Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Women's Bible Conference 2014

On March 28, 2014 God once again blessed me and used me to provide the lovely ladies of Choluteca, Honduras with another bible conference.  A month before I delivered each lady a study guide to go by and prepared for on this beautiful day in March.  I saw what the temperature was going to be for March 28.  A nice cool temperature of 103 degrees.  So I started praying God will provide a breeze for our day together. Well, God did exactly that.  There was a very strong breeze blowing the entire day.  So strong we had to hold down our studies to keep them from blowing away.  Thank you God for providing us with this lovely breeze.  We were to meet at 9:00 AM and start soon after all the ladies arrived.  Some of the ladies came as far as an hour away on a bus and then there was some who lived very close by the church of La Ero  Blanco, pastored by Pedro Martinez.  He was very gracious to allow us to use the church.  Before arriving this morning Pastor Pedro's daughter, Jolene was there cleaning the sanctuary and setting up the what we needed.  We had all the ladies there except for three and these three lived the closest to the church.  So we joked with the ladies who were late about the ones who had to come the longest distance got there first.
We started the morning with songs led by Rosita, our house keeper at the mission house.  Rosita and the ladies sang "He Has Got the Whole World in His Hands" and some very familiar praise songs which are song in the Honduran churches. 
We started our study on "Kindness and Goodness as Christian Women. We shared about the story of Sarah and Hagar out of Genesis.  As women we always try to fix our problems instead of waiting on God to take care of us.  God promised Sarah she would have a baby.  Sarah married to Abraham was up in age and was not getting pregnant.  So Sarah told Abraham to have a son for her by using Hagar.  Well the ladies and all agreed we are always in the business of fixing everything instead of giving to the Lord to take care of in HIS timing.  Sometimes God's timing is not always our timing.  Thank you God for fixing all our messes when we try to be in charge.  God is good all the time and all the time God is good.  This was one of the stories we shared during our study. 
It was a beautiful start to a beautiful day in God's word.  The ladies very obviously came prepared to share the gospel  together.  This made my job as facilitator so easy and enjoyable. 

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing."

Zephaniah 3:17  

Lunch break

After a morning of sharing, crying and laughing we broke for a lunch break.  This was the first time we met all day.  The ladies by popular demand requested Wendy's for their lunch.  So Wendy's it was.  It was enjoyable watching each lady sharing with each other.  Letting me serve them as they are always serving me first.  This was a honor and a privilege to be able to do this for a lovely group of godly ladies.  These ladies are always doing doing doing for others and so today was their turn to be served.  This study was on Kindness and Goodness, as I shared earlier.  I felt like I was preaching to the choir.  But it was a beautiful time of fellowship without any duties or responsibilities on them.  After a relaxing lunch we got together to make our group picture which will hang on the wall in the mission house. 
"A friend loves at all times."
Proverbs 17:17

