In Hines Sight...

Short Term Mission Team News

Short term mission team ministry holds a special place in our hearts and continues to be an important part of our ministry here in Honduras and 2020 is off to a great start!

About two weeks after our return from the states the Redeemer Church team came to serve with us for the third time. However, this

Some of the Redeemer Team men working hard in Otolaca.

team has a much longer history of serving in Honduras as they’ve been going to Flower Mountain to minister to the Tolupan people for 18 years. We are so thankful for their faithfulness. After spending their first week in Flower Mountain the team came to La Campa and did medical clinics in three communities serving almost 450 people. The people they saw received medication and vitamins but more importantly they were each prayed for and heard about the God of the universe and the great love He has for them. Several of the guys worked on a church construction project in a community called Otolaca. As you can see from the picture the walls are being made using adobe blocks. It has been quite some time since I worked on an adobe construction project so I had forgotten just how heavy those blocks are. We all agreed that somehow they seemed to be heavier later in the day.

Redeemer at La Casa de Rubén.

In addition to these ministries the team spent a day with us at La Casa de Rubén and CRILE (the physical therapy center). At CRILE they saw first hand the amazing work that is being done there, they met Dora, Rubén’s primary therapist, and they prayed for her, all the staff, and the patients who were there. We then went to La Casa de Rubén. Last January this team met Rubén in Mescalillo not too long before he moved into La Casa de Rubén. It was a special blessing for the team to see him again, and to see just how much he has improved in less than a year of staying at the house, receiving proper care and nutrition and physical therapy. Their visit concluded with a powerful prayer time that encouraged Rubén, his sister Marlen, and Jean and me very much.

 

OHC ministering to children in La Campa.

About a week after the Redeemer team left our second team for 2020 from One Heart Church in Norcross, GA returned to Honduras. This was a small team in numbers but large in impact. Last year one of the things they did was teaching in the areas of worship and sound mixing in our La Campa home church, Torre Fuerte. This year they blessed the church with more training, but they also brought some equipment to significantly upgrade the sound system helping the church to excel more in providing a quality and dynamic worship experience. The team ministered to nearly 200 children in two schools, preached and shared the word in three churches and held an evening conference on faithfulness and multiplication to encourage the church members and pastors in these topics.

OHC Team (one team member not pictured) at La Casa de Rubén.

This team also spent a day with us visiting the hospital, a children’s transition home, CRILE and La Casa de Rubén. At the hospital we prayed for many patients and staff members and at the transition home they ministered to the children who were there. For the first time they too saw first hand all that is happening at CRILE and prayed for the patients and staff. And then we had another very powerful time at La Casa de Rubén. Like the Redeemer team, some of the team members had previously met Rubén when he was still in Mezcalillo. This team visited La Casa de Rubén last year just as we had begun getting it ready for opening day. It was powerful for them to see the changes that had taken place since their last visit. Another blessing for them was to meet Rosalina, our newest guest patient to stay at La Casa de Rubén.

We could not have asked for two better teams to kick off our year of short term mission team ministry and we can’t thank them enough for all that they did to serve the Lord by serving the people of Honduras, and how much of an encouragement they were to Jean and me.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”-Psalm 133:1

February 2020 Prayers & Praises

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.

Introduction

2019 was a very busy, often challenging, but always fulfilling time in ministry and 2020 is continuing in that direction. We are so thankful for our ministry partners who continue to be faithful in supporting us and the growing ministry the Lord has given us. Thank you for praying and rejoicing with us in the following:

