Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008: grateful

Today the staff housing housekeeper, Argentina, showed the boys and I how to make tortillas. We also made some beans and ate baleadas together for lunch.

I am grateful to Nelsy who lent my boys some toys from the apartment next to us.

Here are some things I have been writing down that I am grateful for over the last few weeks in Honduras:
-air conditioning
-lunches with Bryan
-gatherings with other people to look forward to
-kids laughter
-Marisela and Joshua
-desserts made by friends
-shared meals
-meals cooked by others for my family
-the Roch family
-older kids to entertain mine - Jocelyn, Naomi, Holly
-babysitters - Brianna, Guildy, Rosemary
-the beach
-the ocean/gulf waves
-bright, blue skies
-seeing millions of stars and the milky way on a clear night
-afternoon breeze
-borrowed vehicles
-close gas stations
-nap time
-books to read
-fresh tortillas and homemade refried beans

Please be in prayer for the Hospital Loma de Luz right now. They some internal Honduran personnel issues that need prayer. Pray for the reputation of the hospital in the local region and that Jesus will continue to be glorified in the work they are doing here.

Tomorrow, Friday, August 1st, is Bryan and I's 10th wedding anniversary! I am so excited to be celebrating this with Bryan! He is one amazing husband! I have a little surprise planned for him and you will read more details later. I am hoping to blog one more time on Monday before we leave Balfate on Tuesday. I can't believe we will be back in MN in 5 days! Our time here has gone so quickly and I can honestly say I have loved it! We hope to return and find more places like this to go and help elsewhere too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008: Driving Adventure

Today had a little adventure in it. This morning was a productive. I helped Zena out on her computer. The boys and I helped with some organization in one of the medical supply storage areas (bodega). The adventure came in the afternoon and evening.

We have been using the McKenney's big, old green truck and somehow it quickly got emptied of gas unknown to us when we thought it was just on 1/2 a tank. Some other people did take it for a longer drive and we suspect issues with the gas gage. Anyway, there was no longer enough gas to drive to the nearest gas station in Jutiapa. We tried to get one of the missionaries to help us out yesterday but I don't think it was enough of a priority. So today, I took things into my own hands and found out I could by a couple gallons of gas nearby to make it to Jutiapa to fill up.

This began the adventure. I took the boys and Rosemary, a bilingual 16 year old Honduran with me. She became my interpreter. We prayed for God to help us make it on the empty tank to the next town to buy 2 gallons and we made it thankfully. The gas came in big vegetable oil jugs and it was difficult getting it into the tank with the funnel because the wind blew the gas around.

Then began the long, bumpy journey to Jutiapa. I felt like I was driving a bus as I let people get in the back for a free ride. I dropped people off and more people got on. We made it to Jutiapa and unloaded the people and filled gas. We had a little translation problem with how much gas we wanted but it all worked out (1800 Lempiras of gas later). We also got some much-longed-for ice cream! Mmmmm, it was so good! We also stopped in town to get a few more fruits and vegetables. It was a long, bumpy journey back with cranky, sleepy kids but overall uneventful for Honduras. The adventure tonight started with a machete stab wound to a man's heart. They use machetes here as the most common tool and it seems every male has one at the age of 3 or 4, scary. He was rushed by ambulance to La Ceiba but in the meantime the trauma took our dinner guests away, John and Penny Alden, and Bryan too. So, I kept cooking and we all ate eventually. Bryan brought Dr. Renae back to eat with us. John and Penny eventually got some cold leftovers. The Honduran chicken and rice (arroz con pollo) I made sure was tasty and was enjoyed by all.

Bryan made the night more eventful by covering the ER tonight after dinner for Renae and seeing 2 patients all by himself, without an interpreter. Pretty impressive. I put 2 very tired, cranky and dirty boys to bed by myself.

Driving observations:
-I almost hit a chicken crossing the road and wondered if someone would come after me with a machete.
-If you hit a person with your vehicle, you have to flee the country because you will go to jail for life.
-Narrow, gravel roads and sometimes 1 lane...scary.
-People drive on the wrong side of curvy roads to avoid potholes--very dangerous around corners.

