Wednesday, April 9th, we had a really nice meeting with Bob Mulloy and Mark and Debbie Plaster. All three have been to Honduras and know some of the people there. We had a good time discussing future plans for Gathering Hearts. Then yesterday we had another with Bob Mulloy at the headquarters of Literacy and Evangelism here in Tulsa. We made more good contacts. We got a note from Nicolas saying that Luis Paz had come out to the mission center and wants to know if we are still interested in buying the soccer field. He was planning on dividing it and selling it as building lots. However, he said he wants to be fair to us. Of course we do want it; we will be praying for the money to buy it. This land is where we have our soccer tournaments.
We are communicating almost hourly with our lawyer in Honduras regarding renewal of our residency. It has turned out to be quite an ordeal sending things back and forth. We are mourning the loss of a very dear friend over the weekend. Doug Foster passed away while on a trip with his family.
Last week we got a message from Dr. Paul Weckler at Oklahoma State University saying there have been some changes at OSU and at the US State Department, and he thinks there is a good possibility the OSU Chapter of Engineers Without Borders will be able to reconnect with Gathering Hearts for Honduras in the water filtration project they began with us back in 2012. We will be meeting with him and with Dr. Greg Wilber, faculty advisor, next week. That meeting will likely occur on the same trip as our trip to the capital to get apostille for some Honduras legal documents. We also have a meeting with Dr. David Dyson and the head missions at Oral Roberts University. There has been renewed interest there too, to get more involved with GHH. Christ Presbyterian Church, Tulsa, OK will be sending a medical team in May, Turning Point Church, Tulsa, will arrive the end of May and the team from Southern Heights Church in MI will be coming in June. July will bring our sending church, Beacon Hill Baptist, Owasso, OK. Cheryl has been working with them in planning for ministry opportunities for the ministry in Honduras. We have seen God work in many ways through teams coming to serve the Lord and the Honduran people.
Nicolas will be making a trip to Tegucigalpa next week to deliver documents to a lawyer there for renewal of our residency. This renewal should give us our permanent residency. Whew!! Please pray for that !
We are writing this time from Kentucky. There are several reasons why we are here. Probably first and foremost is to get to know our new grandson , Eli! What a precious little fellow! He and Cheryl have definitely bonded. We also came to spend some time with Cheryl’s 94 year old Mom; and also celebrate Cheryl’s birthday with family on March 28. I’ll let her tell you how old she is. We will be here until April 3rd. Then we return to Tulsa where I have another doctor’s appointment; and Cheryl has appointments with both hand and arm surgeons. Our plan is to return to Honduras April 15. In the meantime we communicate with our Honduras staff almost daily. Right now Nicolas is working on car insurance; plans for a Christian conference to be held on our compound the first of April; our residency papers, drug inventory for a team coming in May; purchasing new computers to accommodate our increase in computer students, doing payroll; etc. Bless all of you for your prayers.
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“Oh the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.” Psalm 41:1 NLT
Thank you for all your prayers for our health issues. It looks like we will be returning to Honduras the middle of April. Given that, we will just miss Nelson and Juliza Batista as they will be returning to Venezuela April 12. We are very sad about that. Just tonight Nelson sent pictures of the nine carpentry students that regularly receive his Bible teaching and prayers…….The surgeon removed the stitches from Cheryl’s finger yesterday and also the cast from her hand and lower arm. It’s still painful but is progressing. Today she went for physical therapy for her arm and shoulder. That is going to be a long process.
Meanwhile here in Tulsa, we continue to pursue a market for the products at the production center. We’ve had several good meetings with some potential contacts. Please continue to pray for that.
It’s always a delight to meet and plan with the teams stateside that will be coming down in the spring and summer. Right now there are four teams scheduled between May and the end of July.
In spite of this stateside stay for health issues, God also has Other agenda too.
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If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give your life for my sake and the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Mark 8:34 NLT
When I last wrote, we were waiting for Cheryl to have surgery on her hand. She had it last week and the surgeon was able to save the nerve but not the artery. That was not good news and maybe not necessary if they had done the surgery the night she cut it open. She’s in a cast up to her elbow and has to be very careful how she holds it. It’s very painful. Meanwhile she is still in physical therapy twice a week after the surgery on her arm. That’s progressing slowly so she still has a long way to go. On top of that, Savannah was supposed to deliver our first grandchild on March 12. Our hope and our plan, though quite a stretch, was to be there in Kentucky when he arrives. Well……….night before last (2/25) we got an urgent call that the process had begun and Savannah was on her way to the hospital. At three o’clock next morning Elias Todd Kuney had arrived. So, we missed the birth but plan to get there ASAP. We meet with Cheryl’s hand surgeon tomorrow to try to find out when we can leave for KY.
Some of you remember Lourdes down in Honduras. She is mother of Perla, Carlos, Esmeralda, etc. and usually works in the kitchen. She is in the hospital getting ready for kidney surgery. Please pray for her.