Afternoon session full of joy

I took a different take on the bible study this time. I borrowed the idea from a dear friend in North Carolina.  I gathered the Honduran baskets and many donated items, bibles, devotional books, hand lotions, and some lady bugs made by the hands of the Honduran folk.  During the day there was an opportune time to give the ladies each one of these items.  The first item given out was a bible to give someone who was lost and needed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  I gave them a book mark with the plan of salvation on it.  Later in the morning I gave each of them a daily devotional book.  But the best one of all was in the afternoon when I handed out a tube of hand lotion.  I asked the ladies to pick a partner.  They all looked at me and I could tell they were thinking what is she up to now.  I asked each of them to take turns massaging each others' hands.  I got to sit and be Anna's partner.  So once we got started I immediately took Anna's hand first.  She was very taken back I served her first.  She is always giving giving and giving to everyone.  This did my heart good to finally get to do something special for Anna.  Anna has a beautiful smile which radiates any room she enters.  She is the lady in the brown blouse above.  Enjoy her smile as I always do.  It is times like this when I wish I was fluent in Spanish so I could just sit and talk to Anna and hear her story.  I asked the ladies during the massage had any of them ever had this done.  They all sad NO.  So thank you God for providing me this idea and the materials to do this for the ladies on this special day.  At the end of the day Pastor Pedro's wife, Maria had brought a big bag of fruit all the ladies enjoyed.  Much thanks to Orfilio who helped Mike with the preparations of Wendy's lunch. 
One more item of interest to you all.  We played the white elephant game today and had different prizes for each lady.  I explained the rules and I shared you know we are doing a study on Kindness and Goodness so be careful how you play the game.  Please take your friend's gift from her with kindness and goodness.  During the entire game not one lady took someone else's gift from the other.  Everyone liked Rosa's gift but one not take it from her.  Mike shared this is just how they are.  But at the end of the day , Naomi, Orfilio's wife and Anna were discussing their gifts and they willing exchanged with each other.  These ladies are a true role model of a Proverbs 31 woman.  Thank you God for putting such godly examples into my life.  I learn from these ladies on a daily basis.  Thank you to all the folks who help make this day happen and to be so successful in the name of Jesus.
God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
Please read the chapter Isaiah 53 about why we have eternal life!!!
Thank you Jesus for dying for me.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Honduras Receives Hundreds of Baby Bags

In October of 2010 we started an additional ministry in Choluteca, Honduras.  We went to the hospital to deliver some medical supplies.  Mike and I had been coming to Honduras for over ten years and had not ever been to the local hospital.  The hospital according to our housekeeper, Rosita, needed items for the newborn babies at Choluteca hospital. 
If a team was coming and asked what we needed I would give them some options.  One was items for the newborns who were born in the hospital.  A lot of these little ones would go home wrapped in newspaper if their families could not afford an onsie or blanket. 
We started up in November and gave the hospital one hundred bags for the babies.  There is over two hundred babies born a month at this particular hospital.  So I committed to one hundred a month and went out on faith God would provide.  It was touch and go the first six months or so.  Now I have so many teams who automatically bring the baby bags each year they come back to serve here in Honduras.
In the picture above are three ladies who took this project on as their own personal mission.  I would like to introduce to you Martha, Theda and Patricia.  Not pictured here but help Patricia a lot are Carole and Ginger, not me, another Ginger.  These ladies go to yard sales, thrift stores, estate sales and any where they think they might find the items that go in the gallon bag.
The items they collect are beanie babies, onsies, blankets, cloth diapers with two pins and a spiritual track in Spanish. 
It has become a part of their weekly activities.  Their week is not complete unless they have found some of these items.  Well their ministry has started growing beyond what I can handle on this end.  They are making hundreds of bags just between them. 
One interesting note here, only one of these ladies has ever been to Honduras.  What an amazing testimony.  Four of these ladies may never seen the hospital their baby bags go to.  But they are not doing it for self gratification but for the glory of the Lord.  God laid on their hearts several years ago the need here in Choluteca, Honduras and they are being obedient to their calling.
Thank you ladies for making this additional ministry flourish and now we are able to deliver sometimes up to two hundred baby bags a month.
Jesus said,  "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
Matthew 19:14
"For you created my inmost being,
you knit me in my mother's womb.
I praise you beacause I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
where I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:13-16

