Friday, July 27, 2007

2007 July Team Folsom

Day 8

After such an exciting day yesterday I figured today would be a nice laid back day. Since we were done working concrete all of us were looking forward to sleeping in this morning. The plan for the day was to head out to the "waterfall" that we have been hearing about for months and then to finish the day out with dinner at the Cerrato family home.

Guadalupe had a wonderful breakfast of french toast and scrambled eggs ready for us when we awoke. Alfredo and the gang arrived around 8:30 and gave us a rundown of what to expect at the waterfall and to review some safety precautions. He also made it very clear that we were only allowed to jump at only 2 designated locations. The whole thing is sounding pretty scary/fun at this point. A last minute scheduling change prevented Alfredo from coming with us but he was sending along Douglas in his place. Douglas has been to the falls almost as many times as Alfredo and would keep us in line and intact.

We all piled into the bus with Alfredo "Dos" Gutierrez at the wheel and began our 2 hour trek. Driving on the roads in Honduras is something that everyone should experience at least once in their life. There is nothing more exciting then passing a slow moving semi truck going downhill on a blind curve. Don't worry its perfectly safe and its legal (everyone does it so that makes it legal right?), its all part of the imaginary "3rd" lane that is apparently built into all Honduran roads, at least the paved ones. If you would like a brief rundown of the traffic laws just ask us when we get back but the short answer is: Its all just a suggestion. The drive was beautiful and took us back along a less beaten path away from the busy highway that is also know as the "Dry Canal".

When we finally arrived at the park where the waterfall was we all unloaded, changed into our swimming trunks and ate lunch. We then headed to the observation point to look at the waterfall before beginning our walk to the bottom for our guided swim/walk/climb/jump tour. The falls were amazing! They are about 140 feet high and beautiful with tons of water flowing over them. We went back to the bus to meet our guide and the Wheaton team needed to drop off their cameras, luckily for us we brought along our trusty waterproof (hopefully) camera. After a short walk we were at the bottom of the falls and our guide lead us through a wood and barbwire gate and onto a muddy and rocky trail. We then had to make a 3 foot jump into a pool and wade across. At this point we are maybe 100 feet from the bottom of the falls and it feels like you are standing outside in a torrential rain storm. We then crawled over rocks and felt our way through mini rushing rivers until we were actually standing underneath the waterfall. The sound was deafening, it was almost hard to breath because of the amount of water raining down on you but the sight was something I have never experienced before. The guide then took us to a cave that was also behind the waterfall, it was completely dry inside and had some very "molten" type rock formations that you can see in some of the pictures. After making a few other stops at the falls we began making our way back out away from the falls. Almost to the gate we stopped for the big jump. This was close to a 30 foot jump into a pool of water and it was so cool to watch everyone jump in from this height. We all made our way back to the bus and headed for home. There is no way to accurately describe the feeling of being behind the waterfall and even the pictures don't do it justice but it will definitely be something I remember and it was a great end to a fantastic week here.

After we got back and cleaned up we all met up at the Cerrato home to share a meal of tacos that Guadalupe had prepared. Tacos in Honduras are not the tacos we think of at home, they are more like large taquitos and way yummier (not sure if that is a word or not but they are). We had a great time talking about our time here and expectations that we had about Honduras before we arrived and our thought now that we have been here for a week. We also had Alfredo and family sign a large river rock that we found while mixing concrete at the La Providencia site and we are planning to add the rock to our pile of partnership rocks at the church.

We will be leaving for the airport tomorrow around lunchtime and leaving is going to be bittersweet. I know I am going to miss everyone we have met here but we are leaving knowing that Alfredo is continuing God's mission here in Honduras in a way that only he can and that God will continue to bless his work.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Team Folsom - July 2007

Day 7

We had such an exciting day today, so I am really excited to be able to write this blog!

My day started at 6:00, without an alarm clock (the sun comes up SO early here!) Every morning, Guadalupe (or Guatatamale as Zach says) and I stumble through a conversation. This morning she taught me how to make tortillas :)

After breakfast, we went back to the work site. We figured that we'd be done by lunch, but ended up being done way before that. The biggest expected highlight was the completion of the patio. We figured out today that we have mixed (by hand) and poured 500 square feet of concrete. It was very rewarding to see the finished product of our labor. But the biggest surprise highlight was when Zach provided comic relief by losing control of a wheelbarrow full of concrete.

