So I guess we're about a month behind posting this, but still wanted to get it out there.  
A few people have asked us how we celebrate Thanksgiving down here and if Honduras has something similar.  No, Honduras does not have anything similar (it's very much a holiday from our US History).  The 2 Thanksgivings we have been in the country we celebrated with a traditional meal.  This year Stacey's mom was able to join us so she and Stacey prepared Turkey with all the trimmings!  It was great to have our oven to be able to bake the pumpkin pies, corn pudding, and the 15lb. turkey.  In addition to Stacey's mom, we invited our neighbor Argelia who is the closest thing to family and a mother to us here, Pastor Erick (our local pastor), and our coworker in Community Development Pastor Fredy and his family.  We also had Milena, a Fulbright scholar who is volunteering with our department here for 10 months.  We shared with them what our holiday is about and thanked them for their involvement in our lives.  We made 20 plates and still had left overs for a few days!


International Extreme Camp

Stacey and 9 girls from the Youth Group in Las Lomitas got back very sore and tired from the weekend at Heart to Honduras's International Extreme camp.  It is a weekend Christian youth camp that focuses on doing "extreme" activities that have a life and/or spiritual lesson.  They were divided into teams to compete (typical camp style) and participated in various games/activities for a while and then sat down for a break while they discussed with camp director Moises what practical life lessons they learned from the activity.  There was another large group from another community so there were about 50 campers total.  This is the kind of development we get super excited about!  Intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social.  When girls from a rural community go to camp for the first time God is working in many areas of their hearts and minds.  It was overall a great experience and the girls shared what they learned in 2 church services so that we may continue to benefit the lives of others.  Please be praying that the memories of going through these activities & what they learned from them stick with them for a long time and that they would put what they learned into practice.  Here are just a few of the activities, there were over 30 total I think!
Faces painted with team color and letter.

One of the most impactful acitvities called "The Humility Pass" - no one made it out with getting covered in mud.  The girls were left SUPER impacted by this one.  You should have seen their faces when their leaders told them what they had to do! No one wanted to go through this, but they had to :)

Another one where they got dirty!  They needed to swing from one side to another learning trust and personal strength.

Scaling the "Wall of Pride" learning that they HAD to depend on their teammates to make it over.

Talking about the life lessons with Camp Director Moises.

This activity was the hardest for most of the girls.  They needed to learn to conquer their fears of height and water!

They loved this one learning to have focus and balance.  Everyone got wet!

"The Mine Field" taught them to listen to advice from the right people to be able to get through life.

The whole group: Iris, Maritza, Kenia, Dunia C, Yolanda, Dunia J, Amanda, Elva, and Lidia.  Please keep them in your prayers!

Night Visitors

The noise started off innocently enough. Scriiiiiiitch. Tappity tap. Scritch scratch. Waking up, I realized whatever was on the roof, it was alive. Not my favorite revelation. Man-mode kicked in and I listened. After a few tense minutes of staring at the underside of the tin roof in the pitch black, I relaxed again. Maybe it was nothing. Right before falling back to sleep. TAPPITY TAP, SCRITCHY SCRATCH. Smackity-SMACK. BANG! Convinced that we were under attack, I rolled over to comfort my surely-frightened wife, only to find her peacefully sleeping.

My heart was now pounding, and I weighed out my options. I finally opted for shining a flashlight out the window. I don’t know why, and it accomplished nothing. After an hour of calming back down and listening for any little noise, I finally started to drift off again. Right on the brink of sweet sleep, the evil roof creature sensed my relaxation and started up his clogging routine again. With my ears I followed  him as he scratched and screeched all the way across the roof like some dance-crazed concrete block until he reached the edge of the house closest to our meat storage area (also knows as live rabbits and chickens). At which point our guard dog seems to recognize that the obnoxious noise is not good and flips out, scaring the mystery thing back towards our room dragging its hideous chains and tambourines over our thin roof and back out into the tree from whence it came. This whole scenario played out three times over the course of the night. After a long, frustrating night, I was glad to see the sun come up over the trees.

