Honduras Missions

The Ritchie Family / Children's Lighthouse

Monday, January 30, 2012

Red Handed

We have a young couple, Adam and Sarah Nelson here to help us get our school off the ground. Sarah has worked in Honduras previously, teaching with the same program. Adam is along for the ride to find what the LORD wants and help in anything he can . So like everything else in Honduras you learn on the job out of necessity. We will keep him busy. Sunday Carlos insisted we go to La Cruz for church. It was not hard to deduct they were wanting to celebrate a belated birthday for me. And since they had activities planned (they still remember I am sometimes long winded) they did not let me preach, but instead asked Adam. He had never preached before let along through a translator. I joked about tossing him into the deep end to see if he can swim. He did a fine job. Even procrastinated the end like a veteran preacher by saying just one more verse and ending 3-4 verses later. But it was a good message that two responded to. Amen. Afterward, it was a time of fellowship and testamonies, cake ect. Today was Adam and Sarah's 2nd wedding aniversary. Lisa baked a small cake and we sent them out with Jr his future spouse to watch the sunset from a mountain top. Should have some memories when they return.

The government school program director said we needed 20 students to start. Which meant we needed to open it to the church. They responded overwhelmingly and we have more than we can handle. We need to purchase all the books ect to start.... In a week. The cost is going to be about $600 for the materials we need from the state. I have Adam copying all the cd and dvd for both the regular school and the Bible institute curriculums and preparing them for use... about 300 disks to burn. Add Adam and Sarah to your prayers. They quit their jobs and have come here of their own personal funding and want to stay as long as possible. We are hoping they will stay at least 6 months if not more. But since they have no income that seems like a long time. Pray the LORD provides a way to provide for them so they stay longer, we need the extra help. We prayed for laborers and got them, now we need to find a way to keep them.

Pastor Augusto is also starting up our Bible Institute program in the mountain. He has a small handfull of students he wants to train and have them preach every day of the week in homes inviting all to the Sunday services in the church. Amen!

Been a busy time getting ready. Had numerous people working today some volunteering some requiring pay with no idea how to pay them. But the LORD does. And the work is needful. One crew doing the bathroom, one doing electrical wiring, one group preparing school curriculums and students, one cooking and watching kids, one laying cement and had to send the kia to be fixed.... Broke the lug nuts off hitting a pot hole and needed tie rods. Our AC died in the house so nights are very hot and hard to sleep till repaired... yuck. Wanted to add color to the bathrooms so we added a little food coloring to the tile grout a little red to the girls(pink) and a little blue for the boys and presto. Always a way to get things done in Honduras just need a little inspiration... A lot of it comes through the kids... Papi we need to paint between the tiles or the walls to make them different...hmm How can I change the color...ahh Lisa has food coloring for cakes. Neat thing about the bottles, every kids who touches them without permission... gets caught because the dye doesn't wash off easily...ie caught red handed literally.. ops.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just a little bit more...

Been trying to prepare for school to start in Feb. We have a teacher volunteering to help start, but needed a place for her to stay...by Thursday. The only place available was where we were holding church services. It was too small for church anyway. The thought was just fix it up as an apartment and build a multipurpose little pavilion building for the church, ministry, family and school. The idea was posts and a roof to replace the tent we had used. It starts out as a cheap idea, but never seems to end up that way. The “for just a little bit more”s... add up. We still go to the river to get the sand and gravel and sift it, mix cement by hand and do all work by hand. It has turned into a bigger task but is going to be a well used building in the near future. Not only church services will be held here, but other ministry meetings, school for our children, and possibly an adult education ministry ect. The Kia has hauled so many loads for projects like like this over the years, it now shows the abuse. It has lived most of its life overloaded and in 4x4 low. Now the transfer case grinds and both differentials grind, CV joints, front end needs more work, needs complete brakes, windshield, compressor..ect and the bed is now rusting since we have worn all the paint off sand blasting it a shovel full at a time. How can I be overloaded there is still room and the truck still moves... “just a little bit more” ...great for soul winning, bad for cargo. The kids like going to the river even if its just to load sand. They help some and of course play some. Even our “dainty delicate” Jenny offered to help... Once. I told her just 100 shovel fulls into the truck ok papi 100,99, 98..89, uh panting between words papi I'm tired, then takes my drink and goes off to walk in the water.. Hmm. Well it was eleven shovels I didn't have to do, but cost me my drink. But the hugs are worth it. They took the camera out and shot some photos...When they hear the truck start they run to stand on top of the pile for the ride home.

