Our New Evangelist-Walter…I mean Wualter

I have some exciting news for our Breaking Chains community, we have added a new and excited team member, Walter.DSC_0223  After being with us for a while now, he corrected us when his name was being written that there is a “u” in his name, hence Wualter. It’s a quick u, you don’t even notice it. Nevertheless, a church in Oklahoma City is supporting the position and Wualter is eager to get things rolling with the teens. He joins Siney as our second Honduran minister. They are both from the Baxter Institute, the local preaching school that trains preachers from all around Latin and South America here. I’m excited to be working closely with him on the spiritual forming activities and mentoring him as much as I can.

IMG_0941I found out that Wualter was a taxi driver here. Taxis drive me insane most days when I drive, but Wualter’s stories reminded me why it is one of the most dangerous professions to have here. 30+ taxi drivers were killed last year, mostly by gangs for refusing to pay extortion money to gangs. Wualter told us of a story where a guy wanted to rob him and kill him, so he just drove the guy around telling him about Jesus until the guy decided not to. I am very excited to have his excitement and commitment to Christ joining our Breaking Chains team.

I think the most important part of mission work is for the work of the mission to be turned over to the native people of the culture. I hope to continue the mentoring of young preachersIMG_0887 to more students including those not involved directly in Breaking Chains. The greatest advancements and growth of our ministry will be best done in the hands of these Honduran ministers. Pray for us as we plan and understand our role in showing the love of Christ together. I pray that this will continue and God will continue to bring us more and more people committed to loving the souls of those on the streets and our shelter.

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A Time to teach. A time to ask for help.

Well I am officially a teacher in a school like my mother and grandmother before me. I am blessed with the opportunity to volunteer teach at Nashville School which is near my house and is partnered with the school where three of our kids attend. I am teaching Bible for six periods a week, and it’s a blast. It feels good to be in a classroom again. My students love to learn, and I enjoy showing them new intricacies to the Bible. Soon I hope to begin tutoring other students in English or other things in the few free periods I have. I may also begin studying the Bible with the director of the school. She’s a Christian but has said she would love to study more from whoever would teach her.

I’m also feeling very accomplished about the completion of our aquaponics system at the building with some help from a visiting group (See pictures below). A new floor is going in at the building, and the old boards will make great wood for making planters for growing more wood for the building. Fortunately, my back is healed up well enough to begin doing more physical labor.

Our Red Tilapia and Blue Catfish at feeding time

Our Red Tilapia and Blue Catfish at feeding time

One of our chile plant already has chiles on it after a week!

One of our chile plant already has chiles on it after a week!

The view of the whole system. We currently have growing chili and basil plants. Tomato, lettuce, watermelon and beans are just now sprouting.

The view of the whole system. We currently have growing chili and basil plants. Tomato, lettuce, watermelon and beans are just now sprouting.

We also have this little cutie (featured below) living with us right now while his mom tries to quit a strong addiction to drugs. We’re hoping Angel’s mom Yahaira will enter into a rehab program soon, and we’re waiting for her to take the steps to change her life. Angel is a bundle of energy and loves to run and play around our house, and our kids adore him and treat him like a little brother. We’re all quickly falling in love with his kisses and hilarious personality. Luckily, his burns from an accident last fall are now in the final processes of healing. The first few weeks of his time with us were spent taking him to doctor’s appointments and changing his gauze from several poorly taken care of woulds from the accidents (at the fault of even the doctors his mom took him too and her addictions).

Angel along with our four other kids is pretty expensive as you can imagine with diapers and all those things small children need, especially as his burns heal and his digestive system heals as well. We had been getting by without successfully reaching our Fifty for 50 donors, but we are still eight short of reaching the goal. We could really use your help. We are grateful to all of you who now support us and hope others will join us as we provide a loving home for five kiddos and attempt to fight alongside desperate souls who want to leave the awful life of the streets of Tegucigalpa.

Angel helping pick out plants for the Aquaponics farm.

Angel helping pick out plants for the Aquaponics farm.

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Some picture from the aquaponics system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avocados, cheesemaking, A truck and ‘The Story’

I am really excited about all of the new additions in our lives right now! CAM00247First off, we have avocados on our trees at our house. My wife is beyond ecstatic about because of her love of guacamole. We should have hundreds of avocados so we will be able to share with everyone at the BC building and may be able to have some people sell some in the market to help with food costs at the building.

