in our lives so far, we finally arrive at the hospital around 9pm local time. God is good, we are tired, sore, incredibly hot, but we are here – thank God we are finally here.

Flying over Cozumel Mexico

Monday 12 May – around 11:30 CDT Somewhere over the gulf…….
We are about 40 minutes away from San Pedro Sula now. We’ve just flown over Cozumel Mexico and it is a sight I won’t soon forget. It was as if God had outlined the coast with a bright green/blue highlighter and said – “look here” all around the coast line. We now look off to our right and see Belize – again, incredible.
Another thing that is so noticeable is the friendliness of the people. Those of you who have travelled in Latin America will I’m sure recognize this feeling of friendliness that seems to take the idea of southern hospitality and just build on it. A smile is ALWAYS met with a bigger smile. A greeting is most sincerely returned. We are not yet fluent in Spanish, but we know enough to converse haltingly. People are patient and encouraging with our attempts to speak to them in Spanish.
I listened to a sermon by Paul Washer on prayer on over the last hour. If you ever need a good dose of humility, feel free to dial up and listen to Bro Paul sermons. His ministry to the body is one of conviction.
As we begin our descent – there is a real sense that this is where the adventure begins. Lord, please keep our eyes open to see what you would have for us.

Monday, May 12, 2008

We're here safe and sound.

Just a quick note to let you know that we are here safe and sound. Incredibly tired, but thankful indeed for a safe journey. Today's trip was indeed the most exciting trip we've taken thus far. The distance that we've come in miles is nothing compared to the distance we've travelled in culture, and in geography. We saw incredible poverty today in the city of San Pedro Sula, and yet what incredible beauty we saw in the mountains of Honduras! We got here after dark, but we know that we'll be overtaken by the dawn tomorrow as we look out over the Caribbean.

Right now I have what appears to be a monkey chattering at me from a tree outside of our window at a distance of 10 feet or so - should make for an interesting night's sleep. It is very hot here, and there is no AC in the rooms. It looks like I finally found a way to drop a few pounds - sweat it off! :)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above yea heavenly hosts. Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost. Amen!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The night before the big trip.

As grandma lies next to Ben here in the trailer and reads Ben a bedtime story, I feel the beginnings of peace begin to settle in. I think every time folks get ready to go on a long trip, you get to that point where you say "if it isn't done/packed/washed/remembered by now, then it will just have to be ok until we get back. I think I'm about there. (info: it is 10pm on the night before we leave). I've done the big important things that you're supposed to do before leaving the country (esp. without your kids). We've written innumerable emails, and lists for people to "tend" to while we are gone. If you are the recipient of one of these emails - thank you so much for any and all help offered while we are gone!
The car has broken down (we were able to get the parts ordered so that it should be fixed when we get back). The cat appears to (please don't ask me to elaborate on the word "appears" here) have a bladder infection (thank God we have a true pet lover as a friend who will be able to help take care of that while we are gone). On the one hand, these are just funny and mostly inconvenient things that happen to people when they are trying to get ready to go on a long trip. Most of you reading this have experienced it, and more, I'm sure. On the other hand, it is easy to see the work of the devil here, trying to frustrate our plans to go to Honduras to do missions work. We have a lot to learn in this area, but I suppose that any missionary types reading this will recognize it for what it is: a challenge of our faith. We learning recognize God in the midst of all of these circumstances, emphasis on the "learning" part of all of this.
Our itinerary for tomorrow:
Fly out of Gulfport at 7:15am, connect in Atlanta and then on to San Pedro Sula (Honduras). We will then take a bus from SPS to La Ceiba and then will be picked up by some missionaries from the hospital and taken back to the hospital (about an hour and half away form La Ceiba). All in all, it should take us about 13-14 hours from start to finish.
I will try and post something on this blog daily about our trip. Tomorrow will probably be the hardest day to get something posted. It may be Tuesday before you hear from us.
I can't tell you what a blessing it has been to receive the warm wishes and prayers from our friends as we begin this new journey. I look forward to discovering Christ together in the these next weeks.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Supremacy Of The Lord Jesus Christ