Went up to lenaca to preach Friday. We stayed and did a video outreach as well. When we go there we become the only light on the mountain physically and spiritually. The new power inverter runs the lights and we are the only light for as far as you can see in the dark night. It also runs the microphone and video projector without the annoying buzz we have had in the past. La Cruz has picked up 3 new complete families through VBS plus many kids. And the Faro Baptist church has had a new family also start attending in the last two weeks. The kids went visiting inviting the neighborhood today to our church outside. Because the apartment is filled with wet cement on walls and the church building has no roof in sun. Just set up chairs in a shady place and preach. Pray they stay and grow.

After many delays trying to adopt through child services we contacted a lawyer. Every thing here seems to need a lawyer. He said he should only take about a month. We shall see. He now has his required funds and prayerfully in a month we will have adopted our first two children. Jenny and Patricia with other to follow as funds become available. This might open doors for both them and the ministry in the future. Keep praying we let none of them go to waste.. Amen!

Lisa took a few photos of the kids today. Click on the photos to enlarge...enjoy

Monday, January 16, 2012

beginnings of another bus ministry...

La Cruz Baptist finished their first VBS with more than 300 attending and brought in 84 in a single trip on the 15 pass van. There were also 84 in the teen class of which 15 came forward for salvation. Amen! It was the first time teaching for the teacher. Two of the bench warming men in the church also went to Carlos saying they wanted to be used in ministry. So they will now accompany the saturday men's outreaches. And this is the start of another weekly bus ministry outreach with the van...Amen. I was talking to Carlos Saturday and he was beaming. He said La Cruz Baptist is different because we laid a good strong foundation on God's word before we started building. Our people dont see things the way other churches do. They search the bible and give rather than believe anything to take. Sacrifice rather than burden. All I could do is say... Amen! He shared how various people sacrificed much to feed and teach 300 children, fix the old van, build bathrooms (where were those for the years I was there? amen)
Talked to Pastor Augusto Sunday. He wants to start bible institute classes Feb 1st in the mountain. Need to get another portable dvd player we have worn out the 6 originals we started with, need to do alot of copying too wish our risograph still worked. He has several adults who really want to grow in the bible. His plan for the coming year is to hold several regular house meeting in the area using his bible students as teachers. Hondurans (saved and unsaved) will often welcome a preaching service in their home. It is counted as a privilage, but wont go to a church. I will be preaching in another mountain friday in a home. Actually outside a home because 100-200 or more people may show up. Preaching under the starts by lantern...better know your message because its hard to read, but great fellowship Amen. Have a months worth of work an only 2 week to complete it before school starts. Need strengh, wisdom and supply to do all that our wonderful Lord has graciously put before us.
Unworthy servant to a worthy Saviour,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A still small voice...

