December 2016 Update

Dear friends & family, 

We hope your Christmas celebrations have been blessed times of remembering the humble birth of our Savior, Redeemer, and King of kings! We’ve seen and heard a lot of fireworks, as usual this time of year, but this year during the message on Christmas Eve God gave me a special reminder: Just as Christ’s entry into the world was a humble one, He reigns in and through us when our hearts are humble. 

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December 10th was our last youth group night for the year. Job and I planned a gift opening game for them that proved to be quite challenging. The winner eventually opened the final box and found a pop bottle with 100 lempiras (about $5). Youth group will start back up again on January 14th.
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About mid-November, fireworks stands become a common sight, and you begin to hear fireworks blasting off night and day. Especially on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the air in town is completely filled with smoke from all the celebrating.
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Nativity scenes are also common here in Latin America. However, traditionally, baby Jesus isn’t placed in the manger until Christmas Eve.
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We are trying to determine the best solutions for long term gardening and plan to use organic pesticides and fungicides, such as this “caldo sulfocálcico.” We learned about using this mixture of hydrated lime and sulfur while visiting the Inga Foundation last year.
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At Puran, planning the next step with Janeth: transplanting.
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This boy loves sharing mandarin oranges with us when we visit.
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Teaching how to make a watering bottle by putting holes in a pop bottle cap.
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Cristofer, pictured here, has taken on the responsibility of their garden since day 1!
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Pests like whitefly and cabbage worms have invaded the tire gardens, so pest control has become an issue. For now we are using pesticides from the local ag store, but eventually we would like to teach how to make the organic “caldo” pesticide, which is a much more economical option.
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Escarleth is another kid who has taken on the role of maintaining her family’s garden. It excites me to think of how this experience at her young stage in life could affect her for the rest of her life. I was about her age when I started growing my first garden.
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Armando (and wife Eva) have their small garden growing quite nicely. They are active members of the local church, and have been promoting the gardens since our first visit to Puran. They are a generous couple, and nearly every time we visit Eva sends us home with some form of bananas or plantains. One day, without Job or I saying a word to them, Armando volunteered himself to visit the families near him involved in the gardening project and help them with their pest control issues since he has a sprayer and most other families do not. We feel that Armando and Eva’s involvement with the gardens could be key to seeing the families continue when they face challenges.
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Pic: At the city dump, gathered around to hear God’s Word. Our visits to Puran have become more frequent as the number of families involved there continues to grow. At the same time, our visits to the city dump have become scarce. However, we are still convicted that God wants us to be involved with those families somehow. This year, for Christmas, several friends made donations of clothes, shoes, and food for the families that we’re working with. Mark and Paula even donated brownies they made with their special Chocolate de Veras brownie mix. Job and I were overwhelmed with all the donations we received. We were planning to buy the food out of our own pocket even though it would be a large expense, but friends ended up donating the money to purchase all of the food as well. Job started with a message from Exodus about God’s merciful and gracious character, reminding us all that even though we don’t deserve God’s mercy, He still pours it out on us.
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That particular day some of the parents brought their young children with them to receive the gifts. Usually the kids this age stay home (oftentimes alone to fend for themselves) and the older kids go to work with their parents at the dump.
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A stench and thick smoke fill the air at the city dump.
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The ladies at Puran were so grateful for their gifts.
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The new shoes were a very special treat.
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Job and I, along with one of Job’s friends from college, headed to southern Honduras a couple weeks ago for a friend’s wedding. On our return home we were randomly stopped at a checkpoint and while the police searched our vehicle I noticed one of the officers acting very strange, talking very slowly and using odd hand gestures. As it turns out, he was completely drunk. I am appalled and saddened the more I learn of the effects corruption can have on a country. Unfortunately, that man will probably keep his job, as long as no one reports his behavior or if he has a higher-up contact. Also, more than likely there isn’t an organization actively supervising the police to stop this misconduct, so there aren’t procedures to prevent this from continuing on. Unfortunately, looking at the big picture, corruption is evident at every level, so misdeeds like this go on unnoticed and without much concern. 
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As I write, a new friend of ours, Bekah Henderson, is learning to make tamales with Coni, Job’s mom. Bekah is a member of one of our supporting churches in Beatrice, Nebraska and is studying elementary education and youth ministry at the University of Sioux Falls. She just arrived on Friday and will be volunteering at the ministry, La Providencia (see their site here). We are excited to be hosting her stay while she’s here for about 3 1/2 weeks.

Pray:

  • For the youth group, that those who are not walking in God’s path for their lives would not have peace in their choices. That they would understand the new life God has planned for them.
  • For the gardening workshop we are planning for the families in Puran this week. That God would open hearts and minds to receive His word and His purpose for their lives as we share the gospel there.
  • For Bekah, as she adjusts to the culture and different challenges during her time in Honduras. Pray for her health, safety, and God’s work in and through her as she teaches at La Providencia.

Praise:

  • For Armando and Eva’s enthusiasm to see their neighbors growing gardens.
  • For all the unexpected blessings we were privileged to pass on as an act of God’s love and mercy towards us.
  • For God’s indescribable love that came down to us through His son.

God bless you as you take part in this ministry!

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.

1 Thessalonians 3:12

Love,

Adria & Job

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