Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Change in this Blog

You may have noticed a change in this blog toward the more personal and the everyday happenings of our family here. Last year, my goal was to tell about what we were doing with Little Hands. We are in the process of getting the website up and running for the ministry and once that happens I hope to maintain another blog specifically for Little Hands. When we were home this past winter, I kept hearing from family and friends that they just wanted to know that we were ok, still alive, and not carried off by a giant sized cockroach. (One of which we just killed on our bed! GROSS!) So, this year I hope to post more often, maybe everyday about whatever was on the menu, or about the biggest bug of the day, or my latest kitchen disaster. :) I will still try to keep people informed about what's going on here at Little Hands, hence the previous post. But the majority of this blog will be about our family, hence the next post.

Little Hands, Big Hearts

I haven't been writing about what's going here with Little Hands, but this ministry to handicapped children is alive and well! We are still in the process of evaluating and improving some of our programs: the sewing class and the Children's Neighborhood Bible class are two that we are presently revamping. Roxanna has the developmental preschool up and running. Brian and Jeffery just made a trip to LaCiba with Rosa and her son, Samuel and Santana and her son, Rebin. Both boys have multiple problems and need expensive medicine and therapy. They met with a specialist who is helping us develop a long term plan to keep them healthy. Work continues on tying up loose ends of Little Hands becoming a non-profit organization. We are official now, but there are still many things that need to be taken care of including the registration for the vehicles, the land title, and the reimbursement of the deposit we had to give the bank when we first started this process. Each of these things takes days or weeks longer than necessary. It is maddeningly slow and we see very little progress, but rejoice at every baby step that gets us closer to having it all done!
Things are constantly busy. We usually have several people stop in at some point during the day. Some are here for information, others have a child in one of our programs. We spend alot of time trying to teach and help the families we serve understand how to best care for their child with a disability. Sometimes we wonder how we can impress on these parents, mostly single moms, the importance of doing things a certain way instead of what is easy or familiar to them. We have spent a great deal of time this past month trying to find the best meds for Rebin, and getting his mom to make the commitment to follow through with her part to keep him healthy.
Brian is still the most involved with the ministry, but this year I have already seen the kids take a more active role when possible. Jonathan helps daddy on various projects. Rachel and Faith are involved in the preschool on some days when their school work is done. Andrew is more friendly and they are developing friendships with the neighborhood kids. The kids are all doing well with their Spanish and can usually get their point across. I am on call to play nurse when someone show up with infected bug bites or boils. I hope to start sewing lessons soon with Rosa and possibly another girl who can't attend the entire class we have here as she is expecting a baby in a few months.
So in all, we are thankful for the opportunity to work here and excited to see what things God is doing here. Thanks so much for all your support and prayer cover and encouragement.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Continue to Pray for Dad

Dad is still in the hospital with very little use of his hands and arms or legs and feet. Some days he seems to have more movement, but then next day is a step back. He had another fever last night. They keep doing MRIs and they are not revealing anything helpful. The doctors don't know why he is not getting better. He was accepted into a top notch rehab place in Boston that specializes in spinal cord injuries, but until he has made progress, there is no way he could leave the hospital. This has been a long, hard journey for Mom and Dad and they are worn out. It has been so frustrating to see one step forward be eaten up by another step backward. Please keep praying for healing, patience, and peace and rest for both of them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Brian's Home and Dad's Doing Well

Just a quick note to say thanks for your prayers. Brian and the group he was traveling with got here in time for a late pizza supper. (Pizza is our standard guest food; everyone likes it and my family is always happy to see that on the menu.) Their trip was as uneventful as driving on Honduran roads can be!
After a number of examinations, the doctors still cannot understand what is going on inside Brian's father. However, we seem to have turned the corner. He has more range of motion in his legs and feet as well as in his arms. He is still very weak but the doctors are very encouraged and so is Mom. His doctor thinks that the worst is over. He had a good day today and several visitors and I know that that was a boost for them. Dad is a real people person and you can always find a party when he is part of the mix! The doctor says they will spend the next few days weaning him off the steroids and other meds. Pray that he will continue to make progress. We are praising God for every step toward full recovery.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Yesterday I spent a good part of the day sewing. I worked on a pair of pants for Darwin who will be attending the Christian school in town and so needs new pants for his uniform. (Darwin is Rebin's brother. Rebin has Cerebral Palsy and Little Hands helps their family with nutrition, medicine, transportation to and from better medical care in the big cities, and a limited amount of physical therapy.) Generous donors from the states are making it possible for Darwin to get a good education, including Biblical instruction. Anyway, the fabric was possibly the nastiest stuff I have ever sewn...a heavy 100% polyester dark green woven. How would you like to wear that everyday to school in this heat with no AC? I think it will wear well though...nothing like plastic fabric to withstand repeated washings at the pila. It was hard on me to sew a pair of dress pants without a serger to finish the seams. I even had to make the button hole by hand since the ancient machine I was using didn't have that capability. They came out fine, but don't look inside...all those messy seams with old fashioned zig-zag to keep the fabric from fraying!