Central American Wooly Opossum (image from Google)
The next day, after some discussion with the local tropical mammal experts (my 11 and 15 year old neighbor boys, Eduardo and Nahun), we concluded that it was probably an opossum out to eat our chickens, which happens with some frequency down here. So, we decided to wait for the thing the next night. Sure enough, around eight o’clock we checked in the mango tree nearest our house and were rewarded with two shiny eyes. After  being on the receiving end of a vigorous round of rocks from Nahun’s slingshot, the thing finally dropped out of the tree to our waiting dog, which promptly finished it off. It was a little possum (a Central American Wooly Opossum to be exact), and I felt a little bad honestly. I don’t think it posed any real threat to our chickens.
That's our dog (Canela) right behind the neighbor dog enjoying the evening snack.  Our dog had brought the possum to the front porch after killing it behind the house by the mango tree.  Other dogs quickly joined her.

Epilogue: Two nights later, the noise returned. I was sure it was the ghost possum returned to haunt me for its unjust death. Fighting through the superstition, Nahun and I searched the adjoining vacant lot, there finding two hideously-enormous possums that met early ends due to some sort of high-speed rock allergy. I am glad to report that we and the chickens are now sleeping much better and our dog is becoming a great hunter.


After 14 months!

Sister Carmen(15), brother Santillo(13), Noe (11), brother Jesus(6), mother Cristina in our front yard.
Noe is back in Las Lomitas for the first time in 14 months!  He looks great!  He had his eye surgery on Tues. Dec. 3, was in recovery for 4 days, and then came home on Sat. Dec. 7th.  He has another follow up appointment to see how successful the surgery was and if he will need other surgeries to completely fix the problems on Dec. 20th.  He has a pair of glasses that are working for now, but will be reevaluated as to if they will be good for the long term.  Please be in prayer for his transition back to living with his mother and brothers instead of living in the children's home as well as the continued healing of his eye.  Noe turns 11 this Sat. Dec. 14th.  Thanks again to all who have been in prayer for him and have supported these 14 months of health and nutrition recuperation!


Update on Noe

A thank you to everyone who has been praying for Noe, whether you have met him or not.  He is a child from our village, Las Lomitas, who has been way behind in many ways. 
Intellectually (he is 10 and only passed kindergarden), socially (he has a bad eye and is constantly picked on), physically (he looks like an average 7 yr. old, always had a cold, and was malnourished for years), emotionally (his first father left before he can remember and his step father is a drunk and abuser), and much more.
In Oct. 2012 his mother agreed for him to be taken to Pan American Health Services (a nearby health center) to receive professional help in all of these mentioned areas.  He was restored to good health in a few months and ready to have surgery on his eye, cataracts is his problem.  Unfortunately the day they took him in for the surgery the anesthesiologist could not approve him to be put under because he had congestion issues.  So he had to go back to the center and go through many more months of treatment visiting many allergy specialists and taking expensive medication.  A few months ago he was taken back and approved for surgery again.  The date is set for Dec. 1st - this Sunday!  Thank you as well to those of you who have given to make his eye surgery a possibility.  We heard a while back from the health center that the surgery is completely paid for.
We are asking for your prayers this Sunday for Noe to be emotionally stable enough to undertake the surgery because he has been very nervous in other doctor appointments.  Also that his health would be extremely good so that there will be no excuse to not do the surgery.  And obviously for a successful cataract surgery and quick recovery in the days to follow.
Continued prayers for his family and his transition are appreciated as well as he will rejoin them after recovery.  His mother's name is Cristina, step-father Pito, sister Carmen, and two brothers Santillo and Jesus.  His mother is very committed to him and his recovery she will be with him in the surgery and the 4 days following.  They are one of the most poor families in our community please pray for the local body of believers to step up and reach out to them.


Winter, Staff Position, New Director Search, and Leadership Team

Nature is yanking on the pullcord of winter here. After having sat for the rest of the year, it seems like it is having a hard time starting. The typical nonstop winter drizzle has been interrupted with a day or two of sunshine here or there. Once winter’s motor is really running by the end of this month, the only thing to break up the drizzle will be the occasional downpour. Oh well, this is the price to be paid for beautiful weather 10 months out of the year. Overall, bearable, especially if you love mud and cooler temperatures.

For the most part it is fine. These days we have been spending a little more time in the shelters of Heart to Honduras’s offices in Santa Elena. Since September, we have been working officially as staff for the department of Community Development 3 days a week. This has relatively little effect on our daily lives other than the aforementioned increase in office time and other community visits since we had been increasing our time with them over the past year.  The rest of the week we spend in our community with the same vision as always.

