Monday, August 27, 2007

Taking a Mission Trip with a great crew from South Carolina…First in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

back to Our Walk of Faith

Tuesday, August 21st
We are basically Ron and Susan's shadow now...we are serving however we see that we can...just being available. We'll probably be working with them until the first week in September. Still praying of course, but it looks like we are actually taking a mission trip from our mission trip! ha, ha, ha!! Ron and Susan have a team of 8 coming in this week. (2 are coming in today and 6 are coming in on Thursday...Sheila and Lynn--the two coming in today are professional clowns...they've been to school and everything! The other 6 will be working closely with International Christian Hospice, a ministry that God gave to Ron and Susan about 4 years ago. They have been ministering in Central America, Belize, and the Dominican Republic.)

This morning we went to breakfast with Edith and Margaret. Edith has been a missionary here for almost 50 years with CAM International. Margaret is also a missionary with CAM International. She's been in Honduras serving for all of her life except for 13 years...her parents were missionaries too! They work at a school here in Tegucigalpa that we will be visiting on Thursday and Friday. Ron and Susan were finalizing plans for those meetings with Edith, Margaret, Otto, and Gladys.

From there, we went to meet with Dr. Barbara McCune. We'll be visiting the clinic where she works on Monday, so Ron and Susan were nailing down last minute details with her as well. She's been here for over 4 years serving the Lord! In addition to the medical work that she's doing, she's also studying to become an Episcopal priest as well. Pretty amazing...we hear that she has quite a testimony...maybe we'll learn more on Monday!

After meeting with Dr. McCune, we went straight to the airport to pick up Lynn and Shelia. (They are from South Carolina...close to home!!) They both seem really nice...they have a heart for kids around the world!! Lynn has been clowning on and off again for almost 20 years. Shelia is just getting started. Lynn is mentoring her!! They make a great team for the Lord. Both women have been around the world on previous mission trips. We dropped their luggage off at the hotel, and then went to meet Lourdes. She'll be the team's translator...she speaks Spanish, English, and Italian!! Wow! She's got a really sweet spirit about her! We are going to team up to translate for the clowns...we are even going to dress up like clowns! Chris is excited to "document" with lots of pictures! This afternoon we searched for clothes and stuff to wear in our hair. This evening, we practiced songs and went over the program...They are presenting tomorrow afternoon to a public school...praise God for an open door to share the Gospel!

Wednesday, August 22nd
We went to breakfast with Ron and Susan, and then it was clown time...Lynn did my make-up and Lynn, Sheila, and Susan worked on my hair. Lourdes came and they worked on her too!!

From there we went to the school, Presh-us (Lynn) and Sonshine (Shelia) entertained the kids with some tricks while we waited for the teacher to set up the classroom to accommodate the program. I even sang a few Bible school songs with the kids! Precious and Sonshine did a great job sharing with the kids…about 18 prayed to accept Jesus at the end of their presentation! By the way, this was in a public school…praise God for an open door!!

This evening, we were supposed to go to a small group meeting at Omar’s house (Omar is Fernando's dad) just across the street. Then we learned that it wasn’t going to be at their house, but across town. It’s really hard to drive in the city at night, and we thought it would take 2-3 taxis to get us to the house. So we decided that we wouldn’t go. Well, when Omar heard that we weren’t going, he came over and told Ron that we HAD TO GO! Lynn and Shelia were exhausted, so they stayed at the hotel. We decided to see if the 6 of us could fit in one taxi (that means 7 people counting the driver). That is not allowed…but God sent a Christian taxi driver and he was willing to take us to the Bible study.

It was a small group meeting of Ministerio Evangelico Internacional Jehova Shalom Church, and the pastor and his wife (Guillermo and Gloria) were there as well. We started with about 25 or so people there, but people kept crowding in...there were probably 50 people there before it was all said and done. It was a small house, so people were sitting every where, standing along the walls and even listening from outside. We started singing and the voices blended together was a time of just praising the Lord!! The pastor gave Ron and Susan time to share about the Hospice ministry and he allowed us to give testimony of our journey. At the end of the service, Pastor Guillermo said that he had a Word from God for each of us. (Pastor Guillermo is from Israel, then he lived for a time in the US and then God brought him to Honduras.) He began speaking to us in Hebrew...his wife translated it to Spanish...I translated to English. He started with Chris...let me remind you that this man had never seen us or talked to us before...and he read our mail! He told Chris that God held him in His hands even during the time in his life that he was rebellious, that demons wanted to possess him, but He protected him from them, and that the devil wanted to take Chris's life during this time but God would not allow it. Pastor Guillermo explained that God had something big in store for his life! Then he moved on to me...he told me that I passed through a time in my life that I doubted God and that I thought about things a lot. I also worried about what people thought about me, but it was time for me to be a strong woman of the Lord who only worried about how I measured up in God's eyes. Then it was Ron's turn...he spoke to him about how God wanted to use him and he spoke to Susan telling her that she would only speak a few words and people would understand God's message...that things would be speeding up for them. After Pastor Guillermo finished, he asked us to pray over those who were sick in their church. It was an amazing service. When we were finishing, I wanted to share how the Lord had refreshed us, but another man from the church started talking at the same time as me. So I paused and then we both started talking at the same time again. So I waited...he shared that the Lord had spoken to him...He told him that Americans would be coming to Honduras soon and He was going to refresh them while they were in Honduras. I almost fell in the one there knew that there was a group coming in from SC on Thursday nor how refreshed we had been by the service. I shared with them then what I wanted to say...How amazing is God to confirm His word so! He amazes me!!

