Sometimes Dreams Change

When I was 29 I went back to college. As part of the enrollment I had to take a math assessment test. I did horrible. They placed me in Math 95 which meant I had to take Math 95, 97, 98 and 99 before actually taking a college level math and getting credit for it. I remember sitting in that first class and feeling kind of humiliated at my age being in a class with high school running start students. At that point I made a goal to be “one of the smart kids.” In high school I remembered the “smart kids” took calculus so I made a goal that I was going to take calculus.

Over the next couple of years I remained focused on my goal and I got straight A’s in all my math classes. I was consistently on the dean’s list and honor roll. Finally I made it to calculus. What a sense of accomplishment I had sitting in that class knowing where I had started and where I had come.

Calculus is hard. Very hard. I really struggled through that quarter and I think I ended up finishing the class with a C+, which killed the high GPA I was hoping to graduate with. But the experience taught me some very valuable lessons. One lesson was the value of setting a goal. I still take great pride in the fact that I accomplished that goal. I had a long road to get there but I did it and for that I am proud. But I also realized that taking calculus was probably not the right goal. I didn’t need it for my degree. It wasn’t required. And it hurt my GPA. I should have changed my goal along the way and focused on the dreams that had been developing as I had worked my way through my college courses.

When we came to Honduras we had a dream. We had seen so much need and wanted to help however we could. And we did it. With your help we left everything and moved down here and poured out our lives for the people of Honduras. It has been an amazing three years. We have accomplished a lot and along the way God has been shaping us and molding us. When we came to Honduras we didn’t know how long we would be here. We only knew that it was where God was leading. When someone asked how long we would be here I always said that I didn’t know we would be called here and I don’t know how long we will stay. Now that question has been answered. Sometime in June we will be moving back to the US.

This has been a very difficult and emotional decision for us. It is one we have been working through and praying about for a long time. We have actually tried to come up with any way that we could to stay in Honduras. Our prayer was that if it really was time to move back that God would make it obvious, and we feel like he has. It would be impossible to share all the details in one newsletter but there are a few main reasons why we believe now is the right time.

Returning to Honduras with a new baby has been a very difficult transition, especially for Trina. We don’t have any help here. No family or friends that can watch the kids or give any kind of break. It means Trina really can’t be meaningfully involved in the ministry. And if I am gone she is stuck in the house all day every day. If you know Trina you can imagine how difficult that is for her.

Another major consideration is the security situation here in Honduras. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world and Tegucigalpa is consistently listed as the 2nd most dangerous city in the world. Corruption is everywhere. While we have only ever had minor incidences, every time we leave the house it is weight that I carry. It is always in the back of your mind, “Is this the time where someone puts a gun to my head and robs me of everything?” If it happens to me, fine – but not my wife and kids.

This also makes it very difficult to raise a family, especially a very high energy 3 year old boy. There aren’t safe parks for him to play in, safe places for him to ride bike, pre-school to attend, or friends to play with. Trina and I have really seen Asher suffering and there is nothing we can do about it. Trina and I believe that our family has to be a priority and that means doing what we believe is best for Asher and Levi. At least for now, we believe the best thing is to return home for a season.

The final major consideration is the work that I (Chad) do. God has opened some doors where I believe I can actually be of more use back in the States than I can be in Honduras. Part of my work here has been overseeing a child sponsorship program. The program really needed a database tool for managing the program but there was nothing available. As a web programmer I decided to build my own. I figured there are other ministries who have the same needs so I set up a website and made the program available to other ministries. We currently have over 60 ministries around the world that we are helping with their child sponsorship program. We are literally helping thousands of children all over the world. When we get back to the States I will be going back to work as a web developer with my cousin Geoff. I believe I can use my skills to help many other missionaries in their work. I’ve seen needs first hand and now I know how I can help others.

We will also continue the work of our non-profit organization, Extended Hands. With the contacts and relationships we have in place we can continue to do great work.

As I said, this has been a difficult decision and will continue to be a difficult transition. Sometimes dreams change. Sometimes God leads us in new directions. It is almost always unexpected.

