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Honduras Mission Team
Westside United Methodist Church

[ The following was written about a mission trip that took place in April of 2008.  To see the completion of this project and more, please follow the Border Buddies link below. ]
 
 
A team from our area will be making a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to continue building efforts at the Escuela Republica de Venezuela school in a village outside the capital city.  Two of our own church members, Kevin and Laura Cummings, are on this team and are looking forward to the trip which takes place April 10-20, 2008.
 
If possible, a blog (with pictures!) will be posted during the mission trip.
 
This project is a ministry of Border Buddies Ministries, Inc.

April 22, 2008 - Laura

[Laura]

   Well, our trip home was uneventful, thank you God!  :-)  Few of us slept in on Sunday morning - most were up at the usual time (early) for breakfast and to finish packing.  Then it was just a waiting game until we left at 11am.  Personally, I didn't mind the wait.  It gave me the opportunity to just enjoy the smells and sounds of Honduras on Mike and Glenda's patio one last time... a little time to unwind and adjust to the fact that the trip was over already.  <sigh>  We got through the checkpoints okay at the airport - with the exception of Betty who had mistakenly packed a manicure set in her carry-on.  They confiscated the scissors and clippers.  The flight from Tegucigalpa left on time, however the flight from Miami did not.  We were scheduled to leave at 10pm, but didn't take off until 11:30.  Needless to say we rolled into Elmira later than expected which threw off Monday a little (we got in at 8:30am).  I thought I'd try to stay awake and just go to bed early, but I hit the wall shortly after 3 and went to bed.  Got up just in time for a 7:00 meeting at church - they didn't think I'd bother!  Today I slept in and took it easy.  Thankfully, I have tomorrow off to finish laundry and cleaning and then it's back to reality on Thursday.  Whew!

  ...I can't wait to go back.  :-)

 

April 19, 2008 Saturday Day 10

[Dale] 

   Today was our last full day here and we used it to see a portion of Honduras that we hadn't seen yet. We traveled to a city called Comayagua, one of the oldest cities in Honduras. They had a wonderful museum there which we visited that took us through some of the history of Honduras.

   We all bought some souvenirs and Cheryl picked up a hand woven pine needle basket as we watched it being woven.

   Today we experienced Honduras driving: passing on a no passing zone going up hill and downhill, passing on the right, left and in between. It is definitely not for the faint at heart.

   The word for today is LLename pronounced jenamay which means "fill me." We learned a song by this name. It proclaims llename with your presence Lord, with your power, with your love. It is a powerful worship song. 

   Lastly it is my wife's birthday today and we had a wonderful celebration of her birthday but I was celebrating the fact that she was here with me on her first foreign mission trip, what a blessing it has been. To see her tears as she left the ladies sewing group yesterday spoke to me of God's love, grace and direction. 

 

 

April 18, 2008 Friday Day 9

[Amanda]

today was probably one of our fullest days yet.  Starting in the morning we went into the classrooms them their electric toothbrushes, Bible stories and lolipops, and they were very thankful. We went up to the school and played with the kids instead of working, which meant a lot since we won't be seeing them again. Unfortunately the boys play rough and while trying a back flip a young boy broke his arm and was taken to the hospital. Dan, Glenda, Dale and Gayle took care of him until his family took over. He is waiting for surgery to get it fixed correctly but will be fine.

        For lunch the women from the community made a huge spread of typical Honduran food for us to enjoy with Pastor Giron, Director Flores, teachers, and the hired help. The food was delicious. We enjoyed it very much, it was a nice thank you from the community.

       Saying goodbye to the kids was extremely hard,... I cried. Hopefully we will see them again but the hard part is not knowing. explaing to the kids that 'manana" we won't be there and we are going back to "Nueve York" was heart breaking.

       As a pick-us-up we went to El Cumbre which means the summit for a reason because it  feels like you're on top of the world. The bumpy ride up the mountain with other crazy drivers was well worth it because the view is undescribable so I will just say that the city of Tegucigalpa is beautiful at night, pictures don't do justice.

         After this long emotional day we all went straight to bed so we would be ready for the next wonderful day.

