Our Trip to Nicaragua

Bright and early on Friday morning, Baudilio, Roberto, Pablo, myself and Joseph headed off to Salamají, Nicaragua to help pastor Julio work on an adobe church and to hold evening revival services. For Baudilio and Roberto this was their very first trip to Nicaragua, needless to say, they were super excited.
Julio has been preparing a site in a village called Achuapas. He has been holding services in a house there for several years, now they will soon have their own church building to worship in. Here he is laying the first adobe.
Laying the first row.
Our guys worked hard. I was so proud of them. They really enjoyed being there and helping out.
Joseph spent most of his time playing with Obed, Julio's son. 
I want to keep my life in "plum" with the Word of God. I don't want to stray to either side.
On Friday we only had time to lay two rows before having to get ready for the evening service.
God really helped us in the services. The church is celebrating it's 8th year! The Lord has really blessed Julio and his ministry.
I love how these people sing!! They give it their all. Baudilio loved playing in the services.
I took several air mattress and we all camped out in the church. Joseph was really looking forward to this part of the trip.
Nothing like country living. Showers with a hose, outhouses, and getting woke up by the roosters. There is nothing like it.
Saturday morning we headed back to the work site to lay another three rows.
Saturday while we were working on the church, Joseph and Obed headed to the swimming hole. It was a hot day and the boys had a blast!
He had the time of his life.
All in all we were able to help get five rows up. Now it needs a few days of sun to really harden before they continue to lay any more rows.
Some beautiful country!
I loved the color of this horse. I would have liked to have taken it for a ride.
I took the guys to a house in San Fernando where the Sandinistas took control during the Contra-Sandinista War during the 80's. In the basement of this house you can still see names, dates, and drawings of guns on the walls from some of the prisoners who were kept. In the backyard you can still see bullet holes in the wall. We dug out some of the bullets to take home as souvenirs.
I thank the Lord for his help during the revival. Several got help and there were three people saved.
We ended the revival with a good altar service.

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Our little boy

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Laugh Attack

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Murder in Tiloarque

Yesterday afternoon about 15 minutes after we got home from a service at Las Uvas we got word that three young men were murdered just half a block or so from our house. The red store that you see in the photo used to be a little convenience store. A few months ago the owner decided to shut it down and leave the neighborhood because gangs were demanding "war taxes". After leaving they rented the building and just three days ago a pool hall was opened there. The victims were shooting pool when two gangsters arrived on a motorcycle and came into the building either to hold it up or else to settle a score with the victims. Nobody is really sure of the motive but the men were killed with AK-47's.
The girl holding her head in her hand is a sister to one of the victims. She was screaming, "no, no, noooo". It was so sad.
At the lunch table Hannah was telling some of our people how we never know from day to day what is going to happen and that it pays to be ready to die. Those thoughts rang ever so true as I looked through the door and saw this scene of blood on the floor. I was challenged once again to win as many souls as we can for time is short and life is fragile.
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Carrying out the body bags.

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Daniel's 1st Birthday

Daniel is the big 1!!! Can you believe it? This week seemed like a big celebration. It all started on Tuesday, Hannah made frog cupcakes to give to all the kids and their parents at therapy class. They all sang to him and wished him many more years!
We decided to have the big party until Saturday when more people could attend. The theme was farm, so Hannah and I made a big barn out of cardboard and set up a little photo op in our living room. Our next door neighbor had the cow piñata made and it looked so cute with our barn.
A happy little boy.
Daniel is learning cow talk.
He was the center of everybody's attention. He wasn't sure what to do.
Hannah did an awesome job on the cake as usual. She worked so hard. If you look really close you can see where the farmer plowed lines in the field. Most everything is edible except of course the people, animals and the roof on the barn, we made it out of Styrofoam.
Getting ready to plant.
What a crew! These kids had a blast.
Hannah made spaghetti for everybody, it was so good.
Then it was time for the piñata, Daniel got the first hit.
He tried so hard to break that thing but it was tough. It took a pretty bad beating until it broke.
It's every man for himself.
By cake time Daniel was ready for a good nap. I actually had to wake him up so we could cut the cake, he was sooo tired.
Along with all the treats we gave out, each kid got a Bible story book. 

It was a great week. I hit the big 30 on Friday, I guess I was kinda included in the party as well. So all week long it was cake and parties and we ended it with a big shebang.  We thank God for Daniel's first year and wish him many many more!! Happy Birthday Daniel!

