Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sofas and Sermons

Let the lazy Christian rejoice, for I made both this week!

And on the first day the wood pallets were disassembled and I saw that it was good. And I said, “Let the boards be put back together again! Only this time a just little different!” And I called one expanse the seat and the other the armrest and there was the second day. And then I said, “Let the wood be gathered in one place and let the sofa appear!” And it was so. I called it pallet chair and saw that it was good and that was the third day. And I said “Let there be a small bench that also functions as a shoe rack made from the spare wood.” So I created the bench and it was so and there was evening and morning and the fourth day. And I said to the people, “Behold, it is now yours.” And from then on the people of earth were blessed with better seating for movies and more shoe organization for the porch. The fifth day. And then I said, “Let all tools be cleaned and saw dust swept and a great many thing put into order. Let the pillows bring great comfort to the pallet chair, and let the shoes always have a home under the stripped shade of the shoe bench.” And there was evening and morning. The sixth day.

I think I am supposed to rest now.

Up next is a coffee table. Probably stinking pallets again. gosh darnit.

Sometimes we run out of certain types of food. We get groceries every two weeks and it is plenty enough food to last the two weeks, but some food just doesn’t seem to make it that long. Potato chips are gone in a day along with the cookies. We run out of bread pretty before the end of the first week, but that is ok, because we always have tortillas. We often run out of milk, however we NEVER run out of corn flakes. Recently I have taken to eating corn flakes with sugar and a little bit of water as a snack. It’s really not so bad. Throw a little honey on top and you have yourself a real treat.

I was asked to preach this Friday at church. I was intimidated at first to be speaking in front of so many people, but once I got going, it all came naturally. I didn’t pee myself and I didn’t even have to imagine everyone in their underwear. I had a translator this time around, but someday I would like to give it a go solo and really put my Spanish to the test. Maybe I will during the next time I find myself in a Spanish country, whenever that happens. I certainly wouldn’t mind doing it in English some time either.

When I first became a Christian, one of the most beneficial activities I did as a spiritual discipline was to plan mini lessons/sermons. I never actually taught any of the first lessons I used to plan, but it helped me discover my opinions about important topics and helped me read the bible with purpose. All of a sudden I had a voice with my own thoughts behind it. I read and searched the bible for whatever I could find about what I wanted to teach. I was able to draw my own conclusions on biblical passages and make some cool discoveries. I felt like I tapped into the sense of discovery of those old days this past week while planning for this sermon. I enjoyed it so much that I plan on starting up the discipline again. I may not ever teach everything I plan, but sometimes the process is just as beneficial as the outcome.

The trip home is rapidly approaching. Less than a month away in fact. I have some pretty sweet plans in motion this upcoming year. I hope all my friends and family, new and old, are as excited as I am for it!
Thanks to my family, I had enough Christmas presents for all the kids. Thanks everyone!

A bit too high in my opinion, but good for storage underneath. 

Really quite comfy. 

It works.

Sometimes I don’t know where I would be without the love of my family. Seriously great people. I miss home. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

There and back again.... again.

Once again I find myself in the beautiful hills of Honduras, my home away from home. I spent the last 2 and a half weeks in my real home, Indiana, a place very dear to me. I visited people, and took warm showers, and visited people, and ate American food every day, and visited again. I felt like I spent each day fully, and tried my best not to cheat myself or anyone else for their time. Hoosiers make some of the best people, and I’ve got a pretty good line-up that I call friends and family. It was a busy two weeks. I managed to get a teaching job that starts sometime near March. I will be covering a current teacher’s maternity leave until the end of the school year. I’m also finally getting a grasp on what the next year or two might look like. Hopefully it will include a great many adventures with the guys, road trips, time with family, visits with a new puppy, and a good start into the next chapter of life. 2013 was a great year. I learned a lot and felt like I loved a lot, too. That makes it a success for me. 2014 promises the same and more.

Indiana was great, but man was it cold! I am back to wearing bro-tanks and shorts now. I sure miss everyone in the states, but it’s really nice to be back in this Honduran weather. I could definitely become a snow bird one of these days.

