Monday, June 30, 2008

Home again home again jiggedy jog


no pictures right now, i´m at the school and the connection is VERY slow, plus there is rain and that means the connection might cut off, so I will try later to get down the mountain to the internet cafe!

let´s might help if I went back and read what all `Pablo`has written, however I`m worried I will lose my connection, so I will just write whatI know and not worry about that so sorry for any repeats!
Coming home is what it feels like for me here. It´s just another part of my family and I am so thankful to be back among them for some bit of time.
yesterday we worshipped with the Limonal congregation. After worship there was a baptism at the beach so members from all the local congregations came together after their services to witness this baptism.It was a lady a mission group from California had been studying with. It was a joyous occasion that was awesome to be able to witness! And such a unique experience at the beach singing and rejoicing with everyone gringos and hondurans alike!

While Thad was gone to SanPedro to the get the group the kids and I ventured down the mountain to shop a bit one day. On the way back up school was letting out and we passed our Friend and minister Candido on his motorcycle having left the school. he had two students on the back and he informed me that several students from the school had just been baptized, these two were two of them. But I know you will truly appreciate the rest of the story....
This morning as we arrived at the school we were given the official tour classroom by classroom for those that hadn´t been here before. In each room Emilson (the admininstrator) would ask do any of you sponsor children in this class and would ask the students name so he could introduce the sponsors to their kids. Well in the 4th grade (I think it was) Stacy immiately recognized their little boy and pointed and said so.....and I realized it was the boy ont he back of the motorcyle with Candido that day who had just been baptized. Needless to say it was a touching moment to say the least for Stacy!! And a good start to her week as she had a `inferma` day yesterday. Thanks to our Eagle Scout Brad who is always prepared and he shared some medicine that helped her immensely. Please continue to pray for our group as a whole to stay well.

For those that have stayed at the Brinkley hotel before, you would be amazed at the changes. Even pretty little fabric wraps for the towels. Marilee was thrilled to see her redecorated, painted, and CLEAN room!!! Whoo hooo!!

As always our group is working hard. Clayton many commented on how he could mix the concrete like a Catracho (Honduran man)...he´s a worker for sure and always willing to help!!! He even `babysat`for me yesterday helping to keep John Mark occupied while I did some work.
Alison is attending class again and improving her Spanish skills that are already great!! Marilee is our boss over the sponsor project as she has done it for 3 years now and can run the show she is keeping it organized and doing a great job keeping us all together She told me the other day riding downt he road I always forget how happy it makes me to be here! I mean how awesome is that, and really I think those of us that have been before feel jsut that as we arrive!!
Laura is loving the kids and was thrilled to get to love on a friends newborn for quite some time the other night....right in her element with kids all around her! Cole...well I think he just thinks Honduras is his second home. He is so comfortable and so happy and always willing to do WHATEVER you ask!! And everyone here loves him (but miss Ricky although are thrilled to know that Stacy is his wife)
All of us adults are well. Today we girls started on the sponsor project and finished kindergarten and first grade painting pictures (Thanks for the labels Libby, I hear it was a challenge...THANK YOU!!) . Plus we passed out the paper for the letters and already got the 8th graders letters back. It always amazes me how much effort these kids put into such things. The envelopes and letters are so beautifully decorated with wonderful notes of thanksgiving to their sponsors!! The guys starting the fun process of sifting sand, ,mixing concrete and laying block to make a permanent wall where had only been a temporary wall of heavy duty cardboard between classrooms and a main multipurpose room.´s lunch time. The group has gone back to the hotel to eat and I need to do the same. We will rest a bit and come back down to the school around 2 pm to work more on the work projects around the school.
Thank you for your prayers. I believe Chaney asked for the list of our is on the right of this main page...or should be!

In our house I´ve learned to cook some Honduran syle meals and learned to cook in my oven...some banana bread, plantano bread and a cake for devo last night!! Life is good. nadine, Annina and our family are settling into our new home and enjoying becoming a little family unit here in honduras!!

