In all of God's green world, there are few creatures that bother me. I grew up catching and playing with snakes, and, although walking into a spider's web is not my favorite thing, I casually brush off the offending arachnid without any thought (assuming it's smaller than a Civic). Mosquitos can make you a little nuts, but I can put up with them until I'm sucked half dry. However, in Honduras lives a creature that I genuinely hate. A creature that preys on your vulnerabilities and lives in your nightmares (and it's not a politician). This delightful creature is the scorpion, or by its more hideous, Spanish name, alacran.

Our first Honduran scorpion was a "Wow, that's wild!" moment. It was a novelty, neat to see, but easily forgettable. We found them from time to time while we were building the house, but it was never any real cause for concern. We were outside. My animosity began to build once we had lived there for a while. You see, here's the thing. Scorpions are different from any other foul creature in that they delight in surprising you. They wait for the ideal moment, find the perfect spot, then reveal themselves. How do I know this? Because most assuredly, I find them when I want to see them least.

Dropping your pants to change clothes? Haha sucker! Here I am in your pants!
Naked and in the shower? Perfect, I'll be waiting here in your towel.
Need silverware, contentedly cooking in the afternoon? Grab the spoon, I'll come along for the ride.

Oh, but my favorite place to find them is in my bedroom. As if sleeping in Honduras is not difficult enough, scorpions like to wait until you're half-naked and comfortable to pop out and just chill on the walls of the bedroom. We've killed at least a half dozen in our room that just came by to visit. But the vileness of these individuals pales in comparison to the cruelty of the ones that actually invade your bed.

Imagine this, you're asleep in bed, having managed to forget about all the animals that are probably transversing the walls, trying to give you images for the night's coming nightmares. You've also ignored the roosters with sleep issues, random screams, minor hurricaine, bat that insists on screeching only as it flies past your window, dogs killing each other, and all other sounds that suggest a break-in and accompanying violent death. So, you're laying there, comfortable, when you pop awake, something ran across your back, something big enough to wake you up. You mumble to your wife, "Something's in the bed." Just as she screams jumping out of the bed holding her throbbing hand. Long story short, the scorpion ends up dead in the toilet.

Another night, I had just fallen asleep when Stacey jumps out of the bed. I also awaken on my feet (your reflexes for leaving your bed rapidly while unconscious improve dramatically after a year of sleeping under these conditions). She tells me "Something fell on me." I assured her that it was probably a rabid moth bouncing off the walls or something. "No," she says assuredly, "something like a gecko." Well crap, that rules out tiny harmless insects. Sure enough, after a vigorous round of "Shake the sheets til they rip apart" the offending scorpion pops out and scutters around the room with out 1 lb. kitten hot on it's tail. Saving a kitten's life and destroying hell monsters are all in a good night's rest for us now apparently.

Not only are these things so evil because of their aptness for inflicting poorly timed heart attacks. It's also because of how they're put together. It's like Satan got into his spare parts drawer and said, "I'd like to make something too. Ah yes, lobster claws, eight legs like a spider, a jillion shiny eyes. Yes, that's shaping up nicely, what's missing? Ah yes, a snake-like tail topped off with a hornet's stinger. Mhmm. Oh, and let's make it as black as death and big enough that you can see it from a helicopter (with smaller, scarier red-clawed models for those hard to reach places)."

But, they have been good for our marriage. We've been bonded together by a mutual hate for these things. We even have a little scorpion routine now built into our day.
  1. Take the towels off the walls gingerly from one side, and check thoroughly before hygiene events.
  2. Check under both pillows (it really shows your spouse you care).
  3. Examine top of sheets thoroughly.
  4. Examine under sheets all around the bed with caution.
  5. In the case of a scorpion event, leave the bedroom, hug each other (grateful for another day together), take some Benadryl, and pray for blissful medicated sleep to carry you away from all this.


A visitor

The next three weeks we feel very privileged to travel with our dear friend and co-worker Fredy Martinez.  He is Heart to Honduras's Community Development Coordinator and so much more.  If it we not for Fredy we are not sure we would still be in Honduras, he's one of the best people we've ever met.  We've known him and spent A LOT of time with the past year and 1/2 that we've been in Honduras.  We asked him to share with all of you a bit of his story.  

