Monday, November 30, 2009

Elections in Honduras--praise report!

Dear friends and family,

Starting on June 25th, I sent out a series of emails requesting prayer about the political crisis in Honduras. Please know that yesterday, God answered many prayers - free and peaceful elections were held here in Honduras! Several notes below describe our thanksgiving in words that are much better than any I could have chosen, so I will defer to them and ask you to read the notes below if your are interested in learning more about the elections yesterday.

Suffice to say that God miraculously intervened in this tiny little country and helped them avoid losing many of their freedoms. Thank you for supporting us and Honduras through your prayers!

Please know that our family is well. We've just moved into a new (different) house and have been very busy over the Thanksgiving holiday. We are healthy and the kids are doing great. We will be sending out a newsletter in a couple of weeks with more info, but we wanted to get this out as soon as possible.

Please join us in thanking God for His divine intervention here in Honduras and please join us in our continued prayers for the people and country of Honduras.

Take care,

Dave and Marinajo Fields
Mariah and Benny

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sally Mahoney
Date: Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 4:52 PM
Subject: elections in Honduras--praise report
To: sally mahoney

Dear Cornerstone Friends--

God has been at work, and He deserves all the praise we can give Him. When I wrote to you in early November, an agreement had been signed between Honduras and the representatives of Zelaya. The agreement said that the Congress of Honduras (with input from the Honduran Supreme Court) would vote on whether to allow Zelaya to serve the remainder of his term, and in exchange for this the United States and other world powers said they would recognize the coming elections in Honduras as legitimate. Once Zelaya began to realize that the Congress wasn't going to vote about what to do with him until after the elections took place, he began to issue complaints/threats/rants from the Brazillian Embassy, but miraculously and thankfully, even the people who had represented Zelaya at the talks were standing by the signed agreement. During the last days leading up to the election there were a few terrorist-style attempts to make Honduras afraid to proceed as planned, but those attempts did not succeed.

Yesterday (Sunday the 29th) the elections took place, and we cannot give God enough praise for how it went. The turn-out was very, very high (near 64% or so) and peaceful and without any untoward incident. There were over 400 election observers from around the world, and all declared the elections transparent and exemplary. Five of the Loma de Luz missionaries--Jeff McKenney, Don and Suzanne Rumbaugh, Brad War, and Ian McKenzie--were asked by the Honduran government to serve as election observers in their region. They had the same glad news to report for their region as did the observers in the rest of the country--peaceful, very participatory, very done-right, very free.

The winner of the election and next president of Honduras is Porfirio Lobo. When Jeff wrote me last night, the polls had closed but the vote count was not yet finished. But the main story was not who won the election but that the election took place, took place in the manner it did, and that it will be recognized by the USA, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica, Panama, and a number of other nations. By the end of the day yesterday, they didn't know who'd won the presidency, but it was clear who had won on the larger stage. It was clear that God had triumphed over all, and Honduras had won the battle that came to them. Thank you so much for praying. Please continue to pray for Honduras. There are still decisions to be made about what to do with Zelaya, there are still bad guys who have reason to hold a grudge against Honduras, etc. So don't quit praying. But this is a time to stop and pause and rejoice and praise.

We can't thank you enough for praying.

I'll just copy Dr. Jeff's words below.

We are proud of Honduras, thankful to you for your prayer, and praising God.

--Sally Mahoney for Cornerstone
30 November 2009

----- Original Message -----
From: Jeff and Rosanne Mckenney
To: Sally Mahoney ; Marty McKenney
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009 6:21 PM
Subject: Elections

The polls in Honduras officially closed at 5:00 P.M.. The newspapers are all reporting what was also our experience here: there was a massive peaceful and successful turnout. All Intl/ observers are reporting the same thing in the papers. This has been a great day for Honduras. We are in such a vastly different place than we would have been if the People had not stood up for their democracy and stood against those who would have stolen it and sold it cheaply.
Preliminary results are scheduled to be announced by the TSE ( the supreme electoral tribunal) at 1900. ( Here the press is not allowed to call an election). But, regardless of which candidates win or lose, everyone is in agreement, Honduras has won. I believe the Lord has seen Honduras through.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Escalation in the political crisis in Honduras. A request for prayer.

Dear friends and family,

You may have heard that the political crisis here in Honduras has escalated rapidly today. Deposed ex-president Mel Zelaya, emboldened by support from US and Chavez in Venezuela, has returned to the country today and is currently "holed up" in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa - the capital city of Honduras.

First of all, let me assure you that we are quite safe. There is no reason to think that we are in any new or additional danger due to the political events here. We are so far removed from the seat of the crisis up here in the jungle on the north coast of Honduras that we see no almost no evidence of the political strife that is so prevalent now.

There is, however, a curfew that was instituted this afternoon and has now been extended throughout the day tomorrow. This is a prudent decision from the current government which will curtail the movement of the protesters who would simply love to take advantage of the situation and further their agenda of political disruption and even violence. All international flights have been cancelled. I (Dave) am SO thankful that I was able to get back into the country and be with my family before this happened. For those of you who don't know, I just returned Saturday from a 2-week trip to the States.

We do urgently ask for your prayers for wisdom for those in the government and for prudence, safety, and peace for the people of Honduras. In the midst of all of this, we pray that God's glory would be revealed and that He would draw many unto Himself during this time.

We ask you to read this article from the Wall Street Journal, which asks the question that all Americans should be asking of their government right now: Why isn't the United States supporting democracy in Honduras? Even if Honduras (very understandably) isn't on the top of your list of things to be worried about right now, all American should be concerned with the current administration's response to this crisis.

The article can be found here:

The answer to this situation is not simply a political one, and I offer this political criticism as a Christian that recognizes the need for God to intervene here. But, I also believe that we as citizens must never stop asking the hard questions of those who would govern us. Please consider whether or not it might be appropriate to bring this to the attention of your local, state, and federal representatives. I assure you that, from my perspective, the actions of the United States have played a very detrimental role in this political crisis.

Lastly please know that we are well and safe. We thank God for each of you and we hope that you are well to. Please drop us a line some time and let us know how you are doing.

Thank you and God Bless,

Dave and Marinajo Fields
Mariah and Benny

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dear Levi

Dear Levi,

I thought I would take this occasion of your 21st birthday to tell you a few things about how much I love you and how much God has used you to work in my life. I remember so clearly the little boy that would scoot along on his bottom with his arms and was always so incredibly happy to see me. "Boy! Boy! BOY!" Thomas the Tank Engine, and Barney. I remember how you would always ask for a "new toy" and how you made the motion that showed how the Space Ship Enterprise would zoom off into warp speed. I remember watching movies with you and your family and "Good Moomoo!" When it was done. I remember how much you cried at the sad parts in the movie.

I remember how sick you were from time to time and remember taking you to the hospital one night in the ambulance. I stood outside the emergency room after we were all done and cried and cried because I was so sad that you were so sick. God used your sickness to bring us close. He used your sickness to bring you close to so many people. Your simple faith in Jesus has been such a blessing for so many years. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me and I thank you for being such a good example to all of us on how to trust God in the midst of unimaginable difficulties.

I really remember the day that your dad came walking over to our house to tell us that it was time for your first kidney. I remember how much you changed after that first surgery and how big you grew and how grown up you were. I remember when your mom called us from Children's Hospital when she told us that you were going to need a second kidney and how hurt we were that you going to have to go through all of that again. We hadn't seen each other for awhile, but when we did finally get to see you again, there was the same old Levi, just grinning from ear to ear and calling me "Boy!" and believing, just like last time, that Jesus was going to see you through all of this.

We now know that Jesus would indeed see you through that battle, just like He did the first time - but I think you believed it before any of the rest of us did. You knew. You showed us all how to have faith.

I remember "Walk By Faith" and I remember that darned dialysis chair and how you thought you were done with it and had to go back and face it again. You've taught me how to walk by faith and how to face problems and fears that I didn't think I could face. You taught me how to have faith when it didn't seem possible to have any faith.

My biggest memory, though, isn't of any of the bad stuff. My biggest memory is the day that I was so privileged to baptize you. I feel so blessed to have been with you that day that you showed the whole world that you were dead to the world and alive in Christ. That day, you showed the whole world that though although the outer man wastes away - you are a new creation in Christ Jesus and you will always, always, always be with Him. I can't wait until the day that I praise God with you in heaven and I see you in your new body playing basketball and soccer. But until that time, I want you to know that you have a very special gift from God and that you have a very special assignment from God. Your gift is faith. Trusting in God is your specialty. Your assignment is to show the rest of us how to do it. And you're good at it. Please remember my dear, dear Levi that walking by faith is the most important walk of all. Please walk in such a way that you show the rest of us how it is done.