  • We praise God for the time we had in the U.S. last year. We were given so many opportunities to speak and share about all that took place in our ministry in 2019. We also got to spend some time with our families and to see so many of our friends. We thank God and we thank all of you!
  • Please continue to pray for our new organizations that have been formed to allow us to pursue the new ministry opportunities the Lord has brought to us. Family Health & Development Foundation Honduras (FHD Honduras for short) is the Honduras non-profit organization; FHD Missions, Inc. is the complementary U.S. non-profit organization that will serve to support and guide the activities of FHD Honduras. December 22nd we received our notification from the IRS informing us that we received our 501c3 tax exempt status!! We ask for prayer for Jean and me and for the boards of both organizations as we work to establish and fund the projects that are being developed.
  • Praise God for the successful completion of our first 10 months of operations at La Casa de Rubén! It hasn’t been without its challenges but God has been faithful and lives are being impacted. Please pray for the Lord to touch more hearts to help support this ministry on a monthly basis.
  • This month a new person was able to come to stay at La Casa de Rubén to begin receiving physical therapy! Because of some changes that were made at the end of last year and for a donation we received to purchase more beds this came to pass. You can learn more about Rosalina, our newest patient guest, on our website.
  • Please pray for us to receive the funds we need to purchase the house we are currently renting for La Casa de Rubén. We have done our due diligence to ensure that the price is fair and we have prayed about the situation. As a result we believe that this is the place God intends for us to be. That being the case we are trusting God to provide the significant funding needed to make the purchase.
  • Short term mission teams continue to be an important part of our ministry to reach people for Christ and to serve and bless them in other ways as well. Praise God for the two teams we have already hosted this year and the ones coming in March and April.
  • Please continue to pray for an exciting new ministry to launch this year at a church in Gracias. Work began on this project last September, and while the progress has been slow, we are trusting that it will come to pass in the Lord’s timing. Please pray for the pastors and leaders of this church as they do their work on the initial planning that will open the door for them to receive the teaching and training to launch and sustain this ministry.
  • There may be an opportunity coming our way to get much more involved in the healthcare system in our part of Honduras. This is something that we’ve thought we should do but we have not been actively seeking this out since there is still so much to do to stabilize and grow La Casa de Rubén and continue on in our other ministries. We recognize that even though we don’t think we are ready God might have a different plan so please pray for wisdom for us to know if this opportunity is from God and courage to move forward if it is.
  • Please pray for us as we continue talking with a Honduran missionary friend about joining us in our ministry. Having this person with us would greatly increase our impact in the mountain communities we serve so it seems like a good fit but we need the Lord’s confirmation.
  • Please pray for us personally however the Lord leads.
  • Please pray for Pastor Emilio, his family, and Ministerio Torre Fuerte here in La Campa. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and continued spiritual growth and impact in the churches and communities represented by this ministry.
  • Please pray for Pastor Jorge, his family, and his ministry in Caiquin, Coalaca and Mataras de Caiquin. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and continued spiritual growth and impact in the churches and communities represented by this ministry.

 

New Things-Part One

The God of the Bible is the God of the past, present and future. He knows everything from the beginning to the end. Before anything comes to pass He knew it and He knows how everything that comes to pass will end before it even gets started. Compared to His knowledge and understanding all of the smartest people who ever lived combined doesn’t come close to matching God’s knowledge.

The God of the Bible was God in times of old and the way He worked in ages past serves as an example and an encouragement to us. While His principles and purposes never change He is also a God of new things. Paul wrote that once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that we become new creations, the old things have passed away (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Then Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers that they were to lay aside their old selves, their old manner of life, and to then renew their minds in God, and put on the new self. These are beautiful verses showing just how much God longs for new things (see Ephesians 4:20-24). These verses apply just as much to each of us today as they did to the original audience.

This month I would like to share a very long overdue update with you. Jean and I have been on a journey for the last year or so during which time God has revealed many new things to us. During this time He challenged us to step forward in faith and do something new with Him. We have experienced things in ministry that we never imagined back in 2012 when we first heard Him inviting us to live and serve in Honduras full time.

A little over a year ago we sensed that God was moving in our lives and ministry in a way that we had not expected. As a result of the ministry we had been doing we had been learning much more about the medical situation here in Honduras. He brought into our paths friends in the states who were interested in making a difference in this area of people’s lives and we began to develop a deeper interest in doing the same. God showed us how this could be not just a part, but an enhancement to, our existing ministry.

