Apex-C4 Visit

July 7-14 we had yet another visit to our little town.  Our home church Apex (from Dayton, Ohio) as well as a few members from an Apex church plant, C4, formed a group and traveled to Honduras.  They spent the week living with us in Las Lomitas.  What a blessing to see six of our old house church family members who we haven't seen in a year!

They ended up eating a fair bit of flies, but had a great week regardless. The idea behind this trip was to not just do another "save the locals" short-term trip, but to aim for something long-lasting and appropriate. Since the team had never been to Las Lomitas before, we decided to make it a a "get-to-know-you" trip. Instead of coming in and informing the locals of all their shortcomings and building a house for some "poor" family, we spent the week sharing things from our lives and learning in turn from our neighbors. As a result, there were Hondurans throwing frisbees, and Americans slinging tortillas, Hondurans singing English and Americans butchering Spanish, Hondurans learning clean water practices and Americans face deep in the local swimming hole, Hondurans eating peanut butter and Americans eating fried plantains (by the pound).

For us, it really was a neat week. To be honest, we were a little hesitant about having the group around, being afraid that we would overwhelm the relationships we've started and maybe move back a little. However, what happened was the blessing of a very unique team with a very open attitude with how to love people. From my perspective, it was a group that understood that the love of Christ is not a love that drowns out the voice of local people with the clanging of nails, but instead comes with an agenda free of plans, looking at the needs and desires of local people with the goal of loving them through those needs without involving personal motivations or gratification.

Personally, it was exciting for me to see this group of stinky white people being willing to live in our community for the week as opposed to going to a hotel or other more comfortable place to sleep. We weren't the only ones who appreciated it either. As it turns out, people really enjoy being loved and feeling valued (shocking). From some of the younger guys, I saw more genuine smiles hiking through chest high grass, teaching gringos how to swing a machete, or while destroying the group in soccer than I've seen in any construction trip.

All this to say, let us never forget that any effort we make to improve the lives of our fellow humans inevitably affects ours. Any energy spent focused on a project and not the persons affected has great potential to harm them. Never should we depersonalize or itemize people, the moment we do, they cease to be people and end up as goals or numbers in our "List of Personal Accomplishments Because of How Great I Am."

So, thanks Apex/C4 team for being willing to love in that way. These people mean a lot to us and we truly appreciate your respect and love for them.

Special Notice to Las Lomitas Lovers: Friends, family, if you've recently visited Las Lomitas and would like to share a little bit of your experience in this exciting publication, we'd love to post your story here on the blog. It's already fairly difficult to blog with regularity, and an outside perspective would be neat to put on here. Much thanks!



This past week we were privileged to have Anna Pyles in our home for a week!  She is a great friend of both of us for 7 years now and served as our Maid of Honor in our wedding.  You want to talk about LOVE, she showed it to us this week.  We told her a year ago we would rather her support us by coming for a visit than to support us financially, and she did it.  She loved us enough to listen to us and do what was best for US, not what she wanted or was easiest for her.  As she says, it was not in her character to travel thousands of miles to come stay in a place that is dirty, germ infested with no electricity.  She may have come not knowing why a visit was more support than money, but we know she is leaving with an understanding.  Imagine not being able to truly and completely share the biggest part of your life with one of your closest friends.  Now we can with Anna!  Sometimes a visit can be more harm than good, but that was not true with Anna. She came as a learner and a lover.  An encourager, not a judge.To ask questions, not be an expert. A help, not a hindrance.A listener, not a talker.
Hiking the mountains!

Celebrating 4th of July.

On one of our hikes we were surprised to see this toucan!

This is a great example of what we talk about in community development.  A lot of times the international aid wants to come in and do the fastest or easiest thing to “make the community better” and they never stop long enough to consider if it really is “better” for the community.  If we want true, lasting, sustainable development it needs to be holistic (spiritual, material, intellectual, and social) and what is best for the people group at their specific place in their development process.  Almost 100% of the time this takes time, a lot of time.  It takes patience and getting to know a people group, culture, resources, talents, strengths, and weaknesses.  This means waiting long enough for leaders to rise up from the community to take on these development projects instead of just doing it for them.  It means asking them to be invested and waiting until they are able to do that.  We all know that we take care of something better when we are invested in it.  Investment can be emotionally, mentally, financially, planning process, manual labor, and so much more.

Is this not what Christ did?  “He loved us so much that he came.”  He loved us so much that he did what was best for us.He didn’t give us a “quick fix” but a sustainable/for all of eternity fix.  We’re not writing this so that all of you get a guilt trip to “come” – no!  Yes, some of us do need to take that step of faith and “go.”  Personally we believe everyone should try it once.  We’re talking about Anna listening to what we asked her to do, knowing it was best for us, and doing it.  Sometimes that might mean don’t come, stop, wait, etc.  God could have sat up in his comfortable heaven and said, “I’ll just write a check and that will fix the world.”  But He did something else, something MUCH harder but was what the world needed and what was best for us.  He came, lived, and died for us.   He did it at the right time, he didn’t RUSH it.  He could have come right after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and avoided all the wandering of the Old Testament, but He didn’t.  He studied us, guided us, and came at the opportune time because he wanted what was best for US, not best for Him or the quick, easy, feel good way out of it.

This is what we try to do each day in Las Lomitas.  We can’t pretend to do what is best for them without lots of time getting to know them, studying them, living with them, listening to them, supporting them, sharing life, getting involved, praying, and above all asking God for wisdom.  Is this not what God did throughout the Old Testament?  So if you’d like an update on us, that’s what we’re doing.