Next, with some leftover wood, I have finished our composting bins for our backyard. Our scraps from the building and from our own house will be the foundation for the gardening projects that we undertake to supplement the food supply at the building. It was quite a shock to my children to know that the vegetable scraps would one day become soil. Their faces were priceless.

We have also finished the fun process of searching for a truck for me to use on projects. It was a bit tedious process to find the right fit in the price range that we had raised, but we ended up with a 2006 Nissan Frontier. We love it. This hopefully means no more haggling with taxi drivers for me.

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Those of you who read some our posts last summer will recall my adventures in cheese-making with the hope of turning it into a sustainable activity here in Honduras for the ministry. Well, I have embarked on the first step to doing this. We don’t have a goat or cow just yet, but around the corner from us is a cheese and tortilla store. I made a friend named Fransceco who runs the store and he is now my supplier for raw milk. He’s going to try to get some goat milk for me, but for now I can work with the fresh cow milk he gets.

What I am the most excited about is the series of sermons and lessons coming up for us. We are going to be working through “The Story” by Max Lucado and Randy Fraze. The goal is to use its easy to read format to boost biblical knowledge among our residents and church-goers and garner interest among our teens for the Bible. Siney, our preacher, will be using a chapter each week for his sermons and the helpful study questions are great for small groups with the teens. If you are interested in buying some more copies of the “The Story” for the teen’s use (they are about $12), please send me a message at johncarson@bchonduras.org. We now only have one. So, we could use several more if the donations came in.

Keep these projects on your prayer lists as we hope they are ways to improve our ministry, help our residents and lower costs we have to raise among donors.

You are blessed.

I’m reading this fantastic book by Randy Harris called Living Jesus. It’s a great read, and he starts off with a great point about the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus begins by telling everyone they are blessed. Blessed are the poor…blessed are those who mourn…blessed are the meek and so on. Before any of the other instruction Jesus gives, he says, “You are blessed.”

I’ve been laid up for almost a month now with a moderately herniated disk, which sucks. I hate it, and sometimes all I feel like I can do is sit. I’ve seen a lot of commercials for Black Friday, which is now blackening Thanksgiving. And I can’t help but feel a little sad when I hear LL Cool J say, “T’was the night before Black Friday…” rather than “T’was the night before Christmas.” We are learning to zoom past being thankful for our blessings to moving on to fight others for more stuff that will not make us happy nor will it make those around us as happy as our presence would.

Sure, there is nothing wrong with getting and giving a few gifts. Our kids will get some toys and clothes that they need. Maybe you need nothing, and can choose gifts or to give someone else a happy Christmas at one of these sites or another, http://bchonduras.wordpress.com/ and Heifer International. (Two of my personal favorites)

Yesterday I felt good enough to transplant some lavender with my little girl. She was completely content and happy doing this.  And most of all, she loved doing it with me. When I look at this picture below, I know I am blessed. And she knows she is blessed. God has blessed us, and it all starts from there. This season we will remember that God blessed us with his son, and it all started from there.

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Apparently you are not supposed to start lavender inside, but then we wouldn’t have this adorable picture.

We’ve been so quiet lately…

Something Michael and I have learned over the last month is that Dengue fever is a terrible thing and so is slipping a disk in your back. Michael is all better now, and I am getting better as the days go by. I have a very interesting Canadian chiropractor here. It has given me plenty of time to plan out curriculum for the building and our food production plans. Nevertheless, we have had some fun events with the kids in the midst of our illnesses. IMG_2501

We had a great little Halloween party with our kids and the kids at the BC building. They bobbed for apples, carved pumpkins (well large gourds), played other fun Halloween games (like eat a donut off a string, which I didn’t even know was a Halloween thing) and had spider pizza! The kids all had a blast, and we adults really did too. We were all laughing so hard with every activity.IMG_2432

We are excited about kindergarten graduation coming up for our little Dayana, and for Axel at the building. We’re excited to see how proud they will be and how proud we will feel of them. It has been a rough road at times, especially for Dayana. We’re so grateful they both have this opportunity.IMG_2360

To end this belated update, I want to show a beautiful picture from our feeding on the street last Friday night. We were at our final feeding spot, and I noticed a boy from a family we get to feed nearly every week wearing an interesting shirt.

