1. This group was actually more of a feat than even the update suggested. The group ended up totaling 9 people, but several of those came together, as He would have it, in the last month of preparation, and one of the members was a former FCO member who came independent of the group, but whose dates coincided with the groups and ended up being a perfect addition to said group. It continually amazes me as how God's hand is involved with a group dynamic and what is accomplished through Him. The wall work the group did was to help seal the areas below the "container wall" put up on the side of the property where we have had the most...visitors. Children and adults were so determined to get past our wall, that the scant room under the containers was being used as people crawled through. Add to that that the used water (sometimes with added ingredients) from our neighbors was being routed to that side of the property, making carrying materials in the Fords an interesting experience. I anticipate the need to put some further sharp deterrents on top of the wall at certain key points some time soon, as the children still like to explore with climbing over, even if it means a possibility of a dangerous fall for them should they not be as nimble as they think they are.
2. The institute is not a euphemism for the loony bin, which I believe in and of itself is a euphemism. "I keep using that word. I am not sure it means what I think it means." For those of you that have been familiar with the work here since back in the day, the institute is headed by the missionaries that started the Church here, Roger and Elaine Twitchell and Darrin and Chrissy King. Edwin and Jessinia Guerra are also there working with the mission...not just the institute but Church planting as well. The institute involved students from many different Central American countries, as well as the Dominican Republic, and trained the students not just in theology, but also practical methods as well for what a missionary has to do (and in addition to their classroom time, the students participated in the work to begin another Church plant there in Costa Rica.
Cantaranas is a much bigger, compact area than San Juancito, down in the valley near where the sugar cane and melon farms are located. We are hoping that with the leadership developed in San Juancito already, plus Jonatan's being from there, this will allow him to work in San Juancito, as well as have the people to take to Cantaranas while beginning the
outreach there. Not to mention the clothing ministry which brings people to the mission instead of Jonatan always having to take the mission door-to-door. This could open doors in the future for people to branch out from there to other outlying areas near Cantaranas, as we have done brigades there in the past, and there is certainly a need for not only the physical but as always for the gospel as well.
3. Master Provisions is more limited in finding Churches that can provide us the summer clothes that we need for the climate here. Since we need no winter gear of any kind, that eliminates oh, say about 1/2 or so of the clothes that people in climates with a cold winter donate. MP has outlets for that colder gear, but with us not being able to take it, that means we need to find more locations where we can get the clothes we need to keep things going. If we packed the cold gear with the summer clothes, it is not only wasteful, expensive, and space consuming, but most of that winter stuff does not move for months or years, and ends up being used as rags, curtains or some other inventive way other than the intended purpose. This is great for people to get use out of something, as is common here, but not the best use of the ministry. Getting more of the clothing that is needed here makes a huge difference in the success of the clothing ministry, and its impact to the overall mission.
This is huge for the future possibilities of the mission to get involved with Church planting, as it means a way we can potentially start a new store and Church at almost the same time (starting with the store while planting seeds, having Bible studies, etc. from the get go), as well as providing financially for the pastor placed, and some income for the burgeoning Church. We of course would maintain a responsibility to help the work where possible through taking groups, providing furniture, supplies, tracts, Bibles, etc. where possible, in addition to providing a vehicle to get the clothes on a weekly basis back and forth to the store (since they are so far out of Teguc) that could also be used of course for the pastor and for Church needs. Finding the funding for those vehicles is currently the only outside fundraising we need to do for such small plants. Currently we are getting a container every six weeks. Raising this to every four weeks would be great and enable us to reach out just that much more with more stores hopefully following this new "model" we are trying to use.
4. The Impala is the 1965 Impala Valerie and I purchased back in 1996 or thereabouts, from my brother (who helps keep it running while we are here in Honduras.) It has a long history in the Geetingsville area, and other than our time in Bloomington, has spent almost its entire life in that general area. It is not quite the car it used to be when we were able to drive it regularly, but other than trusting in it for long trips (Valerie is traveling without a cell phone) it should serve her well for what she needs. It was never a vehicle that would bring a high price on the collector car market being a four door hard top with a 283ci engine, but it was always special to us (more for me) and all that combined meant selling it when we came here, although an option if absolutely necessary of course, was not something we had to do, and it has come in handy for us several times when back in the US, or for my brother if he has vehicular problems while we are here. The summer before we moved here, I drove it often, and had more than a handful of people come up to me in parking lots to ask about it, and then inevitably tell me "I had one just like it...I wish I had never sold it." That sold me on keeping it, even if we are here for twenty years and have to put a new engine in it. Consider it a pre-investment for Cecilia and Soren when they go to college in the US. One can certainly just about move everything you would need in that car between the back seat and the huge trunk. Do not get me started, lest I share my wild-eyed, well-financed dream for importing it to Honduras, modifying it for mission work with a 4x4 system, diesel engine, and lift kit with a cow-catcher, winch, and skid plates to be able to take it off road, with the bench seats easily handling 6-8 people, and the trunk able to carry enough supplies for brigade work....oooh, it would be quite the unique vehicle here, that is for sure. Now you done did it and got my car glands salivating!
5. Yes, when I sat down to think about everything, it was quite a list of things to do. However, other than doctoring, most of those things required me to be on top of things, but not physically be doing them, which is a good thing. Being a supervisor is fun...when everything goes well. Ah, but supervisors are not so much in need for when everything is well, but rather when the cart falls into the well. I will be glad for the last three weeks in April, as there are no groups and that will allow me, and the mission, to catch up on many of the things I am for the time being putting on the back burner (like paperwork, family time, etc.) Besides, when I had no patients, I was able to write the update!