Your Turn

This is your chance to contribute and/or dictate the writing of an article on the smash-hit blog (among a very certain demographic, hi mom) Try Trip Rinse Repeat! You can participate on this blog in one of two ways, and please don’t be shy. You have never failed to be opinionated, and you shouldn’t be now. So, how can you get involved?

1. Write an article.  Now this doesn’t meant write an essay about “that one time we was down on the lake in Cowahatchiville and I falled off the dock.” What I would love to do is feature some thoughtful, well-written prose related to your experience with community development, whether that be in the US or overseas somewhere, or as an alternative provide some insight from a visit to the developing world. Everyone hears a great deal from us about what we think; I would love to broaden the discussion. So, go dust off your APA and MLA style guides and turn in those reports (MLA appreciated).

2. Determine a topic. So many times we are talking from people here in the States and they have some great questions about community development, life in the developing world, or the Christian response to poverty. On the other hand, some people like to ask about “them big ol’ godawful Annycondas that eat babies o’ere thar an’ stuff.”

But all kidding aside, all questions are on the table, whatever interest seems to be focused on, I will do my best to respond with an article worth reading: village life, vehicle maintenance, the definition of love, local points of interest, birding in Honduras (a personal favorite), the Christian life, chickens, big puffy clouds, anything goes.

So, feel free to respond in the comments bar below or just send us an e-mail (in the contact us section). Some people have trouble using the comment bar, but it does seem to normally work fine in Firefox. 



Since we've been back in the States there is a list of questions that we have gotten from pretty much anyone we talk to, so we thought we would summarize them here:
  • When did you get back? Mid-March
  • When is the baby due? Mid-May
  • Are you having a boy or girl? Girl (according to both the ultrasound we had in Honduras and the one Stateside... so we'll see if they are right!)
  • Do you have a name for her? Yes, but we are not telling until she is born.  We love the name and have for a long time. We also have a name for a boy in case we get a surprise.  The only hint we are giving is that it needs to work well in English and Spanish.  So it will not be name like "Stacey" that has no easy Spanish pronunciation (Exstexksy) or Spanish equivalent.  But it will not be a completely crazy Spanish name either (as some assume we will do). She is a white American girl, maybe even with red hair.  :)
  • What was pre-natal care like in Honduras?  It was great.  We found a very knowledgeable, experienced Ob Gyn in San Pedro Sula who was very helpful.  The only down side was the 1.5 hr. - 2 hr. drive to arrive for the appointments.  Everything she did lined up with our Ob Gyn back in the States who we are now seeing for the last 2 months.
  • How does it feel to be back? Hard to explain, but it's ok.  Lots of mental, physical, and emotional transitions, but we are grateful to God for giving us a gift of adaptation.  We know it is only from Him.  There are things we are thoroughly enjoying here and things that we miss a lot from our life in Las Lomitas.
  • How long will you be back?  Probably 5-6 months depending on the health of the baby and Stacey.  We hope and plan to return to Honduras, but will make that decision after she is born and after a lot of prayer.
  • Are you really going to take your baby back there?  Like we said above, we're praying about it.  We can't pretend to know how we will feel as parents or if she has special or medical needs will be.  We are praying about it.  We would like to, yes.  We feel that God is using us in our role there and even feel like He was giving us some reassurance in our last two months before leaving.  We will see.  The best way to help us with this is to pray for wisdom and guidance from God and not be swayed by the worries and fears of this world.
  • Where are you living? In Bellbrook, Ohio, a small town between Centerville (where we used to live) and Xenia (where the HTH offices are).  Our commute to work is only about 15min.  We live with a couple from our church Apex, Gary and Marylin Palmer.  He is an elder at Apex and a dermatologist, she is a nurse and works with him.  They are a very busy couple and we are thankful that they offered their home to us. Their basement is an apartment made especially for people like us.
  • Where is all your "stuff"? Everything we own is either in one closet at Kaleb's parents or in our home in Las Lomitas, which is not much... it all fits in a few tubs/suitcases we left behind.  We try to keep things simple and LOVE our life that way.  So try to keep the baby CRAZE to a minimum please :) We don't have anywhere to go with lots of "stuff."
  • Are you working or....? We are Community Development staff with Heart to Honduras (HTH) and are doing a Stateside version of our job.  We work in the Xenia, office normal office hours on week days.  We do miss the model village part of our job in Las Lomitas.  It's nice to have privacy, but we miss living in community.
  • What is happening to your house/garden/animals/ministry/etc. back in Honduras?
    • House - Our amazing neighbor "Mrs. A" (Argelia) is watching the house.  Her son will keep up the outside and she will clean once a month or so.
    • Garden - It has a few beds that Mrs. A will harvest and eat or sell.  A newly formed community women's group is talking about possibly using the space to garden.  We'll see.
    • Animals - Our dog, Canela, unfortunately died in Feb., our cat, Nala, is living with Ana (a Heart to Honduras staff member in Honduras), and Mrs. A is feeding the rabbit greens from the yard.  The chickens we were going to sell or give away so nothing was left to care for. But Mrs. A and Pastor Erick came up with the scheme to take care of them themselves and have a little business to sell chicks and eggs.  So the two of them are using the space to have a micro-business.
    • Ministry - this could be another complete blog post, but in short you know our philosophy and plan from the beginning.  To not have anything depend on us.  Allow things to grow organically, ideas from the community and leadership from the community.  Our role is a support role.  So everything we have helped to raise up over the past 2.5 yrs. has a leader and is continuing while we are gone.  Teenage guys, teenage girls, Sunday school, men's group, women's group, church, community council, water council, etc.  We keep in contact with people, calling frequently.


