Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reader's Digest Update...the unabridged additions

We sent out an update for December that was somewhat abbreviated...which I am guessing is usually preferred and most likely to be actually read.  No harm in that, nature of the beast.  For those looking for a bit more information however, you have come to the right place.

Yes, we definitely drove more than 6,400 miles, or at least I did.  Valerie and the kids were there for quite a few of those though, no doubt there.  The drive to and from Florida accounted for quite a few. This time back in the US is not normally a vacation at all.  You might be surprised how many people think that is what it is.  This time we did get to do some fun things as a family, but especially for me the reason for these trips is to communicate with supporters and supporting Churches (those that invite us to stop in and see them) as well as hopefully make more partnerships as the mission certainly has upcoming need for more financial support to do more here in Honduras.  It is hard being away from home in general, especially when we cannot be together, but definitely for a good reason.  Balancing both is tricky. 

The time with family is always the hardest.  At least this time we deliberately schedule time, often it is just stuck in when we do not have anything else scheduled.  Even when I am staying at my parents when Valerie and the kids are back in Honduras, that does not mean it is all quality hang out time...still lots of work to do, places to go, and computer work needing done.  This trip was good because we were able to stay at a free facility in Noblesville for us to stay together as a family and have at least some semblance of normalcy in the midst of the chaos.  This is likely the last time the kids will see any of their extended family for two years, maybe more, so it was good we were able to do that...not enough, but some.  Definitely a different relationship for them with their extended family than I had growing up, when I practically lived with my grandparents at times and saw cousins and aunts/uncles regularly.  That part is hard...but I am thankful for all the family in Christ they get to see and know in groups that come down throughout the year, a real blessing for sure, especially the ones they really form long lasting ties with over multiple trips.

The board meeting was just very cool.  Everyone coming together in one location (normally they are phone based meetings, which are just harder, especially tackling harder topics than just an update on everything happening) and with common goals.  His Eyes is at a point where it could grow and change like many missions do to the point of needing US staff for fundraising, coordination, etc.  Do we go that route?  Do we deliberately not?  How do we take care of the missionaries and help them have margin in their lives and not overwork to the point of burning out and leaving or not being effective?  Where do we focus?  Sometimes the answers are good...but not what you want to hear.  Realizing we cannot start the sewing ministry back up, at least for a year, is disappointing...but also a good thing for all of us.  There is so much going on, it would be easy to just keep adding plates spinning, and running us more ragged at the same time.  Their outlook (and experience) helps keep us on an even keel, and will continue to help define roles to limit us to where sometimes we might naturally over-extend ourselves. 

In terms of the changes in the clinic...this is just a long time coming.  Valerie has been working more than two full time jobs trying to be clinic director and optometrist (not to mention mom, short term group support, counselor, and more) and one of the things we were able to harvest from our time of counseling/talking in Colorado was that she needed to leave one of those behind for her own good.  Darwin Pineda was a FAME scholarship recipient we have known since our first trip here...former youth member, then youth pastor, and now doctor.  His time to serve with the mission (a two year minimum requirement from getting the scholarship) is coming up, and instead of only being a doctor, having him focus most of his time being the director will be great...with the time to implement so many needed changes we have known for years but not had the time, plus his connections (he also works in the morgue and teaches in the university here) will benefit the clinic greatly, especially in the future when the possibilities of adding services (like ultrasound in 2015?) becomes more of a reality when we have space. 

One of the changes the board has had to point out to me is that I will be me not spending as much time in the field, but more time at a desk/computer.  Tough...but necessary.  That will require depending on more of the individuals in charge of ministry doing more on their own, but we are just simply too spread out for me to try to have my hand physically in every area.

The good side to these things is that they all play into the fact that we are trying as a mission to develop Honduran leadership.  Darwin may serve a minimum of two years...but hopefully many more.  Some of the work Oscar and I do will have to be done by Oscar and some as yet unknown future Honduran staff member...who could eventually take over some of Oscar's responsibilities as well, and so on from there.  None of us is long for this Earth, and the goal is to form a mission that can operate without any one of us.  Already that is being done to great extent in the day to day operations of the Churches, clinic, etc. but we have to improve on that in terms of overall leadership as well.  Missionaries from other countries can be a huge benefit, but long term that option will not always be available (do you know how hard it is to find missionaries willing to go?) and ultimately Hondurans will best relate to Hondurans. 

So, there you have it.  November for me was spent in the USA, but dealt a great deal with Honduras; for how we can strive to improve what we are already doing, change where needed, stop (at least for a while) where needed, and through it all seek God's guidance.  Will these should be positive, change is always scary, and will have transition periods that might not be quite so much fun. 


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