Personal Reflections

Thoughts, struggles, and ideas we a dealing with through this process.

Honduras Beginnings

Honduras Beginnings

We’re There

We arrived in Honduras early Saturday morning (Oct. 23) after two short and successful flights. As the plane landed we were both excited and nervous to finally be home. We had been praying and waiting for this moment to arrive for so long and it was hard to believe that it was actually here! Our comfortable lives were behind us and we knew that in many ways life would be much harder. Nevertheless, we felt ready for the task that lay ahead and for the adventure to begin.

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Our living quarters for the past week, at Alvin and Nelly's apartment.

We have all heard the saying, “Mi casa es su casa” (My house is your house).  But I have never seen those words truly carried out until we came to Alvin and Nelly’s home. Since many short term mission teams visit, they have two bunk houses, with a small apartment below. This is where we have been staying for the past week. Alvin told us several times: “That apartment is just your sleeping quarters. Our home is your home and you are family.” So we spent a lot of time in their home, eating their food and drinking their coffee. However, we were not the only visitors of the Anderson’s. Alvin and Nelly, along with their two teenage daughters (Nelanie and Amy), have an open door policy when it comes to helping people. In the week that we stayed with them, I can remember at least 10 people that stayed in the bunkhouses and were in and out of their home throughout the week. Now that is what I call hospitality!

Praise Report

Our car that will be a huge help when driving up the rough terrain to the Feeding Centers!

One praise to report is that we found a car! Alvin was looking in the newspaper for us and came across one that was a great deal and even under what we had budgeted for a vehicle. It is a Nissan Xterra, 4X4 (which is very necessary here), AC, automatic, and in great shape. There is a lot that needs to be considered when buying a used car here. Alvin had his mechanic look at it and even he couldn’t believe the price they were asking because it was in such great condition. Alvin and Pastor Marcus made the deal for us so that they wouldn’t ask for more seeing that we were American. And the car is ours! We are very thankful that God had His hand in this and provided us with a  great vehicle.

More Adjustments

Our new house which is located in a very safe area in the city.

Again, this has been a time of adjustment for the three of us. We have been living out of suitcases for over a month now, and are getting by with little resources. Since being here we have realized how “easy” we had it back home. There were so many conveniences there that we do not have here. BUT, we are thankful to announce that our house search has come to an end and we are finally moved in! However, the house came with no furnishings or appliances so we had to go out and buy everything new. We basically had to start over, and are still in the process of making our house a home. It might take some time, but we are slowly getting there.

We Will Follow You

We appreciate your prayers as we again go through a transition period. We are excited to have this place feel more like home. Until then, it is an adjustment that we are trying to get used to. But the words to this song help remind me that this is definitely where God has called us:

“Where you go I’ll go; where you stay, I’ll stay; when you move, I’ll move;


Who you love, I’ll love; how you serve, I’ll serve; if this life I lose;


Final Thoughts on Guatemala

Final Thoughts on Guatemala

Early Saturday morning our flight leaves for Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As we prepare for the next step I want to reflect a little on this last one.

We’ve been in Antigua for just about a month. Those who have followed us on this blog and Facebook know this has been a season of adjustment for us. And there is no way around it, adjustment is hard. Change is hard. But through it all one thing we know, God is God and God is good. Each day as we have faced new challenges he has shown up with the grace we need for that day. Through this we have been learning just what it means to rely on Him.


Before we left, while we were moving out of our house and feeling the tremendous stress and pressure of it all, Trina was laying in bed feeling overwhelmed when she had this vision of a frog. Through that the Holy Spirit reminded her of an acronym using the letters F-R-O-G which stand for Fully Rely On God. She shared that with me and it has become a kind mantra for us. Often when we feel overwhelmed, stressed out, scared, and lonely we remember the frog and we remember we must Fully Rely On God. It isn’t easy but it is exciting. We feel incapable and unqualified for the work ahead but we know we are where God has called us and with each day we learn more and more what it means to rely on him who called us.

