UPDATE – Jun. 14, 2017

As you know we got into the States on May 5th.  Soon thereafter we drove to Kentucky to attend our daughter-in-law Savannah’s graduation from Asbury Seminary.  We also had some very special times with both her and our son Michael.  Michael in now working at Asbury as Assistant to the Dean of Biblical Interpretation and he’s taking classes as well.  An added blessing was that we were able to spend Mother’s Day with Mom Longstaff—now 94 years old.  She fell again and broke the same bones in her face.  Nevertheless, she is doing well.  Since returning to  Tulsa we have had a full schedule of ministry meetings and doctor appointments.  We have to get all medical things done while we are here because healthcare is not as good in Honduras.  While we are up here we have daily conversations with Nicolas and Nelson Osorto.  They keep things going down in Honduras very well.  As we mentioned before, we brought with us a quantity of purses and crosses from our production center.  They have made a real hit…..  Breaking News:  the practitioners got behind on the tests I am needing so we have had to postpone our return to Honduras—hopefully not more than a week or so.

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Many times our first prayer should be, “Lord, make me want to want to.”

UPDATE – May 11, 2017

On the 4th we flew to Tulsa—and it was quite an adventure.  Besides our own luggage we were carrying four additional trunks/bags of 50 pounds each filled with tote bags and wooden crosses.  Thankfully we had plenty of help loading all the luggage at the mission center and at the airport, and we knew we’d have help on this end.  We breathed a sigh of relief as we boarded the plane and headed for the runway.  However, before we had gone very far  the pilot seemed to hesitate and then turned back toward the terminal.  Then came the message, he apparently had acquiesced to the fact that he couldn’t make this flight without going over the maximum flying hours.  So we returned to the gate and were told we would have to go back through immigration, claim all our bags, go to a hotel, and return next day and start over.  Whereas we had plenty of help with bags a few hours earlier, much of that help had now left. As you might imagine the SAP airport at 5am next day was chaotic,  and the agents did not show up at the counters for sometime, and then they did not know how to process us. Friday we made it home, only a day late.   We’ve had meetings pretty much day and night since we arrived, but it’s always good to be here.  We used to think these episodes were unique to Honduras, but that’s not really true.  I’m sure everyone has their days. Like yesterday I went to get a car wash.  As soon as I drove into the stall, all the lights went out and there was dead silence.   I went and told the guy in charge, and he said, “Try it again.” So I did, and nothing happened.  I asked him for my money back and he said no, and asked me to try it one more time.  When nothing happened I again asked for my money back.  He said no, but began talking to someone on the phone.  When he hung up I asked for my money back.  He said, “You’ll have to come back tomorrow morning.”  I said “That won’t work”, whereupon he pulled out his wallet and gave me my 7 dollars.

UPDATE – May 3, 2017

Mateo, burn victim, came to the clinic on Monday to get his stitches out. He had lots, but they came out OK. On Tuesday we went to hospital lab to pick up  the report for gunshot victim.  We waited as long as we could—they couldn’t find it.  Same day we went to the shipping company as they said certain registration papers were ready.  I waited as long as I could, and then found out the papers were still at the bank.  Waiting without results is something you have to get used to here.  I have calculated that since we arrived in 1999 I have spent 3 years, 9 months standing in line waiting.  The team from Christ Presbyterian Church arrived on Friday.  Starting on Monday we had two clinics a day—one at the mission center and one each day in a village.   The physicians saw well over 700 patients in all, plus dental and vision for a grand total of over 900. One day we brought a group of ladies from a very remote village to attend a ladies meeting. Temperature was 105 degrees; but it was a great week—imagine the impact…

Had a few difficulties since last I wrote:

the technicians said the dental office was ready for the team arriving in a couple of days.  Then I learned that the compressor motor not only was not fixed, but couldn’t be fixed. On the way to the airport to pick up team members we went to get a new motor and couldn’t find one.  A new compressor was $1000 but we didn’t have it.  As we were leaving the salesman presented one more option—a complete unit for $325. I have no idea how that happened.

The air conditioner in my office exploded—scared the night guard to death.  He said there was fire going everywhere……

We took the team for a day at the beach. Somehow the driver got off the road and onto the sand.  Instead of backing up he decided to go for it and got seriously stuck—so stuck that the white van was sitting on its frame. Thankfully, only a few feet from us was a group of men having a beer party.  It was as if they were just wanting something to do.  They, and several others that came along finally got us free.

