Tuesday, August 15, 2017

mission adventure in Honduras 2017

We experienced another great trip to Loma de Luz Hospital in Balfate, Colรณn, Honduras. Our friends, Jayme and Sandy, and their 4 kids came with us this year. They live in North Carolina and we are good friends from our Washington DC days. Jayme owns a business that sells car parts and worked on some cars while he was in Honduras. Sandy is an elementary school teacher and she led some VBS activities with Raquel in five of the villages with the Riley family, who are long term missionaries in Honduras. We ended up bringing the maximum 8 large suitcases of supplies again despite trying to bring less this year. We had requests for crutches and sunglasses before leaving and ended up bringing 32 collapsible crutches and 104 sunglasses along with some computer cords, a baby monitor, a GI endoscope bulb, a QBC (blood) machine and some school books and supplies (and more!). The first week was awesome with all 10 of us there to help out. We left on the ferry on Saturday, July 8th, and no one got sick. We got two weeks’ worth of groceries and then some Little Caesar’s pizza for the ride home. Ben (helpful teenage missionary) was our escort for groceries. Dave (technology missionary & more) took our baggage, but his truck broke down so he had to get a rental vehicle to drive home. There are often transportation adventures in Honduras.

While we were at Loma de Luz, a team from another church moved the playground we bought from donations in a previous year. The playground needed to be moved to make room for some new missionary housing up the hill, above the hospital. Now the kids of families at the clinic and hospital can play on the equipment located in front of the clinic instead of closer to the missionary houses. Below is the refurbished and relocated playground in process.

There are examples all around at Loma de Luz showing the generosity of others. Everything there has been built from the donations of caring people in the USA. Our generous friends and family (you on this email) have helped pay for many items at Loma de Luz, including soccer field fencing, wheelchairs, crutches, refrigerators, couches, digital x-ray, scanner, and many patients who couldn’t pay for their discounted medical care, along with many more items. This year we matched your donations and were able to donate $4330 toward getting another classroom ready at the El Camino Bilingual School (picture below) started by Loma de Luz. The school will now have 2 kindergarten classrooms and classes through 5th grade. They are in need of more teachers and teachers’ aides, so pass the word along if you know of a teacher wanting to have the experience of a lifetime serving and teaching in the countryside of Honduras (no Spanish needed). Thank you so much for your generosity and care for people in Honduras and your support of us on these mission adventures.

You can read more below about the details of our 2 weeks in Honduras.

Our friend, Jayme, worked on over 10 cars and is really quite skilled at all things vehicle related. He got two cars and a little three wheel truck going when all three were not working upon arrival and he improved many other cars. He brought down some shocks for missionary Dave's car as well. Sandy, Raquel, and the kids went with the Rileys and did VBS every weekday the first week we were there. They had 50-70 kids and many parents there each day as they taught them about Lazarus and played a lot of games. They went to the towns of Balfate, San Luis, Lucinda, Maradiaga, and Margarita and spread Jesus’ love to over 350 kids that week. They did bubbles, face painting, and a relay game where you wrap up a kid like Lazarus with toilet paper. The kids had fun breaking out of the paper. 

In the hospital the first week, Bryan saw people with diabetes, prostate problems, chest pains, colds, asthma, stomach pains, allergies, and thyroid issues. Dr. Peter, an amazing emergency doctor who serves down there, helped Bryan cut out a lipoma (growth). Bryan admitted a lady to the hospital with a necrotic (dead) right foot from diabetes for a below knee amputation. He also admitted another lady for an amputation of what they think is an osteosarcoma (cancerous tumor). She is only 24 years old. Below is the x-ray. She will need to get chemotherapy in the capital city, Tegucigalpa, so we continue to pray for her.

Bryan saw another young man that had a bone fracture two years ago and it got infected. He has a pathological fracture now and can't walk. Dr. Jeff, the surgeon who started this hospital, is going to try to fix it so he can walk again.

We met David, who is the director of security from Samaritan's Purse, while he was visiting Loma de Luz. While we were warming up to play ultimate frisbee he partially tore his Achilles' tendon that was weak because he had used some ciprofloxacin for a recent GI bug he got in Haiti. Bryan immobilized and iced it, and used two of the crutches we brought down and a boot for immobilization. Dr. Peter and Dr. Isaac did some ultrasounds with me the next day. Here is a picture showing some of the fluid and inflammation around his Achilles' tendon.

We were sad to say goodbye to our friends from North Carolina after a week of serving and creating a lifetime of memories together. We had such a great experience together and are looking for more people to serve with us in the future. Please talk to us if you are interested in joining us or going there on your own.