Happy 21st Birthday and we love you very much. Boy, Mo, Mariah and Benny.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Miracle \ˈmir-i-kəl\

Here’s what Webster says about the word miracle:
"An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs"

On Thursday July 30th 2009, I got to see Chelsi again and now her recovery can only be described as a miracle. There is just no other way to characterize it. In August of 2008, I was fortunate enough to be in the car with Chelsi, her mom, and Norma Hunt – chief of nursing for Hospital Loma De Luz – as we rushed her to the hospital in San Pedro. To say that her condition was grave would be an understatement. We didn’t even know if she would survive the car trip. She was bleeding from the mouth and nose. Her sclera (the white part around 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. During 42 days in the hospital, Chelsi received 12 units of blood and 7 units of platelets.

In October, I updated with a good report on her condition and a picture. Now, one year later, she has just returned from her three month checkup in San Pedro in which she was told that there is nothing wrong with her and that she has returned to normal health!

Webster was right when he called it “divine intervention”. God intervened in little Chelsi’s life in a way that is rarely seen. In a sea of stories where God doesn’t seem to intervene or at least His intervention isn’t obvious to us – this story stands out. At a time when everything I know about “missions” is being deconstructed and re-written by God, at a time when spiritually, physically, and emotionally I feel exhausted – God knew just the right medicine to administer. Enter one five minute visit from a miracle. A few pictures were taken, tears quietly shed after their departure. A little girl that will never know the role she played in God reminding His child (me) that miracles still happen. Keep going, keep praying, and keep standing. The gates of hell shall not prevail………
Thank you father.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Safe and sound. Facebook.

Hi all. First a quick word to let everyone know that we are safe and sound in the midst of the continuing political strife in Honduras. In our area, there just isn't any unrest. Our lives aren't really affected at all. Travel plans are much more uncertain, but we don't have any travel plans at the moment, so we aren't affected.

Talks continue in Costa Rica. Please continue to pray for safety for the people of Honduras and for the truth to be known by all. Please pray for the talks in Honduras, as they seem to be the best hope for a peaceful resolution. I hope that those who are in power will remember the words of Patrick Henry:

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

Here is some welcome good news from our dear friends and partners in ministry, the Rumbaughs:

Well, no one knows what Mr Zelaya is doing next, but we're having fun watching what God is doing.

While sweeping up after the Alpha youth meeting tonight, Suz said, "Well, THAT was good!" Two bright-eyed new believers gave their testimonies, and during the prayer circles people wouldn't stop praying. Interesting to hear the impact that an earthquake, a car accident, or an impending war has on a young man's thoughts. Our prayer is that they realize that they have not merely been rescued to live a life of good behavior, but that they have been selected as part of a team, a force that can impact their whole village. The all night prayer meeting they had on Saturday may give them a head start on hearing God's voice.

This morning in a village school, a timid child stood up in front of the whole class and told the one-page story of Pilgrim's Progress, a learning challenge that earned him a soccer ball. And yesterday Don forged afoot up the mountain a couple of hours and discovered that 1) the children had been practicing the guitar he'd left behind, 2) they knew almost all of the songs he's taught them, and 3) the teacher said that next time she wants to send notes home ahead of time so that families can come to participate as well. The kids couldn't decide if they wanted to earn a soccer ball or a Picture Bible. They're going for both.

Just wanted to share some GOOD news from Honduras.
As Don's sister reminded us, there are no emergency meetings in heaven. He's got it all under control.
Don and Suzanne

Lastly, we finally broke down and joined the facebook revolution today. It is truly amazing to me how pervasive facebook is in our circle of friends. We most likely have hundreds of people that we know who are on facebook. What an amazing thing! Mariah is excited to finally be able to "use" facebook a little bit - but all the more anxious to have her own "wall". We've told her that she'll be allowed to have one when she turns 13 Feb oof next year (yikes!).

God bless and keep you this night. Please remember that nothing is out of His grasp and nothing is worth depriving Him of the glory due His name. Your life and your worship are nothing less than the just rewards of His suffering.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The baby that couldn't wait.

The crisis on Honduras continues and we continue to ask for your prayers for peace here in this place.

I write today to tell you about a diversion from all of the talk of political crisis an uncertainty. This is also an excellent example of how the work of the hospital continues each and every day.

In terms of some simple background, there is a young woman who works here at the hospital as a nurse's aide. A coupe of weeks ago, I happened to be returning from giving someone a ride out to her home town (about 8 km from the hospital). As I was returning, I came upon this young woman, pregnant as she could be, walking her bicycle up a hill, starting the journey to work. When I pulled up next to her and offered her a ride to work, well she was about as happy as someone could be. I hadn't realized until then how close she was to her due date and I marveled at how someone this far along in her pregnancy could bike to work, work a 12 hour shift at the hospital, and then bike home. Once again, there are things that I just didnt understand about how the rest of the world operates until I moved out of the country. While this seems incredibly hard, even cruel, to expect a woman this far along in her pregnancy to make the trek into work, it is a simple fact of life here.

Background over, let's get to the story: yesterday (Saturday) I was assisting John Alden with making a conference call to the USA via Skype to consult with a medical specialist on a very difficult case. The nurses kept calling John on the radio so I excused myself from the conference call and went to the nurse's station to tel them that he was on the phone. I asked them if their question could wait for 10-15 minutes until John was done with his conference call to which they replied with silence. Silence in this case means no, they just weren't willing to say no. I asked them what was going on and they told me that the young lady that I had given a ride to a couple of weeks ago was at home and having strong contractions and that she was ready to have her baby. Ok, I went back in and interrupted the conference call to tell John. I offered to drive out to her village and get her and bring her back to the hospital as long as John promised me that she wouldn't deliver in my truck on the way (smile). He promised and off I went. I had her back to the hospital in 20 minutes. Looking good. Her water hadn't broken yet and contractions seemed to have leveled off. I figured it would be hours before she delivered. Boy was I wrong.

John had suggested that the soon expectant mother walk the halls of the hospital to keep the contractions moving ahead. This is good sound advice and any fathers among us will have memories of laps around the hospital with soon to be mom, dragging an IV pole and telling our wives how beautiful they look in the hospital gown. "I think we should get some fabric like that honey and see if we can make you a blouse or something - that color really looks nice on you." The wife usually replies: "Shut up." You get the picture - walking around the hospital as labor develops is pretty normal stuff.

I was sitting in the delivery room talking with John when Penny screeched. Now Penny is not only the RN, she also happens to be John's wife. So when Penny screeches, John listens on both accounts. "John, help me get her back to the delivery room!" "Her water broke out in the hall way and she is really pushing!" Ok, we ran to help Penny get a wheel chair and get our patient back to the delivery room. When we got to the hallway where she had been walking, we found her kneeling down on the floor not only pushing, but having her baby right there in the hallway! The baby's head was already out and the rest of baby wasn't far behind! I grabbed the poor lady and held her up so that she could push. John went to work on the business end of the delivery and within 30-60 seconds of our arrival we had a little baby girl laying on her side on towels rapidly shoved underneath mom and taking her first breaths! We got the basics (suction - towel dry the baby off) and then got mom and baby up and got them back to the delivery room so that we could attend to the baby (Penny) and attend to mom (John). I spent the next half hour with the great privilege of being able to help out in the delivery room assisting the nurses as they assisted both John and Penny with an extra hand or some medical supplies. What a neat blessing!

Typically a man who is not the doctor or a very close family member (i.e. dad) wouldn't be able to get near the delivery room setting without being beaten by the nurses and other family members attending the birth. Fortuntely, I've been able to help out enough now and the situation was urgent enough that my help was welcome. I spent 10 years as an EMT and as I've mentioned in these pages before, God has given me a great gift in allowing me to have a tiny medical role to play here at the hospital.

Of course, as anyone who has ever been involved in a birth can tell you, it is simply a miracle that a live human being can and does grow inside of mom's tummy and is then delivered into this world. There are never words to describe the wonder of birth. In the midst of all of the public and private uncertainty in this place and with this mother, God's miracle is still evident. He formed us in the womb and we are indeed His most special creation.

Here is a picture of the little baby that couldn't wait. Please pray for this little life and for the mother.

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you....."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Escalating rhetoric and meetings Saturday.

