Monday, August 6, 2018

Pespire Here We Come



Welcome back Coats Baptist Church to Mt. Horeb.  This week we are taking this team to a brand new community called Caseno Las Lajas, Pespire, Choluteca.  Mike and I have wanted for a while to work in this area because of existing solicitations.  Mike and I along with Pastor Carlos went to the home of Erlin Hernandez one beautiful Honduras morning.  He did not know we were coming to pay him a visit and at that time we had not decided if this is where God wanted us to serve and build a home.  We sat down in his stick house to a man who had a gentle smile and a gentle spirit.  I was in a plastic chair facing him and Pastor Carlos as they chatted.  There was the most gorgeous hammock right in front of me.  I reached over to touch it and it was soaked through and through with rain water from the night before.  This is where little Allison age 2 and Emily age 5 sleep nightly.  At this time I decided in my heart and with a gentle tug from God this is the home we need to build and God shared Coats Baptist Church is the team.  So we shared with Erlin he was getting a home really soon and he needed to get busy on his foundation.  God is so good and provided Erlin the means for him to build his foundation as Coats Baptist prayed up their week with Erlin, Evelyn Emily and Allison.  This team would forever be changed from their week with such a sweet and humble family.  
Team leader Danny shared how his team was growing in numbers would they all be able to build this home.  Mike and I were slightly concern of the tightness of the lot and the number of North Americans coming this week, but you know God knew exactly who was suppose to be here and how it was all going to play out.  There is not anything God cannot do if we are all willing and able to serve Him and be at the center of His Will.  So let's continue the story and see how God works mightily through this team of sixteen willing servants.





Meeting Erlin


We rode about an hour and fifteen minutes to a beautiful community filled with beautiful people.  Erlin once again was there alone with out the ladies of his home.  We found out they were living with Evelyn's mother during the construction of the foundation in preparation for this day.  Their existing home the only home little Allison and Emily know was torn down in preparation for their new home where their hammock will never be wet again.  Team leader, Danny, gathered everyone around as Mike introduced all of us to Erlin and thanked everyone for coming out to serve our Lord. Mike then turned it back over to Danny to introduce the team.  Danny opened up our day in prayer as we began this amazing journey of Erlin's new home.  They lot overlooked some gorgeous mountains which continued to roll over and over each other almost never ending beauty from God. After prayers Erlin went to get his ladies to come back to pray over the first block when the time came.



Let's Unload The Kia and Get Started


This team of sixteen consisted of nine women.  Oh yes nine women and seven men.  Do not let these numbers bring concern to how this home was going to be built at all.  These nine ladies all pitched in and found work to be done and did it.  Immediately Andrea and Sarah starting laying cement blocks out to lay the mescal boards on.  They were eager to get to work and praise God for everyone on this team because there was very little help in the beginning from the church or community.  Sometimes this is a blessing which I mean the men may have worked.  The men have work they can feed their families daily.  Actually a couple of men came in the afternoon to help after working their jobs.  The team quickly saw what a sense of community truly is by these men working probably since five a.m. and coming to help a neighbor or friend build his home.  Everyone was getting the day started in a positive fashion.  Everyone was finding what they could do to form this sense of unity and community amongst their team members.  This team truly prepared and prayed up this week prior to arriving in Honduras.  It was evident from the first day.  Thank you Danny and Brad for leading an amazing team into an amazing week.



Everyone Pitched In and Became Unified




As I shared earlier these ladies were amazing workers for the Kingdom.  Brad shared the first evening of God moments how Sarah pushed hard and worked hard all day long.  There was not anything she did not do and did it all with her entire being and her entire heart.  Along with Sarah came Courtney who also worked and was not scared of work at all.  Taylor and Kristine sifted the sand along with Andrea and Sam.  Oh my goodness Vickie did not let these younger ladies out to her either.  She was sifting and hauling sand just like the rest of them.  These ladies were amazing. 
Now the men could not let the ladies out work them by no means they were busily carrying the 80 pounds of cement over their shoulders to the ladies to mix the mescal.  Danny, team leader learned the recipe for the mescal quickly with the help of Mike.  Once these folks got the recipe down to perfection they were mixing and making mescal all day long.  Seriously it did not matter what gender you were as long as you had the spirit and willingness to give it your all.  This was the beginning of how unified this team was with each other.  They blended so well from the beginning of their first day.  I not knowing they were not all from Coats Baptist Church but Danny had met with his team members prior to coming and preparing them together as a team for their week ahead. It was evident each day as one day built on another one.  God's hand was truly at work in this place.  They never wavered they all persevered to their day was complete.