Over the weekend we went to the Bejucal waterfall which is our favorite. Bryan and Dr. Ryan crawled up the left side through the jungle to get to the top of the waterfall area. After that Jaden, Clay and Bryan did Jiu Jitsu for a second time with Dr. Peter and a bunch of Honduran boys. The new QBC machine Christine (lab manager) had us bring down is working. We took time to find the storage locations & deliver the many medicines, braces, arm slings, gauze, ortho glass, adult diapers, and eye glasses (among other things) that we brought with us. We even brought down a thermometer, BP cuff, and an oxygen regulator that got put to use. We had some amazing donations from a group called Matter in the Minneapolis area. 

During our second week in Honduras, Raquel used her computer talents to work on the Loma de Luz website: http://www.crstone.org/ named for their American non-profit, The Cornerstone Foundation. She also helped implement a process to scan in documents in the clinic check-in area and have the workers put the electronic documents into the EMR (electronic medical record) or computerized patient charts.

Here are a few of Bryan’s notes from his second week in clinic (read on for more details).

On Monday in clinic I saw a family with their father who had dementia and had not been verbal for the past 6 months and had stopped eating food. We determined he could still drink and I found him some Nestle shakes he could drink. I even called and talked to his sister in the USA and we talked about what to do if he stops eating. The family said he is a Christian and he would be going to heaven as we talked about the future. I prayed with him and his family and I look forward to seeing him with his new mind and body some day in heaven.

On Tuesday I taught a bunch of the doctors how to use the new auto sensing VPAP machine and set up the other machine we brought down to be in BiPAP mode. Both of these machines will help patients that need help breathing. It is going to be really useful to have the automated one in the ED (more commonly known as the ER) to help their COPD and heart failure patients. The auto adjusting machines are much easier to use and better tolerated by the patients because they automatically adjust the settings. We also got a large oxygen regulator to Dave Fields and I wrote up some of the issues with their EMR and workflows for Dave and Dr. Isaac.

On Wednesday I saw a few patients with blood pressure issues, back pain, diabetes and thyroid issues as well as a patient with 6 months of diarrhea with positive C. Diff, parasites, and colitis (many intestinal problems) that had not responded to treatments. We got him some new medicines and lined up a more detailed treatment plan.

On Thursday it was a slow clinic day but I saw a patient with a stable thyroid nodule that I ultrasounded myself. I was also able to let a mom know she was pregnant and celebrate with her.  On Thursday night Dr. Peter had his Jiu Jitsu ministry so I helped cover his call and saw three patients in the ED. One had panic attacks with palpitations. Another one had biliary colic and was 4 months pregnant. The third one had an STD and/or pyelonephritis.

On Friday morning I helped in clinic while Raquel taught employees how to scan papers into the EMR. Dr. Peter helped me do an ultrasound for a woman that has a new DVT and I started her on Coumadin. 
It was another amazing trip full of grateful patients and amazing missionary doctors and nurses. It is a blessing to be part of God's work in Honduras.”

We returned from Honduras challenged to live a life more in service to Jesus. We try to give what we can while we are there but always return receiving more than expected. The American missionaries and Hondurans give us great joy to be a part of their lives. Their lives are harder but simpler, and more focused on living intentionally while bringing Jesus’ light and love everywhere.

Thank you for praying, giving, and caring about us.

Raquel, Bryan, Jaden & Clay Jarabek

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Supported and blessed

I've never felt so supported by friends and family! We are on our way to Honduras and feel as though we have a large band of supporters behind us. We have friends who offered to get us to and from the airport, others who donated items for the 5k fundraiser race, teammates who gave us soccer equipment, and still others who helped us sort and gather medical supplies. And on top of that we have friends and family who donated money to be used in Honduras and are praying for us throughout this trip. Our church also prayed for us last Sunday. We are really feeling loved and supported.

We can't thank everyone enough for going along with us on this trip. You are truly a part of all we are doing in Honduras. We are so excited to serve others and use our gifts in Honduras.

If you want to give money to a great cause, you can still donate here: 
(enter Jarabek in the text box to find us)
We will be putting the money into a fund to help patients who can't afford their medical expenses and possibly using the money for other great causes in Honduras at Hospital Loma de Luz. 
We will update you about this in a couple weeks. You can still donate any time. We are in Honduras 6/30/16 to 7/19/16. 

Thank you for praying, giving and going with us on this journey. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"God I look to you..."

"...I won't be overwhelmed." Great lyrics keep echoing in my head from a few songs lately.

In 2015 Bryan and I each lost a grandparent. Despite them living long lives, they have not been easy losses to bare.

Bryan's greatly loved Grandpa Victor Dracy passed away December 19, 2015 at 85 years old. This made for a very difficult Christmas season. Everyone is still adapting to life without Victor, especially Bryan's grandma after being married 60 years.