Hello friends and family,

The political crisis in Honduras continues. We are safe and have no reason to believe that we are in any additional danger due to the crisis. We continue to covet your prayers for safety, wisdom, and peace here in this place.

The president of Costa Rica continues to function as mediator between deposed President Zelaya and the current administration in Honduras. The first round of talks last week do not seem to have produced any results and the two sides have agreed to meet again on Saturday (7/18). In an effort to increase the stakes of these meetings and strengthen his bargaining position, former President Zelaya has very unwisely escalated his rhetoric these last few days. He has declared a "deadline" of this Saturday stating that he will consider the talks over if he isn't restored to power. He has even gone so far as to call for "insurrection" by his supporters in Honduras. This is coming straight out of the Hugo Chavez playbook from Venezuela. All of this rhetoric seems to have served its purpose and re-emboldened the protesters here in Honduras. There are reports of roads being closed due to protests. Remember that here there is really only one road between major cities, so it is not hard to effectively shut transportaion down in the country by simply erecting a few barricades at strategic locations. All of this has put several members of our group in the very difficult position of deciding to go through with pre-arranged travel plans this weekend or cancel and reschedule important trips to the USA. We also have some students here with us whose parents have requested that they return home due to the crisis. We are trying to arrange the safest and most effective way to honor the request of the parents.

While none of this affects our family directly, it does affect our "extended family" here at Loma De Luz and we urgently ask you to pray for safety and wisdom as "we" make difficult decisions about when and how to travel.

Of course, we also ask you to pray for the escalating situation here and for the talks on Saturday. Please pray that peace will prevail and that tensions will decrease.

Lastly, we want you to know that the work of Loma De Luz continues each day in the midst of the political crisis. Please pray for God's financial provision and for each worker here as we continue to do what God has called us to do - serve the people of Honduras.

Thank you and God Bless!

DF 07.16.09

** for those of you who are interested, here is another excellent article from the Wall Street Journal from July 13th entitled:
"Why Honduras Sent Zelaya Away"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Honduras' non-coup

It is amazing to me how powerful the media is in the USA. We - her citizens - have forgotten how to think, I think, and now rely on the media to do our thinking for us. And so the media no longer reports the facts, they report what our opinion should be on a particular topic and in order to keep you interested they sensationalize the mundane and the perverse. What a shame. We have ceded our responsibility to think to an institution whose primary goal is to make money and whose secondary goal seems to me to be to remake society in their image.

This can only be our fault. No one has forced this upon us. We've become a nation of "sound bites" seeking to be entertained, not to be informed. We are "too busy" to bothered with the facts. This, in my opinion, is killing our country. For more on this, please see this article.

The primary reason that I am mentioning the power of the media is that I have seen first hand how the media has shaped the perception of the story here in Honduras - a perception that was entirely wrong and one sided. Now, I see portions of the media waking up to the reality of the situation here and reporting (mostly in their opinion pages) on "the truth" of what is happening here in Honduras. The truth is there, if you are willing to look beyond the myriad of "stories" reporting the "coup" here in Honduras and if you know where to look. In that spirit, I post here another link to another excellent rendering of the actual events in Honduras that have incorrectly been characterized as a coup from none other than the LA Times.

The article can be found here: Honduras' non-coup

Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

Honduras, the tiny Central American nation, had a change of leaders on June 28. The country's military arrested President Manuel Zelaya -- in his pajamas, he says -- and put him on a plane bound for Costa Rica. A new president, Roberto Micheletti, was appointed. Led by Cuba and Venezuela (Sudan and North Korea were not immediately available), the international community swiftly condemned this "coup."

Something clearly has gone awry with the rule of law in Honduras -- but it is not necessarily what you think. Begin with Zelaya's arrest. The Supreme Court of Honduras, as it turns out, had ordered the military to arrest Zelaya two days earlier. A second order (issued on the same day) authorized the military to enter Zelaya's home to execute the arrest. These orders were issued at the urgent request of the country's attorney general. All the relevant legal documents can be accessed (in Spanish) on the Supreme Court's website. They make for interesting reading.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

President of Costa Rica to mediate the political crisis. 17 US senators send letter to Sec. Clinton in support of the rule of law in Honduras.

The situation here where we are continues to be safe. We are well.

The president of Costa Rica has agreed to be the mediator between the deposed president of Honduras and the current government of Honduras. Both sides were to have begun meeting in Costa Rica starting today (8 July). If nothing else, this has allowed everyone in the country to take deep breath and step back a bit from the tension of the crisis. President Arias of Costa Rica has a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in mediating a civil war in El Salvador, so we hope and pray that his experience and credibility will help to bring about a peaceful resolution. Even more fervently, we hope and pray for a just resolution that recognizes the courageous way that the people of Honduras have stood up to Zelaya, and his biggest cheerleader Chavez, and have legally removed him from power for his abuses of the constitution.

Secondly, 17 Republican US Senators sent a letter to Sec. Clinton today asking her why she has refused to meet with a delegation from the government of Honduras thus far and has only seen fit to meet with the deposed president. The letter offers the documentation of removal of the president from the Honduran Supreme Court showing the legality of their actions. The letter goes on to encourage Sec. Clinton to meet with the Honduran delegation that she has so far refused to meet with. I certainly couldn't agree more with the senators and I thank them for investigating this matter independently and for holding the Secretary accountable for her actions in this matter. One of the few news articles reporting this letter is copied below.

The article can be found here.

The letter can be found here.

GOP senators press administration not to back Zelaya
By J. Taylor Rushing
Posted: 07/08/09 03:15 PM [ET]
Seventeen Senate Republicans on Wednesday sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging the Obama administration to reverse its rhetoric and support the removal of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

The GOP senators disagree with the administration’s use of the term “coup” for the events in Honduras, saying that Zelaya was removed properly. The senators also urge Clinton to meet with a delegation of Honduran officials currently in Washington with whom they met earlier Wednesday.

Zelaya was removed from power last week after moving to hold a non-binding referendum to change the country’s constitution to allow him to remain in office. Obama and Clinton have reacted strongly, but the Republicans say Zelaya was corrupt and that the U.S. should not seek to return him to power.

“It appears that the Honduran government operated under constitutional authority and that the removal of Mr. Zelaya from power was legal and legitimate,” the senators wrote to Clinton.

Four of the letter’s signers held a press conference Wednesday to press their case, with Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.) leading the comments to charge that Zelaya was “moving in a direction that was contrary to the country’s own constitution and rules and laws.”

Martinez said the Honduran officials with whom he met Wednesday want the U.S. to “stand with the democratic institutions of Honduras.”

The letter to Clinton was signed by Republicans Jim DeMint (S.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas), David Vitter (La.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), John Ensign (Nev.), Jim Bunning (Ky.), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Kit Bond (Mo.) and John Thune (S.D.).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Why is the US not supporting the rule of law?

Here is an excellent article from the Wall Street Journal entitled:

Why is the US not supporting the rule of law?

Here are the first few paragraphs of the article:

Hundreds of emails from Hondurans flooded my in-box last week after I reported on the military's arrest of President Manuel Zelaya, as ordered by the Supreme Court, and his subsequent banishment from the country.

Mr. Zelaya's violations of the rule of law in recent months were numerous. But the tipping point came 10 days ago, when he led a violent mob that stormed a military base to seize and distribute Venezuelan-printed ballots for an illegal referendum.

All but a handful of my letters pleaded for international understanding of the threat to the constitutional democracy that Mr. Zelaya presented. One phrase occurred again and again: "Please pray for us."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Update on the situation, our safety, and a request for prayer

Dear friends,

I write tonight to give you a brief update on the worsening political situation in Honduras, to assure you of our continuing safety, and to ask you to please continue to pray for the country of Honduras.

The situation here grows a bit more intense today, as the deposed ex-president Mel Zelaya has attempted to return to the country today. His flight was refused permission to land and he was diverted to El Salvador. The current president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti has announced, through the local media, that Nicaraguan troops are "advancing" to the border and he has asked them to stand down and respect the territorial sovereignty of this nation. Zelaya speaks of another attempt to enter the country today. There are reports that at least two have died in confrontations with troops in Tegucigalpa, most likely at the airport where supports of Zelaya await his return.

In terms of our own safety, this is a bit like someone in Torrington Wyoming telling you that troops are headed for Miami. We are so far removed geographically from the "front" of any possible conflict that there is absolutely no reason to fear for our safety at this time. Things continue to be completely normal here where we are. Our community held worship services this morning and then the ladies of the community celebrated a wedding shower for one of our own who will be married on Saturday. We pause every hour for prayer for the country and we watch the noticias (news bulletins) with great interest, but there is no immediate concern for our safety.

