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.