Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Don't let the clinic close...

For more than 4 1/2 years I ran a mobile clinic serving the poorest of the poor.  In that time we hosted lots of medical brigades to serve these communities as well.  Then God saw fit to have us open a permanent clinic and have an incredible Honduran physician - Dr. Roger - work alongside us.  In the first year alone we saw more than 3,800 patients - and turned so many away because we simply didn't have the ability to see them.

Each year I support raise for Dr. Roger's salary.  The nominal fee we charge for people to come to the clinic in no way can pay for his salary. 

At this point I am still in major need of funds for his salary.  We in no way have enough to even cover him for the first two months of next year.  If we are unable to raise enough funds to cover his salary, we will have to close the clinic and all the other medical related ministries (mobile clinics in the communities of La Fe and Las Delicias) until such time the funds are raised.  This is the reality of living by faith.  God will make happen exactly what He wants to happen.  If no further funds come in, then this is God's way of letting us know that He doesn't want the clinic open.  If funds do come in, then we know the opposite is true.  I truly am not in anguish over this - I have turned the clinic over to Him completely. When we return from furlough, I will no longer be running the clinic, Dr. Roger and John Clow will be overseeing the clinic.  My job will now take me elsewhere to start medical / mercy ministries in other parts of the country and other parts of Central America.  However, I want to leave the clinic in a good way, and hopefully this means fully funded.

So if you have those end of the year funds and you need a GREAT place to send them for tax purposes - this link will get you to the MTW (Mission to the World) site that funds the clinic.  Please then let me know you have sent funds in so I can be looking for them.  This is also the account where other funds go to so we need to ensure that the funds get to the proper place.


You can easily send in a one-time (or better) a monthly contribution by clicking

Monday, December 1, 2014



Speaking at churches


1/2 Marathon

California visit


Getting Sick

Marathon on Sunday


Our lives right now have been all about transition - sharing what God is doing in Honduras, speaking at different churches, and I've been working.  We have finally had a chance to take a week and catch our breath.  Still speaking at churches, but a few days to hang with friends and family.  It is a much needed break.

Our sweet Madison comes home in three weeks and then we get to spend some time as a family.  It will be the first time we've seen her since we dropped her off at college in August.  Way past due.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Funding the clinic


 You may have already read the blog or letter from Mike announcing our promotion with MTW. If not, I have included it in the bottom portion of this blog. Basically, Mike has been promoted as the country director of Honduras, and the Regional Director for Central America. Because of these exciting job promotions, our personal ministry focus will change dramatically.

I will use the experience I have gained as a nurse and clinic director to help other MTW missionaries throughout Central America to expand a medical/mercy program in their country. Therefore, I will not be able to continue in my current position as director of medical/mercy ministry of La Ceiba, Team Honduras. I am looking at turning all the medical/mercy activities in La Ceiba to Dr. Roger Guillen. In the almost 7 years we have been in La Ceiba, we have hosted well over 500 mobile medical clinics, hosted more than 25 medical brigades and have seen more than 12,000 patients. I want to see the ministry in La Ceiba thrive and grow through the continuation of hosting medical brigades, mobile clinics, and seeing patients at our permanent clinic. As a matter of fact, we are hoping to open a second permanent clinic in downtown La Ceiba within the next year.
In order to continue giving quality health care at an affordable price to the poorest of the poor, Dr. Roger’s salary cannot be supported with the revenue generated from the clinic alone. For almost three years, I have relied upon one-time donations to provide a salary for Dr. Roger. I am hoping to fund Dr. Roger’s salary through monthly contributions to the Armenia Bonito clinic. The salary will be overseen by John Clow, the new MTW Team Leader in La Ceiba.
This letter is to ask you to support Dr. Roger. You can easily send in a one-time (or better) a monthly contribution by clicking I would love to turn over this ministry with Dr. Roger’s salary fully-funded.
What do I need: to continue having Roger work in a part-time capacity, I need an annual salary of $18,200, which equates to a monthly need of $1,517. My desire would be for him to work full-time in order to oversee all our medical/mercy ministries in La Ceiba. This would obviously require additional funds.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification. If you would like to support Dr. Roger, you can click on the link above and then let me know of your contribution. In this way I will be able to keep track of the funds that come in for Dr. Roger’s salary. In addition, if you know of any other person who would be interested in supporting this ministry, please feel free to forward this e-mail on to them.
In Christ,
Erin Pettengill, RN
Director Medical/Mercy Ministries, Central America

Dear Friends and Supporters:
We have some wonderful news. Mike has taken a new job with MTW. In fact, Mike has taken two new jobs with MTW. Starting January 1st, 2015, Mike will be the Country Director for Honduras and the Regional Director for Central America.
We pray the information bellow answers some of the questions you may have:
Where will you live?
We will continue to live in Honduras, but we will be moving closer to the city of Tegucigalpa to be nearer to an international airport.
Are you still missionaries?
Yes. We will remain missionaries by any definition of the word. We will continue to live in Honduras and bring God’s glory in a cross-cultural setting to Latinos living throughout Central America.
Are you still with