On May 1, 2015, my Grandma Alma Vilhauer passed away after 95 years. This was a hard loss for me. She was my favorite grandma, the one I shared some similarities. I enjoy having lots of memories with her but really wish I would have made time for more while she was still healthy. A year after her passing, I still wish I had more good times with her. I treasure the time and memories I got to have with her.

While processing the deaths of two dearly loved grandparents, I have listened to three songs on repeat many times. The meaningful songs are by Sara Groves, one of my favorite singer-songwriters. Below are the three songs with a shortened version of the lyrics. I am listening to the songs once again. They soothe my heart and mind as I remember my grandma's death one year ago.

"What Do I Know"

I have a friend who just turned eighty-eight
and she just shared with me that she's afraid of dying.
I sit here years from her experience
and try to bring her comfort.
I try to bring her comfort
But what do I know? What do I know?
She grew up singing about the glory land,
and she would testify how Jesus changed her life.
It was easy to have faith when she was thirty-four,
but now her friends are dying, and death is at her door.
And what do I know? What do I know?

She lost her husband after sixty years,
and as he slipped away she still had things to say.
Death can be so inconvenient.
You try to live and love. It comes and interrupts.
And what do I know? What do I know?

Oh, what do I know? Really, what do I know?
Well, I don't know that there are harps in heaven,
Or the process for earning your wings.
And, I don't know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
Or any of those things.

But I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord,
and from what I know of him, that must be pretty good.
Oh, I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord,
and from what I know of him, that must be very good.

"Going Home"

I've been feeling kind of restless
I've been feeling out of place
I can hear a distant singing
A song that I can't write
And it echoes of what I'm always trying to say

There's a feeling I can't capture
It's always just a prayer away
I want to know the ending
Things hoped for but not seen
But I guess that's the point of hoping anyway

Of going home, I'll meet you at the table
Going home, I'll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be home

I'm confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with you in sight

But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be

Cuz this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

"He's Always Been Faithful"

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God's hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He's always been faithful to me

I can't remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can't remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He's always been faithful to me

This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I've heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He's always been faithful, He's always been faithful
He's always been faithful to me

Many of our memories get stored in pictures as well as our heads. These are some pictures I will keep near for awhile.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

share your craft

I had a tinge of jealousy recently when I heard about a friend starting a new part-time business. It wasn't the business that I was interested in but instead it was her joy and passion for doing something that she cared about while her kids are at school.

I left that interaction with my friend and got in my car and heard this on the radio, "If you don't use your craft, you will be grumpy." So true! The radio conversation continued to discuss using your art or craft and sharing it with others. Everyone has a craft or art that they can share.

Both of these thoughts stir something inside of me. I know everything is better when I am using my skills and talents. I am more fulfilled and others get to enjoy what I am good at doing too. I am taking another break from working this school year. The third break I have taken. I know the feelings I get when not working. I know I am better when using my craft and skills and sharing them when others.

I will get to a time again when I am using my skills more fully but that time is not right now. I am trying to enjoy the benefits I have in life because I am not working despite the cloudiness (or grumpiness) I have from not using my craft. Whatever your craft is, get out and use it and share it with others.

Monday, November 2, 2015


I have been handing out the consequences easily lately; mostly to my boys but in my head to anyone and everyone. I strangely like punishment to others and to myself but it also doesn't feel right or good. I am trying to better assess the ways I am trying to correct and teach my two boys. I know I could do better and am trying to figure out how. This has made me think of two stories from my past.

First story. In my first year of marriage, I got a parking ticket at college. I was ashamed and didn't tell Bryan. I paid the ticket and kept it to myself. I felt bad for the stupid action of running late to class and parking where I knowingly should not have parked but hoping I could get away with it for a little while. I was caught and had to pay the price, literally for my actions. I paid the $20 parking ticket and thought I could just forget about it. I knew that $20 was a big deal to us at the time but also that Bryan could easily never find out. The thing was that I couldn't just forget about it. I thought about it repeatedly. At my core I really like to be honest about everything. I am terrible at keeping secrets. Honesty comes easily to me and I have to work hard to hold back the truth sometimes, even when it will hurt others. About two weeks went by and I couldn't take it any more. I had to tell Bryan. I knew he would be disappointed in me. I was sure what he would say and expected it not to be nice. I planned on getting hurt and feeling worse but knowing that I could live more freely and get it off my mind. It seemed worth it to spill the truth and move on with life. So the day came and I told Bryan. His reaction blew me away. It wasn't at all what I expected. He listened calmly to my short confession. He said it was no big deal. I felt a huge weight from my actions and he was saying no big deal! What?! I couldn't figure out how to emotionally recover. This was such a big thing to me and mattered so little to him. I have went back to this story in my mind repeatedly. I felt like I kept a terrible secret from him and he had all the perspective I needed. He appreciated that I told him. I promised to never keep a secret from him. He downplayed the whole thing. I loved him more. I felt more accepted and more loved. Amazing and healing. Powerful and I want more of that.