 

Gary

UPDATE – More pictures of CPC team visit – May 1, 2017

A few more pictures:

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Team working alongside Dr Chris Stokes

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Dr Chris Stokes at the clinic site

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Mary Jane talking to patients as she fitted eye glasses

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Victoria helped in the English classes.

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There seems to be a special synergy in a group of Christians working together long days, and in difficult conditions to meet needs beyond our reach. When we come together for devotions in the evenings, we are all fed by the sharing of each other in how we saw God work that day.

 

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UPDATE – TEAM VISIT from Christ Presbyterian Church – May 1, 2017

These pictures tell the story of our time with CPC:

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Mary Jane Friend (in pink) held a women’s meeting to share how to have a gift of hospitality from the heart, regardless of how much you have or don’t have. Dr Sylvia Ruiz talked to the mothers about what to feed and how to care for their babies. A much needed teaching here. ( some
mothers were giving cow’s milk from birth and another gave water with sugar) We saw very sick children. Infantigo and eye infections were rampant with no caution to isolate them. Over a hundred women showed up; toward the end of the meeting, they split the group and Mary Jane talked to the older women about the responsibility they had to teach the younger women and Dr Sylvia took
questions and taught the younger mothers.

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Dr Jim and Betty Jo Green- pioneers of the medical ministry of Gathering Hearts, brought down three new doctors(Dr Jonathan Friend, Dr Chris Stokes, Dr Sylvia Ruiz, as well as returning doctor, Dr Wendy McConnell; Debbie Plaster, dental, plus nurses and staff to hold our largest medical out reach yet, treating nearly 900. patients.

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Dr Jonathan Friend

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Barbara Drew, physical therapist, ran the mission center pharmacy. She was tenacious, hundreds of medication prescriptions to fill with this many patients, some of which had multiple meds.

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Team Picture

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Debbie Plaster, dental

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Mark Bullard one on one witnessing

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Laura Fowler (longtime family friend) Urgent Care nurse, came back to
the mission soaked from skin out. She processed every patient seen on
site. Hard job.

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People waiting on the porch for medical care; this one does not convey the crowds we had. Some people came at 6 in the morning to get a place in line, we had others waiting outside the wall to get in. The baby being held on the right waiting on the porch was seriously ill; very little we could do for her. Some of these would tear your heart out. Some will be terminal if we can’t get some surgeries…..do pray for that.

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Children’s ministry during clinics

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Debbie Plaster with translator

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Barbara Drew ran pharmacy in mission center, this time Chris, our teacher had to help her translate and help fill the prescriptions; she was always the last one done. No one complained.

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Linda Bullard, with translator, did one on one witnessing and counseling.

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Devotions were held each night

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This was not all that we have, but we stacked some of it on tables to be packed. Consuelo, factory manager, had a lot to do with the making of these tote bags Alfredo and Cindy carried in a load of the crosses from the carpentry class

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Church Sunday morning with the team

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Some of the team, especially the new ones, went to see the historic Spanish fort near here on the ocean. I did not get pictures of their beach excursion, but I am sure others got some. They had a wonderful time, in spite of the van getting stuck in the sand !

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One of the village sites where we provided med care

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Dr Wendy McConnell with one of the bags

 

 

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UPDATE – Apr. 28, 2017

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Some of the Christ Presbyterian Church team that went into a village yesterday. They saw 114 people in just that one village yesterday. So far we have seen close to 600 patients since Monday.

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The Christ Presbyterian team in the airport on the way down.

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Gary with one of the babies in the village.