Ben's Block Team



Mike pulled Ben over to the block saw station preparing him for what needed to get done.  Mike taught a quick learner Ben what he wanted done for the construction of the home.  I called Courtney over to help Ben move the blocks in place and to chip out the nubs of concrete to be used later.  Well there was serveral other ladies who joined Ben's block cutting party.  Ben got his block cut quickly and accurately for the project ahead.  Vickie and Courtney picked up the nubs and placed them in a bucket as Kristine continued lining up the blocks for cutting.  Sam and Andrea came along and moved the cut blocks ready to be used.  Eric came over to give Ben a break as needed.  Everyone was busy helping each other out as they steadily kept the blocks ready for the construction of home.
Ben has very strong work ethics and doesn't stop until the job is done.  Ben actually works back in the states outside all day along side his wife Courtney.  But today was a day God was going to teach Ben a life lesson for him and other men out there who need to be humbled.  We gathered that evening for God moments and devotionals Ben and Courtney did not join us.  Later we found out Ben had gotten over heated on the project site and was very sick.  So the next day they stayed behind for Ben to rest and refuel up for the rest of the week.  We gathered the next evening for devotionals and God moments blessed with Ben and Courtney with us with those contagious smiles on their faces.  Jimmy did a devotional on "Awe" in God. Jimmy shared how pride can take the place of God.  We can be in awe of the creation instead of the Creator.  Jimmy gave many examples of prideful men in the Bible.  Jonah who was disobedient to God and God put Jonah in the belly of a whale.  In Romans 1:18-32 is what happens to man when he looses his awe for God.  We may know God but do we live out our daily lives as one who truly knows God and has a personal relationship with Him. We need to rely on God and be in "AWE" of GOD and who HE truly is and show it in our lives daily.  God is our only strength and power on this earth.  After Jimmy got through with his devotional we led into God moments.  Ben did not hesitate to speak up with tears in his eyes running down his cheeks.  Ben shared how God allowed him to get very sick and Ben shared he was actually a little frightened of our sick he was.  He did not have control of his life at this time.  But he looked at it as a blessing from God.  Ben takes pride in his hard work ethics and how he works until he gets the job completed.  He takes pride in being able to do everything and do it well.  Ben found out on his first day in Honduras he is not the one who can do all things and do it well.  Ben shared he was humbled by God's grace and mercy shown upon him by allowing him to get sick and to totally rely on God for his healing and his time of being still and being before his God.  He also thanked God for Courtney who stayed by his side that day and he apologixed to the team for not being there for them.  Thank you God for Ben who allowed you to break him down, down to tears as we will hear Pastor Neal touch on later in the blog.  It is okay to cry and to give your all to God.  This is what He wants all of us to do give Him our all, totally all of our being.  Hand it over to HIM.  He is our s
Sustainer, our Deliverer, our Protector, He is our Savior.  AMEN



Brad Shares About the Cornerstone


As with every project God places the four cornerstones in place just every so perfectly by the expertise of Pastor Carlos and volunteers of the teams.  The cornerstones have to be done level in order for the home to be a solid construction of 800 blocks rebars and 52 bags of cement.  This is a very important start to the project.  There was a small glitch in one corner of the house but Ben worked to chisel out the unnecessary base to get the corner set to perfection. On Friday evening Brad, co team leader, had devotionals for the team.  He went back to discuss praying over the first block last year was a life changing experience for him and he has thought numerous times about praying over that first block last year.  When we lock the door Brad shared, the home is compete.  Brad shared how he was going to share about the Cornerstone of the home but unity also came to him by a sermon preached by Pastor Neal prior to coming to Honduras.  So Brad shared how the cornerstone sets the foundation for the home as well as the future for Erlin and his family.  This is a place where they will be safe and dry.  A home where he can share Jesus' love with others. Since we have decided to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior from the very beginning Jesus is our Cornerstone. Jesus is our foundation for our Christian walk, He is our protector and our Savior.  Also because of Jesus' love for us we have become unified as a team and worked side by side this week serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We need to make sure Jesus is our Cornerstone so we can be unified as a family of believers.  As Brad closed this evening with his devotional it was obvious the ladies on the team were already working on unity within the four walls of their dorm room and even on the bus each day as Tino drove them home. Sarah shared immediately how the ladies had created a very special bond during their time together and learned how to be true sisters in Christ.  They have prayed together and shared together and became one in Christ this week.  Brad's devotional was perfect way to come to the close of a week full of blessings especially for these nine ladies.