Update on machete man: he passed away last night and didn't get surgery. He was only 22 and it already buried nearby. They have to have the funeral and bury the dead body with 24 hours because there is no embalming. The community here is so affected by the hospital here that it feels similar to Rochester, MN and the Mayo Clinic environment. When there is something big happening at the hospital, everyone gets involved.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008: My Clinic Visit

Today I had fun being in Dr. Bryan's office with him. Doctors here are known by their first name. Brianna, a 17 year old from Pennsylvania here temporarily, watched the boys from 8am to noon so that I could help Doctora Bryan in the clinic.

I got to sit in the room with the patients, doctor and translator, which I can never do in the US. It was neat to see Bryan in action and see the care and concern he has for his patients. I also got to see and hear him speak a lot of Spanish. I enjoyed spending time with Bryan's interpreter, Guildy (Gwildy) too. My task for the morning was to take people to their next step - to the lab to get blood drawn or urine samples taken or to the pastor if they were done. From there they went to the pharmacy or paid before leaving. Everyone goes to see a pastor before they can leave. It is great to know that a fellow Honduran can tell them about Christ and his work through Loma de Luz Hospital and the workers here.

We saw a handful of patients including (1) an older lady with new diabetes, (2) another older lady with a trygliceride problem (too much fat in her blood), (3) a very sick baby, (4) a 4 year old boy who's not eating well, (5) an older man with a possible colon problem and (6) a young man with an esophagus problem that doesn't allow him to eat solids. The patient that struck me the most was the 13 month old baby girl. She is the youngest of 9 children and her mom was very tiny - probably a little over 4 feet tall. The baby girl and her mom had traveled 3 hours over the mountains and down the road to get to the clinic. The girl had a fever and hasn't been eating for twenty-some days, along with diarrhea. The baby has an ear infection and probably girardia causing diarrhea. She needed antibiotics and other meds and needs to be seen again tomorrow to make sure that the baby improves. In order to save them the 6 hour journey, Bryan admitted them to the hospital overnight. I am praying she gets better.

Another sad sick child is Joshua (ho-sway), our neighbor boy in staff housing. He is the son of nurse Nelsy, a nurse here. he is quite sick and may require hospitalization for rotovirus causing him diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. The really sad part of the story is that he has been gone for a week with friend/caretaker, Bessy, and her daughter, Marisela, to La Ceiba to see grandparents and Joshua's sister, Jenny. Marisela (3) was sick last week and now is better but Joshua (almost 2) is now sick. They haven't been able to return here because it has been too difficult for them to travel with sick kids. Nelsy stayed here to work but we are praying with her for Joshua to be able to return soon and not be hospitalized in La Ceiba because of the expense there. Joshua and Marisela became fast friends with Jaden and Clay the first week we were here but now they have been gone for a week and half. The boys have been praying for their little friends too. (An update, Joshua is getting better, no hospitalization needed, but they aren't returning till Tuesday, so we might not get to see them before we leave, sad.)

From my time in the clinic with Bryan, I soon realized that he has been enjoying it here so much because he gets to sit in air conditioning all day in his office. It was a nice break from the heat for me. Maybe that is why he is the last one to leave the clinic.

Today the boys and I also joined in on a backyard Bible club in a neighboring town taught by missionary Judy and a few mission kids. It was fun to watch the boys play and interact with Honduran boys even though they can't communicate with them verbally.

Monday, July 28, 2008: Afternoon Miracle

Today we tried to find entertainment in the morning at the hospital/clinic. We found one little boy, Joshua (ho-sway), to color with us while he was waiting for an x-ray of his previously broken arm. I enjoyed trying to communicate with the 4 year old boy and his mom. The kids had fun coloring.

After lunch I feel like I witnessed a miracle. From 12:45 to 2:45pm, there is an ESL (English as a Second Language) school that meets once a week for some local Honduran kids. Rosanne McKenney started it. She is a many-talented missionary (nurse, painter, mother, teacher, dreamer). The average age of the kids seemed to be between 8 and 10 but the material covered was very entertaining to my boys because it was all in English and at a preschool level. They sang lots of songs about the letter sounds and different countries and quoted a memory verse from the Bible. Then we all listened to the story, If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Jaden paid attention to the whole story and could even answer the questions about the story afterward that the teacher asked. After the story all of the kids made a little craft of a colored moose that they could put a paper muffin into its mouth.

