Where do I start? Good grief, I have been asking myself that question more than ever this week. And this was a week I was supposed to catch up...not get further behind!
I'll start with this "strictly business" post, and then try to give you an update on everything else witty and anecdotal.
1. Monday was a long...very long meeting with Celeo and Jonathan. We have known that the clothing quality has been very poor for about the past nine months or thereabouts, but finally the straw broke the bank, as it were, and both of them had to say no more. The global economy...its effects here, add in some aftermath/economical problems due to the political situation here for the past year or so and what you get was them losing money for every bag they took. Not a good way to keep things going. And to their credit...they have been sacrificing for quite a while trying to see this through to a brighter tomorrow as has been the case a few times in the past, but just can not go into debt any more to try to make it work.
This means the clothing ministries, which have blessed so many in all three of the communities where they serve (Jonathan in San Juancito and Cantaranas, Celeo in Talanga) will be no more. It was not an easy decision given the outreach that has been so great through that way of ministry....
And also because that is the main way that Jonathan and Celeo have been supported. We have been working our way towards trying to help them and those Churches be on a regular basis financially independent, and knew the day might come that the clothing ministry might have to stop...all together or just for them, we were just not expecting it quite this soon, or this sudden.
Obviously we need to help them as a mission, and we are hoping to try to do that...in prayer because this is not exactly something we had in our budget. We have ideas in place to help them in the future be freer in this regard...the TV station for Celeo, the coffee and plantains for Jonathan...but all of those add up to a year (the plantains) or more (the coffee) before they will be generating any income that can be used.
Another idea to help would be helping Church members create businesses...small loans to get them on their feet, so they could tithe, and thus help their pastors as well. Many of those in the body are just doing what they can to get by...not gainfully employed to be contributing financially back to the Church. But again we do not right now have the capital to follow through on that great idea.
Please join us in prayer...for these men and their families that depend on them to provide, to the Churches that depend on them to bring the Word and leadership, and for the funds needed to make that a reality and to further bless these congregations as they struggle to help each other and their own communities.
2. The Church buses side of our land deal is closer to reality. We have received enough money to help purchase both buses and get them licensed here in Honduras...now we are just seeing if we can get the drivers with CDL licenses, myself, and clothing from people/Churches along the way for the remaining clothing ministry stores here all coordinated for mid/late August. It is starting to come together...but taking quite a bit of work, and prayer of course since we are still looking at the shipping costs and costs related to getting them to port in the US. God is clearly and obviously making a way where there would seem to be no way, we are just continuing to walk in faith and trusting in Him as to the plan as it unfolds. It is kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle...where you think you know what it is supposed to look like...but sometimes the image starts changing a bit as you put it all together.
This week we are also adding more to that puzzle. Oscar has been looking for a vehicle for Julia...which would free her to run errands and be more independent, and allow him even more time for ministry work. He is looking for a 2000 or newer 4 cyl little SUV that is in good shape (no luxuries required) that is (and here is the key) $5,000 or less. We have a few feelers out to see if there is anything like that (a RAV4, CRV, Vitara, Tuscon, etc.) because if we can find it there... I could drive that to port while the CDL drivers take care of the buses.
3. Last month Jonathan rather graciously ceded the money we had raised for Cantaranas Church property to Celeo to buy the property he found in Talanga. That was...very loving in a brotherly way.
This month...a bargain falls out of the sky right in the area he was looking, but much, much cheaper. A close by lot was going for $12,000 that would have required a bulldozer for us to even build on it...there was that much of a slope to it.
Now, a residential development is going in, and what seemed like a good deal in Talanga now pales in comparison. For the same price as the land in Talanga (about $10,600...or less if we pay in cash) we could get almost double the land in Cantaranas now...and this with frontage to the main road that is in the process of being paved.
(Looking at these pictures...if you have been to Cantaranas and distributed food to the poor invasion down by the river, our property would be right next to them but as part of this bigger nicer development with roads, etc...and lots of lots, like 230 or something to be exact...a very big piece of land being divied up here.)
This is the kind of opportunity that does not come along every day...or every year, or...you get the idea. Oscar went yesterday because Jonathan said the lots were going quickly. He was right. Just when Oscar showed up for their private meeting to talk turkey...six more buyers showed up and reserved lots. Oscar even reserved a lot for himself. I asked him why...he said he figures the lot values will double within a year. Bummer I do not have any money to buy a lot or two as an investment myself!
So...we are highly contemplating going into debt with ourselves to make this purchase now...and then let God show the way on how we can fundraise to pay it back....praying that is the right decision all along.
4. Add to all that a bunch of other little things...normal everyday business items that come up, and it really is a testament to the fact that it is most definitely God who keeps all the plates spinning!