Honduras

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Kathalene, Emma, Lana, Marissa, Daija, Kayla, Haley, Andrei, Becky, Bri and Zach

Task: The Central America team will work with at-risk children and youth through La Providencia. They could be doing projects ranging from Vacation Bible School programming to construction on the homes in which some of the children live. La Providencia exists to inspire and equip others around the world to love orphans, widows and at-risk communities as God loves them. They do that through:

  • Extensive research of the plight of orphans and orphan care systems around the world
  • Collaboration with other orphan care organizations to establish a framework for use in developing best practice orphan care communities
  • Provoking conversation and action toward best-practice orphan care through a collaborative book project, dissemination of information and training materials, and Internet-based discussions

Dates: May 14 – 29

Departure: Join this team on Sunday, May 14 (sorry, moms!) at 6:30 PM at William Jessup University to pray over them as we send them to the field!

Team Arrival: The team has made it to Honduras! All their luggage arrived as well (woo-hoo!) and they are currently loading into a van to head to their ministry location with their ministry leader, Marco. The team is in good spirits, a little tired, but mostly excited to finally be in Honduras, especially Lana as she has been looking forward to returning to Honduras for over a year now. Please pray as they fight off jet lag today and begin their cultural orientation to life in Honduras and with La Providencia. Check back in the next few days for a full team update!

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Update #1: Monday, May 15, 2017

Hola, aqui estamos ya seguras y bien! Translation = Hello, we are here and we are safe and well! This is Bri and Daija comin’ at you from Central America. After a long flight from SFO to Houston we ended up being two hours early for our flight from Houston to Honduras. So we feasted in between and we had never been so hungry or sleep deprived at 5:00 AM. Since we had two hours to kill, the adventures of Lana, Kayla and Kathalene began. We went to a Mac store to do our makeup with our fingers, sang jingle bells with some friends we made, and then – to look cool for Snapchat – Lana and Kathalene found a way to get a ride on the airport carts. After long flights (and adventures) we finally made to Honduras.  We met our fieldworker, Marco, and followed him out to our La Providencia van. As soon as we stepped out of the airport an immediate climate shock hit each and every teammate and we knew, right then and there,  that we weren’t in Cali anymore.

Our fieldworkers, Marco and Fernando, knew we definitely needed food so they took us to the Chick-Fil-A of Honduras – Power Chicken. The ribs, plantains, rice, mashed potatoes, potatoes wedges, salad, chicken, veggies, and the purest of sugar cane in the Pepsi were all so delicioso! (Delicious, for those of you back in the States.) After our amazing meal we drove up to our hotel, and on the way saw a beautiful lake, coconuts everywhere, banana trees, pineapples and nature galore. As we pulled into our hotel, we saw a restaurant on one side, stores on the other, a mosaic fountain with a slide and a mini zoo for monkeys and parrots. We could even see this entirely beautiful view from the balcony of our hotel room.  So we chilled there, enjoying the view for a minute, and then went to dinner where Kathalene, Marissa, and Bri came together to translate for the team. We celebrated Zach’s fake birthday today and we sang to him in English and Spanish and ate really good tres leche cake. We then all debriefed our day of travel, planned things out for the rest of the trip and played a game called “Family” to unwind. Then the real fun began when Kayla, Lana, Bri and Daija stepped out into the war zone of bugs that were the size of baby birds (or as Bri calls them” prairie dogs”) swarming around outside.  All we wanted to do was go to the nearby store but instead we had to fend for our lives as the bugs rapid-fire attacked us.  Don’t worry, everyone: We went Mission Impossible-style and made it back to our rooms safely!

So, families and friends, do not worry, we are excited for what is coming in the next two weeks! After going over our schedule we are ecstatic to interact with the Hondurans at La Providencia! We will keep you guys updated!

Until next time,

Bri and Daija

P.S. – Daija speaking: Mom I love you and I pray that you are not worrying too much. I am so excited to interact with the kids and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! On the 2-hour drive to our hotel, seeing the houses that the Honduran people lived in really made me more grateful for everything I have at home.  I am so happy to finally be here and am blessed that my team and I were given this opportunity! Pray for the team that we have restful nights so we can be alert and ready to do God’s work. Also pray for me and the bugs because they are massive!