Second story. I was in high school driving to meet my boyfriend and future husband who lived 100 miles away from me. My motherly older sister loaned me her car to drive to him. This was a first! I took advantage of her generosity. I was running later than I planned and later than I told Bryan so to make up for lost time, I drove fast. I drove very fast, faster than I'd ever driven. I got pulled over by a cop. This was not my first time getting pulled over for speeding, but the previous time, I was barely speeding and in town. This was significantly over the speed limit and on an interstate. I was irresponsible and reckless but still thought I was safe--teenage immaturity. I got a ticket for over $50, cheap by most state standards. I drove off later than ever to make it to see Bryan. He was just happy to see me and didn't care about the ticket. I had the money to pay for the ticket from working and paid it even though it was very painful. I was 17 years old and figured that my parents were likely to get something in the mail about my ticket even though I had the papers and paid the ticket and they never saw or heard about it. I checked the mail every day for a week. I figured maybe I'd get off easily and nothing would be sent to my house. Maybe my parents would never find out. I underestimated the time for a letter to get to my parents. About two weeks after my ticket, a letter came in the mail and my parents opened it. It had all the information about my ticket. I was caught! My parents gently confronted me about it. I told them I already paid it and apologized for not telling them. My grace-filled parents were done with their parenting but my sister was not done. My sister not-so-gently informed me that I would never be driving her car again and definitely, not ever, would be driving to visit my boyfriend again. Ouch! I screwed up. I didn't like this consequence. It hurt and I felt like I had already learned my lesson from the cop and the money I lost. This extra consequence stung and left a bad aftertaste.

These two stories have reminded me that I want to leave my boys learning a lesson but also make sure that I leave them with a good aftertaste. Lately I know I have been leaving my boys with a terrible taste in their mouths. They remind me that I already gave them a consequence or they negotiate for lesser punishment. I know I went too far and the lesson has been made foggy. I need more grace for each of my boys, my husband and for myself. Grace teaches and heals. Grace leaves us wanting more grace.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Honduras recap

We had another great trip serving in Honduras. We are just happy to use our skills and talents to help others. Bryan served in the clinic at Loma de Luz 3 days a week and also did overnight call for any emergencies that came in while he was trying to sleep. I had the opportunity to help out the IT missionary, Dave Fields, with a few projects, some of which I am still completing. I spent most of my time updating the charge sheet that is used for every clinic visit. I met with lots of different people at the clinic to get their changes and input. I completed a few revisions of the Costas de Clinica form with some help from Bryan too. By the time we left, they had an updated version that will be ready to use soon.

My highlights from the trip are sharing meals with friends/missionaries, serving at the dump in the city and watching my boys make friends with kids in Honduras. We forgot to take any pictures of our meals and the people that we shared the table. I will try to do better at this next time. Those are truly the memories I cherish. Helping with Lisa Bradley's ministry at the dump in the nearest large city, La Ceiba, is always a favorite activity of mine. We walked around and checked in with a variety of families in need of help. Then we served a meal to the kids including bread, beans, rice and milk. There is a feeding program that provides a meal twice a week to the kids who live near the dump. Even though it is only twice a week, it is decreasing the malnutrition seen there. I loved watching the boys play with missionary kids and Honduran kids. We got a few pictures of the boys playing and I hope that their new friends will still be remembered the next time we travel to Honduras.

I love that Jaden and Clay wanted to share about Honduras with their classes at school. They each took in a DVD of pictures and video clips, showed a few toys they bought in Honduras and shared some Honduran candy. This was a great opportunity for them to talk about what they do in Honduras and why we go there. Jaden started to get this a little more just recently. He came home and explained to me what dad did in Honduras and how he showed love by playing with the foster kids. I loved his explanation of this. I really hope and pray that he wants to help others because of our example as parents.

Here is a link to our pictures. Enjoy!

A few of my favorite memories...
Here the boys are playing Skip-bo with Matthew (visiting medical student) and Tammy. They played many games together during our 2 weeks. We also shared a few meals around this table.
Below is a picture near the entrance to the dump. Lots of garbage around and the houses are made mostly of found materials.
Here the boys are playing soccer with 3 of the foster boys. I love the goal made with wooden posts and often the Hondurans play barefoot. Two of my nephews (3 and 5 years old) donated some of their money for us to buy 2 soccer balls that we left with the foster kids.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bryan's summary of Honduras

Honduras is a beautiful country filled with mountains, jungles, monkeys, toucans and friendly Honduran people.  It is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and has all the things that you would expect for a country struggling in this way.  The crime rate is through the roof, roads are often not repaired or just gravel, electricity goes in and out often, cellular reception is hit or miss, the teachers are often on strike because the government doesn’t pay them, many children don’t go to school past the 6th grade, if at all, and there are limited job prospects.

