Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day / All Saint's Day / Halloween / Día de los muertos

Whatever you call it - it's either the 31st of October, or the 1st of November.

Jack-o-lantern and trick-o-treat goodie bag
Now - let me start by saying - I am not going to preach on the merits of having a Halloween / All Saint's Day / Halloween / Día de los muertos (heretofore referenced as Halloween) or not having a Halloween celebration.  I grew up celebrating Halloween.  Costumes, decorating the entire house, my dad answering the door in his hunchback costume and scaring the local kids.  We had huge parties, and celebrated the day.  Once I had a child, we continued, in part, the tradition.  Always had a costume for her, went trick-or-treating, and attended parties.  When I became a member of a church we continued in the celebration of Harvest Festivals, and ultimately a Reformation Party.  So - however you choose to celebrate this day - go for it!

Madison's self-made bat costume
On to the reason for this blog post.  Every Tuesday, many of you know, I host a Kids Club in the community of Armenia Bontio.  For the past almost 10 months I have been taking the kids through the Children's Catechism. Teaching them the basics of the Christian Faith.  They learn answers to basic questions, and memorize bible verses.  They hear stories from the bible, have a craft to commemorate the day, play games - you get the idea.  I often bring in cultural experiences to broaden their minds.  I teach about Thanksgiving - the day set aside in the States to remember our heritage, and to give Thanks for what we were given, and what we have.

Here in Honduras they don't really celebrate any of the above.  There is a small spattering of Halloween decorations around town.  I don't really know if it's for Nationals or for the gringos that live here.  I see the decorations in stores that mostly nationals go to, so my thought is the Halloween tradition is slowly coming into the culture?  And many people do celebrate Día de los muertos, although most don't refer to it in that way.  They go to the cemetaries, and place flowers there for members of their families that have died.  But it is NOT like how it is celebrated in Mexico and other latin-american countries.  It's honestly, a day mostly spent like any other.

So yesterday, I briefly talked about Halloween.  I talked about those who have died, and what Christ tells us about living in Him.  Then I had them make a craft.  What craft comes to your mind immediately that reflects Halloween or Harvest?  A pumpkin.  I knew it would be a LITTLE stretch - I didn't realize truly how BIG of a stretch it ended up being.  Immediately when I showed my example craft I got feedback.  Two kids yelled out "es del diablo!" (it's of the Devil).  Well - that did give me an opportunity to talk about that and affirm that in fact, a pumpkin is NOT of the devil.   ANYWAY - long story short - the kids all had a great time creating their pumpkins, and eventually of the 80 children there, all but about 10 threw them away so they wouldn't take them home to show their parents.  Course they didn't throw away their "trick or treat" bag full of candy that I gave each of them - and learn...the differences in cultures and things I won't be doing next year!

Monday, October 29, 2012

It takes a Village to build a clinic

Our future clinic
In the midst of the work we are doing in Armenia Bonito, we find out just how much it DOES take to get things done.

All of our workers on our project in Armenia are Hondurans, with of course the obvious exception of our exceptional team mate John Clow (foreman), and Tom DeKleer (architect), and oh yeah - Mike Pettengill (team leader/fund raiser), and...all the individuals and churches that have committed themselves to this project through prayer and financial support - so yeah - I guess it DOES take a village.  How cool is it that God has brought together such an amazing group of people to do His work here in La Ceiba.

My future "office"

Front intake area

Pharmacy pass-through window
For the first time since our arrival almost 4 1/2 years ago, the fruition of many thoughts/prayers and good ol' sweat is finally showing what the fuss has been all about.  The clinic is close to being done.  And on that note, I've interviews one doctor, and have another interview this week with a second one.  Then the support raising for their pay comes into play.  But I can feel it - I can almost taste it - the grand opening of the clinic.  When I was first asked to pick out a paint color for the interior I was ecstatic!  Then I was asked about the dimensions of shelving for all the ministry/supply stuff.  It couldn't be real, could it?!  After this long of hauling around boxes back and forth from my house to the ministry site - all the supplies / medicine taking up quite literally HALF of my upstairs in storage - it still seems surreal.  Granted, it may still be a long way off depending on when I can raise the sufficient money for the doctors pay...but it's there - just out of reach, but taunting me!  I LOVE it!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced Scones

It is Fall in the States - many people are talking about cold fronts coming in, rain, extra blankets and the smell of a Pumpkin Spice Latte in the air.  Here in Honduras we only really have two seasons - Hot, and Hot with rain.  However, once in awhile we get some oddly cool days.  Today is one of those days.  So, in honor of our temporary cool feel - I took the canned pumpkin out of the cabinet and made some Pumpkin Scones.  They are already half gone.