We are eternally grateful for your prayers and financial support. If you feel led to give to help us with our return it would be a blessing. Anything we receive that we don’t need will go directly to the work in Honduras. If you are sending an automatic donation online please let us know whether you would like to continue or if you would like us to cancel the donation. The money will continue to go to the work in Honduras.

Thank you again for all your support over these last three years. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Chad and Trina

Jesus Wept

Most of us know John 11:35, “Jesus wept,” as the shortest verse in the Bible. This morning John 11 was part of my devotions. I’ve read John 11 many times but today it struck me like it was brand new. Especially the part around this verse. You may know the story, Lazarus, a friend of Jesus and the brother of Mary and Martha died. Jesus was four days late getting there to heal him from his sickness. But he wasn’t really late because Jesus knew that Lazarus would die and that he would come and raise him from the dead as a demonstration of who he is.

Why did he weep?

So why did Jesus weep? It wasn’t because Lazarus had died. Jesus knew Lazarus would live again. In verse 33 it says that when Jesus saw Mary and the other Jews who had come with her weeping he was “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” It was the sadness and pain of others that moved Jesus to tears. He felt so deeply their pain that he wept with them.

So much pain

Here in Honduras we get to see the worst of the worst of the worst of what people have to endure. Some of it is by fate – they were born poor. For others it is the atrocities people are capable of committing on other people. We live in the murder capital of the world. There is no place on earth with a higher murder rate. Not only that, but being involved in ministry we are often intimately involved with people in great suffering. And let’s not forget that life is hard no matter who you are.

It is easy to wonder where God is in all this suffering. It is easy to wonder if he cares or if he hears our prayers. The story of Lazarus reminds me that he does. He didn’t stop Lazarus fron dieing – he had other plans – greater plans. He didn’t keep his dear friends from feeling pain. It didn’t mean he didn’t love them. It didn’t mean he didn’t care. He cared so much that their pain caused him to weep.

We often go through difficult times. Trina and I are going through difficult times. Some dear friends of ours are going through a difficult time. It is a comfort to me and I hope a comfort to you to know that Jesus loves you and because of his love he cares intimately about us. It doesn’t mean we don’t go through tough times. It does mean we have a heavenly Father who is with us and will see us through.

Back in the Swing of Things

Back in the Swing of Things
Our family of 4! Please excuse the way I look...I just had a baby :)

Our family of 4! Please excuse the way I look…I just had a baby :)

Too Long

Wow! We sincerely apologize for the lack of blog posts. Let’s just say it has been a crazy busy past couple of months. We did add a new member to our family, and if you are parents you know how busy that can make you! But we are anxious to get back into the swing of things and back to our normal life…if you can call it normal! I will try and catch you up on what’s been going on in our lives.

Back in the States

As you all know, I (Trina), have been in the states since the end of October. I flew here with Asher, along with the help of my sister-in-law, Tanya. Chad stayed in Honduras for a few weeks to continue work on the mission field. He came around the end of November and it was great to be reunited again. We then were playing a waiting game until December 6 for baby Baron to make his appearance.

Levi James

And make his appearance he did, exactly on his due date! Doctors told me I was the “perfect one” for having both my babies born on their due dates. It happens in every 5%, so yes, I think that makes me lucky, or I guess I should say, blessed. He came into the world very fast at 5:32 in the morning, which made it impossible for me to have an epidural. I never planned on having a natural birth, and I wasn’t prepared for that profound pain. But I was thankful it didn’t last long, and it was worth it to hold my sweet Levi James in my arms. We were so thankful for the amazing nursing staff and the Dr. who made all the right calls and took such great care of me and Levi.

Back to Honduras

We planned on returning to Honduras sometime next week, once we got all of Levi’s paperwork done and his passport in our hands. However, all of us got hit with some serious sickness. Asher came down with pneumonia, and Chad has a viral infection. Levi and I came down with bad colds and coughs. Needless to say, we are sick of being sick. We want to make sure that when we travel we are all healthy. So we are now thinking that we will be leaving for Honduras sometime the second week of February. Thanks to all who continue to support and pray for us on our journey. We appreciate you all!

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Asher and his new baby brother!