Then He brought into our lives Dr. Maria. Dr. Maria is a Honduran doctor who lived in the states for several years as a child and returned to Honduras as a teenager. She then went on to study medicine in pursuit of her dream from an early age to become a doctor. Dr. Maria loves her country and her people with a heart much larger than her barely 5’ in height might indicate.

We continued to follow God down this path as best as we knew how. While not impossible to launch a new non-profit foundation in Honduras it is not the easiest thing to do either. So with God’s favor we formed a brand new non-profit foundation in Honduras called Family Health & Development Foundation Honduras. For several months last year we were also working on developing a new medical project that would benefit many people.

Then in August last year we received quite a surprise. The government of Honduras decided that it was time to do a comprehensive review of the public healthcare system to determine how it could be fixed to work better. While that review was underway they put a freeze on all new private healthcare project applications. Well guess what? We were just about to submit our plans and request for permits to begin building a private healthcare project near to our community.

The review was supposed to be completed with recommendations published in 90 days. That was over a year ago and so far nothing has really changed. Actually that is not completely true, some things have changed, which made it even less likely that the project we wanted to do would be approved anytime soon, if ever.

So much for that idea. Now what?

The Lord didn’t make us wait too long to find out the new thing that He had for us. You see, during all the time spent in those communities with medical mission teams and otherwise, one of the things we learned is just how lacking rehabilitative services are in this part of the country. We’re talking about therapies like physical and occupational therapy. We had met many people who had lost mobility and independence simply because there was no therapy available allowing a full recovery from fairly routine injuries.

Well, that’s not actually true. The therapy is available, and it is affordable for most costing as little as $2.00 per session. It is not uncommon for these sessions to last as long as three or four hours. So why are people suffering as I’ve described? Everybody should be getting therapy at these prices right? There is one thing I’ve not told you yet. The therapy center is located in the small city Gracias, an hour or more away from most of the communities we serve.

You might be thinking, so what? It takes an hour in traffic to get anywhere, especially if you are in the Atlanta area. For my Atlanta readers, there was a meme going around Facebook recently showing the traffic on the downtown connector at a standstill in both directions. The caption across the top read “Atlanta is an Hour From Atlanta”. While meant to be a joke it also happens to be quite true. After living there for twenty years I can attest to the fact that the photo was not an exaggerated or infrequent event. That picture is reality every weekday, and often even on the weekends. But back to rural Honduras.

In this part of Honduras we’re talking about an hour or more on unpaved, rutted and washed out mountain roads where only first and second gear are needed. Imagine having to ride in a pick-up truck (cars, vans and buses can’t get to many of these communities) in these conditions with a disability or injury of any sort.

And if it is pouring down rain, as it is at the time of me writing this article, and as it will do with much more frequency and intensity from now through the end of the year, it becomes impossible often times to get up or down the mountains at all in any kind of vehicle. Sometimes even 4 wheel drive isn’t enough to do it safely. And besides all of that, hardly anyone even owns their own pick-up truck in the first place.

So think about this. You have an accident and break something. You are actually able to get an x-ray, and a cast, which isn’t always possible. And after that you’re on your own. We know of cases where people were sent home with instructions on how to remove the cast so they didn’t have to come back to the hospital. And what of the recovery? Well, just do the best you can.

Admittedly sometimes that is enough. When I was in high school I had a rare fracture in my leg resulting from a football injury in gym class. I was hit in the center of my calf muscle by the knee of a friend when we both jumped up to catch the ball at the same time. The pressure of his knee in the muscle was so great that after the impact the muscle retracted and pulled off a tiny chip of the bone. My leg reacted as if it had been broken, well, because it had, although not in a way that required a cast.