The miracle was that both of my boys sat still for almost 2 hours for school! They don't sit still for that long for anything - not even a movie. It probably helped that they were tired and hot but that could have went the other way with naughty kids. I very much enjoyed the time with the kids and they got candy rewards for their exceptional behavior. I look forward to going to the school one more time before we leave.

Sunday, July 27, 2008: Enjoyable day

Today was a very enjoyable day and one I needed very much.

This morning we went to a church in Margarita with Norma (head nurse). It is also John and Penny's church (they are a midwife and nurse here). Norma started the church from a Bible study in an injured man's house. It is amazing to see what it has already become in just a few short years. I know God is using that church and the pastor to reach the community and He has big plans for that small church. My favorite part was listening to all of the kids sing many songs in Spanish. They were loud and energetic singer.

After church we had our favorite reoccuring meal of quesadillas. We are enjoying the refried beans and tortillas here very much. My boys can't get enough crema (similar to sour cream, but I think it is better, less sour).

This afternoon we had plans to go to another swimming hole and waterfall with Dr. Renae and a bunch of other people. Bryan went with the boys and they had a blast even though they couldn't swim up to the waterfall. They had fun playing in the water hole and a hot spring they found.

Bryan let me go with Molly (19) and Brianna (17) to 2 girls' house that they have been working with at the hospital. They live near the town square in Balfate. I had such a great time there. We swam in the Balfate beach which was beautiful and better than the beach near the hospital. We also made tortillas and refried beans and ate baleadas. We also learned some Honduran dance moves. The tortillas, beans and avacado were so yummy! That meal is known as baleadas here and the tortillas are eaten like tacos with whatever you want to put inside. I passed on eating the unpasteurized cheese and hope that Molly and Brianna don't get sick from it. I look forward to making my own tortillas someday. They are so good when they are fresh. The tortillas we made were not from a recipe but from experience. They were made of flour, baking powder, salt, shortening and warm/hot water. We mixed the dough by hand and formed it into balls and then flattened them to fry them on a griddle. The refried beans were made by pressure cooking the beans. Then putting them in the blender with water. Then they were fried in shortening and spices were added. The one food I still want to make and try here is their traditional Tres Leches cake.

Saturday, July 26, 2008: Jungle Drive

We had an adventurous day exploring the jungle with Dr. Renae. She took our family on some less traveled roads up the mountains, requiring 4 wheel drive. We adventured to a rocky river and to some people's homes in Las Flores and to a dam with a beautiful river. We walked down and back up the river for about 3 hours. It was very hot in the sun and we had some very whiney and tired kids. At the end we got in the water to cool off and the whining stopped. It was a nice end to our hike. Both boys somehow managed to fall asleep on the drive back. The road is incredibly bumpy and it was difficult to stay in your seat but they still slept.

We ended our day with a meal provided by Cindy and shared with Carl, Brianna (their family of 3 is here for 3 weeks and have been here 7 times), Leon and Judy (missionaries here).

Friday, July 25, 2008: Water and Pizza

Not too much happened today. I had a fun time playing in the water with my boys. We used the hose and made squirters and filled up lots of bowls and pitchers and dumped them out, repeatedly. It was a joy to make each other laugh and listen to the kids have fun.

The other good part of my day was making dinner for almost all of the people in the guesthouse. I made pizza dough from scratch which I've never done. The 2 pizzas turned out very well and ended up feeding 14 people when they were only planned to feed 7 but guests kept arriving and we invited them to join us. It was a good time of fellowship and hearing stories of what brought people here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008: Feeling productive

Here are some things that I have been up to:

-Today we (me and boys) helped put a layer of mud on a new mud house being built for a cripple lady
-Helped Penny Alden and Judy navigate some computer issues
-Dinner at Lucinda restaurant with Leon and Judy Greene
-Lunch at Jeff and Rosanne McKenney
-Dinner at Renee's with 2 movies
-Played with kids at the Children's Center
-Colored with kids in the clinic hallways
-Looked and found monkeys in the trees here. Still looking for toucans.
-Finished reading a book (For Women Only)
-I drove through 2 rivers by myself in an old beat-up truck.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008: Missing home

Small revelations:
-Bryan's working full time.
-I'm a full time mom with very few breaks.
-I'm not sleeping well because of heat, noise, boys and worries.
-Naps are needed.
-The missionaries are dreamers and I love it. I want to be more of a dreamer.