P.P.S – It’s Bri here! So it is as hot as Texas; it chapped my lips so fast when I got out of the airport I was gasping for air like a fish out of water. But it is so crazy to be somewhere where there are only Latino’s, it’s so cool! I drank a TON of water and drank chai at the airport and I feel all better. Tell my Haley and Abel I miss them so much, I wish they could see the animals here and the plants. Mom, I have to be the brave one and step on the prairie dog sized bugs and you would hate them but they are fascinating to look at when they are turned on their sides. Tell my Abuela that they are known for the sweetest pineapples here and I wish I could taste it for the first time with her. Oh, and mom, I made two new friends, Jennie and Noemi, they were our waitress for dinner. I think you would like our hotel, it is really pretty. I miss you a whole bunch. Te amo, I love you.

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Update #2: Wednesday, May 17

Team Honduras here again with breaking news brought to you by Haley, Emma, and Marissa! Yesterday (Tuesday) was our first full day here in Honduras and it was full of big, big bugs, good food, and lots of weed pulling. We started our day by going on a tour of La Providencia. We learned that they are an organization that works with orphans and widows to create family systems by bringing in Honduran couples to adopt children and live in on-site homes. We were able to see their three homes (with a fourth one being built), the school the children attend, and their hospital. We learned some intriguing statistics about the people in Honduras: There are about 8 million people living in Honduras and 51% are under the age of 18, and 300,000 of those kids are orphans. It is amazing to see La Providencia’s mission of wanting to make a change in their country. After the tour we got to eat lunch in the cafeteria where we were fed noodles with vegetables (kind of like chow mein.)

After lunch we got started on our work project. This consisted of pulling weeds around 3,000 coffee trees that they planted last year. They use this coffee to support their organization for whatever they may need funding for outside of other partnerships. We spent three hours pulling and raking the weeds and only got half way done (yes, that’s how much there is.) Although it was still pretty hot and humid outside, the clouds and breeze were enough to keep us somewhat cool. We then headed back to our hotel for a shower and time to clean up before dinner. Instead of eating dinner at the hotel, Marco picked us up and took us out to dinner at a Honduran restaurant where they served giants tacos, “baleadas,” and “tajadas” (fried plantains.) There we spent time playing “Family” and talking with Marco about every Disney movie that we could name. Some teachers from La Providencia also joined us and we learned that most of the teachers are from the States, which we found fascinating. We did, however, still spend a majority of the time trying not to get eaten alive by all the bugs that decided to join us for dinner.

We are all doing well and ask that you continue to pray for our team. Please pray for energy and that we will stay healthy. Also pray for the kids that we will be working with these next two weeks and that we will leave an impact on their lives. We’re excited to see what amazing things God has in store for us as we continue on this journey.

Mom, dad, Jared (and even Zoe), I miss you all and hope that everything is good. I’m having a good time down here and am excited for these next couple of weeks. Please keep praying for me and my team and I will see you all soon. Love you! -Haley

Mom and Dad, I love you and miss you guys! I hope everyone is doing well! Tell Brad, Allison, and the kids I say hi and I miss them. Please continue to pray for me and my team as we are over here for the next two weeks. Mark, I miss you! Tell your family I said hi. Can’t wait to see everyone when I get back! Love all of you guys! – Emma

Te qui abdi (si es que lo ves) y fam.- Marissa

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Update #3: Thursday, May 18

Hey family & friends!

From Lana: It’s been another incredible day here in Honduras. Today we started the day with seeing all that La Providencia has agriculturally grown for their school and ministry as well as all of the hard labor that is put in to ensuring the growth of every crop. It may come as a shock, but there are no power tools, machines, or hoses involved in any of the agricultural process. The team, as well as myself, were truly taken back by the dedication and devotion of the La Providencia family. Rita, our La Providencia agricultural leader, educated us on the coffee-tree growing process, which is their main cash crop. With the coffee trees on the top of a hill with no access to running water near, Rita and a few other La Prov staff members would individually carry gallons of water to the 900 coffee trees everyday. This was a six month process of continually watering each individual tree. It is evident the love they have for Christ and the children here when seeing the work they commit to for the Kingdom.