This office time has also been augmented by our role on the new Heart to Honduras “Leadership Team” here in Honduras. The previous part-time Honduran director for HtH left in August to invest himself full time in his growing church in Choloma. In the meantime HtH’s president Gordon Garrett implemented a “Leadership Team” down here to fill the shoes best we can of a director.  We have been filling two spots at the table of six Honduran staff members acting as interim leadership while we seek a new Honduran director. This team has really risen to the occasion, and we feel that staff morale and unity are at an all-time high. This unity is a truly welcome improvement. Previously there have been some hangups within the staff that have prevented real “gelling”, but since this abrupt change and requirement to play nice, people seem to be truly addressing some previous issues, working to forgive, and even improve. We feel a little more of the environment that should come from a group of believers. This team as also stepped up to address issues that have laid dormant for a long time, it has been challenging, but each of us is relying on the Lord to direct us as we take on these giants.

Overall, these changes make us busier, which is not necessarily desirable, but not yet to the point of being overwhelming. We’ll try to be a little more on top of the blog over these next couple of months. Thanks for hanging in there with us! We love you all and appreciate your support.


A great opportunity to get involved!

We have several phrases we repeat over and over in Community Development.
1. We all have poverty in our lives because poverty is holistic (intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, material, physical) and therefore development must be holistic as well.
 2."Development is not about the final project, but it's about the process" 
3. "No community development does NOT only do construction projects"
As a great example of a holistic "non-construction" development project we have a solicitation submitted by a girls youth group who wants to go to a long weekend Christian camp.  They have been dreaming about this all year and working hard to raise funds by having food sales.  They have come up with $225 in their account in the past year of work in their village!  That's $225 that came out of a small rural village.  They have decided, to not wipe out their account, they can invest $150 in camp.  So we started the solicitation process through Community Development with them.  It's $50 a girl to go to a Christian camp (this includes everything at the camp, a nice T-shirt, and transportation).  There are 8 of them committed to going, so they need $400 total.  They began to present their ideas to their families and the local church who then gave $50 total.  So between the girls, their families, and the local church they have 50% of what they need.  So here is where we can get involved Stateside in a healthy way!  It's a local idea with lots of local by-in, so we can come along side and support a development project!  
You can read about this project at this link:

Under the village Las Lomitas you'll see "Send youth group to camp" Click on "Learn more about this project"
The dates they are shooting for going are the first week in December so if you'd like to support it would be appreciated the sooner the better so the money can be transferred to Honduras in a timely manner.
Thanks for your support in the holistic development of these girls!  Their lives will be changed in this one long weekend.  Please be joining us in prayer for God to work in their lives through this experience.


Honduran Residency

We want to deeply apologize for not keeping up with the blog for a while now.  In September we passed the 2 year mark for living here!  We have so many stories to tell and so little time to sit down to write them out.  It has been a very busy time for us for many reasons.  So we thought we would spend a few short posts getting you caught up on what has been keeping us busy.  First off...
As many of you know Honduras does not give visas for more than 90 days.  So, for the past 2 years that we have lived in Honduras we have had to according to the law leave the country every 90 days, stay out for 3 days, and reenter to renew for 90 more days.  This has proved to be a great hassle so we began to pursue the idea of Honduran residency.  We met a man who works with a ministry called Honduran Christian Fellowship and his job is to help the Christians working in Honduras get their residency quickly and smoothly through Honduran Immigration in Tegucigalpa. 
If anyone is interested we would recommend it, the website is:
For Residency specific information click on "Helpful Info" and "Residency"
We began the process with him in June 2013 and as of last week we are official "5 year Residents" of Honduras. 

We have ID cards and numbers now, so we no longer have to travel around with our passports all the time which is amazing!  Our final step is now that we are residents we are required to get a Honduran drivers license, so be praying for that next step for us to go smoothly!


Girl's Group

As many of you know Stacey started working with the teenage girls in Las Lomitas in July of 2012.  With anything we do we are most passionate about it being:
-Holistic (spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically)
-Sustainable (making it so that if we leave tomorrow it will continue)
-Appropriate (not imposing our ideas/desires/priorities, but listening to theirs)
So this is how it’s been.   We have been going through the book, “A young women after God’s Heart” as well as chatting about topics they decide.  The main rule about our Bible study time is to always see what the Bible has to say about them, no cultural or personal preferences but exactly the Word of God.  The girls tell me from time to time, “you have showed us so many things we had never heard, we never knew.”  They are always surprised as to ALL the things the Bible talks about!
We focus more than anything on purity, prayer, service, and preparing ourselves.  So as part of this I continually ask them what their ideas are and we together decide how to make it happen.   