There are remote areas that still have mud huts with thatched roofs, no clean drinking water and people who don’t know or understand that bacteria from water, plants or other sick people cause disease.  The need is great and that is exactly why God placed a hospital called Loma de Luz in one of those remote areas off the northern coast of Honduras.  My wife, Raquel, my 8 year old son, Jaden, my 6 year old son, Clay and I try to travel down there every year to help the missionaries serve the people in Honduras, supply them with resources, and bring them encouragement that what they are doing is making a difference for the people they serve and for God’s kingdom.

This year was another great adventure.  The adventure started out a little rough because when we arrived at the airport to check our baggage at 3:30 AM, and found out Clay’s passport expired in 87 days and Honduras requires 90 days.  Too bad they didn’t tell us that when I put the passport information in when we bought the tickets or even when I put it in again when I checked in online the day before.  Oh well, we loaded all the supplies back up and the next day we got an emergency passport and headed off to Honduras.  When we arrived we met our driver that took us from San Pedro Sula to La Ceiba, got some groceries and headed on the dirt road out to the hospital.  It was a pleasant surprise to find that all the rivers to get there now have bridges so we didn’t have to drive the truck through the rivers. 

Raquel was her usual friendly, hospitable, and computer-savvy self.  She had tons of missionaries over to our place, treated them all to delicious home cooked meals, and gave encouragement to all the amazing missionaries working at Loma de Luz. She also helped with a lot of IT projects on the computer including making a new form for ordering/billing for the entire hospital and updating the internal hospital website.

Jaden and Clay played with the Honduran kids and befriended three foster boys from the Children’s Center named Luis, Manuel and Ever. It is great to see Jaden and Clay share their toys with the boys and love them so much while we are there.

The day after we arrived I jumped into work at the clinic.  I saw the normal patients with high blood pressure, headaches, diabetes, arthritis, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin infections, and broken bones.  We have basic labs, an EKG machine, an x-ray machine and even a new ultrasound machine.  I fix the things I can, educate the patients in a way they can understand, and pray with some of the patients when I am prompted. All of the patients meet with a pastor after we are done and the whole community knows this place is all about showing God’s love to them as we follow Jesus. One major difference from here is that Honduran culture does not separate the physical from the spiritual. You can talk about both aspects together. Everyone there knows they affect each other and are both important.

I also had medical mystery patients including a man who had his skin peeling off for the last 3 months all over his body (likely autoimmune or some strange bug bite according to a dermatologist in the US), a pregnant woman with abdominal pain and jaundice that was likely from a common bile duct stone, and a lady with atypical chest pain.  The lady with the chest pain, we will call her Maria, was 62 years old and had a left sided chest pain that sounded like reflux or arthritis in the joints of the chest when she first described it.  Her EKG was normal and we did not have anyone to do an ECHO or a treadmill stress test. I was going to let her go home with more reflux medicine and Tylenol. This was her 3rd time to the clinic for this and she was scared about the pain. We prayed about it and while praying I got, or was given, the idea to try to do a stress test. I thought this would be negative and I could give her more reassurance. I had her walk down to the gate and back up the large hill as fast as she could and I asked our Honduran tech, Tomas, to do another EKG right after she came back when her heart was still racing. When she got back she had all her chest pain and said she felt like she was going to die. Tomas strapped on the EKG and sure enough there were new large ST depressions in the lateral leads on the EKG suggesting this pain really was from blocked arteries in her heart. After a few minutes the chest pain went away and she started to feel better. We got her started on all the right heart medications, blood pressure medications and cholesterol medications this time and I am hopeful we can treat this medically now that we know what it is.  After treating her I was thinking back to when I was taking time to pray with her.  It struck me how prayer not only gives us a chance to talk to God, but it also makes us take a moment and let him talk back to us.  I am so grateful that I have a God who cares so much about an elderly lady on the remote coast of Honduras that he makes me change my mind and come up with a new way to get the test she really needed.  I love being a part of God’s work! 

I also had the chance to take some great pictures of a toucan and monkeys on this trip! This was my first time capturing a toucan picture.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Home from Honduras

We are home but getting home injured my attitude. Yesterday morning I had a bad attitude and a negative perspective that lasted all day. I'd like to think it was justified but really it wasn't. We left our hotel at 4:45am to arrive 2 hours before our flight, so I was tired which was a bad start. On the up side we were ready to be going home. We had a great time serving and helping in Honduras but were spent and ready to get back to our routine of life.