However, I was on crutches for several weeks and my leg was immobilized with a brace and bandages. At the end of that time my knee was bent about 45 degrees and my ankle too was bent about that much and they didn’t want to go back to normal.

We weren’t a poor family but there was not what you call a whole lot of extra left at the end of any given month. So my dad decided that he and I would do the physical therapy ourselves. It was hard but we did the best we could and fairly quickly I regained regular use of my leg and foot.

My point is that sometimes it is ok to go back to your remote mountain community, do the best you can, and achieve good results. Sometimes the barriers that most everyone lives with here can be overcome without professional assistance.

But what about the times when that isn’t the case? What about the times when it takes more than just bucking up and doing what has to be done the best way one knows how? What about the times when it does take professional help? We’ll see how God has helped answer these questions next month.

Oct/Nov 2019 Prayers & Praises

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.

Introduction

It continues to be a very busy, challenging and yet fulfilling time in ministry. We are so thankful for our ministry partners who continue to be faithful in supporting us and the growing ministry the Lord has given us. Thank you for praying and rejoicing with us in the following:

Please pray for Jean and me as we continue our travels in the U.S. sharing all that God has been doing in our ministry in the last year. We’ve been to TX and GA already, we’ll be in KY, IL & IN through Thanksgiving and then we’ll return to GA for the month of December. We praise God for all of the opportunities He has given us to share about what He is doing with our partner churches and friends in TX, GA & KY so far. We are so grateful to have so many strong supporters and encouragers and for how you all take such good care of us while we are with you.

Please continue to pray for our new organizations that have been formed to allow us to pursue the new ministry opportunities the Lord has brought to us. Family Health & Development Foundation Honduras (FHD Honduras for short) is the Honduras non-profit organization; FHD Missions, Inc. is the complementary U.S. non-profit organization that will serve to support and guide the activities of FHD Honduras. We have not yet received word about our 501c3 tax exempt status so please continue to pray for favor in this matter. We praise God for His favor and wisdom in the creation of these new organizations. We ask for prayer for Jean and me and for the boards of both organizations as we work to establish and fund the projects that are being developed.

Praise God that our new website is live!! fhdhonduras.org

Please continue to pray for the nation of Honduras. Protesting had subsided for a few months but is expected to resume today (October 21st). Please pray for the protests to be peaceful and yet allow for the people’s voice to be heard on important issues in the country.

Praise God for the successful completion of our first 6 months of operations at La Casa de Rubén! It hasn’t been without its challenges but God has been faithful and lives are being impacted.

We need to ask you to continue to pray for La Casa de Rubén. La Casa de Rubén is the place for Rubén and others like him, to stay near to the physical therapy center in the city of Gracias in order to receive physical therapy. The needs are great for this project so please pray for wisdom and funding. Please prayerfully consider how you could be a part of this project with us. There are many ways to partner with us. We praise God for the partners He has brought us and for the donations that we have received to help with construction of two extra bedrooms and a bathroom and to help us buy supplies needed to open and operate La Casa de Rubén. The project is not fully funded but we are trusting God to provide.

Please pray for wisdom regarding a very important decision regarding the future location of La Casa de Rubén, and please pray for construction funds so we can finish the two additional bedrooms and bathroom so more people can come to stay and receive treatment. We have yet to receive additional construction funds but donations for the beds were received to allow us to begin rotating some new guest patients into the house beginning in January! We were also able to negotiate a fair price for the house and land we have been renting. Please pray for the funds to arrive so we can close the deal and make this the permanent location for La Casa de Rubén.

Please pray for the Lord to help us find new strategic partnerships in the U.S. to support La Casa de Rubén and our other FHD ministry projects.

Please pray for the Lord to bring us the financial support needed to fund the regular monthly operations of La Casa de Rubén for the rest of the year and on into 2020.

Short term mission teams continue to be an important part of our ministry to reach people for Christ and to serve and bless them in other ways as well. Please pray as we are in the process of scheduling short term mission teams to come in 2020. Praise God that we have a team scheduled to come in each of the first 4 months of 2020 and at least one scheduled for June already!