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Our Boys Are Growing Too Fast

Our boys are growing so fast. Daniel is going to turn 1 in a few days and Joseph is going to turn 6 in June.
Having fun in the grocery cart.
Mr. Cool Kid
Brotherly love.
Opening their Easter baskets.

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Three Big Miracles in Two Days!!!

Last Thursday at about 4:15 a.m. I heard the annoying sound of my alarm telling me it was time to get up. It was put on the roof day. The whole week of Easter schools are on vacation and it's only half a work week for everybody else. I was trying to take advantage of the situation and take a bunch of my guys to work at Las Delicias since everybody was on vacation. Today was the big day. Joseph was excited that he was going to get to go, he loves Las Delicias. We ate our breakfast and grabbed our bags and headed out the door. I had to run around and pick up the other seven guys that were going along. We all went prepared to spend the night. I told them that if we didn't finish the roof on Thursday we were going to spend the night and finish it on Friday. So with 9 of us in our 5 person vehicle with all our sleeping bags and tools needless to say we were a little crammed.
Now Las Delicias is a whole different world. It's in the country. The conveniences of the city life are all left behind. Here there is no running water. You can see the out house behind the guys in the picture. Everybody lives off of the land, they use home remedies and they live in adobe homes. But it's as the Costa Ricans say, "pura vida" (pure life). Well, we rolled it at about 7:30, ate our breakfast and coffee that Moncha had ready for us and headed to the church.
The first thing we had to do was carry all the wood to the church and cure it. We basically had to "paint" the wood with a special liquid mixed with diesel that kills the worms and rot. 
The next step was getting our 25 foot beam up on the wall so we could start to assemble the first rafter. 
 Ok, the guy standing on the roof is Miguel, he is our head carpenter/mason. The day we came and bought the wood and roof for this project he was unable to be with us. So we did calculations over the phone, just keep that fact in the back of your mind as we go along, it is a very important detail to this story.
Things were moving along quite well at the start. I thought that maybe we could get everything on in one day, just maybe we wouldn't have to spend the night. Part of the crew was assembly the rafters and the other part curing the wood and cutting.
Roberto and his brother Tito kept the sawdust flying.
So it gets to be about 3:00 p.m. We basically have all the rafters up and now we need to start putting up the boards between the rafters when Miguel realizes he had made a grave error. Those phone calculations we did just wasn't quite right. We were missing about 40 boards to put between the rafters to nail our roof to!!! Now it wouldn't have been such a big deal if it hadn't been Easter week. Everything, I mean everything is shut down. There are plenty of sawmills around but nobody is open. I had all these guys, we had our sheets of metal and not enough wood!! I started praying for a miracle. All the guys said that I wouldn't find anybody open. Well, I decided it was worth giving it a try. So Baudilio and I headed into town hoping and praying for a miracle. I passed the first sawmill....closed. I came to the second sawmill....not a person in sight. I came to the third and saw a guard at the door. There was a spark of hope. I asked the guard if it was possible to buy some wood, "nope", he said, "we are shut down until Monday try the next place". We got all the way back to the sawmill where we originally bought our wood. The guard walked up to the gate and I hurriedly explained our situation. "aaah you just missed the owner, he was here today, he could have sold you wood" said the guard. "Is there any way I can call him?" I asked. "No, he doesn't answer his phone". I just had to try but I didn't have his number and the guard wasn't about to give it to me. But I knew his number was on the receipt, but the receipt was all the way back in Tegucigalpa. So I called Hannah, she found the receipt and gave me the guy's number. So I give it a whirl and call...ring...ring...ring "hello". What a relief to hear his voice. "Hello, are you the owner of such and such a sawmill?" I asked. "Yeah". "Well, I'm the missionary, the gringo that bought wood off of you the other day". "Yeah," he says "I remember you". "I have a serious problem, we are putting a roof on the church today and we don't have enough wood, is there any way you could sell us some wood?" I breathed another prayer. "You should have came about an hour ago, I was just there, I'm half way to Tegucigalpa....but I tell ya what, I'll do ya a favor, I'll turn around and come back and sell you what you need". Praise God!!!!! My faith grew leaps and bounds when I heard that. What a miracle. The guy was nice enough to turn around and come sell us all the wood we needed. A true answer to prayer. That was just miracle #1 There is more to come.
