UPDATE – Mar. 28, 2017

Saturday, March 19th, was a very busy day. Nelson and I taught English class from nine until noon, and then had church from 3:00 – 5:00.. Part of the church service was a special program and dinner for fathers, as Sunday was Father’s Day here in Honduras. It was a very special event; I think the fathers were genuinely grateful. We served lunch to about 30 men plus their guests, many of whom were visitors. Since it was threatening rain, we had our porch areas set up with tables and chairs.

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Sunday we had regular church service and then Cheryl and I took Nelson Osorto and his family and mother to Pizza Hut in Puerto Cortes. That too was a very special time.  On Tuesday we had a meeting with the people from Dole shipping regarding the transport of our purses and wood products. It went very well; we will continue to meet with them until the project is finished. We also had lunch with Mark and Joy Hoff that day and had a great time with them and especially with their children. We were supposed to have dinner with the Gilens (from Russia) but there was a problem with their business and they had to cancel. We were finally able to find the front wheel bearings for the Nissan and will have that vehicle back on the road in good order very soon. On Wednesday Nelson and I went on visitation for the church. We visited four homes and as usual I was struck with the dire conditions in many of those homes. We were able to take Mersedes a pair of reading glasses and she was thrilled. She had not been able to see her Bible for a long, long  time. On Thursday we went back to San Pedro Sula to continue our search for suitable fabric for the tote bags that the ladies are making; we continue to find a little at a time. We also went back to the government agency to continue working on our permit to do business and ship to the US. We made good progress, and just as soon as we got home we got a call saying  that our cards were ready. So, this morning Nicolas and I returned to San Pedro Sula to the agency and picked up our permit. We then went to Dole shipping and took copies of that plus some other documents. Things are shaping up.

 

UPDATE – Mar. 15, 2017

We went to church in San Pedro Sula on Sunday.  Since our church (TEE) here meets at the same time, we have visited our old church in SAP  occasionally.   On Monday we returned to San Pedro to get our wood for making the crosses.  This time they had it—500 feet of dried cedar.  It had been in the oven 15 days and came with a permit to ship.  Tuesday we returned to San Pedro to buy new tires; more fabric; car part; begin the process to buying two more firearms; sign contract with courier; pay the bank for worker protection insurance; etc.  Today, Wednesday is church visitation day, but we’ve had some obstacles. We are in the midst of torrential rains.  We are supposed to visit five homes.

UPDATE – Mar. 11, 2017

We had  youth group Saturday night in a community center up   the mountain.  Others were there besides youth; there were about 40 in all.  Sunday was our monthly day of fasting and prayer for the church.  Monday Nicolas had called to make sure the lumberyard in San Pedro had wood for us.  They said yes, so he, Alfredo and I made the trip in our 1990 Ford F-150 pickup.  When we arrived and told them we were there to pick it up they said, “No hay” which is Honduras for “We don’t have any.”  We’ll return next week. That same day an accountant came out to see us.  His directives about all we are going to have to do for the factory made our heads swim.  I think there are more regulations here than in the US-partly because of so much corruption. Tuesday we met with a lawyer on the same subject, and once again there is much to be done.  Yesterday we went to a government office in San Pedro to get a different kind of tax card.  We got part way through the process, but will have to go back next week. While in San Pedro we went looking again for fabric for the purses, again  with limited success, not enough to keep the workers busy.  Last night I gave the message at prayer service.  I’s been quite a while, but I enjoyed it.  The director of the private school told me Wednesday night that the government has approved us to start teaching public school classes at the conference center beginning in April, for those interested in finishing high school.  We have a dear Honduran friend here who has a master’s degree from a US university and is taking classes from a US seminary.  He is thinking he may want to start teaching our perspective seminary students.

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For most people total surrender is pretty simple.  All you have to do is agree to completely change the rest of your life.

UPDATE – Mar 3,2017

I returned to Honduras on Wednesday after spending a great week with my sister and niece in Denver.  I’m glad to report that sister Myrna is doing better.  The flight left at 5am so we had to leave the house at 2 in order to get to the airport at 3.  Too early.  Thursday we had the two representatives from Dole shipping here for lunch.  They were very encouraged by what they saw and want to guide us through the shipping process.  That’s just what we needed.  They will help with packaging, processing, certifications, freight handling, wood treatment for export, etc.  Our biggest challenge now is to find a large quantity of the right fabric.  Yesterday (Fri) I took our carpentry students to Pizza Hut.  Several months ago they helped us unload a container, and in return I invited them to go to Pizza Hut.  But, they didn’t want to go, so we had the pizza delivered.  Well, when they started making things to sell they were required to wear proper shoes.  Problem was, some didn’t have proper shoes—only flip flops.  So we took them to the market where they sell shoes—and everyone got work shoes.  No sooner had we gotten home that then they decided, “Now we want to go to Pizza Hut.”  As you might imagine, we had a great time.  Last week we had more than 80 weekday students.  We have started using the Conference Center for class and had 60 in there alone.

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Today, Saturday, we had more than 100 week end students.  I served as one of the English teachers.   Tonight was women’s meeting at the church.  Cheryl gave the message.  She gave good advice to the ladies whose husbands don’t attend church, e.g. pray and set a positive example.