I awoke tonight thinking about the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do hope that this doesn't sound too spiritual. My thoughts tonight have mainly been on how poorly I reflect His supremacy in my daily life! One the one hand, I am aware of the centrality of Christ "in whom and for whom all things were created" (Col 1:16), and yet on the other hand, I realize how small of a portion of my daily life is lived out of that reality.
As you read in these pages of our journey to Honduras and of a life that is dedicated to missions work, don't think for a second that we've achieved some higher level of spirituality. This type of thinking only works in other religions (Hinduism, for example). I don't know that there is a higher spiritual plane in Christianity. I think we all start off on the same level playing field (steeped in sin) and it is only through the redeeming work of Christ through the Holy Spirit that we have our minds renewed to right thinking (orthodoxy) about Christ and His supremacy. Lastly, there is a significant role for our will to play in all of this. We have to will that God would work in and through us, I think, in order for that redeeming work to really "have its way in us". God grant that my will be conformed to the redeeming work of the Spirit in my life and that my consciousness be more and more attuned to the supremacy of Christ! Amen.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Honduras: Beginings

We leave for our first trip to Honduras Monday, May 12th. My hope is to be able to "blog" daily down there so that people who want to can stay informed on how things are going. Some of you may be wondering what in the heck we are doing in Honduras, so let me take you back to January ('08) and start the story there.....

We have been in Mississippi doing hurricane (Katrina) relief work since 2006. To see how we got started doing that, see

We've know for some time that our journey here in MS would be wrapping up around June of this year. For one thing, Crossroads Church in Colorado (they send the volunteer teams down to us) had told us that they would be winding down and sending their last team in May of this year. Secondly, Covenant World Relief (sends the money for the construction materials) was also coming to the end of their Katrina funds. Lastly, all of the people that the Lord had lead us to work with were pretty much in their homes and back on thier feet. While the recovery effort is by no means done here on the Gulf Coast, we really felt that the Lord was releasing us from our little part of it.

Marinajo (my wife) and I were sitting in our trailer in January (we live in a 34' 5th wheel travel trailer down here) discussing our future and a real epiphany hit me. I told Marinajo that we were sitting here in this trailer and we didn't really need anything. We couldn't go out and buy anything because we wouldn't have any room to put it in our little trailer. We didn't need a lamp, or a sofa, or even (shudder) any new books, because we simply didn't have any place to put them. If we moved back to our house in Colorado, we'd have to buy new furniture (in fact I'd already been making a list of all of the new things I was planning on buying in anticipation of moving back in this summer) since we sold most of it before leaving to serve in MS. Not only that, but we'd lose the incredible sense of flexibility that we and our kids have right now.

Why is this concept that we don't need anything such an epiphany? I want to try and explain to you what a gift from God it is not not to need anything. You see, our entire Western society (esp. in USA) is built on needing things that we don't need at all. Take a look around you at the Super Wal-Mart and Bed Bath and Beyond edifices that we have built to this concept. The gift from God for us is that we find our selves in a spot where we don't need any of that stuff. Do you know what a blessing that is?? My point here (and my point that night in the trailer with Marinajo) was that I don't want to just "go home" now that our time in Mississippi is coming to an end. I want to ask God what His next step is for us. What new adventure in trusting Him, serving Him, walking with Him did He have for us? Friends, if you haven't asked God this question lately then I implore you to do so! He will only answer with things that are good for our soul! And so we asked; and the answer was Honduras.

In January, Ruth Bishop came to the Church of the Good Shepherd (the church that we attend down here) and gave a report about Hospital Loma De Luz (Light on a Hill) in Honduras. You can jump ahead if you like and see pictures of the hospital and find out more about it at: Marinajo's heart was immediately quickened by her report. God gave her an intense interest in the hospital initially, while I was initially more cool to it. One of the needs that they asked us to be praying for was the need for a full time missionary to take care of their computers down there. While they are remote - essentially right on the edge of the jungle - they are also a new facility with computers to help track patient records and such. There are also (at present) about seventeen missionary families there for whom e-mail is their primary communication method with the outside world. For all of those reasons, it is pretty important to have someone there that can take care of the computer systems. I (Dave) am a computer geek by trade and had never heard of a missionary position/calling for an IT guy before. What's more, we know some Spanish and feel like we could be fluent in Spanish pretty quickly once immersed in the language. We love the Latin culture and had always hoped to travel extensively or live somewhere in Latin America. So for all of these reasons, we went up to Ruth after the service and gave her our contact information and it wasn't long before we heard from a representative asking us to pray specifically about coming down to Honduras to serve full time. We told her (Kathleen) that we already had been praying about it and that the Lord indeed seem to be leading us to look into it further. We wrote a long email to Jeff McKenny (the lead missionary/doctor at Loma De Luz) and explained our situation. He responded that it seemed like it might be a good fit. He indicated that our email had "many of the hallmarks" that they look for to recognize God's leading. After several more pretty long emails listing questions and answers, we were convinced that this was indeed God's next step for us. What remained was for us to travel down to Loma De Luz and see the operation "first hand" to see if we could ascertain God's call for us down there.