We ended the second half of the morning landscaping (plowing, pulling weeds, clearing rows) the coffee trees that were finally planted. Many of us at this point were running low on energy and not feeling like we were doing much, until we looked back and saw all that we had finished. This went to show all of us that although we may feel that what we are doing seems of little significance, God had used the 11 of us to finish a work project in just two days that typically would have taken the La Prov staff over two weeks to complete without our help.

We ask for your continued prayer as it is hard to adjust to the climate as well as the amount of large bugs! Love and miss you all! -Lana

From Kayla: After a few hours of working in the coffee field we took a rest and ate lunch in the cafeteria with the kids. Our meal today was soup with plantains, cabbage, yuca, and meat, and a side of two tortillas.  For about an hour we rested and ate our lunch, then Katherine (another La Prov. staff member) came to get our team to lead us to the classrooms, where we were going to promote VBS to the kids. We started with the first graders and worked our way up to the seventh graders, and when going to each classroom we entered with a fun song and dance moves, then talked about what we were going to be doing in VBS. We explained that we were going to have more fun songs and dancing, arts and crafts, and Bible stories/lessons. When working our way up the grade levels we figured it would be more difficult to get the kids involved with our dancing, but each time turned out to be a success! The kids had fun and were excited about VBS, which made our team feel hopeful and encouraged about the upcoming week with VBS.

The last part of our day at La Providencia we returned to the coffee field to do our last bit of work for the day, then helped Kelsey (La Prov. staff member in charge of teaching music and P.E.) with setting up for World Culture Day. We stacked boxes, moved chairs and tables around, cut very large and long plastic strips to hang them up and create separated areas to walk through, and we got this job done quick and efficiently. This was the end of the day for our team, then we headed back to our hotel to get cleaned up for dinner.

Thank you everyone for the prayers for our team! Please continue to pray for our team for daily emotional, physical, and mental energy/strength renewal. Also please be praying that the Spirit would continue to guide and teach us as we go about each day here in Honduras. Sending love to friends and family! -Kayla

Enjoy some photos and videos…including Daija graciously allowing her hair to be a point of interest for some of the girls at La Providencia. 🙂

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Update #4: Saturday, May 20

Howdy friends and family,

It’s your student leaders here, Kathalene and Zach, with another episode of “What happened in Honduras today?” We started Thursday morning off by helping out at World Culture Day. The students were assigned countries and had to prepare tri-folds with information pertaining to their specific country. They also wore country-specific clothing, and prepared food from their countries. It was so incredible seeing all of their hard work on display for the younger students to see. We helped out by walking the little fellas through the displays and interacting with the kids. It was one of the first times we have worked with the children, and it just brought into perspective the reason God has called us to this country. Nothing can compare to the smiles on the children’s faces. They are all filled with so much joy, and that goes to show how incredible this organization is. We often find ourselves complaining about the same things in life, but when you see a child that has nothing than it makes the things that we find difficult all worth it. The children didn’t want to let us go, and they had an endless amount of love towards us all.

We were able to join the kids for an extended recess. Some of us ran around the playground, while others played games with the kids. It was incredible being able to interact with them while they were in their element. After recess, we had a short gap before lunch where we were able to practice a VBS dance. We were asked to perform that dance in front of the kids during lunch as a way to get them excited for what next week has in store.

A couple of us were able to join the La Providencia workers for a game of soccer. There are very few things in life where you can connect with someone without having to say anything, soccer being one of those. After our game, we headed back to fields to continue to remove weeds. Rita, the LP Agriculture Director, had us all very entertained during our time in the field. We were singing, dancing, and taking modeling pictures. It is crazy how God works and allows relationships to develop even with a language barrier. Rita has taught us Spanish words, while we teach her the English translations. Working with her has shown us how hard of a worker she is, and it has opened our eyes to all the work she does alone. She is such a blessing to our group.

Thursday evening we were invited to one of the LP director’s home for dinner. We were served their version of Chinese food. It was probably one of the best meals that we have encountered here on our stay! Please be in prayer for our work here, and that Jesus’ presence will be with us. Stay tuned for another update of “What Happened in Honduras today?”

Until next time, Kathalene and Zach

Hello! Andrei and Becky here! Friday has come and gone and it’s hard to believe that we’ve finished a full week’s work. After several days working in the sun, feeling sticky due to sweat and the humidity, and huffing and puffing up the rather large hill on the LP property, we are very much looking forward to what the weekend holds!

