Friday, August 29, 2008
We are off to Jamestown, ND to see my family and for a family anniversary celebration. I will update things on Monday or Tuesday.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Here is a link to the pictures.
Here are a few of my favorites.
The Loma de Luz Hospital
One of the thousands of geckos we lived with and heard. They are small but put out an amazingly loud clicking noise. We liked them because they ate the bugs.
This was our last day in Honduras and we spent it at the city dump in La Ceiba. It was my favorite day because it just broke my heart. I can't believe that people live at the dump and survive on so little. They are uneducated and don't take advantage of the education they could get as kids. I think this leads to lives without ambition and the cycle continues for their kids and grandkids. This day embodies the worst of Honduras and how much help is needed there. This place made my heart grow for Honduras and want to help them more.
My wonderful, sweet Honduran friend, Argentina. She knew very little English and I knew very little Spanish but we still managed to develop a friendship. She is the housekeeper for staff housing and is a hard worker. She taught me how to make flour tortillas and pastalitos (fried sandwich pockets).
Bryan's favorite day was on our 10th anniversary, August 1, 2008. We had a babysitter and took off for the afternoon and evening by ourselves. We went to a waterfall and swimming hole area with hot springs. It was so beautiful to be out in the jungle together.
Bryan in his doctor's office where he saw many clinic patients. He also admitted some patients to the hospital and would do their medical care in the hospital as long as they were there.
Bryan's interpreter, Guildy, who lives at the Children's Center. It is an amazing facility for foster care for kids whose families can't take care of them. Guildy became a great friend and was an incredible blessing to have an interpreter around. She is very gifted at 15 years old.
The guarded gate to the grounds of Hospital Loma de Luz.
Joshua became a friend to my boys at staff housing and the boys still pray for him and Marsela.
Marsela is 3 years old and Joshua will be 2 soon. It was so cute to see my kids try to get them to understand English and them try to get us to understand Spanish.
Family picture at another scenic area with big rocks and waterfalls.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
We tried lots of fried foods and lots of food on a stick. Things we consumed included: mini donuts, corn dogs, fresh lemonade, roasted corn on the cob, ice cream, cotton candy, fried cheese curds, a chocolate malt and snow-cones. Thankfully we all shared these but we all went home with our cravings satisfied. Our family all went down the giant slide and it was a blast. I had never done that before and was glad that I finally did. Clay rode one and half rides with Jaden before they had to stop the airplanes because he was screaming in fear. Jaden had lots of fun on all the rides and even wanted to go on a roller coaster but he was too short. He did get to ride on the alligator boats, 2 different airplane rides and the motorcycles. Here are some pictures from our adventure.
(I am closer to getting pictures up from Honduras. Stay tuned.)
Monday, August 25, 2008
I have been on a bit of a blog hiatus because, well, let's be honest, I have been a bit down. Life here is not that interesting yet. I really wish I had a job and my kids were in a Montessori school. There are a couple of problems there. I need to appreciate where my life is now but also work to get it where I want it to be. I want an aerospace engineering job but I don't have enough confidence in getting a job or recalling all that I previously learned. It is scary how much I have forgotten. I am settling for putting Jaden in a Lutheran preschool for now because it is cheaper.
I am hoping for more time to spend on finding a job and more breaks from my boys. Bryan will soon be helping me out more. I know things will get better and more interesting as we get more settled in our house and the number of projects diminishes. I know that I need more appointments with friends and family to get me out of the house. Spending time with others, with or without my kids, helps my mood and motivates me to do more with my days. I am hoping that next time I blog, I can be more upbeat but this is where I am right now.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
· A drunken HIV-positive man who was shot in the leg and nearly died from blood loss.
· An 8-year old girl who was raped earlier in the day by the man with the bullet wound in his leg.
· A dying AIDS patient who turned out to be the 8-year-old-girl’s mother.
· A man who accidentally fell on his machete, piercing his chest wall, lung, and heart and later died.
· A boy who had his hand nearly destroyed by an infection.
· A man who had a fractured hip and had gone to the local government hospital where they put a cast on his ankle!
· A heart patient who came to the hospital psychotic, bound hand and foot, with 5 hefty men unable to control him.
· A boy who had the entire right side of his chest burned by boiling milk.
· A woman who fell and sprained her ankle, but who spread rumors in the community that we had not casted her “broken leg” because we had run out of casting plaster.
· Patients are still hearing about God from the entire hospital staff. Four have accepted Jesus in just the last 2 weeks.