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This is one of the times I think Jesus and Gandhi would agree. Gandhi says “Be the change you want to see.” I think Jesus would say, “Be the church you want to see.” Right now, there’s a disaster in the Philippines, and I have no hesitation that CURE medical missions at my home church is mobilizing to do all they can to help.

Matthew 25:34-40: Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father.” We are blessed to provide food for the hungry, water for the thirsty and shelter for the strangers. Remember that you are also blessed to serve and love God’s people.

Ain’t No Reason

Michael posted a song yesterday. So, I thought I would join in. I’ve longed enjoyed this song seen below and even more for the powerful video that is attached to it. But yesterday was the first time I had listened to this song in a location that was not inside my house. I sat outside the Breaking Chains building yesterday waiting for Michael and this song came on the ipod. For the first time I sat and listened to this song on a block where glue was regularly huffed to alleviate hunger pains. As the song continued, my eyes moved down to the next block to a brothel.

There is pain, hunger and death here. But I disagree there “ain’t no reason things are this way.” I think there are many reasons why things are this way in the world, but that is not my goal here. What I will say is that there ain’t no reason things should stay this way. As followers of Christ, we are called to live in the midst of his example, to love others. More importantly, we do not fear death as it has been overcome by his Resurrection, and one day we will all be resurrected as well. We are a resurrection people. Today, I encourage you to seek out where you can bring life and resurrection to the death and pain you see in your life. I am blessed to have so many opportunities to live the Resurrection out here in Honduras. Tonight as we will feed on the street, I will say “ain’t no reason to be hungry tonight, ain’t no reason…ain’t no reason…”

Please take a moment to enjoy this awesome video below.

Our first week

Yesterday, I sat at home taking care of a sick seven-year old. I spent most of the day cleaning, providing liquids to drink, measuring medication and reflecting while she slept. I even managed to look at houses online and get some Spanish-practice in while she slept. (That’s face paint she has rubbed on her face in the photo below, in case you’re worried!)IMG_2099

It was a tiring routine last week as we got used to being here. Michael nor I was used to waking up at 5:30am, but it’s now becoming commonplace for us. We’ve spent a lot of time doing homework, planning and making meals and shuttling the kids to school and their independence day parades. We have loved getting to love our babies and are beyond happy to be here with them.IMG_2056

Tuesday, we had a great Children’s Day with our kids and with all the kids from Breaking Chains and our growing church community. We watched Despicable Me (which by the way, the Spanish dub has a really strange voice for, well everyone, but especially Gru), and gave out stuffed animals and other little toys to all the kids. It was a wonderful and tiring day of fun for all the kiddos!IMG_2131

We have had a great time hugging and talking to everyone staying in the building and our friends on the street. We were blessed by church on Sunday and to see all the new faces there. I think it’s wonderful there are so many kids and enough moms who are willing to volunteer to teach them so that job is not passed to Michael, Amber or me. I look forward to working more with our church and furthering the spirituality of those in our building and our surrounding community. Now, off to look for a new house for us. Wish us luck!IMG_2121

Introducing my crazy

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The curds forming

Michael and I have spent some time this summer thinking of ways to develop and improve our ministry at Breaking Chains. And I have come up with a few perhaps less conventional ideas as well.

As strange as it sounds, this has been a summer of cheesemaking. I just started another batch a few hours ago, and now I am in the first waiting period of the nearly day-long process.

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The newest finished product

Some of you are familiar with the strange projects and ideas that I come up with. So, you are not too surprised when I say that I now make goat cheese. The look I typically get after divulging this information about my recent hobby is one of “What is the point of that” with a dab of “You’re crazy.” For others you’re just getting to know my weirdness. Either way, I feel prompted to explain it’s practice for making it in Honduras for a sustainability project I have in mind, which doesn’t necessarily give me less weird-looks.

One of my hopes in the future is to have a little bit of land where we can have a garden and some animals like chickens and goats. This hopefully will be a way to provide a way to cut down on the cost of food at the building by providing fresh eggs, vegetables, milk, etc. With some of the extra milk, we would be able to make cheese for the building and maybe eventually high quality cheese to sell to help support Breaking Chains.

Hopefully, one day I can pass the cheesemaking on to someone at the building who enjoys it even more than I do and can use this skill, as strange as it sounds, to further their life and our ministry.Fifty for 50