Lastly, may we ask for your continued prayers for the country of Honduras? Despite what every major news media outlet is saying about the situation, there right people are in power here. The vast majority of the country prays that Zelaya will not return. What happened here was not a coup, but a legal removal of sitting president done in a constitutionally legal manner. Please pray that this simple truth would be come evident to the world's leaders and that they would reverse their pressure to forcibly return Zelaya to power. Please pray for wisdom for the leaders of this country as they bravely navigate the open sea of world politics in nothing more than a life raft. They are brave and smart people, but it will take miracle for them to withstand the world pressure that is being levied upon them. Please also pray for us that we might continue to be wise and well-informed and know what the best course of action is. Please pray for the work of Hospital Loma de Luz (who right now is also facing a bit of a financial crisis at the same time). That we might have the funds to continue to operate at full capacity and that we conduct ourselves with wisdom and grace in these times.

Thank you so much for your prayers and the many emails of concern that we've received. We appreciate your love and care for us. We are right where God wants us to be and we are safe in His care.

Blessings to each of you!

Dave and Marinajo
Mariah and Benny

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Coup in Honduras? Nonsense.

This wonderful article came from the opinion section of the Christian Science Monitor today.

A Coup in Honduras? Nonsense.

Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - Sometimes, the whole world prefers a lie to the truth. The White House, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and much of the media have condemned the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya this past weekend as a coup d'état.

That is nonsense.

In fact, what happened here is nothing short of the triumph of the rule of law.

Home safely

Thanks to God for safe travels today. We had a flat tire, but an otherwise uneventful day - which is saying a lot give the current conditions. There was a "marcha" in La Ceiba today, but it was very peaceful and certainly not any danger to anyone. It was the people of Honduras marching to let the world know that they do not want Zelaya back and that they want democracy upheld in their country. Very different from what you are seeing on the news in the states, isn't it? Twenty-five thousand marched in Tegucigalpa today to send the same message, "we want peace, we don't want Mel back". I wonder if the world will hear the message?

This was the second flat tire in two weeks so it was finally time to buy new tires. I had a Honduran tell me that my tires were bald today - a remarkable thing considering the condition of the tires that most Hondurans drive on - kind of made me proud. But, the desire to get as much life out of those tires as possible was starting to turn into an unsafe thing - and quite inconvenient to have a flat every time we go to town.

The big news of the day was that we went to immigration and got our 30 day extension without having to leave the country! Yeah! Our abagado (lawyer) has been such a blessing to us! We are just so thankful to be this far along in the residency application process this early in our time here. Many have waited much longer.

Lastly, as we celebrate independence day tomorrow, please remember that the USA did not come upon independence easily. It has been a hard fought and bitter battle many times to secure, and protect our freedom. I fear that our freedom is more in jeopardy today than it has ever been. The founders left us so many warnings in their writings about what could happen and what would most likely happen if we weren't vigilant about keeping our freedoms. Among these , Thomas Jefferson writes: "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground". He was right of course, and the condition that he spoke of has happened and is happening in the United States of America in great quantities. I've been so encouraged to see the Honduran people rise up in protection of their young democracy. It is incredibly brave for them to march in support of keeping Zelaya out of the country when the whole world tells this little, poor, nation that it should take him back. They know better, and they aren't willing to concede even though they know that the whole world is against them. Talk about overwhelming odds. Reminds me of a little colony taking on a world power around 433 years ago. It has been good for me to see how wrong my country can be and how people can and should rise up and do something about it.

Good night and God Bless!


A voice of reason.

Preventing a Honduran Bloodbath

This article (link above) is the one of the clearest voices of reason that I have heard in the last week. It is by a LATIN AMERICAN writer. Here are the first few paragraphs:

The United States Ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, an extremely competent diplomat, tried very hard to keep Honduras's Congress from ousting President Manuel Zelaya. After his arguments and pressures were exhausted, and faced with something that seemed inevitable, he did what he could: he sheltered the president's son at his residence to save him from any violent outcome.

Fortunately, Zelaya's expulsion from the presidency and from his country was bloodless. It wasn't exactly a military coup: the Army acted on orders from the Supreme Court after Zelaya's continued violations of the law. The ousted president seemed intent on getting reelected, even if it meant violating the Constitution, and on dragging the nation into Hugo Chávez's "21st century socialism" camp against the will of the Honduran people.

Nevertheless, if there is still something worse than the depressing spectacle of a freely elected president forced to leave his country at gunpoint, it is that same leader trying to force his way back in. If Zelaya returns, he will be arrested and charged with an array of crimes. His imprisonment will embarrass any who decide, irresponsibly, to accompany him on such a mad adventure.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thanking the Lord for our safety. A prayer for travel tomorrow.

We are safe. There is no sense that we are in any type of danger here. The US embassy here in Honduras has issued several travel advisories requesting that all non-essential travel be cancelled. The department of Colon (the "state" that we live in) has issued a 6pm to 6am curfew. We are doing our best to abide by the laws of the land and respect these advisories and curfews. Other than this, there is nothing happening here where we are that is out of the ordinary. Friends came over for ICED coffee tonight. Heavy on the ice. It is incredibly hot here right now. I wandered around the house last night and finally slept out in the rocking chair last night for awhile because it was so hot. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to sweat this much. :)

We would ask that you pray for us tomorrow as we do have to travel into La Ceiba (about an hour away) in order to get groceries and to take care of business at the immigration office. We are at our 90 day time limit to stay in the country, but we are now far enough along in our application process for residency that we can pay our $20 per month per person and NOT HAVE TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY! Yeah! This is a huge answer to prayer and most especially now as we might not be able to get back in!

We would also ask that you pray for a large group of travelers going to and coming back from the airport in San Pedro tomorrow.

We want to emphasize that there is no reason to think that this trip would be dangerous (we wouldn't go if there were). It is necessary that we go, but we go asking God for protection, guidance, and wisdom.

Please pray for each of us as we deal with fatigue from heat and a week or so now of stress related to the political crisis. God is so good to us and we thank Him for the safety and relative calm in the midst of this political crisis.

Many of you have sent emails telling us that you are praying for us and we thank you SO MUCH for your prayers!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some excellent new articles coming out in today's US Media

The NYTimes (unexpected) and the Wall Street Journal (expected) have both come out with some very good articles today. The tide might be turning:
*note, link may require registration

Here are the first few lines from the WSJ article noted above:

As military "coups" go, the one this weekend in Honduras was strangely, well, democratic. The military didn't oust President Manuel Zelaya on its own but instead followed an order of the Supreme Court. It also quickly turned power over to the president of the Honduran Congress, a man from the same party as Mr. Zelaya. The legislature and legal authorities all remain intact.

We mention these not so small details because they are being overlooked as the world, including the U.S. President, denounces tiny Honduras in a way that it never has, say, Iran. President Obama is joining the U.N., Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez and other model democrats in demanding that Mr. Zelaya be allowed to return from exile and restored to power. Maybe it's time to sort the real from the phony Latin American democrats.

Stay tuned.... and keep praying.



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sometimes a picture says it all.

The picture in the middle is of ex-president Zelaya hanging out with his buddies Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) and Raul Castro (Cuba) yesterday in Nicaragua. Please note that he is the one that the EU and the USA are now supporting and say should be returned to power. All of the other pictures were taken (without permission) from the websites of Honduran news agencies La Prensa, El Heraldo, and La Tribuna of a peaceful march that took place today in the capital city of Tegucigalpa in support of the new government and in support of freedom. The picture center left is of an older lady holding up a copy of the constitution - the very same constitution that Zelaya tried to usurp and that the rest of the democratically elected government protected when they removed him from office.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #6 A word from our director

Once again, we are well. There is no additional concern for our safety at this time.