When it was time to go back to the hotel, it was almost 10 pm...we weren't sure how in the world we were going to find a taxi at this hour especially one who would let us all ride. So we prayed...then over the hill came a taxi. He was on his way home, but he decided to take us to the hotel AND he allowed all of us to get in. On our way, I learned that Juan Carlos (the taxi driver) normally drove a school bus for a private Episcopal school, but they were on vacation right then, so he was working all day and night in his taxi. (We needed a driver with a van who could pick the team up from the airport and then haul us all over Honduras. Ron and Susan had someone lined up, but they fell through. Then they found someone else, but at the last minute, he backed out too! The team would be there at 1 pm on Thursday, and they still hadn't found anyone.) I quickly explained to Ron what I had just learned from Juan Carlos, and we started to work out the details. When we got to the hotel, we talked to his boss and we had a van with a driver!! What a great day!!! Praise God for His faithfulness and His provision...right on time!

Thursday, August 23rd
This morning Presh-us and Sonshine performed at the Penzotti School (Lourdes and I translated), and again God used them in a mighty way...about 50 kids prayed to accept Jesus as their Savior! Pretty amazing God we serve, huh?!

After their performance, we were able to talk to Edith some more. She explained that the school was named for the man who first brought Bibles to Honduras! The goal of their school is to train up students to be leaders in their churches and to be involved in full-time Christian ministry. They are taking the kids on mission trips to other parts of their country and next year they hope to take them to Nicaragua! Edith also gave us a tour of the school and we met a few other teachers and directors of certain areas. Pretty neat place...we especially fell in love with Edith! She has a huge heart for the Lord and for the Honduran people.

From the school, Presh-us, Sonshine, Susan, and I went to the apartment where we would be staying with the team. Susan and I worked on getting last minute details taken care of while Ron and Chris went to meet the rest of the team at the airport! What a great group! They are from Lexington Baptist Church in Lexington, SC. Their church has a huge heart for missions...they about about 3,000 members, but they send out 14+ teams from their church yearly to do short-term missions work! Wow!!! What a privilege to get to know them and to work with them!! Please pray for their church though...right now they are looking for a new Senior Pastor...God moved their former pastor on to a different ministry.

Finally we got to meet them...Chuck (the team leader), Don and Sue, Margaret, Deanie, and Linda. Chris got to stay with the guys and I got to stay with the women!! Margaret, Sue, Susan, and I were roommates for most of the week! We all went to lunch together and got to to know each other a little better.

Chuck worked for Dale Carnegie for quite a few years and is a salesman now, but he is hoping to come on full-time with the Hospice ministry in about 2 years. Deanie and her husband Devon are praying about stepping out on faith and ministering full-time...they aren't sure how yet. She has a servant's heart...and she's a great photographer. This is Don and Sue's first missions trip...they are also praying about working as trainers and presenters for International Christian Hospice. Don flew helicopters and planes when he was in the military and he also was a flight instructor. Sue worked as a medical technician. Margaret wasn't really sure why God brought her to Honduras...but it would soon become very obvious...she has a huge heart for serving and she's a great teacher! Linda is a Christian counselor!! She was a nurse for 35 years, but she found herself being drawn more and more to ministering to the families whose loved one was dying and then ministering to them again after the death. She's written a book on how to explain death to children and she's opened a private practice called Joy in the Mourning (R).

After lunch, the whole crew went up to the Spain Park and we prayed together over looking the city...we prayed for divine appointment, for God to go before us, and for the people of Tegucigalpa and all of Honduras. While we were up there, Lynn met a lady and her daughter who were looking for an English-speaking church. They had only been in Honduras a few months and their Spanish wasn't very good. We were able to share with them about a nearby church that Edith goes to!!

That evening we finalized plans for the bus, and I worked on translating some materials that the team planned to use.

