Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our plans

We know that many of you are watching the news and reading the State Department warnings, so we want to share with you what we are doing to be proactive here in Trujillo.  Please understand -- Trujillo is very quiet.  It is business as usual and things are mostly just like normal.  However we are taking precautions and want you all to know what we are doing from here. 

First, we have been in contact with the US Embassy.   The embassy has advised us to stay put, cross no roadblocks, and enter no large crowds. There are no large crowds gathering in Trujillo. Trujillo is literally at the end of the road in Honduras and is a sleepy little town. There have been some roadblocks by protesters (supporters of Mel Zelaya) between here and San Pedro, which is the city we fly out of, so we will not travel those roads until the roadblocks end.

Second, today we contacted our travel insurance company. Our family and the group from Washington have trip insurance from the same company, and it provides evacuation insurance in the case of a travel alert from the US State Department. Tomorrow, we will learn more from them regarding the evacuation plans they can make on our behalf, if needed. There is a small airstrip here in Trujillo that we believe could be used for a chartered plane to ferry us to the airport in San Pedro, which still has regular flights to the US.

Third, as a contingency, we will go tomorrow to purchase rice, beans, fuel (for vehicles and cooking), and other basic supplies. The worst case that we anticipate is that the Washington group's trip could be extended until the roads are open, so we want to have plenty of supplies in case that happens. 

Again, no one in this town anticipates any sort of problems here as far as protests. The pictures you see on TV are from Tegucigalpa, which is a 10 hour drive from here. We are fine here in Trujillo and feel safe. Tomorrow, the group from Washington will continue to go do the work projects as scheduled. Jared and I will be taking care of our contingency plans as listed above. Please understand that while the situation in Honduras is serious, we are doing everything in our power to be safe, and we trust God to keep us in His care. Perhaps He can use us to His glory during this trying time. Please continue to pray for us and the people of Honduras.

p.s. Rod says to tell you all "Feliz Navidad." (His way of letting you all know that we are OK.)


I feel like I should let Dakota's (sp??) loved ones know that he's doing great and taking care of himself.  The first picture I tried really hard to post in fact was of him helping a little boy paint today...it was so sweet. So without the pictures to show you I want to say, He's truly taking care of his leg and everyone is watching out for him. What an amazing group of kids.  Walking back the dirt road from church the other night I look over and someone else was carrying the crutches and I look and see his friends carrying him so he didn't trip in the dark on the rocks or anything...the camaraderie is great to see!! 

He has made a few buddies in the school that follow him around!!  His ice pack is in our freezer at our house.  our son took it down for him at lunch time a bit ago and it's back in the freezer now.  What a trooper, with just a great attitude, I enjoyed working on a team today with him, Kristi, Leslie, Katelyn (sp) and Mariah (who my daughter has attached herself to!!)  in the school.  

Really to all parents of the Washington gang...THANK YOU  your kids are doing great!!  I know you are concerned about them, as a parent I can appreciate that completely!  They are amazing kids with a great spirit about them and I truly am enjoying each and every minute that we are able to spend with them!!    

Some even ASKED to go back on the fenceline today (HARRRDDD  WORK!!!!!)   because they wanted to see it completed!  WOW....just wow!!  And again, THANK YOU for helping make it happen for them to do the work they are doing!!  

Also I passed on the comments left for them on the previous posts!  They loved hearing well wishes from back home!!  I hope that you will always feel welcome to do that, I just wrote down what was said and let them know that evening when I saw them again!  


What a wonderful day. It's lunch time here and the most of the group is up on the balcony enjoying the breeze, and a yummy lunch and mostly....a much deserved break!!  I'm going to TRY to upload some pictures, but wow....they've done GREAT.  

Some went to the school and started work on a pathway between the 1st and 2nd grade.  Which involved framing the sidewalk, hauling rocks to put on the bottom layer (lots of the kids from the school enjoyed helping with this), and mixing concrete....volcano style by hand!!  