Here is a letter from our director Jeff Mckenny:

Dear Friends,
As most of you know these past few weeks have been interesting and tense times in Honduras. Despite clear opposition to the plan from the great majority of legitimate authority in Honduras, the former president of Honduras (Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales) was pushing hard to hold a “ non-binding” referendum to demonstrate support for a revision of the “un-revisable” articles of the Honduran Constitution, this in an apparent move to indefinitely retain power when his current term in office expired at the end of this year. This “referendum” was ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court of Honduras. It was determined to be illegal by the congress of Honduras ( by an overwhelming majority of both parties). It was determined to be illegal by the Attorney General of Honduras, and was opposed by everyone from the Honduran Human Rights Ombudsman to the Bishops and Cardinal of Honduras to the major Honduran evangelical groups. Tensions increased last week when the supreme court of Honduras ordered the Military and Police to not support this illegal referendum. When the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ( Gen. Vasquez Velasquez) agreed that he would follow the order of the supreme court, then president Zelaya fired him. The chiefs of the Navy, Army, and Air Force all resigned in solidarity with Gen. Vasquez, as did the Minister of Defense. The Supreme Court then re-instated Gen. Vasquez. When then president Zelaya continued to move ahead with his plan for an illegal referendum, the supreme court, backed by the congress ordered the arrest and expulsion of President Zelaya. On Sunday morning, ex- president Zelaya was flown to Costa Rica, leaving behind a signed letter of resignation which has been published read and unanimously accepted by the Congress. Later in the day on Sunday, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela sent a plane to Costa Rica and Zelaya was flown to Nicaragua. Roberto Micheletti, Liberal Party President of the Congress has been sworn in as President, and the referendum was essentially cancelled.
Inside Honduras things have been remarkably calm. There has been a curfew called for 9 PM 28 June to 6 AM 29 June and 9 PM 29 June to 6 AM 30 June. No curfew and no other curtailment of Constitutional rights has been announced officially. Although 500 Venezuelan professional agitators have been flown in and have set up small but raucous demonstrations in San Pedro and Tegucigalpa, as best we can tell there is calm and order throughout the country. We have in the past 30 minutes checked all internet news, found a lot of evidence of saber rattling and name calling from many spokesmen/ officials outside of the country. These range from all of the usual suspects ( Chavez, Castro, Ortega) to the misinformed major media outlets and also to the heads of state of many western countries... All calling inexplicably for Zelaya to be returned to power ( which the vast majority of the country pretty clearly does not want) and calling this a military coup( which it wasn’t). We have also checked with all the major airlines, (despite rumors to the contrary they are open and currently running normally except where affected by the curfew). We checked with the American Embassy multiple times. Their official advise is that “American Citizens defer all non-essential travel to Honduras until further notice”, and additionally advise “American Citizens residing in and visiting Honduras to restrict travel to necessary trips only on June 29 2009”. They also “ strongly recommend that American Citizens abide by “ the 9 PM to 6 AM curfew 29 June. We have checked with the Policia de Transito, and though there have apparently been demonstrations at the Puente de Democracia @ El Progresso, they say that the bridge is open. However, we just checked with one bus line “ Cotuc”, and they are not running today as they say that demonstrations have closed bridges. Additionally we have tried to contact other buslines several times and they are currently not responding to phone calls. We also asked Joel / Cynthia who have relatives in El Progresso re. the bridge there. They concur that there have been demonstrations, but we have no confirmation whether the bridge is currently open or not. Iain Mckenzie is planning to take a group through to the airport in SPS tomorrow AM. We should know later in the day how that travel went from a first hand report.
So, what do we advise/request? We advise and request the following:
1.) Pray for Honduras. Pray that outside influences will not have their uninformed or agenda driven sway and that the Honduran people and the Honduran Legal and Constitutional processes be allowed to decide our own way. Pray also please for guidance, courage and wisdom for the legitimate authorities, and that God’s peace would continue to reign.
2.) Stay informed. This is a very fluid situation that seems to change hourly. Our internet system is working well and is an excellent way to get/ stay informed. We have found that the Honduran newspapers online are the most reliable and up to date sources.
3.) Abide by the curfew and any other curfew’s or advisories posted on the US Embassy’s website.
4.)Communicate with family/friends/supporters. Feel free to use the above synopsis of recent & current events if you’d like.
5.) Come up with a personal plan for yourself and your family, considering food/ travel plans/finances. We’d be glad to advise on a case by case basis.
6.) We will try to send out an update in the next 24-48 hours.
7.) Again.......Pray for Honduras... Pray that this is not just resolved well and peacefully and in the best interest of Honduras, and by Hondurans, but that God would be honored in the process and that we would do our part by living out His Gospel among these People, in this Nation.
Jeff Mckenney for Loma de Luz.

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #5

Please know that we are safe and do not feel any sense of danger at all here where we are on the North Coast of Honduras. We are having a normal day here (whatever that means) and are keeping close tabs on what is happening in relation to the crisis.

The entire world seems aligned against Honduras this morning and mis-aligned with the facts of what is being characterized as a military coup. In previous updates I've explained why what has happened does not fit with the Webster's definition of a coup, but rather a legal action by a deocratically elected government whose president was breaking the law.

I've chosen four articles that seem to reflect the truth of the situation for anyone who would like to read more and be more informed about what is really happening:

The first two articles are from the Wall Street Journal:

Honduran Officials Defend Coup

Opinion: Honduras Defends Its Democracy

These two articles are from personal blogs from people that I have no knowledge of at all. I presume they are Honduran, but I have no idea who they are. What they have to say rings true with everything I know about the situation and the facts leading up to the crisis. I really appreciate the information contained in their articles and their stance for democracy here in Honduras:

Hondurans For Democracy

The Silent Majority of Honduras Speaks

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #4

The situation here seems to be calm from our very remote perspective in the jungle on the north coast of Honduras. The president of Honduras was arrested this morning and is now in exile in Costa Rica. Most news reports have him flying to Venezuela tonight and then on to Nicaragua tomorrow. The legislature has sworn in his successor, and the new president has issued a two-day curfew from 9pm until 6am. What protests we are aware of seem to be peaceful. Honestly, much of the country seems to be breathing a sigh of relief tonight. Things have been escalating for weeks and it certainly didn't seem like that was any other alternative than to arrest Zelaya. He simply wouldn't stop and he wouldn't recognize the authority of the congress (to pass laws) and the Supreme Court (to declare his actions illegal according to the constitution).

**Warning, the following comments are political in nature and reflect my deeply conservative bias. Please forgive me if they offend you in any way.

The world's reaction to the events of the day are puzzling at best. All of the news reports and the statements by governments are calling this a coup. If you check your dictionary you'll see that a coup is an (sudden) overthrow of a government. That did not happen today. Indeed Zelaya has been trying to usurp the authority of the other two branches of government with his actions of the last few weeks. If anyone was trying to overthrow the government, it was him. The Supreme Court, the Attorney General, and the Legislature have all declared his actions illegal, and then all called for his dismissal. The Supreme Court issued an order for his arrest which the military carried out, and then the legislature impeached him and then installed the next in line for the presidency according to the constitution as the president. Tell me, does that sound like someone overthrew the government, or does that sound like the government worked as it should have in a moment of intense crisis when the sitting president decided to willfully violate the constitution in an effort to re-write it for his benefit? Coup? I think not.

I am most dismayed by the reaction of the Obama administration. Indeed, I am embarrassed by their reaction. The Wall Street Journal has been much more well informed and has displayed a response more in keeping with the support of democracy than has the Obama administration. Secretary Clinton has said that the "only legitimate president of Honduras is Zelaya", and that they are working to restore him to power peacefully. What!? The only stronger statements in support of Zelaya have come from Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba! Note to Obama: this is not good company to be in. I would like to ask Obama and Secretary Clinton one thing: what should the government of Honduras have done today? Zelaya has wasn't just trying to buy himself a little bit more power, he was trying to effect enduring change in the constitution in an entirely illegal manner that would benefit himself. Shouldn't you be supporting the democratic option here in Honduras? If so, then you're backing the WRONG GUY! The Obama administration was either entirely uninformed and caught flat-footed by this crisis, or worse, has chosen knowingly to support the left-wing socialist to the detriment of democracy.

I suppose I am showing my age and my deeply conservative bias with this next statement, but I sure wish Ronald Reagan were in the White House. I can just hear him issuing a statement in support of democracy here in Honduras and throughout the world and telling Chavez that he would be well advised not to meddle in the affairs of other nations as he has done in this case.