I miss home but I don't really have a home to miss. We have a new house that we own in Bloomington, MN but it is not home yet. We have not lived hteir and haven't unpacked. Rochester, MN was our home but it is no longer.
I miss they comforts of home more than an actual place.
I miss our comfortable queen size bed (instead of twins or our double now).
I miss air conditioning.
I miss familiar faces and places, family and friends.
I miss a clean bathroom.
I miss a clean kitchen.
I miss having a bug-free home (or at least many fewer bugs).
I miss music.
I miss unlimited computer time.
I miss my kids toys (so they can better entertain themselves).
I miss ice cream (difficult to get hom unmelted - 1 1/2 hour drive).
I miss the news of the US.
I miss the dishwasher.
I miss being able to flush toilet paper.

I know I am whining a bit. I have a lot to be thankful for and that will come another day. Today I'm just feeling homesick.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008: Too poor for medical care

Nap time went better. Going to try to put them down earlier again tomorrow.

The saddest thing about medical care in Honduras, Bryan and I have realized is that people don't have money for healthcare when they really need it. There is access ot all kinds of specialist doctors but people can't pay for them. They have to pay up front. People end up dying earlier because they can't get the care they need.

One example is a patient that Bryan had and still has. He is a man with a broken hip-54 years old. He can't work because he can't walk or stand well. he will end up dying early from a blood clot or something else caused from a broken hip. It would cost him about $1000 for the surgery he needs in the city because they don't do that type of surgery at Loma de Luz. He only makes about $800/year and doesn't have family that can contribute. They will try a make-shift procedure to help him since he can't do anything and no one should have to survive with a broken hip. Bryan has been praying for him a lot.

Monday, July 21, 2008: Nap issues

It is official--my kids are having nap issues. Today I put them in separate rooms. I took away their blankets, cuddly animals, pillows and held them in bed numerous times. It still took Clay an hour to fall asleep and Jaden another 20 minutes (better than the previous worst of 2 hours last week). It is torture while they play, hurt themselves, look out the windows, get out of bed, and poke and prod each other. I gave them rewards and priveleges before nap that got taken away too. I don't know what else to do.

Other than nap time, we've had fun. We made a lime dessert, limeade (yummy fresh limes) and played with new toys. We had lots of fun and very little naughtiness, except nap time. Tomorrow I'm going to try to put them down earlier. I have already tried laying with them and not laying with them--both times they were naughty. It doesn't matter if I leave the room or if I stay in the room. I am hoping that God gives me some new ideas to try. I did threaten Jaden that he would have to sleep on the dirty, hard tile floor if he didn't lay nicely on the couch. I know they are tired and need naps because they get quite cranky without them and they always seem to fall asleep, but it just take a long time.

I even sang extra songs and read extra stories because they were good this mroning and to help them calm down thoroughly before naps. I'm at the end of my rope and need some more to hang onto my sanity.

I got pooped on by one of the million geckos today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008: Christian fellowship

We had "church" this morning but it was not our usual church. First there was Sunday School and Bryan got to watch a video and some have some discussion with the adults. I was at the Children's Center for Sunday School where Judy has a little lesson fro a few kids. My kids were not entertained by the Spanish puppet show but they did enjoy playing with the puppets.

After that we had church in the little chapel beside the hospital where we listened to a sermon by Alaster Bagg on the computer. The kids did pretty well sitting but it only lasted about 15 minutes of the 30 minutes.

We had a wonderful lunch at the McKenney's beautiful Tuscan home. A few other's were invited and we ate some yummy grilled chicken. The McKenny's are the people that started everything down here from nothing. It is quite amazing what they have done in such a short period of time (about 8 years). We hungout there for awhile and saw a very mean bull sheep ram its head into their daughter, Hannah. She is one tough 10 year old girl and Jaden is obsessed with her.