It has been a very difficult week here in Honduras. We had the mother of two of the Lighthouse children make a surprise visit after more than a year. The result was devastating. She secretly convinced her two daughters to run away and she picked them up. She found the only neighbor with a grudge against me because I put an older teenage family member in jail a month ago for breaking into our home in the middle of the night. Jr and I tied him up and took him to the police. The two girls convinced a third to girl who is mentally slow to go with them. The mother then went to the police and made all kind of charges against us. She also called the tv stations to air her complaints. Which aired all weekend. It required getting a lawyer and they put me in a secure location till the dust could settle. The LORD protected in many ways but the damage was costly. This lady lost her children years ago because she led her older daughter into her life of prostitution at 14, and tried selling the two younger children when they were 5 and 8 years old. Her sister is in jail for the same thing. She had come to our home 4 years ago with a gun threating to kill Lisa. Every contact has had adverse affect on the girls. Our names have been cleared both in the criminal court and the children's court. So it will not affect our residency status. But our names and faces have been plastered for days on TV. The father of the girls went to the judge and called her an idiot in court for even listening to this because only she was unaware of the character of the mother. He did the same on a call in tv program with the news reporter who had broadcast the story. Then many called in to verifiy the fathers words and tell of their family history. After the working of the lawyer, the police investigation was dropped, no charges filed and refered to child services. Child services did a very detailed investigation and found all the claims were baseless. Plus the girls recanted their stories once they were out of the hands of the mother. They are all now crying to come home, but that can no longer happen. Child services actually took some of our child care ideas to promote elsewhere. The collateral damage is our name is mud outside of our churches, the girls have lost their only real chance to have a family home and will be moved to a far location undisclosed and all contact with family will terminate. They will be instituionalized and the one who was mentally slow was diagnosed by the court psycologist and will go to a state facility for the mentaly handycapped with little hope for a future. It breaks my heart because she had trusted the LORD and she had grow so much with us and was becoming a self sufficient young lady. All our church folks rallied around us in wisdom advice, support., prayer and help which was very humbling for me. Many ministering saints prayed stateside and the destroyer was stayed, but not without injury. I was not able to fight this battle and it was totally in the hands of the LORD. I was wisked away against my desires by church members and the laywer to the mountains, fleeing the words of a jezabel. I read about Elijah while sitting and waiting on the mountain top for the LORD to fight the battle. The parallels were striking. All the while being fed by a widow woman and her 12 year old son... While there I received heartbreaking notes of affection from the children with Lisa. They brought tears reading them. When I returned home I was overrun by the children crying and giving me hugs. Please keep us in prayer the attacks seem more insidious as the years go on.

After coming off the mountain, I got a chance to stop by La Cruz Baptist as they were starting their first VBS, 250+ in attendance. They revived the old 15 passanger van and brought in over 120 children on it, 79 on just one trip 40 plus on the second... Even I was alarmed, but had to laugh as they drove in. Thankfully it was a short trip not over 15mph. But for those that know our bus ministry antics in the past 25 years, know that it takes alot to suprise me. The fruit does not fall far from the tree I suppose.

We started on building a room to meet in for church at the Lighthouse, because teachers are coming in just a couple of weeks and will occupy the other space. Also trying to finish the classrooms and ready for school to start then too. Still need to pay our upcoming payment ($2600) feb 1st to electric company, but with the storm of trials this week it now seems like it is impossable unless the LORD breaks the hearts of our already broken hearted and overburdened ministering saints

Lisa just returned this morning from a visit to child services because Jenny wanted to ask why her adoption process is going so slow.(uhh ok Jenny) Jenny has a dream of going to China as a missionary. I contacted someone I knew there yesterday and asked if they would entertain the idea of her there and they said absolutely, Jenny was jumping around the room in joy, hence why the urgency. So jenny went and asked and told them they were holding up her plans for the future. It was funny. Child service then turned to Lisa and asked us to take back at least one child plus 3 new ones... Noteing to Lisa they had seen many empty beds and more capacity when inspecting... Hmm. The need of Christ is great...