Yes. We appreciate and value the support given to us over the past seven years from Mission To the World (MTW). Our new work is within the leadership team of MTW.
What exactly will Mike do?
Mike will continue to work with our two mission teams in Honduras, the existing team La Ceiba and our new team in Tegucigalpa. Mike will work with the existing MTW missionary teams in Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Mike will also work toward starting new MTW mission teams where there are currently none: El Salvador and Guatemala.
What exactly will Erin do?
Erin will take the vast knowledge she has acquired as a Registered Nurse for 19 years and as a missionary nurse for seven years and use that to create and expand medical and mercy ministries throughout Central America. She will serve and counsel the missionary wives and mothers in the region. Erin will also have an expanded role in
evaluating new missionaries for their readiness to serve on the field.
What happens to the other missionaries in Honduras?
John Clow will be the new Team Leader of the missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras. John and Kathy Clow have labored in Honduras for four years and as missionaries in Latin America for over 10 years. We are thrilled to place God’s work into their capable hands. Under our guidance, the Halbert and Marlowe families are starting a new church planting team in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
What about the ministries in La Ceiba?
The 12 other adults missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras are beyond capable of running all the ministries we started together. There are no plans to do anything other than watch God grow the work he has started under us.
Why the

When we arrived in Honduras almost seven years ago there was no MTW/Presbyterian presence in Honduras. Since then we have added a high school, medical clinic, four churches, a StreetKids ministry and a home of single teenage moms. Our team has hosted 758 short-term missionaries and 25 interns. We have discipled pastors, educated children, fed the hungry, clothed the naked and loved the unlovable. We want to bring that same vision and experience to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala and expand it in Honduras.
Do you still need financial support?
Yes. Now, more than ever we need the financial partnership of our individual and church supporters. In fact, we need more finances to cover our increased travel expenses. If you are not a current financial supporter, please prayerfully consider partnering with us to impact Central America by making a tax-deductible, credit/debit card contribution
How can we pray for you?
This new work is exciting and very scary. Please pray for the following:
  1. Mike and Erin have the boldness found only in Christ to do all that is set before them.
  2. The new missionaries we work with throughout Central America embrace our leadership.
  3. The team and ministries we are leaving in La Ceiba flourish under the new leadership of John and Kathy Clow.
  4. Our marriage is strengthened and we grow closer to the Lord as we step into the stress and uncertainty of the future.
We pray you are as excited about this new chapter in our missions journey together as we are. Our blogs, twitter, Facebook, YouTube and monthly e-mails will continue as they have. You will continue to be informed on how you can be a part of what God is doing through us. If you have any additional questions please e-mail Mike directly by clicking HERE.
It is exhilarating to imagine how God will use us throughout Central America.
In Christ,
Mike & Erin Pettengill
Missionaries to Central America

Sent from Yahoo! Mail for Windows 8


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Regional Director Promotion

Big changes are on the horizon for the Pettengill family.  Mike has received a promotion and is the new Regional Director for Central America.  This is going to require a lot of changes for us - please see Mike's blog for the entire scoop.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dominican Republic

     Every four years all the missionaries from Latin America get together in a different location.  This time we are going to be in the Dominican Republic for the week.  It is a time of re-connecting with each other, be spiritually refreshed, attend some break out sessions, and even time to hang out and lay in the sun.  Normally all family members are invited, but with this being Madison's first semester in college, we felt we couldn't take her out and miss an entire week of school.  So - it will just be Mike and myself meeting up with the rest of Team Honduras in the Dominican Republic.
     I have been asked to give a presentation of the work in Honduras. This is a great opportunity to share with everyone else what God is doing in Honduras.  Please pray for our time, and a chance to take a deep breath and find some rest in there too.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Missionary Kid in college wish list

So Madison has successfully been in school for a month.  She is THRIVING in school - excited to be in a classroom with students that actually want to learn.  As she has been there, she has found things that she still "needs" and things she still "wants."  If you want to bless her and send her something for college or for herself - here's the EASY way to do it.  Click on the Amazon wishlist below, pick out a gift, and Checkout.  No need to do anything else.  The default address for her wishlist is straight to her college.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Missionary Kids

I have a missionary kid (MK), or as my daughter fondly calls it, a Kid Missionary.  She has been out of her birth country for the majority of her growing up years.  The Jr. High and High School years, the ones that have a lasting impact on her life.  Yesterday I was sitting back and reflecting on what that meant for her and it made me ponder a few things.