· The rapist is in jail (unusual for the Honduran justice system).
. A lady died after hernia surgery from a blood clot to her lungs but came to know Christ during the recovery process. Her husband also became a Christian while the hospital staff was trying to get the lady's heart restarted.
We have lost much sleep to watching the Olympics and doing stuff around the house all hours of the day and night. That has been causing me bad headaches and sometimes migraines. That is depleting me of any extra energy.
We have gotten tons done around the house, including our new kitchen. We have had lots of family here to help us from ND. There seem to be an endless supply of little projects around the house and we keep creating more. There is still a lot of organizing and decorating to be done in the house but it is happening very slowly now. Everything is pretty much unpacked except for a few boxes in our basement that will remain there. Usually Bryan and I are very good about getting our bedroom setup first but this time our bedroom is the worst and still needs the most help. It is on the top of my list to do but there always seems to be some urgent thing that needs to get done when I am ready to tackle our room.
I am busy checking our preschools and touring them. There doesn't seem to be a perfect option but I am still looking and it is time consuming when I would rather be getting settled more in our house.
Other emergencies that we are dealing with: paying our mortgage 20 days late (thank goodness for extra time on the first payment and nice telephone people at Chase), dealing with the insurance company from the hail damage on 5/30 on our house in Rochester, getting our dryer working after much tinkering from Bryan and a host of toddler emergencies.
Gotta go for another school tour!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The truck unloading and unpacking went very well on Thursday. Our wonderful new neighbors, two houses away, had our kids over to play for a few hours. That was a big help.
On Friday, my parents and grandma Alma came to visit and help install our new kitchen. Today my parents left and my grandma will stay with us for the week. I am really looking forward to this time with her and her help unpacking and cleaning.
My dad, Bryan and brother, Kirk, did an excellent job working on our kitchen. We now have new cabinets and countertops that look absolutely beautiful and better than I expected. There is still some finishing touches that need to be done and they will get finished next weekend when my parents return.
We are looking forward to getting internet, phone and cable TV in the next couple of days but for now we are sporadically available online or by cell.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support while we were in Honduras. We definitely felt the prayers of our fellow Christian family.
I am ok with sitting in my own sweat all day now.
My boys love the water (used to hate it).
My boys are ok getting dirty (Jaden still is a little hesitant), killing bugs and have countless owies on their bodies from the rough terrain.
Our hearts have grown for the people of
We have been asked many times if we are considering full time mission work and if we will be returning, when and how soon. We are not planning on being full time missionaries for now. Life as a missionary is hard and we would want to know clearly if that is something God wants from us. Right now we plan to do repeated, short term trips, hopefully for 4 weeks at a time. We are very much looking forward to returning in the next year or two.
My first 3 days in Balfate were the hardest but I very much enjoyed my time there. We left before it got too hard on us. Our time there left us wanting more, and I can’t wait for God to challenge me like that again.
As we walked along we saw lots of garbage on the ground an lots of kids running around. The kids had very little clothing and most didn’t have shoes. Their surroundings make me want to change them – improve them but it is so hard to know what to do to help.
Next we moved on to visit the pastor’s house and his family. We spent some time praying with the wife and youngest child. The baby girls was sick with a fever that could be caused by a virus or bacteria. Later
After leaving the pastor’s family, we moved on to go with 2 boys to their grandparents’ house. Lisa knew this family from previous visits so she was concerned when the boys said they are living on the streets now. Lisa wanted to find out what happened so we went to the grandparents house. The parents are not around for the 2 boys that are cousins. The dads most likely were never in their lives and one mother died and the other was killed. The grandparents have done their best to provide for the many grandkids that are in their care but these 2 boys have some bad outside influences. They have stopped going to school because they don’t like it and the grandparents don’t make them go. A lady gave the boys free drugs at 9 and 10 or 11 years old and they used them. They probably got them free in the horrible hopes that they get addicted and make the drug lady some money. The grandparents saw the boys using drugs and trying to give some to their little sister. So the boys were given an ultimatum – move out or stop using drugs. They chose the street and have no desire to return home. They have no respect for their grandparents. The boys think they won’t get addicted and say they’ll stop. The older boy tears up and his eyes are obviously bloodshot from drug use. So sad! So very, very sad.