We had a lot of fun going to a waterfall in a freshwater river in the late afternoon. It was a little difficult for the boys hiking over lots of rocky areas but we managed. The events of the day included driving through 3 rivers, Bryan diving into the water off a cliff by the waterfall, and Bryan and Clay going doing a rock waterslide into a deep pool created by the falls. We had a nice and late spaghetti dinner prepared by me that we shared with Dr. Renee. She is the friendly, young doctor who took us out to the Bamboo falls today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008: Road trip

Today I went with Iain (from Scotland) and the Roth family and 2 nursing students. Molly and Emily to La Ceiba. It is a larger city about an hour and half away. It was quite a fun journey. Only I returned with Iaen because we dropped everyone else off at different places. I only went along for the ride so that I could get groceries. I ended up having a wonderful tim at the grocery store all by myself even though I don't speak Spanish. I spent an hour perusing the aisles of the gigantic store, stocking up food for the next 2 weeks.

On the way to La Ceiba, I got to talke with Maggie, Emily and Molly about their lives and Maggie's family. On the way back to the hospital, I got to hear lots of great stories from Iain about how he came to know Christ and how God gave him a vision of starting a Children's Center/Home in Honduras. He is a man of great passion and breeds it in those around him. He also taught me about Hondura's history and more about the people and culture here. It was a very enjoyable time.

Bryan finally to the beack today with the boys while I was gone. I kind of wish he hadn't gone without me now because he is suffering with a bad sunburn. At least we brought aloe with lidocaine with us but I would have been happy to not have used it. I have had enough sunburns in my life to know that lidocaine works wonders on a sunburn.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008:

Last night we got to be apart of the missionary worship gathering. It was great to meet more people and see some faces again. There are a lot of missionaries gone for the summer and some people that left permanently so the numbers are done right now and work load is great. We had a nice time of praying and singing together while the kids played outside. I am grateful to the older kids entertaining my boys.

Both Clay and Jaden are having naughty streaks today. Jaden kept disrupting other people playing and got timeout repeatedly for taking toys away and being me to other kids. Clay got ahold of a red marker and colored all over 2 pillars and all over the stairway in the main shared space of the guesthouse. They both seem overly tired and are attempting to take naps now.

We are looking forward to having Bryan around on Saturday and Sunday. Also, Bryan doesn't have any overnight call at the hospital because he doesn't know enough Spanish to be there by himself. That is kind of nice for us but I think he is wishing that he had more time with the hospital patients. He has seen a lot of people in clinic and is getting better at his Spanish.

There was some sad news over the last couple of days. I lady died after complications from a hernia surgery. The good news is that she knew Jesus and her husband came to be a follower of Jesus through this whole process. God brings good things out of the horrible.

A man also came in late in the evening the other night with a gunshot would to his leg and it turned out pretty bad but even worse news is that he raped his stepdaughter who was with him. The missionaries here are incredible at giving care to the families at the hospital. They not only offer physical care to the patient but also support to everyone involved. We are just happy to be here to help them when their staff is low and they need extra workers.

Thursday, July 17, 2008: The Roths

We have become fast friends with the Roth family. They are staying in the same building with us and their girls have spent countless hours entertaining my boys. The mother of the crew, Maggie, is a surgeon's wife and understands the complication of a medical family. I appreciate all she has shared with me. Zach is the oldest child followed by Holly. The next two girls, Naomi and Joscelyn, have enjoyed playing with Jaden and Clay the most. They have spent a lot of time coloring, cutting, pasting and taping projects together. Holly comes in with extra energy when Naomi and Joscelyn get warn out.

I particularly relate to Naomi, being the 3rd f 4 kids. She's got spunk and I hope she gets the encouragement she needs to accomplish great things for God. She is high energy and a perfectionist, it seems. She is also skilled at many things. I am sure she will cause her parents worry but hopefully they will see her for the world-changer she might become. The father of the family is Mark and he is here doing general surgery for 4 weeks.