Today (Friday), however, was incredible! The perfect way to end the first week. We started the morning with breakfast as usual and then we briefed the team on our morning activity— street evangelism. The emotions were mixed; many were excited, and most were nervous at the thought of talking to strangers in another country with a language barrier (we were a bit out of our comfort zones as well). After giving some instruction and encouragement about street ministry, we prayed and boarded the van with our field worker, Marco.

Just as we were backing out, the hotel chef walked up to our van and told all of us through the window that he was so thankful for what our team was doing. He said that he had once done a missions trip and had experienced the difficulty of working in another country, now he makes it a point to encourage any team he comes across.

He did just that.

God orchestrated this perfectly — a random stranger walking up to our car, somehow knowing we were a missions team, and sharing for minutes his appreciation for helping his people in ways that many Hondurans do not. We then set off to a nearby city and parked at the town square. Zach and Marco bought waters and crackers for us to handout as we went around talking to the people in the square. We split up into 3 teams, each with a fluent Spanish speaking member of our team. (Thank you Bri, Marissa, and Kathalene for all your hard work in helping us understand what’s going on!) We spent a little over an hour asking people if we could pray for them, and by God’s grace, we prayed for everyone we came across. From young and old, to college students and children, to the poor and the well-off, we were able to pray for people of many different life circumstances. Our team was seeing God work.

Each encounter is a story worth telling and we would encourage all of you to ask a team member when they get back home about their experience doing street ministry. One thing that amazed us was how willingly people shared their story with us. Some even walked up to us to talk and asked our team what we were doing. God was bringing people to our team!

We then walked over to a park a couple blocks away, bought more water and crackers and started again. This park had free wi-fi and so there were dozens of people hanging out on their phones. We split up again and talked, handed out water and crackers, and prayed for more people. God was not only working through us to reach people, but He was working in us!

We had made the clarification at our morning meeting that successful street evangelism is not dependent upon people coming to Christ through that one conversation, but in the act of sharing the Gospel. Our team was experiencing the joy of sharing God’s truth with other people, some for the first time in this way. (During our daily debrief at the end of the day, the large majority of us expressed that this was our favorite day so far!)

Fun Fact: In Siguatepeque, at the park that we visited is a dome marking the center of the city. They say that Siguatepeque is the center of Honduras, which is the center of Central America, which is the center of the Americas. So…we stood at the center of the center of the center! (see photos/video below)

Our next stop was to local spot called Hope Coffee. This is an organization that has a three-fold approach with their business: Special education for the elderly/local church/coffee shop. They often partner with La Providencia in reaching local farmers with crops. Unlike many of the other local spots in Honduras, this looked much like a coffee shop you would find in the states. It had A/C and really good coffee. It was a welcomed break for us all! We are hoping to make it back in the coming days.

Several iced vanilla lattes, fruit smoothies, and frappuccinos later, we were on our way back to La Providencia for lunch and more work in the coffee fields. The rest of the day there went by rather quickly. It was encouraging to see how much progress we had made over the past several days in the fields. Our team was very thankful for the rain from the night before and the clouds that brought some shade. Three hours went right by, and we were on our way back to the hotel.

After getting cleaned up Marco picked us up at 6pm to go to our dinner at the supermarket. There was a restaurant inside called J&J’s Grill, which had an excellent menu! Coincidentally enough, the waitress as she handed out the menus to everyone opened them to the American food page. Burgers were ordered, along with chicken strips, waffles, and taco plates to share. We were a happy team.

This supermarket was not just one store but had smaller shops upstairs, one of particular interest was the “video” store. This consisted of a lady who sold copies of movies for a very reasonable price (3 DVDs for 100 Limpiras — about $4). Some of us on the team are looking forward to watching the movies we purchased that some of you back in the States will have to watch in the theater… if you catch our drift.

The night ended with a team debrief meeting where we shared and processed the day. Some shared feelings of homesickness and weariness. We prayed for each other — a daily routine for our team now — and talked about how we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s excursion day. We are feeling tired and thankful.

To our Family and Friends:

We love you and miss you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and support; they are very much appreciated. Special shout out to our siblings A+A and T+J, and Baby Lina, who will be here any day now! We are very proud new Auntie and Uncle! Love, Andrei and Becky

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Update #5: Sunday, May 21

Hola!