Here is the recipe if you are interested:

6-12 scones depending on how you cut them


2 cups flour
7 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamnon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
(or 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tbsp half-and-half
1 large egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

1 cup + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp mild or cream

Spiced Glaze:

1 cup + 3 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp whole milk or cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch cloves

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
 2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in large bowl.  Using a pastry knife, fork or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious.  Set aside.
3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Form the dough into a ball.
4.  Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide - or 1/2-inch thick rectangle for smaller scones).  Use a large knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions.  Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough.  Place on prepared baking sheet.
5.  Bake for 14-16 minutes.  Scones should begin to turn light brown.  Place on wire rack to cool.
6.  For plane glaze, mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.  Apply to cooled scone
7.  Spiced icing:  Combine the ingredients for the spiced icing together.  Drizzle this thicker icing over each frosted scone and allow the icing to dry before serving.  A squirt bottle works great for this.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Heavy Heart

Alejandro, Carlito, Erika, Kassandra, Antonio
 This sweet sweet family will be leaving us soon.  This family has been with our ministry since the beginning.  Four and a half years ago they started attending our Kids Club and our English Class.  Their oldest son (not pictured) is one of the kids we scholarship to attend High School.  I knew their mom when she was pregnant with Carlito.  They were given an opportunity to move into a safer neighborhood, and given a home.  Problem?  It's about 20 minutes outside of Armenia Bonito by bus.  The only reason they are still in Armenia is because the oldest children are finishing up school, but school is out in November.  Their mom is having to pay for bus transportation to and from school, and it's beyond what they can continue to pay.  So...after school is out, I will no longer be able to see these sweet faces all the time.  I love this entire family, have a GREAT relationship with each and every one.  This is a huge blessing to this sweet family, but in complete selfishness, I am so so sad to see them leave.  When I first learned they "may" be leaving, my heart dropped.  When I heard it was official, I had to take some time to myself to be sad, shed a few tears, but rejoice in their relocation.  I think a few Christmas presents are going to make their way to their home.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Clinic and a doctor

And so it begins...the first stages of looking for a doctor for my clinic.  There is a LOT that needs to go into that.  I need to interview docs, know that they are ready to come in at the beginning stages of a clinic, they need to be a Christian, and they need to be able to work with little to no resources (until I have more resources).  They also need to be able to communicate with the government, order medications, etc.  And finally - they need to meet the approval of our lawyer, and I need to support raise to be able to hire them in the first place!  But, beginning in the process has got me excited, and I wanted to share :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Trying NOT to have an Unglued Moment!

I'm currently doing an on-line bible study called "Unglued:  Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" by Lysa TerKeurst.  Is there ever a "perfect" time for bible studies?  Or the perfect theme?  I truly think God places us in the perfect place at the perfect time studying the perfect thing for our season of life.  I say this because Man-oh-Man!  Living in a 3rd world country just brings up SO MANY opportunities to become sanctified.  You know what I mean?!  The ol' "be careful what you pray for thing?"  You pray for patience?  God is going to give you LOTS of opportunities to practice your patience.  You pray for a calm heart?  He is going to throw so many things at you all at once to see how often you rely on yourself, or you rely on Him!

Took pictures...can't find the cable ANYWHERE in the house to transfer the cables...oh!  I'll just run down to Target and get a new one - and yet...there is NO Target in Honduras.  Trying to finalize applying for a masters program on-line...and the credit card application isn't working and the credit card company says it's not their fault, and the application center says it's not THEIR fault!  Try another credit card!  And yet...I don't have one...teaching drama to 25 totally talkative-don't listen to anyone-noisy-"this is boring" class - bang my head against the in a new venue with pigs, dogs, and who knows what else making their presence passing through the clinic...electricity going out in the middle of doing a load of laundry...the grocery store completely out of eggs...and this - ALL IN ONE DAY!  Oh the opportunities I had to come unglued.  To let those emotions fly!  To be the emotional exploder that I want.  "That's what makes raw emotions so complicated.  They come from out of nowhere and run us slap-over."  (Unglued, chapter 5).  And yet, there stood before me, the next oh so wise statement, "Do not check in with the screaming demands of the world before you exchange whispers with God." (chapter 5).  Today - I took those deep breaths...I whispered my requests to God - and only a small grumble came out - I did NOT explode!