I can already feel a difference with this go-round. My close buddy, Daniel, isn’t here this time. He is working and saving money in Georgia so that he can return and volunteer here again. I appreciate that man. He’s a friend that I will miss. Leaving the states was a lot easier this time. I don’t know if it had to do with the familiarity of my destination or the shortened duration of the trip or what else, but it was a welcome change. Last time was a lot harder than I had expected. We also have new kids on the property and new volunteers. The ministry has a different feel. However, that is easy to see and understand, because the ministry (any ministry) is made of two parts. The first part is the “God-part”, the unchanging heart and mind of a ministry. The second part is the people, the always changing body of the ministry. The human part of the ministry will always be fluid and can change from day to day. I don’t know if that is how the “Christian” view of a ministry is supposed to be or not, but it is what I have seen and is what makes sense to me. So you ministry people out there in the world, make sure you take care of your body! You as a ministry can’t do much without it, and it is easy to run a body ragged if you aren’t taking care of it. But especially remember that a body is lifeless without a heart and mind!

I’ll have more thoughts about this, but I’ll save your ear. Ask me questions if curiosity overwhelms.
I’ve only been here a couple of days, but I’ve already killed 2 scorpions. Welcome back.

I think I will buy a new machete today. I have gotten off to a slower start this time, but I think it has made the transition easier. I think I am always ok with taking things a little slower.

Whenever you break out a camera or anything remotely interesting to a child, they want a turn with it. I am probably a little more trusting than I should be with the things I have, but sometimes the experience a child can have is worth the risk. Things can be re-bought or fixed. Experiences cannot. Sometimes it pays off too. I got some cool pictures from the little ones. 

Take care everybody. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fake it til you make it

This is a combination of two weeks’ worth of writing. We haven’t had any internet, so I haven’t had the chance to post anything. Here is the first week.

Holy cow I am almost two weeks away from being home. Time goes so fast. I’ll be in the states for a little over two weeks. I am already feeling overwhelmed by how much is going on during that time. I think I need to make a daily schedule. I want to see as many people as I can! First few days are probably going to be in Anderson. I miss that family.

Got mistaken for a pastor this week… Don’t think I earned that title, but I’m honored.

A few things I learned this past week:
Spot welding
Leveling and laying concrete floors
I really miss Ultimate Frisbee. Got a game going with some Honduran kids the other day and had a blast.
How to make swings more fun
If people talk slow enough in Spanish, I can pretty much understand what they are talking about. Cool.
Prince Royce is music in Honduras.
All kids look cuter in an oversized snap-back hat
The machete is also useful as a shovel and log splitter. So many uses.
How to make pastelitos and beleadas (food). Provide the resources and I will make some for you
All kids like to make bracelets.
What the word “mollycoddle” means.
In short, it’s been a really great week.

And this past week.

It’s now officially the rainy season. With this comes a great many things. Flooded roads, broken water filters, no electricity name a few. It has been a rough start to the season. We lost power at the beginning of the week and our generator broke by Tuesday, leaving us with no power what-so-ever. The filter, over encumbered by the muddy water in the river, left us without any clean water for drinking, laundry, or showers. We are still able to collect rain water and boil it to purify it. No electricity also means no internet, which isn’t too much of a tragedy, except when you want to talk to your family on Thanksgiving and are unable to.

As crummy as it sounds, it hasn’t been all bad. Quite the opposite in fact. I have enjoyed the experience of roughing it, and was truly blessed by the festivities of Thanksgiving with my family here on the property. It was an interesting challenge to throw together a feast without many of the normal resources, but we managed and family grew.

I am now less than 10 days from my return visit to the states. If you are reading this, then yes I do want to see you, so don’t feel bad asking for some time!

Very definitely looking forward to building snowmen and other Christmasy things

On a side note, I have become a man who wears a lot of bracelets. Hear me out now before you judge. I have a personal code that dictates that I use the gifts that are given to me. My thought is that if someone put in the energy to make or buy something for me, I am sure as sally going to use it (even if I don’t care for it much). That being said, I will absolutely wear whatever clothes or other item (i.e. bracelets) given to me at least once. Especially if it is something handmade(i.e. bracelets again). This even applies to scarves, which you all know I would normally never wear under almost any circumstance. If you are a man with a cold neck, grow a beard. If you can’t grow a beard to warm up your sissy neck, then zip up your jacket and tough it out. If you are a man who doesn’t have a cold neck and still wants to wear a scarf, then I have no more words for you. The only time a man should wear a scarf is when it is a gift. Especially one that is handmade or knitted by your significant other. If that is the case, then by all means, wear that bad boy as a badge of honor and proudly shout to the world, “Look! My woman made a thing and I am proud of her and the thing she made!”  But all of that is a tangent. I get easily distracted. I now proudly sport 4 handmade bracelets from my Honduran family, and my rule for bracelets is that I wear them until they fall off. Here we go.