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #3 President arrested

President Zelaya has been arrested this morning by the military. This will be characterized by the media as a coup, but it is not. The supreme court has ruled the actions of the president illegal. The legislature, including key leadership in the president's own party, have declared the vote that the president is pursuing illegal. The attorney general of Honduras has called for the president to be arrested as one who is breaking the law. In this case, the military was well within its jurisdiction to arrest the president. The government seems to be collecting the ballots that have been illegally distributed by the president (these ballots were provided by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela)and the "vote" that was scheduled for today seems to be off. So far today, I am not aware of any violence. Please pray that there will be a peaceful and legal transition of power. Please pray for Roberto Micheletti, the president of the legislature, who would be next in line for the presidency as the Vice President had resigned months ago. Please pray that those who are in power now would only use their power to achieve free and fair elections this coming November and to safeguard the constitution of this country and that they would not take advantage of their newly won powers for any personal gain. Thank you and God Bless. DF

Friday, June 26, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #2

It is hard to tell whether or not the situation here is really getting worse today or if this is just a lot of political posturing going on. President Zelaya has reportedly been distributing ballot boxes today in defiance of the Supreme Court order rendering the vote illegal and banning him from holding the vote. The military chiefs who were fired have been reinstated by the Supreme Court and President Zelaya has refused to rescind their firing. They have stated that they are now rightfully back in power of the military, whether the president recognizes that or not. I suppose that is a good thing.

Perhaps the most troubling news of the day is that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has announced that he is considering getting involved in the crisis. This may just be saber rattling, but one could easily see him moving military forces into Honduras in support of Zelayas so that he could "annex" Honduras through Zelayas. There is a story in the Honduran Newspaper La Prensa this evening that indicates that Chavez is considering "intervening". This would really be a worst case scenario for the crisis here in Honduras. It may well just be more inflammatory words from this foolish man, but it is unsettling to say the least. Please remember that this is the same man whom President Obama shook hands with and gladly accepted a book on socialism from at a recent summit. We know that Chavez has regional aspirations and we know that he faces a very weak US Government right now that would in all likelihood let him march right into Tegucigalpa.

Please pray that Chavez (and Zelaya) would be shackled by the Holy Spirit and that the people of Honduras would rise up and defend their country from threats interior and exterior to the country.

On a personal note, it has been a long and tiring day. Two hospital patients died today - one a young girl with an inoperable brain tumor and the second a young man who was a victim of machete violence. It has been an emotionally draining day. We went to La Ceiba today for groceries and had a flat tire, but thank the Lord it was in a good location and I was able to change the tire pretty quickly and get it repaired. It is a good picture of what life can be like down here - very draining. It is 9:20 pm and I feel like it is midnight.... time for bed - but first - time for prayer.....please join me.

Thank you and God Bless. DF.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Honduras Political Crisis - Update #1

Dear Friends,

We hope that this post finds you all well. We will be sending out our next newsletter in a couple of week and I'll wait until then to tell you more about how we are doing, but please know that we are well. We write tonight to ask you to pray for an urgent political crisis that is developing here in Honduras.

The current president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, has called for a referendum vote this Sunday on whether or not to hold a further vote that would seek to seat a constitutional assembly and in effect, re-write the constitution. Following in the footsteps of Chavez in Venezuela and Ortega in Nicaragua, president Zelaya hopes to eliminate term limits and install himself as dictator of Honduras. The rest of the democratically elected government stands in opposition to Zelaya and his plan. We hope that this will be enough to stop him, but we are especially concerned about recent developments. Last night, the top military officer here in Honduras bravely told the president that he would not carry out the executive order to hold the vote (the Army's traditional role here when there is a vote) since the Supreme Court had declared it illegal. He was summarily fired and the chief officers of the Army, Air Force, and Navy all resigned in a show of solidarity with them. The defense minister also resigned. The president has positioned troops around his residence in the capital city in Tegucigalpa and the Attorney General has called for his dismissal.

Please join us in praying for the stability of the country and for the safety of the people here, and also for the long term stability of the work here at Loma de Luz.

Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal about the crisis:

Sunday may prove to be a particularly dangerous day here in Honduras for the Honduran people if the crisis continues to escalate. We do not believe that our family is in any danger (we certainly won't be traveling Sunday). Please pray for the people of Honduras:

-for safety in the midst of this crisis for those that are demonstrating and for whatever may happen Sunday

-for the rule of law to be upheld

-for wisdom for the chief of the armed forces and for those in positions of power within the government

-for this fragile democracy to hold fast

If you are interested in finding out more, I'll post some updates on the blog at over the next few days. Thank you for your prayers.

Dave and Marinajo Fields
Hospital Loma De Luz

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mariah's Baptism Video!

Mariah's Baptism - Easter 2009. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sarai - why we are here.

It started yesterday evening about 5:00 pm as I was leaving the office here at the hospital. John Alden (the doctor on call that evening) came racing up the hill in his truck and drove around the corner to the back door of the hospital in a manner that told me something "was up". Since my office is near the "Emergency Room" (2 beds), I could also hear some pretty strong crying coming from the windows - which are always open. I thought I would walk down to the ER and see what had just come in and see if I could lend a hand. As soon as I walked in the room I saw John standing at the head of the bed over a child who obviously had a pretty good head injury. One look from John told me that he was pretty concerned. I took up station next to the girl and started rubbing her shoulder and trying to calm her. The ten or eleven year old girl had been involved in pretty serious bike crash and had a nasty gash on the top of her head. It went almost down to the skull and was several inches in every direction. Fortunately my years as an EMT prepared me well for this type of thing and I was able to help out without passing out. As I gave her the shh,shh,shh,shh,shh that a father might give a crying child, I rubbed her arm and told her that everything was all right as best as I could in Spanish. I really felt the presence and peace of the Lord as I calmed her and she almost immediately stopped crying and closed her eyes.
Soon after, in a coincidence that can only be attributed to God, some visiting anesthetists just happened to walk by several hours after their scheduled surgeries had all been completed and were able to assist John with sedating the young girl so that he could stitch her up. After cleaning her up and stitching her up she was admitted to the hospital overnight for observation and rest. While John was working on her, I went out and sat down with the mom and prayed with her (I am just learning to pray with people in Spanish - imagine the equivalent of a baby crawling). Her mother needed so badly to know that her baby was out of danger. After consulting with John, I was able to go back out there and tell her that she was indeed out of danger. I found out that the little girl's name was Sarai (I am probably not spelling this correctly).
The next day (today), I went to visit Sarai a couple of times. She tensed up immediately when I came up to her bed as if I knew her this morning - she did not remember me at all. So I took the curtain that was hanging around her bed and made a makeshift skirt out of it and started dancing the hula for her. Her laughter was such a blessing. Hearing children laugh when they are hurting is so beautiful.
This evening as I was leaving the office around 6pm (almost dark here) I encountered little Sarai and her mother leaving the hospital. They had convinced John to let her go home, but didn't have a ride to their home village of Limeras (about a 20 minute drive) and the buses had stopped running for the day. I was able to give them a ride home and I know that God took me by them at just the right time to be able to pick them up.
It occurred to me, on the way home, that this is really why we are here. The computer work that I do here makes me "useful" and gives us a legitimate reason to be here - but we are here to participate in what God is doing through the work of Hospital Loma De Luz. Our little hospital makes such a big difference in the lives of people here each and every day. Many of our doctors and nurses get to be involved in stories like this every day, for me it is less frequent. I'm so thankful for this little reminder of why we are here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Judios - contextualizing the gospel.

As I neared town, I could see the small mob of people on the streets. A few among them were dressed completely in black, with all of their exposed skin painted black. They carried sticks and were menacing the crowd a little bit...until they saw my truck. They quickly broke off from the main crowd to take up position in the road to block my path yelling and shaking their sticks at me. As I pulled closer to them several put their hands on the hood of my truck - as if they were pushing my car backwards - in order to completely block my path while the others rushed at my open window. I quickly pulled out the package that I had readied for them and held it high out the window. As soon as I handed the package to one of the black "Judios", the ones in front immediately "released" my car and rushed over and mobbed the unlucky fellow that had initially received my package to see what I had given them. As they were distracted by this I sped off heart rate a little elevated and breathing a simple prayer of thanks as I had just made it through my first encounter with the "Judios".

As you know, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is kind of like a week long Mardi Gras celebration where tons of Hondurans come to the North Coast to party and play on the beaches up here. We are remote enough (for now) that the big crowds are still West of us in the bigger towns. The roads are crazy, and there is a real danger to local people of violence and accidents this week. Some unavoidable circumstances led me to have to travel (a three hour car trip) on Thursday. One of the other missionaries had mentioned that the "Judios" would be out and prepared me for the scene that you just read about. They dress up entirely in black and they represent Judas - the one who betrayed Christ on Easter. "They want you to give them a Lempira" (roughly worth a nickel) she said. "Some of us missionaries won't give them any money and if you don't, they will try and paint black tar all over you and all over your car". "Some of us just give them the money and go on."