The whole family has gotten involved on this trip and they have been an example to me. Even the kids have all done their part at 14, 11, 9 and 8 years old. They all leave this Saturday and I am sure I will miss them. I will be waiting for new families to arrive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008: potty-training

Today the kids and the heat and the humidity wore me out. I tried to potty train Clay for half of the day because he has a bad diaper rash that the humidity and diapers are not helping. I think I might have been temporarily insane to try this because after accidents ad many more trips to the toilet, I surrendered to he diaper at 2pm. I thought that he might catch on quickly because he has already pooped in the toilet a couple times. I was wrong. The tile floors did make it easier to clean up the pee but nothing makes cleaning poop easier.

There wasn't much to do today and I feel ill-equipped to entertain my boys. They are having lots of fun but get into more trouble when not stimulated enough. We did make it to the beach again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008: Notes

Things I have taken not of in Roatan and Balfate, Honduras:

It is very hot and humid here. It is in the 80's but feels like 100+F. The humidity makes it so much hotter. When you stand in the sun, the sweat just pours out of your skin.

Honduran people have more difficult lives but people seem to have more focused jobs. The missionary families have gardeners and housekeepers. People work very hard here - lot of physical labor. The gardeners work and sweat all day outside.

The fruit here is amazing! I've had the best pineapple and mango ever - so juicy and sweet.

In the morning the air is so still but in the afternoon, the wind picks up and the breeze is so nice.

Jaden and Clay don't seem bothered by having sweaty heads and clothes all the time. They do need lots of water and are happy to drink it. Clay also needs his diaper changed more often. You can pray for him still because the diarrhea is back and his has bad diaper rash.

It is difficult to dry clothes here. Too much humidity it seems for the dryer to work well or maybe it's broken. (It is working now) Clothes don't dry well on the line when it's windy and you don't have clothespins - they blow away.

It still need communication with other people than my boys throughout the day. I enjoy filling a need. I want to feel useful.

The mosquitos are worse in North Dakota and Minnesota than here but they have a lot of other bug problems here.

Everywhere is noisy here - loud grocery store music, loud music in the mall, loud guesthouse with the piano and lots of kids, and very loud jet engine fans.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 14, 2008: emotions wild

Today was a very emotional day for me - not completely sure why. Life here is more difficult than in the US but it is manageable. I really hoped to connect with someone, anyone, and get to know this place better but that didn't seem to happen. Instead I felt hurt by people not being able to or wanting to talk with me. No one has shown me around and I haven't made it to the hospital yet. Me and the boys did make it to the beach this afternoon. I am also sleep deprived.

July 13, 2008: Honduras my new place

This is our first day in Balfate at the Hospital Loma de la Luz. There are so many first impressions going through my head. We were welcomed here by rain and mud, which I think is appropriate, and in the dark.

My first impression of the dorm/guesthouse/staff housing is that it is very dirty, smely and needs some good cleaning. It reminds me of the days at my church camp--Lakewood Bible Camp in Devils Lake, ND and days spent at my Marriott grandparents in Auburn, CA. The smells, bugs and uncleanliness bring fond memories of people and experiences to my mind.

Bryan asked me tonight if I am still sure we are supposed to be here. It is an appropriate question and not offensive because of the expressions on my face caused by this place. I told him that is not a question to ask and I am not asking myself that quetion. I do not WANT to be here but I know that we are SUPPOSED to be here so I don't question it. My concern is how will I best survive here. What will I need to do to be content for the next 3 weeks?

There is a lot of darkness around us but a corss is well lit up near us and high up. I greatly appreciate that reminder that Jesus is the reason that I am here. (in the morning I found out that cross is on top of the hospital)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

100th post

My 100th post is happening in Honduras, wow! I have been unofficially blogging for less than a year and I had hoped to reach 100 posts in that time. I am a very goal oriented person so I aim to post at least once a day and usually not more than once a day.

Since I haven't posted since we left Roatan, I thought I would update you on what has happened since then.

We made it on the boat ok and Clay was starting to feel better and the diarrhea had ended thankfully. We were prepared this time for motion sickness with dramamine for the boys and Bryan. We found out that the ride from Roatan to the mainland is usually better than the ride out to the island. We much appreciated that and no one got sick. I didn't see anyone throw up and Bryan, Jaden and Clay all slept through the boat ride, which probably helped too. We were hoping the dramamine would put them all to sleep.