Where we are supposed to be

And how do we know this is where we are supposed to be? Believe me, we have both questioned our sanity and had many moments of serious doubts wondering if we had just made a colossal mistake. On the other side of those doubts God brings about moments of clarity. We see how God is moving in ways we could have never guessed. We hear stories on a weekly and sometimes daily basis of things God is doing back home as a result of us leaving. It seems weird and at times doesn’t make any sense but the fact is we had to leave to get out of God’s way. I’m not even sure this is making sense so I’ll say it this way, many times I hear a story of how God is working and I know in my heart that it would not have happened if we were still in Lynden. I’m reminded of I Corinthians 1:18-19 “For the message of the cross if foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'” God likes to work in ways that don’t make sense to us so we know it is God and not us.

Dick’s Kids

One of the highlights of our time here in Guatemala was the Saturday we spent with Dick Rutgers. Trina wrote about our time in a previous post but I want to share a little different story. When we were at Hermano Pedro, the orphanage for children with disabilities, Dick brought along a few of the kids he calls “his kids”. These kids are mainly boys, although there are a couple of girls, that live near him who he has kind of adopted. In all I think there are around 12 of these teenage kids. Most of them come from pretty rough backgrounds. Most have been abused, their parents have died or abandoned them, or any number of hardships have fallen on them. But at Dick’s place they have a safe haven. And something truly remarkable is happening.

Chad with one of Dick's kids

These kids are a huge part of Dick’s ministry. By living among them and befriending them he has created a sort of family unit. He gets to share Jesus and speak into their lives in a way no one else can. He takes them to church on Sundays and to youth group during the week. But it isn’t that he is just ministering to them, they in turn are ministering to the children at Hermano Pedro and around Guatemala. Dick speaks very little Spanish so these kids have become his translators. And when they aren’t translating they are right there with Dick picking up the disabled children and playing with them. And that is what we got to witness. At Hermano Pedro these kids were pulling the children out of their beds and playing with them and loving them. These kids are the hands and feet of Christ.

There is a huge lesson to be learned in watching these kids. If anyone has a reason to be bitter and feeling sorry for themselves, it is them. But they aren’t and why aren’t they? Now I think our logical response would be to give Dick the credit and say that because he has loved them and valued them they have overcome their bitterness. And that might be partly right; however, I know bitter people who have a lot of loving family around them. No, the reason they are not bitter is because they have learned how to serve others – to love others. When we serve others we get outside of ourselves and we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and our bitterness goes away. Instead, the bitterness that accompanies self-pity is replaced by a joy so profound it is able to heal our deepest wounds and cover our most intense sorrow. And this is why we are so anxious to get to Honduras.

A Life Full of Joy

Our time in Guatemala has been good and necessary. We’ve learned a lot of Spanish and it has helped us in our transition to a new life. But the one thing that’s missing is service. Other than hanging out with Dick for that one afternoon we haven’t been connected to any ministry. Trina and I know the joy that comes with serving others. It is why we are here and why we can’t wait to get started. These next few weeks will bring about another transition and our lives will be tossed in the air once again. It won’t be easy. There will be days we wish we were back home. But this we know: God is God and God is good, we are where we have been called, and there is great joy in serving others.



Honestly, I’ve never thought a lot about water. Like you, I’ve heard all the statistics and have seen the pictures of children drinking from dirty mud puddles in third world countries. But I’ve always lived in an area with clean running water. I’ve never had to think about water other than wishing we had a little less of it in the Pacific Northwest. And while I know the statistics are astounding (and honestly statistics are boring so I’m not going to include any in this post) and I know it is sad that children are dieing because of illnesses they are contracting from contaminated water, I’ve never been in a position where it effected me or I could do something about it. Until now.

As I write this I’m sitting in the apartment in Guatemala that Trina and I have called home for the last 3 weeks. In this apartment we have running water but it isn’t safe to drink. You can use it to shower, flush the toilet, and wash your toothpaste spit down the drain but that is about it. Beyond that we have to boil it to wash dishes or to give our son Asher a bath (in case he swallows any of it). For Asher’s bottles, for drinking, and for cooking we have to buy 5 gallon bottles of purified water. Even those you have to be careful where you buy them because they may or may not actually be safe. As I look over my shoulder I see we have about 2 and a half gallons of water left. We go through a little under 10 gallons a week. Usually there are a couple of different water trucks that come by that I purchase the water from. For some reason this week I missed them both. That means in the next couple of days we’ll be out of water. I will have to walk about a mile into town to the grocery store where I believe I can buy some water and then hike it back the mile to our apartment.

