Thursday/Jueves 29 Septiembre 2016 by Peter

Yesterday afternoon, the truss project had stopped when Richard and Mike ran out of welding wire. Guess what. They could not just run out to Hubbards or Lowes to get some more! It was part of a trip to town which took the better part of the next day for Ian, who runs the Children’s Center with his wife, Liz,
 
So, Richard, Mike and I went out to the Children’s Center to lay water pipe. When we arrived, we got to see palm nuts being unloaded.
 
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The water pipe was for the new Kitchen/Dining area and laundry building at the Children’s Center for which the trusses were being constructed. The railing with the posts runs around the large open dining area. The kitchen’s walls are of cinder blocks designed to allow for ventilation. The large building behind the new Kitchen/Dining area is where most of the children stay.
 
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The smaller houses are where the teens at the Children Center stay, segregated by gender.
 
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I spent the morning digging ditches like these, where Richard and Mike put in the plastic water pipe.
 
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It was the first time I was doing strenuous physical labor not only in the extreme heat and humidity, but also in the sun. Despite regular trips to my water bottle of Gatorade, then replaced by plain water, supplemented by some salt Liz gave me, I was quite flushed come lunch time, and felt like it would be best for me not to continue this work into the afternoon, which is exactly what Dave instructed me: fluids, shade and rest after lunch.

All week, we had been hearing from dawn through the evening the cries and screams of the monkeys. (Ask Richard Shields what they sound like; he does a great imitation.) But when I looked for them, I could never see them amidst the thick jungle foliage. Thursday before lunch, Richard called me to a spot behind guest housing (where Richard had no doubt drawn them in with his mating call) and pointed to where some could be seen among the trees. I was able to zoom in and get these:
 
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Almost as ubiquitous as the screams of monkeys are the cries of many motor bikes, the commuter vehicle of choice among staff and missionaries at Hospital Loma de Luz.
 
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In fact, the monkeys seem to respond to, actually go nuts in response to, the sound of a motor bike or, even worse, the sounds of all the power tools with all the new construction going on.



Wednesday, Miercoles 28 Septiembre 2016 by Peter

I cut some more rebar Wednesday morning, Then, I went to the grinder and cleaned the raw edges from iron blocks I had cut.
Given a break, I got a shot of the bodega from across the driveway amidst the local flora.
 
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Rather than walk down the dusty road and back up again to get to the hospital and bodega each day, a short cut from staff housing across the jungle valley (among the monkeys) is afforded by two suspension walking bridges.
 
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These get quite bouncy in the sagging center, especially if two or more are walking out of step.
 
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.. finally almost home.
 
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That afternoon, I continued my medical supplies coding project, entering the new numbers on spread sheets.

Wednesday night we went out to eat. Talk about a restaurant off the beaten track! We drove through the thick jungle almost brushing the sides of the van on one-lane roads, turning where we did not even see a turn for the dense foliage.
We smelled food cooking as we got out and found a table set for seven under a thatched roof,
 
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where we were quickly served meals of fish and shrimp which Dave had ordered for us the night before. We were outside; our dining hall was a thatch-covered breezeway. By all appearances, besides the gracious young waitress, we were the only people there.
 
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Tuesday/Martes 27 Septiembre 2016 by Peter

After devotions, Richard and I reported to the bodega to continue the truss project. I cut 17’10” rebar for the sides. With pieces leftover, I cut two lengths to be welded together for the 17’10” total.

When completed, no more labor for me in bodega as Mike and Richard had cutting, assembling and welding production line well in hand.

Exploring, I discovered the open courtyard in the middle of the hospital. Patients and families of patients could relax there on benches. The white walls were lined with paintings by children, mostly teens. Many were children of missionaries. Each art work had a plaque next to it bearing the artist’s name, the title of the painting, and a Bible verse (in Spanish) chosen to accompany it. I found one verse was the Jacksonville Presbyterian Church
memory verse for the year, “Micheas 6:8!”