On the boat ride I met Dr. Jeff McKenney when he came up and asked me if I was in the Jarabek family, which was a little frightening because he knew my name. I did not know him and didn't know that someone would be on the boat to give us a ride to the hospital in Balfate. His family was vacationing in Roatan for the past 6 days and was just returning at the same time as us to give us a ride. Another family met us in La Ceiba to get all 10 of us from the boat with our luggage.

We headed to the grocery store to stock-up for the next week and got some Wendy's for dinner. We road in some sort of jeep/land rover with a rack on top for our luggage. It just had two bench seats running along the sides for people to sit on. Our kids enjoyed the new journey. It starting pouring while we were eating and our groceries and luggage got a little wet, some more than others. Thankfully most of our stuff was in plast bags and ziplocs.

We got to Balfate after dark and quickly got settled into our room for the next week. We have 4 twin beds that we made into two king beds. Our room is pretty much all bed with a little sink area and we share a toilet and shower with another dorm room but it is empty right now. The bugs welcomed us with a wasp nest outside our bathroom window and the bugs have continued to be with us in all forms and sizes.

I plan to journal each day and will update the blog with those entries but this is all the time I have now. We are off to dinner with new friends.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

end of vacation

We have had a wonderful family vacation in Roatan, Honduras and it is coming to an end on Sunday. We have spent lots of time in the pool and walking on the beach and lots of time relaxing. We have had beautiful, hot and humid weather. We have sweat a lot but the beautiful scenery and ocean breeze make the heat more manageable.

We have our first episode of diarrhea and probably not our last. Clay could use your prayers for him to feel better soon. When we leave Roatan today, we will also be taking the same ferry back to the mainland that made Bryan and Clay sick. We hope that Clay is not dealing with throwing up and diarrhea at the same time. Please pray for him to make it through the ferry ride ok and pray for me while dealing with a sick husband and child and Jaden. Pray that Dramamine will help Bryan not get sick on the boat.

Sunday is a big day of travel from Roatan (island) to La Ceiba (mainland) and then to Balfate (hospital). Once we arrive in La Ceiba, a missionary should pick us up and take us to the grocery store and then we have at least an hour and half ride to the Loma de la Luz Hospital. Pray that every goes safely with this journey. Sunday night we should be staying in a guesthouse/dorm near the hospital. Bryan should start working at the hospital on Monday.

On a side note, the time here is mountain time; one hour earlier than central time and two hours earlier than eastern time. The sun sets earlier here too; about 6:30pm. Most of life shuts down at sunset because it gets pretty dark with not much lighting around.

Here are some pictures from our time in Roatan.

Friday, July 11, 2008

in Honduran paradise

Wednesday was quite the adventure getting to Roatan by ferry. We didn't realize the waves would be so big. We found out that Clay inherited the motion sickness gene from Bryan and both of them got quite sick. Clay and I left the boat covered in puke! There were many blue-shirted Honduran men that were saints to me on that ferry ride. They helped me move my boys and cleaned up Clay's throw-up all over the floor while Bryan was trying not to throw-up again by staying outside. Jaden slept through most of the ferry ride and I was able to take care of Clay. I have dealt with my kids throwing up before but this went to new heights. I had to sit in throw-up for about an hour and half until we got cleaned up at the hotel. We should have known something would go wrong when they handed out small bags for people to use while on the boat.

We have had a great time at our resort in Roatan. The kids are loving it here too! There is a 250 foot long pool that is very kid friendly with lots of shallow areas. We have the kids in their foam suits to help them float and they have floaties on their arms. They might be getting too brave in the water but they are loving it! We have been coating ourselves in sunscreen and bugspray repeatedly but we are still enjoying the sun and beach and water. No illnesses yet and we will keep praying for that not to happen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

we made it!

We are now at a hotel in La Ceiba, Honduras and we arrived with only a few glitches. The funny part about our trip was that we expected the most problems in Honduras but instead we encountered the biggest problems in Minneapolis.

Bryan had problems parking because we left our van for family to pickup but when you enter you have to use a credit card and you need it to leave because they don´t give you a time stamped ticket. Bryan eventually found a way around this.