We’re Sick From Our Water

Even then we aren’t safe. Right now my stomach hurts. Trina is laying on the couch missing class today and feeling very sick. Asher was up at 3AM this morning throwing up and has had bad diarrhea. We’ve been sick for close to 4 days and not really sure why. As I type I’m hoping my phone will ring to tell me we have an appointment to get Asher in to see a doctor. Chances are he has a parasite. Chances are we all have a parasite and we know now that the water we’ve been drinking is contaminated. I have spent most of my day sanitizing bottles and dishes and boiling what water we do have.

This is Life and Death

My issues with water are small – minuscule. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m comparing them in any way to the real life and death situation many face everyday when it comes to water. I only tell the story to help bring it a little closer to home. We personally have a little better understanding what it means to actually have to think about water on a daily basis – do I have enough of it, is it safe, how am I going to get more? In Honduras, where we will be living in just over a week, the issues with water are real. In the city you may have running water but it isn’t safe to drink. However, most of the poor people living in the hillside neighborhoods surrounding Tegucigalpa have no running water. Their water is delivered by a water truck. This water isn’t safe for you or I to drink but for these people they have no other choice. This unsafe water is expensive and even then not always available as the dirt roads on these hillsides become unusable when it rains.

Just as water caused Trina to miss class today, water is causing many children in these neighborhoods to miss class everyday. Some miss class because they are sick from the water. Others miss class because they need to work to help their families afford to buy water. This is devastating to the child’s chances to make a better life for himself or herself. Without education the chances of a good job are slim.

Our Solution

Manos Extendidas, the ministry we are working with in Honduras, operates 2 feeding centers in these neighborhoods. Over 150 kids receive a meal on a daily basis and over 300 on the weekends. There are veins of fresh, drinkable water running underground in these hillsides. It is possible to dig a well at our feeding centers that would provide fresh, safe, cheap water to children and families who desperately need it. We are currently working to raise the funds necessary to complete a well drilling project.

What if We Don’t?

False religions are growing in Honduras. The people are desperate for hope and are being fooled. We have an opportunity right now to dig these wells in the name of Jesus Christ before others do. If we don’t I fear that the cost may be eternal. We are still in the early stages of planning this project but if you would like to help and be a part of this life giving opportunity please contact us and we’ll get you the details on how you can help.

Follow Up

I’ve been working on this post for several days and since then some of the details of our story with water have changed. I decided not to change the post because what I said was real to us in that moment. The three of us are still sick. Yesterday we took Asher to the doctor and found out he does not have a parasite or bacteria infection and it is more than likely a virus. Our water was contaminated and I have had to do a lot of work to get things sanitary again; however, I can’t say with certainty that the virus came from the water. That is something I don’t know. And our need for water was solved with the help of a new friend we met here who drove me to the store to get more water.

A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember

Imagine This

You are a child with a disability, unable to walk, maybe even unable to see or hear as well. You are an orphan with no one to hug you, speak to you, and even love you. You lay in a bed in a room with 20 others just like you. You lay there for 20 hours a day. Your body is stiff and hard from being in the same position all day long. You were a very thick diaper that is maybe changed once a day. This is your life..all day, everyday.

Herman Pedro, located in La Antigua, Guatemala.

Hermano Pedro

Some of you may be in tears about now, I know I was when I witnessed this first hand on Saturday when we went to Hermano Pedro. This is an orphanage/hospital for the disabled children, youth, and adults in Guatemala. It is located in La Antigua and houses around 240 people.  Dick Rutgers, a second cousin to Trina and a Lyndenite himself, has lived here for 11 years. This is his home. He is the man that has given these people a wheelchair. And when they get the chance to be placed in one, they couldn’t be happier!

The Way They Live

This is Henry in his bed that he calls home. He is one of the few who is very coherent and is actually a very smart little boy.