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I also explored and photographed the other nearby construction projects:

• Comida (cafeteria) extension; 
 
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• Short-term patient care wing, extending out from comida;
 
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• Hospital extension (patient waiting area]
 
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I was inspired by a carved wood sculpture of praying hands just outside Dave Fields’ office bearing the simple Biblical imperative: “Orad sin cesar.” I Tes 5:17) (“Pray without ceasing.” I Thes. 5:17).
 
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In the afternoon, Dave gave me an indoor project: helping with transitioning hospital medical supplies inventory list to new codes for Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system. The upside of this task was that I was allowed to do it in an air conditioned room!
Tuesday night, we had dinner at Dave Fields’ with Dave, Ben, Rick and Jill.
 
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26 Septiembre 2016 Lunes (Monday) by Peter

After devotions, Richard and I report to work at bodega (shop) to meet Mike.
 
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Major task is the truss project. Huge (24’ base and 18’ sides) triangular trusses are needed to hold up thatched roof for the new traditional Honduran-style kitchen/dining room/laundry room building at the Children’s Center.
 
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For thatched roof, palm branches will be tied with string to rebar welded to 3-inch blocks cut from one inch square iron bars, welded to the top of the 18-foot sides of the trusses, five to a side. Palm thatch roof will keep out rain, but allow smoke from cooking to escape from traditional stoves and ovens.

Mike and Richard built the trusses from scratch. Local laborers with machetes cut the palm branches. Others local Honduran workers built the cinder block and poured concrete walls to frame for the building.

The American church which donated money for the new facility had poured the foundation a month or so ago. They planned to return October 8 for a week culminating in dinner in the newly constructed building. Richard was Mike’s answer to prayer.

Each truss required multiple measured cuts to assemble the frame and fit reinforcing center bar and cross pieces forming two stabilizing triangles joining at the center of the base, as well as welding the steel blocks and rebar to the outside: probably about 40 weld spots and fifty metal cuts per truss.

We prayed for safety and sure steady hands with welding and cutting tools. Richard and Mike are the skilled cutters, assemblers and welders.

I, Peter, cut and cleaned the iron bars for the three inch blocks and cut the rebar pieces, with circular table saw (the unskilled labor).
 
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At the end of the day, I found in my room a tiny gecko who scrambled for safety, hiding in the groove of the wood along the hinge edge of the bathroom door. Later, I discovered that when I had shut the door, the groove was not quite wide enough for my tiny friend’s head.
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Sunday, Domingo 25 Septiembre 2016 by Peter

I got up, got my morning tea, and sat out in the large public area with dining room tables, bookshelves, high ceiling fans, and a short-wave radio, which is used for communication among those throughout the compound. 

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Amber, Richard and I went to church.  We rode in a van with about a half dozen Honduran children and two adults to the Margarita Church which Jacksonville Pres helped build.  Many children from the Children’s Center (“Casa de Ninos”) worship and attend Sunday School here.   

All Hondurans leading (Raul, Pastor Denis, and the worship leader), and Anael – who finishes seminary in December – were humble, faithful and true servants of our Lord Jesus.  This was obvious from their faces, even though I understood only a small portion of their Spanish. I did not know that the whole service would be in Spanish. 

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The woman leading worship was strong on guitar and vocals.  We did many of the same songs we do at JPC, but in Spanish!  My Spanish is best reading it, especially when I already know most of the words we are singing!  Volunteer in front with slide projector showing words.  Felt right at home.    

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Coming into the house of the Lord and worshipping God, as David so often reminds us in the Psalms, puts all in the right perspective.  God reminds us why we are there and makes us know His presence among us.

Pastor Denis Cobar preached a fine sermon on Matthew 10:28. Very expressive and dramatic presentation.  Although I understood only a fraction of the words, I was somehow able to follow and feel very blessed.  Again I saw how God shines through facial expressions, gestures and body language. And Spanish words I remembered.   

Good conversation in English and some Spanglish with Denis after.

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After the sermon, children came back from Sunday school classes.  Each age group came forward and recited their memory verse for the day, at the count of “uno, dos, tres…”.  The adults then recited Matt. 10:28.   Children then did songs in front, ending with “Jesus Loves Me” in signing and Spanish.

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Lunch at “Comida,” hospital cafeteria. Tour of hospital.  Dinner at Dave’s with Ben, Rick Reichert, ophthalmologist doing cataract surgeries, eye clinics and follow-ups, and Jill, Rick’s wife and medical assistant.