Taking a trip to La Ceiba to do some Christmas shopping today. My buddy Daniel and I caught the 5 o’clock bus down to the city and plan on heading up on the last bus up. One of the reasons why I love day trips to La Ceiba is Wendy’s. I seriously love hamburgers and fries. They are few and far between around these parts, so I don’t miss the chance to indulge. I don’t think I can get gifts for everybody, so I am sorry in advance if you don’t get something! I will try my best!

I’ve recently been feeling the pressure to start career searching. I will be doing a lot of praying and seeking wiser counsel during my visit. The better I feel about getting a job teaching next fall, the more comfortable I will be coming back here at the end of December.

Sorry it’s been so long. I may not write again for a while. Hopefully I will be seeing you face to face instead.

See you soon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


So it’s been a while. Sorry about that.

Last week I went to get my Visa extended for one more month. The visa (passport stamp thing) is what allows me to live here in Honduras without residency. It expires after 90 days, after which you become illegal. You can renew it by visiting another country every 90 days and getting the stamp again, or you can extend it for another month by going to a legal office and paying 20 dollars or so. If I ever plan on staying in a foreign country much longer than 6 months, I will apply for residency. Visa renewal is a stupid process.

Anyways, I got it extended for another month. It now expires on December 15th. This is a problem because my flight date is the 17th of December… Instead of gambling with the Honduran government, I am just going to change my flight date. I will hopefully be getting a flight out on the 12th, less than a month away. 

Changing flight dates is stupid expensive.

It’s still blazing hot here. Sorry about the snow folks.

Someone took my machete and hasn’t returned it… I am not happy with this. You get pretty connected to a machete when you spend days chopping down trees with one.

I’ve been learning how to cook. I am pretty excited to cook some authentic Honduran dishes when I get back to the states.

Another thing I have learned: the machete is the most universal tool in existence. It is now my first choice in a zombie apocalypse. That’s a big deal. It can be used to chop in the jungle, in the kitchen, as an axe, as a hammer, as a crowbar, and any type of knife you could ever need, from paring to meat cleaver.  I have been considering continuing the Honduran way by doing yard work in the states with my machete. I don’t think I would need any home security system if I did that.

It’s been an incredible season of change both here with me and at home. Though it’s not necessarily “incredibly good” or “incredibly bad” change. I left the states hoping that things would be able to go right back to where they were when I returned. That’s not going to happen. I am thankful for friends and family who are constant and a God that is constant in His love through the changes, and I look forward to discovering my new life back in the states. I am going to miss this place, but I figure I can always return. Change in life is not a bad thing when you are willing to change with it. 

I have somehow gained the nickname “Daddy”… I… I’m not quite sure about that one.

One of my main motivators in life is to be a positive influence. It’s why I became a teacher, and why I look forward to one day being a father. But man…parenthood seems exhausting. There is no vacation time. No real breaks. It is an incredible job, and one that I greatly hope I get the opportunity to have one day… just not yet. I don’t think I am ready yet. Though I don’t think just one person could ever be ready for parenthood. It’s more of a team effort. A man, his wife, and God. Super team.

I need more bro adventures in my life. Come on guys. Let’s get out there.

Finally the packages from home came! I am super excited about that. I got loads of candy and felt loads of love. Definitely needed. 

I like praying mantises of all sizes. 

That's how you eat a cookie.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Heaven on Earth

I am writing this one mostly to let you know that I am in fact alive. I am very tardy for my normal Sunday postings, and I apologize for that. Busyness and varied priorities seem to follow me wherever I go.

A few things that have been going through my mind:

With the addition of borrowed headphones in my life, my love for hardcore music has been renewed. Beartooth, a newer band, is spearheading the charge. I strongly encourage anyone who is remotely interested to give them a listen. They are fresh out of the oven as a band, but the members come loaded with experience. They also have strong Christian lyrics and prove that worship takes on many forms. Give them a listen and try to get out of the notion that worship is confined to a Chris Tomlin sized box.
Worship can be an incredibly powerful experience when moved outside the realm of music as well. Still don’t understand that worship dance stuff though…

Sometimes I wish I was up in a tree stand. That place is a piece of heaven.

I want to get more into baseball. 

