Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I'll never forget one of the first nights I ever spent outside the United States. I was walking to a park in London to enjoy some fresh bread and cheese ('cause that's what Rick Steves said to do), and as I passed by an unfamiliar-looking house I saw a familiar-looking scene - a family around the table having dinner. It seems so simple now, but at the time it kind of blew my mind. "You mean this family leads an entire life here in England six hours ahead of when I live my life in Oklahoma?!" It was one of those important times in my development that I realized the world does not revolve around me. (Sadly, I still have to be reminded of this lesson at times.) That there are millions of people in millions of places around the world who have families and jobs and lives of their own that I am completely unaware of!
Each time one of these 'lightbulbs' goes off for me, I feel like my worldview gets a little broader, and I love it! It's one of of the main reasons I enjoy traveling - each new place I visit, especially if I get to know the people there, teaches me something about God or the world or myself or humankind. And while one can learn a lot in just a short period of time in a new place, the amount of time Bart and I are blessed to spend in Honduras is affording us such a rich experience. I love walking the streets and going into the homes of our fellow church members. It's one thing to see them on Sundays at the church building, but there is a totally different level of awareness of their lives and struggles when you've sat in their living rooms and chatted a while.
I also love learning about the backgrounds of the students we work with at Baxter and of the kids and staff we work with at the boys' home. Upon meeting them I make the mistake of assuming they've all lived lives like mine: supportive parents, access to education, surrounded by opportunities for growth. So when I learn the truth about their past struggles and the obstacles they've had to overcome, I always walk away in awe of their resourcefulness and heart.
And I guess, to me, the most valuable part of an increased awareness is that the lessons I learn can inform the way I live. In place of entitlement, gratefulness. In place of selfishness, generosity.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

thinking like a kid again

The boys at JEC (Jovenes en Camino) are currently enjoying their school break, so - although they do have daily chores & responsibilities - they're mostly just enjoying their time off. Playing board games, playing fùtbol, playing marbles, playing tag. See a theme? It just amazes me how much energy they have to play. From sun-up to way-past-sun-down! And it's been so fun for Bart and me to try to think of activities and games we can play with them, because we feel like kids again. 

Below are a few shots from the past couple weeks at the boys' home. The first is from when we worked on a 550-piece, fùtbol-themed puzzle that my parents gave Bart for Christmas. It was a Hit. The second is a water balloon volleyball game (that brought back many good memories for me!). And the third is a photo of Ronald, the Director, with boys from both teams playing in an intramural Championship Game yesterday. It was intense, in a really fun sort of way!       


this is Pamèla...

In our latest newsletter* we asked you to pray for Pamèla. She is a young girl at our church whose family we've grown to love. Her mom and dad both work hard at demanding jobs, and her older brother, Cristian, and younger brother, Olman, have always tried to make us feel welcome. When Pamèla first broke her arm in January, everyone thought she would be in a cast for a few weeks and that would be all. But an x-ray revealed a spot in her arm that has doctors worried, so she was admitted to the hospital for surgery & a biopsy. 

That was over a month ago. And here's the part about which Bart & I are still trying to "patiently adapt to the culture" in Honduras: Pamèla still hasn't had her surgery...or biopsy...and we don't know why. We have visited her every week for the past 3 weeks, expecting to walk in and see her arm bandaged from surgery, but it's still in the same original cast. And she just smiles meekly and tells us she 'hopes it will be soon.'

And so she waits in a large room filled with small beds tightly packed, side by side, in Hospital Escuela. If you've been to Hospital Escuela, you know it's not the most pleasant place in the world. Yes, there are many dedicated doctors who try to provide the best care possible, but the place itself is pretty depressing. 

Please pray for Pamèla: that she will have her surgery and biopsy soon, so that she can go home. And especially that her biopsy will come back with good results, that this is nothing more than a broken arm. 

*If you aren't currently receiving our monthly newsletter and would like to, just send me an email at, and I'll add you to our list.


a Church, a School, a Cancha

We've heard that as the Honduran government has developed communities here, they have ensured the presence of 3 key elements in each community: a church, a school, and a cancha. A cancha is a soccer field, and since playing soccer (or "fùtbol") comes almost as naturally as breathing air to Hondurans, the dozens of canchas around the city are nearly always occupied when locals get a bit of free time.

Last month, when Bart & I taught English in the city of Mateo, we gave our students two breaks during their 3-hour class. Each break--without exception--was spent on our church's cancha, with boys and girls joining in an impromptu game of fùtbol. But our church's "cancha" is little more than an uneven field of dirt & grass, with pieces of wood at each end to serve as the goals. So when the idea came about to build a legitimate cancha on the church's property, Bart & I said we'd support them in any way we could.

So far the work has included digging a trench around the perimeter of the field, which will be the foundation for the concrete-block wall. We have been seriously impressed with the hard work that the young people at church are willing to put into their future cancha. During their school break, several young men have spent hours each day in the scorching heat. But their attitudes remain positive, and we are certainly hopeful that - as our friends & family from the States come down ready to work - we can all chip in with some of our energy & resources to see this project completed!