Much love to all....Raquel

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Gang's All Here

- by Pablo

Everyone from the West Metro group is now here in La Ceiba safe and sound. Also, all of their luggage is here. (One piece of our luggage is still in limbo between Atlanta and San Pedro.) The best story for today is about our van. It is a 15 passenger Hyundai with a 4 cylinder diesel engine and 5 speed transmission. This type of van is very common here. Toyota and Nissan make similar models. The one we got has about 60K miles on it, but they have been very hard miles. When I did the walk-around with the lady from the rental company, she was marking on her paper all of the places on the van with scratches, dents, chipped glass, broken tail-light covers, etc. Finally, I said "todos," which means "all." She smiled only a little at my joke. In the end, appoximately 13 of the 15 or so boxes were checked indicating some form of cosmetic damage. I keep the accelerator to the floor 95% of the time, and we still travel at a safe speed, although the speedometer always says we're going between 120 and 140 km/hour. But I like the van alot because it has given us the best laugh of the day so far. Here is the photographic testimony.

Our group at dinner

Comments & Pictures

-by Pablo

A couple of notes about our blog. First of all, we LOVE comments. If you want to drop us a note that doesn't need to be private, this is a much better way to communicate with us than email. The reason is that we have several email accounts we have to check, and if our friends and family post here, it is much easier for us. Comments from casual acquaintances and friends of friends are welcome too.

The second note is about pictures on our blog. Uploading pictures is very difficult because of the slow internet connections. When things are running fast, I'll try to go back and add pictures to posts we've already made. So if you are interested in pictures, you will want to scroll down through old posts to see if anything has been added since the post.


Away In A Manger

- by Pablo

Yesterday Emilson and I got to San Pedro in plenty of time to find a room. The first place we went was Hostel Tamarindo, where we have stayed in the past. It cost $6 - $10 per person and is clean and safe. They had only one room available with three beds in it, and they wanted $51 for the night. We thought that was crazy based on our previous experiences and left to find other accommodations. But the next hotel we went to was booked up. The manager told us that they were full because of Carnival this weekend, which we didn’t know was happening in San Pedro. That helped explain the increased price at the Tamarindo. Fortunately, Emilson’s sister, Claudia, lives in San Pedro, and she made reservations for us at a place called Hotel Terraza. So we went to the airport to pick up Nadia, secure in our plans for the evening. Her flight was late, but she arrived safely at about 11:30. Emilson called to verify our reservation at the Terraza, and we drove back toward the center of town anxious to settle in after a long day of travel.

As we entered the hotel, three gringos walked in right before us. I recognized them from the airport, because two of them came in on the same flight as Nadia. By the time we got to the counter, they had a room, and we didn’t. Supposedly there was a reservation mix-up. I think it was a plain case of first come / first served. So began our midnight ramblings around downtown San Pedro. We checked every hotel we could find. In the process, we got a good look at the late night life of San Pedro. Like any big city, the really strange things come out at night. I can’t say much about it, as this is a family-friendly blog, but it was a real eye-opener.

Eventually, Claudia and her boyfriend came to rescue us from our plight. They took us around to several more motels. The answer was always the same…no rooms. I was even ready to get a room at the Crown Plaza, which costs just as much here as it does in the US, but Claudia told us it and the Intercontinental were both full because all of the business travel to Honduras is coming through San Pedro now. (All international flights were shut out of the Tegucigalpa airport due to a crash a few weeks ago.)

In the end, Claudia brought us to her apartment in the wee hours of the morning, and we stayed the night here. I got the couch, which was better than staying in the stable. So this morning, I give thanks to God that I had a safe place to sleep last night, and that he has blessed me with another adventure that I was able to share with my brother Emilson and my sister Nadia and now with you. In a little bit, we will go to the airport to meet the group from Hiram, Georgia and begin our trip to Trujillo. God bless you all.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Expecting Company Tomorrow