On the way back to the apartment, we made one stop at another orphanage where we met a boy named Carlos, who had a very contagious laugh! Once we arrived at the apartment, we all showered and then headed out to the market. We had a great time looking at the variety of people and wares. I got a comal to practice making tortillas at home (I also got a Honduran cookbook a few days ago), and Zach finally got his machete.

We came back, and headed off to a nearby hotel for dinner with the Cerrato family, and our new neighbors from Wheaton. We were surprised that it was a Honduran buffet! I have learned many new names for foods since I've been here. The first day we were here, we had enchiladas, which I would have called tostadas. Tonight, I had a taco, which I would have called an enchilada.

And so ends our day. We're back at the apartment relaxing and enjoying the evening. Tomorrow, we're going to see "the waterfall" , and don't have to leave until about 9:00, so we're hoping to sleep in - but with the early sun, I'm not so sure about that. We pray that everyone at home is doing well.

OH - And an answer to a couple of questions that we've received...
1. There is a picture of Marisol with a wide open mouth. She's not laughing, crying or screaming... she's yawning :-o
2. There is a picture of a tree that is heavy with fruit. I thought when I took the picture that it was guava, but it's not. We're still trying to figure out what exactly it is, but apparently it gets to be the size of a watermelon, and they drink the juice from it.
3. Hoekstra is Char's maiden name, and we noticed the sign on the side of the La Providencia bus, and thought she'd get a kick out of seeing it.
4. The warehouse is actually full of tools and construction equipment right now. (And a side note for the guys - there's actually an oil change station in the middle of the warehouse, like the one at Jiffy Lube with the hole in the floor) There are loads of clothes being stored in one of the clinic rooms though, and more coming soon.
5. Daddy (Chuck) threw Zach in the pool because he, and Zach's mommy and daddy, thought it would be fun.
6. Marisol took a picture of Daddy's (Chuck's) feet because she loves looking at feet and toes.
7. Domino's pizza and Wendy's is amazingly (and frighteningly) exactly the same as in the US. Wendy's even has a L20 (20 limpira=$1US) menu.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Team Folsom - July 2007

Day 6

When we got to the construction site we got right to work and my dad, mom, and Chuck were doing concrete and I was in the bathroom learning how to put mortar on the tiles. The others did 6 loads of concrete today. They expect that they will be done with all of the patio before lunch tomorrow and I think that everyone was glad to hear that. After we were all done with the work for the day we went back to the apartment and took our showers and the other research team and Alfredo and everybody here sat down and talked about stuff and me and Daniel were doing alot of everthing. Alfredo and Daniel left and we all got ready to go play some football (soccer). We started at 6:30 and played until 8:30. We had 4 teams that were playing and we switched off and who ever scored one they got to stay in and the other team left and a different team went in to try to beat the team that scored. It is Sabrina's birthday and she turned 21, so on the way home we stoped to get some ice cream and it is very good. We got back to the apartment and we are now resting and getting ready to go to bed!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Team Folsom July 2007

Day Five:

Four shovels - $40.

Two wheelbarrows - $60

One cement mixer - Priceless!

We are all gloriously fatigued and very dirty after a full day of making concrete from scratch, excavating the rest of the patio, cutting, laying and tying rebar. Making a rebar web (makes the concrete stronger) was a good change of pace as it was under the patio cover and not so hot. Martin was briefly pulled from the cement making to help smooth the cement that was poured because our supervisor thought he was inured (his bad ankle and, he's not hurt). Now Denise is wanting him to use his new found masonry skills to build a patio in their backyard. Any other takers? We did have our first injury though - Zach has a tiny blister on one of his fingers that he keeps reminding us about. I think he got it from holding one of the walls upright.

Josue' (our supervisor) has been patient with us (working at a gringo pace) and a good teacher (showing us what he is trying to tell us). We are thankful for his easy going personality although I think we're starting to get the hang of this cement thing. Yesterday we mixed four loads of concrete in about five hours. Today we mixed six loads before lunch! Zach spent most of his time today working indoors washing down the walls in the bathroom and mixing some finer cement for the work being done in the bathroom. They are supposed to begin tiling the bathroom tomorrow. Martin, Denise and I are finishing laying the cement for the enclosed patio and will probably finish it late tomorrow or early Thursday (which means we will continue making lotso cemento tomorrow - probably another 10-12 loads).