As you probably know we are still in the US. Cheryl hasn’t yet been released by her doctor. We meet with him again on Tuesday, 2/20. In the meantime she has physical therapy twice a week. To add to that misery, tonight (2/18) she was in the kitchen and cut her hand very badly with a knife. We went to the emergency room where the doctor put in 10 stitches. However, he wasn’t able to reconnect the nerve that had been severed. We will return to the hospital Tuesday where a surgeon who specializes in hands will remove the stitches and try to reconnect and repair the nerve. She has certainly had more than her share of trauma. We will be going to KY in a couple of weeks for the birth of Michael and Savannah’s baby, Elias Todd Kuney, our first grand baby. All these events, good and bad will delay our return to Honduras until the first week of April if the doctor releases Cheryl. We continue to thank the Lord that we have such a wonderful staff at the mission. We communicate with Nicolas daily—often two or three times a day; and with Nelson Osorto and Nelson Batista often. Last night Nicolas sent an email in which he said, among other things, “…I am saddened with all that is happening to you, but the Word of God tells us that all that happens to us works for good…there have been many difficult times for you, but God has great plans for your life.” All this is coming from someone whom we weren’t sure was even a Christian when he came to work for us.
All is well as we head into the new year. Nelson Osorto continues to enroll more students for his classes; and he and others continue to develop ministry in the communities. Nelson Batista wrote that they have begun a soccer program for the younger boys from Seis de Mayo. They have prayer before the games, read the Bible, and then have a sermon at some point in the game. Tomorrow they will do the same thing with the young boys from San Roque, the village up on the mountain. Then on Friday they will have a tournament….Cheryl and I returned to the surgeon today. He removed the stitches in her shoulder, and checked her out thoroughly. It’s still painful but seems to be progressing; physical therapy begins this Thursday. He’s aware she’s eager to return to Honduras so hopefully he’ll keep that in mind. Temperature here is 4 degrees Fahrenheit!!
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Most of us probably don’t know for sure the real depth of our love and devotion to God. One way to find out is examine the evidence. For example, how do we choose to spend our free time?
As I write this blog, we are still in Oklahoma. We had intended to return to Honduras the first part of January. We knew Cheryl was going to have to have surgery on a torn rotator cuff; but we thought we would return to Honduras and then have the surgery next time we are in the States. However, the doctor disagreed with that. He said such a delay could make the situation much worse. So on Monday the 8th she had the surgery. There were some complications, but she is making a steady recovery. It looks now like we will return to Honduras the first part of February. All seems to well with the ministry. All the workers returned from their holiday on January 7. Nelson wrote today that so far he has enrolled 70 students for the new year.
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In light of our daily doings and undoings, is there really that much difference between the churched and the unchurched these days?
I regret that it has been so long since I wrote a blog. I continue to make good progress after the heart surgery, but it seems I’ve gotten behind on other things. We are planning on returning to Honduras on about the 20th of January. That’s a relief; I really miss it. You have probably heard, there is great turmoil in Honduras centered around the presidential election. Things should begin to calm down soon, now that a president has been chosen—but not yet. Nicolas wrote today,” The situation in Honduras is difficult at this time. The entire country is paralyzed. There is no traffic in any direction. We beg you to pray for our country.” Despite the difficulties we graduated nearly one hundred students from the computer/English/Bible and Sewing Classes; had our regular church services and Christmas parties; and a Christmas banquet for our employees. Merry Christmas to you all.
Cheryl recently had the good pleasure of returning to Honduras for a couple of weeks along with Tim and Patty Colwell. Originally the purpose of the trip was to host a short team missions team from First United Methodist Church in Tulsa. However an epidemic of conjunctivitis was developing in our area and they decided to postpone. As it turned out, there was also flooding in our area which would have limited their activities. In addition to distributing medications, ministry to flood victims was also needed.
For years we have been praying for us to be able to pay a government required tax per employee per year of employment. Needless to say, this was quite a large amount since we have had some of our workers for sixteen years. Praise God that a generous donor made that payment possible. Cheryl arranged for a celebration and Patty had a power point of each employee “ then and now”. Truly God has blessed us and our workers.
Below is a quote from our general manager and body guard:
“Many, many thanks for giving me my accumulated benefits. I am very grateful to God and to you. With this help which will be a great blessing to me I promise I am going to begin building my house. Thanks to you I am going to have a place to live. Thanks to everyone who has made this possible.”
This past weekend was homecoming for Oral Roberts University—Cheryl graduated 71 and I in 70. It was a wonderful experience seeing classmates we haven’t seen for years. Cheryl was invited to make some remarks and also give the benediction at one of the banquets. Her remarks were very much appreciated and were put on Facebook.
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I have learned that sometimes the best prayer is, “God, make me want to want to.”