The La Ceiba dump breaks my heart. We saw many garbage trucks driving in with full loads of trash. There were people sitting in the back of the trucks waiting to go through the garbage when it stopped to unload. They are looking for any useful items to build their house or use in their house and sometimes any food scraps they can find to eat or feed their family. So immensely saddening. I feel so helpless. My prayer is that they would find Jesus and God would keep chasing them because He is their only hope. I pray that they see the love of Christ in other people and that more people come to help them.
After the dump it felt very selfish and shallow to eat a big meal at the mall food court and shop for souvenirs, but that’s what we did. I pray that God shows me my part in this devastation. I pray that I can help and that God helps me reconcile and understand, in a small way, the differences between my abundantly blessed and excessive life and their deprived and difficult lives. I continue to pray that things that break God’s heart also break mine.
I don’t feel ready to go. I’m sure that is a good thing because that means I’d like to come back. We want to come back and plan to. We will wait and see what and when the best timing is for our return. We will be much better prepared the next time we come.
The one thing I wish I had brought the most is a cookbook but we managed ok. I will also be more prepared with a Spanish class before I return. I want to be able to communicate better.
We were reassured by many that they appreciated us coming. They said we were flexible and easy to host here. We were let know many times that we would be even more helpful on our return visit.
Quick run down of our last day at the hospital:
-busy day for
-made pastalitos with
-at the best Honduran food, pastalitos (fried sandwich pockets with carrots, potatoes and chicken) with friends
-went to bilingual school for 2 ½ hours where boys sat still again – hurray!
-boys napped, more laundry
-visited Bob and Zena Lillard at hospital – missionaries in
-took 2 soccer balls to children’s center and said goodbye to many there
-had another yummy dessert from Cindy
-shared pictures, talked with Renee and more goodbyes
-late night packing
They have made it clear that short term missions groups/families are sometimes a burden on them. I hope that we are more helpful than a burden, but I’m not sure. I know that
I swung on vines today and dropped into the McKenney swimming hole. We also attempted to boogie board at the Balfate beach.
The kids spent about 2 hours playing outside with the hose and lots of bowls and a couple squirt guns. I got to read while watching them and it was quite refreshing after our stressful breakfast.
While I was making cookies, of course the hospital radioed for
The power came back on by the time we got home. I actually enjoyed the complete silence since their was nothing running to make any noise.
The rest of the day was a lot less eventful. I eventually finished the cookies and we had macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for dinner. The kids were sweet tonight and actually posed for pictures for me. Lately Jaden refuses pictures of him by leaving or turning his head. This was a nice ending to the day.
This morning 6 people were fired from the hospital in connection to some pornographic pictures that were taken on the hospital property. The pictures were then spread all over the area by cell phone. This is possible very damaging to the hospital so please be in prayer for all those involved and that God would be glorified through the work being done here.
The firings caused several changes in our plans today. The boys and I were planning to go to the La Ceiba dump to help with a feeding program for the kids that live there. That didn’t happen due to the things that were happening at the hospital.
Bryan and I were planning on going out to dinner to one of the two nearby restaurants for our anniversary but those plans got canceled. The two restaurant operators have daughters that got fired today so the hospital staff thought we shouldn’t go there tonight. They aren’t a traditional restaurant. The mom makes the food and serves it at her house and you need to have given advance notice if you want her to cook for you.
Instead of a nice dinner, we tried for a nice lunch prepared by the cook at the hospital gate. We ended up waiting 45 minutes for our fried chicken, chimol (Honduran coleslaw) and fresh corn tortillas. The food was good but it was missing the rice and beans because we didn’t give enough advance notice.
We did arrange to have Guildy,
I thought things might take a turn for the worse when it started raining on us climbing over rocks and big boulders. Thankfully the rain stopped after 15 minutes.
We had a wonderful and adventurous time there. We floated/swam up to the waterfall and climbed over lots of huge boulders. At the end we rested in the sand (heated by
After that we left when it was getting dark and drove to the beach right by the hospital. It was extremely dark but we managed to find out way. I surprised
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Laura Eodyn Cooper died today after running a code for her for 2 hours. She had surgery to repair a large ventral hernia last week. After surgery she went into flash pulmonary edema and was coded, intubated and ventilated by hand overnight. She recovered and from that experience and the witness of the staff, she realized she almost went to hell so she called Penny to come quickly and pray with her to give her life to Christ. Today we think she had a pulmonary embolus (blood clot in her lungs). We used the ICU monitor, suction device and IV pumps that Raquel and I brought to run a code for about 2 hours. She kept losing her pulse and then with more fluids and medications she would regain her pulse temporarily. During the code I was not sure if we should be continuing when we could not fix the underlying problem of the pulmonary embolus. Then I realized why God is in control and I am not. After 30 minutes Penny walked in and told us Laura's husband Dimas had just become a Christian. It shows me that God is still chasing after his lost sheep and sometimes has to allow severe calamity and even death to bring us stubborn humans into a relationship with him. I wish the suffering in the U.S. hospitals could lead people to God! Maybe God can use me some day to help that happen more!