Malls and Street Kids

Malls and Street Kids

The Largest Mall in Central America

Today I went to City Mall to have breakfast. Pastor Marco arrived at the airport this morning after spending a few days in Panama buying the gifts for the children for our annual Christmas celebration. So Mateo, Alexandra, and I met him there and then went across the street to City Mall to have breakfast with him and his family. This was my first time in City Mall. I’ve been watching it go up over the last 17 months. Every time I would go by I would gasp at the enormous size. City Mall is now the largest mall in all of Central America. I knew that but still I wasn’t prepared for what it would be like inside. First of all, we parked in the massive underground parking. Every single parking spot has a sensor and a light overhead. If the light is green it means the spot is open and if it is red it means there is a car in the spot. You can literally see an open parking spot from across the garage. As a technology lover I think it is the coolest thing. The mall itself is like nothing I have ever seen. I can’t even describe it. It is beautiful and expansive with hundreds of stores and restaurants and coffee shops. It lacks nothing.

I struggle with what to think about this mall – especially in light of the stark contrast I see with so many people barely able to get enough food each day. On the one hand this mall is a great thing, it has provided 3,000 new jobs to people in this city. On the other hand, there are already at least 7 huge malls in this city. While creating jobs is good, most of the jobs are low paying jobs. I can’t help but wonder what good could be done in this country if there were investments in education and infrastructure like the investments made in the malls.

Street Kids

Last weekend we were in the heart of the city where our church is located. A number of us were outside on the street. I was helping film an interview of Alvin for a ministry in Denmark. We attracted the attention of a couple of young boys. They came up the street and sat down to watch what we were doing. Both of them obviously live on the streets. They were dirty and carrying the typical plastic bottle with some shoemakers glue at the bottom. The street kids huff the glue to get high. It is terrible stuff. I’ve seen many kids who have permanent neurological damage, they shake uncontrollably  from the glue. But it is cheap and they say it kills the hunger pains and numbs them from the horrors they have experienced. The sad thing is the glue is also addictive. Some kids try to get off the street and try to kick the glue. Seeing a kid detoxing from the glue reminds me of someone detoxing from heroin. I don’t know the percentage but a lot of them are not successful. The pull of the glue proves to be too strong and they end up back on the streets.

After we were done filming the interview we started talking to the two boys. I grabbed my phone and started filming Alvin’s conversation with them. Here is a little of Orlando and Kevin’s story.

Opened Doors

Opened Doors

For many months now Chad and I have been praying about where to have this baby. In the beginning we always intended to have the baby here. We never really thought twice about it. But as we began to ask around, many people told us that if it was possible, to go have the baby in the states. But we still didn’t know if this would even be an option. And we didn’t know if this was what God wanted. God would really have to open some doors for us to go back home to WA and have this baby.

Having the baby in either place would mean sacrifices that we would have to make. There are definitely pros and cons to both. And even after sitting down and writing out the pros and cons, we still didn’t have a clear answer as to what we should do. So we continued to pray and pray and pray. We wanted God to be glorified in the decision that we made. And we wanted it to be God’s plan, not just what we wanted.

Our answer became more clear when God began to open some doors. They just happened to be the exact doors that we had been praying about. Because of those open doors, we will be traveling back to WA to have the baby. This was not any easy decision and like I said before, does require some sacrifices. One of those sacrifices is Chad and I being apart for at least one month. My sister-in-law, Tanya, is here right now with us. She flew out here to fly back with me so that I could have some help with Asher, being that I am almost 8 months pregnant! We leave on Monday (Oct. 22). Chad will be staying in Honduras to continue work in the ministry, probably until sometime around Thanksgiving. The baby is due December 6 so we plan on staying until early January, once we have obtained all the necessary paperwork to fly back to Honduras with our new bundle.

Thank you to all those that were praying with us on this big decision. We do feel at peace that this is what God wanted for our family. Please continue to pray for us in the coming months. Specific prayers include the time while Chad is apart from us, the traveling that we will be doing, the labor and delivery of baby B, and all the adjusting that will be taking place in the next couple months for our soon to be family of 4. Thank you and God bless!

33 weeks and feeling large! Asher just had to be in the pic with mommy and baby brother.