 

April 19, 2008 Saturday Day 10

[Kevin]

  Sorry about the lack of an update last night. We got in late and went straight to bed. We'll make up for it later today.

 

April 17, 2008 Thursday Day 8

[Betty]

  Hello from Honduras.  WE HAVE HAD AN AWESOME DAY-THE FLOOR HAS BEEN POURED AND IS SETTING UP.  Praise the LORD.  The children were busy with crafts and some local youth helped with the hard work, as they have all week!  Being on the team is a great adventure.  Hope you can share in a future trip!  God Bless.

 

Two more...  some of the best pictures are still on the cameras!  ;-)

 

...will try to get more pictures posted tomorrow... !!

 

April 16, 2008 Wednesday Day 7

[Lisa]

   Today it was raining when we got up. We decided to take this morning to go shopping for the kids and the youth group boys that have been helping us at the school. We first went to the Bible Institute. We bought 150 Jesus coloring books for the younger children. Betty has already bought 100 Jesus books for the older children and brought them with her. We will give those, the spin tooth brushes that Sue & John brought and the lollipops that Kevin and Laura brought to the children on Friday. We also bought soccer balls for each of the youth group boys and we have crosses for each of them as well. We bought some gifts to bring home to our families as well. It was a great morning. Then we came home ... ate a quick lunch and were off to the school to work in the rain. When we got there, the cement mixer we rented was broke, so they were mixing it the way team 3 got to mix it. It brought back many memories for me. Mike and gang got the mixer fixed and we were able to start making cement that way. We got 3/4 of the floor of the school done and all the frames on top are ready for the metal floor joists. We are looking forward to finishing the floor. The kids are off school tomorrow and the sewing class will be a full day ... we are going up early so we can go out to dinner at El Patio tomorrow night ... we have to be there by 5pm. We miss our families and friends (and my dog, Quigley, especially) at home but we are loving our small family here and our new friends. Leaving the school Friday is going to be very hard ... and emotional!

 

April 15,2008,tuesday day 6

[Dan]

today was a very hard day of work we started right away with concrete we got to the site turned on the mixer and started pouring we mixed the concrete with stone sand and water put it in the whele barows halled it to the buckets lift the buckets up the ladder and then poured it and refill the buckets about a million times its acutaly kinda fun knowing your getting so much done doing such hard work  at least it was fun till the concrete got stuck in the mixer and i personaly turned the 600lbs of concrete in the mixer so that mike could use the shovel to unstuck some of it and get it going agian we filled two rows of concrete in the morning alone which was alot and then after lunch came back to a plesent suprise of making the floor where we just poured the wheel barows in the floor and flaten it out also the sewing class was good not as many girls but i joined for a while and it seemed fun im glad to see all these people trying to learn new skills to better there lifes and the lifes of people around them we went to spanish church we got to sing english songs and they sang there spanish songs it was beautiful and the lesson was hard to comprihend but it was about goodness and he tied us into it which was a huge confidence boost i did divotions on temptation when we got home and now were headed to bed in the mean time pray for us chances are were praying for you to :)

 

April 14, 2008, Monday Day 5

[Kevin]

  Today we finished up the rebar - joining the sides together at the corners. This afternoon the moment everyone has been waiting for, the pouring of the concrete. Yes, it has begun. We have until Thursday morning to finish it so there's lots to do. Cheryl started her sewing class and had about 20 students so she's a happy camper. I met one of the kids Westside is sponsoring (Laura wasn't there at the time) and hopefully we will get to visit his home before we leave.

[Dan]...we had internet failure... Dan's comments will be forthcoming...

 

April 13, 2008, Sunday Day 4

[Kevin]

  Free day today. This morning we went to the Valley of the Angels, a tourist trap about 25 miles away in the mountains. So many shops and so little time. We did the best we could to support the local economy. The prices were quite reasonable and there was a lot of variety. The scenery alone was worth the drive.