Please pray for a strategic meeting that will be taking place at the end of this month regarding the potential launch of an exciting and much needed new family ministry. The meeting went very well and progress is being made towards launching this new ministry next year. Please continue to pray for this.

Please pray for Pastor Emilio, his family, and Ministerio Torre Fuerte here in La Campa. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and continued spiritual growth and impact in the churches and communities represented by this ministry.

Please pray for Pastor Jorge, his family, and his ministry in Caiquin, Coalaca and Mataras de Caiquin. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and continued spiritual growth and impact in the churches and communities represented by this ministry.

August 2019 Prayers & Praises

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.

Introduction

The last couple of months have been very busy, challenging and yet fulfilling in ministry. We are so thankful for the ministry partners who have chosen to remain alongside us and commit their efforts and resources in the projects and communities that the Lord has given us. Thank you for praying and rejoicing with us in the following:

  • Please continue to pray for our new organizations that have been formed to allow us to pursue the new ministry opportunities the Lord has brought to us. Family Health & Development Foundation Honduras (FHD Honduras for short) is the Honduras non-profit organization; FHD Missions, Inc. is the complementary U.S. non-profit organization that will serve to support and guide the activities of FHD Honduras. Our application 501c3 tax exempt status has been filed and received by the IRS. Please pray for favor from the Lord that we fall into the “90 day bucket” meaning that no additional information is needed. This is a big step forward we need to take to further grow and support the ministry. We praise God for His favor and wisdom in the creation of these new organizations. We ask for prayer for Jean and me and for the boards of both organizations as we work to establish and fund the projects that are being developed.
  • Please continue to pray for the nation of Honduras as tensions have not decreased although until now the protesting had subsided. While we don’t want to blow things out of proportion there are serious problems in this country. The protests of May and early June subsided but are starting up again over mostly the same underlying and unresolved issues. Praise God that neither we nor our teams have been in any danger whatsoever. However, because of the tension and anxiety in the country right now we have to constantly be extra vigilant regarding current events and how they might impact our plans. This in and of itself can take its toll emotionally so please pray for us in that regard in respect to current events in Honduras.
  • Please continue to pray for Frontline Missions. Please pray specifically for Heidi Winter and the board as they continue working together to establish the clear vision and direction for Frontline Missions. Praise God for how He continues to use Frontline Missions in our lives, in Honduras, and in many other places around the world.
  • Praise God for the successful completion of our first quarter of operations! It hasn’t been without its challenges but God has been faithful.
  • We need to ask you to continue to pray for La Casa de Rubén. La Casa de Rubén is the place for Rubén and others like him, to stay near to the physical therapy center in the city of Gracias in order to regain mobility and independence. The needs are great for this project so please pray for wisdom and funding. Please prayerfully consider how you could be a part of this project with us. There are many ways to partner with us in this project. We praise God for the partners He has brought us and for the donations that we have received to help with construction of two extra bedrooms and a bathroom and to help us buy supplies needed to open La Casa de Rubén. We still have much more to go but we are trusting God to provide.
  • Please pray for wisdom regarding a very important decision regarding the future location of La Casa de Rubén. And please pray for construction funds so we can finish the extra rooms and bathroom so more people can come to stay and receive treatment.
  • Please pray for the Lord to help us find new strategic partnerships in support of La Casa de Rubén and our other ministries.
  • Short term mission teams continue to be an important part of our ministry to reach people for Christ and to serve and bless them in other ways as well. Praise God for the teams that have come to serve with us in and around La Campa this year-most recently our friends from First Baptist Church Atlanta-what a huge blessing they were to the church families of Gracia Abundante in Gracias and Ministerio Cristiano Vida in Caiquin.
  • Please pray for a strategic meeting that will be taking place at the end of this month regarding the potential launch of an exciting and much needed new family ministry.
  • Please pray for Pastor Emilio, his family, and Ministerio Torre Fuerte here in La Campa. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and continued spiritual growth and impact in the communities represented by this ministry.
  • Please pray for Pastor Jorge, his family, and his ministry in Caiquin, Coalaca and Mataras de Caiquin. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and continued spiritual growth and impact in the communities represented by this ministry.

