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!