Others worked on the sponsor project, helping the kids paint pictures to send to their sponsors.  It's so sad/funny to see the kindergarteners come in.  They are petrified.  When they see North Americans they think that they will get an injection, so even though we have paint and paper sitting out they are so scared and crying. We only had one that just refused, but she is little bitty and her Mom is generally close to the school so her Mom brought her back and sat next to her.  We got 2 classes done today which is terrific!!!

Still others of the group headed back to Little Hands Big Hearts where they are working some on a fenceline to fence in the property for safety and others on a sink (Which I'm told is pretty much completed already). Still others canvassed the area with invitations for the Bible class they will be helping with this afternoon. Amazing how much has gotten done really!! 

This afternoon there will be some painting some walls at the school and others back on their projects from this morning and others helping with some general cleaning that needs to take place at Little Hands, etc!!  

Again we want to assure you that all is quiet is Trujillo. We hear of the protests and such going on in the larger city, and are thankful that we are in the 'sleepy little town' of Trujillo....away from the fray.  We appreciate your prayers that it stays that way and that things in all of Honduras will calm in the next few days as we have other groups hoping to come later in the summer, etc!! 

ugh...the connection is to slow right now to upload pictures...I will try again tonight when sometimes the connection is faster. 

but know we are all well, and having a GREAT day!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Monday update

Thad just stopped in after escorting the group (on his MOTORCYCLE...more on that momentarily) to Little Hands Big Hearts where they are doing some work projects today.
He reports that everything in Trujillo is business as usual!!  Even to the point that the bank has MONEY!!  So exciting!!  
So he, Jared and Emilson were on their way there to get in line and hope to get some.  Please if you will say a prayer that they are able to.  You could even pray for short lines and a fast trip, but that would mean a miracle as a 2 hour bank wait is pretty typical here on a daily basis....so we're more than willing to settle for the 2 hour line if at the end of it there is money to be had.  It will mean the school and Little Hands employees are able to be paid, Jared's group will have $ for supplies, and our family will have money for our daily needs.  Yes, it would be nice...but not a must have...we'll all be fine with out it too.

Thad reports that the only difference in town is that there is a stronger military presence.  they are not allowing people to park or slow around the central park area and just moving them along.  But other than that he said...all is back to normal for today!!!  There was even gas at the gas station when his motorcyle ran out...

yes you read right, Thad has use of a motorcycle (I know scary, huh?) while he's here 'thanks' to our friend Alfonso...although I've threatened to not feed Alfonso if he doesn't take it back ;-)  ha ha!
Every day we are here we become more and more 'Honduran'  I don't blink at the fact that the water pressure in our house is odd...some places have it, other places don't....our toilet doesn't flush unless I fill a bucket and put it in there to flush.  Our kitchen sink (about 1/4 the size of a typical American kitchen sink) requires a bucket of water beside it with a cup to dip in order to wash hands well or rinse dishes.  We hang our clothes to dry (LOVE that) and wear rubber soled shoes if we cook with the electric cook-top in the kitchen (learned that one the hard way so truly now I really don't use it).  I love my life here.  My kids had fresh pineapple for a snack today and wake up without a groan at 6:30.  They play with their friends and have a great time using lots of energy and beg to go to bed.  Truly we are so extremely blessed, both here and in our home in the States.  Sometimes though in the states we take for granted the ease of a flushing toilet, a fully functioning refrigerator, power that rarely goes out, money in the bank and food in the pantry.  Please look around you right now and notice the littlest things that you are blessed with...perhaps it's the computer with a decent connection speed you are reading this from!!

Monday Monday!