I have been around a lot of MK's and I wonder if we treat them right.  Do we allow them to be their own person or do we mold them to what we want them to be?  These kiddos don't really have a place they call "home".  Home is where they currently are living.  If you ask an MK where they are from, you will get a quizzical answer with varied responses.  Is where they are from where they were born?  Where they went to school? Where they currently are?

In the U.S., if you have a child that has one or more parent from a country outside of the U.S., we pride ourselves in encouraging that child to understand where their genetic roots came from.  We encourage them to celebrate activities, events and holidays from both their host country, and the country of their roots. We encourage language acquisition of both their host country and their origin country.  I wonder then, why we give that all up when we go on the mission field?  Why do we get so single minded in becoming so entrenched in our new host country that we abandon where we came from?  

Let me give you some examples.  Since I have been on the mission field I have traveled all over the world and met Mk's in places all over.  We have regional retreats with missionaries and families from all over Latin America, and I have talked with many an MK.  Just recently I spent some time with an MK getting ready to go back to the States, and when I asked this person what they were going to do after college the response was not surprising, "I will never stay in the U.S. After I graduate."  It got me to wonder.  Since when did it become the norm to instill if not hatred, but disdain for the U.S. To our MK's?

I did a quick, unofficial survey of MK's and found that many don't know the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, the US capitol, who the Vice President is, what we celebrate on the 4th of July, the meaning of Memorial Day vs Veterans Day, and much more.   How many MK's know why we have stripes on the flag?  What is the significance?  Who is known for having crafted the flag, who were the founding fathers?  I could go on, but I won't. It is okay to find fault with the U.S.  Heck, I found fault when I lived there. I wonder when taking pride in your country became "uncool".

So let's lift up our MK's - love them for the unique people they are - encourage them that it's okay to be different, to not know how to answer the question "where are you from" - but also recognize the unique things that make them who they are - allow them to embrace ALL the countries they are from.  Share their history with them.

When we dropped Madison off at college, the first few days of orientation were just for the international and missionary kids.  When all was said and done, the announcer said to all the kids, "Now...take care...because tomorrow the American's arrive."  It was funny, and we all laughed, because we acknowledge the uniqueness that our kids are - that Third Culture Kid - not a kid of one country or another, but unique in their own culture. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014


It is always a little odd to write about stuff while we are on furlough.  It doesn't have the same appeal, excitement, or fun qualities as blogs while on the field.  However, the reality is, every missionary goes on furlough (Home Mission Assignment - what our mission agency calls it).  It is meant as a time to re-connect with family, friends, supporters, churches, and to remember what it means to be an American.  For us, it also meant sending off our sweet daughter Madison to college.  We had our first set of prayer cards made without her face on it.  For us, it means a new season of life with lots of changes coming.  It is also meant to be a time to rest. 

Being on the front lines on the mission field is just outright exhausting.  People forget about us.  Through distance and time, we become a faded much of our support system slips away.  Our family situations change, our parents age, and we just need to get caught up with where life has brought us.

I am starting a job in a few weeks - many reasons for this, the primary reason is to make us personally financially sound.  I will be working in the field I love - pediatric hematology/oncology at an amazing hospital here in Phoenix - Phoenix Children's Hospital.  The nurse manager seems really committed to making her department excellent - and that is the primary thing I look for in a unit - a place that is exceptional at what it does, and truly cares for the patients under their care.  I will be working only 1 to 2 days a week.  The other goal for these funds?  To finally get Mike and I on a real vacation.  We totally skipped our 20th wedding anniversary as we are always busy working with teams during the summer when we have our anniversary - so I am hoping this is a way to make up for some lost time.  A church gave us some "seed" money for our vacation, and I will work to pay for the balance.

That's all for now...we will keep on keeping on...visiting churches, individual supporters, and hopefully a few visits with friends and family along the way (and maybe a baseball and/or football game in there too).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Motherly advice to her college bound daughter

Pearls of wisdom to pass on to my girl as she heads off to college.  I had them all neatly compiled and spaced out - one for each day of the month of her first month of college, but as the internet would have it, the draft version of this blog swallowed the blog whole - but not before I was able to write each day down on a card, and place each card in a separate envelope for Madison to open day by day.  But as those envelopes are sealed and ready to be delivered to her, I can't/don't want to open don't have all my pearls of wisdom but I will pass on to you what I do remember...

1.  When you were 2 years old, "NO!" was not an acceptable answer to what I asked of you.  However, now, "No" is not only an acceptable answer, but given certain circumstances, the best response of all.

2.  Share what you have.  If you have two coats, give one to another.

3.  It is always better to give than to receive - but never at another's expense.  If it is a blessing to someone else to give to you - accept with a humble heart.

