Monday, October 19, 2009

New Blog Site

Here is a link to our new blog. Please check this one out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Accepting an Invitation

Last Weekend, 20 people accepted God's invitation. I was privileged to be part of the beautiful ceremony where these individuals made a public decalartion of their love for God.

I have been part of some amazing church movements in the past including Washington Cathedral and Gainesville Outreach. Here in Honduras, it is different. I cant quite put a finger on the difference or even articulate it. It is just different. God is definitely doing something and I am glad to be a part of it at AFE and our church here, Amor y Vida.

About a month ago, I spoke at our church about baptism. In a nutshell, I explained that baptism was our accepting God’s invitation in a public forum. At our first baptism, we had over 20 individuals accept. We have already scheduled our next baptism. We started last year with 3 house churches in our community. We have since doubled and now have six throughout the community. And this weekend, we will launch our first house church across the street from the garbage dump. We are so excited because this has been our goal from the start – sharing God’s good news with those in desperate poverty.

Please pray as God continues to amaze us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Work of Art

My family has a tradition that has taught me the importance of a meal. Elise asked that Elijah and I would always have dinner together as a family. I used to bring everything from books to my laptop to the dinner table trying to multitask. Although it was a struggle at first to simply eat and spend time with the family, I have loved the tradition. Now I look forward to dinner when Elise and I catch up after hectic days and watch Elijah play with his food and babble incoherently.

Most of the students at AFE do not have the dinner time ritual because of broken families. Many eat with their brothers and sister while parents work. Yet, we wanted to offer the students a sense of family at AFE. This was the rationale behind the dining center. We wanted a place where the children and staff could sit and eat together as a family. Around the table they could pray, joke, laugh, and eat. Now we can do this as our dining facility is finished and looks beautiful. We still have to buy some tables but everything is ready.

We have an indoor kitchen that is also an outdoor kitchen. Meaning that our cooks love cooking over fire, so Melanie Miller’s dad built an outdoor stove (inside) with a chute so that the smoke would go outside. Now the cooks use both the fire stove and the electric stove. We have a large storage area for our perishables along with the refrigerator and freezer. We have plates and bowls for all of our kids and continue to feed them at least one full meal a day. Thanks to everyone that made this dream a reality especially Dr.Opp, Street Kids Direct, and Washington Cathedral.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dia del Nino

Yesterday, we celebrated the Day of the Child at the Presidential Palace with the President and First Lady of Honduras. It was an incredible blessing. Every news channel and newspaper was at the event hearing our story and our hope.

Rene and Jocelyn sat in the Presidents desk! The President told them "If they study hard and follow God, they have a chance to be the next president of Honduras"

Please pray God uses this platform to finish the transformation work in the garbage dump.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What I learned from the Philly Team

We just spent one incredible week with a team from Philadelphia City Church who came through Orphan Outreach. They were 10 people divided into a medical team and a teaching team. The medical team attended every student at AFE and their families. The teaching teams taught science and VBS to all of our classes. Pretty typical right? Well for some reason, I feel I learned so much from them. For example -

A Smile makes such a difference – One of their members, Ethan, had the biggest and brightest smile ever. Every time I saw him, I felt happier.

Science can be fun – The science team had our students plant gardens and seeds for their science class. I have seen many of our kids returning to see if their plants have grown. They seem to like science which is awesome by atypical.

Just Serve and Love – This team did whatever was needed no matter what. We fed in the garbage dump, worked until late evenings, skipped lunches, painted and varnished and you name it. They barely took any breaks.

Everyone Matters – They brought presents for all the staff but we have two new staff members. You should have seen how concerned and worried they were. They promised to send something down for them. I would have just said “sorry but you guys gave us the wrong number of teachers. “

Language is not an excuse - Although most of the team could not speak Spanish they were always interacting with the students. During meals they did not exclude themselves but sat among the children and somehow communicated.

We receive over 25 teams a year and all of them are special in their own way. But this team had something that I cant quite put my finger on. I just know that I thoroughly enjoyed their presence and feel blessed to have known them. I hope they return and become partners with AFE.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Babies

Earlier this year we formed a nursery for babies who would be cared for in the garbage dump if they were not safely in our nursery. We began with the younger brother and sister of some AFE students: Daniel and Yoli. In the couple of months since they started with the nursery, they have changed right before our eyes. They wear clean clothes, clean diapers, and have washed hair. There is a new sparkle in their eyes. They are loved and cared for by many of the capable, loving staff at AFE while their parents work in the garbage dump.

We knew that once we started, God would bring the right babies into our nursery. It did not take long for God to act. We have tripled in size and now have 6 beautiful babies. The 4 new babies are – Angel (11) months, Scarlet (5 years), Carlos (1 year), and Abigail (5 months).
I am amazed at how vulnerable these children are to the environment. I am so grateful we have a place of safety and security for them. Due to 4 new babies, we have had to hire a new full-time staff member for the nursery. Now Johanna and Claudio work full-time in the nursery although you can always catch some other staff members cuddling with the babies or praying for them. It is hard for the teachers to resist the cute babies

Please pray for these new babies. Pray they would never know the garbage dump. Pray they would be loved and know God’s plan for their lives. Thanks to so many who have helped make this dream come true.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Disquiet Peace

Once it became apparent that Mel Zelaya´s political posturing was nothing more than hopping back and forth over the border, yelling ¨Na-na-na-na-nah!¨ to the press, Rey and I decided that we could safely fly back into Tegucigalpa. When we arrived and began the drive through town, most of the walls and street corners were marked, painted over, than marked again: evidence of the many demonstrations. I looked with interest at the graffiti, correcting spelling errors in my mind, and chuckling at some of the more creative artists: “Pinocheletti,” “Fuera Golpistas” It all seemed a little one-sided. ¨That´s because Mel´s supporters a rag-tag bunch and very poorly behaved,” our driver commented.

The opinions here are as varied as our August weather. “The political protestors are paid off, with Chavez´s money!” “Both ‘presidents’ are ladrones!” “The news is wrong. It wasn’t a coup d’etat. The removal of Zelaya was done legally, in line with Honduras’ constitution, not the United States’ constitution”. I, personally, don’t know what to believe. History will tell, perhaps, what really happened.

In the meantime Honduras enjoys a disquiet peace. Life goes on as normal, giving the weekly political demonstrations a wide margin. The curfew keeps people off the streets at night, when it is in effect. We look forward to the November elections, hoping they will bring back international aid to this poor country. I try to put a happy spin on it to my Honduran friends: at least the world now knows of this small country, south of Mexico. “Yes,” they reply, “they know that we are politically ailing…not of the beauty and greatness that lies within our people.”