Well, what would you do? Would you give them the Lempira and gone on about your way, or would you hold your ground and not give the money to such an obvious cult like expression?

This dilemma faces us as missionaries in many different ways at many different times. How do we reach out to (and live in) the culture in ways that are meaningful without compromising our Gospel witness. If we don't give the Judios the Lempira, we face being "tarred". More importantly to me, I want to "fit in" to the culture here. I don't want to be perceived as an American who won't participate in the culture and the Judios are definitely a reality during Holy Week. They do this every year and the locals just see it as part of the Holy Week fun. I went to my one friend who was born and raised here (and speaks good enough English that we can communicate well) and asked him about it. He assured me that it is very much a part of the Holy Week here. I know that I may well see those same faces (minus the black paint and clothes) at church next week - or more importantly that they will see me and my actions on the road Thursday will impact how they perceive me as a missionary. Some missionaries that I respect greatly have decided that they won't play the game and won't give money to someone who portrays himself as a betrayer of Christ.

Well you already read the little story that I started out with and you know that I gave them a "package". What do you think was in it? Yes, there was a Lempira in it - but it was wrapped around some Spanish tracts that told these Judios (I hope) how precious they are to God. Next year, I hope to write a tract specifically targeted to how Christ loved even Judas and give one out them. What do you think? Is this an acceptable compromise or just a "religious" way of getting out of being tarred by the hoodlums? Each of us has to decide where we fit in for the cause of advancing the gospel and where we stand firm in the culture in order to prove the point that some things simply can't be compromised. You can't come to Christ on your terms. You must come to Christ on His terms - total surrender.

Don't think that this is only a problem for Christians who serve as missionaries. You deal with the contextualization of the gospel all of the time where you are also. Each week, your church struggles with how much to contextualize the gospel through the message that is preached, the songs that are sung, and the entire worship service. The goal is to make it "appealing" and "relevant" without compromising the heart of the message. What do you think? How is YOUR church doing in finding the balance in this?

Lastly, as a Christian, you probably deal with these same issues as you try and live your life in an increasingly secular culture there in the US. Do we let our kids go to that party or that school function? Do we go to that party at work or to that gathering of co-workers on Friday afternoon at that bar? What are we willing to expose ourselves to in order to "fit in" or maybe to be a Christian witness in our culture. We each have to make real decisions about this topic. Where do you fit in? Have you compromised so much that you've lost your Christian witness? Or on the other side, have you isolated yourself so much that you don't have any real social contact outside of the church?

We all have Judios in our life. It is a cold hard fact of the world we live in. Let's pray that God would give us the wisdom about how to "be in the world, but not of it" as the Bible says.

I will say that the Judios seemed pretty interested in what I gave them. As I returned through the town again, they rushed up to the car again. They didn't stand in front of it this time. They all seemed eager to get another Lempira (or were they eager to get another tract?). I can only hope that God was able to use the tract in some meaningful way.

Mariah's Baptism

This is just a very quick note to let you know that Mariah will be baptized tomorrow at the Easter Sunrise service (yes, on the Caribbean - how cool is that?). We are SO excited for this and look forward to posting pictures early next week. Please say a prayer for her that the miracle of the resurrection will be SO REAL to her and that she will see that through her faith in Christ, she indeed gets to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ!

Hello dear friends and family!

Hello dear friends and family,

Let me start with a simple apology. I'm sorry for not having written in the blog for so long! There are so many stories to share - I am trying to develop the discipline to sit down daily (or almost daily) and write something. It seems like every day brings some new experience into our lives that we could have never imagined and we want to share them all with you!

By the way, in case you are interested, I am trying to do six things well each day:

Prayer and fellowsip with the Lord
Quality family time
Exercise and health
IT work for the Hospital
IT work for my company (how the Lord supports us)
Communicate with our friends and family back home

Many days, I'm lucky if I get one or two of these right and I haven't yet figured out how to do all six well or really even how to do them each day.

Prayer Requests:
That God would give each of us the right priorities and then show us how to organize our day to be able to accomplish them well.
Please always pray for safety for our kids and all of the children here at Loma De Luz.
Good times of communication and closeness with Marinajo.
Our Spanish studies and working to learn the language.

Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Holy week here in Hondruas is really different than it is in the States. It has a real "Mardi Gras" feeling to it - except it lasts all week long! As we came in from Orlando (or latest VISA trip) last Friday, Holy Week was just getting started. Flights and hotels were all full and the roads - which are normally crazy here - were outrageously full with people obviously on holiday. It seems that pretty much the entire coutry comes up here to the North Coast to drink, party, and play on the beaches all week. Unfortunately - there is not much that is "holy" about Holy Week here. It is a week long drunken revelry complete with car accidents and violence.
Fortunately, we are fairly insulated from this out here at Loma De Luz, even though we are on the north Coast where everyone comes to party. We are far enough removed to be spared the really big crowds. Local people do seem to be rowdier than usual, but in Tela (about 70 miles west of here) we had heard that there were 70,000 people on the beach Wednesday. Nothing like that here.

We do have several missionaries traveling during this time and there is a hightened awareness of the danger that always goes with traveling this time of year. So please remember to pray for those of us down here that are traveling over this weekend.

One experience from Thursday serves as an excellent example of what it means to be a missionary in a foreign culture. I'll tell the story in my next blog post titled "Judios". I hope to have that one out later today - so stay tuned!

With our love and prayers that all are well and that the beauty of Easter is all around you!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Costa Rica

In the last two segments (The Breakers and Visa Trip), I’ve written about stress – the stress of not knowing what in the world we are doing a lot of the time as we learn to live down here in Central America. I’ve written about stress because this has been a particularly stressful time in our lives. I think that it is common for where we are at in our lives – as new missionaries. Other missionaries told us that we would encounter very stressful times as we learned to live in the new reality of life outside of the United States and away from much that is familiar. So while it is not unexpected, it is kind of our first really rough spot since we left the US three months ago. We know that rough spots exist in every country, and in every walk of life. So, in writing about it, it is not my desire to elevate our rough spot above yours (dear reader), because we are “missionaries” but simply to tell about it in sufficient enough details so that I can get to the good part – the part where we learn to trust God more and where (hopefully) we learn to worry less.
My last point before I get on with the story: just because I’ve been writing about a particularly stressful time in our lives, this doesn’t mean that all has been bad. Quite the contrary – in the midst of the stress and worry – there have been beautiful days and a beautiful Christmas season. We went swimming in the Caribbean on Christmas day for heaven’s sake – so please don’t “worry about us” we are doing well – just learning how to live in a new environment that at times can be very difficult indeed.
We found ourselves in a difficult position: Having to leave Honduras for at least 72 hours to renew our visa. This is not possible to do in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Nicaragua. Previous plans to go to Belize seemed imprudent right now as we couldn’t be sure that the route was safe and we didn’t feel comfortable enough yet with our language skills to be able to ask the right questions and get a good sense of the answers to questions like “is it safe”. Remember that no one in all of Central America answers a question directly (perhaps a slight exaggeration) – one must learn to listen to the answer in the answer here.
So, at the urging of our dear friend, Iain McKenzie from Scotland, we began to look at flight options to Panama and Costa Rica. Several missionary families in our group had spent a year in San Jose Costa Rica for language school and knew the area well and assured us that a good and safe trip was possible there. I had always wanted to see the Panama Canal, so we looked into Panama as well. We found very inexpensive tickets ($160.00 each round trip) to San Jose, so we purchased the tickets and the hunt was on to see if our friends could find us a place to stay in San Jose for three days muy pronto.
God worked in so many ways to deliver us from our uncertain situation and to show us His mercy and grace during this time – it is hard to keep it all straight. First, there were our friends Nelson and Margo, who spent a year in San Jose for language school and who sprung into action on our behalf and began emailing friends and contacts in Costa Rica to help find us a place to stay. They contacted a man in San Jose named Fernando who seems to have a ministry helping to arrange travel connections and lodging for missionaries in San Jose. Before we knew it, Fernando had written back, asking if we would like stay with a family in San Jose that “takes care of missionaries” and that would provide us lodging and meals. We were hugely thankful to have received such and offer and immediately said yes and thank you. We emailed off our flight info this person in Costa Rica named Fernando and began to pack. On Sunday we drove to San Pedro Sula for an overnight stay and got ready for an early flight on Monday (12/29). We had a nice (short) flight on the newest aircraft that we had ever flow in before to Costa Rica. Very windy conditions made the landing one of the most exciting ones we’d ever had – landing in an “S” patterns down the runway. We cleared customs and walked out of the airport. If you’ve never experienced this in this part of the world, let’s just say that you know what cattle feel like at the auction. Each person is inspected with regard to how much money they might possess (gringos are “grade a” in this respect). It feels completely overwhelming the first time you experience it. It doesn’t take long to get over the intimidation – but it is interesting. But, in our case, there was a young man standing there holding a placard with Familia Fields de Honduras on it, just like we were royalty or super rich or something. The nice young man, named Oscar, ushered us outside where a taxi / minivan was waiting and in five minutes we were on the road and on our way to…….well we had no idea where. Lots of thoughts go through your head – like what if these nice people are taking us to a warehouse somewhere to beat us up and take our money. I have definitely watched way too many movies. After a 20-30 minute taxi ride and some very pleasant conversation – all in Spanish – Oscar took us into a nice neighborhood and said “this is my house, David….and your house.” We’ve probably all heard the “mi case es tu casa” saying in Spanish – but we were about to experience it firsthand. Oscar’s father and mother greeted us at the door as if we were their long lost relatives that had finally come home. In the traditional Spanish fashion, they lingered over both Benny and Mariah explaining how beautiful they were and kissing them and caressing their hair as if they were indeed a prince and a princess. They began to show us their house and tell us that we were honored guests and that they were so excited to have us stay with them. I can’t even explain to you what it was like to have these people treat us like our visit was the best thing that had ever happened to them. I can tell you that we love to extend hospitality to others, but we were absolutely blown away by the warmth of Oscar (Sr.) and Sonia. As they continued to show us around the house and tell us that they were delighted to cook every meal for us and that if we needed anything that we were simply to tell them what it was and that they would take care of it. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I just broke down crying and hugged Oscar Sr like he was my dad and thanked him with my tears. All of the apprehension about what was the best thing to do on our visa trip just disappeared. We were right where God wanted us to be.
Oscar Sr. and Sonia have hosted over 200 missionaries in the last 20 years. Wow. After and early lunch, they hurried us off to our rooms to rest – complaining loudly whenever I tried to help with the dishes. Later in the afternoon, Oscar took us to the grocery store (a huge super mega grocery owned by none other than – you guessed it – Walmart) taking Benny down the cookie isle pointing at every cookie and asking him which was his favorite and then buying it for him. The home that we are staying in has this cool inner court-yard with plants and partial open ceiling that opens up to a beautiful blue sky. It is secluded, simple, and perfect. Across the courtyard, we have our own rooms (2 of them) each with a private bath and a laundry area with a small fridge. There were two big rocking chairs in the courtyard and toys for Benny to play with. What a wonderful provision God had in store for us! It was better than anything that I could have tried to prepare for us. The second day, after a relaxing morning, Papi (Oscar Sr. as now become Papi and Sonia is now Mami) took us shopping in a souvenir district called Moravia, with tons of little souvenir shop – very reasonably priced and lots of fun.

