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Fire in the Market (see pictures)
Just days after the fire in the prison, the whole market caught fire in Comayaguela (old center of Tegucigalpa). Kjell saw a bunch of smoke from that end of the city all the way from Discovery School last Saturday (where he happened to be working repairing the stage). I texted a friend in the city to get the news and then turned on the local news station. There it was – a billow of smoke rolling up into the sky and down the streets. Apparently, there was very little water available to put it out quickly and around 1,800 booths, which represent businesses, were burnt down.
Some business owners saw the fire coming, put their merchandise on a tarp, and dragged it out. For others, it was too late. And, as always, people lurked around waiting for anything left to ‘grab’ (a.k.a., steal).
The Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries (HFMM) is an organization or fellowship established in Honduras by missionary and pastor, John Mattica. Last spring I finally joined the fellowship, after recommending many and ‘advertising’ for it. Last fall, I asked if I could help. The vision of the fellowship is to “Unify the kingdom work in Honduras” and that definitely lines up with ATC's call of helping others answer the call of God.
My first goal is to meet with current members and conduct a survey (series of questions). This will help me to get a feel for what they believe the fellowship is and share what we are here for, as well as hear each missionary's heart. Basically, this goal is an information gathering mission. Another goal is to help missionaries get their questions answered, collect any helpful information they have, and connect information and people together. Another goal was the creating of a Facebook fanpage (gotta have one of those!) and keeping it updated. At times it is used to spread encouragement and other times information.
Feel free to check it out on Facebook: Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries. Click on ‘photos’ and then the album ‘members’ to look at all the missionary photos and information (of what they are doing in Honduras as well as links to websites, blogs, and fanpages). Connect friends, family, colleagues, churches, acquaintances, etc. with a missionary they can serve or partner with. Spread the word when there is a posting for missionaries that need short or long term help or a school needs a teacher or there are prayer requests (for ministries or the country of Honduras).
Another goal is to meet with prospective members, explain HFMM, and help them become part of it. The cool part of all of this is meeting all the different missionaries and their calls. If someone needs help, and I (and sometimes my family) are available, I can go. We (myself and my family) did this recently with helping clean out a bodega (bagging beans, making piles of shoes, clothes, toys, etc.) and helping prepare food to give away at the morgue (Mikayla and I).
Another goal is to help with any events and meetings. The Annual HFMM Missionary Retreat will be March 23-25.
Fire in the Prison (see pictures)
There is a prison in Comayagua with over 800 prisoners. There was a fire two nights ago in one building that had over 300 prisoners and one police/guard on duty with one set of keys. I cannot imagine the sound (screams, panic) along with the sensation of the heat. It is probable that the prisoners died from the smoke before the fire burnt their bodies.
I was contacted by a missionary friend, Teresa Searcy, about making some baleadas/burritos to bring to family members who would be waiting to identify bodies at the morgue. Comayagua does not have a morgue, so all the bodies (over 350) were being brought to Tegucigalpa at Hospital Escuela. I grabbed what supplies I had, cooked up the eggs I had, took Mikayla, and went to Teresa’s house. There I met Jaquelin and Wendy who would help us. Jaquelin’s story was sad. Last fall, she lost her husband. He was an ex-gang member who was shot by the cops when released from prison (they released him at around 11pm at night). This can be a ‘normal’ occurrence. Some police, who are ironically corrupt themselves, do not like the gang members. They do whatever they can to keep any blessings from coming their way (such as making people wait to bring gang members food or minister to them).
Her story gets worse. She was on the phone with a friend (ex-gang member) the night of the fire. He put the phone down to go see what all the noise, ‘screams’, were about and never came back to the phone. I think it was a little bit therapeutic for her to make the food and hand it out. It gave her something to ‘do’, some way to help others.
After all the ingredients were set (tortillas, beans, eggs, cheese, and plastic papers with napkins), we created a little assembly line. We had around 100 baleadas/burritos that filled half of a big cooler. It was after 8pm before we drove to Hospital Escuela. Behind the hospital, the Red Cross and COPECA had set up tents. People were filing reports. Reporters were interviewing families. Families were just sitting, waiting. It took maybe 10 minutes to be completely out of food.
Some of the prisoners were ex gang members who had a church in the prison. It is believed that all the Christians, part of that prison church, are now dead.