Children’s Ministry

Children’s Ministry

If you know me, then you know that I love kids. My love for children is what led me to become a teacher and it is one of my greatest passions. If you’ve followed our blog posts, then you know all about the nursery/Sunday school project that I began not long after we moved here. In June of 2011 we finally had a room for a nursery and another room for our Sunday School. These rooms are perfect for the children and it gives them a safe place to have fun and learn about Jesus.

In our last newsletter Chad talked about how leadership training is our new and main focus this year and in the years to come. We feel that leadership training is extremely important because the people here have a serious lack of how to lead. This includes leadership in the church nursery and Sunday School. When returning from our 6 week stay in the states, I found out that no one had taken charge of any part of the children’s ministry and both the nursery and Sunday school classes were not in use! This is exactly why this type of training is so important. They didn’t know how to lead without myself or Alexandra there.

When this news was brought to my attention, I felt it was important to call a leadership meeting with the women and girls in our church, specifically those who have helped in the past or who are interested in children’s ministry. This Saturday, I will be teaching and leading these women on how to run a church nursery and Sunday School. I plan on giving a short message about service in the church, information on handling babies, and many different teaching techniques in the classroom.

Our rooms are wonderful rooms for these children but they are in need of some items to make them even better and more productive for the children. For example, the babies could use some new toys to play with, along with a bouncy seat for the many new babies that seem to be filling our church. And the Sunday School is in desperate need of resources. This includes everything from crayons, play dough, puzzles and other manipulative toys, a CD player for worship time, and books. Because the services here are so long, the children, ages 3-9, are expected to spend sometimes 2 hours in their classroom during church. This requires resources to keep those little brains and little hands busy! If you would like to help in any way, please let us know. We would greatly appreciate any donations toward our children’s ministry. Thank you and God bless!

The Sunday School room. We have added some tables and chairs but we are still in need of many other resources.

 

 

Back Home

We’ve been back in Honduras for a little over a week now. Coming back was a little difficult as we had just said goodbye to our families and all the familiarities and comforts again. I was in tears upon our return, for two reasons. One, because leaving our family is never easy. It’s a sacrifice that we make everyday to be away from our loved ones. And two, because while difficult, it still felt so right. We really do feel like we are back home, and going to church on Sunday and seeing our Honduran family reminds us again of why were are here.

We are beginning to slowly transition back to the Honduran lifestyle and to the life of full time ministry. If you were at our Taco Feed, you know of the changes that are taking place for us on the mission field. We feel that God has called us to Honduras to do leadership training and to teach men, women, and children to become Christian leaders of their generation. This is what Honduras needs and this is the hope for Honduras. Chad will be busy teaching leadership to Honduran men, many who come from our church community. My job is a little different in the sense that I am first and foremost a wife and a stay-at-home mom. But I do plan on doing leadership training with the young women and children in our church.

We are currently busy, mostly me, planning, preparing, and nesting for baby #2, who is just a couple of months away from making his appearance. I am no longer sick but am feeling the affects of the third trimester (30 weeks), which include fatigue, aches and pains, and did I mention fatigue. I am so tired these days and my energy feels zapped! But we are so excited to meet this little guy and welcome him to our family. Thank you for all your prayers for us every day. God bless you and your family this fall season!

We HEART Washington!

We HEART Washington!

Going on swings is a luxury!

Our WA Visit, so far

WOW! It has been a bit too long since we last posted. We sincerely apologize and we blame it on the fact that we are still in the states and keeping busy each day. Our time in WA has been wonderful and we are so thankful for the rest and relaxation that we have been getting while at our home away from home away from home (make sense?) :) I know that I feel completely blessed to have some help with Asher, especially since I am becoming more and more pregnant each day! I think it’s safe to say that our little guy is loving being surrounded by his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and several cousins. Not to mention running around in the grass, going to parks, going on walks, picking blackberries and pretty much everything that we do not have the luxury of doing in Honduras. It actually brings a tear to my eye to think of taking him away from everything he seems to love so much here.

Taco Feed

Right now we are busy planning our 3rd Annual Taco Feed, which is our main fundraiser of the year (Thursday, Sept. 6th). It’s a time where we get to say our many thank you’s to all who support us while on the mission field. There is also a silent auction, free tacos, and a short time of sharing about our ministry in Honduras. We appreciate prayers as we prepare for this up and coming event!