The third day (New Year’s Eve) – we went on a driving tour to the South and East of San Jose, to a town called Cartago where we saw a Catholic church that dated back to the Spanish colonial presence in the 1600’s. The people still today crawl down the long center aisle on their knees to the altar at the front to pray. We continued south from there to ?? where we saw incredible mountain valley vistas with coffee plantations dotting the hillsides. Wow. The beauty of Costa Rica is something that we just won’t ever forget. The trip concluded with tearful goodbyes to a family that in four short days has welcomed us into their family and in a way that only God can do, we had become one family. It is one of the most beautiful things that happens to us as missionaries and it is such an incredible blessings.
One other thing; Marinajo and I were blessed to be able to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary during this trip to Costa Rica. Words fail me to describe the incredible blessing that she is. I’ve learned some new language to express my love for her in Spanish (after all it is a “romantic language”). I’m so happy and thankful to have been able to celebrate our anniversary in Costa Rica together with mi amour.
So in two short weeks we went from the “breakers” to this place of beauty and peace. I know that the breakers await me once again as we return to life in Honduras. I thank God for giving us this respite and for giving us an opportunity to see that His hand covers us as we prepare to get back to work in Language school and ministry.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Visa Trip!

We’ve known that we would have to leave Honduras every 90 days, for visa requirements, for quite awhile now. We’ve planned for it. We put $200.00 per month in the budget for it. As our first visa trip got closer and closer (yes, we’ve been here 90 days already – amazing) – I searched and searched for the most inexpensive way to get out of the country and back in to renew our visa for another 90 days. One law that makes this more difficult than it might seem at first glance is that we cannot refresh our visa by simply skipping over the border. We are not permitted to refresh our visa in Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua – the neighboring countries. We don’t know the reason for this law. It complicates matters a bunch not being able to drive over a border, stay a night or two and then return. Also, we have to stay out of the country for at least 72 hours. That means that we have to plan on a three day stay wherever it is that we go. When in Colorado, God led us to a wonderful couple in Belize who have an orphanage in Punta Gorda – which is on the eastern border of Belize and very near (via water) to Honduras. We had planned on driving into Guatemala and then taking a ferry over to Belize and to stay with our friends in the orphanage. We felt that this would be the cheapest trip possible for the four of us. After doing a bunch of internet research (you know me) – I was convinced that it was possible – but I was not certain that it was a safe route.
We spent the week of Christmas at the hospital and I told many of the missionaries of our plans to drive through part of Guatemala and then take the ferry over to Belize. There was a general sense of unrest among the community about our plans – with several well seasoned missionaries expressing doubt about the safety of the route. Since we would be travelling alone, with kids, it seemed wise to listen to their concerns and think about an alternate plan – and quickly – as we had to get out of the country pretty quickly to satisfy our visa requirements.
This situation illustrates beautifully the stress that I wrote about last time in the blog when I spoke of “the breakers”. In the states, we are used to having to plan a trip around the least expensive route, but we have two things going for us that we don’t have here: there are at least two routes to almost anywhere – our interstate highway system is truly an amazing system when you compare it to road travel options here in Central America. At best, there is one way to get some place, and at worst – you may have to go way out of your way, on routes that aren’t well mapped, to get someplace. Secondly, of course, is the security of travel in the States. We don’t really have to think of the “security” of a particular route. Here, in Central America, you pretty much always have to think that way. I understand that in parts of Guatemala there are major drug routes that lead down into Honduras and that because of this, there is much danger in parts of the country. One missionary family at our hospital endured a terrible tragedy on the roads in Guatemala many years ago, in which a missionary was killed by violence. Here, it is the unknown that is so difficult: “I don’t know if there is a road that goes there, I don’t know if it is safe. I don’t know if there is a ferry, I don’t know when it leaves.” If you want to know these things, you have to go try them out - which is less risky when one is not traveling with wife and kids.
Another part of the stress of all of this (most decisions that we make) is that I feel a heavy burden to spend our money in the wisest way possible. This is compounded by the fact that we are spending money that has been given to us for our ministry here. This is a new part of being a missionary that no one told me about and that has become very real to me. I don’t want just to spend our money carefully (a good thing), I want to spend it in the best possible way at all times. While this may sound like a noble goal, it is often impossible to know beforehand if you are indeed spending your money in the best possible way (of all possible options). This is often learned only with experience. Decisions become almost impossible to make. I had budgeted $200.00 per month for our visa trip, which mean that we would have around $600.00 available every three months (90 days) to make trips with. If we drove over to Guatemala and took the ferry to Belize, I felt that we could hit that budget. Any other choice would involve flights, which would almost certainly lead to expenses over and above $600.00 that I had budgeted. It isn’t that we don’t have any extra money, we do – I just wanted to do it for the amount budgeted and I wanted to “prove” that I could do it that cheaply (when several told me that I couldn’t). I now had the pride issues of wanting to be “right” in my planning and budgeting. Pride is a great attribute to add to worry – they go together so well, don’t they! 
So this is the place that we found ourselves in, now convinced that the route planned to Belize was possibly unsafe and sure that any other option would be much more expensive and yet needing to leave the country in a week or so for at least three days.
It is now time for me to write the next chapter in the telling of this story and in the explaining of the incredible blessings that can be ours in the midst of the stress and uncertainty. The story doesn’t end in “the breakers”, it only begins there. The breakers serve to remind us of our need, they make us dependant on Christ. The blessings in the breakers are so much bigger than the stress or the troubles there. Please read on to the next post, called “Costa Rica” to hear about the beautiful conclusion of this conundrum that we found ourselves in.