We went on a Honduran jungle adventure today. I checked on the hospital patients who are all doing well. Then Renae picked up our family around 9:30 AM and we drove about 15 minutes on the main road toward La Ceiba and then turned left before the big bridge to head up into the mountains. We drove for about 45 minutes in her Land Cruiser to a village named Las Flores. The road was steep in places but was actually graded and no problem for the Land Cruiser and 4 wheel drive. The views of the mountains, jungle and beach were breath taking. The road ended at a beautiful river where we met two Honduran kids catching crayfish mith a metal stick. We took some pictures and we asked the kids about the two paths on each side of the river which they said led to more villages but only on foot. The kids told us about a beautiful waterfall further down the river. So we stopped at a very nice house with beautiful tile floors that were just being placed and the boys played soccer with some Honduran kids. The family there told us the waterfall was up another road from their house so we decided to try to find it. We drove about 5 minutes and then walked another hour. We walked past a damn right away then after about 15 minutes came to a place in the river with huge 20 foot boulders and a small sand filled water hole that was just like a post card of the jungle. Then we walked another 30 minutes along the road but never saw a waterfall. You could tell where there was a large change in water elevation so I crawled down a rock slide to the river and found a small water fall flowing through beautiful white rock. There was water going on either side of a very large white boulder and falling about 5 feet into a deep pool. The water then goes out the side and down about a 30 foot white rock channel that looks like a water slide and goes into another deep pool. I took a lot of pictures and then caught the boys, Raquel and Renee at the beautiful sandy beach in the pristine river just after the dam. There were many little gold flecks in the sand but they would snap when bent so they probably weren't real gold. It was an awesome trip. At the end we stopped back at the house with the Honduran boys and would you believe they had a fridge full of soda. We bought a 3 liter of Coke for 36 limperas and a 20 ounce orange fanta for 13 limperas. The exchange rate is 18.5 limerpas to 1 dollar. Who would think they would have Coke way out here in the middle of the jungle? What an amazing adventure!
Honduras is hot! I am sweating just lying in bed. Today was a busy day at work. I saw 14 complicated patients at clinic, sewed 7 stitches into a kid´s arm after he hit it with a machette, called Jeff off his tractor to sew on the tip of a 19 month old boy's finger that was almost completely cut off, discharged the lady with acute angle glaucoma, and arranged for Mr. Ortiz to get daily INR's in La Ceiba for the next week to treat the blood clot in his leg while we try to find a way to fix his hip. I am still trying to figure out how to x-ray Mr. Ortiz's fracture hip now that it is in retraction. A man I saw last week with a whited out right lower lung came back with a chest CT today and has a 13 x 14 cm mass that is probably cancer. His pain got much worse after I told him what we thought it was and they he needed a biopsy. It is wonderul to be able to take him right to the pastor and to explain to the pastor and pray with them for his cancer right after having to tell him the bad news. He needs God right now more than he needs any of us and I pray that he would feel God's presence tonight and God would ease his pain. On a good note a mechanic fixed the microwave we brought and put in a new glass plate so the employees in the cafeteria can use it to heat up there food now. All the monitors and IV pumps are up and running too and the staff is very excited to be using the new equipment.
Today was busy and hot. Clinic was busy but went well. The kid with the hand infection is getting better in the hospital and will probably go home tomorrow. Mr. Ortiz is doing well but it is going to be difficult to repair his hip. I admitted a very sick kid that probably has typhoid fever. I met my first hypochondriac today that wanted medicine for diabetes and arthritis that he didn't have. After clinic the family and I got to see a whole family of black faced howler monkeys including 4 or 5 babies. Raquel continues to make us awesome meals! I love being here together as a family. We only have one week left here and the time is going fast. We are almost ready to give our talk about how to have a better marriage on Thursday for missionary fellowship and I think it should go well. God has really been helping our talk come together. A big prayer tonight is for Josua who is the son of a nurse living in staff housing named Nelsy. He is sick in La Ceiba and they may need to hospitalize him tomorrow. May God heal Josua and comfort Nelsy.