When we arrived back to our temporary home, we were greeted by four students (Sabrina, Matt, James and Ruth) from Wheaton College just west of Chicago. They are here to do some research for Alfredo on the orphanages around Honduras. Alfredo planned for them to stay at a hotel down the road but to his surprise, it was full (that has never happened before). So, they are crashing with us for the week, staying in the two rooms on the other side of the office. They will have their meals at the hotel since they already had that arranged. We did get a chance to eat with them tonight and hear Alfredo do what he is great at - storytelling. Evenings here are spent with showering (Martin really stinks :-)), eating, resting, talking and having our team meeting. For our team meetings we are reading along with the River Rock reading calender and have had some great discussions springing from the book of Proverbs about God's wisdom regarding the poor and a proper attitude toward affluence.

As I am writing this, a distant lightning storm is putting on a great show, silhouetting the giant thunderclouds rising up against an almost dark sky - a greater show than anything humanity has so far created. Zach's "woooohhhhhh!" has been filling the room for the last twenty minutes - I think the only proper response other than "Thank you God". Speaking of the weather, it has been very dry here during the day with big white and black clouds forming and dissipating against a bright blue sky at an amazingly fast pace. Every night it has rained from just a little to a bunch (last night being a bunch) but very little during the day.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blogs - we look forward to the comments and check for them every night before we go to bed and every morning before we go to work - It keeps us connected with our family and friends up North and let's us know others are paritcipating in this journey with us.
Hasta Luego!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Team Folsom - July 2007

Day 4

Sorry no fancy Spanish introduction like my El Wifo yesterday :-)

Today was our first official work day, albeit a shorter version of whats to come. We started the day with another great breakfast from Guadalupe that consisted of eggs, beans, avocados, tortillas, cheese (can't remember the name of it) and some fried bananas with sour cream on top. After breakfast we packed up and headed off to the work site.

Once we got to the site we were introduced to the other workers on site and were assigned to our foreman Josue (pronounced ho-sway). I am sure that he drew the short straw at the morning staff meeting to be assigned to us. Our job for the day was to mix and pour concrete for the outdoor patio for house #1. At this point I would like to give a big THANK YOU to the first Folsom team that came down for breaking the cement mixer! Because of your thoughtful actions we now have to mix all of the concrete by hand or more accurately one shovel full at a time. Can we please take up a special cement mixer offering?!?!

We all were very happy when the lunch bus arrived. We painfully walked to lunch and by the time we had sat down with our sandwiches the other workers had eaten and were already starting their lunchtime football (aka soccer) match. Daniel (Alfredo's son) and Zach joined in the game and we had a great time watching and eating. During lunch a heavy cloud cover rolled in and was providing some great shade for us. Unfortunately as soon as Chuck and I picked up the shovels the clouds broke right above us and the sweat was back on.

We cleaned up early for the VBS kids that were arriving. Denise and Chuck planned out a great skit and activities the night before. The best part of the skit was the rubbing of the refried beans into Zach's eyes (see Juan 9 for the full story) and the little ones got a good laugh out of it as well. After the skit the kids had a great time coloring some bible story pictures. We packed up the VBS and hopped on the bus with the kids and dropped them off on the way back to the apartment.

We all have showered (Chuck was really smelly!) and are looking forward to having a dinner of Naga Tamales and relaxing for the rest of the evening.

Don't forget to check the pictures post below, we post new pictures everyday.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Team Folsom - July 2007

Day 3

Buenos dias, amigos! Gracias por los prayers! Yo habla espanol mas mejor que when I got here. No... yo habla spanglish mas mejor. The good news is that I am able to have great conversations with Marisol (who's 3).

Marisol is an aspiring photographer. She gets so excited when she sees my camera, and says "uno foto, uno foto". The first couple of times, she just wanted to pose so I could take her picture, and she could look at it. She got more and more curious about the camera and I was able to show her how to use it. I have to say - she has a definite idea of what she wants to take a picture of, and manages to take really great pictures about 80% of the time (which honestly, is more than I can say for myself). There's a link to her photos on the last blog entry. Be sure to check them out!

Today, we had the privilege of worshiping with the church that Alfredo started here. I have to say that I am a bit jealous of their facilities. We had a very warm reception, with lots of smiling faces. We also managed to sing salmos en espanol, accompanied by only a tambourine.