Fredy’s Story:
My name is Fredy Martinez my wife is Alexandra.  We have two children, Daniel (15) and Raquel (13).  We are a missionary family, I met my wife working in missions and my kids were born into that life.  Even though we now live in Honduras (my birth country), we are still missionaries because we believe as Christians we are foreigners here on earth our residence is in heaven.
Fredy with his wife and children.

My Testimony:
I was born in Honduras. At age 19, after completing my 2 year military service, I decided to go to Europe to work.  I was very young and had tons of plans of my own, I was not interested in God.  After being in Switzerland for 2 months, God began to show himself to me through some Christians that I had met.  They were visiting someone, and I happened to be at the same house. They invited us to church.  The most impactful thing that touched my life in this church was something I had never felt in my life and that was to feel the love of God in this group.  To realize they had never met me but they still showed me a great love and respect.  They invited me to their houses and I was very surprised wondering, why would these people love me so much?  But I slowly began understanding that this was God’s love. 

The call:
After a little while, I began to feel a called to missions and started volunteering in a Spanish ministry (from Spain) in Switzerland that worked with alcoholics and drug addicts.  From there I was invited to go to Spain to prepare myself in missions, so I went and spent 6 months preparing myself.  From there I spent more time in Switzerland and later Central America.  I started in Guatemala working a lot in orphanages, later in El Salvador with gangs, drug addicts, and alcoholics it’s also where I met my wife and my son was born. Then in Belize with more adults, fund raising, public relations, and it’s where my daughter was born. Through all of this my desire became stronger to serve in my country. After 10 years in missions I asked God for permission to come back to my country, start a church, and work with a great need, the children.

Fredy sledding in the Alps while he was a missionary in Switzerland.
Fredy and his young bride working with teenagers in Guatemala.

Pastoring Today:
We now pastor in an “Open Arms” church in a town called “La Concepcion;” we founded this church 10 years ago we also have a children’s program in association with Compassion International.  As a church we’re involved in various aspects of the community, applying our church motto which is “We are a church to serve the community.”  Behind the church we have a large garden and have recently started with a hydroponics garden.  We have sports programs for the youth, a leadership school where we are training leaders, house churches, and have planted two daughter churches (Las Lomitas and Yojoa).  In these daughter churches we want to replicate programs like what we have in our church.  Recently we have started a shop where kids can learn carpentry and make souvenirs to sell to the visitor as a micro business.  The newest thing is a “School for Spouses” that we started this year.
Compassion International kids in Fredy's church.

My role with Heart to Honduras:
We are also committed to the cause of Community Development, which is a department of Heart to Honduras in which I work in a team with missionaries Kaleb and Stacey.  We believe that this department is a tool of God to churches and pastors to transform and develop communities.  We work alongside of not only the church but community leaders and local government like mayors.  Our vision as Community Developent is to empower the most poor villages and carry them to a better quality of life.  We want to continue the desire that was in the heart of Heart to Honduras’s founder, Charlie Smith, which is to empower the most poor villages and their pastors and carry them to a better quality of life is all aspects in a holistic way to reach spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and material needs.  We want to teach all of our pastors to love people not just like souls but also like people.  We know that it’s a big challenge, but we believe that through this unity, love, and faith we have in our team we are going to find the impossible, possible.  Each one of you is a strong instrument in the hands of God so that in Honduras all of the impossible could be possible.  For example a remote community in Honduras that has been ignored by the government, without dreams, but a group of North American brothers came to lift up this community.  To get then out of anonymity bring them into the light and now it’s a community with purified running water, school, better road conditions, greater faith, more self-esteem, and they are now dreaming for a better community.

If you'd like to hear more Fredy will be sharing in Bidwell, Dayton, and York before headed to a conference in FL where we are speaking as a community development team.



In November, two kids in our community were judged to be very malnourished by an organization called Pan-American Health Services. In Honduras for 60 years now, Pan-Am Health identifies malnourished children in situations where they are unlikely to improve without intervention. Once identified, they bring the children to their rehabilitation center close to Peña Blanca where they are treated by professionals and restored to a healthy condition. In the meantime, their parents are free to visit as much as they like where they receive nutrition and childcare training. Needless to say, what they do is very important and valuable. 