Today I left for San Pedro Sula to meet the group from West Metro at the airport. It takes several hours to travel from Trujillo to San Pedro. I am traveling with Emilson, the director of the school, in his pickup truck. We left at about 7:30 am because I wanted to stop in La Ceiba to see the place where the group will stay on the way to Trujillo. I found the accommodations to be very basic, but it is in a good part of town, which is the important part. I also needed to pick up a few supplies at Office Depot and the supermarket in San Pedro. San Pedro is a large city and has many of the luxuries that are so normal for us in the United States. In fact, as I compose this message, I am sitting in a very modern KFC with a wireless internet connection. Although, the connection is very slow, and I’m not sure if I will even manage to get this uploaded before I leave. Another reason we wanted to leave early is because all of the bus drivers are protesting right now about the high fuel prices. Sometimes they shut down the roads for several hours by parking in middle of a road or bridge, and you just have to wait. Fortunately, for today’s protest they simply parked all of their buses on the side of the road, so we were able to get through with only a few minutes of delay. Of course, for all of the people who depend on the buses for transportation to work, school, and other destinations, this protest is a big inconvenience. And of course, the protest doesn’t do anything to affect the price of fuel, as Honduras is suffering the same fate as the rest of the world in that regard.

Tonight at 9:05, Emilson and I will go to the airport to pick up our first arrival from the United States. Her name is Nadia, and she used to live in Trujillo. She will be living in the apartment with us for the next several weeks. Nadia, Emilson, and I will stay overnight in a hostel here in San Pedro and go again to the airport tomorrow to meet the nine people traveling here from West Metro. We will rent a van, travel to La Ceiba, stay for one night, and go the rest of the way to Trujillo on Saturday morning. Saturday evening, we will have a devotional with a group from California that is working at Little Hands, Big Hearts, another mission organization in Trujillo. Sunday we will of course attend worship and then spend time preparing our work for the week. One of the advantages to my family coming early is that I have already scheduled delivery of materials for the work project that we will be starting next week. So, Lord willing, we will hit the ground running on Monday morning and have a full week of service to the school.

For those of you coming to Honduras tomorrow, the weather here has been very mild. There has been a nice breeze and significant cloud cover, but not too much rain. Maybe the hot weather will stay away, and we will be blessed with comfortable temperatures next week.

In closing. All of our family is doing well. Rachel and the kids are back in Trujillo while I am here getting the group. They are very secure in the apartment where we are staying, as it is part of the Hotel Villa Brinkley. As extra security, I went to the Home Depot (ha ha) and bought a new dead-bolt lock for the door, so we know we are the only ones with keys. We will likely not be able to update anything on the blog until Monday, with the possible exception of a quick confirmation that the group is in Trujillo safely. Thank you all for your continued prayers for us and for the fruitfulness of our efforts in Trujillo. God bless.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Settling In

- by Raquel

Sunday June 22 we had a simple b’fast, purchased on our way into town at a gas station the night before…Bimbo bread and water. Yum!! We can get Bimbo bread at RaceTrac (the gas station) at home, but they don’t have the kind we get here. We had some raisin bread and some cinnamon sweet rolls. After worship the kids asked to go home with some friends. So Thad and I took a much needed nap and headed down to the beach to find a restaurant to eat lunch. That afternoon we went and met with some missionaries that moved here just about a week after Thad was here in Feb. They work with Little Hands Big Hearts which is a social work agency that ensures special needs children get the care they need. It was great to meet their family. They have 4 kids here that are close in age to our kiddos and are homeschoolers (Even before they came here) so we chatted as I helped a bit in the kitchen as when we got there they were busy preparing dinner for a team they have in from California. Thad and Brian chatted over happenings around Trujillo. Sunday night we went downtown and met with a Christian from Tennessee who owns property here. He was a member at the church in Slidell, LA when they started the Trujillo Christian School. It was nice to finally meet him. While we sat outside and chatted, the kids walked around with friends exploring the Carnival that was going on. They ate cotton candy (not at all the same flavor as at home), popcorn, and played a game or two. But by far all of our favorite thing that night was watching the town boys and teens attempt to climb this tall wooden pole with a flag on the top. We sadly, didn’t have the camera and were so sad we didn’t. They would attempt it different ways. But they would basically form a human ladder standing on one another’s shoulders. It was great fun to watch and cheer them on!!