Photos, upper is the VBS, sorry for quality but taken with a phone cam. The second is the new room for church services, the last is the view from the mountain top. A 100 acre property that you could see all the way to the ocean 40 miles away. Would be very peaceful under normal curcumstances. Water there is by an underground fountain that flows and makes a brook that is pure to drink from. No water pump needed just pipe it down to the house. The birds would literally shake the tree branches and mangos would fall right at your feet where you sat. Every morning after I prayed on a rock, the lady went out to gather sticks to make coffee and give me a small piece of sweet corn cake from the corn her son picked. It was a humbling experience but very insightful from a still small voice... may be time to look for an Elisha... 1 Kings 17-19. Though in a remote area, by means of modern comunication, I was also given the opportunity to at least get a father and son to consider the heart of the other... another hmm, Mal 4:5-6

Unworthy servant to a worthy Saviour,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Would you wash Jesus’ feet? Mat 25:40

Feeling a little rested after a long weekend. Friday we preached in San Geronimo. Lisa had made up the same little gift bags for children and bagged up some clothes to give away unannounced to the faithful. We buy used clothes bundles for $300 (bailed like hay) and it is much cheaper than shopping individual for the kids. The bundles are from the states from goodwill ect and sold on the streets here. If we go direct to the suppler, we buy them wholesale like the vendors. But the result is a lot of clothes not used which we share. Saturday received just enough in the bank for Lisa to food shop a bit and we decided to make a spaghetti watchnight service with smores and a few roadside fireworks and sparklers for the church. I was surprised how many came out on short notice. Kintine, our oldest man has become attached to Lisa’s cooking. As Lisa and the girls were serving he saw the spaghetti and smiled saying to Lisa… “I’m going to need a full plate of that”. Keep in mind a typical Honduran spaghetti is literally just a little ketchup and pasta. Lisa makes it hearty Italian…( of course, cooked outdoors on an open fire in a 7 gallon aluminum pot made from melted down car wheels and soda cans…) His grandson is the young child in the photo just tickled slurping in pasta. I was laughing watching him eat. Lit the bonfire and it roared to life 20' high in our 90 degree 11pm temps, had to hose it to keep the trees from catching on fire. Taught the folks how to roast marsh- mallows and make smores. Which was a huge hit. It all must have been a main attraction because outside the gate a large crowed gathered just to watch the church activities. One photo of Karen in front of the fire spoke volumes to me. Ending just after midnight, but by the time we cleaned up and got kids in bed it was after 2am. Then prep to leave at 6am for the mountain and preach in Santa Teresa.

Before morning church, I began to notice everyone’s dusty dirty feet from walking to church and took a few photos. Remembering the time I washed feet here as an illustration of being a servant of Christ Jesus. Dont think it would have quit the same effect in the USA. The difference here is it does not loose its meaning because it is needful, understood and something they all do if water is available yet is humbling for all. I have tried to live with this mindset and found it is a privileged position very few care to seek. The special blessings that flow from the LORD in this can be found no other way. Nor can it be enticingly explained, because if it could, all would seek the blessing rather than the glory of the LORD thus making it of no heavenly value. It is filled with heartache, pain and suffering as was the cross… followed by unspeakable joy. 1 Peter 1:7-8.

I handed out candy and things during the kids service and a few bigger prizes during an answer/question time. When they all left only one boy returned to hug me, say happy birthday and thank you. I then gave him all I had. I thought about the 10 lepers of which only one returned to give thanks… Honduras has taught me much. Rush down the mountain for services at the Lighthouse, then take Marc Antonio back to the hospital where he is caring for his mother who had a stroke thursday.
We have a teacher coming this month to help start the school but is only planning to stay 3 months. The only place we have to house her is the place the church meets for services. So we have dug a foundation in hopes the LORD provides enough to build a small multi purpose space. Ie a roof and columns with a floor. It will be where we meet for church services, chapel ect. I just put up the sail, the Lord provides the wind and direction. Our most frequent email is the bank saying low balance alert, like this morning. So now this, as well as school classes need to be finished in 4 weeks. As for my birthday… just did not have time for that, so maybe I'm not any older, my mind thinks so, but my body says otherwise and shows it's evidence.

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