On the Terrace …

…or terraza as the case may be.

Because things got busy as they sometimes tend to do around here I ended up stashing this note in ‘drafts’ and forgot about it. I saw the title and questioned ‘what is that?’ … it was an evening out  with ‘our’ young married couples and it is from way back but it’s worth mentioning and so, I digress to the past – like Saturday May 5th!

For well over a year and half Lowell and I have opened our home to several of the young married couples of the church here.  We’ve read books together, studied great lesson series, watched and participated in the Fireproof movie and lessons, and just had some wonderful fellowship including cook-outs around the campfire and meals around the table. In all, there’s seven couples that have participated. Now to get us all together … that’s a rare occurrence … but each have been  in and out of our home numerous times. Juan Jose and Claudia are neighbors and friends of Juan Jose and Mirty. They  were regulars at church services and our home even before they had become Christians – what a day of rejoicing when they made the decision to be baptized!

So, this Saturday night mentioned above was really very, very special –  we all gathered at the home of Juan Jose and Claudia and they and Juan Jose and Mirty hosted an asado (cook-out) on their terraza! Wow! there’s was some delicious food – chicken, beef and sausages grilled out and the usual ‘sides’ of Honduras – churros (chips), beans, grilled tortillas, and chismol  (fresh salsa). It was so neat to be sitting up on their ‘roof’ and it was the night of the ‘super moon’ with an actual break in the typical cloud coverage so we could see it! We laughed and visited and just had a perfect time – as good friends should and do. One neat thing too is that neighbors were invited that are regular attendees of the Friday night small group that meets in Juan Jose’s and Mirty’s home.

Let me say, this is a good group of folks – they are a valuable part of the church in Santa Rosa. The men are beginning to be active in worship participating in prayers and Lord’s supper and represent the future deacons and elders of the church here. The ladies – four of which have children – are wonderful Mommies and wives – they will be teaching children and ladies in years to come. Each of these couples are getting in on the ‘ground-rules’ of what makes a marriage great and are understanding the hard work, daily, that it takes. The discussions have been thought-provoking and valuable.

I love this family of God!

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Good Things

There’s been some very good things going on here …

like:

The medical brigade with the Burnt Hickory folks in Yarushin. Over 800 people were served over the four days. There are always moving stories at our clinics – and you know some stand out more than others. This time there was a lady who had lived years with a mysterious bacterial infection that now has an answer and ‘remedy’ of sorts (and definitely a better life), and a number of small children were seen that had serious anemia problems. One little girl was even taken to the hospital in Santa Rosa and had to have blood transfusions. Thank God, some of the visiting folks were not only the right blood type but were willing to share their blood so this little one could get a new lease on life. We truly saw the fingerprints of the Father in these life stories.

And, last week, Scott and Tim returned (from Atlanta) for yet another basketball clinic and this time, guess what? among others, it included kiddos from our neighborhood! yay! Remember our post on Basketball – it’s not just a game? Well, from when this started “(Lowell) Got drafted into the NBA – Niños Basketball Association. Will be helping teach basketball skills to 9 – 12 year olds but interspersing Biblical teaching. Should be fun and its always good to guide kids to the Bible.” until now, there’s been almost weekly basketball activity with at least 5 different schools. The kids are learning valuable lessons about not only sportsmanship but also, pertinent lessons from the Bible and the value and necessity of prayer. The kids are growing in valuable ways that they can take into their everyday lives.

Also,t this week, with a little different twist, a group has gone back up to Ojos de Agua (where we’d had a medical/vision clinic a month ago) and a team of young folks from CO and Atlanta are holding basketball clinic in this mountain village. Fun times, encouraging moments and definitely great contacts for the Lord’s church in that area.

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Belize #3

We went to Belize – another of those 90-day exit thingies – ah, the things ya gotta do. *sigh*

This is LAW’s from facebook page:

Connie Monsees

16 hours ago

How was Belize? 

Lowell Anthony White

Getting there was a bit rough but once there it was nice. We missed the boat in Puerto Cortes and had to travel to Puerto Barrios (4 hours in buses) in Guatemala. The small boat over was rough riding but it was cheaper and we missed a storm by not getting to Placencia til the next day. Had three nice days and then the boat back was on the biggest rolling waves I’ve seen. Fortunately, it was a bigger boat (45 passengers) so it was kinda cool. Got back home worn out. Thanks for asking. Sorry we missed saying goodbye to you all.

