Sunday, May 16, 2010

My sissy.

Just a few days after Bairon’s vacation, it was off to San Pedro Sula to pick up my sister, Kathy, at the airport.  We spent Friday night with our friends the Hoffs in San Pedro before picking Kathy up at the airport on Saturday.  Kathy arrived more or less on time to one of the busiest days that we’ve seen at the SPS airport in a long time.  She came out of the immigration area just long enough to tell us that she was missing a suitcase and that she would be back once she was done filling out the paperwork related to the missing suitcase.  Oh boy.  Can you believe it, the suitcase came in later than night and the airlines (Continental) delivered it all the way out to the hospital the next day?? That is about four hours away!  I was just amazed (and thankful) that we didn’t have to spend an extra night in SPS to wait for the lost suitcase.  If there are any “old-timers” from Loma de Luz reading this, they must be shaking their heads at how easy we have it these days – having lost bags delivered to the hospital.  Wow.

Our drive back with Kathy was a great time to get caught up.  It was also neat to see her get re-acquainted with Honduras.  You see, she had been here four times previously for medical missions trips (she is an RN) to the southern part of the country prior to our ever thinking about coming to Honduras.  She loved the country and the people before God put a call in our hearts to be here.  Isn’t that neat?  I need to mention again how fortunate we are to have so much support from our family as we serve here at Loma de Luz.  In less than two years, we’ve already been visited by Marinajo’s mom, Mary, and my Dad and Stepmom, Dennis and Julie, and now my sister, Kathy, was here with us for a visit.  Understand that we serve alongside people who may have never had that much family visit them.  We are just so fortunate and blessed for this and we thank our family for all of their support.

The week with Kathy went by quickly.  Here are a few highlights: 

Kathy was able to spend some time with John Alden at a remote health clinic and with Penny Alden doing some home visit / dressing changes on a patient who had recently had surgery. 

Kathy was able to meet many of the folks that we serve with here at Loma de Luz.  It was kind of like introducing family to family. 

Kathy’s daughter and son-in law called while she was here to tell us that he had passed his FBI interview and would most likely be heading to Quantico for FBI academy.  That was some big news! 

An important businesswoman was kidnapped in La Ceiba (about an hour away) and then brought to a town very close to here (3-4 miles away) and held hostage for five days. Read more about this here.

Thursday afternoon a two-year old boy came into the hospital –in very grave condition – with and accidental iron overdose/poisoning.  Read more about this here

Friday went to a hotel about 45 minutes away and swam and had a wonderful lunch together.  It was such a relaxing way to end her time with us.    

Instead of driving all the way back to San Pedro – we put her on a plane in La Ceiba early Saturday morning and after a long day of travel, she arrived home safely late Saturday. 

As I reflect on Kathy’s visit – I’m struck by how much like our mom she is.  Mom died back in 1995 and as hard as it is for me to admit it, I really don’t think of her that often.  I tend to forget Mom's mannerisms and way of speaking for example.  Kathy is so much like Mom in those little mannerisms that it brought all of those memories of Mom flooding back in.  It made me miss Mom and also made me thankful she lives on, in some sense, through my sister.  Kathy has such a soft and giving heart.  She brought all kinds of things down for us in her suitcase that we had asked her for and then wouldn't let us pay for any of it.  Her visit and her love are such a comfort to us here.   It was a wonderful time to  renew our love for one another and to renew our friendship.   Lastly, I’m so thankful to the time that the kids were able to spend with her.  One of the biggest regrets that we have in living down here out of the country is missed time with family.  Thank you Lord for this time well spent with my sister!    

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Iron overdose / poisoning.

Thursday afternoon a two year old boy came into the hospital after having eaten "a package" of his mom’s iron pills.  It didn’t take long for me to realize what a grave emergency an iron overdose is for a young child (or for anyone for that manner). It seemed as if the young boy (from the information that his mom gave us) had taken as much as six times the lethal dose of iron for his body weight and size.  Wow.  The doctors felt that we needed to get him to a place that would have special medicine needed to counteract the effects of the iron overdose.  The decision was made to send him into to the hospital in La Ceiba via ambulance with the hopes that he would be able to receive the very important medicine - which we did not have.  Our hospital does not have an ambulance, so we call for the Red Cross Ambulance (about thirty minutes away) to transport patients in these cases.  We sent two nurses in the ambulance with him and I followed the ambulance in to La Ceiba in order to bring them back home.