4.  The world is going to try and get you down - but you must remember, "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Pooh

5.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one... - Spock
The needs of the one are sacrificed for by The One - God

6.  I love you for your uniqueness - some others won't appreciate it, but, "The things that make me different are the things that make me." - Eeyore

7.  And "true" vampire lore - vampires NEVER say, "MUAH!"

8.  One never gets lost, you are only on an adventure.  And MAN did we have MANY an adventure.

9.  Man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart.  You are not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside too...God must smile when he looks at you.

10.  Your faith is your own - not your parents.  "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

11.  When you eventually look for the man who will be your future husband, use your father as a guide.  Look at the way he treats me, and loves me.  I know those are high standards to hold to, but you deserve no less.

12.  I am your mother first and always, and although you are an incredible young woman, a part of me will always hold you in my heart as my baby.  "I'll love you forever, I'll love you for long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

Anyway...there are 30 in all, but they are safely tucked away - this is just a small taste, but I hoped you enjoyed it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Life of a circuit rider missionary

our bags started out neat, but by the end of 5 weeks everything was a mess!

Mostly gone are the days of circuit rider pastors - when there weren't enough pastors to be at each church, a pastor would go from place to place and preach to the people in a different church each Sunday. That's what we feel like :-)

In our first five weeks - these are some interesting things we have seen so far:

Transylvania County, North Carolina
Transylvania, Louisiana
Toad Suck Park, Arkansas
Prince of Persia City, Pennsylvania
The Shrine of Infant Jesus of Prague, Oklahoma
Street Road, Pennsylvania

We have been in 21 states so far in this order:

West Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
New Mexico

In addition, we have stayed in 15 different homes, hotels or locations - that's an average of 3 new places each week.
Having little/no/limited access to washing machines - we have been doing a lot of laundry in hotel showers/bathtubs...lived out of our suitcases for 5 weeks, and eaten more fast food than I can even imagine (uugghhhh!).

We have taught Sunday School/Preached/or had meetings with the missions committee or pastor with 8 churches in 5 different states.

After traveling 4,355 miles, this now concludes our East Coast and Southern U.S. Circuit Tour.  What an amazing way to see the U.S of A!  I LOVE this country!  It is so fast, so different and so amazing.  Now let's see what the West Coast has for us!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Travels and pushing the re-set button

We spent the last week and a half with Mission to the World doing re-connect (or "welcome back to the US") to allow us deep breaths and remember what it is like to live in the U.S. and to make sure all is well emotionally and spiritually with returning missionaries.  After that we stayed the week and attended Summer Conference.  Basically, sleeping in late, working out, attending seminars, and eating lots of yummy food.  This really was our first chance to take a deep breath and relax. 

Today Mike and Madison are flying off to Missouri to get our rental car that we will have for the rest of our time back.  They will make a stop in Nashville and check out some of the sights before they return to Georgia. 

For the first time since we have been back I have been able to go to a mall!  Did a little shopping for necessities...

Next week I will be participating in Readiness Evaluation for new missionaries. I am part of the assessment team.  This is the same evaluation that Mike and I participated in more than 9 years ago, but now I am on the evaluation end, not the "to be evaluated" end.  I am looking forward to it!

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Some observations from a California chick about South-Central Pennsylvania:

1.  Stars on houses.  Originally, there was a major housing developer that used "Barn Stars" as a means of showing he built a house.  It then became a "good luck charm" similar to a horse shoe, and now it simply has become a home decoration.  I would venture to say at least 50% of the homes in this area decorate with a star.

2.  Candles in windows.  Originally the candles signified a safe house for people needing to escape via the underground railroad during the Civil War.  Later it became decoration during Christmas, and now many people keep candles or lights on year round

3.  Churches with cemeteries.  I was surprised by the amount of churches that had cemeteries as part of their property.  I think because so many of the churches have been around for 150+ years, this was the "norm" then, and less so now.

4.  Fireflies.  Now, we have fireflies in Honduras - but I have never seen so many at one was awesome to see!

5.  Amish.  We were definitely in amish country.  We saw men, women, buggies, scooters, and leaned a lot about the community while we were there.

6.  County parks - Mike and I are in initial training for a marathon and wanted to take advantage of the trail runs at the county parks.  The parks were incredible and were hardly used!  As opposed to the county parks in Sacramento/Elk Grove, California where we are from which were barely tolerable but used a LOT!

7.  Harley Country.  In the almost 8 days we spent in Pennsylvania, I saw more Harley-Davidson motorcycles than I have even in California!

8.  Corn fields.  More corn fields than I have ever seen.  Apparently most of the corn that was grown was not for human consumption, but to feed the cattle (of which there were TONS of dairy farms around).

9.  Pike versus a freeway - well - pretty much didn't see ANYTHING with a "freeway" sign, but saw tons of signs that said "Pike".  Not really sure of the difference at all, but there you have it.

