In our last newsletter we closed with previewing how difficult Ruben’s first few weeks of therapy would be. Well, they have indeed been difficult, but also fruitful. Rubén spent two and half years in an uncomfortable bed unable to care for himself after being shot in the neck and left for dead. While his family and others did as much as they could Rubén was losing weight and losing hope because there was nothing else that could be done for him in the community where he lived. Because of the sanitary issues and skin ulcers from being in bed unmoved for too long he suffered regularly from various infections. Some were very serious, and quite frankly, medically speaking, he should not still be alive. But alive he is and we are grateful to be able to give an update on the results of his first seven weeks at La Casa De Rubén.
At one time Rubén had as many as five skin ulcers but as of last week the last one is completely covered with new tissue. Dr. Maria is heading up the continued efforts to improve his care and hygiene so that combined with not having skin ulcers will reduce the amount of infections. Because some of these things have gone on for so long his body has become very antibiotic resistant so things have to be managed differently going forward.
It is equally amazing to see how his body has reacted to only seven weeks of physical therapy. He is sitting much more upright in his wheelchair. His head used to slump over to one side because of the way he laid in bed and the loss of muscle mass but after a few weeks of therapy and a steady nutritious diet he has regained strength in his neck, shoulders, and arms. He can control and hold up his head and stretch out both of his arms fully. He is even regaining small amounts of control over his midsection so that he is now starting to sit up by himself although only for a few moments. Before the shooting he weighed 132 lbs and had gotten down to as low as 98 lbs with most of that loss being muscle tissue since he was lean to begin with. We haven’t weighed him recently but we know he is gaining weight and we estimate him to weigh somewhere between 105-110 lbs.
Dora, his therapist, is teaching him to focus his mind and use it to re-teach his body how to send signals to the muscles in his legs. He has no control of his legs; they move involuntarily and his knees and muscles got super tight due to lack of movement. However, already it is much easier for Dora to stretch out his legs than it was a few weeks ago. She tells him to relax his leg muscles and many times when Rubén concentrates really hard on on this the legs extend and stay relaxed and extended for periods of time. The two biggest milestones in my opinion are the fact that with the help of a “stander” Rubén was able to stand up for the first time in 2 1/2 years. And just a few days ago he began using his arms to move his wheelchair. He can’t go far yet but we know that soon enough we might not be able to keep up with him!
So we’ll conclude this post much like we did the last-please pray for us and for Rubén. Despite the progress he has made he has a long way to go to gain mobility and independence. His hips are twisted and his back and shoulders are seriously out of alignment. He needs to receive Botox injections to loosen up various parts of his body to advance the physical therapy and we need get a new neck MRI for the neurologist he is now seeing. This is in addition to the routine supplies that he needs.
Also please pray for us as we continue with this ministry. We need much wisdom to build and grow this ministry properly. And please pray about making a financial donation to help us keep operating and expanding La Casa De Rubén. There are others we know who need to receive the same kind of care as Rubén but we need more space and resources. Without the generosity of others we will not be able to help Rubén and others like him. If you have questions about La Casa De Rubén please contact us and we’ll be glad to explain in more detail the opportunities and the needs.
Thank you all so much, God bless.
Please read below for updates on previous prayer requests, new prayer requests, and praises for what God has done.
Prayers and praises so often go hand in hand that it can be hard to follow when they are split between different sections so we have combined them by topic. Where combined the prayers will be in black and the praises will be in red.
It has been so exciting and fulfilling to minister with the clearer focus that the Lord has helped us to develop over the last several months. We are so thankful for the ministry partners who have chosen to come alongside of us and commit their efforts and resources in the particular communities and projects that the Lord has shown that are for us. Please pray and rejoice with us in the following:
In the last newsletter we shared a picture of our old Mazda with the hood up behind a chain link fence in Santa Rosa. I had written a post about God’s perfect timing, even in the mechanical failures of our truck. Well, I suspect you’ve already figured out what has happened since then. We were very blessed to be able to purchase a new truck.
Jean and I let go of the dream of ever owning another brand new vehicle years ago. That happened even before we left the U.S. to serve full time in Honduras. When our old Mazda gave it up we began looking for a high quality used Toyota. We received several leads on used trucks that came with very good references regarding the condition and maintenance.