At the airport in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, I requested bag tags and had to wait. I wasn't sure the attendant heard my request or cared about it but I knew it was important because they have tagged our bags wrong on past flights. After taking her time she got me tags for me to fill out. Then she was ready to check our bags but there weren't tags on them yet so we were already at risk of someone taking them before they were ready. I had the first one tagged and the luggage handler grabbed the bag. I gave the workers a frustrated look because it wasn't tagged with the airline bar code yet. I told Bryan to not let them take the bags until they were tagged. He helped. After the bar code tags were all printed, the same female attendant went to tag our bags and grabbed the wrong bag behind her. I let out a frustrated sigh and rolled my eyes. I corrected her and was thankful that we chose to stand there and watch. Our bags would have been tagged wrong again. She didn't even care that she almost tagged the wrong bag. It seems as though they don't care if they lose anyone's luggage. They need better customer service in Honduras and respect for people's stuff.

I know I overreacted but my day was already headed in the wrong direction. Our ticket had the wrong gate number on it so we waited in the wrong boarding line to get on our plane. Thankfully our plane was still boarding but it is so frustrating to not have any signs telling you which gate is going where. Then while waiting nicely in line we were rudely told to wait in a straight line "like this!" which we were already doing. I wanted to respond with, "Americans know how to wait in lines," implying Hondurans are the ones that need to work that. I am glad I bit my tongue but the thought was already released in my head. I needed to start letting stuff go but instead of doing that, I just felt like I was ready to be back in the U.S. even more.

My attitude was poor and I didn't change it. I can make excuses of being tired, exhausted, spent from working hard for 2 weeks but in the end I am a messed up person who makes bad choices. People may think highly of the work our family does in Honduras but we are no better than anyone else. We still screw up and are rude to people and say things we regret. I know deeply that I need God's forgiveness. He is the only one that can refresh and renew me. I thank Him often for his grace and his many many chances at trying to live a life that is full of love.

I am so happy to be home, more than I can ever remember in the past. I needed the comforts of home today. My boys needed the comfort of routine. I needed rest and sleep and a break from a few projects.

Our work in Honduras was worth the extra effort but it truly was extra effort at times. We love investing in people there. We enjoy helping out the missionaries and making new friendships with Hondurans. We gave of our time and efforts and used our talents. We will do it again and again. We will go back next year. But right now I am appreciating life in my home in Bloomington.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Honduran friends

Today we finally made it to the beach for the first time and we leave Honduras in 2 days. I am not sure we will make it to the beach again before we leave which is sad. Our time is going by so fast and there is always more we want to enjoy here.

My two boys wanted some friends to come with us, particularly one boy, Louise. He lives at the Sanctuary House Children's Center near the hospital. The McKenzie family are the Scottish missionaries that are the founders and directors of the Children's Center and have some of the biggest hearts around. They are truly inspirational people. We ended up having 3 boys come with us to the beach. Angel, Ever and Louise were able to join us in walking through the sand, jumping waves, fighting over floaties, swinging on vines and lots of laughter. After we had enough sun and suspected a sunburn coming (and it did later), we began heading back and decided to invite the boys over to our place for some playing. We stopped by the house to get permission and ended up with a new threesome of boys, Manuel, Ever and Louise. I knew that Bryan was on-call for the hospital and I needed to get some food ready for our potluck dinner soon at the Thursday night Fellowship with all the missionaries. I was hoping that Bryan didn't get called in and that the 5 boys could play nicely together with little interaction from me if Bryan had to leave. I was a little concerned about taking on this endeavor of 5 boys for the afternoon but hoped that it would work out for the best. All 5 of the boys were happy to extend their time together.

Bryan did not get called in for any emergencies and the 5 boys turned into 6 + 3 grown boys. I think all the boys had fun. There were lots of snacks and jugo (juice) consumed and there was lots of running. I checked in on them once in awhile as I was preparing food and saw them playing soccer, bean bag toss, tag and some other running game with teams. They all had a blast together. Each of them helped me carry food over to the chapel. This was a new experience for at least 2 of them to get to be part of the Missionary Fellowship on Thursday night. I knew that the McKenzie family was planning to meet us there and they would take the boys home that night. Everything couldn't have went smoother. The 5+ boys even sat through singing, a short sermon and prayer time. I was very proud of them despite my 2 boys asking "How much longer?" about 100 times.

