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July Update

30 Jul

As usual, this month went by very quickly. After the second Harpeth Hills Youth Group team left on July 2, I had a few days before the mission team from Sunset Ridge Church of Christ in San Antonio, TX, arrived for a week of construction work. The project this year was an expansion and remodeling of an existing home in Malalaja, a little village not far from Tegucigalpa. The church I’m serving with, Iglesia Misionera de Cristo, planted a church in this village a few years ago and continues to support its efforts to expand the Kingdom.

Clearing out the rocks in preparation for pouring the floor for the new kitchen

Clearing out rocks before pouring the floor

Crossing the river to get lunch for the team

Crossing the river to get lunch for the team

This was the first time since my first mission trip in 2003 that I was actively involved in the construction project. The other years, I served on the prayer and benevolence team. As I’ve said before, I believe it is essential that we help people with both their physical needs and their spiritual needs, just as Jesus did. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity for several days of physical labor with my friends from San Antonio.

Nearing completion of our work on the house

Nearing completion of our work on the house

House Blessing

House blessing on Friday afternoon

We finished our work on Friday, so we were able to take a relaxing and fun trip to the waterfall at Pulhapanzak, near Lake Yojoa, on Saturday. It’s about a three-hour drive from Tegucigalpa. The waterfall has a 140-foot drop and is one of the “30 Wonders of Honduras.”

On our way to Pulhapanzak, we stopped for breakfast at an excellent buffet. There was plenty of good food at a reasonable price. On the way back, we had fish at a restaurant where you select the fish you want cooked and they prepare it for you. I had tilapia and it was excellent!

Pulhapanzak waterfall

Pulhapanzak waterfall

After the team departed on July 9, it was time for me to resume working on preparations for the ESL program that starts in August. I completed the first edition of the curriculum, which will be revised as we go through the first year of classes and periodically in the following years. Thanks to my new Internet service at home, I was able to collect numerous videos, lessons, worksheets, and other resources to use with my students. I am now working on the lesson plans for the first trimester of the beginners’ course, which will start the week of August 13th. These classes will meet two days a week for an hour each day. The students will be middle-schoolers, so this will be an interesting experience for me. I haven’t taught children in many years.

I am planning to start Saturday classes in September with one beginners’ class for adults and one advanced course for “twenty-somethings.”

Initially, I will be the only teacher, so the number of students we can accommodate will be limited. If the classes “catch on,” we will need to strategize on how to find other volunteer teachers. I have some ideas on that when the time comes.

This past weekend, I went with Moises and his son Eliezer to San Esteban in the department of Olancho. It was a long drive—about five hours. We visited a doctor in San Esteban, whom the church helped support through her medical school education. She is just finishing her mandatory year of social service at a clinic in San Esteban. We met several friendly and hospitable people there. I observed the slaughter and skinning of a goat on Friday evening, which we ate for lunch Saturday afternoon. It was an interesting experience and the grilled goat tasted just fine. People from four families joined us at the river in San Carlos for the cookout. It was a very relaxing time on a beautiful day.

Moises carrying bag of clothes for a family

Moises carrying bag of clothes for a family

After lunch, we distributed food and clothing packages to two families with whom Moises was acquainted. The most adrenalin-producing event was the half-second during which a family dog’s teeth connected with my shin. I’m fine, but I have a tear in my “good jeans.” That will teach me to wear “good” clothes when I travel! I will also avoid the personal space of dogs that are tied up. Moises told me that dogs that are kept tied up tend to be meaner than ones that are allowed to roam free. When I was growing up, we had a dog for several years that we kept on a chain when he was outside. He did not become mean, but his chain was probably 20 feet long, so he had a lot more room to roam about. The dog that bit me only had about three feet of freedom. I suspect he grew very protective of that little space and didn’t like it when I stepped into it. I’ll be sure to watch out for tied-up dogs in the future! Fortunately, I had a first aid kit with me, so I was able to clean the wound with betadine before we headed home. It appears to be healing quite nicely and there are no signs of infection. I am glad I had a tetanus shot when I was in Texas in May. All things considered, it was a very good trip and I’m grateful I was able to go.

Worship service in English at CCI Fellowship

Worship service in English at CCI Fellowship

I was blessed to be able to worship in English twice this month. CCI Fellowship is an outreach of Centro Cristiano Internacional to the English-speaking community in Tegucigalpa. This includes missionaries, Embassy personnel, and teachers, as well as Hondurans who speak English. John Mattica serves as pastor. He is also the president of the Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries, of which I am a member.

I learned of the importance of being able to worship in your native language (your heart language) while I was a student at The Spanish Language Institute. This is one of the first things I learned during Orientation Week at the Institute and the truth of this has since been confirmed to me by other missionaries. Because the service is at 4:00 p.m., I will be able to worship in the morning with my Spanish-speaking family of Iglesia Misionera de Cristo and then worship in English in the afternoon. The only issue I have with this is my need to find a reliable taxi driver with inexpensive rates who works on Sundays. I have a reliable and inexpensive driver for any Monday through Saturday needs, but he doesn’t work on Sundays. I am trusting that God will help me find the right driver so that I can continue to worship with His English-speaking people on Sundays.

I am currently in Honduras on a tourist visa that expires near the end of August. If my residency application doesn’t progress to the point where I don’t need to leave the country any longer, I will be getting a two-month extension of my tourist visa. Hopefully, my residency visa will be coming soon.

I look forward to hearing from you, either on this page or through email or Facebook. I thank you all for your prayers, words of encouragement, and financial support. You are my partners in ministry here in Honduras and I thank God for each of you! I ask for your continued prayers on my behalf!

If you would like to provide financial assistance in meeting my expenses in Honduras, you may make a tax-deductible contribution through The Foundation at www.tfofsp.org. The Foundation will pass on 100% of your contributions to me. Please enter “Star Ferdinand” in the Comments box.

Thank you all and may God bless each of you as you strive to do His will.

Star

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Honduras, Updates

 

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