It’s Bri and Daija comin’ at you from Honduras! It’s Day 6 of our lovely time in Honduras and today we got to learn about the culture of Comayagua; to pass time on our 30-minute drive we jammed out to the oldies! Amen! When we arrived, we went to the first presidential palace and met our tour guide. The culture surrounding the palace was beautiful! The small artifacts and architectural details really revealed the importance and beauty of being a leader in this country. Then our walk from the Presidential Palace to the first bank in Honduras was jaw dropping. There were so many brightly-colored buildings, narrow (and crowded) streets, and intricately-designed doors. The doors may seem simple in the photos we shared below, but in person you can sense the culture from looking at the small little details. Each of the places we visited had an open courtyard and the brightly-colored walls just screamed about how passionate the people of Honduras are about their culture. As we were walking to the cathedral we saw the first school in Honduras that was only for girls. This was especially empowering for the women on our team because it showed the value that women have here. From there we walked to the oldest church in Honduras. The cathedral was magnificent and the altar was made out of pure gold. Next, we went to the bell tower in the church. We got to climb all the way to the top of the tower to experience the oldest clock in the world strike at the hour. The views from the top of the tower were also so amazing!

We were all super hungry so then we went to eat a restaurant where there was only Honduran food. The nachos con pollo were so delicious and the bean dish with cheese was so good! Next, we went to a Mennonite owned ice cream shop. The ice cream was really good and they had a variety of desserts to eat like Italian ice, cinnamon rolls, cake, and banana bread. YUM.

After our eventful day we came back to the hotel and rested. When we came back from dinner after celebrating Andrei’s fake birthday (party planned courtesy of Bri) we saw the largest fly known to man! Kathalene, Bri and I (Daija) ran and screamed for our lives because a lizard tried to sneak up on the fly to eat it but the fly decided to get away. Thankfully we are safe and sound relaxing in our rooms. No flies here.

P.S. – Daija “speaking” – Hi Mom! I miss you so much, but I am having so much fun here. I love the little kids and how kind they are to us. Playing with them at recess the other day was one of the best times that I have ever had! The little kids will just run up to you and hug you and hold your hand. They have such a special place in my heart! I just want to take them all home! This past week has really brought me closer to God and how good He really is to us! Doing street ministry for the first time really showed me the importance of just talking to random people about God and praying for their needs. I wish you were here with me to experience everything. I can’t wait to tell you about every little thing that has happened here. Be prepared to be listening for days about all that has happened. Tell Auntie Dolores, Danae, Dahlia, Darielle and the twins hi for me! I love you! See you in nine days!

P.P.S. – Bri “speaking”- Mom I miss you and the kids beyond belief. We went evangelizing yesterday and it reminded me of when you led VBS and your passion overflowed and we would go door to door inviting people to attend. I was really discouraged yesterday because I felt like I was not a good enough translator or a good enough Christian, but myy team was able to be the “pick-me-up” that I needed by encouraging me to remember His truth about who I am. Working in the field, and finding satisfaction in the simplicity of working with the crops helped me see the beauty in God’s creation. Tell my Abuela and Abuelo I wish they were here because they would love it so much. I met this wonderful woman named Rita and she is the boss of the field and she makes sure we do our jobs right and I really like her a lot. She has been my dose of smiles. She also really likes worship music and I love that. Oh, and she hates frogs, so I chased her with one found while working in the fields. Our team named the frog Frijolito Omar Rios. Well long story short I miss you a lot but I am having fun and really growing in such a short amount of time. When I come back Haley is going to be perfectly fluent in Spanish if it is the last thing I do on this earth! Tell her I miss her so much and tell my abuela te amo! Give them a hug with a couple tears because I miss them so much. I am also considering getting re-baptized because, to be real, I did it when I was really little and I thought I had to, so pray for me because I am really considering it!  I love you so so much! Te amo and good night, momma!

Until next time,

Daija, Bri and the team

Hola from Honduras!