Monday June 23, we headed to the bank. A crazy experience here, to say the least. On our way downtown our friend called us to say he’d gone on and gotten in line for us. He was #20 in line at the bank. I was thrilled to hear that as the line can wrap about the building so that was pretty far up in the line, and the bank had yet to open. It was probably 45 min to an hour by the time they got into the bank. The kids and I went and grabbed some b’fast and sat on the porch of the bank and waited, and waited and waited. They went in and never came out. Many people who had gone in after them came out…but not our guys…arrgghh!! I ended up with one child with an upset tummy and both who had to use the restroom. Joy! And no way to tell hubby that we were leaving to go anywhere, there is a guard blocking the door who only allows so many from the line in at a time. He has his shotgun and although I thought I might could get through that my husband was inside, I didn’t think it would matter, and I had the key chain with pepper spray which isn’t allowed inside. Finally I just decided to head back up the mountain on foot to our house and trust Thad wouldn’t worry and would check at home first. We ran into a friend on the way with a cell, and I attempted to ask him to call them to tell them we had gone home, but my message was lost in translation completely as they actually ran into him later and he not only hadn’t called, he didn’t mention it to them…I need my Spanish classes to start HA HA!! I thought for sure they would be done and pick us up on the road along the way and we wouldn’t have to make the full hike, but we’d been home an hour or more before they pulled up. MaryKyle says everyone here has really strong legs to walk without whining and hurting…ha ha!! We are all hopeful by the end of our 5 week adventure our legs will be strong too!! Also on Monday we received a stove/oven from the school. It was an extra there, and the hotel where our apartment is located (it’s the previous owners old townhouse back behind the hotel) provided us with a refrigerator. HOORAY!!!! My friend Eda agreed to come on Tuesday morning to help teach me to cook Honduran food!!

Tuesday June 24, My friend came at 6:45…whoa!! I’d actually been up cleaning and unpacking for a couple of hours, but had not showered and dressed. After I quickly got ready the lessons began. The menu for my first lesson was just about the most typical of Honduran foods: Pollo frito, frijoles, arroz, y plantanos (fried chicken, red beans, rice, and plantains). The fried chicken is very different than American style…lots of sauces and flavorings it marinades in before breading and frying it. I love to cook, but I’ll be honest, I buy things like a package of chicken breasts, or wings or whatever, I’ve never cut up a whole chicken. I had to learn a lot. Just turning on the oven and stove was a learning experience for me. It’s gas with the tank sitting beside the stove/oven so each burner must be lit with a match as does the oven and you must remember to shut off the safety valve when you aren’t using it. The biggest difference is there are no thermometers. I have not a single clue how hot the oven is at any single moment. Should make for some interesting baking for sure!!! I have also never in my life cut up a whole chicken for cooking/frying. I know silly I’m sure to many of you, I’ve boiled a chicken and cut or picked the meat off, but just never cut up the entire chicken into the individual pieces. Eda has never purchased a package of chicken breasts. She has only ever cut up an entire chicken any time she wants chicken. Her Mom is in the US now helping her sister who lives in Maryland with her new baby. She called Eda to tell her all about the “beautiful meat” and how it was cut and all the choices. I was not very good at finding the joints and things to cut easily, she did it so fast and knew just where to put the dull knife. I’ll get it. But one thing I will not get nor do I want to do again is taste the chicken as it marinades…the RAW chicken. Eda did not understand why I was unsure of touching my finger to the raw chicken and tasting it….aahhh……but I have lived to tell the tale and just don’t plan to do that again if I can help it. The food preparation process was different than in the states, but the food was so delicious and I had a great teacher!! I have now sorted, cleaned, soaked and cooked for hours dried beans. Something I’ve only attempted 2 times in my cooking years and never had great success at. John Mark asked for beans about every hour yesterday and then for b’fast this morning…ha ha!! I think I did okay, although the true test will be doing it without the help of my friend. I chose to boil the plantanos. We could have fried them too, but I decided fried chicken was enough fried food for one meal (and way more fried than we usually have but fried is the cooking method of choice around here). It was all really good and I look forward to trying it on my own in a few days!! I can’t wait to see what yummy things come from my next cooking lessons!!
Thad met a missionary that lived in Trujillo for several years operating the Little Hands Big Hearts agency. We have good friends (Nadine and Alfonso) that worked or lived there and have heard a lot about this man, but always missed meeting him on previous trips. He is back in the states now but was heading up the team from California that is working there for a week . Thad spent time going to the hardware store and setting up the supplies for our team when they arrive and also getting a few things for our house. Like a new lock. There was only one key to our previous lock and with Annina and Nadine arriving in a few days plus just Thad and I going different directions some days, we needed more. Plus it’s just nice to have a lock that no one has ever had access to on the door. We now have 4 keys, one for each of us…perfect!! Our entire family headed down the mountain to shop in town for some supplies….food, fruit, skillet, cake pans, etc…Cake pans and skillets and other cooking things, not cheap!! $10 for a skillet and the cake pan wasn’t too far behind. Not high quality, just your every day wal-mart variety. No wonder ladies here use things like sardine cans and other little tins to bake in! On our walk down the hill, our friend Jeffrey passed and offered us a ride. He invited us to a devotional a bit further up the mountain that night. The group from California is in town were going up there to another missionarys house to swim and have a devotional. Thad had met them once in the past so we made our shopping trip quick and headed back up the mountain to clean up and get to the devotional! It was wonderful to see Maybelline and her new baby Jack!! He is 26 days old and Nadine if you are reading this…oh my goodness he is PRECIOUS!!!! Maybelline is doing wonderfully. Here when you have a baby you do just about nothing for 40 days. A family member moves in and does all the work. Marybelline’s sister was with her to help her. Can someone please make a proclamation in the states to start such a thing and I might just have another little one just to take advantage??!! It’s a true team effort and the new Mother gets all the rest she needs!! It was nice to meet with other North American Christians and worship. Our team will be joining theirs on Saturday for a devotional and we look forward to that. The kids didn’t make it for the entire thing, we had to leave. They were so exhausted from the trip/hike to town and two swims in the pool that MaryKyle was begging to go home to bed and John Mark crashed right there in Daddy’s arms!