I love that Jaden and Clay always seem to make friends when we come to Honduras. In the past, the friends were usually missionary kids, but this time the friends they will remember will be Honduran. I love that they found a connection with some boys that have very different lives than we live in Minnesota.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wonderful Easter in Honduras

 We had one of the best Easter's ever and it was in Honduras. I wasn't sure how much it would feel like Easter because of being in another country and not knowing if any traditions would still be celebrated. Things all came together at the last minute. I brought down a few toys to hide for the boys to find in their Easter baskets (bags) hiding around our temporary housing. They had a great time searching for them and eventually found them tied to a tree and buried in a bush. Then we were off to church with the missionary families. Bryan was on call in the hospital/ER and was tending to people off and on all day but was able to enjoy church with our family. They had a guest speaker who is here with a mission group from Tennessee and he told a very powerful story relating to Jesus' scars that remind us of his sacrifice for us. The missionaries have a tradition here of putting flowers on a woven cross as a symbol of the life that is found from the cross of Jesus. Everyone enjoyed doing this and seeing the beautiful transformation of the brown cross to one full of life and color.

 After church we shared a meal with our sponsor family, Rimas and Abby Miknaitis and their 2 kids. I prepared au gratin potatoes and ham and they were delicious. I will definitely be making them again in the U.S. I have a tradition of making carrot cake for Easter. I love it but eat too much of it if I make it more often. The carrot cake was an effort of love by many people. It is not easy to get all of the ingredients or items necessary to make a cake here so many people came together to make this happen. I had most of the ingredients but got cream cheese and powdered sugar from the Tumlison family. I needed additional powdered sugar which I got from the visiting Woodley family. I also didn't have a hand mixer which I borrowed from another neighbor family. I eventually found two round cake pans (with Bryan's help) after borrowing one from that neighbor. I was happy to share the cake with all of the people that helped. There was more than enough cake to go around and I think everyone enjoyed the reward for their contribution.


After lunch 5 of the families here had planned an Easter egg hunt for our kids. There were 10 kids and after adding up everyone's contributions we had 130 stuffed plastic eggs. This made for quite a nice egg hunt. The kids all had a blast finding eggs and enjoying the treats and toys after opening them. Then in the evening, our friends the Tumlisons invited everyone over for a bonfire. This was a nice treat because the temperature was not too hot to enjoy it. We sat around and went through the Resurrection Eggs and talked about the Easter story with the kids. There was also some singing around the fire and Jaden kept requesting more songs although he didn't know any of the words to sing along. We had an amazing day filled with fun and friends, celebrating a holiday that means so much to us.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

daily life in Honduras

Here is our life in pictures and a little description of the common things in our lives over the last few days at Loma de Luz, near Balfate, Colon, Honduras.

Lots of time for the boys to sit and play in the hammocks. This is their favorite activity. A close second is Uno or Skip-bo card games.
 There has been lots of time for soccer with other kids.
 Much time is spent in our little apartment. Here is our family bedroom with the much requested fan. The temperatures this time have been much more mild in the mid 70's and 80's.
Here is our kitchen and dining room and main living space. You can see our small Honduran fridge. Our food in bags and containers on the counter to protect from bugs, mice and gecko poop.
 The essential bathroom in our apartment. Crosses are found here in unusual places but why not put one in the shower. It is a good place to think about the cross. More time than is wanted is spent on the toilet right now. The ever present garbage can by the toilet, required for disposal of all toilet paper. Reminds me how much I appreciate our sewer system in the U.S.
  Bryan took this amazing picture of a toucan right beside our apartment. There is lots of wildlife nearby. We have seen a few toucans this trip but have only gotten to hear the monkeys from a distance so far.
 This is one of the general living spaces which comes in very handy for some active boys. Today the soccer ball was taken away after breaking a ceiling fan and will not be returning to this room.
 We have been doing lots of walking...to the Children's Center, to the Bilingual School and even once to the pool. We have avoided the beaches nearby so far but will make a trip there soon. The beaches here get busy during Semana Santa or Holy Week before Easter. This week will be calmer at the beach and I am sure we will visit a few times.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

back in Honduras

We arrived in Honduras 2 days later than our original plans but were happy to make finally make it here! We   were picked up by a van taxi driver to take us to the hospital and were pleasantly surprised by his large van and all of the space we had despite our 16 pieces of luggage. We drove through some heavy downpours. There were many flooded houses along the roadway and lots of water on the road. We weren't sure if we were going to make it to the hospital. Our driver lived in the city and at the last minute decided he didn't want to drive us all the way. We thought we might have to stay in a hotel in the nearby city (1.5 hours away from the hospital) when our host missionary, Dr. Abby, was able to work out a ride for us with another missionary family. The rain had lessened by this point and there are now bridges over all the rivers that we used to have to drive through to get to the hospital. It was quite an uneventful drive with enjoyable conversation.

Since arriving last night, Bryan got to work in the clinic today. I took a walk with the boys and visited the Children's Home and reconnected with some missionary friends. We made our first dinner meal tonight and shared it with new friends.