The biggest problem of the day came when I was checking us in while Bryan was parking the van. We found out that during the summer and Christmastime there is a box embargo for several central American countries, one of which is Honduras. This meant that we could not take our boxes on the airplane. Our only option was to buy bags from American Airlines. This ended up costing us a little over $300 for 7 bags but they are nice, huge bags that we will hopefully use again and again for medical mission trips. We had to repack some boxes into bags and realized a little late that some of the boxes fit right into the bags. Things ended up working out well and Bryan and I got a good workout fixing things.

It is nice and hot and humid for now. It isn´t annoying yet because we have air conditioning. We are extremely tired after 14 hours of traveling and getting very little sleep last night. We are really looking forward to a good night of sleep in our first Honduran hotel.

Bryan has also been refreshing his memory of his Spanish and it has been very helpful. We didn´t have any problems with the Honduran airline other than a delay in the flight and sitting in a very small and gas-smelly plane. No problems with our overweight luggage and our excess of it. God was with us today even when dealing with cranky kids and cranky fellow passengers.

We are off to a little vacation in Roatan tomorrow.

Monday, July 7, 2008

We leave for Honduras tomorrow!

One more post before we go...

We leave for Honduras tomorrow!!! We will be up bright and early around 4am to get to our flight leaving at 7:20am out of Minneapolis. We are starting off the trip a little easier with 4 nights in Roatan (island off the coast of Honduras) for a little family vacation.

We could definitely use your prayer for the next 48 hours of transition and flying. We are taking 7 boxes of medical supplies, one large suitcase, 4 carry-ons and two hopefully-pleasant kids with us on our 11 hour journey from Minneapolis to La Ceiba tomorrow. Please pray that we don't have complications with our luggage through customs and getting to La Ceiba. Also pray for the journey from the airport to our first hotel in La Ceiba and for the transportation of the supplies to the hospital. We will take a ferry to Roatan on Wednesday and be there for 4 nights. We will be at the Loma de Luz Hospital on July 13th.

Today I am saying goodbye to a lot of luxury. The luxuries of Walmart and Target and going outside without bugspray and sunscreen every time. The luxuries of air conditioning and soft, comfy beds (well, I will hope for this in Honduras too). The luxuries of fast food and not cooking every meal. We will miss Minnesota and all of our friends and family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you as we are gone.

We are praying that God does some work on us while we are in Honduras. I pray that I have more of the heart of Christ and that my heart breaks when his does. I pray that I will appreciate my life in America more. I pray that he will use our family to bless the Honduran people and the missionaries there.

Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

i know i shouldn't be posting right now

I think my title is funny because I am telling myself what I don't want to hear. I am at Caribou Coffee using the free wifi because we have no internet service in Apple Valley, MN. Bryan is at home putting the boys to bed. We have had an extremely crazy past 3 weeks. I can't believe it has been 3 weeks of craziness but it truly has.

We leave for Honduras in 1 week!!!!!!!! I can't put enough exclamation points there. We have so much to do still, it seems. My head is swimming with stuff I am trying to remember at a moments notice. I am forgetting stuff all the time because there is just no room left in my head. I am emotionally, physically and whatever-else-ally spent! I just want to clear a little bit of stuff out of my head but I was unsuccessful in doing that in my last conversation with Bryan. I feel that God is stretching me to my limits. I also know that he knows my limits better than me and he is coming through when I need him in the small stuff. I just keep telling myself out loud that we are doing the "right" thing, the God thing that God wants us to do by doing this Honduras trip.

Even in the all the craziness God is calming me somehow. He calms me because I get to go through this craziness with my husband. He calms me when I am spent on finding modest yet stylish shirts (I dislike shopping) at a good price. I can't believe I just found 2 shirts at Walmart when I wasn't even looking. He calms me when my kids sleep. He calms me because I don't have to cook right now. He calms me when I know that he is providing financially for us in ways I never imagined.

Ok, enough deep thought trying to be understandable. Gotta get more done so I can sleep a little tonight. We are off to the Black Hills of South Dakota Wednesday morning for 4 nights and then one day to pack. We leave for Honduras in 1 week!!!! I know I already said that.

I hope to post again when we get to Honduras on the 8th/9th. Might not have a chance to before then. Love to all my readers. Thanks for caring and praying!