We quickly found out that it is much better to be selling a used Toyota than to be buying-the prices of the used Toyotas were very high. A missionary friend of ours here in Honduras saw our Facebook post and reached out to us. We told her about the leads we had and how much we were hoping to spend. She asked a most unexpected question, “Would you be interested in buying a new Toyota if it didn’t cost that much more than a used one?” We said sure, but how much is “not that much more”?
It turned out that it really wasn’t all that much more. We thought and prayed about it and said yes, we believe we can do that. The used trucks had many more bells and whistles than the new base model truck we bought. But they also already had anywhere from 12,000-31,000 miles. Our truck had almost 0 miles and it came with a 3 year factory warranty from Toyota. So while it did cost a little more on the front end, minus the fancy stuff, it has everything we need, and we think it is a better long term investment for our ministry.
Through the sale of the old Mazda and the very generous donations we received (you know who you are-thank you, thank you, thank you!!) we raised over 50% of what was needed to purchase our new Toyota very quickly.
Through the entire time with our old Mazda, breakdowns and repair bills included, and receiving our huge blessing of a new Toyota we have experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God our Father. His timing is always perfect, He always knows our needs, and He is always faithful to provide. So we thank God and we thank each of you, Dios les bendiga.
We had so much fun hosting our largest team of the year during the last week of March and the first week of April. These folks come from several churches in the Oldham-Trimble County Baptist Association. These churches have been faithfully sending teams to different parts of Honduras for nearly 30 years. They have already left quite a legacy here and we are glad that they are still building on that legacy by continuing to come and serve with us.
The first week was spent in and around La Campa, and at La Casa De Rubén in Gracias. Several members of the team served in medical clinics in three different communities. While the medical team was caring for their patients, the children’s ministry team ministered to the kids while they and their moms waited to be seen by the doctors and nurses and to make a visit to the pharmacy. There was also a women’s ministry event in Monqueta that was very special, two showings of the Jesus Film, and a fun family movie night in Torre Fuerte where we showed the movie Courageous-complete with fresh popcorn and soft drinks. The construction guys spent most of their time at La Casa De Rubén helping Pastor Tulio build the two extra bedrooms and bathroom that we need. They also got roped into helping raise a humongous power pole for the new transformer the owner was having installed.
At the end of that week we packed up all the gear, moved most of it back into storage, and then headed to Tela to work with Pastor Franklin and his family in their ministry. We dropped off some of our friends to return to Kentucky after the first week and picked up several more for the second week. There were medical clinics with children’s ministry, a showing of the Jesus Film, a women’s ministry event, and more construction. The guys replaced a 36 year old roof on one church and put the first roof on a new church building.
Many, many lives were touched that week; Lenca, Honduran, and North American. We are not really big on numbers and score keeping but sometimes it is important to share statistics and we think this is one of those times. Over the course of the two weeks almost 1,000 people were served at the medical clinics. During the week in and around La Campa 23 people that we can confidently report made commitments to follow Jesus and 21 more did the same in the communities around Tela. There may or may not be more but we’ll leave that up to the Lord, the One who truly knows the hearts. The pastors and local churches are following up with each of them to help them along in their new path that they’ve chosen. Jean and I are grateful to God first and foremost, but also to our friends from Kentucky for a great two weeks of ministry.
In our last newsletter we introduced you to our newest project La Casa De Rubén. La Casa De Rubén is a place for people who live far away from Gracias in the rural communities we serve to come and stay so that they can receive the physical therapy they need to regain mobility. Healthy bodies are great, but it’s even better to have a healthy mind and soul to go with it so programs will be offered to assist in these areas as well.
We signed a lease for the house at the end of March and began officially renting it April 1st. The owner did a lot of things to make the house ready for us including installing a new transformer bringing a much needed upgrade of the electrical service to support our needs. The house was also painted inside and out using colors very suitable for the purpose of the house.
The house has three bedrooms with a private bathroom connected to each-very unusual here. In order to maximize the use of the house for our guest patients we are building, with the help of our friends from Kentucky, two extra bedrooms and a full bath behind the house for the La Casa De Rubén staff.
Speaking of staff…Actually the word staff is inadequate to express the relationships we have with the people who will be running the house. First, we have Maria Mercedes as our foundation director, and she will also serve as the manager of La Casa De Rubén. We have hired Pastor Marco Tulio and his wife Lourdes to be the primary caretakers of the guest patients and the house Monday through Friday. A woman from La Campa named Angela whom we have come to appreciate greatly will be doing the same on the weekends. We’ll be sharing more about them in future blog posts.
