Valerie update....her health is still debatable. I watched her for a while at the clinic yesterday. She was cleaning a prosthetic eye when I walked in her exam room....and just walking to the sink was painful, and she had to elevate her leg while using the sink. Through the grace of God she gets through the day, but after supper (what supper....with her constipation problems that have led to self-imposed extreme dietary restrictions dinner is usually a orange/fiber/spinach smoothie) she usually works some more and then crashes to sleep. She is trying to start the process to get more tests, but it requires clear liquid diet, then fasting...hopefully she can get the next step done tomorrow or Saturday. Of course on Saturday she has a band practice for an event coming in October....and we have band practice tonight for playing at UCC on Sunday (where I will be preaching as well...at some point also needing to make time to prepare that sermon...I have the basic structure, but developing it will take time I so far have been investing elsewhere putting out fires, taking care of important things, etc.)
The cistern construction continues. They will have to stop at some point to allow time for the concrete to cure, but the work goes well. I talked with Jorge yesterday about pricing and measurements for the property purchase...we should have an answer next week. I also had opportunity to discuss the purchase with the clinic staff since several of them heard about it at Church, and talked to our old buddy Miguel (who had all the car keys Valerie lost in her purse....meaning in the end she lost one lock key, her driver's license, some money, and her cell phone...a huge blessing that everything else was recovered.) I will not get into the details here, but it is enough to say that it is a complicated issue to be sure. The amount of faith required for this...and the work required are overwhelming, but we continue forward in Christ that if this is the right thing for the mission, it will come together.
Soren's birthday was Tuesday. He is now five years old...and demonstrated upon greeting Dilcia after school that he is able to confuse grammar in Spanish as well as English by telling her "ya soy cinco!" Which if you speak English makes sense "I am five now!" but in Spanish does not make much sense "I am a five now!" since the Spanish translation would be "I have five now!" In so many ways I think that for both the kids their first language is Spanish, but in times like that I can see it is more of a mix than sometimes I thought. Even with the bilingual aspect of their current school, I do not have to hang around for very long to see that in everything done outside the classroom, it is all Spanish being spoken....not that we have any problem with that, we just have to continue to make sure that they are getting both equally for their unknown future. He took candy to school to share with his classmates, and they sang Happy Birthday to him...although he was not sure in which language until we sang him both options to remember. Here you can see we celebrated by going to Pizza Hut...since they have a play area that the kids were able to enjoy.
We then opened presents...from Cecilia, from us, and from grandparents and some aunts in the US. For a while we had Skype for US observers to see the action since sending video via email is not exactly easy. Taking this picture was more than odd for me....something I would never have imagined when I was five...taking a picture with my grandparents by hugging a computer screen, it makes for a different sort of relationship with your grandparents and relatives than I think I cannot really comprehend. But we are thankful that they get to talk to and see their grandparents as much as they do....some kids that live in the US do not get as much time with their grandparents who only live a state away.
The milk project had its celebration for "kid's day" yesterday, the actual holiday...yes, a real holiday, falls today. We had just enough toys from past containers to give every child at least one toy, plus similar distributions will be able to happen in the Churches in San Juancito, Cantaranas, Sampedrana and Talanga...with some toys also making it to the school for distribution in Guasucaran. This toy may not look like much to you...but for kids that have nothing, it means Somebody cares. So far the expansion of the project to three days a week is going well, Elizabeth is helping with that, and we have been able to improve the quality and nutrional aspect of the food we are giving, and will slowly be working on encouraging them more and more to attend Church, and with other CHE based lessons for their health and hygiene. We are also working on getting some of the TVs that were donated fixed (when they got here...no volume) so we can show some Christian DVDs to the kids during their time at the project, something they do not see much or at all in their homes.
And how about another picture from the "driving in Honduras" series. Sure it is a 90 degree turn coming up there, and the bus had little momentum going up the hill to turn, but why should that get in the way of trying to make a few dollars more at the most? This is fairly common here...since there is no control on when the buses leave other than when they feel like it and/or when they can maximize the number of people they are picking up....sometimes they get close enough to where one wants to pass the other to get those waiting paying customers. If you have been here and think we drive crazy....these guys pass like this going downhill as well...at speeds I would not attempt in our vehicle even if I was trying to get to the hospital, of course at those speeds many people have made it to the hospital...one way or the other. There are several reasons that riding in buses is not the safest way to travel here...this is just one of them, and yet this is the only means of transportation for the vast majority of Hondurans.