First Baptist Church Atlanta In La Campa 2019

Pastor Arturo & Wendy giving each team member a very special personal gift.

Well, in Gracias more this year but close enough since Gracias has become our home away from home! What a blessing it was to host this team of friends again this year from First Baptist Atlanta. They returned to lead teachings from the Bible based on Life Principles developed by Charles Stanley and to teach and equip leaders and teachers for teaching ministries in their local churches. There were two day long conferences offered in Gracia Abundante in Gracias and at Ministerio Cristiano Vida in San Marcos de Caiquin. We can’t thank Pastor Arturo and Pastor Jorge enough respectively for organizing and hosting these conferences!

In addition to the teaching that was done there were many resource materials that were given to those in attendance to add to their toolboxes to better equip them in the work of teaching and making disciples. We also want to say a big “Thank You!” to the folks at Passion City Church and In Touch Ministries for the materials provided for these pastors, teachers and leaders.

The team spent a day visiting both La Casa de Rubén and CRILE. Most of you know by now that La Casa de Rubén is the house God has allowed us to open to serve as a place where people who live far away from CRILE can come and stay to receive the physical therapy they need but can’t get in the communities where they live. You can visit www.fhdhonduras.org for more information about our project La Casa ee Rubén.

Dr. Maria, our Executive Director with Dora, Rubén’s physical therapist at Crile.

CRILE is the non profit physical therapy center located in Gracias providing quality and affordable therapy to those who can get there. The team learned very quickly that there is much more happening at CRILE than just physical therapy. The team spent a couple of hours observing the therapy that was being done. But more importantly, they began to make connections. They connected with the therapists, especially Dora, the therapist who has been assigned to work with Rubén. They also began to make connections with some of the patients in just a short amount of time. You see, the thing bigger than the therapy that is happening is community. Our time at CRILE concluded with a group prayer right in the middle of the therapy room!

And of course the team came and spent several hours at La Casa de Rubén getting to meet Pastor Tulio, his wife Lourdes, Rubén and his younger sister Marlen for the first time. They all had heard very much about them and this ministry so it was a special time to have them there to see and experience it in person. What an encouragement they were to us and to everyone they came into contact with at both locations.

 

 

La Casa de Rubén-Q1 In Review

At the close of July we reached an important milestone-our first full quarter of operations! As many of you know from experience the start up phase of anything new is usually challenging and our new ministry project has had it’s fair share of challenges. However, like the old saying goes, “no pain no gain”, and while pain is not enjoyable we have gained much as a result.

Surprises

UCRISH at La Casa de Rubén

To say we experienced some surprises would be a bit of an understatement. One Saturday afternoon a group of business students from UCRISH, a local university in Gracias, came by the house to spend some time learning more about the project and the history of how it came to exist. While they told us in advance they would be bringing some donated supplies for the house we had no idea just how hard they had worked obtaining personal care and cleaning supplies, cookware and many other things for the kitchen and house. It was such a fun time and we were blessed greatly.

We also received a visit from friend and missionary Ben Agee who had lived in Gracias with his family before a health crisis caused them to have to return to the states much sooner than they ever imagined. Ben brought with him Mike, Zane and Jack one morning for a visit. We got to spend some real quality time together sharing about the ministry of La Casa de Rubén. They were a huge blessing and encouragement to us.

There have also been some other surprises that have caught us a little off guard that we are working through at this time. While some of them are forcing us to do a lot of thinking and praying they are developments that, once we work all the way through them, will turn out for the good of the house and the foundation overall. As these things develop we will be able to share more detailed information about these situations. In the meantime please pray for us as we determine the best decisions to make that will help us move forward and increase our capacity to help more people.