Baby Bag Party

While we were home for Christmas break Martha and Theda had collected enough items for well over two hundred bags.  I asked them to come to my home and we would put them together.  We had so much fun that afternoon in the middle of the living room floor.  There was laughter and there was excitement about how much they had collected.  Theda shared she has become addicted to collecting the items.  Any time she is out and about she will stop to see if a particular thrift store has any of the items needed for the baby bags.  During all the snow North Carolina had allowed Theda to make blankets and diapers while she was snowed in at home.  Martha goes twice a week to one location to check their stock to see if they have any of the items. 
Patricia, Carole and Ginger go to local yard sales and their church family assist them as well. Patricia shared during Christmas with me how she loves to get up on Saturday morning and hit the yard sales to hopefully find the items for the baby bags.  One interesting part to Patricia's story is Carole and Ginger have not ever met.  So you have five ladies serving the same Lord with the same calling to collect baby bags for the local hospital in Choluteca, Honduras. 
Martha was at an estate sell one day looking for beanie babies.  She met a lady who was coming on a mission trip to Choluteca, Honduras the next week.  It is a very small world we live in.  Sometimes when the different places find out where the baby items are going the merchants or yard sales will donate the items.  But a lot of the time the ladies are wheeling and dealing to get their best buy for their monies.  They all spend so much time going and collecting these items each week.  It is humbling for me to know the love which is going into each bag for these babies.  The ladies pray over the baby bags as they put them together.  Praying for the families as well as the newborn who will be receiving these baby bags. 
There is not enough words to say thank you for all you all have done for this additional ministry here in Choluteca, Honduras.  I started out with one hundred bags a month and thanks to you ladies I can sometimes take up to two hundred or at least one hundred fifty a month. 
The master replied, "Well done good and faithful servant!"
Matthew 25:23

Friday, March 21, 2014

Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine

North Carolina Baptist Men would like to introduce to everyone our first medical student team.  Campbell University has begun a medical school on their campus.  This group of young people is their first team to go international.  We were honored and privileged to work beside them for five days.  We did not know what to expect as we all prepared on this side and the NC side to get them ready to come assist in medical care for the people of Honduras and for them to learn how the people are cared for here in Honduras.  I would like to introduce to you, Liza, Dominique, Sara, Victor, Irina, Shaina, Moe, and  Leslie.  They were instructed by Dr. John, Dr. Brian, Dr. Charlotte, Dr. Francine, Dawn, Rebecca and Col. Bill. 
Now let's begin the journey of our first medical "student" team.  A team I must say who was flexible, eager to learn, focused and all were team players.  There was not a task at hand they did not or would not attempt.  They were learning how to take care of physical needs. They grew spiritually this week as well.  These young people took their spring break and served God in mighty ways. 
"For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you."
Isaiah 41:13 

Welcome to Colonia Williams

Campbell Medical Staff and Students arrived at their first location bright and early on Monday morning to a precious community called Colonia Williams.  Pastor Ramon Vargas greeted us with a huge smile of gratitude for providing his people a medical clinic.  We all gathered inside the church to introduce ourselves and to pray with the community.  God also blessed us this week with five awesome translators, thank you to Maida, Kora, Kelly, Gino and Efraine.  Also God blessed us with our Dr. Brenda who is the Honduran doctor.  This group of people, North Americans and Hondurans had never worked as a team before.  The North Americans knew of each other but did not know each other personally.  I sat back and watched as the morning unfolded into the most amazing medical clinic which only God could have provided.  Each person allowed God to use them in mighty ways even as they were setting up their stations.  They discussed and discussed some more.  They all worked hard as team players to get their first morning up and running.  The Hondurans started arriving and waiting patiently to have a chance to see a doctor.  The community provided tables and chairs which came from their different homes. After an hour of preparation the team was ready to see their very first patient.  God is good all the time.
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed."
Proverbs 16:3 

Bill and his pharmacy crew

While they were sitting up their different stations everyone pitched in to help Bill set up the pharmacy.  They all worked diligently to make their day of dispersing medicines run smoothly.  Dominique worked the first day with Bill.  Someone shared how Dominique was giving each child a sticker who came through the pharmacy.  At the end of the day when everyone was pushing themselves to get the job done, Dominique was still giving out stickers to each child as if they were the first patient of the day.  Dominique shared how appreciative each patient was of the medical care they received.  The pharmacy filled over 500 prescriptions the first day.  Job well done Dominique and Bill.
The Lord replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Exodus 33:14

One last word of encouragement

Dr. Brian shared a few words of encouragement and last minute instructions before they all separated to their different stations.  Each student rotated out daily to a different station to get the experience of each doctor and the pharmacy.  This was a week of learning as well as providing health care.  Dr. Brian encouraged each of his students as they were all there learning for the first time together.  This was an amazing week as each day introduced new and exciting learning experiences for all of us.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation,
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life,
of whom shall I be afraid."
Psalm 27:1 