First Few Days in Honduras by Peter

Medford airport, at the curb, where Syd dropped me off, I could not leave the 50 lb. duffle and the huge black plastic storage container full of medical supplies (also 50 pounds) and I could not move them and my three carry-ons.  Soon two angels appeared with a cart on which they stacked the unwieldy uncarriables.  Their names were Richard Evans and Larry Smith.

I won’t talk about leaving my portable health device on the curb at the Medford Airport.

Soon the rest of the team for the first week arrived:  Amber and Richard. 

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Their “bonus” (foster) daughter had just spent a year in Australia.  As God’s timing would have it, her final flight home landed in Medford while we waited to board ours.  Just in time for hugs, greetings, brief excited catching up and Amber to hand over the keys to their car and house and a job caring for Dee for two weeks, since she had no job, vehicle or place to stay!

Amazingly, flights were on time; we made all connections. 

Several hour layover in San Francisco before boarding 12:30 a.m. flight to Houston was spent sharing life stories over Japanese airport food. 

Although cabin was darkened, eyes were closed and screens shut off, no real sleep to speak of during the red eye to Houston.

At Houston Airport, I headed for empty seats to try to find placed to crash, not easy as metal “arm rests” separating each seat prohibited reclining.  R & A dumped their stuff and went to find breakfast.  With Amber’s neck pillow, I napped in fits and starts.  R & A returned with their food. 

I tried to get more shut eye.  Finally I decided to seek breakfast. Thought I had an hour (til 8:55). Starbucks had long line and only sweets to eat.  Wendy’s or Japanese.  After considering menus, finally got in Wendy’s line and ordered egg sandwich.  Waited. Still waiting at 8:20 when Richard came to get me.  Plane to Honduras was boarding in 5 minutes.  My order finally came, barely in time.  

Plane to Honduras. Suddenly we are in the minority. The air achatter with undiscernible Spanish.  All I learned in high school and college 50+ years ago was useless.  I felt tall, very unusual for me.  The only other Caucasians mostly had tee shirts with slogans like “With prayer all things are possible,” St. John’s Lutheran Church, map of Honduras showing mission location, “Sparrow Mission,” etc.  We learned in long line at customs in San Pedro Sula, meeting folks across divider ribbon as line direction switched, that some without identifying shirts were plain clothes short term missionaries, including several doctors.

Fingerprinted and photographed at customs.  We surrendered forms we had been given and filled out on the plane with origins info, why we were coming, if we were carrying live food, things to sell, over ten thousand dollars, etc.

A line-up of uniformed native men faced us as we came out of customs.  They volunteered carts to help with baggage (two 50-pound duffles and/or boxes each).  Our man stood with us at the curb while Amber contacted David Fields.

Dave Fields and son Ben arrived.  Humid heat felt as we disembarked from plane really socked us as we exited airport. Heat, palms and nothing to block the sun on the roads and lot outside airport at San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  Welcome to this very unfamiliar part of the hemisphere “Honduras, C.A.” as the license plates say.  

Richard and I ate our fast food lunches in the shade of a guard tower housing a serious, uniformed young man with an automatic machine gun-looking weapon (“We are no longer in Kansas, Toto”), where Dave had parked the old Toyota Land Rover.  David exchanged Spanish greetings with the guard. 

Soon we were hoisting  our baggage full of donated medical supplies to the roof of the Rover and strapping them the metal racks for the 4-5 hour ride ahead  through the cities, towns and villages on two-lane highways which are a far cry from US roads.

My first lesson in Honduran life came in attempting to get out of San Pedro Sula!  Seems some road-blocking event a couple blocks ahead caused numerous detours and false starts, only to see more cars or people blocking road.  Streets were narrow and full of people all around within inches of our moving car.  Traffic controls? Stop signs? Yield signs? Non-existent.  American road ragers and control freaks would be infuriated.  In Honduras you simply roll with it.  Cars approached from all angles and directions, slipping in where ever there was an opening big enough.   David patiently navigated vehicular, human and animal obstacles, a seasoned sailor at the helm.