Labor Of Love


After praying over first block then team progressed toward a very hot day of labor of love.  The first day we have all come to respect is the hardest.  This team came from numerous days of rain and no sunshine. They arrived to Honduras where very little rain and lots of very hot sunshine.  Yes this is an adjustment for all teams.  This team kept hydrated by Anita who stayed on her team members to drink, drink and drink more water and Gatorade.  It still does not stop the heat from pounding down on your neck the first day.  Mike helped show new folks how to lay their first block as other found a corner and got started.  Pastor Neal teamed up a while with Jimmy.  Danny and Ben continued working with Pastor Carlos on this special cornerstones.  At one time I had to ask for some help with mixing mescal and a bunch of them took off to start that most needed project to lay those blocks.  This team continued sharing God's grace and mercy through their labor of love in Jesus Christ.  Everyone worked wherever they were needed to get their job completed.  They came in at the end of each day well done good and faithful servants attitude.  They all had given God their all each and every day they were here.  





Prayers Over First Block


As all this hard work the first morning came together to lay the very first block.  Meida, our amazing translator gathered the family.  Evelyn, Emily and Allison had arrived to meet the team for the first time and to come be with their husband and father for a day they have longed for and waited for.  Erlin had strong faith in God one day this would take place.  He asked us eighteen months ago in another community where he was helping a friend receive a home if one day he could have a home as well.  Of course at this time we could not promise Erlin when this day would be because of the many solicitations which were ahead of him.  But this day was here and they were full with overflowing of God's joy and contentment for what was about to unfold in their lives.  The day we arrived to talk with him he did not know we were coming but his humble home as he called it later in the week was kept with love and pride.  The yard was well kept with gorgeous flowers growing all around the perimeter of the home.  This family took great pride in their previous home and so I am so excited they are getting one this week which will sustain them for a long time.
Pastor Neal gathered around as well with his flock from Coats Baptist as he read out of Psalm 127.  Afterwards he prayed a prayer of blessings on this home and the Hernandez family who will be making it their home.  Pastor Neal prayed for each person around this circle of prayer as we begin this week for our Lord.  We will work for HIM and serve HIM in a mighty way as we all have been called to do.  The stillness of this moment was Spirit filled and was forever etched out into so many hearts on this team and in this community as others watched and listen from afar.



Enjoying the Multi-Purpose and Pulperi of Mt. Horeb





All this unity and hard work warrants some down time reflecting on your day.  I love this part of the day where friends gather around the porch of the Pulperia de Mt. Horeb with a very cold Fresca or Coke and share about their day.  They enjoy it as well.  Someone said they were so grateful for being disconnected from their world this week and just enjoying chatting with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  They gathered around the dorm porch as well since there was so many blessings here this week.  They enjoyed fellowship with one another which a great way to build unity within your church family.  We all saw this a lot this week at Mt. Horeb.  In the evenings we gathered up on the multi purpose porch for some amazing rain storms and devotionals.  Just to be still and separate ourselves from the businesses of life is a God moment.  We all enjoyed Lassie and Oso while sitting around as well.  Mt. Horeb is a beautiful place to come and refuel your soul for Jesus and to simply slow down and enjoy life.  One of our evening devotionals was from Kristine which hit home for a lot of us, Ginger included.  Who has an agenda?  Who has a daily list you have to complete?  If you are honest with yourself the answer is yes to all of us reading this.  Kristine shared how exercise had become her idol.  She had to get that done daily at a certain time no matter what else was going on.  Exercise consumed her life.  Thank you Kristine for your sincere honesty here by the way.  What a huge blessing this devotional was for me.  Kristine was totally focused on her daily goals.  She would get her exercise done first and move on to her day.  Oh what about her time with the Lord, where does that fit into her schedule, her goals for the day?  Do not get me wrong Kristine shared work ethics are great and goals are great too.  But we can be so focused on this and not the big picture.  What and where does God fit into all of this?  We may miss a time of hearing God's will for our lives if we are too busy with our goals and schedules.  We may miss out on what we need to hear from God and His calling in our lives.  Especially if we are not in His Word daily, not being still and being in His Presence.  This was five years ago in Kristine's life.  She shared she still has list but she is not a slave to her list or goals and she puts God first especially before her time of exercise.  Kristine shared with watered eyes God's way is always the best way for all of us.  Don't miss out on what God wants you to do because of your own agenda.  Wow, amen to that and amen again!!!!!