Our first patient

Our First Patient

As Dawn and Kora check in the first patient the medical team is still sharing last minute thoughts with Dr. Brenda.  They wanted to make sure everything was just right for their patients.  Dr. Charlotte and her translator for the week Gino enjoyed working together getting their work station prepared with the help of Leslie, medical student.  They had lots of fun serving the Lord together.  Gino was such a willing servant, more than a translator.  He was there to do whatever Dr. Charlotte needed.  Dr. John was coaching Shaina on medical techniques before their first patient arrived.  This team took their medical responsibilities to a whole new level of commitment.  They wanted to give the people of Colonia Williams their best.
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people."
Ephesians 6:7

Dr. Charlotte caring for the elderly

Rebecca's job was to deliver each patient to the doctors.  Dr. Charlotte's first patient of the day was an elderly lady of 75 years and maybe 50 pounds.  It took Rebecca a while to get her to Dr. Charlotte's location.  She was a frail little lady with a sweet spirit.  As I observed Dr. Charlotte's bed side manner with her tears formed in my eyes.  Dr. Charlotte treated her as is if she was the only patient she had for the day.  She treated her with tender loving care as she touched her frail body.  The 75 year old had good bone structure and some strength in her legs.  Her mobility was fine.  Dr. Charlotte showed this lady Jesus and how she is special in His eyes. What a beautiful act of compassion shown to this little lady. Thank you Dr. Charlotte for showing me Jesus on this bright and beautiful morning in Colonia Williams, Choluteca, Honduras. "
"But I will restore you to health
and heal your wounds."
Jeremiah 30:17

Dr. Brian and Dr. John share a room

As the morning progressed Rebecca continued bringing patients to each room.  They saw a lot of mal nutrition and body aches and pains.  Dr. Brian was able to take a broken table and lay a lady on it and pop a rib back in place.  On the end of the first day they saw 87 patients and on Wednesday they were able to see 132 patients. Please realize they were having teaching moments as well as seeing the patients.  On the first day they did several complete physicals to give the students some experience in several areas of medicine.  They took the resources before them and provided excellent health care to each and every person who came through the medical clinic. 
Some of the God moments for this community were the women's hands were working hands.
Liza asked one lady what she did for a living and the woman smiled and said, " I cook, clean the house, collect firewood for cooking and whatever else needs to be done for my family."  Liza said she said this with such pride.  Do we take pride in our everyday routine of living?  Do we praise the Lord for the opportunity to cook and clean our homes?  Do  whatever it takes to help our family as needed and do it with such joy?  Sara shared how simple is a joyful way of life.  The children are really children here.  They enjoy playing outside and getting dirty playing soccer.  The children enjoy life to the fullest.  Leslie shared how she enjoyed watching them play together.  One of the students shared how we connected very quickly with the Honduran people.  The Honduran people are full of love for others and put others before themselves.  Our first medical clinic was a huge success and we all walked away with so much more than we went there with.  We were far more blessed than the 219 patients we saw this week. Thank you Campbell Medical School for a job well done.

"Well done good and faithful servant."
Matthew 25:23

Assessing the first clinic

The team returns to the mission house to get ready for clinic number two.  They sat around the dining room table discussing the pros and cons of their first experience.  These students were so intense and focused on their task at hand.  Their maturity level was evident in their commitment to the purpose of this mission trip.  This was not a vacation for these folks.  This was not their typical spring break. This was a huge learning experience and they took advantage of every single minute of it.  The entire week was like this.  Even down to making their lunches on a daily basis.  Dr. Francine could not get through with supper and she was ready to get her task done.  Dr. Francine and Dr. Charlotte made over 40 sandwiches every night with a smile on their faces.  Dr. Francine had a very special technique of applying the jelly to the bread.  I always learn something new here in Honduras.  Thank you ladies for providing a nutritious and delicious lunch daily for your team.
"I will praise the Lord, who counsels me, even at night my heart instructs me.  I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
Psalm 16:7-8