Emma, Haley, and Marissa here to tell you about our Sunday! Today, we started the day off by attending a local church that our fieldworker, Marco goes to. The service was all in Spanish, so our Spanish speakers on the team could understand it well. For the rest of us, we tried to follow along based on the passages of scripture that were read. The sermon was on the Ten Commandments and different sins that have occurred throughout the Bible. Everyone at the church was very welcoming to us; they did not treat us like strangers at all! After church, we walked a couple blocks down to a local market. This was similar to a farmers market where local people sold fruits, vegetables, and meat…although the meat aisle was not one for a sensitive stomach! Here they had racks of ribs, intestines, and even pig heads! We tried different fruits, caramel corn, rosquillas (a type of cookie), and even sugar cane juice. It was a lot of fun getting to experience a Honduran market.

We headed out to lunch after the market. This restaurant was like the real life Rain Forest Cafe, all inclusive with real animals, rain, and humidity!  It was actually very relaxing. They are famous for their strawberry smoothies, so of course we had to try them. Turns out they are delicious! The food was delicious as well, including different kinds of meat, salad, plantains, cheese, beans, and chips. After lunch we headed to Owanza, which is just like Awana in the states. It’s a place where kids can come to learn about Jesus, worship, play games, and fellowship with one another. We were able to participate with the evening’s activities. We heard a story about forgiveness, given by one of the teen leaders who went through Owanza herself. We sang some songs and then finished by playing games. The kids are split into teams and try to earn points for their teams not only by winning games, but also by having good behavior and showing respect. The first game we played, we actually got to teach them, called Four Corners, which they seemed to really enjoy. We continued to play games with bean bags and bowling pins where the kids had to throw the bean bags at the bowling pins. Then we had a race between the two teams by passing the bean bags under the legs and running to grab the pin. Lastly, we played a version of sSteal The Bacon where we all had a number and then we would have to run and grab the bean bag without getting tagged by the person from the other team. It was really cool to see the community coming together outside of school and church to fellowship with one another. The leaders really have a heart for serving the kids and teaching them about Jesus. It was awesome to get to be a part of that experience today!

The rest of the night we got to relax and have dinner at our hotel. We have a big week ahead of us with VBS the next three days at La Providencia. Please keep our team in your prayers as many of us are not feeling 100%. Nothing serious, just a few fragile stomachs after eating food we are unaccustomed to for a week straight. Please pray for strength and guidance as we go about our last week here! Pray for health and healing for those who don’t feel well! Lastly, pray for the lives we will be touching through our work and through VBS this week!

Love and miss everyone back home!

Emma, Haley, and Marissa

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Update #6: Wednesday, May 24

Hey everybody!

Kayla and Lana here back at it with the good good: News about our VBS! Day one was a total success! We had a little over 60 kids come out and join us for a fun afternoon, which started with a few songs with awesome dance moves (which they loved!), then we shared a Bible story teaching on Psalm 23.

The kids learned about how difficult it is to walk a straight and safe path without God, and how walking with God in our lives makes it easier knowing we don’t have to do it on our own. Marissa and Kathalene had a fun activity for the kids to participate in, where they would pick a couple of kids at a time to go on stage, and one of the two kids would put on a blind fold and try walking across the stage without help. Then after they did it by themselves, their partner helped them across the stage which made it much easier to do. The kids loved this activity!

After the Bible story and activity, everyone went to a table to do the craft for the day. This craft was so much fun to do with the kids! The kids were given a piece of paper with an outline of a blindfold drawn on it where they were to draw and color with things they were afraid of. Some kids drew pictures of lightning, others did ghosts and spiders, etc. We helped the kids with cutting out the blindfolds, hole punching, and tying yarn through the holes so they could wear them on their heads. It was so awesome to see the kids having tons of fun and light up when they got to wear their blindfolds and run around with them on their faces!

From Kayla: Hey friends, family, and everyone following along with our trip! So far things have been going great! This place makes you feel so at home with the way people welcome you into their home, their family, and country. I am truly touched by the love that the staff and parents of the orphan kids have for each and every kid at this school/organization, orphan or non-orphan! I am constantly reminded of the joy we can find in simple lifestyles, and in relationships with our friends and family. Thank you for keeping up with us and our trip, and for the prayers and love! Please pray for me, I have been struggling a bit with stomach issues, but the L.P. Staff at the medical clinic have been a tremendous help! Sending my love, can’t wait to share everything we have experienced out here in Honduras!

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Team Return: Team Honduras made it home safely! Thank you to everyone who prayed along with their ministry efforts and supported them through reading their blog updates! Check out stories from our other teams!