So, that's it folks - a California's attempts of seeing Pennsylvania through a non-Pennsylvania's eyes and of all the amazing and beautiful country I saw - these were the things that stuck out to me the most.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Furlough begins

After much planning and anticipation, furlough has begun.  So far we have been in three different locations, made three different presentations, and we haven't even been in the US for a week.  But, the fun way for things to kick off is with the 4th of July celebrations!  Cookouts and pool parties have been on the agenda for most of our dinners!  And who gets sick of that?!  The big firework display will be tomorrow, hosted by the largest chip company in the State.  We keep hearing amazing things about it and can't wait to see it!  This week we have also been spoiled, and been staying at a great Bed and Breakfast in the middle of Amish country.  We have seen many a working farmsteads and visited some farmers markets along the roadside with some amazing vegetables and baked goods. We have spoiled ourselves with some goodies including Starbucks, home made ice cream, and even lunch at an English Pub.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I once was blind, but now I see...

This week we have a mixed group of medical and construction folks.  We put on a full medical brigade in all three of our church planting areas of La Fe, Las Delicias, and Armenia Bonito.  We had physicians, physical therapy, an optometrist, and some medical and nursing students, nurses, and other great support staff!  All in all we had 565 patient visits.

The highlight of the week was with Joe, the visiting optometrist.  We had a little five year old visit him.  Justin, the five year old, complained of having an extremely difficult time seeing anything.  His mother confirmed this, and after his examination, Joe agreed completely.  Joe said for all intense and purposes he was blind.  After looking through the glasses that were available, he placed the right ones on little Justin's face.  Justin's little face IMMEDIATELY broke out into a grin from ear to ear.  He could see....basically for the first time in his life.  He couldn't stop smiling and refused to take off his glasses.  Granted, they were adult sized glasses on a tiny little face, but he just didn't care!!!!!!

One of our visiting team mates, Linda, was standing about ten feet away from him and held up two fingers and asked him how many fingers she held up.  While he jumped up and down, clapping his little hands, with the biggest joyous smile on his face he stated, "Tiene dos!!!!!!" (You have two).  He was blind...and now he could see....

Why I do what I do...
Little Justin proudly and gleefully showing off his new eyes!

Joe peeking through his "office window" to see what's going on.

"I once was lost, but now am found....was blind but now I see..."

Friday, June 13, 2014


People waiting to be seen...

The need for dental work in Honduras is an obvious and unfortunate reality. With only two public dentists to serve the city of La Ceiba, the needs are great and mostly unmet.  That's why having dentists come is such a huge blessing.  This week we had two working in my permanent clinic for three days.  All in all they pulled 68 teeth.  We had way more patients than we could serve, but I know those we were able to serve were truly blessed with a much happier/healthier/pain free mouth!

Next week we are hosting a full medical brigade and will be working in all three of our church plant areas of Las Delicias, La Fe, and in Armenia Bonito.

Nancy working to get this tooth out with translator Jennifer

Craig working on Pastor Jesus with translator Carlos.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Madison's college / 18 year old birthday wishlist

So...Madison is headed off to college, and she turns 18 in less than a week.  I think everyone knows that at this point.  And now we find ourselves in an odd situation.  Most moms and dads that send their kids off to college prepare them with the "necessities".  Because of our situation, we find ourselves in a different situation.  With almost no time or money to buy her dorm "necessities" so we came up with the idea of Madison creating a college/18 year birthday wish list on Amazon. it is. Things can be shipped to my dads address (in San Jose) which is listed on her wish list if you select something.  Madison will be truly blessed in whatever way you want to help her.  Thanks for all of you who have prayed for her and loved her.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It comes in a bag?!

So, we have tons of stuff here in bags.  You can get mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, oil, and even refried beans in a bag.  It just doesn't surprise me any more what comes in bags.  Heck, we even have fresh milk, sour cream, and relish in bags!

So, when I saw already toasted bread sold in the bread aisle, I just couldn't believe it!  First, I couldn't believe how LAZY someone must be to purchase already toasted bread, but I couldn't even imagine that it would taste okay.  But....I tried it...and here is my confession....I absolutely LOVE it!  So there you have it!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family Time

We get so caught up in ministry work that more often than not we lose out on family time.  So much of everyday is spent on either planning or implementing a ministry event.  Friday nights has been dedicated home made pizza / movie night for a long long time.  We treasure this time to just be together as a family.  This week Mike and I will be traveling to Nicaragua for a leadership meeting and Madison will be holding down the fort at home.  So last night we went out on a family date night.  Yummy dinner, and a visit to the theater to watch X-Men.  As our time in Honduras comes to a quick close before we head to the States for furlough, and Madison off to college we treasure these moments, even if I can't take a good selfie!  My camera on my phone only has flash on the reverse side of the phone, so I can't see what I am taking a picture of....hence the lame attempt in a dark theater.  You can tell Mike was done with my numerous attempts at getting a good shot!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Food and clothing for the hungry

This sweet family came to clinic this last week.  After speaking with this single dad, it became immediately clear that he and his children were in a desperate state.  I put together some clothes for each of them, and provided them a food basket.  Please pray that this dad is able to find work to be able to care for his young children.  Not shown in this picture is his other child at home.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none...

