Friday, October 31, 2008

Update #2

Friday - 10/31 - Another strong day of rain here in La Ceiba. Localized street flooding, but that is all so far. We are hearing of a forecast of four more days of strong rain.

Let me pass on another email from Loma De Luz with some more (sad) information and an update:

Dear Cornerstone Friends--
I have some additional information to share with you, and I ask for continued prayer. There has been loss of life among the Honduran people of our community, which I did not know about when I wrote before. The Bejucal River flows into the sea at Balfate. When the river became swollen by the rains, it appears that a hydroelectric dam up the river opened its flood gates, but not gradually--all at once. This sent a wall of water down stream which slammed into Balfate, bringing water and mud into every building, and drowning at least 2 people. Four people were drowned in another nearby river, the Lis Lis. Many farms have been washed away in addition to homes, and some communities have been devastated. For this region near the hospital, the catchment area we serve, conditions are worse than those in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. And, 48 more hours of rain are expected. So the Honduran people are really hurting. Please pray for them. Please also keep praying for the beleaguered and isolated missionaries. But it is the Honduran people who have the hardest burdens. Lift them up. Pray that the Lord will be near to them (as He promised He would be near to the brokenhearted).
--Sally for Cornerstone and Hospital Loma de Luz

Note: Do not take this reference to Hurricane Mitch lightly - that storm decimated this area. It was their Katrina. For them to say that some areas were affected by this recent storm more than Hurricane Mitch is an amazing statement. Our prayers go out to the Honduran people whose lives have been so badly affected by this storm.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Update #1

It is now Thursday evening (10/30) and as nearly as we can tell, our friends at Loma De Luz are fairing pretty well in the midst of the storm that knocked out electricity and water. They have been able to get some type of drinkable water supply going and the generator at the hospital is functioning well (thanks be to God). The electricity is still out to all of the missionary homes (some have generators) but they all seem to be in good spirits. Tomorrow we will be sending some supplies in by canoe across the rivers that have bridges out. The roads seem to be passable, not sure how log it will be before bridge approaches are repaired. The Honduran people in the surrounding villages are still suffering many hardships. The villages seem to be without water. I can't imagine their trials. Please keep all of the Honduran people in your prayers as many are enduring trials associated with flooding. You probably know this - but this isn't like the wildfires in California where everyone goes to a shelter and has food, clothing, and a cot to sleep in. Many here live in "survival mode" at all times and situations like this just compound their suffering greatly.

Please pray for the two missionary families that had some water in their homes. Pray for their endurance as they clean up. Pray for safety and comfort for everyone as they deal with no electricity - cold showers, and such. May each of them walk in the role that God has given them in the "Body of Christ" there at Loma De Luz and may each of them have the spirit of servitude in everything that they do. Please pray for the quick restoration of water supply, electricity, the bridges, and that the generator conitues to run without difficulties.

Thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rain and flooding here, please pray.

Dear Friends,

Let me pass on an urgent prayer request from the Hospital Loma De Luz. The hospital was innundated with rain today (28th) and much damage was done to the infrastructure that brings water and electricity to the hospital. We have heard that as many as five local people may have died yesterday as a result of the flooding in the surrounding villages. Please pray for the local people as they face huge trials in the midst of the flooding. Please pray for our missionaries at the hospital as they also face great challenges over the next few weeks. Transportation will not be possible to La Ceiba (where we are right now - taking language school) for at least several days and maybe up to two weeks - so supplies will be very short. The water delivery system and the electricity were both badly damaged in the storm. Please pray that God would provide for our dear friends as they embrace the challenge of recovering from the storm.

Thank you!
Dave and Marinajo Fields
Mariah and Benny

Here is the email that was sent out by the Cornerstone Foundation yesterday evening:

Dear Cornerstone Friends,

I was just about to write to you with a good news report on the water situation when I got news of a new problem which also involves water.

The good news: In our last email update, I mentioned some alternate / back-up water sources which didn't really produce enough water to serve our needs on a regular basis. Well, the good news is that once the rainy season rains arrived, those water sources (springs) began producing more water--enough to better handle our needs.

The bad news: Now it's raining way too much, and there's too much water. It has been raining horrendously heavily--much more so than what is normal for the rainy season. A foot of rain fell last night, with more coming down. The tremendous amount of water has overwhelmed drains and burst pipes which were unable to bear the strain of draining such a huge volume of water. The power lines are washed out in many places--some sections for hundreds of meters. Every house in Balfate has water in it, including some of the missionaries' homes. The satellite link is down off and on, depending on the thickness of the cloud cover (so not much contact with the outside world is possible). And of course the rivers are all out of their banks with bridge ramps washed out, keeping the entire area isolated. Finally, the flooding, ironically, makes finding drinkable water very difficult.

So please pray--for better weather and conditions, for God's help in making so many repairs, for the missionaries to find the Lord's help when things seem discouraging, and for God to be glorified in the midst of all. Please also pray for the many Hondurans who are cold, wet refugees from hard hit communities, for those whose mountain farms are washing away, and really for all of them. For so many of the people, who live always closer to the bone, finding ways to get warm or dry and to find food in these conditions is not so easy.