I am happy to be in Honduras. But I am also challenged by lots of little things...the bugs, dirt, lack of lighting, bleaching fruits and veggies, itching skin (from mosquito bites) but the majority of me is enjoying our life here. The boys are happy and playing and fighting. Just living into their normal routine with each other. I love seeing them enjoy being here. They were so excited when we arrived to the staff housing building (our hotel) that they ran inside and immediately checked out all of the common spaces. I got to enjoy their happy laughter and excitement in exploration of our new home for the next 12 days while we unpacked our bags.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Donation Blessing

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to many friends and family that donated to our Honduras trip. We are so encouraged by you and that you are choosing to put your money toward something that we care deeply about. Bryan and I have been talking and praying about what we should do with all of the donation money. In the past we have used it to cover our expenses for airfare, housing and food and used some of it to bless the missionaries and hospital with requested items. This time around we really want the money to go to Loma de Luz (the place where we serve) and meet a larger request for them. We are not sure what that larger item(s) will be yet. One idea is to purchase a refrigerator for staff housing and temporary guest housing. Here is the short list of requested items that are in consideration for purchasing while we are in Honduras.
     - medium sized chest freezer for storing chicken & goat meat raised at the farm, 15-20 cu. ft.
     - 2 dorm size fridges
     - 5 new or newer refrigerators
     - 2 new or newer stoves/ovens

If you are interested in donating to a great cause and supporting the work we do alongside many other missionaries, you can go here to donate to us through World Medical Mission/Samaritan's Purse. You need to enter "Jarabek" in the text box labeled Find Dr/Medical Professional. We will be notified of your donation and add it to the group purchase. Thank you so much for your support!

If you want to see more of Loma de Luz, here are 3 of the best videos:
Loma de Luz with the founder, created by Samaritan's Purse
Children's Center
Loma de Luz Hospital with a few of the missionaries

Minneapolis layover to Honduras

We should be on our way in an airplane to Honduras right now, but instead we are having a "layover" in our house. We got somewhere between 4 and 6 hours of sleep last night to leave our house at 3am this morning. We headed to the airport for a 5:15am flight to Houston and then were to catch our connecting flight to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. All the details were set. We had a ride from the airport to Hospital Loma de Luz and our groceries were being purchased today. All of that changed at around 3:50am when we were at the computer kiosk to check-in to our flight. A United airlines agent helped scan our passports and a warning came up when Clay's passport was scanned in the computer. Travel not permitted for Clay Jarabek. Ugh! Enter sinking feeling in gut. What did we do? What did we miss?

The agent kindly explained that Clay's passport was about to expire...in 87 days and he can not travel to Honduras unless he has 90 days until his passport expires. My first reaction was that Bryan and Jaden should just go and Clay and I can get this fixed and meet them there to save us some money. Then Bryan responded that we will all go together. It is safer that way. Clay burst into tears. He thought we may leave him. I comforted him. Bryan got a little upset but was still relatively calm for the average person. He talked and investigated and talked some more. Was there any way to fix this or get around this? No. We would have to get his passport extended or get a new passport for him and rebook our tickets.

We worked with 2 kind-hearted, gracious ticket agents at United airlines. They were calm when Bryan did not want to be calm. They understood what we were going to do in Honduras and that we were carrying a lot medical supplies with us. One agent kept referring to Bryan as "doctor." The other agent willingly rebooked our tickets and did not charge us change fees or the additional cost of the new flight times! We believe God is always with us and sometimes He works things out to make our lives easier.
Today we will be watching more college basketball and trying to enjoy our somewhat relaxing day. The boys are enjoying some additional computer time today. Clay will be getting new passport photos today too. So our new plans include a trip to to the passport office in Minneapolis on Monday morning. Too bad they are closed on Sundays but at least this does not require a trip to Chicago any more. Then we are off to Houston on Monday afternoon. We will stay in a hotel near the airport and then will be on our way to Honduras on Tuesday morning, March 26th. Everything for us in Honduras will start 2 days later than planned but we are still going and I'm sure it will still be an unforgettable trip.

My arms have gotten quite the workout in the last 8 hours. I hauled all of our bags inside the airport (with some help from 2 amazing boys) while Bryan parked our car. Then we moved them back out to our car as we left the airport. Here is our total luggage count...not a record but still quite a load: 1 large suitcase with items for our family and missionaries, 7 large luggage bags (6 with medical supplies and 1 with toys for the foster kids at the Children's Center), 4 carry-on suitcases (with our clothes) and 4 backpacks (with education and entertainment). All of that got loaded back into our Mazda 5. And, yes, Bryan has all the seats moved as far forward as possible. Still amazing that we all fit in there with our luggage. This picture is missing the backpacks on our laps.