Friday, August 25, 2017

Welcome Back Coats Baptist Church

We were excited to see back with us Danny, Jimmy and Anita who three years ago helped build the building they will sleep in this week, the North American Dorm. They were very humbled by the beauty of  Mt. Horeb.  The last time they were here there was only the first building which is now the gift shop and Pulperia and the beginning of the multi purpose building.  They were excited to be back and brought their son, Jay with them this year.  Jay had been gone four years.  We were so excited to have our friends back together with us again.  They also brought five new friends, Pastor Neal, Brad, Branden, Josh, and Eddie.  The three new ones rode on the Kia with Tino, our driver.  They were most impressed with the driving techniques of the roads of Honduras.  We were very blessed to make the road trip in four hours going back to Mt. Horeb.  God is good.  The roads are getting better somewhat.  This team was very blessed we hit all the stops at great times.
We gathered up at the multipurpose for our first meal together with our Honduran brothers and sisters.  We introduced everyone and prayed up the meal of beans, rice, plantains and tortillas.
The blessing was when all the men lined up at the kitchen sink to wash the supper dishes and got them done so we could have devotions.  We gathered on the porch for the orientation and devotion.  Danny, team leader did the first evening devotion entitled "Thanksgiving". Danny shared how he use to think of Thanksgiving as a time to gather to eat a huge meal.  Now as a believer  in Jesus Christ he says thanksgiving is about his salvation in Jesus and how grateful he is for his salvation.  He asked us a question, "Do you know Jesus 100%?"  "Do you know Jesus with your heart or just your head?"  Danny shared how grateful he was to God for never giving up on him before he became saved.  What a blessing to be called a child of God and to live your life as HE is your SAVIOR.  We should never take our salvation for granted but should always  be sharing it with others and let others know about the greatest gift of all, Jesus.  Danny shared three very profound scriptures during his devotion,
Proverbs, 21, Psalm 100 and Philippians 4:13 which are grounds for being in God's will and to be wise in His Word.

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Many Job Duties


Before the team leaves out each morning there is so much to get done on the ministry campus.  Jimmy and team leader, Danny cooked a hot hearty North Carolina Baptist Men breakfast, scrambled eggs, grits (brought from North Carolina) bacon and toast.  Wuilmer one of the security guards was appreciative of the pot of coffee ready each morning around 5:00 am while he was making his rounds as security guard.  Anita is up there as well making everyone's sandwich order to completion.  The others soon joined in the coffee time while waiting for their breakfast.

The rest of the team went out to load the truck daily with Mike.  Mike was happy to have eager helpers, Josh and Braden loading the truck each day.  They always met him down there or was waiting for Mike's arrival to the bodega.  Jay, Brad and Eddie made up the Gatorade and water each day with joy in their hearts in preparation for Anita, the hydration specialist.  Everyone pulled their load daily on this team which made Mike and my job so much easier daily. This team's day started early and all this prep work made it for a beautiful day serving the Lord.

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Let's Pray Up

After all the hard work before leaving we gather outside of the North American Dorm on the road and pray for our day ahead.  Each morning there is a volunteer to pray.  We ask Pastor Carlos often to lead us up in prayer.  We loaded up in the Kia and Land Cruiser and headed for the Marcovia, Renocer , Choluteca, Hondruas.  We arrived an hour later to Maida and Anita embracing a great big towards one another.  We picked up Maida on the way so Anita basically fell out of the front seat of the Land Cruiser to go and greet Maida.  Anita had shared upon arriving she could not wait to see Maida.  She knew Maida from two years ago working on the ministry campus.  Reunions are always so very special when you can pick up right where you left off.  God is good like that.

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Let's Meet Omar, Dunio, Shelly and Isai

We gathered around the foundation in a huge circle surrounding the blocks which were inside foundation.  Mike thanked them for allowing us to be here this week to work beside them in building their new home.  He then turned it over to Danny, team leader, as he introduced his team.  Mike then ask Omar to introduce his family and friends to each of us.  Pastor Carlos was asked to pray for the beginning of another awesome week in Honduras.  Pastor Carlos first of all gave God all the praise and honor for His goodness and mercy and love.  He then thanked God for the North Americans who came away from their families to serve their Lord here in Honduras.  He thanked God for the provisions He has provided all of us this week.  The whole prayer was praise and adoration unto our Lord for everything, everything, even the air we breathed.  We are blessed to have such a godly man leading our construction teams on a weekly basis.  He has such a humble and quiet spirit with strong leadership skills.  After the prayer I heard team leader Danny share with Mike a huge God moment was seeing all those blocks inside of the foundation of the home.  He thanked God specifically for that provision.  Everything we should always be grateful for, the big and the small things in life.