After church, we ate a delicious meal of Sopas Pollo Verde and some tortillas. I think this is the most delicious soup I have ever had. I plan on trying to get Guadalupe to give me her recipe (if there is one) so I can make it at home. We also had quite the ping pong competition going. Chuck schooled us in actual ping pong rules as opposed to "volleyball" rules. We also stopped by a botanical garden for a little bit, where the kids could run off some energy. After that, we came back to the apartment for a little siesta and to prepare for a VBS that we'll be leading tomorrow.

We've been blessed with the opportunity this weekend to blend in a bit with Alfredo's family and see what their lives here are like. We will be laying tiles in the first house this week and look forward to beginning work tomorrow.

Buenos noches.


Here's a link to some of the photos we have taken.

And a link to some of our newest photographer's work.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Team Folsom - July 2007

Day 2

When every body got a early start to their day, I (Zach) slept in a little late and when Alfredo came to pick us up we went to his house and ate some french toast with all of his family. After every body was done with their breakfast all of Alfredo`s kids got ready for the swim practice and I was invited to go swimming with them. We went to the swim practice and Chuck decided that it was okay to throw people into the pool and he threw me in (with my shirt on). I thought that they would have swimming practice in the river but, I was wrong. After we got out of the pool we saw all of the animals that they had around. There were some turtles and some really cool but weird looking ducks and there was a lot of chickens. Then the last really cool animal that we saw was some aligators. When we saw the playground we saw some teeter-totters and so me and Chuck went on it and and he flung me off the teeter-totter. After we were all done with the swim practice Alfredo`s son Daniel had a soccer game and we all went to the game. He was one of the better players and the team won the game 5 to 1 he got really sweaty and all of us and Alfredo`s family were sitting on the side line eatting Wendy`s and it was delicious. The reason that Guadalupe was not cooking for us today was because it was that it was her daughters 15th birthday usually in the U.S. the big birthday for girls is the sweet 16 but here it is the sweet 15. When we left the soccer feild me Chuck and my mom and dad went to the mall and Alfredo and his family got dropped of at the house and he got the other car and came to pick us up and when we were at the mall we went to look at every thing that they had there and I saw the most cool sunglasses and they were 129.50 lempira. We got picked-up and then we went to the construction site and we saw all of the things that they got done and we took a tour of the hospital and the 1st house that they almost got finished and we learned what we were going to be doing. After we left the construction site we went to Alfredo`s house and the adults sat and talked while me and Daniel sat on the hammock and talked and all of the other kids played video games and had a lot of fun. While we were waiting we also played a lot of soccer and we just messed around with the soccer ball. While we were there doing all of that stuff we were waiting for all of the food to get there. We ate Domino`s pizza and it was also good but not as good as all of the food that Guadalupe makes. After dinner we continued to hang out there and when it was time to go we all cramed into the car and went back to the apartment and we were all sitting around and talking and we saw a gecko on the wall and now it is pouring down rain and there is a lot of thunder and lightning.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Team Folsom - July 2007

Day 1, Friday July 20,

After a smooth and uneventful flight (and relatively sleepless as well) we arrived in Honduras to the welcoming smile of Alfredo Cerrato, founder and CEO of La Providencia in Siguatepeque. We were greeted with hot and humid weather at the airport in San Pedro Sula but ended up in the much milder conditions in Siguatepeque, 2 hours away and 4,000 feet higher in elevation. The trip was filled with interesting stories of Honduras, beautiful scenery and on the go learning about Honduras driving etiquette (stay alert!).

We were driven directly to the offices and sleeping quarters of La Providencia (about 20 minutes from the orphanage site) for an awesome lunch and a much needed nap. Steve (Phil's dad) is here and finishing a week of training the construction crew on better techniques for mixing and pouring concrete. He will be leaving tomorrow morning after breakfast. The evening was spent taking a short walk down the street where Martin, Denise and Zach purchased some local ice cream. Martin helped load some new antivirus software on Alfredo's laptop and we began to become aquainted with the rhythms of life for the people connected with La Providencia. Alfredo stopped by and shared the story of La Providencia that Steve recorded on video for educational and promotional purposes. What an amazing God sized story and plan for the orphans in Honduras and beyond!

