As I write, I am sitting on the second floor balcony of the main villa, looking out at the mountains as the sun sets. The orange glow of the fading sun is beautiful and I am reminded that our time here is also "fading." That makes me sad because the children (and adults) have truly gotten a piece of my heart. The children inspire me with their stories of overcoming such tragic young lives and the hope that burns so brightly inside of them because of the love Betsy and her staff give to each child as a member of the Jericho family. The love of Jesus is all around us. Today we all worked on different projects -- building cabinets, more painting, making jewelry to sell, making small repairs around the villa, tiling the gazebo roof...and of course, still fighting the Internet to build a new website for Jericho (it will happen...eventually and internet willing). But mostly we captured moments that will live in our hearts after we return home, and hold us until we return again. God is good. -Kyle
In case you are wondering what the WOMEN on the Team have been doing while the men have been pouring concrete, building the ramp to the outdoor kitchen, building the gazebo roof and the steps down to the gazebo………… well, we have been PAINTING! We painted the boys dormitories inside and out, the guest dormitories inside and out, and we’ve done some painting on the inside and outside of the main villa (OK…Bill and Bob helped with painting in the main villa...and Kyle helped with the concrete). ALSO, we had a “craft” afternoon with the girls. We showed them how to make Salvation Bracelets and taught them how to tell the Salvation story by sharing the meaning of each colored bead. We also made crosses with the girls out of craft sticks and multi-colored yarn. Our team was in charge of devotions last night and Kyle shared the Godly Play Creation Story. The children were spellbound! Bob and June taught the children a song to sing as a meal blessing, and Ron and Kathie shared their testimonies; both of them made strong connections with the children.
I’ve been coming to Honduras to visit Betsy Hake now for ten years. It has been a blessing to watch her ministry change and grow. The last three years I have served on Teams that have visited her here at Jericho Villas, outside of Tegucigalpa in the town of Danli. What a joy it has been to return each year and see the changes that God is working in the lives of these children that she has rescued off the streets. They each have a story to tell, and it blesses my heart to return each year and hear their stories and testimonies. Each year I come with an open heart and mind, hoping to share with them some of what God has done in my life. And, each year I leave filled to overflowing with the love that they have poured out to me! -Meredith Kronz
Day started with morning prayer. Then Bob and I headed out to find tile for the roof. We ended up at this little place in front of someone's house. The tile is made right there. 500 tiles for $60. The crew, all 6, were very helpful and kind. Then we went looking for goats. They cost about $50 each and members of the team were willing to sponsor a few. We ended up in this great small town. Dirt main street, more horses than cars. Dogs and chickens in the road and a few donkeys for good measure. We got 4 bags of cement and could not find goats but we can get new-born sheep. Bob, being an ex-executive, was thinking a herd of goats, but it’s starting to look like a few sheep instead and one of the boys can be the shepherd.
The rest of the day I painted. The guys are on a roll. All the posts and rafters are ready for tomorrow. They also built a concrete ramp to the cook area and the boys built some stone steps down the hill. The women spent the day working with the children.
The best thing about being here with the children is the casual conversations we can have with them. One 11 year old girl wants to be a doctor. She is very smart; it will happen. Actually I gave her my cross tonight. Every evening the children and some of our team share. It is powerful and I think helpful to the children, who have been through so much. Please read Deuteronomy 28:1-68. That was Bob's and my teaching this morning. The two commandments from Moses -- if only humans would follow.
Today we decided to build a ramp for the girls who cook the meals (different girls are assigned each day to kitchen chores), because it was about an 18 inch step to get up from the inside kitchen to the outside kitchen. Nathan, Chris and I built the ramp even though the girls said they didn’t really need it that “they were fine.” After it was finished, the children put their hand prints around the border of the cement ramp and Betsy signed “Isaiah 49:16” in the cement. Even Brownie, the dog, has his paw print in the cement! (The added benefit I found is now I can get a sample of the delicious food before anyone else.) Ron and one of the boys, Harold, also prepared the timbers and rafters to build the gazebo structure tomorrow and a team of Jericho boys (led by Rolo) laid in steps down the top part of the steep path to the prayer gazebo. Today was a very productive day but much easier than yesterday, when we carried all the materials down the rocky path (about an eighth of a mile) and mixed concrete by hand for the 14x14 gazebo foundation. Now that was a long day! The Jericho boys stay by our side and work hard every day and it’s been great to see their interest in each project.
I’m outside, Brownie and me. The stars are bright -- an incredible night. Today was a long, hard work day. Dan and the men from St. Luke’s worked long and hard pouring concrete. The boys were a terrific help. Chris said they were awesome. We all agree.
The concrete pour was an area 14x14. The site required about 3ft of rock fill, all done by hand. Dan is finishing the concrete as I write this at 8pm. (He was the last one up for dinner and went down twice more finishing the concrete at 11pm.)