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Our Day Continues

After praying we started unloading the Kia with the materials for the construction of the home.  Everyone pitched in and took things where they needed to go.  Mike was grateful for such a strong group of men willing to come and serve the Lord.  Team leader Danny and Tino unloaded the tool box, while the others unloaded those heavy boards for the water coolers.  Every detail is so important for these mission teams.  First of all we find a shaded area to set these boards to be able to place the coolers and job bag upon. This is most needed for the hydration of every team.  The heat here is more intense than back home.  We have to provide a means of cooling for our friends who come here to serve with us.  We always want what is best for our North American families.  They come and give us five hard days of work, we need to provide them with comfort as much as can be given.  We are forever grateful for those who come here and serve beside us.

Pastor Carlos and Pastor Jose, pastor of the church we are serving beside started working on the cornerstones.  Several of our guys stood back and watched one of them go in and proceeded to go to the others and get them set.  Eddie ended up working closely by Pastor Carlos that morning and was able to learn so much from the master of construction.  Eddie had done construction before but the Honduran way was new for Eddie and enjoyed learning a new method of serving the Lord.  Jimmy shared they were building a huge building in his family one time and use the same mechanism as Pastor Carlos for the level of the corners.  It is awesome to be able to share and be flexible in learning new ways of construction and end up doing such a great job.   Our guys learned quickly and helped get the cornerstones ready for the first block.

Josh volunteered to be the block cutter all week.  Josh worked beside Mike for a while until he was ready to be turned loose.  Josh thank you so much for taking on this huge task for Mike.  Mike appreciated the break this week from cutting all the block.  You were our God moment this week as far as the block cutting went.  The first evening Mike asked did anyone want to cut the block for the week, silence for a short time and Josh spoke and said I would be glad to do it.  Mike rejoiced in the volunteer.  This is not a task taken lightly.  It is very hard work and it can be tedious as the week progresses with different measures of block.  This person has to be willing to stop what he may be doing when Pastor Carlos shouts," 12 1/2 inches por favor".  Josh never knew what size would be shouted at any given time.  He stopped whatever he was doing went over and cut the size requested.  Thank you Josh for being Mike's blessing this week.

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Not a Dry Eye

This was the most humbling prayer I have heard in a long time.  Pastor Neal was asked to pray over the first block of the home.  This is Pastor Neal first time to Honduras and he was asking questions about many things.  He wanted the family's names each and every one so he could pray over them.  He asked Maida to help him pronounce them correctly.  He put a lot of time and respect for the family prior to praying.  He put a lot of thought and consideration into this prayer.  Before he prayed we all gathered around the family and placed our hands upon them and each other all connected as one.  Pastor Neal looked at Pastor Carlos asking him to explain to the family what the cornerstone represents.  Pastor Carlos began explaining in details how important this cornerstone like Jesus Christ is our cornerstone to making this house become a home.  It has to be perfect and precise in all aspects.  Just like Jesus Christ is perfect in our lives and keeps us firm in our foundation.  This was just the beginning of an emotional time spiritually for everyone standing around that cornerstone.  As Pastor Neal started to pray in details about the responsibility of each one of the family members as he called them by their name you could hear sniffling go on all around.  There was very few dry eyes this morning in Marcovia, Renacer.  Pastor Neal prayed for Omar to be the spiritual leader of his home where his strength will help lead and guide his wife Dunio.  His discipline for his children would be godly but firm in how they are raised. They will see Omar's godly example in his words and actions on a daily basis.  Dunio will seek God's guidance and feel his tender touch as she takes care of her families physical needs on a daily basis.  She will be given the strength to feel the tenderness of His touch in everything she does for her family.  Pastor Neal was so precise and sincere in his prayer for this family.  He prayed Shelly and Isai will feel the love of Jesus Christ from their parents daily in this new home.  They will grow up knowing who Jesus Christ is in their home.  They all as a family will take time to pray together daily and be mindful of who is building this home for them.  I am sure I left out so much more and did not do Pastor Neal's prayer justice, this one time you just had to be there to know what this even means.  What an amazing God we serve when we allow HIM to serve through us.  Thank you Pastor Neal for making this prayer everyone's God moment.