We are thrilled and humbled to have this opportunity to come alongside Alfredo and his staff in Honduras to experience God's Kingdom work in this part of the world. We feel we are blessed to be here and look forward to how God will shape us this week as we look to serve where we can and help further the vision. Tomorrow morning we will be leaving to Alfredo's house for breakfast (about 5-8 minutes away depending if you take the comfortable or the short route). Then we will head over to the orphanage site for a tour and looking at what we might be working on this week. Thank you to all that has suppoted us financially and with prayer and we ask that you will continue to keep us and La Providencia in your prayers this week. Until tomorrow night - Adios! -Chuck

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Day of Rest

Pictures from top to bottom: (1) Alfredo Rodriguez and his beautiful 9 months pregnant wife, Carmen; (2) Alfredo, Jennifer, Daniel, Carolina, Marisol, Jack and Maria Louisa Cerrato; (3) Douglas, Stevie, Phil, Mizael, Steve, Cory and Daniel in front of the Siguatepeque "Famous Thing"; (4) John, Mizael, Steve, Douglas, and Stevie in front of the church in Siguatepeque's city center; and (5) Mizael and his beautiful family in their home.

After finishing the hard work week, we enjoyed a day of rest on Saturday, as we were treated to a tour of Siguatepeque by Douglas and Mizael. We went to the Mercado, the town square, saw the "Famous Thing" (dubbed by Stevie) in the town square, as well as some other local relics. Following the tour, we partook in one of John's favorite activities -- eating ice cream.

Since the ice cream was nothing more than an appetizer, our next stop was lunch at Alfredo's (bus driver Alfredo) house. This truly was one of the highlights of our trip, as Alfredo and his very-pregnant wife (due on April 28), Carmen, rolled out the red carpet for our visit. Carmen prepared tortillas (of course), bean soup with beef, and a dessert of arroz con leche. Great conversation was had by all, and the looks of utter joy on Alfredo's and Carmen's faces were priceless. One of the most touching and meaningful moments of my week was when Alfredo dropped us off at the apartment on Saturday night and said, holding back tears (unsuccessfully), "Thank you for allowing me and Carmen to have you over for lunch today." I cannot put into words the feeling I had at that moment.

After Alfredo's house, we went to a mall for some last-minute shopping for loved ones at home, and then headed off to the home of some other local missionaries, where we drank some iced tea and chatted on their porch. And John was able to catch up on some sleep in their extremely comfortable hammock.

After that restful time, we were treated to a flashback to the 80's at Mizael's home, as we watched a DVD of the videos and concert footage of Journey from 1980 to 1998. If anyone wants great fun in Siguatepeque, simply ask Mizael if he wants to watch music videos or concerts. Trust me, you will not regret it and you will never forget the experience. After the rock concert, we enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant, Stevie finally got to see a Toucan (she was very excited even though it was in a cage), and Phil was attacked by fire ants (quite the experience that I hope you all can avoid).

On Sunday, we enjoyed breakfast at Alfredo Cerrato's house and then headed off to the airport. After God, once again, delivered us through the insanity known as the Honduran "highway system," we boarded our airplane and returned to the U.S. While it was difficult to leave the beautiful country and people of Honduras, knowing that we all will be back in the near future made our departure a bit easier to swallow.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Finishing Strong

The NEW driveway at the Clinica Medica de John Eaves

Cory sunbathing at the work site
Cory sunbathing at the work site
In front of the home where the first family with orphans will live
Un hombre muy guapo
Steve taking another well-deserved siesta.

Today was our final day at the work site and the driveway is finished! We can't wait to see ambulances and cars bringing people into the clinic for much-needed treatment.

After breakfast, we prayed for Guadalupe and her family before she had to leave us. It was a tough goodbye, but we all know that God will bring us together again in Siguatepeque. Please continue praying for her and her family.

Then, we went to the site and continued mixing concrete, and fetching sand and rocks. Steve took pictures of the concrete in the clinic, with the hopes of getting some concrete experts to come to La Providencia to help solidify the flooring. Please pray for generous and willing hearts in the experts.

After lunch, a sergeant in the U.S. Army came to the site and we had a great conversation with him about Honduras and his personal experience with Providence in a Box. It was an extremely informative conversation with him, as he shared how he has seen hope realized in the faces of children and adults alike, simply because they held "new" clothing in their hands. Please continue to pray for and participate in the Providence in a Box ministry.