VBS




Please let me just share as well as working on the home daily these nine ladies went up to the church every afternoon to lead an amazing week of VBS.  Andrea was in charge on the state side of getting all five days put together prior to coming.  She had everything she needed for each day in a huge extra large gallon zip lock bag in a suitcase.  All she had to do was pull it out and off she went.  The day I was visiting Taylor, Courtney, Andrea and Sarah had groups of children gathered around them.  I thought what might these ladies be up to before the structure time got started.  They were face painting the children while they waited for more children to arrive.  It was ever so casually and so very special how it all came to be.  This was my God moment how to watch this activity unfold in front of me.  Beautiful acts of love ladies. Kristine with the assistance of Brittney did the recreation for each day.  There was Sarah who led the crafts and directed them all in Spanish.  Meida got herself a small break when Sarah was leading the crafts. Each day the ladies would arrive with the help of Pastor Neal each and every day.  He felt Tino needed another man along to help out with all these ladies.  Pastor Neal, Brad and Danny one day was involved in one of the recreation activities because the boys were out numbered by the girls.  This was a unified team even at VBS. Of course everyday started out with Meida leading the children in different songs, "Father Abraham" and "Jesus Loves Me" in English, Spanish and sign language.  This was our very first time working with this church family but Meida truly fell right in and led the children as if she had known them all her life.  They were attentive and very respectful to everyone who came to share God's Word at their church.  
Andrea led a coloring page and craft to go along with each Bible Story.  The first day they shared about God and His creation.  The second day was we were met to obey God.  The third day God has a plan for us and it is always good.  The fourth day was we all can trust God with our future.  The fifth day and the most important bible story was God wants to spend eternity with each of us.  I want to thank all of you who helped Andrea prior to coming to Honduras, with cutting, gluing, copying and most of all praying over this week of VBS for these 60 plus children who came daily ready to learn and love on this amazing group of people from Coats Baptist Church.



Still Unified




Anyone Want to Tamp


This is the very first time I have seen a team come together and line up one by one and tamp the floor for preparation of the concrete floor covering.  Each person lined up and took their turn tamping ten times each.  They got back in line and waiting for another turn until the entire ground for the floor had been tamped to perfection.  Pastor Carlos was busy at work getting is part done as he waited for the tamping process to get to completion.  Once again unity amongst this team was radiating throughout the community they were working with this week. I am not sure the sermon Pastor Neal preached about unity before coming to Honduras but we surely saw the act of love mixed with a lot of team unity this past week.  The passage below is one used so much in the churches in Honduras.  This verse is so fitting for this team at this time this week in Honduras.



Choir Practice


Several evenings the team gathered on the multi purpose porch for choir practice led by Sarah.  Sarah had the song "Victory in Jesus" written out for the team so they could practice.  Anita led the choir practice nightly before letting the team depart for bedtime.  The first night I stood back and listened to them sing this song in Spanish was most humbling.  This group who not all were members of Coats Baptist harmonized beautifully together as they practiced several nights prior to Sunday morning.  We also found that Andrea and Sarah sang beautifully together.  So there elected to sing everything and the team would come in on the chorus.  Great gifts and talents were on this team of sixteen.  God used them all in a mighty way this week to glorify his Kingdom.
One evening Sarah shared during the devotionals how preparing the words in Spanish for the week she saw victory in Jesus simply by being here serving in Honduras. We can only have this amazing victory in believing Jesus was raised from the dead for our sins.  We need to abide in Him daily for this amazing victory which belongs to our Lord for those who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior. Sarah shared our abilities to work so hard all week and to sing in Spanish is all gifts from God.  Well said Sarah and you all utilized all your gifts to the maximum capacity God has given you all.