You read earlier about the living conditions of the people that live in Hermano Pedro. This is literally how their lives are spent each day. Some do have family that visits them, but a majority are orphans who were “given up” because of their disability. Some parents, mainly single mothers, don’t necessarily want to give up their disabled child, but taking care of that one may mean that her other children will starve and not be taken care of. Some babies are even thrown away. I can’t write that last sentence without crying. I met a child who was literally found in a dump. He was probably thrown away because of his disability. I stood by his side and looked at him as the life in his eyes was gone. I reached my fingers in his little jail of a crib and wrapped them around his. I spoke to him but there was no response. My heart breaks for that little boy. In the crib next to him was another little boy. He too was lifeless when I passed by him. However, this time, when I wrapped my fingers around his, there was a response. He began to move around and even wimpered as he craved, what I believe, was a mother’s touch. I pray for God’s blessing upon these children.

Hungry Children

Chad and Dick holding both Jose's.

Next we went to the Malnutrition Center, located in the same building. These children are not disabled but come to Hermano Pedro because of severe malnutrition. They are literally starving. We were not able to go inside this ward because we had Asher with us; but Dick brought out a few children for us to visit with. We met two little boys, both named Jose. They were such sweet little angels that I wanted to take home with me! In the picture to the left is Chad and Dick with both Jose’s. The boy that Dick is holding is 4 years old and weighs 25 lbs. That is what my Asher weighs and he is three times younger! Dick also brought out a little girl who was 6 years old and weighed 16 lbs. I remember crying when I saw her ankles, for she had to have her socks taped on so they would not fall off. Praise God that these children were brought in to be taken care of and fed!

So Worth It

So as you can see, it was a difficult and heart wrenching day for us. However, it was also rewarding because we knew that this is definitely where God wants us to be. We won’t necessarily be working with disabled children, but we will be working with the starving and broken. Never have I felt so sure about the journey that God is leading us on. I am so thankful for the road that we are now traveling. And I will fully rely on HIM everyday, because I can’t, and will not do it without Him. To Him be the glory.

Mommyhood-Guatemalan Style

Mommyhood-Guatemalan Style

As many of you read in our last post, life in a different country has definitely been an adjustment. However, things are beginning to get a little easier as we figure things out, and time seems to be flying by. We are only in Guatemala for 2 more weeks and then off to our new home in Honduras. I thought I would share a little about life as a mommy in a different country; and how God has been speaking to me during this transition.

Talk About Change

I have discovered that being a mommy in Central America is going to be a lot different than being a mommy in America. There is a lot that I have to learn and I am continually seeking God’s wisdom in doing so. I feel weak at times and discouraged when I think of the difficulties of raising a child in a different country. But God reminded me just this morning in my devotions (Joshua 1) to “be strong and courageous.” That phrase was written 4 times in that chapter, so I think God is trying to tell me something.

Things Have Changed

Asher in his new highchair, which cost us about $28...but so worth it!

So many things are different here and a lot less convenient than back at home. For example, bath tubs are pretty rare here which left me wondering how I was going to give my baby a bath. I could give him a shower but I was afraid that the water would get in his mouth and he would swallow it…which would not be a good thing here. So Chad and I put our heads together and came up with a way. We boil a big pot of water, stick it in the freezer to cool it down a bit, strip Asher, stick him in the shower, and sponge bathe him with the boiled water. Definitely not as easy as back home, but it works and we are thankful that we can give our baby a bath! Also, for the first week and a half that we were here, meal times with Asher were a bit of a struggle. We had no highchair for him so we would just feed him on our laps, which you can just about imagine the struggle with that! I would almost be in tears every meal time because he would not sit still and would walk around with food in his mouth and spit it out. But praise God…we finally were able to find a highchair for him! We will have to sell it when we leave, but it has already been so worth it.

Peace and Quiet? I Think Not

As mommy’s, we all long for peace and quiet when our child is sleeping. Around here, that is just not possible. If it’s not a loud firecracker going off at 5:00am, it’s a chicken bus driving by and rattling our apartment walls. If it’s not cats giving a mating call outside your bedroom window, it’s a noisy neighbor down below (you can hear everything in these apartments).  And with every noise comes an anxious me, worried that my Asher will awake from his nap or his night sleep.  But once again, my worries are pointless because God continues to answer our, and your, prayers. Asher is still taking two 1 1/2 hour naps a day, which is much needed for all 3 of us to stay sane! And he has slept through the night the past three nights. He does wake up super early, which isn’t always fun. But we really have nothing to complain about.