  Tonight Laura and I went to a store with Mike and Glenda. Glenda, Laura and I went in and while we were waiting to pay we met an interesting person. He walked up and asked if we were from the U.S. We said yes and told him New York. He then proceeded to tell us the state bird, flower, tree, motto, and nickname for New York. If that weren't enough, he wrote two large numbers on a scrap of paper. The first, he said, was the area of the U.S. in square kilometers. He took out a calculator and named each state, typing the square area for each as he went along. The total equaled the number on the paper. He then did the same for Honduras and its departments (equal to our states). The way he spoke indicated some sort of savant tendency. Can you tell I was impressed? Too bad I didn't think to get his picture.

  We had church at the house tonight with Gayle leading. Great job, Gayle!

  It's raining!

  Sorry, no pictures tonight.

 

 

April 12, 2008 Saturday Day 3

[Kevin]

   Being Saturday, today was a half day at the school. We finished the rebar frames and got those up. John and I have gotten so good at the rebar thing I'm thinking we should freelance when we get home. Right, John? John?? We also started putting up the wooden sides of the forms. This afternoon the women worked on crafts with the kids at the school while the guys (and Amanda) played soccer against some of the local boys. We won two games, which we figure is pretty good against some very good kids.

 

April 11, 2008 Friday Day 2

[Laura]

   We were greeted with so many smiles and hugs by the children at the school this morning.  What a wonderful way to begin our day!  We built the forms that will be set atop the first floor Team #3 put up.  These consisted of six lengths of rebar wrapped in 42 rebar squares - each bent by hand, attached with wire that we had to cut, bend, and twist by hand (1,000 such pieces).  This took the better portion of the day.  We completed two and put them in place.  The third one is in process and we have one more to do tomorrow.  The floor of the first-floor room is also ready for cement.  Spending time with the children was wonderful.  We got to meet AnaSuzell, our Scholarship 'God Child.'  She is quiet and a little shy and is learning her times-tables - we worked on the two-times.  Her little brother, Alex (aka Shelby) is a cutie-pie and did a pretty good job helping us bend the wire (he's about 6, AnaSuzell is 8).  In between the work, there was opportunity for play, including soccer and arm wrestling.

   We also met a young gentleman tonight who told us how seeing the teams come to this country had caused him to re-commit his life to Christ and he stressed that our service here reaches beyond the physical work we are doing at the school, that though we may never know it, seeds are being planted and lives are being changed.

 

April 10, 2008 Thursday Day 1

[Laura]

   It's been an exciting first day! Our flights were all on time and we got through customs fine (although two customs agents decided to keep Spin Brush toothbrushes for themselves).  The drive back from the airport revealed that there are few left or right turns - they seem to veer off in this direction and then in the next like the branches of the rubber trees that grow bigger than the houses here!  The guys picked up the cement mixer and delivered it to the school where they were challenged by the youth to a soccer match on Saturday (we hear that the youth are very good).  The ladies went for a walk-about and discovered the location of all the major franchise restaurants along with a mini-mall where we found a Christian book store and a prom dress for Amanda!  How about that?  We did our evening devotions and are preparing for rest.  Tomorrow we leave at 7:30am to begin work at the school.

   PS - To Jeff Robinson: Kevin has to admit you were pretty much right.

[Kevin]

   Even after seeing pictures and hearing about this place for the past few years, I was surprised by the level of poverty around the school.  For those of you who have met him yourselves, we were introduced to Santiago.  Quite a character, but I'll save that story for when we return.

 

April 8, 2008 - Laura

   Wow.  I almost didn't get to go on this trip.  Three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid.  Scary (really... anxiety is one of the marks of this condition).  My doctor told me I should probably pass on this trip because I was starting a new medication and bloodwork would need to be done, and it's uncertain if the medical facilities down there could help me if I ran into trouble and I'd have to fly back home anyhow.  (He would know - he's made mission trips there himself.)  Well, three weeks, bloodwork and many prayers by many people later, he has given me his blessing to go (and instructions to increase my thyroid medication - ugh! - and not to push myself too hard).  How do I know I can trust this?  My prayers have been "not because I want to go, Lord, but because it's medically safe to go" and that God's decision would be made clear through my doctor (who, by the way, is a Christian too - woohoo!).  Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind today: "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  God would not tell my doctor to say "yes" if it would be a bad thing for me to go.  I shall be clinging to this even as I feel a little nervous (...or is it just the thyroid talking?).