Follow me on this one. Imagine a new situation where we are all given the opportunity to accept a gift. By accepting this gift we would receive eternal life, no sickness, no pain. No hunger or thirst. Here on earth. We would receive this gift by a change of heart and mind. However, not accepting it would result in no change. You would live and die with the same struggles our world experiences now. How many people do you think would sign up for this gift? How many people would spread this news to the farthest reaches of the earth in hopes of saving more people? I imagine almost everyone. Some of you might know where I am going with this one. Now realize with me that we can have the same experience, eternal life with no sickness or pain, in a place much greater than this lowly, troubled land on which we walk. A bit of faith in what you can’t see is all it takes. If you haven’t caught up yet, I am talking about the kingdom of heaven and the gift of Jesus Christ. Now, don’t get me wrong, I recognize that the promise of heaven is not necessarily why many people are Christians. It’s actually quite a bit self-serving if that is the only reason why you choose Christianity, but I don’t think it’s a bad place to start.

Now you understand the title.

I’ll open up the idea of “when you accept Christ and the promises of Heaven, the trials of your life on earth no longer enslave you or your mind”, but I won’t go into it now.

Sometimes it’s better to let the waters settle and clear before diving in. Otherwise you might find out too late that the water is quite shallow.

I have a couple packages coming from home and I am super excited about that. I am feeling a little burnt out and homesick so they can’t come soon enough.

This is the last week of formal teaching on the property and I am slightly ashamed by how relieving that is. Teaching is hard anyways, but teaching in another language is uniquely challenging. Some days I just want to work with the construction group or chop in the coffee fields with my machete. Only a few more days. The past two months as a “maestro” have been stimulating, encouraging, and demanding. I won’t soon forget the lessons I learned throughout the experience.

I am continually growing more excited about the future. Life is really exceptional. I am thankful for God’s timing and the surplus of wise people willing to speak into my life during the times wisdom is most needed.

Sorry for the lack of pictures this time. I only took a few.

This is how you build stairs.

Quite possibly the greatest tasting fruit of all time.

I normally never let anyone do this... This was a moment of weakness.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

There and back again, but oh how things have changed.

Another week of not having a lot to say. I did a lot of activities this week, like pouring concrete floors, teaching, and hiking. All of which were wonderful for clearing my head, but during the down times I am still haunted by the relationship and people I left behind in the states. Facebook doesn’t help me any. I don’t really enjoy seeing pictures of life going on so fully without me. Selfish right? Yes. Very selfish, but still enough to keep me up some nights. I don’t know when these types of feelings are supposed to stop.

I am thankful for the support I have in your prayers and through the family I have here in Honduras. I have companions, mentors, friends, and supporters living as my neighbors and I am incredibly blessed by that. It’s only been two months now, but the whole world has changed and will never be the same as I left it. It’s incredible what can change in only a month, let alone two. But with change often comes opportunity for growth. So let’s zip up our optimism pants and see where we can grow!

A few thoughts. My life choices are driven by a few desires. One strong desire of mine for my life is to have influence. I became a teacher to be a positive influence in the lives of young children. I try to be a more Christ-like individual so that my influence can be pure and good. What desires drive your decisions? Do you desire recognition? Do you desire power? Do you desire a good time? How do your desires reflect into your actions? What does Christ desire and how does that reflect in his actions?

Another one that is a little more fun to ponder. Have you ever wondered what your soul looks like? It is our soul that goes to heaven, and I’ve always heard things along the lines of “in heaven we will have no sickness and the crippled shall be whole” and stuff like that. All of this indicates that our souls may not look exactly the same way we do here on earth. For example, my soul won’t have a scar on my forehead from where I fell reaching for a cookie jar in preschool. And my soul probably won’t have gauged ears. I just hope that my soul has a solid beard. There is a bit of hope for you men out there who can’t grow full beards in the flesh. Remember we live in a fallen world full of sin. Your soul may just have a beard that rivals that of a Norse god. Just remember that. Just remember that.

Joy comes in the morning. 

Take a hike. Just make sure you stop to look up. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Let's go to the beach!

So much beach time this week! This past Wednesday after class was over most of the volunteers were able to go down to La Ceiba and spend time in Palma Real, a beach resort with 5 dollar smoothies and a several big swimming pools. We stayed until Friday and spent lots of time at the beach soaking up the sun, and lots of time in the house, soaking up the air conditioning. The resort felt just like the states and was a much needed time of rest. It is amazing how different a hot shower feels after you have spent the last 50 or so days taking cold ones. It also felt so strange to have a tv and a couch.  
Probably the coolest place I've slacklined

Don't worry grandma. I grabbed a few shells for you!