Wednesday June 25th, Well, that brings us to today…hmmm….we actually slept a little late with no big plans for the morning for once! I didn’t get out of bed until 7 am! The sun comes up around 4:30am and a bird starts knocking at the back window. For my neighbors and parents reading this can you believe this?? Our first morning here we were woken by a familiar sound….peck peck pecking and tweet tweet tweeting. The kids, Thad and I sat up and laughed. At home we have a cardinal that has been doing the same thing for almost 4 months now. He’s even started torturing some neighbors too. We have decided “Joey” (what we named out cardinal because after a few months he’s just part of the family) somehow sent a message to the Honduran birds to ensure we were made to feel right at home!! Ha ha, it worked and we started the trip off with a great laugh! This morning Thad and I just looked at each other and smiled when it started and rolled over and went back to sleep.
Thad is currently down the hill at the school setting up meetings to go over everything with the evangelists here in preparation for our Bible school event with our team and to get their input and ideas so we can ensure it’s what they will find useful and helpful, so that it won’t just be our event. We will be enlisting Christians here to do most of the work and our team will just be support and crowd control since we could never communicate a message as effectively as they can! Plus it is important to us that they see they are capable of doing such things because we don’t feel we would be effective missionaries if we did all the work ourselves as we are here to equip. Later tonight we have been invited to eat with some other missionaries in their home where the team from California is staying. It’s nice to touch base with others. We will gather with the area congregations to worship. We are hoping to get out to Santa Fe area to meet some North Americans that I have been in contact with that own a resort out that way. Each day seems to get so busy I don’t always get the want to things done because the list of need to’s gets so long. But we are starting to feel settled. We have a stocked ‘pantry,’ leftovers in the fridge, and clothes are unpacked. Life is good….we thank you for your prayers and for reading this book. We promise we don’t plan to make it a habit to write this much each time we update. We just know family and friends are anxious to hear about our days and lives here. At present, John Mark is eating a mango on the balcony to keep the mess out of our living room. MaryKyle is….reading of course. As soon as I’m done typing we are heading to the courtyard pond to see if the turtles are sunning and if the baby cocker spaniel is out playing. When Thad gets home we hope to go downtown to the internet café to check emails and post the update with pictures!!
Please continue to pray for our team members who will be arriving starting tomorrow night.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"our house is boring"

-By Raquel (pictures to come of the house and the pets that have joined us)