We had a good day yesterday.  Yes, even with everything going on we had a great day.  As we said we worshipped together here at the hotel since we weren't sure what to expect around Trujillo. 
But Trujillo was very quiet.  The police closed off the central park and were searching all cars as they entered the road to Trujillo.  
Most citizens did just like us, and stayed close to home for the same reasons...just waiting to see if there was cause for concern.  We were all surprised to read yesterday morning that the President was arrested.  But there were no protests in Trujillo or anything of that nature.  Stores closed and everyone stayed home.  

The group from Washington enjoyed a day playing the pool, had a ping pong tournament....championship yet to be played, I'll let you know how it goes.  We played a good bit of Wits and Wagers and just truly enjoyed being together.  Everyone got rest which after their long journey they needed.  And Cade fabulously got into our house for us after our kiddos locked us out and there were no other keys!!!  
We enjoyed a lunch together along with some local missionaries the group will be working with.  Lunch was Arroz Con Pollo...one of my favorites!!
Then in the afternoon leaders from the local churches and the school and the mission work Little Hands Big Hearts all came and we had a bit of an orientation to the works in Trujillo that the group will be working alongside of.  

Last night we walked 'around the corner' and worshipped with the Buenos Aires congregation. When we arrived we were told that many church members would be staying home because of the unrest.  But as we sang and worshipped some more filtered in.  It was a wonderful service where we prayed together for peace in Honduras and spoke of the fact that sitting in that bldg were not United State citizens or Honduran citizens but citizens of heaven.  

Each and everyone of us enjoyed the service.  We sang songs some songs in Spanish and some songs in English and some songs we sang each group sang in their own language.  It was truly uplifting!!   

Today the group has headed down to the school for a tour.  Some of the men already had but the group as a whole had not.  So they headed down there for a bit. Then they will be getting started with some work out at Little Hands Big Hearts.  Without Limps our supplies are limited, but we hope to have that resolved soon. But as we were reminded yesterday when disciples were sent out 2 by 2 in the New Testament they took no money or extra clothes...those things are not important.  What we are here to do is spread the love of God!!  We are excited about the week to come!! We appreciate all the prayers being offered up...keep them coming.

And FYI family and friends of the wonderful Washington folks.  Feel free to leave comments for your loved ones here on the blog and we will pass your well wishes, etc on if you'd like!!  

Hopefully we will be able to upload pictures soon...but as always the connections are slow and doing things like that can be challenging!!  

Just please know we are all safe and doing well!!  The Washington group has been just amazing!!  GREAT attitudes and patience, and just truly great to spend time with!!!  

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ballots or no?

If you have been following the international news, you have likely seen some stories about what's going on in Honduras. Basically, the president is pushing forward with a vote tomorrow on whether or not to allow special referendums in national elections. Both the senate and the supreme court are against him on this. People here are very passionate about it on both sides of the issue. There are predictions of protesting on both sides. Rachel asked a Honduran if he thought it would happen in Trujillo. He laughed and said, "In Tegucigalpa and San Pedro, but not in Trujillo."

So even though we think everything is fine here, we are going to stay put at the hotel tomorrow, which is way up the hill from town. We are going to have worship here in the morning with the group from Washington, and we will worship just down the street at Buenos Aires tomorrow evening if all is calm. I sincerely don't believe there is anything to worry about here in Trujillo, but we will be conservative in our actions just in case. 

Today, Rachel took the Washington group on a tour through town, and also finished our grocery shopping along the way. So, we are finally all set up in our apartment. We have gas for the stove, 5-gallon jugs of purified water, and plenty of rice, beans, and a couple of chickens, so we're in good shape. Our friends at Little Hands, Big Hearts also let us borrow a fan, which is doing an excellent job of keeping me from perspiring all over the keyboard on my laptop. It's the little things in life.

We are truly blessed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No Money at the Bank

 So in the midst of our adventures getting to Trujillo, we never managed to exchange our dollars for lempira. No problem, I thought.  I will have time to get some Friday and still have time to buy some materials at the hardware store.  The bank will only let you exchange $500 at a time, so Rachel, Brian, and I planned to meet at the bank at around noon, when the lines are typically not as long, and each of us exchange $500.  After waiting 2 hours in line, we were told that we could only exchange $100 apiece. Then, we were told that only two of us could exchange money at all. Apparently, the bank was running out of money.