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Building A Home and Relationships

Some of the team members followed Mike and some followed Pastor Carlos to learn how to lay the blocks.  Some it had been a while and they wanted a refresher course.  It did not take long for these young men to learn how to lay 800 block Honduran style.  They have done an amazing job this first morning working hard in the name of Jesus.  Mike and I shared how every time one of them prayed they pray they will do the Lord's will for that day.  They want God to get all the praise, honor and glory.  They worked as unto the Lord not man.  They gave God their all and their best this week.  We might have brought five new men and three old timers who had not been here in several years down here but they picked right up and moved forward with every inch of their being.  They sweated, might of gotten too hot, they were anxious to keep working after a ten minute lunch break when everyone else (Hondurans) were taking an hour for lunch and realized when team leader, Danny said we are on Honduran time, relax and enjoy the moment.  This is hard for us as North Americans to do because we are task driven.  But these awesome guys figured it out chilled but when the one hour lunch break bell was sounded it was over they took off back to their posts.  They wanted so desperately to help this family get their home and this is just what they did.  On the second day they enjoyed a nice plate of seafood.  So they started liking the idea of a one hour lunch break.  They like the Honduran way of doing things especially around lunch time.  God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

Now Pastor Neal was on a different mission.  He found himself working with our new staff member Tino, sifting sand for the mortar.  He asked Maida to come and be there for him as he got to know Tino and all about his family.  Pastor Neal inquired of who was Christian and who was not Christian.  I  shared all our staff at the job site are Christian, praise God.  Pastor Neal sifted and shared stories with Tino for a couple of hours or more.  After I thought about this, this was my God moment that day.  Tino was new to us and also the team, Pastor Neal took time to go over where Tino was which was away from the project site on the road and shared fellowship with him.  I pretty sure Pastor Neal does not know how special this was for Tino and for the ministry.  Thank you Pastor Neal for going that extra mile on the first hour of the first day. 

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Alot of First

As I reflect back on this week, the team was blessed and humbled by the generosity of the family and their church family to a delicious fish plate with fried banana chips, chismo and tortillas.  They felt humbled as their new friends gave their all for them. One team member shared how this could have been their meal for later and they gave it to us.  First time team member and new pastor to Coats Baptist was in awe of the graciousness  these beautiful people exhibited to all of the North Americans and their neighbors as well.  The entire team was treated well with lots of love from the Hondurans.  The children were always around waiting to be loved and to love the North Americans.  The house was becoming a home while our first timers were also building relationships with their new pastors and even each other.  A lot of these guys work together and being here helped them build a more personal relationship with one another.  They were able to simply share with each other about their day and their devotions at night have been enlightening for all of us but especially for the men on the team.  Each night one of these gentlemen have touched on how to be a godly man with the Lord first, family and then other areas of their life.  Josh's devotion was on godliness and righteousness.  We all make excuses for our sins in life, but there is not any excuses.  We need to confess our sins daily and put them at the foot of the cross.  Josh's scripture reference was from 1 Timothy 4:6-11.  We are to be faithful by being active in the Lord's work.   We need to be truthful to the Lord. The next evening Brad shared from 1 Timothy 3:1-11 how to be a godly leader in your home at church or at work.  We should set the example of godly men wherever we are. I find it impressive how these two gentlemen pulled from the same book of the bible and shared similar facts and thoughts and it was what we all needed to hear. 
Pastor Neal did a first which was sit down with the lady of the house, Dunio, and got to know her with a big help from Meida.  Pastor Neal and Meida spent a lot of time this week sharing with the different folks who showed up.  But this particular morning Pastor Neal took time to talk to Dunio.  He asked her three questions: 1.  How did she meet Omar? 2. How did she come to Christ? 3. Why are we building this home for you?  Duino accepted Christ when she was 18 years and was married to the love of her life Omar, 11 years ago.  Omar accepted Christ 4 years ago and they were living with someone else or renting I believe and wanted a home of their own. God had blessed them with their property they just needed a home.  Pastor Neal said she is getting her first home.  He can now pray for this to be a home where Christ will live daily around these four walls of concrete blocks.  He said he was praying for Omar to be the godly man, (which we have been talking about each evening in devotions) and Dunio will be the Proverbs 31 woman of noble character.  Thank you Pastor Neal a first timer to Honduras to open up and really want to connect with the people more personally and spiritually than materially.  We encourage teams to do just what you have been doing all week. 
We are grateful for a lot of first this week and hope their will be more of these firsts as many more new folks come and share in this beautiful place, Choluteca, Honduras.

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Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. I Timothy 3:1-11

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.
That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
Command and teach these things.
I Timothy 4:6-11

Our Speical Lady

Anita was a brave lady to come with 8 men.  She took good care of them and they took good care of here the entire week.  Anita was the hydration specialist, which was not quiet the easy job with a bunch of men.  Around day three they decided to listen and drink their water and stay hydrated.  The Honduran men were a lot more cooperative than the North American men.  She also picked up rocks to fill in the tenth course of where the rebar was to go on the home. When she was not working on the home she was playing with the children.  She brought with her a mini VBS.  She told a bible story daily and the children were allowed to color a picture.  She gave them spiritual bracelets to wear and box of crayons to take home after they finished coloring for the week.  Thank you Anita for all your hard work all week.  Your hard word was not gone unnoticed.  Anita you wore many hats this week and wore them very well.