Then, we prayed through the home where the first family at La Providencia (2 parents, three biological children, and five once-orphans) will live in the home. It is pretty surreal to walk through a home and pray for children who are now orphans without a home somewhere, knowing that they will be surrounded by love in the home very soon. I hope that all of you get to experience the feeling someday soon.

We went to our last day of Vacation Bible School after the site, where we sang and played with 2 year olds. Needless to say, since Honduran 2 year olds are the same as American 2 year olds, there was not a whole lot of "School" going on. While we were playing, Alfredo spoke to their parents about La Providencia, hoping that their kids will be an integral part in the La Providencia school. Please pray that these children, who are so precious, grow up to be leaders and valuable members of their respective communities.

Tonight, we enjoyed a great dinner at Alfredo Cerrato's house with his family, the La Providencia staff and a few other local missionary couples. It was a great time had by all, with LOTS of laughter and Chinese food (yes, there is Chinese food in Honduras). I strongly encourage anyone reading this blog (all two of you) to share a meal at the Cerrato household if at all possible. Please pray for Alfredo, Jennifer, Daniel, Carolina, Maria Louisa, Jack, and Marisol Cerrato, the La Providencia staff, and all other missionaries in the Siguatepeque area -- that they will be encouraged to continue living out their faith and loving these amazing people, who, like all of us, are in desperate need of the hope of the Gospel. Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Surgery, Softball and Some Sadness

Cory working hard under Phil's "leadership"

Cory undergoing the 21st surgery at the John Eaves Medical Clinic
Looks like Stevie has found her calling
Phil using an unorthodox method of Children's ministry
Guadalupe in all her glory!
Hello once again from Honduras,
Well, if you're reading this, you've most likely read yesterday's entry regarding our team's day. You'll be happy to know that today's entry will in no way be as mean-spirited or as inaccurate as that. Let me just say that I will use this space for good and not for the purpose of lifting myself up by insulting others and their ailments. Oh, by the way, my back is much better today after some much needed medical rehabilitation yesterday.
Once again we hit the worksite bright and early this morning (well, in Honduran time). We each assumed our much too familiar positions with shovels in our hands and wheelbarrels at our feet. We spent the rest of the morning moving rocks and sand and loading it a bucket at a time into the cement mixer. Steve however, was allowed to work with all of the wet cement since he claims to have a couple of decades of concrete experience. I tried to claim the same thing in order to have a chance to write my name in the cement but for some reason they didn't believe me and they told me to get away from the experienced workers and go back over to my rock pile.
As we were working away, Cory tried to get out of work by placing about a half inch long splinter deep into the palm of his hand (he claimed he was shoveling rock at the time). Well fortunately, since we were pouring the driveway for the medical clinic, we didn't have to walk far for some of the best medical care in all of Honduras. I think Cory got a little concerned when the doctor brought out the surgery tools on the tray and began asking him to hold out his hand. I think the real problem was that the doctor didn't speak English so Cory was not able to get the usual calming words that it wasn't going to hurt a bit. We're happy to say that Cory pulled through the operation and La Providencia's medical clinic has increased it's record to 21 successful surgeries without losing a patient. I think it's safe to assume that Cory's procedure was one of the least difficult that has been performed at the clinic but we we're still very grateful for the excellent care.
After our day at the site, it was once again time to go over to the church to help with VBS for the community children. These children (ages 3-4) walk in with the cleanest clothes that they can possibly find (which most likely have already been handed down through about a half-dozen other children before them) and the most precious faces you've ever seen in your life. They are each hearing for the first time in their lives that Jesus loves them and cares for them and always will. I look forward to future trips down here where I will be able to see some of these very same children make decisions to follow Christ.
Once we said good-bye to the kids for the day, we were guests of honor at a softball game put on by the church that is sponsoring the VBS. It was so much fun getting to play with some of the older kids from the community and trying to communicate with our very broken Spanish. It was definitely a unique game, especially due to the fact the the field doubles as a soccer field (with soccer definitely having priority). So quite often the game was interrupted as the kids playing soccer would need to run through the infield.
As it began to get dark, we arrived back at our apartment after a pretty exhausting day. Of course Guadalupe had another unbelievable meal prepared for us consisting of the best tacquitos I've ever had in my life.
As you saw in the title of this entry however, our day ended with a very sad piece of news. And that is that Guadalupe has to leave us tomorrow morning due to a family emergency that she just found out about this evening. She lives in a town about two hours from here and has just been here this week in order to cook for us. Please pray for her as she leaves in the morning to go back home. She really is a special person and we are praying for her family.
Well, it's about 2:30 in the morning now so I'm thinking about trying to get some sleep so I can go throw some rock around again in a couple of hours.
Tomorrow(well, I guess I mean today, Friday) is definitely going to be bitter-sweet as we will have to say good-bye to the workers at the site that we've been working side-by-side with all week. We will also be saying good-bye (until our next trip down here) to the kids that will be at our VBS tomorrow.
I am like the Rock of Gibralter(Sp?), so I of course will not cry as we say good-bye, but please pray for those members of our team that are not as strong as me that they will be able to hold it together. And if it says on here tomorrow that I cried when we said good-bye, it's a lie. Really, it is. I'm a rock. Seriously. I am. Bye for now, John