While there has been much focus placed on Rubén to date this project has never been just about him. Along that line we immediately began construction of two additional bedrooms and a bathroom to increase our capacity to bring in more patient guests. We find ourselves at a bit of a standstill as we have temporarily run out of construction funds. Please pray for us to find a donor, or donors, who are willing to help us with the materials and labor needed to finish these rooms.

In the future the other patient guests we receive will come and go on a rotating basis with their length of stay running anywhere from 1-4 weeks. This rotation will be coordinated with the therapists at CRILE and will help us maximize the use of the house for many more patients annually. While we don’t know exactly when we’ll be receiving more people we are certain that the time will come for more people to be blessed by all that is being offered at La Casa de Rubén.

The Staff

It has been very good, although interesting at times for them we’re sure, learning more about us and each other and the specific strengths and skills each of us brings to the project. Through the challenges the Lord is showing us how to minister and serve each other better while we each do our parts to make this project successful. To that end we’ve implemented specific prayer and meeting times, both with the entire staff and one on one, to teach and encourage one another. Through all of this the Lord is drawing us closer to each other and closer to Him while improving our effectiveness as a team. Please pray for this process to continue.

Rubén & Marlen

As is the case in all of life there are ups and downs. While Rubén has made much progress he still faces some very serious short and long term health challenges. Without giving too much detail and compromising his privacy we can say that his last skin ulcer (there were 5 at one time) is in a very difficult location to keep clean and infection free. Because of this he has suffered many serious infections in the last almost three years. As a result his body has become very resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the particular bacterial infection that he gets the most often. It appears that we are down to the last and very expensive antibiotic for him that is available in Honduras.

On a recent Friday we requested some lab work because he was showing signs of having another infection. With medication his fever went down overnight but by Saturday late afternoon it was up again so we sent him to the hospital. On Sunday night before it was confirmed which antibiotic he would need (we were still waiting for the lab results from Friday afternoon) the hospital received a donation of the exact one he ended up needing! The attending physicians put his name on the box and set it aside for him and he has gotten over this infection.

There is a permanent surgical procedure recommended that would more effectively prevent this from happening again but for personal reasons, and with full understanding of the potential outcomes, he has chosen not to have the procedure done. There are some changes in his care that we are making to do what we can to help prevent future infections but his battle is still very much uphill in regards to this part of his health.

We took him to get an MRI a little over a week ago to confirm the level of damage and recovery potential as the images of his neck taken at the time of the injury were very poor quality. The results confirmed that Rubén faces some great challenges and limitations. But the neurologist who is reviewing his case also told us that in his time he has seen many cases where God and physical therapy combined brought about improvements that were beyond what could be explained medically or scientifically. While he and we have very realistic expectations we are also not limiting what God can do through hard work and faith so we press on and with his physical therapy and exercise program as we have already seen significant improvements.

Marlen, his younger sister, is just as much a part of this story as her brother. She got to participate in her first ever class parade to celebrate Dia de Lempira last month. Lempira is a national hero who fought the Spanish conquistadors with quite a bit of success until he was tricked into a meeting where he was killed. There are big celebrations all over western Honduras on July 20 every year.

Marlen continues to adjust to being a middle school student and that has its own ups and downs, especially in a different house in a bigger city and school than she had ever seen before. Please pray for her and for all of us as we figure out how to best help her overcome the challenges she has faced and is facing in her short life so far. Please pray for her to grow in her understanding of and relationship with Jesus. Please pray for her to begin believing in herself. She has much more potential than she realizes and we need wisdom to help her find her way.

While it hasn’t been very easy, especially in just the last few weeks, it has been confirmed to us several times that we are right where we are supposed to be doing what we are supposed to be doing. Please pray for Jean and me as we continue to develop this ministry for the benefit of many others, but more importantly for the glory of God.