16 hours ago

May I say, this is abbreviated in the extreme… so…

here – still in summation – is the rest of the story:

We left the house a little after 6 a.m. … ended up waiting for the 7 a.m. bus … well, we missed the boat because we were on the slowest Sultana Bus EVER! It was jammed packed – even though we got on together, Lowell was in the 3rd or seat, I was kind pushed with the crowd and ended up in the back of the bus in front of the rear bench seat and finally, rather than stand, I got to sit on a little 4-legged plastic stool with my backpack on floor in front of me. It was the first of my ‘wild’ rides – keeping balance while dodging pot holes was a challenge.

After unloading we took a taxi instead of a rapidito (small transit van) to Puerto Cortes – try as he did (a truly valiant effort) our taxi driver just missed the boat. So, after a potty break at a nice restaurant, we got some friendly advice from a waiter and walked 2 blocks over to catch a rapidito to the Guatemalan frontier. Hot is an understatement but, we were on our way albeit in the midst of  ‘Plan B’. Thankfully, through the years, Lowell and I (and our company of kids) have always dealt relatively well with ‘plan b, c, f or k’ … this world is an un-dependable place at times and you just gotta roll with the punches.

So, 2 rapiditos to get us to the border, (stopped at immigration, got our stamps) and one more rapidito once we crossed — this one was loaded! we had 20 or so people in a 15 seater van and stopped and picked up 7 men who just got off work – the door was open and they stood in and almost out, just holding on for several miles til we dropped them in their little village up the road. Amazing. So, this guy was really very, very nice and for 15 more queztales took us all the way to the dock at the ocean – which was excellent because Nemo was just about ready to head out – had we walked the 5 blocks as planned we would have missed him. (Lowell was able to do immigration a block away)  As it was, we bought our tickets right where we could also get baleadas and Gator Aid to go and we ate on the boat.

Nemo’s boat – man! it was a very, very rough and wild ride – it was so windy and the ocean was choppy as all get out. Besides Nemo and us, there was one of his sons, and a little Belizian family. Their little guy was very offended at the ocean spraying him every whip-stitch. Our boat would raise up and you would just steady yourself to be ready of the loud clap – like a gunshot and then the crash down. Oh, our backs and bottoms were so sore after this ride. However, it was lovely – silver sky and sea and the wind felt marvelous after the heat of the day.

Finally, we arrived about 5 or so in Punto Gordo (means ‘fat point’ – what a name) –  did what we needed to do at immigration, we talked about staying in someplace new but, call us old fogeys or whatever, we were content to go back where we had stayed with Jake and Daniel on our 1st trip – so, we had the room next to where we’d been and had a good rest. It stormed so big in the night and I commenced to praying hard that we’d travel fine in the Hokey Pokey water taxi the next morning. And we did – the rains stopped by morning, we loaded on our very nice bus with bookoos of others and we made it to Independence in the nick of time. As we got off the boat a taxi driver asked us if we needed a ride, we said we’d just walk to the Hokey Pokey and it’s a good thing because he ended up calling them and they had just pulled out and came back to wait for us. Thank You, God! Otherwise, it’d been a several hour wait til the next. We ended up settling in to Miss Julia’s cabana before 8 that morning! Finally!! and because they had a storm the night before, they had some leaks in the room we were supposed to stay in and we got to stay in a cabana for the same price.

We felt blessed.

We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 full days of sand, sea and sky – spent time swimming, sitting on the beach, reading, walking the shore, tooling about Placencia, praying, and meditating. Every day the sky was marvelous! The seashore is one of my favorite places in the world – I feel so close to God and can see, hear and sense his greatness and majesty.

We headed back to Honduras on Friday, 9:30 a.m. aboard the D-Express exited Belize – got in to Puerto Cortes traveling over some high seas (yikes!), did our thing at immigration – an additional 90-days! and by 2:30 or so, got on board a rapidito … a long, fun ride to San Pedro’s terminal, by 6:30 rode Hedman Alas back home to Santa Rosa and walked in the door a little before 10 p.m. – whew!

We went to Belize – another of those 90-day exit thingies – it’s a week later and it hardly seems  like it happened at all.

Feel free to view pictures here.  Belize #3

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Changes … can be fun, and a little unusual … :/

When Jacob left here a number of things had to change – at least for me (Robin).