We still have a couple weeks left in WA, until Sept. 20. We are looking forward to spending that time with family and friends and celebrating Asher’s 3rd birthday. Thanks again for your continued prayers and support. God bless!

Loving some smores at Birch Bay.

Believe it or not, we actually had some “fall like” days where Asher got to try his first hot chocolate. Him and his cousin Tye at Nana’s house.

And we can’t forget the Fair! Asher and his cousin Daisy on one of the many rides that we went on that week.

Asher and daddy at a Mariner’s game over Labor Day Weekend.

For Your Information

One More Week

One week from today and we will be back in our hometown of Lynden, WA. We are very excited to get back and enjoy all that comes with this town we call our own, including family, friends, the Fair, walks, the park, and maybe even the zoo, as Asher has never been. We also get to be home for Asher’s 3rd birthday, which I am very grateful for.

Help Needed

On top of all that, we will be having our annual Taco Feed to help raise support for our ministry in Honduras. The event will be on Saturday, September 8 at the Mt. Baker Rotary Building this year. We will also be doing a silent auction again with gift baskets, which means I am looking for people to donate a basket. Last year we had some amazing themed baskets, such as Family Night, Baking, Gardening, Baby, and more! These are super fun to put together and it goes toward a great cause. So, if you would like to donate one please contact me, either on here or through my facebook account. Also, if you live out of the area you could still donate a basket by just sending one. We appreciate anything and everything!

 

My Thursdays with Marco

My Thursdays with Marco

My favorite day of the week is Thursday. That is the day I spend with Pastor Marco. I leave the house at 7:30, pick up Mateo, and head to ‘On the Run’ in Carrizal. On the Run is a gas station on the northern highway heading out of the city. It is typical gas station mini mart with an espresso machine and some quick food like fried chicken, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Mateo and I always get there a little early so we can get some coffee and chat a little about what we hope to accomplish that day. When Marco arrives we get into my car and head up to the feeding centers.

Marco and I decided to spend Thursdays together going up to the feeding centers for a couple of reasons. One is that my Spanish has finally got to the point where I can carry on a conversation. This means Marco and I can start working more closely together. Another reason is that there is so much going on that we needed schedule a day a week where we are actively involved in overseeing the programs. Otherwise, weeks could go by where we are so busy with other things that we don’t make it up to the centers. And most importantly we go to encourage the people working in these centers. That is the best part. It is so gratifying being able to encourage them in the work they are doing with the kids and the people in these extremely poor areas. Just by us being there and taking time to talk with the people they feel loved and encouraged.

The following pictures are a kind of “Day in the Life” showing what our Thursdays are like (click on a picture to see a larger version):

Delivering Supplies to the Feeding Centers

Some Thursdays we bring food and supplies to restock the centers.

Marco and Me

Marco and I are the same age although I like to remind him he is a few months older than me, to which he reminds me I have a lot more grey hair :(

Typical Home

This is a typical home in the areas where we are working. This is right next to Feeding Center #2.

Me playing with the kids

There are always kids around the centers so sometimes I get to spend a little time playing with them. They love having their picture taken.

Mateo sharing with a couple neighborhood boys

Mateo never misses an opportunity to share the gospel. These two boys helped us unload supplies one day and afterward Mateo encouraged them by telling them they are the hope of Honduras and that they need to seek God so they can make a difference.

Gloria is the cook at Feeding Center #2

Gloria is a faithful servant who does all the cooking for the kids at Feeding Center #2.

The guys laying tile at the church at Feeding Center #1

One of the benefits of the three of us visiting the centers on a regular basis are the ideas we come up with to help make the programs better. I’ve wanted to put tile down on the cement floor of the church for a long time. Mateo and I came up with the idea of doing it as a service project with some of the guys from the church.

Mateo preaching at Feeding Center #1

Another idea was to come up and encourage the church so Mateo and I along with some others from the main church came up on a Tuesday night. Mateo gave a great message to encourage the people there.

There is so much going on in these areas and so much more we can do. It is a blessing being able work alongside Marco and other Hondurans who are committed to the work of the Lord and helping their country.