A chicken bus is just a transportation bus. There are many here in Antigua.

Again, we thank you for your prayers and we covet them daily. We are so excited for this challenging road God has led us on and we look forward to all that He has in store for us!

Prayers Answered

Well this has been a crazy week. You never know how much crud you have until it is time to move all the crud. The process of moving out of our house seemed like a never ending task – there was always just a little bit more or one more thing to take care of. But, I’m happy to report that we’re finished and officially homeless. It is a strangely unsettling and exhilarating feeling. It is unsettling just because we are without the security of home and facing a great unknown. Exhilarating because there is a sense of freedom being released from all our “stuff” and having life reduced to two suitcases. And then there is the bold and dashing adventure we’re about to embark on.


As Trina said in her last post, it was a rough first couple of nights while Asher adjusted to his new surroundings. On top of being exhausted from moving we got hardly any sleep those first couple of nights. Since then Asher has settled in and is back to sleeping through the night. What a difference a good night of sleep makes!

A Huge Answer to Prayer

God is good. If you read Trina’s previous post you saw our plea for prayers for her mom. She had a CT scan that showed a mass in her lung. On Friday they went to see a specialist in Seattle. What happened next is nothing short of incredible. Here is what Trina’s sister Lindy posted on Facebook:

Just leaving Seattle with amazing news for my mom! The cat scan report from Bellingham was my moms personal information but someone elses report! They did another cat scan here and her lungs are completely clear. The scans match up but the info reported to my mom did not match up as the report with the large mass in the lung were in a women with breast implants which my mom clearly does not have!

It was all a huge mistake and there is nothing wrong! After an emotional roller coaster we’re praising the Lord for that answer to prayer. Of course her good news is someone else’s bad news so we continue to be in prayer for that person.

Send Off Party Reminder

Our families are throwing us a “Send Off” Open House Party and we would love to have you join us. There will be appetizers and dessert to enjoy too! More details are below:

Where: Blake and Jody Starkenburg’s Shop (575 Pangborn Rd. Lynden)

When: Thursday, September 23, Open House between 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Prayers Needed


Well, we finally did it…we are officially moved out of our house. It was a lot of work and we are glad to be done with that phase. Thank you to all those who helped with the moving process. We are currently staying in the basement of Chad’s parents house. It is comfortable and perfect for a short stay. However, Asher is having a difficult time with his new surroundings. He has been a bit out of sorts ever since we started packing things up. My heart breaks for him as he must be so confused with all that is going on in our lives right now. He does not sleep well at night, which means we don’t sleep well at night. We feel a bit burned out from all of this and appreciate the prayers.

Please Pray

As if we didn’t have enough going on right now, we recently got some scary news regarding my mom’s health. After a CT scan, doctors have found a mass on her lung. We are not sure what the mass is quite yet. She is going down to Seattle on Friday to have some testing done and hopefully get some answers. She is very scared, as are all of us. I have a tendency to think the worst, but we are hoping and praying that it is NOT cancer. This makes leaving all that much more difficult. It is clear that the devil does not want us to go to Honduras. He is attacking us in more ways than one and it is more than we can take right now. But God is good and we are trusting in Him through all of this. Again, we appreciate your prayers.

You’re Invited

We would love to see as many people as we can before we leave. Our families are throwing us a “Send Off” Open House Party and we would love to have you join us. There will be appetizers and dessert to enjoy too! More details are below:

Where: Blake and Jody Starkenburg’s Shop (575 Pangborn Rd. Lynden)

When: Open House between 5:30pm – 8:30pm

More Questions

More Questions

I know that many people have questions about our ministry and our move. I answered some of those in my last post and we want to do our best to answer your questions before we leave. One of the questions we get a lot is, “What will you be doing?” Our simple answer is “working with abandoned children and youth.” But I will try and give you a better idea of what our days will look like.


Chad speaking at one of the church services with Alvin.

Chad will be involved in several different areas of the ministry. He will be regularly involved in/called on to minister at the men’s discipleship meetings through the church, as well as street ministry and the juvenile detention center. He will also be involved in several administrative tasks, which includes being the main contact for short term mission teams visiting the ministry. Chad will also be developing Manos’s website and expanding the ministry’s online prescence. This includes involvement in managing the Child Sponsorship Program of children from the Feeding Centers. Other responsibilities of Chad’s include developing fundraising strategies for the ministry, developing strategies for attracting long term missionaries and short term interns. So as you can see, he will be a busy man!