Also, there are also several missionaries who are scheduled to be flying out of San Pedro Sula in a few days and currently have no way to get there.

Please lift all of this up to the Lord. Thanks so much.

--Sally Mahoney
for Cornerstone Foundation and Hospital Loma de Luz
Tuesday 28 Oct. 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A weekend in Balfate (visiting Hospital Loma De Luz)

10/25/08 (Saturday Night)
We’ve come “to the hospital” (about an hour and a quarter drive from La Ceiba) here in Balfate for a short overnight weekend stay. This is Loma De Luz – the hospital where we will live and serve once we are done with language school in La Ceiba (about three months from now). We’ve been here before as guests – now we come as missionaries. We are staying tonight in our “home” here which has already been made ready for us – a little three bedroom apartment that is part of a much larger house that has been made into a tri-plex. We have seen it before. Dad and I stayed here in August. This is the first time we’ve stayed here as a family. As the rain falls down onto the metal roof in sheets and the cool night air blows in off of the Caribbean, I am having another one of those “pinch-me-is-this-real?” kind of experiences. It hits me all over again that we now live in Honduras as missionaries. That dream that was conceived in January of this year and birthed in May upon our first visit is now a reality. Wow. Having never lived abroad before, there is this special kind of wow that I go through several times a day that says “wow – I now live in a different country”. I can certainly say that for a large part of my life, I never would have dreamed of living outside the USA. This kind of surreal sensation extends much deeper tonight as I realize that this home (our eventual home) is really quite remote. We live in the jungle, really. Wow – there it goes again.
I killed my first scorpion tonight. We were eating supper over at Margo and Nelson Concepcione’s house and Margo ran out to their freezer on the front porch to grab something and came back in to report that she thought she had seen a scorpion. I went out to investigate and didn’t see him at first. As I was about to head back inside, I saw him hiding under the door. He took off across the front porch, the curl of his back tail left no question as to his identity. He was perhaps three inches long. I stomped on him and flattened him good. Take that! His back tail convulsed around trying to find something to sting for several seconds before he was finally still.
This time of year is absolutely beautiful here. I remember so vividly our first visit here in May: brutally hot. Several times the temperature went over 100 degrees, high humidity – no rain and no air conditioning. We stayed in an upstairs apartment. We were miserable. The last time I was here was in August. It was still hot, but much better. The thing I remember about the August trip was that it was so incredibly dry. Dust everywhere. This time it is wonderfully cool and there is no dust. The rain is wonderful. Perhaps the rivers will swell and perhaps we won’t be able to drive back to La Ceiba tomorrow but we will worry about that tomorrow. For tonight, the coolness and the sound of the rain swirl around us in a delicious motion. It is intoxicating.
I haven’t said much about Andrea before now. She is a little girl in the children’s center that has absolutely stolen my heart. Yes, my heart still belongs to my daughter Mariah and in a different way to my son Ben, but Andrea is special in a way that I can’t describe. She was terribly abused by her step dad – which resulted in her step dad being shot by her mom (he recovered). Her mom has aids and was on death’s doorstep. When I first met Andrea in August, her mom was in a hospital in La Ceiba (described fully here: ) and her dad was in jail. Both parents were most likely dying of aids. Since then her dad has either bribed his way out of jail or escaped – all that we know is that he is free and her mom has made nothing short of a miraculous turn around. She and her mom live here in sanctuary housing and at the children’s center. Her mom seems happy and healthy (an absolute miracle) and Andrea seems happy and content. Why am I telling you all of this? Because this afternoon when we arrived we immediately dropped Ben off to see his new friend Samuel at the children’s center and Andrea came out to greet us. She asked for and received permission to come with us to help unpack and spend a few hours with us this afternoon. She came with Marinajo and I to our new apartment here and helped us unpack and then played with us and “hung out” with us for a couple of hours. I found myself sitting on this big oversized recliner type chair in our apartment reading children’s books to Andrea. The books were written in English, but she only speaks Spanish – so she would teach me as many words as she could from the pictures and then I would fill in as much as I could with what little Spanish I know to try and get the basics of the story across to her. I was sitting here reading stories with this beautiful little nine-year-old girl whose world had exploded just a few months before. Without this place – the hospital, the children’s center, and sanctuary housing – her story would have been just another lost story in a sea of lost children here. Now, she has joy and safety and health, and some dumb gringo to try and explain the three little pigs to her in broken Spanish. It was like a mix between language school (with a nine-year-old teacher) and charades. What a beautiful experience.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In Awe and Wonder of God

Perhaps you remember my great adventure and great privilege of being able to help drive a very sick young girl to the hospital in San Pedro Sula? The blog post for that day can be found here:

Well today I finally have a picture and a report on her condition and it is nothing short of miraculous! Young Chelsi Yanera is doing well. Here is the report from Norma Hunt (Nurse from Loma De Luz):

Chelsi received 12 units of blood and 7 units of platelets. After 42 days in the hospital she is home and doing well. I look forward to taking her back to La Ceiba to thank the doctor who attended her with out charging. Pray that this will impact the doctor.