 

January 16, 2008 - Laura

    We had the pleasure of hearing Glenda (Miller) - from Border Buddies - speak at our Walk To Emmaus Ultreya (monthly gathering with lots of music and a dish-to-pass dinner) on the 4th.  Then we had our second team meeting on the 11th with Glenda and Mike, then Mike spoke in church on the 13th, then we had the pleasure of attending a special dinner for Border Buddies that afternoon.  It's been awesome!  I'm getting so excited!  I sort of feel like when I was planning my wedding... it doesn't matter what I'm doing, somewhere in the back of my mind, my thoughts are on the trip (and what words in Spanish I should learn before we go!).  Some not so exciting facts about Honduras: 54% of the population lives in poverty and over 40% earn only $1 per day.

 

January 4, 2008 - Laura

     Happy New Year!  Let me begin this mission journey from the point where all journeys begin: the Passport.  Long story long, it goes like this:

     I had set the money aside well in advance, we filled out the forms and secured our photos (I took mine myself - the only way I was going to be sure it didn’t look like a mug shot!), we dug out our birth certificates... then waited patiently in a very long line at the post office on “passport night.”  Kevin’s paperwork was just fine.  They rejected my birth certificate.  Apparently, this is now a matter of “national security” and the hospital certificate (the only one issued to my mother at the time, signed by the doctor and having a raised seal) just wouldn’t do.  I was so disappointed.  I learned that I would need to order the proper one from my state of birth, which would require a copy of my marriage certificate.  One problem: where was my marriage certificate??  It was one of those items that had been picked up in a rush before company arrived and hidden away in a box of other such “stuff.”  (Yes, I file things in their proper place, but as relative newlyweds, I’d had need of it to renew my car registration.)  <sigh>

     Time passed and Kevin received his passport (4 weeks, as promised) and I began to worry that I wouldn’t get mine in time, as the birth certificate would take 10-15 business days to arrive once the request went in… and the marriage certificate was still nowhere to be found.

     This is where the long story gets shorter (!).

     I was at home feeling pretty down because I’d had an unfortunate incident involving my cat, my sister’s dog, my eye, and a trip to the emergency room (where I refused stitches) over the Thanksgiving holiday.  That was four days earlier and in two days I was to be on team for a women’s Walk To Emmaus weekend and I was wondering how the antibiotics were going to work out (since nothing is ever easy for me when it comes to antibiotics) and worrying about the insidious infection that could result regardless.  So, while moping around in the kitchen, I decided that the laundry room needed vacuuming.  I pulled out the vacuum, looked down, and there – sticking out of the end of a box on the floor – was the envelope with the marriage certificate.  In a heartbeat, God had assured me that I would be going to Honduras and that I would heal.

     I went to work the next day and ordered my birth certificate (two copies – just in case!) and they arrived just a week later.  Not long after that, I went to the post office (no lines - huh…) and filed the paperwork for my passport, which arrived in one week!  Wow.

     God is so good.  All the time.

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Day 10. In the courtyard at the museum in Comayagua.

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Day 9. One of four prayer quilts the ladies worked on.

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Day 9. A quiet moment for Tatiana and Amanda.

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Day 9. The floor is done and the joists for the second floor are up!!

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Day 9. Sidewalk chalk is fun in any language.

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Day 8. Local cuisine at El Patio. We had a variety of "pinchos" (kabobs) and LOTS more!

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Day 7. Eight people live in this house. Home of one of the children from school.

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Day 5 sewing class

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Day 4. The church at Valle de Angeles.

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Day 4 on our way to Valley of the Angels - we stopped for corn on the cob and corn cakes

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Day 3. John and Kevin's rebar... right fine!

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Day 3. We are all princes and princesses in the kingdom of God. The children are in prayer.

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Day 2. The first form goes up.

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Day 2. All work and no play makes Dan unhappy.

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Day 1. I came to Honduras and all I bought was this prom dress!

Border Buddies Team #4
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Suzanne, Kevin, Laura, Amanda, Lisa, Dan, Sue, Betty, John, Gayle, Cheryl, Dale

 

Westside United Methodist Church * 743 W. First St. * Elmira, NY 14905
Phone: (607) 733-7033
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