Change of Scenery

After 2 and 1/2 years in Central America, we've arrived back to the US Midwest for a few months. We left beautiful, 90°F, sunny Honduras (which while you're in Honduras = "deadly hot and humid Honduras with a violently powerful sun trying to burn your skin to ash") and have returned to dreary, rainy, 40°F, cloudy Ohio (which while you're in Honduras = "Ohio the beautiful, cool and shady, land flowing with biscuits and gravy"). We're making the adjustment to office life after a week at an event sponsored by HtH in Arizona (which was a whole different climactic fiasco for our bodies to deal with). We are thankful that for these few years, we have been mostly spared from culture shock. That being said, a few other (pretty standard) observations are...

1. Driving here is scary. Stacey and I were just chugging through Cincinnati at 5PM last week, and I was pretty alarmed at the velocity and quantity of vehicles on the road. Sure, in Honduras nobody follows the road laws, but there's about 1/1,000,000th of the amount of vehicles on the road doing it, so it is fairly easy to stay on top of the situation. And sure, some vehicles in Honduras approach the sound barrier on an hourly basis, but there are approximately three vehicles in all of northern Honduras capable of any such velocity. The rest of us present the more likely hazard of dropping a drive-shaft into oncoming traffic. 

2. Food here is abundant and delicious. It never ceases to amaze me that in Centerville, OH, you can park in the Wal-Mart parking lot that shares its space with an Aldi's, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Applebees, BW3s, Steak n' Shake, Denny's, Arby's, and some restaurant called Barleycorn. In addition, from that same parking lot you could sling a dead possum and hit a Fazoli's, Cub Foods, Chipotle, Wendy's, or a BP gas station with more food selection than we had in an entire Honduran supermarket. This is no joke. Of note it seems that Chipotle Burritos have become even more delicious over these past few years.

3. Houses here are really wonderful to sit in. Even in our relatively nice Honduran home, we lacked some certain creature comforts. Just the very act of waking up this morning to come to work, it was difficult to convince myself that I wasn't on vacation, and that I actually had to get out of the bed in the climate-controlled room, then stop just standing around on the carpet (with the light on thank you very much), then eventually get out of the hot shower. Each little thing feels like a luxury that before I had  never noticed. To not be sticky with humidity 5 minutes after a shower, not be sweating by 9 o'clock in the morning, drive down to work without needing to see a renal specialist, talk to a mechanic that will have your car fixed this afternoon, pick up lunch meat at Kroger, turn the light off before going to bed, or even just charging your cell phone is such a blessing.

4. Everyone here speaks English (almost). Being able to express yourself in the nuances of your native tongue is not overrated. I don't miss the glazed expression in someone's eyes when you start speaking the wrong language to them.

5. We are all family in this world. If this concept hasn't truly hit home in your life, I challenge you to spend time with someone for a different culture, especially one who shares your faith. The bond of family between believers of different nations is not as magically easy as it might seem. Just like in our native culture, we have to work to love one another. However, once frustration turns into mutual appreciation and love, the resulting relationship is much closer to kinship than it is to friendship. In such a short time, I already genuinely miss my Honduran family, but it is a true joy to be reacquainting my family here. The more we can understand Jesus' message of equality and unity so powerfully explained by Paul in Romans and Corinthians, the stronger and more balanced we will be.