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Day 5 -- John's Big Day

Picture 1 -- Steve laughing it up with the Hondurans
Picture 2 -- Steve, in his element, pouring concrete
Picture 3 -- Phil and Stevie, completely out of their elements, mixing concrete
Picture 4 -- Stevie, in her element, teaching the kids at VBS
Picture 5 -- This is what it's all about
After breakfast this morning, as we were getting ready to head out to the work site, John informed us that we'd have to work without him today because of his back injury. After realizing that he wasn't joking, we headed off to the site to begin the pouring of the concrete driveway. Wondering what John was doing back at the team apartment, we mixed dirt, concrete mix and gravel, and poured the concrete into the forms until John, Cory, Alfredo and his son, Daniel, showed up with lunch. Upon their arrival, we discovered that our prayers for John had been answered because somehow he pulled himself off of the floor of the apartment and walked about one mile to the mercado y la tienda de helado (market and ice cream store for those of you who aren't bilingual). Please pray that God will work through the relationships built between our team and the workers at the work site.

After lunch, we finished up some work and headed to the church for Vacation Bible School with 3 and 4 year olds from the community, who are candidates for positions in the La Providencia school. Before VBS started, Cory and some others went around the area knocking on doors to see if any of the other children wanted to partake. While we taught and played with the children, Alfredo talked to their parents about the project and how their children would be loved, educated and cared for at the project. Stevie was a natural while teaching the children, as they were listening, smiling and laughing (almost always at appropriate times) the entire time that she was working with them. The rest of the team assisted in leading the singing, teaching and crafts, as well as the photography. Please be praying for these children (photos above), as they are the "sick and poor" of which the Bible so often speaks. And since I know that you're all wondering, John also made his mark on the VBS by playing the ever-famous "pull my finger" game with Daniel and Cory. I'm sure that the Honduran teacher that heard the results will never forget our team for as long as she lives.

After VBS, we returned to the apartment and John decided to take us on a tour of the city, since he became an expert on Siguatepeque earlier this morning. He showed us the pastelerias, the panaderias, the tiendas, y las farmacias (which he visited for pain medication, of course). Unfortunately, though, we didn't bring the digital camera so you can't share the experience. Upon our return, Guadalupe had arroz con pollo ready for us and, as usual, it was some good eatin'. We tried not to eat too much, though, because we had to play soccer tonight with Alfredo's family, some locals, and the La Providencia staff.

At soccer, which was "indoor" soccer played on a concrete field, we began playing with the expectation that Steve and John would not be able to play because of their ailments. However, to our surprise, another miracle occurred and John was able to take the field, playing defender and a mean goalie. In fact, John was somehow able to make a hockey-style kick save, which entailed him dropping to the ground extremely quickly with his legs in a near-splits position, and popping back up to ensure that he could take care of the rebound. Fully expecting that he would be in traction for the rest of the night, we prepared for his exit from the game. To our surprise, he not only continued playing goalie (very well, I might add), but he returned to the field at every position. The true star of the night, though, was Stevie, as she showed the Honduran boys that girls can not only play soccer, but often can show up the boys. It was a great time had by all. Oh, as for Steve, he, too, played goalie for a bit, and his son (no need to name names, but let's just say that Ryan isn't on this trip) happened to score on him a few times.