I guess we should count our blessings, because by 3:00 pm, the bank had closed early, because they had run out completely. Apparently, this happened everywhere across the country today. I’m not 100% sure of the reason, but apparently it’s because there is a certain amount of uncertainty right now in the Honduran government. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, but there is a power struggle between el presidente and the senate right now. Depending on whom you listen to, Mel the president is either trying to become the new Chavez or trying to return the power to the people by allowing national referendums on the ballots for certain issues. Fortunately, the majority of protests happen far away from Trujillo in the larger cities. Here, people are talking about it, but we’re not close enough to the centers of power to be worried about anything here. I hesitate to even mention all of this on the blog, because I don’t want people, especially family, to be alarmed. At the same time, I don’t want you catching something on CNN about Honduras and getting worried about us.


Also today, a group of 22 from a church in Washington State arrived in San Pedro at about 11:00 am. They planned to come all the way to Trujillo today. They were travelling in a chartered bus, which is actually a recycled US school bus. They also had a 15-passenger van they had rented to help with transportation while in Trujillo.  For those of you from West Metro Church who came last summer, I’m pretty sure it was the same van we had last year. It will not be very surprising to you that somewhere around Tela, the bus gave up the ghost and breathed it’s last. The rental company didn’t have another van, but they brought another vehicle for them to drive. At about the same time they were getting back on the road, the school bus was busy breaking down in La Ceiba. The driver got it going again, saying it was a problem with the fuel filter. Jared, the group leader, and I talked on the phone, and we didn’t share the driver’s enthusiasm when he assured them that the bus was fine to make the rest of the trip to Trujillo in the dark. After a few phone calls, we found the group lodging in La Ceiba. They are split between Villa Helen’s and the Canadien Hotel in Sambo Creek, just out of Ceiba.


In the midst of all of these inconveniences, everyone has remained safe, and for this we thank God. Lord willing the group will make the rest of the journey here tomorrow morning and the situation with the government will settle down quickly.  I expect that it will. As always, we ask for your prayers and thank you for following along with us.


On a funny note, our friend Alfonso just spilled sugar all over himself.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Home again home again....

...jiggedy jog!!

We arrived in Trujillo today in time to visit with some friends and enjoy a FABULOUS lunch!!  

We crashed for a bit, but headed down to to a close by pulperia (convenience store run out of someone's home) for some basic supplies to get us through the night and morning and turned out they were having the Flower Festival at the school All the teachers and students were there.  It was so fun seeing the little girls all dressed up as flower queens and princesses and the tiny little flower girls!!  They had the entire soccer field decorated with palm fronds, etc....and all the kids were just so excited!!  So fun!!

We've had a good day!! Thank you for your prayers!!!

The group from Washington State has already begun their journey this way.  After a few hour drive to the airport, they will fly out around midnight tonight and not arrive here until tomorrow evening.   We are looking forward to seeing them.  Please be praying for their safe travels and no cancelled flights or too crazy of adventures!!  

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One adventure down.....

Well I can't upload any pictures right now.   But what a day.......