This is what MaryKyle said this morning of our house in the states. According to her our house back home is boring because it does not have any tarantulas, lizards, and roaches and she can not play with her friends all day. Seriously….
And yes, we have killed a tarantula at our new house and a few large roaches and caught a cool lizard. All in less than 24 hours.
We are living in a 3 bedroom (although for our purposes Nadine and Annina it is really 4 bedrooms fyi) 3 ½ bath home. It is not perfect, it does not have a stove or fridge….working on that as soon as we leave the internet café. But to my kids its HUGE and for our needs its just right!
We are so thankful to be here and thankful for the house in a safe area. It has steel bars and is well secured in as many aspects as it could be Id say (we cant figure out on this keyboard how to do the apostrophe FYI) We worshipped with friends this morning, listened (and thankfully understood a lot more than we thought we would) a great lesson.
We are enjoying being back in Trujillo again, and so far it has certainly been nothing less than the adventure we expected. My sweet hubby didn’t mention that he had to deal yesterday with a sick wife who was just about as whiny (or perhaps worse) than the kids. In so doing I insisted that we drive on to Trujillo last night which meant after dark…something we as a policy never do. But I felt horrid….I am once again going back to “never again” I didn’t anticipate the length of the trip at all, I just wanted to a BED and somewhere to puke if I needed…the little Russian plane…not so great on someone already not feel great. So Thad is the winner of the day for enduring with a smile what he did yesterday!!

160 Dollars

- By Pablo

The day before we left for Honduras, a friend of ours called and said that he wanted to come by the house. When he came he gave us an envelope with $160 and told us to use it for whatever needs might arise.
The Plan
· Depart Atlanta at 9:45 am
· Arrive Roatan, Honduras at about 11:00 am local time
· Take the 2:00 pm ferry to La Ceiba
· Emilson (administrator at the school) will drive us to Trujillo

How It Happened
· Depart Atlanta an hour late at 10:45 am
· Arrive Roatan at 12:00 pm
· Get 6 of 7 pieces of luggage
· Search desperately for last suitcase
· “Your bag is on the next flight. Ten minutes.”
· Watch intently as baggage is unloaded.
· Search desperately for last suitcase
· Give up and fill out paperwork for lost suitcase
· Miss the last ferry of the day
· Buy 4 tickets to La Ceiba on old Russian airplane (Cost….Exactly $160)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A look around

Just some sites from around Trujillo to give you an idea of the beautiful area where we will be! Some interesting facts about Trujillo... Christopher Columbus landed there on August 14, 1502 on his 4th and last journey to the new world.

In the 19th Century the American mercenary William Walker, after successfully seizing the government of Nicaragua, then attempted to do the same of Costa Rica & Honduras. Walker was finally captured in Trujillo and put to death by firing squad. He was buried there and his grave is just down the hill from the school where we will be working.

These two pictures are the front entrance and courtyard of the hotel where we will be staying, the above during one of the cooling brief afternoon showers.

The cathedral in the city's center

Several of the pictures are from the old fort looking over the sea

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Honduras 2007 trip

Welcome to the blog where we hope to share our summer's adventures. For those that don't know our plans, our family plans to leave on Saturday (21) for 5 weeks in Trujillo, Honduras. On the 27th a group of 11 more will join us. 2 of those will be joining our family for most of our time there, the others are a great group of people from our congregation that will be there 11 days. We will be working with a school in Trujillo that West Metro (our church family) oversees the administration of. We are looking forward to our summer, hopefully expanding our Spanish skills and spending time with our brothers and sisters in Trujillo. Now we just need to start praying that we are able to get on the plane!! We were blessed to be given 4 buddy passes which is such a gift financially in our trip planning for sure. The catch is, we will be flying stand-by. So we won't know we are on the flight til just before it leaves. So if you will, say a prayer we have no problems with all 4 of us getting on the same flight...and the flight we want on departs this Saturday morning!! We've already hit snags along the way, but that's just part of the adventure, right?

So stay tuned, hopefully this will work and we will be able to post regular updates from this blog with pictures. Internet is not a sure thing in Trujillo so be patient with us please!!

Thank you to all of you who are helping make this a reality. For Temple and Reuben house sitting, for Dana and Andrea blessing us immensely with the buddy passes, for all of our neighbors and all the things you are all doing or have offered to do. For those who have loaned us suitcases, babysat our kids as we prepare, and for the many prayers we know will be going up on our behalf. THANK YOU!!!