UPDATE – Mar. 3, 2017

Yesterday Nelson Osorto and I visited one of our students who goes to our church , Matthew, in the hospital.  He had been seriously injured in a high voltage accident while he was working on the second story of a building.  The skin on nearly his entire body has been burned off to the point of producing open and bleeding sores.  It appears both legs are broken.  The government hospital does not provide the best care, few pain meds, no gloves, etc. Please pray for no infection to set in.  There were three other men in the room. Two of them had the same kind of accident as Matthew; one has lost his leg.  The other man had been shot in the head. Unfortunately, these types of occurrences are not uncommon here.  While we were there Nelson preached a short message from the Bible and two of the young men accepted Christ—Matthew and Gabriel.  Please pray for them—and the other two as well, Luis and Jose…. Speaking of Nelson, he gave us a testimony yesterday.  It seems the rent was due for their classroom in Campana and they didn’t have the money.  They didn’t know what they were going to do, but  they prayed.  Very shortly a man from a cruise ship who is a former student who had been delinquent in his tuition payments nearly six months, dropped by and paid them the full amount.  They were able to pay their rent with $8 to spare.  Sounds familiar.   Today we had the Paz family for lunch.  We talked about the church, factory, football field, vacant lots to the west of the church, etc… Due to the generosity on one of our supporters we were able to buy 3 computers yesterday.  We have narrowed the field to three possible shippers for the totes and crosses our people are making.

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Classes in the Conference Center

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UPDATE – Feb. 16, 2017

On Saturday we made the seven hour trip to Siguatepeque and back for a missionary meeting.. That’s a long drive, but it was worth it.   Just an example of life in Honduras–  there is a certain document we need in order to do international shipping.  We drove (at least one hour) to San Pedro and went to the designated office.  There was a huge line; we were a little relieved (though quite irritated) when the guy said in order to get that document  we needed to go to Puerto Cortes.  So we turned around and drove an hour and a half to Cortes.  When we arrived at that designated office there was a big sign on the window that said that document was available only in San Pedro.  Ugggh.  I was already a little frustrated; then when I walked into the mission center a little boy walked up and wanted me to stop and listen to him count to 79. It took him a while but it was a pleasure. This week I’m in Denver for the week.  My sister has been Ill and I felt like I need to be with her.   Cheryl stayed at the mission center and will have her hands full this week.  I get back next  Wednesday.

UPDATE – Feb. 13, 2017

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Orientation Meeting for Computer/English/Bible students

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Last weekend we had a meeting for new  computer/English/Bible students and their parents; they filled the church.  Nelson preached an excellent sermon, and then he did a great job of laying out the rules and expectations for the school year.  On Saturday I taught the teen age English class; I will be doing that on a regular basis.  On Wednesday we had a meeting with the director of the private school regarding the degree plan classes we would like to begin offering.  Afterward we Called Puerto Cortes and told the officials there what we were doing.  They said, “We’re coming to see you” and three of them were there within 30 minutes.  They were encouraging; we’re still waiting to see if we get the approval from the government.  Electricity is off nearly every day .  This morning I dropped by Norma’s sewing class and she has a full house.

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Finding the fabric to make the tote  bags has been a challenge. Hours, days, going through fabric store after fabric store in San Pedro over the past few weeks has only enabled us to find less than 300 yards out of the 1400 yards needed. {Please pray with us that we could find a wholesaler)

UPDATE – Feb. 2, 2017

Last Friday we went to San Pedro to search for fabric for the tote bags.  Two stores provided enough to keep going for now, but we’ll have to find others.  We are also working closely with Alfredo and his team on the crosses.  The shipping company has given us another list of requirements that must be met to export wood products. Looks like we will have to kiln dry in order to get one of the permits.  There was a special service at the church today to celebrate “Women’s Day” in Honduras.  Several of us guys went anyway.  Before the service we met with several scholarship hopefuls and their parents.  The Saturday English/Bible/computer class has grown to more than 100; half of those are new…  After the dedication, our lawyer said she was ready to move forward with our tax exempt status.  I went by there Tuesday morning and her husband told us she has been in the hospital with a serious brain ailment.   She will be flat on her back until March.  This morning Rosa, Nicolas and I had a meeting with a person in charge of education at the state level.  It looks like we will be able to start offering degree plan classes in the conference center immediately.

It seems many of our projects are filled with problems that are unusually difficult to solve.  But it’s hard to be discouraged as you walk through one of the computer class when they are enjoying fellowship after their Bible class; when you walk by the kids class and they are inside singing Christian songs at the top of their voice;  when you pass by the junior highs and they offer you one of their Bible crafts. There are good things happening in spite of the obstacles.

UPDATE – Jan. 27, 2017

We spent last week getting ready to leave for Honduras. We had two meetings Monday and I also visited the new Global Outreach Center at Oral Roberts University. I surely hope we can do some things together in the future. Yesterday we left the house at 4:30 am and left Tulsa 6:30. We got to Honduras before noon; did some grocery shopping and got to house 3pm. Last night and today we spent time with our employees. We also had a long meeting with the director of the private school and others, regarding scholarships. They start classes next week; our classes are full.

UPDATE – Jan. 20, 2017

We spoke at Beacon Hill Baptist Church last Sunday—they are planning a trip to Honduras in August. We have spent a lot of time working on a plan for mass producing and transporting the tote bags. We have gotten good input from Aleck Gillen our friend from Russia who now lives in Honduras. We’ve also contacted someone involved in shipping there in Honduras; and another involved in production. There are always lots of things to do here before we return—we will be returning to Honduras on the 24 th . We had a board meet this Saturday night. Nearly everyone was present as we reviewed what has been happening in Honduras the last few months. Yesterday we attended Sunday school at First Methodist Church in Tulsa and the then went on to the main service where a member who had come down in October made a presentation of the Dedication Ceremony of our Conference Center. After that we had Corey’s family at our house to celebrate her birthday. That evening we had Bible study at Christ Presbyterian Church; and after that a meeting with those who plan to come to Honduras in April. Pretty full day. So far we have six teams booked for 2017. Seems like we’re having lots of doctor appointments; determined to stay well.