HOME!! Beautifully, blissfully, thankfully home. We are back in Honduras and are fully realizing how much we missed it. Did I ever mention how much I love this place?! I don’t even know where to start. As you know, our family was in the US from November to May. We actually came back early. I am so thankful we did. I can’t explain it, and perhaps those who have lived and worked here can – this place is so alive and so full of love, it is teeming with the glorious love of God. These kids are amazing and bring so much joy to our lives. We love the people who we work with and a beautiful and very unique family has formed. We feel so privileged to be a part of it.
I am so proud of our staff and volunteers, and also I am so very proud of our kids. When we left for the US, I met with several of the teachers who were very concerned about the kids’ success in school. The 1st grade teacher, Goni Laseke, a volunteer from the US told me that several of her students might not be able to go to 2nd grade. A few of these children were new to us, just arriving in September and spoke no English, so it made sense that perhaps they would be held back that year. But some of our other kids, who have been with us for a few years, were also dangerously behind in their ability to do 1 st grade work. When we left for the US, I carried those things in my heart and worried about them, but that worry was totally unfounded!
Upon our return to Honduras, I sat with Goni again and the story had totally changed! She said that our kids were now in the 100% club—a group of children that actually made 100% on most of their work. She told me that she did not see a reason that all of our children should not move on to second grade and do very well. I went on to speak to all of our other teachers and heard the same “comeback kid” story in each class! In the end, only two children needed to take a makeup test in their Spanish class, but all have successfully passed on to the next grade. Congratulations to our kids and to the wonderful people that have given them another year of knowledge! Thank you so much for fighting for their futures.
Something beautiful happened here in Honduras. Two wonderful people that love us and love our kids were joined together in marriage. Jordan Rinta, a pastor from Washington came to Honduras 3 years ago because God had caused him to become very unsatisfied with his comfortable life in the US. He has worked as a teacher and mentor in our teen discipleship program ever since. Abigail Doubrava from Oklahoma came down in 2013 to serve at the school for six months. In time, her heart was won by the kids and she decided to come down again this year to teach math to our high school students. The two realized that they were perfect for each other and were married on June 8 th in a beautiful ceremony here in Honduras. When they announced their engagement, I naturally assumed they would return somewhere to the states to marry, as both of their families were there. However is was to my great delight that they asked if they could have the wedding in Honduras. We were so honored! When I asked them about it, they told us that they could not imagine doing it anywhere else.
The wedding was held at the home of a student of the school. The family of the bride and groom and many of their friends traveled to Honduras for the wedding. Talk about a destination wedding! Many H2H volunteer alumni came to celebrate the event: Brandon Naffin, a volunteer teacher in 2013; David Leadham, a volunteer teacher in 2013 and 2014; Katie & Josh Farnham, volunteers in 2014; and Mercedes Lux, a volunteer teacher in 2014. It was like a H2H reunion, and great to see so many old friends again. Over 300 people were in attendance for the beautiful outdoor ceremony. The couple honeymooned in Roatan and is now in the US to have receptions in their respective states. Jordan and Abby, thank you so much for all that you have been to our kids and this ministry. We are all better people because we know you both and are blessed by your friendship. We pray that God blesses you abundantly!
Good-bye to our 2014/2015 Volunteers
This has also been a sad time of goodbyes. The week after the wedding all of our volunteers returned to their respective homes. After a year of hard work to bless the kids, they are now going home, job well done. What this staff has accomplished is beyond expectation and it has been a phenomenal year. After spending a year together however, it is hard to say goodbye in the end. On the last day at the airport all vowed to return. Some will be back in August or at some point in the fall, while others are praying that God will bring them back to Honduras someday. We love you all and are so thankful for your time of service here. We pray that you will all make it back “home” someday.
Growing Our Kids’ Servant Hearts
The week after school was out, we were blessed by a team lead by Kim and Rick Stephens. Kim and Rick told us in the US that they had a vision for our kids. They wanted to see our kids going out and serving, and this was exactly what we had in mind. Ever since we returned to Honduras we have been doing a Saturday service project. That is where we take our kids to serve someone in need. A few Saturday’s ago we went to clean the yard of our school secretary whose husband is ill. The next Saturday we went to clean the home of an elderly couple that is very close to Oscar’s heart. They were his Sunday school teachers growing up in the church. Today she has profound Alzheimer’s and he has kidney trouble. The kids took everything out of their home and pressure washed and cleaned. Also, each Sunday the girls of the village have a fundraising project. Each week we go room by room at the girls’ house (there are 4 rooms) and each bed room makes or bakes something to sell on Sunday morning to make money to buy the things we need for the event that they will do. Last week we sold Brownies a la Mode with the girls from room 1. Room one is made up of mostly 1 st and 2nd grade girls. Within minutes all of the brownies were sold, and we made earnings of 200 LPS. That will be plenty to purchase all purpose cleaners, bleach and mops and brooms for the next project.