Meanwhile while all of this drama unfolding Joseph is having the time of his life, making new friends, running and playing and eating juicy pineapple from out of the field. He didn't want to go home.
So about 7:00 p.m we finish getting all the rafters and wood up on the roof. Our chances of finishing and going home to sleep in our own beds were looking quite dim. 
 By the time we got our first sheet down it was getting really dark. We couldn't see where our tools were, where to screw, where to walk, things were getting complicated.
Even with a full moon there was no way we could work, so we called it a day and decided we would spend the night.
When Joseph heard that we were spending the night, he was so excited. This meant we got to blow up our air mattress and "camp out" on the floor. This was going to be an experience and a half. We both stank from dirt and sweat and there are no showers. What were we supposed to do? The only thing to do, go get a bath in the pond. So at about 9:30 at night after eating supper a bunch of us headed for the pond.
I cleaned up Joseph using a bucket to pour over his head. You can see how "clear" the water was, but hey at least we didn't stink like sweat. After cleaning him up the rest of us guys jumped in and went swimming. The water felt so good. We decided to swim all the way to the other side. I couldn't touch the bottom and the whole time I'm swimming all I could imagine was a big boa constrictor grabbing me and taking me under. haha. All of a sudden one of the guys says "sshhhh listen". We all got quite and then I heard it....aaaoooooooooooooooo. The howl of a coyote. It sounded so awesome!! Joseph got scared and was ready to go home. A few minutes later we were all in the car headed home.
Joseph and I sacked out on the air mattress and it wasn't long until we were fast asleep. We were tired.
The next morning we were awakened by the roosters. It was time to start another day. But, I had to find water to get cleaned up. Where do I find water? I had to head to the well, let down the bucket about 60 feet and pull up a bucket full. Just like the good ol'e days.
It was cookies and coffee for breakfast.
I thought for sure we would slap that metal down and be out of there by 1 o'clock.
We got all the way down one side when the guys turn to me and say....."we don't have enough screws to finish the roof". "Come again?" I said. "We don't have enough screws????". This was another miscalculation that happened over the phone. God had just miraculously got us wood when it seemed impossible and now the project was going to be put on hold because of a few pounds of screws. No way. I started praying again for a miracle. Where was I going to get screws on Good Friday? Every hardware store was on lock down. Someone told me that one of the guys in the community had bought some roofing nails and still had some left, so I went to talk to him to see if he would sell us some. Well come to find out he didn't have enough either but he said, "there is a mini mart in the next town that sells roofing nails, I think they are open today". So with another prayer on my lips we headed into town to see. Sure enough they had the nails we needed!! This was miracle #2. 
With just another three or four sheets to go, wouldn't ya know it, a big ol'e storm blew in and the rains began to pour!! Again the project was delayed. Here are the guys sitting out the storm.
Wet and tired we finally got the last sheets up and the roofed finished!! It was about 8:00 p.m. until we got all our things packed up and in the car ready to go. But as we pulled out my little orange gas light came on. Baudilio leans over and asks me, "Do you think we have enough gas?". "Well" I said, I think we have enough to get into town to the gas station, I think at least the gas station should be open". We get into town and it looks like a ghost town. Everything is shut down. No gas. I said "guys, you better start praying we make it to Tegucigalpa, everything is closed". Off we went on the forty mile drive home praying that God would multiple the gas just like he multiplied the bread and fish. Gas station after gas station and nothing open. We get all the way to the edge of Tegucigalpa and started making the climb up the steep hill into the city when all of a sudden the car begins to jerk, ugh, ugh, ugh.......ugh and it shuts off. There we sat near the city dump in the dark. I heard one of the guys say, "whoa, this is a dangerous place". The guys started praying, I started praying, I turn the key and....rrrrroooom, the car roars to life. One of the guys yells, "get to the top of the hill there is a gas station". I put the peddle to the medal and zoomed to the top of the hill just as we crest the hill, I see the gas station ahead.....pitch black, it's closed. "Keep going" the guys yell. There is another one down over the hill. "Oh God", I said, "Do another miracle, get us to a gas station". I coast down the hill and round the corner and there in big bright red letters is a Texaco sign and it's opened!!! Miracle #3. After filling up and heading down the road, Baudilio leaned over and says, "God is great isn't He?". "He sure is", I said, "Our God is great".


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