Driving in the City of San Pedro Sula is being awash in a sea of humanity in which we were the unfamiliar foreigners.  I have driven in some of the poorest neighborhoods of New York City and Newark, New Jersey.  Nothing comes close.  Open market-type cinder block storefronts of faded pastel colors within a few feet of the car.  No sidewalks.  No setbacks.  Right there, displaying their wares.  Hanging tires.  Steering wheels.  Meat.  Clothes. Rusted iron bar fences.  Junk yards.  All in the town streets.  

Once out of the city, the same commercial activity and people, bikes, dogs, horses, cows, motor bikes – lots of motor bikers weave in and out, thread needle eye openings, no helmets –  continue, interspersed with homes set back a bit further, similar cinder block structures with laundry-draped clothes lines sagging like an inner city scene from the fifties, instead of commercial lettering and  products on display.  Corrugated metal roofs.  Rusty iron gates.  We pass a small, sputtering motor bike, overloaded with female passenger, arms around male driver, a sack of groceries or clothes between them.

People, people, people.  People of the country, community and culture we have come to serve.  God loves them all.  I will soon being loving everyone I meet.

Gas station convenient stores for frequent needed pit stops are a chain called “Espresso Americano,” feature spacious breeze ways with picnic tables for eating soft drinks, snacks and ice cream bars sold there.  Each American dollar is worth 23 Honduran “lempiras” and our change comes in colorful paper currency.  We must order in Spanish.

Gray clouds ahead mean a tropical storm.  Ben and I go in for drinks while Richard and Dave tie on tarps as thunder rumbles towards us.   It rained but not too hard nor long.

In La Ceiba, the nearest big town to Belfate, we stopped to do grocery shopping for the week.

Dave and Ben divided the list.  Dave and Ben are “bach-ing” it,  since Dave’s wife, Marinajo, went to US to visit their daughter, Mariah, who is living in Nashville, and her mother.  So, we are joining and helping Dave and Ben with lunches and dinners.

In the parking lot, we ran into Mike Yost, full-time missionary overseeing construction projects at Loma de Luz, who would be my and Richard’s supervisor for the next two weeks and who greeted Richard warmly.  A gentle giant of a man.

The last leg of our long journey was considerably slowed by unpaved pothole-pocked roads, especially given the load we were carrying.  It is dark before six this time of year in this part of the hemisphere.  People walking along the road by their dress were likely going home from a Saturday night mass.  In one village, we heard amplified preaching as we approached a crowd of people outside and across the street from a well-lit Assembly of God church.

When we finally arrived at the guarded gate, I recognized the sign to Loma de Luz Hospital grounds.

At staff housing we were introduced to other short termers staying there  –  and I met one of the permanent missionary doctors, Peter, who was touched to learn R & A had brought him his favorite bagels from the Good Bean (Peter grew up in J’ville.) 

We quickly found our rooms to settle in for needed rest.



Mercy’s Gate Rogue Valley Video

Click Below to see the full length video about Mercy’s Gate who we are partnering with.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u6ngb16lxcxxc6v/Mercy%27s%20Gate%20Rogue%20Valley%205min%201080p.mp4?dl=0



Baby 5 and a meal out Honduran Style

Had labor #5 last night. She was early labor so Liz and I left for dinner at 1800, returned at 1925 and she had just delivered! 1st baby. Our girls at home can take some lessons. Finished cleaning up, talked with some friends and headed to bed. Our group plus a few went out to the local chompa (restaurant outside) had a super yummy dinner.
 
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Waiting for Babies, Construction Work and Rain in Honduras

From Amber….
 
Well I’m waiting on baby #3 for the day. I soooo need a nap! Elizabeth Martin and I have gone nonstop. But this is the week to train her that’s for sure. Hopefully we have more babies next week when I get to train the other Liz. Richard welded till he ran out of wire. Then helped with other projects. Peter had been busy writing our blog, helping Richard and Dave. Getting our breakfast and lunch stuff out. We’re supposed to go to dinner at a local restaurant tonight but not sure if I will get to go.
 
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Celebrate Worship Concert

Watch the following video to find out more….
 

 

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