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A Beautiful Family

Omar, unemployed worked very hard on his home for his family.  Dunio, wife and mother provided water and meals daily for the Honduran workers.  Their oldest daughter, Shelly, was in school the first morning and could not be there for the excitement which was taking place on this dead end road in Marcovia, Renacer.  Isai age four was there watching his daddy mix the mescal for his new home.  Isai always had a beautiful smile on his face as he ran around from spot to spot watching every detail his daddy and mommy were doing.  Friends from the neighborhood came by out of curiosity to see what was going on in their neighborhood,  This is the first time we have worked in this neighborhood in eight years.  So we were new to them and they were new to all of us.  But the newness did not last very long as everyone became connected in different conversations learning about one another and our different culture and language but always the same God.  We become one very quickly as we all serve a living Savior named Christ Jesus.

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Isai Watching From Afar

As Mike and I arrived on day three to all 8 men up on the scaffolding we were in awe of the workmanship.  These guys pushed it hard. All hands were working in all directions.  Anita, hydration specialist and lunch chief said mescal was flying everywhere.  Anita was in awe of how quickly Pastor Juan Jose was putting out the mescal and blocks along with Pastor Carlos.  Everyone was a huge assess to their team.  Everyone worked so hard in all capacities of this project.  They also did something rather impressive for a bunch of men but they encouraged each other and helped each other as needed wherever.  They were a team, a team which was unified in Christ Jesus.  Well done good and faithful servants. 

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Another Sweet Family

Omar, Dunio, Shelly and Isai were another godly example of family.  They worked along beside their new friends building their "starter" home as Pastor Neal put it one evening.  Omar was all over making sure every joint was smooth.  Josh shared one evening how he came ever so gently and moved his block to perfection without saying a word.  Omar wanted his new home built just right.  Pastor Carlos was sharing with Dunio on the third day where the hammock hooks would be going for them as well.  She would stand back in awe of those blocks going up and forming her new home.  We did not see much of Shelly and when she was there she was very quiet.  Some shared how she was maybe overwhelmed at what was going on around her.  She is getting her first real home where she can call it her home. After school each day she will be able to go to her home. Isai was simply precious in every way period.  He was so excited about his new home as he watched daily those walls going up.  How amazing to think about a new home for the first time, not knowing four months ago you would be getting a new home.  Their paperwork for this house was about two years old.  Do you think they had given up hope or maybe they still prayed God would provide them a new home one day?  God laid on our hearts back in June to go visit this community and new pastor of this community Pastor Juan Jose.  We showed up one morning with Pastor Carlos to a very quiet and shy couple who did not know that day we would tell them they were going to receive a home.  This is the favorite part of being here other than seeing the lost come to Christ.  Mike and I assess the situation, check out the paper work and see if they can pay for the foundation.  We look at each other and make the correct gestures if yes or no.  Mike always lets me tell them they are receiving their home.  This was a very special time on that dirt path which actually carries a lot of travelers by foot of course.  It is always amazing and beautiful how God ordains each project to perfection.  We always feel blessed when we go on the first day and the North Americans and Hondurans blend together in one with Christ and work to completion what God has called us to do, SERVE HIM.

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Honduran Cornhole is Fun

Each day as the team waited to have dinner they drummed up a game of corn hole.  I was surprised one morning they had a game going before they left for their project.  Then I got another surprise when I looked and saw Rudy playing with them.  It took us a year to get Rudy to play corn hole and now he is one of our best players.  What a blessing to see Rudy finally pick up a game with the North Americans without Mike or me encouraging to.  Of course Lassie and Oso are always a part of the actions.  We were chatting with our Honduran staff the other day and one of them shared how Lassie really loves the North Americans.  Well the North Americans love Lassie as well.  One more team leader Danny came out of the dining hall to greet Oso standing there and Oso walked right up and let Danny love him.  Oso's little nubby tail was just a wagging.  Oso does not warm up to much to any one but his daddy, Wuilmer and his friend Mike.  So Danny you must be very special to Oso.  Everyone enjoys a time of relaxation on the multi-purpose porch especially in the evening watching the sunset or a really great thunderstorm.  Mt. Horeb is a great place to reconnect with our Lord.  The beauty of His creation is all around us, right down to a beautiful starry sky.