 In a country full of crazy drivers and close calls,  this ride to La Ceiba will remain in my memory as the craziest ride ever.  It is simply a miracle of God that no one died because of the Red Cross Ambulance driver.  Sure in the US folks get over to the right when they see an ambulance coming (most of the time), but this place is not the US and drivers often don't yield the right away to the ambulance.  This didn't faze our driver.  As I followed him in and prayed for the safety of the two nurses (Penny and Joelle) I saw him take unimaginable risks - pulling directly out into oncoming traffic in order to pass cars in our lane.  At one point he literally drove an oncoming semi into the ditch in order to get around some cars.  Several times we were doing over 150 kph in busy two lane traffic and if you can believe it - in the middle of a very intense thunderstorm.  The ladies in the ambulance told me that his front window was completely fogged over from the rain and it didn't seem like he could see anything.  I believe it!  
We arrived in La Ceiba safely (thank God) and took the boy into the ER.  A very capable sounding pediatrician met us right away and began to examine the patient and taking a report from Nurse Penny.  We were terribly disappointed when the doctor told us that the special medicine that we were hoping for couldn't be found anywhere in Central America.   It seemed at the time that there was no hope for the boy.  

We now know that they boy did survive those first few days in the hospital and that he was sent home after about four days in the hospital.  We hope/pray/want to believe that this is a miraculous answer to prayer and that God chose to spare this young boy's life.  We are still concerned about the possible long term effects of the poisoning and fear that he may not be out of the woods. And so we continue to pray for him - that God would indeed spare his life and heal him.  I'll be sure to add more details later if we hear about them.   

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


In a scene that is all too familiar here in Central America,  an important businesswoman was kidnapped in La Ceiba (about an hour away) and then brought to San Luis, a town very close to here (3-4 miles away) and held hostage for five days.

The story is that this lady would often go to the windows of the house where she was being held hostage and try and alert someone that she needed help.  Someone reported this and a special kidnapping task force from La Ceiba raided the house on Wednesday night and rescued the woman alive – but the kidnappers seemed to have all escaped.   This meant that the kidnappers were at large in our immediate area – a fact that gave us all some pause and caused us to be extra careful  with our travel .   This also caused us to pray for security since for a couple of days we were unsure as to the location of the kidnappers.  In truth we are still unsure of the location of these people, but as time moves on it seems less likely that they are still in the area.

Lastly, we know that one of the policemen from the kidnapping taskforce died here Wednesday night, apparently while trying to apprehend the kidnappers.  The story in all of the papers is that he was chasing one of them when he either fell in the river or tried to cross the river and drowned.  The police get a bad rap here - often corrupt and untrustworthy.  This policemen seems to have died while trying very hard to do the right thing.  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Scorching Hot!

The last two weeks of April were quite possibly the hottest two and half weeks of my life.  It was absolutely scorching here.  We struggled just to get by some days.  I am quite sure that it was over a hundred degrees in my office on several occasions.  One note of incredible comfort though, our new house has an air conditioner in the bedroom.  We laughed at it when we first moved into the house and swore we would never need to use it – but those couple of weeks brought us to our proverbial knees.  We would set the a/c to 80 degrees and it would just take the edge of the heat off enough to let us sleep at nights.  We would do this with not a little amount of guilt knowing that several of the missionaries down here didn’t have that option (a.c) and really suffered trying to sleep at night during that same time.  

My hero, Oswald Chambers, served as a chaplain in a WW1 British camp during the summers in North Africa.  He and his family served the Lord in unimaginable heat and did so with grace and perseverance (and he had to wear a tie and long sleeves every day).  This makes me feel all the more “weak” by enjoying such amazing modern comforts out here in the Jungle where we serve.   Even with all of our guilt, we are so thankful for the Larson family (former missionaries here) that built this house and spent the money to put a/c in the bedroom.  What a blessing!  

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bairon's Vacation.

Do you ever “wake up” and realize that the last few weeks have just been a blur?  It seems as if I’ve been in one of those time-warp / black hole thingees lately.   I find myself reflecting on the last few weeks and really thankful that the schedule will be calming down a bit now.  It started  around mid-April when Bairon told me that he needed to take a few weeks off.  Bairon is the (Honduran) employee that works with me in the IT department here at Loma de Luz.  Since I am his direct supervisor, I suppose it is correct to say that works “for me” but it is really more accurate to say that we work together here to solve IT problems and help keep things running smoothly.  I have to say that I never really realized how much he does each day until he went on vacation.  I found myself fighting to keep my head above water as I tried to handle his duties and keep my work for the IT business going as well.  The computers staged a coordinated revolt during Bairon’s absence.  Routers and laptops were literally throwing themselves out of windows (pun intended) and onto the ground.   I’ve never seen such coordinated malicious behavior from a group of seemingly inanimate objects.   Due mostly to the incredible patience of the folks that I work with – we managed to make it through until Bairon returned.    This went on for about two and half weeks and brought us right up to the time for a much anticipated visit from my sister Kathy.