Over a year later we have skills and services that didn’t exist before:
-Praying (this took a while for the girls to learn how to talk to the Lord)
-“Quitar pena” (not be so shy), have self-confidence and value in Christ and each other
-Baking (cakes, cupcakes, breads)
-Cooking and selling food for soccer games (enchiladas, empanadas, tajadas with ground beef, etc.)
-Go shopping at a supermarket in a town 20 min. away
-Ability to keep receipts,  manage finances of the group through a basic balance sheet, and always have 3 witnesses.
-Prayer partners within the group
-Scripture memory, Books of the Bible memorized
-English Conversational skills (we started studying English 30 min. a week in March 2013)
-Create lesson plans for Sunday School classes
-One-on-one chats with Stacey over coffee at our house
-Learning that they have ideas that are worth sharing and discussing (they were silent for months! It was like pulling teeth and now Stacey can’t keep them quiet.)
-Much more!

So what do they do with these skills and services?
-Home visits to families that have recently had a birth or death:    They introduce themselves and ask permission to come in, they pray with the family, and give them a loaf of banana bread they made themselves.  These 3 things they do during this visit each took an extreme amount development.  It may seem simple, but it’s a great development exercise. 
- Raise funds by selling food for the group fund
- Save these funds to go to camp and also have purchased some things for the needy
- Visit to a local children’s health services home to help care for the children, visit 2 kids and one teenage girl that are there from our village read Bible stories, and sing songs.  With their funds they were able to purchase 4 pairs of shoes for growing kids who did not have shoes.
- Learned and presented a choreography in 3 different sized communities
-Able to have short greetings/conversations with English speakers that visit (which gives them a lot of self-worth!)
-Lead Sunday School
- And more!

As you can read they settled into a group, learned skills, and now share them with others.  We continue to learn and use those gifts God gives us. 

There are many struggles that these girls face daily that has caused our group to shrink or keep girls from regularly attending.  Parents are not always in favor of these activities/discussions, they prefer to have the hands at home helping.  With an average of 10 people living in a house teenage girls are in high demand to cook, clean, wash clothing, etc.  The parents/family/neighbors would rather them not learn about purity and marriage because they are ready for them to move in with a guy so there is one less mouth to feed in the house.  In our entire village of 400+ adults only 4 couples are actually married.  Free and local public education is over after 6th grade, so this is the age (12) these girls are looked after to move in with a guy. There is no source of work for women in the village so if they hear of the opportunity to work somewhere else they leave to take the job, which is usually in an unhealthy environment with no chance to get involved in a church or any sort of youth group.  The group has lost many girls to all of the above reasons, so we could really use your prayers. 
Another struggle is education, 3 girls are studying in the closest high school so sometimes because of the traveling (walking and on bus) and lots of homework they are kept from coming to activities.  One of the girls is striving to finish 6th grade, so she has more time competition as well. 
The assumption that these girls having nothing else/better to do, is completely false.  Three of them live with electricity and 5 have phones so they have struggles of time management with TV and texting.  5 of them walk 25 min. one way to come to our meetings and activities and it rains A LOT here.  1 girl is the local full time Kindergarden teacher during the week and goes to high school Sat. and Sun. 

The most faithful girls right now are: Dunia Carolina, Dunia Jackaline, Yolanda, Maritza, Kenia, Lidia, Amanda, and Elva.  If you feel led to pray for them by name, we would appreciate it.  We recently lost Maria because she moved in with a guy in another community, keep her and all the others we have lost in your prayers too.

Here are a few pictures from the past year.

The girls "baking" banana bread on the stove top in our house. (This was before we got our oven in April.)

These are "Pastelitos" in Honduras or Empanadas in other countries that the girls sell

Reading Bible stories to the kids at the Children's Health Service Home.

The whole group at the Children's health service home.

One of the boys who received the gift of shoes from the girls.

Selling food outside the church.

In the kitchen cooking to sell.

Cooking in Las Lomitas