We left our house around 2:45 am and we headed to the airport. 
Our flight path was to be Atlanta to Miami, on to Tegucigalpa and then to La Ceiba.
When we checked in at the American desk first the lady directing everyone looked at our baggage and saw our 3 made for airlines boxes and said there was a "box embargo" and we could not take those boxes.....aahh!!  We knew of the box embargo a few years ago thanks to our friend, Nadine, but she had gotten a bag to put her box in.  To calm our fears I just went back and asked the lady about the bag option and she just explained that they just started the box embargo again a few weeks ago and we should have gotten a notice and we could not take them when flying into Teguc.  So we head to the counter to figure out a plan and to check in and see what we can purchase or do....but we were told that our flight from Miami to Tegucigalpa, Honduras was cancelled.  American Airlines was great. They put us on a Delta flight skipping the Miami leg and taking us straight to Teguc.  
We were thrilled by that...it meant our luggage had an even better chance of getting there  AND Delta doesn't have the box embargo (FYI if you fly American with boxes YES you can purchase a bag...the lady just thought they were out of them so she wasn't willing to commit when I asked)  So we no longer had to think or worry about our suitcases and boxes!!  Hooray!!    
So we sat in the Atlanta airport until 10 am and headed with no problems to Teguc....and ALL our luggage got there.  

We went through customs with no issues at all and headed to the TACA counter.  And waited and waited and WAITED behind a couple having some sort of problem and were in a major discussion with the one employee working the counter.  We started to get concerned we might miss our flight and were about to say something when that couple finished up and walked off to discuss whatever their issue was (we should have listened to the conversation so we could have prepared ourselves). Before we could chat with the TACA employee and get checked in we first had to wait for a La Prensa (Honduran newspaper) reporter to finish his conversation with the employee.  I laughed something must be going on in Teguc when I turned and saw the cameras rolling toward the counter and such....hmm....another clue ignored out of exhaustion.

finally...our turn...

and we are told "your flight is cancelled"  okay when and what flight can we get on?  

"No more today and none tomorrow" we are told.    (FYI flights run back and forth between these cities all the time all day)

Well I'll move past the crazy hour or so....and on to what happened.  
TACA airlines apparently didn't pay some bills (according to a bi-lingual employee who came to help with us) and they were grounded.  No flights at all.....and because of that all the other airlines flights to La Ceiba were full.   So what did that do??  They chartered a mini-van and driver for us and we drove from Teguc to La Ceiba. They were willing to pay for it all the way to Trujillo, but that put us on the road for hours after dark and we have a "off the road at dark" policy we try to adhere to.  

So here we are in La Ceiba. Our dear friend Brian was here when we landed in Teguc.  already waiting for us to arrive ready to head back to Trujillo where we'd planned on enjoying dinner at his house with his sweet family.  Instead, we got beds at a hostel and will be heading to Trujillo after a much needed night's sleep!!  

Now let me clarify...
We actually had a good day.  No whining or anything for the 7 hour drive.  Our driver found us SPOTLESS restrooms with handsoap and toilet paper even (never take those things for granted...that's a BIG deal in Honduras!!)  
If you look at the map.....because of the lack of roads, etc we drove from Tegucigalpa, to San Pedro Sula then to La Ceiba and then tomorrow morning we will get up and head on to Trujillo. 

 Just look at how much of this incredibly gorgeous country we got to see today.  
And we had another adventure together as a family and we all agreed today that we loved our adventures even when they were a little bit exhausting what memories we created and what fun we had on our chauffeured 7 hour drive.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And we're off....

in 7 hours...at 3am our journey begins. 6 1/2 weeks in Honduras.
Hmm...to sleep tonight or not to sleep tonight. Given the circumstances of this past week and that 'Pablo' has yet to even start packing, I'm leaning toward - coffee....sigh....

In our house it's the sign that it's time to return to Honduras when we run out of our favorite Honduran coffee we stock up on each trip. We ran out about a week and a half ago.


Don't forget that if you click over on the right side "follow" you will be notified as soon as we post something new.

We have several layovers tomorrow...first to Miami, then Tegucigalpa, and on to La Ceiba. In La Ceiba we will be greeted by our good friend Brian who works with the Little Hands Big Hearts mission in Trujillo. We will join his family for dinner and head on to our home for the summer. We are all VERY ready to be there!!

We are hoping to be able to send out regular updates!! Perhaps even daily....but as you know nothing is ever a sure thing in Honduras.

We thank you for your prayers!!