Me and Sylvia, who is a preschool teacher at one of the Feeding Centers.

I will be heavily involved with the teenage girls in the Eagle’s Nest. I will be working along side Sally and Sara, the house mothers, mentoring, teaching, and counseling the girls.  I am very much looking forward to this and am anxious to begin a relationship with these young women. I will also be assisting and mentoring the preschool teachers at the Feeding Centers and the church’s Sunday School, providing insight and training for them. I also hope to continue the hospital maternity ward ministry, which I have talked about in a previous blog entry. And of course, I will be a full time mommy to Asher. I get asked a lot, “What are you going to do with Asher when you are working?” I will be taking him with me a lot of the time. And when I can’t take him a long I will probably have a babysitter take him, who would be the girls from the Eagle’s Nest or Alvin and Nelly’s teenage daughters. One thing is for sure, I will not get bored!

Our lives will be busy, but we are prepared for all that God has called us to do. To be honest, we feel blessed to have this calling. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

It’s Just Around the Corner

It’s Just Around the Corner

Packin It Up

Just a few of the boxes.

Boxes are being packed. Walls are looking bare. And things are being sold. So goes our hectic life of preparing to move to another country. Many people have asked the following questions about our move: What are you taking with you? And what are you doing with everything else? To answer those questions…we will only be taking what we can fit in our luggage between the three of us. And everything else? We plan on selling a lot of our stuff and keeping very little. What we do keep will be put in storage here. So basically we are starting over. Honduras will be our new home and that is what we plan to make it!

The Pressures

Empty walls.

This has not been an easy road to travel. As time draws closer and closer we are beginning to feel pressures of all that goes with a move as big as this one. I find myself shedding tears with each box that is packed, each item that is sold, and the emptiness that is becoming our home. On one hand it feels freeing to get rid of everything and on the other it is sad to let it all go. But I am trying to remind myself that they are just “things,” and once again, we can’t take them with us when we leave this earth to our heavenly home.

Saying Goodbye

All this packing has also brought on the reminder that we will soon be saying goodbye to the ones we love. I find myself craving time with family and soaking up as much as I can with them. I think family is something that we often take for granted. I know that both Chad and I have been blessed to have our families nearby. And as we move to another part of the world, we know that our family will still be our family each time we return. So we are trying to look at it as a “see ya later,” rather than “goodbye,” because we will be seeing each other again!

Don't worry...we aren't getting rid of him!

It is not about me, never was

The other day I thinking about things that have happened in my life. Do you ever wonder why certain things have happened to you?  As I was thinking a question came to mind, “What if the things that have happened to me weren’t about me? What if nothing that has ever happened to me was about me?”

I know that might not make a lot of sense, but bear with me. You see, a week ago on Saturday I got an email from Pastor Doug Delp of Timberlake Christian Church in Moberly, Missouri. I don’t know Pastor Delp and I’ve never been to Moberly. But somehow he came across this website, saw what we are doing, and wanted to use us as a sermon illustration that Sunday. In his email he told me a little about his sermon and then asked for a recent family picture. I was flattered and quickly obliged. Timberlake Christian Church posts the audio of the sermons on their website so this week Trina and I listened to the sermon to see what he had to say.

When I was in Honduras last January I had a week long conversation with God. He was asking me, “Chad, do you believe Jesus is enough?” This was a profound and life changing question that I wrestled with. If you have watched the videos on this site you’ve heard me talk about this. Pastor Delp showed the video where I talk about this during his message and challenged his congregation with the same question, “Do you believe Jesus is enough for whatever it is that you are dealing with in life?”

You know, I had thought that message was just for me. Turns out God intended to use that message to speak to many others, to people I’ve never met in places I’ve never been. I’m humbled. And I’m reminded once again – this isn’t about me, none of it is about me, it never was about me, and it never will be about me. It is all about Jesus and bringing glory to God. To God be the glory.

If you would like to hear Pastor Doug Delp’s message you can listen to it here.