After the game, we returned home and, of course, ate some more of Guadalupe's great comida ("food" for the Spanish-challenged) and prepared for bed. Buenas noches, nuestros amigos.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Folsom Team April 14-17, 2007

Day 1 in John's words:

Greetings from Honduras,

From the moment we landed, this experience has been incredible. Soon after we came bouncing down the runway (literally) we were met in the airport by the director of La Providencia, Alfredo, and Jack, his 8 year-old son. We then began the 2-hour drive to Siguetapeque. What a drive. From dodging the burros on the right, and the semi trucks coming at us head-on in our lane from the left, we were still able to look out and be amazed at the beauty of the country.

When we arrived in town, Alfredo took us directly to the orphanage site and gave us a complete tour of the medical clinic (formal dedication was celebrated just last week), where 20 surgeries were performed in just the last two weeks. We also toured the first orphans home that is nearly completed. It is absolutely amazing to drive down a washed-out dirt road past shacks that pass as homes, you then come upon La Providencia that is going to be able to provide these people with medical care that they could never possibly receive otherwise.

We then drove to the apartment that will be our home for the next nine days.

We met Guadalupe who has since developed into our dearest, closest friend. Of course, that may be because she is the one that has been making us the most incredible meals for the past three days. I love Guadalupe. Did I mention the food? I really love Guadalupe. But I digress.

After dinner and a great devotional discussion about dying to self and making ourselves available for God to use us, we called it a night. Hasta Manana, Amigos.

Day 2 in Stevie's words:

The start of the second day, we headed out for church, of course with full stomachs from another amazing meal prepared by Guadalupe. On the way there, we spotted a monkey in a tree outside a house. It was pretty exciting. On the way back I had my camera all set to take a picture, but to my disappointment, the monkey had left the premises. I now keep a keen eye on the trees hoping to see another one. Anyways, the church is located on the side of a house that belongs to one of the members. We began with a bible study and then sang some worship songs. We then had the service which discussed Jesus as the light. After each sermon, the members have communion and eat together. We had soup with rice, beef, plantains, and potatoes. After a few games of ping-pong, we headed out to see the waterfall. On the way there we stopped to eat at a restaurant where they were known to have amazing fish. Not being a big fish lover I decided to try it out. I soon wish I had gotten the buffet when the food was brought out. On each of the plates were literally a whole fish, that looked like they had just been caught and fried. To my surprise, they were as good as everyone had said they were. After we all finished we got back on the bus and drove to the waterfall. When I first saw the waterfall it took my breath away. God is truly amazing! We got down to the bottom of the waterfall and began our journey through the waterfall. There were many times I wanted to turn back, but I knew that all I had to do was trust God. We all made it through and sat in a cave underneath the waterfall. Words cannot describe what we went through. We got to jump off a couple of cliffs into the water, with one being around 30 ft. high. We also got to experience Jack's first jump which was also very exciting. The trip to the waterfall will never be forgotten. When we finished there, we drove back to the apartment where Guadalupe had tamales waiting for us. We all ate a lot, but it didn't really look like we made a dent in the bath tub filled with them.

Days 3 and 4 from Phil's perspective:

For the first time in my life, I'll try to keep it short. After breakfast both days, we made it out to the orphanage site where we are preparing the area and laying concrete for a driveway that will serve as the back entry of medical clinic. We have had a great time getting to know the Honduran workers and learning a little bit about laying concrete. We'll likely finish the driveway tomorrow and move on to a different job on Thursday. At lunchtime, we (OK, I) play soccer with the locals on a field that is about a 20 degree angle and includes trees, post and other interesting obstacles. It is quite the exhilarating experience for any experienced soccer (or futbol) player. On Monday night (to keep with the food theme), we had pastries with chicken and potato, which were about as good as it gets. Unlike the tamales, there were none left at the end of dinner (even Douglass (PWM's accountant) took part in the festivities). And, finally, tonight was one of our favorite nights, as we had the honor of babysitting Alfredo and Jennifer's five children so that Alfredo and Jen could hit the town. Let me tell you, babysitting Daniel, Carolina, Maria Louisa, Jack and Marisol is an experience that you would never forget! After the babysitting and dinner, Alfredo shared his testimony with the team, and I hope that everyone reading this has a chance someday (preferably on a trip to La Providencia) to hear it first-hand. Trust me, it's like nothing you've heard before. Good night from Siguatepeque.