Friday, August 24th
We ministered a the Penzotti school again...this time presenting a new ICH module for the teachers on grief and morning, how children understand death according to their age, and how to talk to children about death. Linda shared and I was able to translate for her...I learned a ton. I had no idea that grief and mourning were different nor that grief never goes just changes. Linda uses a butterfly to explain death to children...the worm that lives inside the cocoon represents us when we are alive...the butterfly represents our spirit which lives on eternally (it's who we really are) the empty cocoon represents the dead body that no longer works (that's why we can bury it). She also spoke about the importance of telling kids the truth when someone dies. Otherwise they become afraid of what might happen to others that they care about.

In the afternoon, Linda shared again, but this time with the parents of the students. She focused more on how to talk to their children about death and dying. Both groups really received the new information well. Several even stayed after in the morning and the afternoon to ask specific questions that affected their families personally. I was super impressed because Linda had never worked with a translator, but she didn't struggle not one bit!

That evening, we had another session at Communion Baptist Church. This time is was a session to train new ICH volunteers. Ron and Susan were overjoyed when they learned that 2 ladies in the group attended a training at another church 3-4 years ago. The ladies came back to their church, Communion Baptist, and started implementing the program! As a result, Ron and Susan were invited to have a training at the church!

Lourdes translated for the evening session, and Chris and I were free to listen and learn. During the break, Linda started chatting with the lady beside her. She quickly learned that Maria had just lost her teenage daughter to cancer. (There's not even coincidence when we sit down in a meeting. God ordains even where we sit! Linda's career work has been helping families grieve the loss of a child.) As they continued to talk, Linda learned that Maria hadn't told her mother because Maria was afraid that the news would harm her health or possibly take her life as well. As the evening ended, Linda set up a time with Maria to counsel her on Saturday afternoon! Isn't God amazing?!

Saturday, August 25th
In the morning, we had an awesome time of sharing observations and testimony of what we had all seen and heard in the time since the team arrived. We were recharged and ready to serve some more!

Off we went to do some home visits...we divided into three groups (another God thing...there were exactly 3 translators) to visit homes. Pastor Peña (lime green shirt) took Ron, Chuck, Don and Lourdes up to see a man, Fabian, who had a heart attack and was paralyzed. He had to stay at home all day with just his 9 year old son because is wife worked all day to earn enough money to help make ends meet. The group was very discouraged and burdened by Fabian's condition...he seemed to be growing sicker and sicker...weaker and weaker. There was no way to get him to help because he lived at the top of a really steep's not possible to get a car up to his can only get there by walking up these steps. Since he's paralyzed, he would need 4-6 strong men to carry him down the hill.

Susan, Linda, Margaret, Sue, and I went to visit Maria Elizabeth who is really sick with ovarian cancer. She's in a lot of pain, and did not want to see us. We asked if we could come in to pray with her daughter, Bessy, who is a believer. We talked with her and learned that her mom had just run out of pain medicine, and they didn't have the money to buy anymore. We prayed with her, and as we were finishing up and about to leave, Maria Elizabeth came out. We shared with her about Jesus and His love for her...that He wanted to carry her burdens, but she wasn't ready to make a commitment to serve Him. She did, however, allow us to pray for her healing. We too left with saddened hearts at seeing such suffering and lack of hope.

Presh-us, Sonshine, Deanie, and Chris (and Roxana their translator) had a very different visit...they went to visit a teenage boy with hydrocephalus. He and his siblings were really cheered up by the clowns visit. Presh-us started sharing how to accept Christ as their Savior, but she quickly learned that they were all believers!! The one who had never accepted Jesus was the boy's mom. She had been angry with God and didn't understand why He made her son like He did. But today, she surrendered her life to Jesus!!

After the home visits, Linda had her counseling session with Maria. (I had the privilege of translating.) Wow...what an amazing session. Linda encouraged her to be honest with her explain all that she was feeling and why she made the decision that she did not to tell her mother at the time of the death. She explained that she should answer any questions that her mother might have about the wake, funeral, and burial. Then Linda started talking to her about the daughter's last few months and her death. They prayed together to close the session. By the end of the session, Maria looked as if a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders, and she felt prepared to talk to her mother. Wow!!