I also made some things for us. We needed a curtain that covers the whole window in the bedroom after we took the old AC out of there. I also made a curtain to go under the counter Brian built in our "kitchen" to cover up the open shelves. I made a "baggit" thingy to hold extra bags from shopping and sewed a shirt for Rachel. And lastly, I made a dog bed. In a place where alot of people don't even have beds, I am a little embarrassed to say our dog now has a comfy place to sleep. But I was really tired of him digging up my pots and spreading the dirt all around the porch for a bed. So, all in all I felt like I got some thing accomplished yesterday!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update on Dad

Yesterday the MRI showed that Dad's spinal cord is no longer swollen and comfortable cushioned by fluid. That is good, but the bad news is now the doctors don't know why he isn't able to move as much as he could the day before. They will be doing more tests today to try to figure out what is causing the problems now.
Brian starts his trip back to us today. Lord willing, he will get here Saturday evening. Today is Father's Day in Honduras and the kids are wishing their daddy was here. We will all be glad to see him. We've missed him, but I'm glad he was able to spend this time with this parents during this hard time.
We are fine here and still seeing God's protective shield around us. This morning I dropped the dish drainer half full of clean Corell dishes right on my foot. You know the unbreakable kind that when they do break, they shatter like glass. My flip-flops and the entire floor were full of shards. I have a few tiny cuts, but nothing bad. Thank you Lord!
Thank you for praying for us all. Please continue to pray for safety for Brian as he travels and for healing for his dad.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Update on Dad

Brian's Dad has been moved out of the special care unit into a regular room. The spinal drain and all but one IV have been removed. He is very slowly regaining movement in his legs, and has feeling in his arms. Any progress has been in baby steps. The doctor says that he should recover from the paralysis, but it could take 4 months. Hopefully he will be ready to move to rehab center early next week. Pray that Dad will recover faster than the Dr's predict. Pray for Mom as she tries to find a good rehab place and that their insurance will not make it difficult for them to make sure Dad is getting the best possible care. This is Brian's last day with his parents before he starts the return trip back to Honduras. Pray that he will have time to spend with Mom and Dad and get everything packed and ready to go.
Update: When Brian and his mom got to the hospital today, they had moved Dad back to the ICU because he has a fever and is less responsive. They are doing another MRI and plan to raise his blood pressure again. That did help with the swelling in the spinal cord last week. Depending on what they say, Brian may need to change his travel plans.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Baskets and Flowers

When my mom, who is a master basket maker, came last year, she brought some reed and made a few baskets for me. This year when we returned, I decided that I wanted a bigger one for fruits and veggies with lots of holes to allow for air circulation. Here's what I came up with:

It's not very strong, but I'm not carrying things around in it. It's main purpose is to corral bananas, limes, and grapefruit. Many grow right here on the property. I am still searching for a place where a flexible vine grows that can be used for basket making. This is a craft I would like to share with the ladies here, but without access to the right materials, it will be difficult.

The other thing I wanted to show you is this picture of the wild flowers that the kids pick and display in old glass coke bottles. All the guests that we have had so far this year have had their rooms decorated with love... and weeds from our kids.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Praise for Safety

Today at lunchtime, I was planning to warm up some leftovers for the kids here in our apartment. Usually we eat lunch with the workers and Little Hands staff down at the big house, but today I had a bad migraine and wanted to rest. I thought it would be easier to just warm up something here. Well, easy turned out to be scary and in the end a good lesson about God's protective hands. I have always had trouble lighting the oven and today was no exception. After the first match went out, I lit a second one. And that is when it happened. Apparently when I thought the gas was off, it was still leaking into the oven and the second I lit that match it exploded with a big fire ball and a sound like a gunshot. I picked myself up off the floor and ran out to the porch with the kids behind me. We cried and thanked God for keeping us safe. I cringe to think of what could have happened. The kids were sitting at the table right next to the stove when it went off. I don't know how I wasn't seriously burned. We praise God for keeping us all safe. I asked Johnny to come and help me put the stove back together. I won't use the oven again until Brian comes home...maybe never again! So thank you, to all of you who regularly petition God to keep us safe in the hollow of His hands. Today we saw that first hand.