When the team arrived their vision was to go into the poor communities around Puerto Cortes and bring food, but most of all to bring the word of God. When the team first arrived, they worked together with the kids to prepare sacks of food containing items such as flour, shortening for tortillas, spaghetti, bean, rice and other things that they could feed their families. The kids walked through the streets with team members, praying for the sick, and leading many to the Lord. Many of the kids were so emotional after this grand adventure and could see how God can use their lives to be a blessing to others. We hope to do many more outreaches like this in the future! In addition to the outreach, the team also helped the kids write letters and celebrated birthdays. Thank you so much to this team for sharing such a great experience with our kids. You were a great blessing to us all and today many more are in the family of God, thanks to your sacrifice.
Last week Oscar took all of our teenage boys and our male staff, in the end it was a total of 30 people, up to our coffee farm high in the mountains of Honduras for some “man time”. Ever since school has been out they have been working tirelessly on getting our school ready for next year. The school has been painted, desks built, walls torn down and new one put up. So, this was a great time to relax after great work on our school. They all got to our house up at the farm and had a barbeque and bonfire. They sang worship songs and then Oscar gave his testimony and encouraged the boys that even though he grew up a very poor Honduran, God is using his life in a great way. He said that as they were getting ready to go to bed, many of the boys wanted to stay up and talk about everything from prophecy to knowing God’s will for their lives. He said they talked until almost midnight. The next day they ate breakfast and went down to the river to play soccer and swim. By lunch time, they headed back to the farm for lunch and then headed back to Tegucigalpita. In the end, a great time was had by all and it was a wonderful time of bonding for all the young men of WWH2H.
Soccer Academy with the National Soccer League of Honduras
Five of our boys, Nahun, Alexis, Walter, Adonis and Kevin have been selected to be part of an elite soccer academy sponsored by the National Soccer League of Honduras. This is a special training camp that goes throughout the summer to prepare potential professional soccer talent. The classes are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So far, they have really enjoyed the classes, but say they are no joke! They don’t play around in soccer academy; they are training our boys to be men on the soccer field. Over all it is giving the boys a great boost of encouragement and lots of discipline. We are excited to see how it goes for them.
Blessed by our Church Home
I also want to brag on our church a bit. Honduras is a very poor country and $500 is a lot of money! In fact it took the church several months of special fundraisers to come up with that money, but with it they poured a blessing on our kids that will go down in the history books. It was a special event day at the village called “Explosion of Smiles”. The day started with all of the church descending upon Tegucigalpita, about 150 in addition to the 100 plus that live there. They came prepared to make a wonderful Honduran meal that they themselves prepared and purchased all of the food to feed up to 300 people. The morning started with a small Sunday school class, complete with puppet show and clowns. We then moved on to game time. Two bouncy houses were rented for the smallest to enjoy and the six year old and older went into game mode. The first game was pass the plantain, where lines were formed and team members had to pass plantains to their team members with their feet. Then on to water balloon toss, sack races and other wonderful games for all to enjoy. There were ice cream cones and cake to top it off. In the end, our family was so blessed with this wonderful gift. We are so thankful to our church for this beautiful time.
Summer Camp is in Full Swing
We are full swing into Summer Camp 2015 and so far it is a blast! This year, we have two very wonderful people heading up the program. Mikaela Gronseth, who has been a volunteer with WWH2H since 2013, is staying through the summer to work with the girls. And an old friend of Oscar’s from childhood, Pastor Denis Del Cid is in charge of the boys’ house. This coming week at the girls’ house we will be painting their rooms. Each room of girls chose the colors they wanted to paint their walls, beds and closets and the fun starts this week. The boys have been working on cleaning and getting our village very beautiful. The rest of the summer holds all kinds of wonderful fun. Next week, our first US team of the summer will be coming, led by Joel Heiser, a longtime friend of the ministry. Joel will be coming to Honduras for 3 weeks with a group of young people, to do crafts, do one week of soccer camp, one week of baseball camp and one week of basketball camp. We can’t wait! Throughout the summer we will be bringing you more updates on the adventures of summer camp!
We want to say a very special thanks to Tim and Deanne Converse. Tim has been in Honduras since January of 2015 heading up the agriculture project at the village. The Converses have worked closely with the Fellows Program of Portland Oregon, to develop many aspect of the program such as the aquaponics garden and the new chicken farm. After 5 months of perseverance with this project, Tim is finally returning home to his family. We thank this family very much for giving such a wonderful gift to our kids.
A Final Note
We just returned home it and we are loving life back here. However, we will soon be traveling back to the states to continue with our march forward in looking for more sponsors, support, funding and resources for this ministry. We are so overjoyed that 102 children are now safe and thriving away from the dangers and abuses they were living in before. However, we cannot bury our heads in the sand, or just call it good. I am the mother of two of my own biological daughters. I know that if, through some strange set of circumstances, they found themselves in a situation of living on the streets, forced into slavery or dying of starvation, I would hope that someone, somewhere, somehow would come along and take care of them and rescue them. Because it’s not okay that my two daughters be on the streets, we will never “call it good”, because tonight a little girl is being sold to a man that will abuse her, today a little boy is having a gun put in his hands for the first time. He is afraid, he doesn’t like it, but he will be taught to use it and will soon commit his first murder for the gang that he is being forced to join. Tonight a child will lose the battle to starvation due to a parasitic infection that is totally treatable. Please continue to pray for us that the Lord would move in a mighty way in our 102 children in Puerto Cortes, in our 181 children receiving classes in Conception Del Sur and in all of the children that will be part of our family in the future.
Much love, Amy