July 18th - 20th Choluteca Update
Friday, July 18:
We pulled out of the mission house at 8:20 am. Leaving early was consoled by our fearless leader who brought Duncan Donuts for the bus ride. To save time, we had a singing devotional on the bus. We trucked it hard until around 11:20 when we stopped for lunch. When we loaded back up at 12:20, we made it about a mile down the road when the bus broke down. A truck full of supplies was traveling with us; we thought to use his battery to jump the bus. However, we learned that here in Honduras, they put padlocks on some of their batteries. Do they do this in the States? Did I miss the memo? Anyway, we didn’t have the key or any way to break through, so we asked a small truck to jump us. To our surprise, God provided, and it worked. We arrived at our hotel around 1pm. We unloaded the supplies from large truck into the bus (which left us with 10 benches for 28 people). When we pulled out of the hotel, we stopped by a local automotive shop and purchased a new battery. Finally, we left for the meeting place.
Choluteca, like many other places in Honduras, has suffered from the weather conditions. We knew beforehand that we would be unable to drive back to the villages (Porvenir, Agua Agria, Laurelada, La Cabezas, Llano Limpio, Ocotillo). Timateo Estrada (wonderful man and active participant in our construction work here in Honduras) is from Choluteca and arranged for the people in his home village to walk to the main road to receive food, clothing, medical care, and Biblical study time. The meeting place was perfect—an obvious sign from God. A sweet, old lady opened up her very nice and spacious home for us to use and allowed us to drive up into her front yard.
We arrived to meet approx. 150 people at 2:45. When we questioned the people, many stated that they had waited two to four hours. These patient people had to wait another hour while we set up the distribution stations (shoes, clothing for all ages, toys, food boxes, and water in bottles). We gave out clothes from the bus; then we had the other areas set outside the bus. At 3:45 we began to bring in three to four families at a time. We continued this cycle until 6:30.
During this time, the VBS team flew into full swing. The teens started working with the 42 kids while Paul Forshey and A.B. (our favorite male El Salvadorian) handled the adult Bible study (110 adults). Paul was quick to point out that before today, he had never had his sermon interrupted by a herd of cattle. He covered main points of creation to redemption.
Unfortunately, people were still waiting for items when we needed to pack up. So, we left the remaining clothes, shoes, and toys with the man who had been taking charge of the families. Juan Dario Flores (Dario) did a fantastic job of keeping up with who had been seen and letting in families. He did have some help, though. Milton, Timateo’s son, traveled from Teguc with us to see some of his family and to help. He did a tremendous job—we couldn’t have done so well without him.
After a fabulous Wendy’s dinner, we headed back to the hotel for showers—boy did we need them! The Hondurans state, “Choluteca is where the devil goes to get a hot cup of coffee.” They are not joking! Clean and refreshed (well, most of us), 27 of us gathered in a small hotel room to praise our Father in Heaven. Paul Forshey gave the lesson and recapped his experience today. He used II Corinthians 3:18 as a reference as he spoke about how we represent Christ to these communities. Many people cam from all over the U.S. because of the love God has given us—now we need to share that love.
Tuesday, July 19
For those who wanted to pay 100 limperas, there was an excellent breakfast buffet (beans, bacon, ham, eggs, pancakes, fruit, and fresh-squeezed orange and watermelon juices). We had devotional by the pool, and it was a beautiful site. Brett Mitchell (Canada, Nashville, Alabama—he is from everywhere) encouraged us to be in the Word and to be praying fervently. He used Matthew 4:4 and I Corinthians 13:1-3 to relay the message. We then split into different places in the area and had ten minutes to pray and read the Bible. When we returned, we found out the plans for the day.
We arrived at the meeting place at 9am and set up all the medical supplies in the living room of the little, old lady. Senora Coronada—she was so giving, kind, and gentle. We arranged all the medical jobs: Niki and Milton at the front gate taking names and translating their problems / Katie, Candy, and Margaret working in the pharmacy / Gary and Erin pharmacy runners for the medical people / Judy and Anna wound care medics / Sparky and Val medical advisors to see patients / A.B., Michelle, and Jennifer translators for the medical people. Everyone else (Jacylyn, Travis, Justin, Tyson, Andrea, Chalee, Little Hoss, Lindsey, Miranda, Tara, Devin, Paul, Erika, Brett) was considered VBS team and played with the children while the clinic took place. The clinic continued until 4:00; we saw 140 patients. A.B. had to leave his station to help Paul with the adult Bible study (70 adults) at 2:30 pm. The VBS team did a great job with the VBS (60 kids) and gave out peanut butter and honey sandwiches and bottled water.
Dario (the man leading the communities) had us all gather at the end of the day for a prayer and words of encouragement. He was gracious and considerate, asking forgiveness for any wrong that may have been done. He also thanked us for our hard work and told us to go home content and happy with what we had done in the two days. We, then loaded the bus to go back to the hotel to shower before dinner. Most of us ate at Wendy’s, again. Others braved the pizza restaurant next door. Afterwards, we ran to the grocery store to stock up. Then we headed back to the hotel for another poolside devotional.
Sparky (Steve Kemp) gave the thought tonight. He encouraged us to pray for each of the many facets we do here in Honduras. “If you have faith in the work you are doing, God will take care of you.” He reminded us that God has a plan for all of us. We need to pray for these opportunities.
“Where did you see Jesus?”
· In the lady who cleaned her house and allowed us to use it and was so gracious.
· In Chalee playing with the kids and singing with all of her heart even when she wasn’t completely sure of her Spanish.
· In Jed who was playing soccer with a bunch of boys. A little girl came up to him and wanted him to go with her. So, he left the game and colored for a couple hours.
· In Niki in how she did her best translating for the medical clinic and was so welcoming as well as how she did as a leader for the VBS team.
· In Michelle, A.B., Niki, Milton, and Jen speaking Spanish and then English and then back again. They didn’t get frustrated and even absorbed some of the pain from the patients.
· In all the stuff we have been able to distribute in the past two days. They all come from acts of love from people back home that we know and even people we don’t know.
· In Dario who wanted us to feel good about what we had done. God was speaking through him to tell us that we should be content in what we accomplished and to not worry about what we didn’t get done.
· In Sparky and Val doing what Jesus did in dealing with each individual person’s needs. They did not rush or get flustered. They simply did the best for each person.
Wednesday, July 20
The breakfast buffet was basically the same items (with some pound cake added). Not many showed for breakfast because they chose to sleep in. Devotional began at 8:30 by the pool. A.B. of El Salvador (and Harding) gave an analogy between our lives and hacked computer systems. We walk around with holes in our system, which need to be repaired by Jesus. Otherwise, the devil can hack his way into our lives. We need to put up our guard from Satan and allow Jesus to fix the problems.
After loading the luggage, we traveled the three-hour drive with only one stop. This put us back at 1pm. We took a few minutes to unpack and then started to work on food boxes. We spend one and half hours bagging (and then boxing) beans, flour, sugar, rice, salt, coffee, bouillon cubes, lard, tomato paste, and spaghetti noodles. We made 99 boxes to add to the stack of 120 boxes that will be passed out some day soon.
We then spent the rest of the day relaxing until the rest of the teams rolled in around 6pm.