Clarification and Update on Dad

I'm afraid that my last post wasn't very clear about has happened with Brian's dad. We are trying to fit together the pieces of what we know in order to get a clear picture. The following is what Brian wrote to send out to our prayer partners. I think it will help clarify past events and help you pray more specifically.

Dad had a successful surgery on his spine last Tuesday and was recovering well. He was moved to another hospital last Saturday to recover and, for a few days, was making good progress. He was moving his arms freely, feeding himself, and beginning to walk. On Monday morning he woke up and could not move at all. Nobody is sure what happened. Scans show that his spinal cord is swollen, causing this paralysis. Dad is on a course of steroids to reduce the swelling. They installed a drain in the spine to reduce pressure. they are also elevating his blood pressure to promote more oxygen to the affected area. He was placed in ICU last Wednesday and yesterday was moved to a special care unit because he was progressing. As of today, Sunday, Dad can move his legs better at times but this progress is inconsistent. He is gaining strength in his left hand and can pick up his left arm about an inch off of the bed. So far no movement in the right arm or hand. We are hoping to speak with the doctor tomorrow in order to come up with a plan. There is talk of moving him into a regular recovery room tomorrow. Progress is
very difficult to see. There is no way he can come home right now. So far the doctors anticipate a very slow recovery. Please pray for healing in Dad's body and for a quick recovery. For wisdom in dealing with all of the decisions that are looming. Also pray for safety as we travel back and forth each day. Pray for Sara and the kids as I am away from them. That He would keep them safe and provide all that they need. Most importantly, that we would see how to bring glory to God in all of this.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Prayer Request

Last week Brian's dad had a surgery done to correct a problem with the vertebrae in his neck. It was supposed to be a very safe procedure and we had hoped that the results would improve Dad's quality of life. Well, long story short, instead of making things better, something else happened, the doctors don't know what yet, and he lost his ability to move his arms and legs. Yesterday morning they told Mom that this condition might be permanent. We immediately started looking for a plane ticket for Brian. Because of where we are in Honduras, we can't make it home in less than a day and half. After we got the ticket, we kept e-mailing and calling to check on how Dad was doing. By yesterday morning, they could see that he had regained some movement in his legs, which we hoped was a sign of good things to come. Brian had already taken the 1am bus to San Pedro Sula. After a six hour bus trip, he made it to the airport and flew out around noon. It wasn't a non-stop flight, but he was able to get in to Boston earlier than we had hoped. A friend picked him and after an hour long car trip, he was at his mom's house. This morning they will go to the hospital which is another hour and a half drive farther north to be with Dad.
Please pray that tomorrow they will see much more progress/alot more movement in Dad's arms and legs. Pray for peace and comfort for all of us. Back here in Honduras, the kids and I miss "the leader of our herd"(as Faith says) but we are glad that he is with Grammy and Gumpy. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and skilled minds and hands if they need to operate again.
In the midst of all this going on with our family, we have had a group here from ACU. It has been great that Mark and Brenda were able to help Jeffery with the group after Brian left. They pulled out early in the morning. It is always great to have people here, but I have to confess I am looking forward to a little quiet time today.
Please cover our family in prayer during this difficult time. I'll try to keep you posted.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mark and Brenda/First Group

This week has flown by! Mark and Brenda Young, who started this mission, are here for a visit from the states. We've spent some time talking and planning for this coming year. It's been fun to exchange stories and compare notes. Our kids have really enjoyed some time with this couple who they view as part of our extended family.
The rest of our time has been eaten up with getting things ready for our first group of 2009. Brian and Jeffery are in San Pedro Sula tonight. The group will get in tomorrow and they all will be back here in Trujillo Sunday morning for church, Lord willing.
I think everything is ready. Brian and Jonathan built another bunk bed for the dorm and the new septic tank is finished. Tomorrow, Maybelline and I will make all the beds and make sure everything is in order. If their lucky, the ACU students will even have vases of flowers to welcome them. (The kids pick flowers/weeds and fill old glass coke bottles. Tropical weeds are much better looking than plain old regular weeds like we have back home in the states!)
We're all looking forward to meeting and spending time with more of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray that this week will be a life changing experience for the ACU students and that we can be an encouragement to them and they to us!