I also had a small photo shoot on the beach, but I don’t think those pictures are going to make it on here… Modeling may not be my thing.

While we were at the resort, we found out they were doing a little karaoke. Of course I hopped in as soon as the first English song came on and killed it. Turns out I can really sing Safe and Sound by Capital Cities. I had a bunch of the local girls swooning a little which was fun too. I don’t think they see too many Americans. Especially Americans who want to sing and dance like crazy. My goodness Honduran girls can dance. I don’t know how they move their hips like that. After the karaoke, there was an open dance time which is what I live for. So much fun!
These are the goofballs I hang out with.

The day after we got back from that trip, we went on another beach trip, except this time with all the kids! We took almost 40 people.  Holy cow what fun! We found this really cool place to make camp where the river met the ocean. This was really cool because you could go straight from drifting lazily down the river to jumping waves and body surfing in the ocean. I had never seen anything like that before. Very cool. It also acted as a sort of port for the fishing boats, and so throughout our stay we had hand-made sailboats coming in from deep out in the ocean with their catch. Some were willing to part with lobster heads, which make phenomenal soup. Just about everybody got a sun burn, myself included, but it was an awesome trip.
Where the river meets the sea

Only fueling my desire to own and captain a sailboat.

Will shows us how to look triumphant while holding lobster heads.

Lillian loves truck rides

Sunglasses are reason enough for joy.

Pamela is the coolest

It was a nice week of rest.

Before the beach trips, we had two birthdays! I made Javier and Carlitos birthday hats.

Kaitlen tried it on too. I love the contrast in this picture. I have never seen someone so unexcited to be wearing something so exciting.
Kaitlen somehow looking rather milquetoast in a party hat.

I learned a few things this week. I like karaoke. I make pretty darn good balloon hats. I miss people for different things on different days. One day you miss a person’s singing and the next day you miss another person’s stupid jokes. (the joke one is Pappy if you were wondering) That names a few.

I also learned that anger, left unchecked, turns to bitterness, which is impossible to hide and destroys from the inside out. Not all anger is bad, though I think all anger is rooted in the issue that in a certain situation, we did not get exactly what we wanted. For example, a teacher gets angry at a class because he or she wants a well behaved class that listens all the time. Instead he or she has a class with interruptions. Or again, a person gets angry at their favorite sports team, because they didn’t win. In this case, winning is what they want and what they did not get. It is a statement broad enough to cover every situation that causes anger. Unfortunately we don’t really have a good system of wants in our lives. This leads us to have selfish desires and get angry over that type of issue. Or perhaps we have issues with jealousy or betrayal that cause anger and unrighteous wants. When our wants are not aligned with God, we often find ourselves in destructive anger. Even Jesus got angry. The difference was that His wants were aligned with God, and so they were not hateful or destructive. His anger was wrapped on both sides in grace and love. A tasty sandwich. Kind of like an “I love you, and what you are doing is wrong and you should stop, but I still love you regardless” thing.

And some people might just say that they don’t get angry about anything. Just stop. The fact that people go hungry every day, while others throw out excess food should make you angry. The fact that people accept one person more than another based only on their skin color should make you angry. That only names a tiny few things that should get you a little spiced up. And hopefully it will get you spiced up enough to do something about it. But please remember the sandwich. Don’t go bombing a PETA office building because they are ruining the good name of meat. That’s not loving. Remember the power of love and relationships.

Align your thoughts with God and get angry about some stuff. But always remember to love. If I didn’t explain this well and you have questions please ask.

And more. Sometimes I wonder why I try so hard not to let go of the things that I can never hold on to. It becomes less of a sacrifice when I feel like I am being obedient to God’s call. For example this trip has felt like it has had fewer sacrifices than I expected. Albeit the sacrifices I have had to make were significant and painful ones, but I have felt less than I expected. I don’t worry about the fact that I am devoting a substantial amount of my young life to this place. It doesn’t bother me that I am not making any money. Sometimes it doesn’t even bother me to be away from people all the time either. Sorry. Part of me was pretty concerned with this lack of feeling until, during a discussion with my buddy Daniel, I was enlightened with the statement of “Maybe you are just doing what you are supposed to be doing right now.” Woah. It makes sense to me. Who knows.

I am praying for you guys and I love you all.

See ya next Sunday
The most common means of travel

Math is messy