In the afternoon, the group divided again...Ron, Susan, Chuck, Linda, Don, Sue, and Margaret stayed at Communion Baptist to present the 2nd half of the ICH volunteer training. (Imagine our excitement when we learned that Maria Elizabeth's aunt was attending the training...she is Maria Elizabeth's primary care giver...she's also a nurse who 3 years ago accepted Christ as her Savior!!) Pastor Peña, Presh-us, Sonshine, Deanie, Chris, and I went to visit a nursing home. We arrived at 3:08 and visitation ends at didn't look like we were going to get in. As Pastor Peña talked to the guy in charge, each of us began to pray. THE DOOR OPENED. Praise God!! We were able to go in and share. Just as we were going to start, our phone rang. I stepped out to answer it while Chris translated for the clowns. (The call was from Heraldo...maybe you remember him from Guatemala City...he left home for a week because his wife was drunk and he hit her, but we saw restoration in their family...well, they were calling to let us know that they were still doing well and that they were planning to go to church on Sunday. They had been staying in touch with Pastor Francisco and Hector!! Praise God!!) We were able to sing and the clowns did some magic tricks. Then we shared the good news about Jesus...several of them raised their hands and prayed to accept the gift of life that Jesus was offering!!

When we got back to Communion, Pastor Peña shared some of the programs the church was involved in. By the time he finished, the ICH training was over, and we all headed back for the hotel to have dinner together. What a great end to a wonderful day!

Sunday, August 26th
In the morning, we met together and talked about what we had seen and heard on Saturday. Many of us felt helpless about the situation with Fabian and Maria Elizabeth, but we had all been praying and would continue to pray. After the group sharing, we sang together and Chris & I shared testimony of our journey. We talked about the power of the Holy Spirit and how He empowers, guides, protects and teaches us. We were all affected by what God was doing that morning!!

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the afternoon training session at Salem Baptist Church. On our way in, Chris and I met 3 boys, Herald, Brian, and Juan. We talked to them about soccer and Jesus and the plans He had for their lives. They listened, but didn't really make a decision...seeds planted.

The session was going really well. Ron was sharing about Fabian's story and why ministering to people in their homes is so important, and one of the volunteers raised his hand. He explained that he was a doctor and that he would be willing to go visit Fabian on Monday morning!! Wow! Praise God for such a quick answer!! Exciting!

From the session we went to the evening service at Communion Baptist. It was a special service because there was a group of students who were graduating from a music academy. They were so supportive of each other and very attentive to the sermon. Don shared his testimony publicly for the first time ever!! Then Chuck shared a message on spiritual gifts. What a great service!!! After church, we were able to make plans with the pastor to get the pain medicine for Maria Elizabeth!! God had been moving!

Monday, August 27th
Ron, Don, Dr. Fu (the doctor from the Salem Baptist training), Lourdes, and Chris had an early morning visit with Fabian. Dr. Fu examined him and collected samples to run some tests to find out what they could do for Fabian. While they were there, Fabian's son and grandson (both around 8 or 10 years old) came in. The guys and Lourdes started talking to them about Jesus, and the boys wanted to accept the Lord! Fabian had been feeling a little depressed about having to be confined to his bed, but he rejoiced that his condition had brought visitors who led his son and his grandson to the Lord! The group started back towards the apartment, but they passed by Roxana's house. She was out front and waved for them to stop in. Her mom is sick with either Alzheimer’s or dementia, but today she was recalling things pretty well. The group was talking to her and a lady who helps around the house was in and out of the room. Finally, they invited her to stay in the room. As they were talking to her, she too wanted to accept the Lord! What a morning!! ...nothing really compared to what the rest of the group did...

The rest of the team had a little down time...we made phone calls, took laundry to be washed, and checked e-mail. We all finally got back was time to meet with Dr. Barbara. She went to eat with us and then we came back to the apartments. She shared her testimony with us of how she ended up in Honduras and why she stayed. She made a lot of really powerful comments! We weren't able to go to her clinic because of a transportation strike today, but she was able to share quite a few touching stories.

Ron, Susan, Chuck, and Linda (Lourdes was there to translate) were able to speak on a national TV program tonight...they shared about ICH, grief and mourning, and how to help children with death. Pastor Bayron (of Salem Baptist Church) has a weekly program, so he extended the invitation to ICH to share!! Praise God for open doors!

While they were at the TV station, Lynn, Margaret, Shelia, Chris, and I got together gift bags, a craft, games, and a lesson for the children in Alubaren that we would be working with on Tuesday.

More to come about our mission trip with the crew from SC!! Hope y'all are doing well! God bless you! We love you! Keep walking for Jesus!

A) This girl gave me 3 bracelets that matched my shirt...I'm amazed at how giving the Honduran people are!! B)You have to walk up and down several passageways to get to Salem Baptist Church. Space is limited in Tegucigalpa.

Our visit to the nursing home...

Presh-us, Sonshine, Deanie, Chris, and Roxanne at their home visit...

A) Edith got to spend a little time with Presh-us and Sonshine. B)Chuck...chatting with a few of the kids.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!!

a) teachers and b) students at Penzotti

Lynn ...working on getting the gift bags together that the team brought town for the pastors' wives.