And this is the reason that we find ourselves leaving Monday to fly to San Pedro Sula, Honduras and then hop on a bus to La Ceiba, Honduras and the await transportation to Balfate (in the state of Colon) to go to the Hospital for our first trip. One missionary friend of ours keeps calling this our "vision" trip. For some reason, that title bothers me, but all in all, it pretty well sums up what we are doing - we are going down there to confirm the calling (vision) that we believe that God has issued to us to serve there (probably for many years).

We invite you to journey there with us, in your thoughts and prayers. We will post (hopefully) daily to this blog while we are there. Marinajo will be there one week and I will be there two weeks. Grandma (bless her) will fly down from Colorado and stay with the kids while we are gone. When we get back, we will be packing up and moving back to Colorado. But now, we don't believe that we will be moving back to Colorado for good. We don't believe that we will be buying new stuff so that we can move back into our house, but rather that we will be packing it up even more so that we can move on to our new adventure in the Lord. We plan to rent an apartment in Colorado so that we can take care of our affairs there and see family and friends and then get going to Honduras. We're assuming that this trip will result in a positive confirmation of our call to Honduras. We'll all know in the next couple of weeks if that does in fact happen. In the mean time, join us in asking God that His will be done in our lives and in yours, won't you?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Katrina relief: Beginnings, Nov '05

Since we are now about five weeks from wrapping up our time here in Mississippi, I wanted to go back a ways in time and fill in some background about how we got here for those of you who don't know us yet, or don't know the story.

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region. At the time, we noticed this from our homes in Colorado but other than saying a few prayers and donating a few dollars we really didn't respond to it. It just wasn't real to us yet. A few days after the storm a good friend of ours named Chadd came down here to help on a chain saw crew and to help distribute food. It was through his emails from Louisiana that we began to understand how devastating this storm had really been. When Chadd returned, I asked him to let me know if he heard of more teams going down from our home state of Colorado. Shortly after, he told me that his church, Crossroads Church of Loveland Colorado, was organizing a team to go in November. I was able to go on that trip in November of 2005 and it is no exaggeration to say that it changed my life forever. I remember it like it was yesterday; I was completely broken by all of the devastation, but even more so by the response of the church. I'd been a Christian and heavily involved in the church since very young, but I had never seen the church like this. As we drove along the beach one day, we kept passing church camp after church camp, semi after semi of relief supplies. Finally, my heart just broke at the movement of the people of God. I wept at the movement of the Spirit of God to bring all of these people and all of these resources down here to the Gulf. I knew that God was calling me and my family to be a part of what was happening down here. I knew that His calling for us was more than just a one week short term missions trip. I felt that He was calling us to move down here so that we could be more fully committed to the relief work that was happening. To say that this one week trip in November of '05 was a turning point in the life of me and my family would be a huge understatement. Indeed, it was more like a fulcrum point in our lives, in which God used the weight of the events to move us dramatically closer to Himself and to change us into a missionary family.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hello and welcome!

Hello and welcome! At the encouragement of a friend (thank you Jay), I am starting a blog. For the uninitiated, a blog is really just an online journal. My intention for this blog is twofold:

  • To keep folks informed of some pretty big changes coming up in our lives soon (more on that later - I don't want to spoil it)

  • To express my thoughts and opinions on matters of faith and current events and to have those thoughts and opions tested in the public square in preperation for some more formal writing that I hope to have published.

My hope is that through this blog ,those of you who know us will be blessed by being able to stay a little more informed on our lives and that all visitors might find something in our lives or written thoughts that might cause you to grow in the "knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Thank you for stopping bye! Please feel free to contact us any time. We look forward to hearing from you!