Now - don't get me wrong - the most recent episode I had of an all out explosion came when I was teaching 80 kids about a month ago.  These are all Honduran children that range from 3-16 years old.  Often I'm totally by myself, so needless to say, it can be a bit challenging.  The day had gone well - I've implemented some rules that help things go that way.  I've had to be stern, and send some children away if they are just out and out awful.  But today was not one of those days...until the very end...One of the kids in my group came running up to me talking so fast in Spanish I just couldn't follow it!  But the panic on her face was real!  I got her to calm down, and tell me what happened. of the 16 year old girls had locked two kids in a room.  And guess where the keys were?  Locked in the room with the girls.  The problem?  The ONLY way to unlock the two doors (one was a steel door, and the other a security door) was from the OUTSIDE!  And I was the ONLY one with keys - which were INSIDE the room with the girls.  I admit it!  I exploded!  I looked at the girl who had done it and shook my head and asked her what in the WORLD she had been thinking?  And how does she EXPECT me to get the girls out with the keys locked safely inside?  (are you getting the visual here?! - arms waving, voice elevated, words not so kind).  Honduras is a rainforest - with an average temp of 95 degrees, 95% humidity.  Those girls were in a small stuffy room and I couldn't get them out.  I was mad, I was disappointed, I was frustrated, I was worried, and I exploded.  I admit it 100%.  Not a shining moment for me.  Bottom line?  About 20 minutes later we got them out after fishing the keys out with a piece of wire through a small opening, and I opened the doors from the outside - all was well - and I was calmer.  And then my thoughts really didn't handle that situation the right way AT ALL.  I exploded!  Yes, there are a thousand ways I should have handled that situation better - and being frazzled with 80 children by myself, a long day, and children being naughty doesn't excuse my behavior.  So next time?  I will "exchange whispers with God."  I will approach the situation differently (prayerfully) and the explosion will not happen!  And where do I look to help with my "explosion" moments?  No farther than:

1 Peter 5:8, "Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

I do NOT want him to devour me in exploding words!

Day Of The Child

"Day of the Child" is a big deal here in Honduras. We recently celebrate "Day of the Child" with the kids in Armenia Bonito. Eighty kids received games, snacks, crafts, the gospel and some great gift bags. Valley Springs Presbyterian Church provided the gift bags for the kids. Thanks Valley Springs.

Watch this 2 minute, 10 second video to see the joy on the faces of the kids:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

School Supplies

Kids listening to a health education class at the school in Armenia Bonito
School in Honduras runs from February through November.  Each year we have been here we have had a school supply drive.  This is HUGE for so many families!  The degree of poverty can be a bit overwhelming to figure out how to help without having it be a reliance issue.  One way we have felt called to help is offering supplies to children that would otherwise go to school without anything.  Imagine attending school where you have zero school books, are only in school 3 hours a day, and then not even having any paper to write down the few assignments you are given?  We all know the importance of breaking the cycle of poverty through education, so we as a team are committed to making this possible.   We have found that many kids in Sunday School classes get together and commit to getting school supplies for kids - a GREAT way for kids to connect with other kids outside of the U.S.  Get them involved in missions in this way - picking up a package of crayons, or a pair of scissors, and know that a kid many countries away will hugely benefit from their contribution!  Or put on a change drive - and all the change collected the kids send to Team Honduras to purchase supplies here - and they can see their handiwork in action.  We ALWAYS make a video and post it so the kids can see how they can make a difference in a child's life.  Just a few ideas :-)


We would like you to prayerfully consider providing school supplies for the kids in Armenia Bonito.  Please purchase school supplies and mail them to this address by December 31, 2012:

Mike & Erin Pettengill
P.O. Box 1090
La Ceiba, Atlantida
Central America
Let us know if you would rather send money and our team can purchase the supplies in Honduras.

Monday, October 8, 2012


our dock
Every morning around 5:30 or 6:00 I would wake up and walk out to the front dock of our little cabin.  I would take my Kindle out to this little spot and sit and enjoy my time with Jesus in the morning.  My Kindle has my bible, my bible study, and a few devotional books I've been going through.  It was the perfect spot.  The little minnows would jump as a school out of the water, the dolphins would be jumping and playing, the cool morning breeze would greet me each morning and I would just soak in the time.  That was my morning routing during last week's women retreat.

It was such a joy!