This beautiful child that you see now was bleeding from the mouth and nose. Her sclera (the white part aroound your eyes) looked like a giant blood blister in both eyes. Her platelets were at zero and her white blood cell count was elevated to around 50,000. The fact that she is alive at all is so amazing. Thank you God for giving this little girl's life back to here. may it be used for your glory!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts on the rain and humidity here in Honduras

(Pictures are of the flooded street out in front of our apartment after heavy rain)

After living in Honduras for two weeks - we have a new definition of humidity. Humid is:

Wet clothes and towels that never dry (unless you put them in the dryer) - (note on this - most people down here don't have a clothes dryer - so once something gets wet - it really doesn't dry. So, when it rains, they tend to take layers off and put them in bags and walk around with fewer clothes on until it stops. )

Paper cannot be kept in the printer - it wilts like a wet napkin and then shreds in the printer it is so wet. I have to keep paper in the sleeve until ready to print.

Sweat. Benny especially just sweats profusely all of the time. Any type of activity results in drenching sweat.

I checked the weather the other evening and we had 96% humidity at that moment.

Marinajo likes the tight tight curls in her hair!

We have an air-conditioner in our bedroom. At night it feels like we sleep in damp washcloths instead of sheets.

It rains most every evening and often all night. Each day there is usually some sunny time – so we make every effort to get out and do something when it is sunny. In other areas of the county (near San Pedro Sula) for example – there has been some pretty major flooding. It is on the news every evening but we can’t yet understand enough Spanish to know what is going on. We are nice and dry in our apartment though!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hello from Honduras!

Hello dear friends and family. This is my first blog post after moving to Honduras. It is now Tuesday Oct 21st and that means that we’ve been “in country” for two weeks now.
These first two weeks have been a strange mixture of new and very unique experiences mixed in with a lot of “routine” type things. Let me explain: In our first two trips down here, we put our lives largely on hold back in the states and came down here 100% invested in the experience of being down here. We had no kids with us – we lived moment to moment, experiencing God in ways that have been well chronicled in the pages of this blog. We prayed with a sick and dying lady. I helped to race one very sick child to the hospital in San Pedro Sula. We drank through a funnel of God’s goodness and calling on those visits – but they were short term trips – designed to seek out God’s calling and everything was magnified because of their short duration. We had “STS” – short term syndrome. Those first two trips set the expectation that life would be like that every day down here. Now we have been here two weeks and it is very clear that living here will be full of adventure, excitement, and well….ordinary. Ordinary, you say? Yes, ordinary. You see we brought something with us when we moved down here this time that we hadn’t brought before – our lives. We brought our children, we brought eight big suitcases and four small suitcases full of our stuff, we brought Dave’s business down here: in short, we brought our lives down here. Now we live in an apartment here and the toilet leaks and the neighbors are loud and we need milk and bread, and toilet paper!
Don’t misunderstand me – we aren’t sad that we came, we have experienced God in new and unique ways and we are more certain than ever that this is exactly where we are supposed to be. But we are going through a difficult transition of getting our lives set up down here. Hmmmm, somehow – we didn’t fully expect or understand that transition. We are moving from short-term missionaries to long-term missionaries.
More on this transition as my thoughts on it develop over the next few days – and much more to come on every day life here in Honduras. In short it is a beautiful country that is more humid than I ever thought possible. We arrived just at the beginning of the rainy season and they don’t call it that for nothing. The rain is immense, frequent, and warm. Each day seems to have a sunny period – but each evening and most nights seem to be just pure rain. The people are poor, friendly and have warm, beautiful smiles. Life here is different enough that it feels like we live in another country and yet there are many “American-type” places to eat and to shop and yes, even a local version of Starbucks here called “CafĂ©-Americano” (thank you for that one Lord).
One reason that I haven’t posted on the blog (besides the obvious busyness of getting settled in and getting started with language school) is that I’ve been waiting for something really profound to happen. I realize now that profound will come in a different package now that we are here for the long haul. Small profound things have happened – but nothing REALLY big – just the simple, difficult tasks of moving into a new apartment and getting setup with life here. We’ve also gone to a missionary conference and we’ve started language school and home school and I’ve started working 3-4 hours each day. As you can see – we’ve more than enough to do to keep us “off the streets” and “out of trouble”.
Lastly, in the midst of all of this talk about things being ordinary- I want you to know that we are very comfortable – very happy – and most of all very thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving us the opportunity to come here and serve. When I think of what many missionaries have had to go through in their “new land”, frankly I’m embarrassed at how easy we have it here. Life is good and we are well! Thank the Lord!

In the next few days, I’ll post a few short quick stories on things that have happened that were definitely not ordinary:
In the last two weeks we’ve waded in water 2’ deep in order to open the gate to get up into our apartment, seen a very young boy hunt and kill a rat without any type of weapon, heard music played louder than I ever thought possible, seen sheets of paper wilt like a wet napkin in the humidity, attended to a Honduran Pentecostal church service and walked through an open air meat market the likes of which you would never see in the USA. We continue to seek the Lord in the midst of all of these new experiences and in the midst of a very big transition. God’s blessings to each of you!