I have written a few posts about clothing.  The reason may seem a little odd, but hear me out.  When you have a limited amount of funds, food and shelter will always be the first choice.  That leaves things that are not "imperative" as a priority - and that includes clothing.  When people come to my clinic they always dress in their "Sunday Best" - so when I see someone come to my clinic in tattered, holey, or worn through fabric, I know that they have a severe need.  So I started my clothing closet where I provide them new or gently used clothing.  This is such a huge need, and one that I am thrilled to be able to provide.

After I wrote a number of blog posts related to this, the sweet mom of Michelle Cain (one of our team mates), Deb Hagenbuck, took the need and ran with it.  She is holding a clothing drive at her church.  She took it upon herself to put up a stand in the back of the church, and was given an opportunity to speak in front of the church to promote this ministry.  How cool is that?!  Awesome how God uses His people to advance His kingdom.

Luke 3:11 John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Clothing closet

When you are very poor, your priorities become very simple....feeding your family.  "Extras" like tooth brushes, clothing, even shoes are not high on the list at all.  I have collected baby clothes for quite some time, and give them out to my pregnant mommies to have when they deliver in the hospital as they are not allowed to hold their babies until, "properly dresses."   I also have an odd assortment of adult clothes, but what I am lacking are all those sizes in between....toddlerhood through pre teen.  These kids often come in without shoes or clothing that are so tattered you can see their skin beneath the thin clothing.  A church has heard my plea, and is currently collecting clothing.  I can't wait to be able to serve the folks at my clinic in this way.  Today I had a mom come for vitamins for her three children.  You may remember about the family who lost their two year old to starvation....this is the same family.  We have been closely monitoring the children's height and weight and providing them with protein enriched rice and daily vitamins.  Today I was able to scrounge through the last of my young childrens clothes and find something for each little one.  

"And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  Luke 3:11

Please pray for little 6 year old Eilyn
Please pray for little 6 year old Sandra
And for little 5 year old Gladis

Friday, April 11, 2014

Foot Washing

I have reported on this sweet man before. He arrived to our clinic with a severe wound on his leg.  I provided him with some socks to protect his feet.  He returned again for additional wound care, and while I was caring for his wound I took the time to look at the rest of his foot.  It was clear that he had been unable to wash his foot or trim his nails in a long long time.  It is times like this where being a nurse isn't about delivering medicine, drawing blood, or giving instuctions.  It is times like this where it is about connecting with someone, offering the gift of touch, or, a time like this, to simply wash someone's foot that hadn't been washed in months.  To trim nails, and give care that is not necessarily about physical care, but emotional and spiritual care.  It is times like this that I am privileged to be a nurse.

Matthew 25:34-40 (Do for the least of theses)

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

John 13:10-17 (foot washing)

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean,though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our reputation is official...our reputation for quality medication and quality services is getting out there.  We had a family come to clinic today to treat their 9 month old son.  To see a pediatric specialist is about $25 dollars, which for most people is more than their daily wage.  We charge a nominal $2.50 to be seen.  Then, if medication is required, depending on the type, even good 'ol run-of-the-mill amoxicillin, other pharmacies will charge $8.00 for that, much less if the child needs Tylenol, or anything else, that incures additional charges.  In otherwords, a trip to the pediatrician with antibiotics will cost $40 -$50 we are talking two days wage or more.  For medication our clinic charges $1.00, and that is not per medication, that is for ALL of their medication.  So, an average trip to the pediatrician at our clinic will cost a nominal $3.50. It is no wonder our good reputation of quality has gone near and far.  As of yesterday, our farthest traveled person came from the island off the coast, Roatan.  A good 1 1/2 hours by boat then another 1 1/2 hours by bus to get to our clinic.  As of today, we just saw a family that came all this way from the city that neighbors Guatemala called Santa Rosa de Copan, more than 200 miles from La Ceiba.  They started their treck yesterday so they could arrive today, early, to be seen.  Pictured here is the mom with her little boy.  The other three are not in this picture.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How an old pair of socks can change someones life.

John Bunyan wrote, "You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."