Besides the staffing we have been busy managing the construction, buying supplies that we need to get started and meeting with carpenters about building cabinets and shelving units. We just finished our policies and procedures and will be finishing the design on other signage that is needed for the inside of the house.We’ve accomplished much but there remains much more to do. But ready or not, Pastor Tulio, Lourdes, and their little girl will be moving in on April 22, and then on the 26th Rubén and his younger sister Marlen will be moving into the house. We can’t wait for the 26th, this is a day we’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
We will be posting updates about La Casa De Rubén here in our blog and in our newsletter but we also have a Facebook page. Please look for FHD Honduras on Facebook to keep up with the latest updates on the progress and needs. When you go to our page please give us a “like” if you haven’t done so already, and share it with all of your friends.
Please pray for us, this project, and for our first guest patient Rubén. His first few weeks of therapy will be very, very demanding-much more than he probably realizes. We are also in need of financial support for this project. If the Lord has touched your heart and you have been blessed with the ability to give, and you are looking for a new ministry project to support, we would really appreciate your choosing La Casa De Rubén. Please contact us with any questions.
Thank you all so much, God bless.
It has been quite some time since we sent out a formal list of prayers and praises. As we were thinking about everything that could be shared two thoughts came to mind. First, there is a lot to share, but, we need to be more focused and to the point. Second, the prayers and praises so often go hand in hand that it can be hard to follow when they are split between different sections. So we decided to try combining them by topic. Where combined the prayers will be in black and the praises will be in red.
To get the “rest of the story” that goes along with the prayers and praises please visit:
Many of you know that we began a season of assessment, change, and growth in our ministry towards the end of last year. It has been a challenging but worthwhile process to go through. The Lord helped us to assess our purposes for being here more closely which led us to develop a clearer focus and vision for our ministry. He confirmed the things that we are to continue doing, opened new doors for us, and revealed areas and projects we needed to disconnect from in order to focus on the ministry He has for us where He put us. Please continue to pray for us to hear clearly and be obedient.
In other posts we’ve shared about our first mission teams and how much of a blessing they’ve been. We also shared about our truck challenges that have occupied a fair amount of our time, emotional, and mental energy. But while all of this has been happening we have been busy with other projects that we are very happy to be able to share with all of you.
It’s not news that Family Health & Development Foundation Honduras, FHD Honduras for short, has been established as a Honduran non-profit organization. What is new is that we just received approval from the state of Georgia that our complementary U.S. based non-profit organization, FHD Missions, Inc., has been incorporated! FHD Missions has been established to support the projects and ministries of FHD Honduras. We have a strong board of directors in place for FHD Missions and we are very excited about serving with them.
We are close to finalizing the website that will serve for both FHD Missions and FHD Honduras and will be announcing it’s launch very soon. We still have some work to do in regards to documents and obtaining our 501(c)3 tax exempt status, but while that is going on we are working hard to get the first two FHD Honduras projects off the ground.
The first is developing a sustainable fund to be able to offer assistance to families in crisis. There is no safety net here and economic opportunities are hard to come by so it doesn’t take much for a family to suddenly find themselves struggling with food, medicine, or other basics. This is especially true for the pastors here since they rarely draw any salary from the churches they lead. Because of their level of dedication to their people they often have less time available for other work. So initially we will be focusing our efforts on helping them and their families, but as our capabilities grow so will our ability to help other families.
The other project that is very near to our hearts is The Ruben House. Some of you know Ruben, the struggles he has, and how much he has touched our lives since we first met him. He has been an inspiration to us and we are so blessed to have discovered a way to help him get the therapy and spiritual care that he needs. You’ll be able to read more about Ruben and The Ruben House very soon.
Thank you for all your prayers and support of our ministry. We would not be where we are without you. And we can’t get to where we think God wants us to go without you. As you can imagine, our ministry needs are changing so we would like to ask you for three things:
-Please continue to pray for us, and both boards of directors, as we continue in the projects and ministries that the Lord has given us.
-Please pray about helping us financially with these new ministry opportunities and message us with any questions or ideas you have.
-Please pray about those you know who might be interested in getting involved with us and these projects and tell them about us.
By working together we can continue making a difference. Thank you so much for your friendship and dedication to serving the Lord by being a part of what He is doing in and around La Campa.