Opening of Faith Academy (see pictures)
Faith Academy had a dedication service on Saturday. Kjell and the kids drove to Zambrano as I was in Los Encinitos. There was a small ceremony about the school and thank you’s to all who helped (build, paint, donate, etc.). Then, everyone walked to the Faith Academy to ‘cut the ribbon.’ The school was beautiful and looked ready for the school year (Honduran school year is February – November). After that, there was a big lunch.
Faith Academy will be looking for teacher/supervisors every academic year. If you are interested in serving for one school year, please contact them (http://freetheoppressed.org/Faith_Academy.html). No teaching experience necessary. Knowledge of PACE’s (ACE) program a plus. There is also the option to sponsor a child/student for $75/month (see their website for details).
Los Encinitos Trip 2 (see pictures)
I was substitute teaching at Nashville school again when I got a text asking me to chaperone on a Discovery School/Cape Cares dental/medical brigade. This time, Katarina was not going to be one of the students, so I was asking what days and who the students were who were going. Finding out that the two 10th graders and that they were leaving in two days, I had to make a quick decision. It was a tough decision because I would miss the school (Faith Academy) dedication and the Super Bowl!
When you know your vision, you only have to ask if the task ahead lines up with that vision. Does being a chaperone help others answer the call of God on their lives? Yes. First, I believe that missions trips (even non-evangelical brigades) help anyone answer the call of God on their lives: one, because they are taken out of their environment and priorities shift; two, because people can be taken out of their comfort zone to try things they would have never tried before (and that narrows down their likes and dislikes and thus helps them make decisions for their future). However, for this trip, the two students are looking toward medical careers already. So, not only did the trip confirm that they don’t want to be dentists it also confirmed their desire to pursue medicine. On top of that, the trip gave them skills to achieve their dreams (they ran tests, took blood pressure, etc.).
I was in sterilization all week (sterilization of the dental tools). Gross trays, filled with saliva and blood, were put in the sink and I was to rinse and scrape things off. Needle ends and glass tubes (with Novocain) were removed into a Sharps container. Then, the tools were placed in a cleaning solution for 5 minutes and rinsed in two more bins. I put a piece of special tape on the trays and loaded the tools on them. They spent 25 minutes in the sterilization machine. If the tape strips turned from white to black, then the sterilization was complete. Tools were then dumped on the table to cool and be sorted. Every so often I was called out to translate things like: bite on the gauze for 1 hour, don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes or 1 hour, and instructions for taking pain medication (1 pill every 4-6 hours for pain). In down time, I organized cabinets full of supplies (matching simply by the name or box) and filled pain medication bottles (ibuprofen or non-aspirin).
Even though I struggled at the beginning of the week, with a cold and then hives (trying to convince people I never get sick), I was so glad to have had the privilege of chaperoning. As little signal as I could receive on my phone, Kjell was able to BB (instant messenger on Blackberry phone) me the end of the Giants vs. Patriots game and we all sat by waiting for his updates (for the disappointing end). The group adored and appreciated the students and entrusted them with many responsibilities. I was able to spend time with the girls by going on a little walk and playing games in the evenings (Pass the Pigs and Fill or Bust).
ABSH Language Arts Festival (see pictures)
Discovery School hosted the national SPELLING BEE for the 2011-2012 academic year. After the approval from the ABSH General Assembly, they transformed the event into a LANGUAGE ARTS FESTIVAL. They had SPELLING COMPETITIONS in both English and Spanish for grades 2 – 8, and added a SPEECH COMPETITION in both English and Spanish for grades 4 – 11.
Katarina, Mikayla, and Rebekah all won their speech competitions for their grade levels at Discovery School and were entered into the national speech competition. At the ABSH Language Arts festival Katarina came in 2nd place and her prize was lots of chips and L100 to Book Master and Mikayla and Rebekah came in 1st. They each received L600 on a credit card as well as 12-packs of soda. Awards were given in reverse order (younger grades first) and it became a running joke for the Fenn girls of “What did these girls eat for breakfast?” (since they were all winning something). They all wrote their own speeches, but they did have some coaching from dad before the competition at school and before the festival. Of course, you all know that standing in front of the crowd and ‘drama’ is not hard to find in this family.
Romeo To Go (repeat performance) (see pictures)
"Romeo To Go” was asked back for a repeat performance (by students and teachers alike). They decided to make a special Valentine’s Day performance. This meant a few more ‘brush up’ rehearsals and hope for an audience. It received an even greater turn out than the previous performance and all the students did great again.
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