A sweet man, Ruben, 71 years old, came to clinic this week.  He has very high blood pressure, and this was the first time we had seen him.  Our first concern was to take care of his blood pressure, but that soon was followed-up by caring for his really bad leg ulcer.  As he was removing his shoes so I could clean his wound, I noticed he had no socks on his feet to protect himself from the rubbing of his shoes to his delicate feet.  I asked him about that, and he just looked up at me and said, "no tengo."  (I don't have any).  If you know me at all, you know what that means.  I immediately went to my clothing closet and scrounged for some socks.  I am still awaiting shelves, or some other means of putting up the clothes so organize and sort them, so currently they are still in bags.  Anyway - after looking through all my bags I didn't find any socks to give him.  With him promising me to return the following day so I could clean his wound again, I wrote myself a note to bring him some socks from home.  They aren't new socks, but they are good quality, with a lot of life left.  I brought him three pair.  His face lit up in joy over his "new" socks.  I had to give my heart a second to catch up as seeing the joy in his face made it skip a beat.  Amazing how something as simple as a pair of socks can literally change a mans life - by helping to protect his feet from this happening in the future.


Monday, March 31, 2014


For a week I was able to participate in a leadership evaluation that our mission agency, Mission to the World put on.  It was an opportunity to put potential leaders in role playing situations, and see how they navigate difficult situations, or team members.  We also had a chance to interview goal was to make it challenging, to test the waters and ask difficult and challenging questions.  I didn't want to throw any soft balls, but allow folks to shine, or even stumble so we could see the way they operated.  It was also my first time to South America.  The change in weather was a nice change of pace as well.  I enjoyed the opportunity to participate, and the MTW staff enjoyed having me there. I have been asked to return for another evaluation called Readiness Evaluation.  It was an evaluation that we were required to go through before we could be accepted as missionaries.  Only long-term missionaries are required to go through it.  So, I will be joining the team in July as an evaluator - the evaluation will be in Georgia, so it coresponds nicely to when we will be in the States starting our furlough.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let the little children come to me...

Having a clinic that has been around in some capacity for almot six years allows us to see the whole life spectrum.  From pregnant moms, to their newborn babies, to the elderly and hospice patients.  It is a wholistic way of looking at and treating people.

We get the privilege of seeing little ones like almost two year old Vilma who came in today for patasite meds, children vitamins and Vitamin A.

Friday, March 7, 2014


The last week Mike and i traveled to the U.S. to speak at a conference with pur sending organization Mission to the World.  We were able to share how their prayers and finances have directly impacted our ministry in Honduras.

Mike stayed in the States to speak at a mssions conference in Arizona.  After that he will be headed to Georgia where he will teach some classes to missionaries headed to the field, and meet with new perspective missionaries.  A week after his return I will be headed to Peru to be an evaluator/assessor for upcoming team leaders with Mission to the World.  My travel takes me from Honduras to Peru which requires I get a Yellow Fever vaccine.  I would have thought between the military and mission work all around the world I would have had this vaccine, but that is not the case.  A quick trip to the public vaccine center I was able to get the vaccine free of charge and left with proof of vaccination.

With less than four months before we head back to the U.S. for home mission assignment (HMA - formerly known as furlough), we are putting things into place to be able to leave our ministry in good hands.

So...that has been our life for the last few weeks....never ones to be idol, we certainly keep ourselves busy!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Transparency - the effect of the needy on a person...

Time for a little FYI -

A mission "unit" is either a single going on to the field, or a husband/wife/family going to the field.  We are each considered a unit.  For the first time since I was 15 1/2 I am not receiving a paycheck.  If a husband/wife comes to the field, the wife typically is a stay-at-home wife/mother or has minimal ministry activity, they receive the exact same pay as a husband/wife team in which both members are working full-time - as in our case.  My husband is the team leader for Team Honduras and works 40-60 hours a week.  I am a nurse, have my own clinic and work the same - 40-60 hours a week.  So in other words, both "units" receive the same pay regardless if both are working full time or if only one is working full time.  So - who cares?!  I certainly didn't become a missionary to make money.  God clearly called us to serve the people of Honduras.  But let's face it...ministry has a cost...

It has a cost on your soul.  Every time a desperate person looks at you with a plea in their face, in their voice...and you empty your pockets to find that they are indeed empty and you have nothing financial to give.  To look in the face of a person in a state of a medical crisis that only vast amount of money will fix, and you are not the person that can give it - it costs.  And the cost is high.  You couldn't be a missionary to stare into the face of desperation everyday and it NOT mean something.  This is when you MUST turn to Jesus.  You MUST show that Jesus is the ONLY answer for them.