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People waiting for medical care in El Chile

UPDATE – Apr. 15, 2017

It’s now Thursday of Semana Santa, and it’s quiet here at the Mission Center.  Before commerce came to a halt for the holiday we went to San Pedro and met with our dentist.  He told us the tools the team dentist will need and we were able to get them at a price much less than we expected.  With all the teams coming this summer we are having to strengthen our security force.  Pastor is formally trained but doesn’t have a permit to carry a gun, so we’ve spent more than two weeks  getting that taken care of.  The new guard had his papers in order.  Problem now is, with those two guys here, Matthew will have to be moved to weekends—after having a regular shift for a year.  I was afraid he’d quit and protest to the labor department as is often done; but it appears he will stay with us on weekends.  I asked him today if everything is OK and he said, “Mas o menos—more or less.” Yesterday we had prayer meeting at the church from 8-10.  Then we divided up and went on visitation.  Christian and I were assigned two homes but we ended up with 5.  It was a real blessing as I saw many people I needed to see.  For one, I saw Nery Ruth’s dad, Lino.  He left and went to the US not too long after we arrived in Honduras in ’99 and he recently returned.  He looks great. On Monday ( 4/10/2017) Consuelo asked me if we had any glasses as she had left hers at home and needed them to sew.  I told her we were out but I would check. When I did, I found one pair of women’s, 2.50, and gave them to her.  Today she came up to give them back to me.  As we are about to get more glasses I almost told her to just keep them.  Then I changed my mind and put them in my pocket.  Later on this morning we were out doing church visitation and we came across an older lady, very poor.  She has been away from the village for several months and was just getting settled back into her home.  We chatted a bit, and as I started to leave she asked, “Do you have any glasses?”  Before I could say no, I realized I had a pair right there in my pocket.  I handed them to her, she tried them on, and she could read.  I can’t say I had been praying about that situation, but I’m sure she had been.  Friday Cheryl and I had a day off, the first one in a long, long time.  All the employees were on vacation; we didn’t even unlock the door.  This afternoon, Saturday the 15th there is a movie about the Resurrection at the church. Friends and neighbors are invited.  Tomorrow the church service is early, 7am, so all the people can get across the highway and back home before the flood of cars and packed full pickups start returning from the beach.  We will also attend Easter service at our church in San Pedro.

UPDATE: PICTURES from the past week – April 10, 2017

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Cheryl’s Birthday – Celebrating with the Colwells.

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Cowells and Kuney’s at Landau with Mauricio

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Cowells and Kuney’s with Mauricio’s family

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With an overload of students, Gary is teaching to help out

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Jose, Alexis (tallest one) and Christian showing the computers purchased for us by First Fruits. Nelson Osorto is lead teacher (far right)h

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Newest pictures of the dorms taken last week

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Newest pictures of the dorms taken last week

kChildren’s Easter Program.

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Soe is the name of this little girl. Once she found her egg, she had no desire to look for more !

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UPDATE – Apr. 8, 2017

Patty and Tim Colwell left on Monday after a very useful and enjoyable week. On Tuesday we took a young man to the hospital to be examined by an orthopedic surgeon. He has a gunshot wound that is not healed completely. We took another person to an eye clinic; she’s the one who was hit in the eye when the needle on the industrial sewing machine broke. It does appear that she’s going to be OK. On Wednesday Nicolas took Carlitos back to his surgeon for a follow up exam.  They fitted him with a boot for his injured leg.  (It has been excruciatingly hot here, even for this part of the world). Wednesday  we did church visitation. We went to four homes to visit mostly the sick. Nevertheless it is a gratifying experience. The burn victim is improving.  We bought him a CD player and loaded it with sermons and praise music.  We also bought his mother a phone as hers was stolen in the hospital. This is the last week before Semana Santa, so  everything that needs to be done must be done this week.  We had prayer time from 7 to 8 each morning this week in preparation for Holy Week.

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Our dentist from San Pedro, Dr Rios, comes out for one morning every week to provide dental care. There is always so many people waiting and cannot be seen.

Pictures of Gary in villages with Tim Colwell and Nelson Osorto6 7461011

UPDATE – Apr. 5, 2017

Patty and Tim Colwell left on Monday after a very useful and enjoyable week. On Tuesday we took a young man to the hospital to be examined by an orthopedic surgeon. He has a gunshot wound that is not healed completely. The other person went to an eye clinic – that’s the woman who
was hit in the eye when her needle broke on the industrial sewing machine. It does appear that she’s going to be OK. It has been excruciatingly hot here even for this part of the world. Today we did church visitation. We went to four homes to visit those mostly who are sick. Nevertheless it is that gratifying experience. This is the last week before semana santa (Easter). Next week there will be no classes and most businesses will be closed, so we are busy getting ready for the team coming in from Christ Presbyterian from Tulsa, OK.