This morning Bob and I went to town for material and it went well. I think I saw the same skinny dog crossing the street as last year, the one that is careful and looks both ways. We did get some more painting done and tomorrow we will let the concrete cure for a day and do other work.
I must share that Betsy somehow has developed a system that takes broken children from the most incredibly terrible places and raises them to be solid Christians and just wonderful humans. Isabella, who last year was more than a handful, this year has mellowed down and just fits right in.
I think the program is this: up at 5am to pray for 1 hour. All cooking and cleaning is done by the children; then school. Isabella, now 6 years old, speaks better English than I do. Evening prayer goes about 90 minutes. The children live in a bubble, with almost no outside junk news or programing. There is just non-stop love, and Jesus is in charge.
I am very tired, but feeling great. Traveling and sharing with Christians is the best.
End of day one. Today went very well. Started with breakfast, then bible study, then work. Dan lead the men (Bob, Chris, Ron and Nathan) and began work on the gazebo, which will serve as a meditation and prayer area. It's located about 1000 feet from the villa, down a steep grade. When checking out the area I took a tumble and Brownie, the home dog, came over very concerned. I was ok but spent the day painting the home. Lots of painting to be done.
About 7 boys, aged 11 and up, helped the men carrying rocks and sand, building forms, and leveling the site. An incredible amount of work was done.
The women joined in the painting.
One young girl, just a sweet kid, said her father, who rarely visits, told her told her he would get her brown boots for Christmas. He never showed up. In a way a small hurt for a great kid who is a victim of abandonment. But it still hurt. They all enjoyed the crocks -- actually they loved them.
The boys are so good and worked so hard. They treat us great and just are so happy to be here in a safe place, with great care.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Today our team had a great day with Betsy and her Jericho Ministry. All the young people are amazing, loving, obedient and totally helpful. We started the day with breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit which was delicious. Our team then spent an hour in our daily devotional led by Meredith and June. What a great way to start each day here.
We then began work on the new prayer gazebo about 100 yards below the villa. We filled a large hole with large rocks and generally worked to get the area ready for the pouring of a cement slab in preparation for the posts and cover. We then took a trip into town for supplies which always takes more time than you had planned here. We came back from town and after another terrific meal, finished putting the frame for the gazebo together. The boys at the villa all helped us do the work which was very hard, heavy work, but they did their part. We finished the work, but needed more gravel brought down the hill and the boys worked another hour. Oh to be young again!!!
We then had a great dinner prepared by the girls, who take turns helping with the kitchen chores, as well as all the other housework. After the evening meal we all gathered in the living room to do the evening devotionals which were put on by the young people that live at the villa as well as the people that work with Betsy and her team.
The visit here is so inspirational and upbeat that it is hard to believe. You can tell that all of the people in this place love the Lord and try to live their life as he would want us to.
So here we are - second full day up at the Villas, and things are moving! The children have been amazing - the littlest boys carrying buckets of gravel down (a long way day a very rocky path) to the site where the chapel foundation is in progress. Today the men are hoping to get the gravel poured for the foundation. Several of the ladies are painting walls down in the boys "dorm" area. Betsy and I are trying -- Internet willing -- to put together a new website for Jericho. All in all, everyone is out and about working on some project. Because school is still out here, it's a joy to watch the children as they run and play, and also go about their chores and help on the chapel site. Several of the children gave testimonies last night that would make the strongest man weep for what they have been through, and yet, now there is joy. The Lord is redeeming their childhood and many have a vision for what their life can be in and through Christ. Such a wonderful testimony for all of us to hear precious words from children who should not have been what they have been through. Pray for us to complete the projects we have begun and may Christ shine through us in all we do! Blessings, Kyle
It's hard to believe that we will be leaving in 3 days! We have a very mixed team - about half have gone to Honduras before and worked with Betsy and the children, and half of us are new. A good mix, I think -- and exciting to see how God will use our team in Honduras. Please pray that we have safe travels, all our luggage arrives and that God moves in a mighty way while we are with Betsy!
The devotions for the Honduras Mission Trip are available at the bottom of this post for those who feel led to follow and do the devotions with the team. Thank you all for your prayers and support. A special thank you to God for all who donated such wonderful items.....because of your generous and obedient hearts the lives of many, will be improved. You may never know what these gifts will do for the spreading of God's kingdom and His love. May God richly bless you all.
This blog has been created to keep you up-to-date on all of the things God is doing through the team He has sent to Honduras from St. Luke's Church, Hilton Head Island, SC. Sometimes it is difficult for the team to send information to us due to limited access to the Internet. Be assured that all of the latest news will be posted as soon as it is received. We ask that you please keep this mission team in your prayers and be sure to post your comments of encouragement when you feel led.