Here is my time to be transparent.  I basically volunteer my time.  I make no money.  On a daily basis I probably get asked a minimum of 10-20 times a day for something.  For food, for money, for clothing, free medical care, free medicine, free speciality services, free glasses, free something.  It is quite exhausting, I have to admit.  The needs of the extreme poverty stricken people are overwhelming at times.  We run a High School, a clinic, a street-children program, a single mom's home.  Each has their own challenges, their own needs, but the bottom line - each are serving the extreme.  People who have no where else to turn.  Each of our ministries have people who are desperate, and if I were in a desperate situation, I probably would ask too.  But being the recipient of those desperate needs not once, but 10 to 20 times a day is completely exhausting.  To be asked for more than I am already giving - working for free, 10-12 hours a day, always looking for funding to keep my clinic running, food to feed the hungry, clothing to clothe those without, money to pay for things that otherwise wouldn't be paid for is tiring.  To the individual who is asking, it is the most important thing in their life at that time. For me, it is the same story of the 10 or 20 people who came before them on that same day.  Bottom line...I only have so much to much money, so much energy, so much food, so much free care until I have no more to give.  I pray that on a daily basis I am filled by Him who CAN give it all - who CAN do all things that I can not.  It reminds me to be reliant to the master physician, the master farmer, the master healer.  My "real" job is to let everyone else know to rely upon HIM and NOT to rely upon me.  Because bottom line, I can only do what I can do.  I can only give what I have, and no more.  But there is He who can give all, and in Him I place my trust and reliance upon.

Transparent - I am tired...I am exhausted of being asked day in and day out for things I simply can not give.  Here is me trusting in Him who CAN give it all!  No matter how many times you look in your empty pockets, look in your wallet to find there are no funds, look in your pantry and there is no food to give, there is a source.. Jesus tells us in the book of John 4:13-14..."Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why Vitamin A?

For four years running I have received a grant from Vitamin Angels.  This allows me to be able to give vitamins free to children five and under.  Along with that, this year Vitamin Angels provided me with Vitamin A.

So why Vitamin A?!  Vitamin A deficiency leads to visual problems including complete blindness.  250,000 - 500,000 malnourished children in developing countries go blind each year.  Approximately 1/2 of those children die within a year of becoming blind.  

Vitamin A deficiency effects 1/3 of children under the age of 5.  It is estimated to claim the lives of 670,000 children under 5 annually.

Vitamin A also decreases the ability to fight infections, increases children's risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decreased growth rate, slow bone development, and a decreased likelihood of survival from serious illness.  

So THAT's why Vitamin A.  I have a system in place in my clinic to track the kiddos who receive Vitamin A every 6 months.  I am excited about this new addition of Vitamin A to my clinic.

This is little 10 month old Marcelo who came to clinic today for daily Vitamins and Vitamin A.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Working myself out of a job...

Part of our desire here is to work ourselves out of a job.  I know that seems kind of odd, but our desire, and the desire of our mission organization, Mission to the World, is to make ourselves obsolete.  Recently, after 5 1/2 years of having a Kids Club program, we turned that ministry over to our church plant in the community of Armenia Bonito.  Now starts the process of the clinic.  Over a year ago I hired a Honduran national, Dr. Roger who has been working not only in our permanent clinic, but our mobile clinics as well.  To prepare for our future furlough, I need someone to partially fill my shoes while I am gone.  My desire was to hire a nurse so she could do many of the things that I do, but the cost of hiring a nurse is exorbitant.  We simply do not have sufficient funds that come in to the clinic to cover a nurses salary.  As it is, I have to raise funds for Dr. Roger (of which I still am lacking funds...if you would like to make a one-time or on-going contribution it is SUPER easy...just go here

So, after many interviews I hired Dilcia.  The funds we make daily will cover her salary.  She is a quick learner, from the community, a single mom, and it is so great that we not only have a great staff member, but we are able to help "one of our own."

It is good to know things will be taken care of while I am gone - between Doctor Roger and Dilcia, they've "got this".  And no worries...I will STILL be working the clinic between now and when we leave on furlough. When I return from furlough, the luxury of staff will give me the opportunity to start doing some serious community outreach. I have a grand plan to start changing the health habits of Armenia Bonito when I return.  Stay tuned....

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wound care #graphic#

Well, I have seen worse, if you can believe I think we can save this foot if our patient is willing to do HER part.  This woman came to our clinic today.  She lives in Roatan.  If you are unfamiliar with Honduras geography, Roatan is one of the Bay Islands that is part of Honduras, but is in the Caribbean, an hour and a half ferry ride from our city, then another hour and a half to my clinic by bus. She heard about us from some feel priviledged to be part of her care. The success  will truly be an effort between her and me.  Her commitment for taking her meds, and doing wound care when we are not open, and then coming to the clinic daily for wound care when we are open.  So...will see what happens...

Update - people have asked, so here is a little more info - she is a diabetic who has chosen not to take meds for personal reasons (according to her).  She has been diabetic for 6 years uncontrolled.  This is an unfortunate common issue with uncontrolled diabetes - ulcers like this.  For fear of losing her foot, she has agreed to start taking medication for her diabetes which we are able to supply for her.  She has committed to staying on the mainland with family until this is well on the way to healing which may take months.