 One of these kids is scrawny, goofy, snot-nosed , 9 year-old Noe. He lives a couple of houses down in one of the poorest homes here in town. The mother is very weak, with significant illness and complications, much of them related to chronic parasitic infection. His first father abandoned him, and his current father is a drunk that works through the week, then wanders the street all weekend. Over the past year, one of our most common morning sounds, mixed in with tweeting birds, roosters, and women scrubbing laudry, is Noe’s screech “GOOD EVENING EXSTEXY (Stacey)” through our front window. He’s almost always shirtless, sniffling, and running with his head kind of cockeyed. This past year, we noticed he had taken to running around with his shirt tied to his head for a couple of days. Thinking this odd, we finally prodded him into taking it off and showing us the impressive chunk that he had shaved off the middle of his head with his dad’s razor. We laughed more than we should have.

He's the horse. Baby brother is the cowboy.
He has very poor eyesight, and as a result is heavily ridiculed by other kids and has performed very poorly in school having only completed kindergarten. We’ve worked with him some after school to help him learn to write, but it became clear over time that professional help was needed. Although we’ve missed him these past couple of months, it is good to know he is in professional hands. You can’t find anyone that calls Noe scrawny now. During  his time at Pan Am he has filled out incredibly, his nose has dried up, anemia issues have all but disappeared, and he has been visiting an eye doctor regularly. After all these up and downs, Noe will have cataract surgery on Thursday, Feb. 7 in El Progresso. Since he comes from an NGO here in Honduras, his rates have been discounted to $250 for the surgery. Between a couple of generous friends back home and the local church here in Las Lomitas (they raised more than $50 to contribute!), Noe’s bill is already covered. However, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be additional costs in the future, including prescription lenses potentially. Should you be interested in helping with future costs, let us know and we’ll pass the word along as we hear.

More than anything, we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with Noe as he goes under the knife tomorrow. Any eye surgery is delicate. Eye surgery on a 9 year-old in Honduras is a very tedious thing. This surgery has the potential to change this boy’s life; let’s join him in spirit by lifting him up to Christ.

If you’d like to contribute to Pan-American Health Services, you can do so online at www.panamhealth.org and click “Donate Now.” You can donate online using PayPal or credit card, so it’s fairly painless. This amazing organization is one that truly supports the families of Las Lomitas and greater Lake Yojoa area. So if you have met some of the kids here, it is a great way to support them by helping this resource keep running smoothly. Thank you in advance for your generosity.


The American Dream

That ain't my American dream...

Our 500 sq. ft home has a bamboo gate, concrete walls and floor, no electricity and only rain water, but our heart's dream is no less rich. The illusion of armchair Christianity has been irreparably damaged. The call to dream beyond culture's expectations was issued on a cross long, long ago.

I want to live and die for bigger things...
The life of Jesus presses us to look beyond borders and racial divides to find the lives that must be given a chance. We must continue to fight our own cynicism in order to allow the power of hope to take root. Once hope is established, what follows is change in lives, towns, countries, and history.

I'm tired of fighting for just me...
The faces that surround us daily reflect a joy beyond language. The people with whom we exist deserve this war that we are waging with them against hopelessness and oppression. Let us not kid ourselves that every war has battle lines.

That ain't my America.
That ain't my American dream.

Switchfoot wrote a song that inspired this post and is somewhat of an internal anthem for me at times. It's a song that demands a second look at our assumptions and redefining of "excess." Let us aim for a new goal: enough. This post is dedicated to Dave Swain and Anna Pyles, who both share my affinity for Switchfoot and the principles of this song. The lyrics are below.

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us
As top of the mind becomes the bottom line
When success is equated with excess

If your time ain't been nothing but money
I start to feel really bad for you, honey
Maybe honey, put your money where your mouth's been running
If your time ain't been nothing but money

I want out of this machine
It doesn't feel like freedom

This ain't my American dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I'm tired of fighting for just me
This ain't my American dream

When success is equated with excess
When we're fighting for the Beamer, the Lexus
As the heart and soul breathe in the company goals
Where success is equated with excess

'Cause baby's always talkin' 'bout a ring
And talk has always been the cheapest thing
Is it true would you do what I want you to
If I show up with the right amount of bling?

Like a puppet on a monetary string
Maybe we've been caught singing
Red, white, blue, and green

But that ain't my America,
That ain't my American dream