I can almost feel the need to just have a forum to have a cathartic release, but I promise I will try to restrain myself instead. How about a family sort of wrap up, a brief foray into politics, and then on to the group activities instead?
Valerie has been sick for over a week now. She has been so responsible though, and keeping up with everything expected of her, and the expectations she puts on herself, most nights though collapsing to sleep shortly after supper. Today though after taking the kids home she called me almost in tears...she just could not muster the strength to get back in the car. Not that she was emotionally spent (although that too) but she was just drained. She slept all afternoon, ate when I finally got home at 7, and then went back to bed again...still tired. Of course, even with sleeping...she woke up enough to call me a few times with necessary tasks that needed to be completed in her absence. Yesterday she did all the work of Levi, who was out sick...and still saw 12 patients. Simply amazing. I believe I can speak for her in saying...God is simply amazing.
Cecilia and Soren made this beautiful Lego masterpiece to show me when I got home tonight. I guess one good part of the next group cancelling is that I will obviously have to have more time to spend with them than I do this week. I know they pray for me...they know what we do is worth what we have to give, but of course the balance has to be there as well of investing in them as well. Speaking of that....we are heavily leaning towards changing their schooling. Next week we will take them to see the other school. Oscar and Julia found it, and it is the same name as the school where they are currently enrolled, but this school is bilingual, using a pace system that would better fit with US style education, would provide more time at school, less trivial homework, and be not nearly as close to the clinic, but for a price could bus the kids back home. Cost would be double what we are paying now (1/2 what Oscar was paying however....we are getting a discount for being missionaries) but it would seem this would be a great opportunity to make a switch that could benefit the kids in the long run. We will see what they think about it after Tuesday. I pray they will see it as a positive change and be ready for it.
The Musso is back up running at peak efficiency after some electrical gremlins. I thought those gremlins only lived in British vehicles. Hmmmm. Valerie is back to driving it. As nice as the Land Cruiser is for groups and overall toughness, she seems to be preferring that 11 year old vehicle. So we are sticking to the plan to sell the Defender, but are waiting for a return to more normalcy before taking out another advertisement in the paper....mostly things are fine, but for major purchases like that, I think most people are taking a wait-and-see approach.
How goes that political stuff? I mean really, here is where I would like to unload some, but I am sure this must get boring for most all of you outside Honduras. The current government continues to seemingly handle all the manipulated press reports and just outright lies coming from Mel and being then forwarded on to millions of unsuspecting readers/viewers abroad in a fashion that is remarkable. Are they perfect? No. But there are so many ways this could have gone bad, and so far....they seem to be doing swimmingly. Mel on the other hand continues to put his foot in his mouth with lies about how the country is in civil war, military roaming the streets just looking for fights, etc. His supporters seem to be dwindling. I guess just the fact that he continues to make promises about his return (among others) and continues to not follow through with them would put a damper on his image (although those that are that big of a supporter obviously were not paying attention the last several years.) The latest occurrence was today. He had made claims since a week ago...He was hours from being in Honduras. Hours turned to days, days to more days. Then a big to-do driving in a Jeep with guns (but insisting they would cross the border unarmed...interesting) from Managua to the boarder to set up the crossing. (Hello, just cross already!) Then today he did the equivalent of someone putting their big toe in a pool and deciding it was too cold to jump in....he came up to the chain marking the boarder, and with soldiers a few meters away, lifted the chain, said some stuff....and then went back to Nicaragua. The lies, and just pure political posturing was before that, during, and continues after with interviews and such. Trying to keep up with it is just draining...because other than the actual possibility of Chavez throwing enough support his way for this to turn ugly...I could care less what he has to say....his words have so little value because he never puts any actions behind them.
God's word has overwhelmingly proved itself due to the actions behind it. The group that is here just being here is an example. Yesterday visiting families in Talanga (with protests at the city limits being of absolutely no bother to us by the way...you will notice that of all the threats, claims etc. we have a group here, and are going about life with no interruptions) with corn was very impressive yet again to see lives touched, the physical hunger, and spiritual hunger there are amazing. This group not only brought corn to give, but also had a garden full of seeds to give each family, which additionally made some eyes widen to the future possibilities. I will be interested to see what Celeo finds in following up with some of those folks in the coming months.
The group gave us a bunch of seeds as well, and I believe that solves a growing problem we have had with cancelling groups and in general...what to do with Dora. She is full time, and there is at least one person sending money to help us keep her on in spite of what would otherwise be a business decision of not being able to do so. How to properly use her time in August and beyond has been something we have been thinking over a great deal. For now she was helping sort meds, package things, etc. for the clinic as well as maintaining the grounds, but now we will fence off the area around and behind the new clinic....and she will begin a garden, as well as in front of the clinic begin to start a small flower bed, etc. This will be very exciting to see how well it does, and then hopefully have the possibility to show this to others in the community and see if in a CHE like way, we can spread that vision.
Today's visit to the hospital was a little rougher than normal. No time is what I would call easy, and the first ward was not as bad as usual with fewer kids admitted (due to repairing some pipes overhead....not sure how that helped the 8 or so that were still there however. But in the hydrocephalus ward, I saw two children I had seen previously....children like Maria Suyapa, who is in the care of the child services branch of the government. She was born with a cleft palate, blind, and hydrocephalus, and then abandoned by her mother. I know that when it comes to our spiritual lives, we were scared far beyond that in God's eyes, and He still did it all to make us right, and I know that sin causes these illnesses, we live in a fallen world and death and illness come through that...looking at her and thinking about the sheer mountains she will climb (if she even survives or ever is able to leave that hospital) in life....it is hard. I know there are tremendous possibilities for her life to be a total dedication to God and I pray to Him for her, but in my human skin and perspective...I would be lying if I said to recognize all that and just pray and walk away was easy.
We met this little boy and gave his mother a stuffed animal. Sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking many of these little ones with so many problems are too far gone. But this little boy...his eyes lit up, and he just stared, and laughed, and giggled at this stuffed animal. Something so trivial, so small...not only brought something to him, but to see him doing that brought joy to his mother. She knew where that toy came from, we prayed for her and for him. What kind of work is God going to do long term through things like this? My knees knock in fear and trembling...knowing I am but an insignificant cog in this great machine....I can rejoice in my smallness and puny-ness at how great and awesomely big God is.
The milk project was done in a way I am quite sure has never been done before. This group raised $250 to do the milk project this week, and it renewed in me a desire to see this project grow some more in the future, the possibility of which God seems to be providing means and ways to be done soon. Instead of just telling a story (which we still did....I discovered that I can not say King Nebuchadnezzer very well in Spanish...or in English if I really tried to pronounce it correctly) and serving the traditional milk and cookies, they went with us to get supplies to make two PB&J (grape jelly of course...you know who you are) sandwiches for each child (210 sandwiches in the end if you are counting) have an apple, a glass of milk, some granola bars, oatmeal, and a small toy (hacky sack for boys, jump rope for girls) for each child. We had I believe exactly the number we were shooting for...100 kids. We may look at the possibility to do PB&J more in the future for the kids...it may be more expensive, but would seem to provide more nutrition to the kids than what we normally are able to provide.