One thing was inevitable – I would no longer be walking everywhere as before. Daytime journeys out to the pulperias (little grocery stores) could still happen but not in the extent as they did with Jake around – the loads are just too heavy for me to carry on my own.  Taxis are available sometimes but not always when you need it and as often as not, we would walk all the way home with our cargo.  And too, just having a male presence made things more comfortable. There’s so much construction going on and the cat-calls and remarks (a way of life here) are a little harder to deal with on my own.  Also, I am more cautious by myself  even here at the house … for example, locking the front gate and the doors when I’m not downstairs.

Walking to church gatherings on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings is out … in the past, generally speaking, Jake and I walked by ourselves and met Lowell at the building. Well, I don’t walk anywhere by myself after dark and have kind of lost confidence even in daylight to go far afield. For example, the usual way I used to go to the building changed because of road construction.  A couple of times of being really spooked ended that a while back.

So, what has happened is this:   A month or so before Jacob left Lowell got a motorcycle (exactly 46 days ago- he just had the 45-day-check-up) . The purchase of the bike was due to the generosity of 2 very special families and he got it when he needed it the most – he had developed Plantar Fasciitis and was suffering with severe foot pain. The pain has greatly reduced since he’s been able to give his feet a break from all the walking. On the motorcycle Lowell was pretty much solo while Jake was here but now, I’ve hopped on board.

My rule is: if it is a combination of dark and rainy, I stay home. Otherwise, my wardrobe choice has drastically altered – this lady who has worn skirts or dresses probably 70% of the time for years and years now dons her jeans or pants for trips out.  We discovered mighty fast that side-saddle riding may have been fine on the long, straight roads of Nigeria but here on these rut-filled steep hills it is just not feasible or safe. (although… I have learned what long, full skirts I can get by with on a Sunday night – you know for riding astride yet modestly ).

Oh, just fyi, I always feel safe with Lowell’s driving and I trust his every move … not necessarily the other guy though! So anyways, we just glide along, bumpity-bumpity- BUMP, glide, slide bumpity-bumpity-BUMP, GLIDE  and move in, out and around these Honduran roads. If you’ve never rode a motorcycle on a cobblestone street, you should try it sometime!

Our helmets are bright red … we’ve been told they look happy (thanks, Richard) and like they look like ripe tomatoes. They put me in mind of the veggie tale character, Bob, the Tomato. I call us the ‘tomato heads.  Even with the bright tomato-red helmet, I think Lowell looks pretty cool on his motorcycle.

Not bad for a pair of old fogies, huh?

Blessings every one … we’re outahere!!

Zoom-, bumpity-bumpity- BUMP, glide, slide bumpity-bumpity-BUMP, GLIDE … zzooooommmmm

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Hither, Thither and Yon part 1

Literally that means ‘all over the place’ – which aptly describes our wanderings the last few weeks, or even months.

Lowell, Jacob and I wander from here to there mostly because we have brigades come in to work with us and they’re from all over the US. If I’m counting correctly I guess we’ve had at the minimum six different groups come down already this year meaning that we’ve had medical brigades, work details, seminars and great times mingling with all these super people. Honduran lives have been touched and changed in incredible ways because of these people with servant hearts.

You see, we’re (Lowell, Jacob and I) the privileged ones – more often than not, we get to participate not only in the initial encounter, the work but then too, get to see and experience the follow-up. I like that – I really like to see the impact that a short-term mission trip has on an area. We’ve been to any number of little villages – up to 3 hours away and each has its own story of people and interactions that lead to great things being accomplished for the kingdom. There’s some really cool stories going on!

For example: Las Sandias (a little village 45 or so minutes out of Santa Rosa) … we first went to hold a medical brigade with Pine Tree folks back in February. A couple of weeks later, their Youth group came back and painted the schools where that medical brigade was held, and then a little later we were able to go back and do scenery painting on that Kinder and Primary school. This was all done by so many different people!! But the connecting fiber was Jesus Christ and right now, there is some great evangelism happening in this village. A couple of the men are close ones to responding to the gospel call. Their families are being studied with on a regular basis. Their feeling after all these weeks is that ‘they matter’ – in this world, in the eyes of God …  they feel they matter because it was demonstrated by folks who are acting as the feet and hands of Jesus Christ.

I see the fingerprints of the Father all through these wonderful days …

here’s a taste of our days with Las Sandias:

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The Truth Is … I Lied :/

by: Robin Lynn

Well, I didn’t lie about anything really big and it was just to my big kids so, I think we’ll all get over it. You see I shared with them rather recently, and probably more than once, that it was going to be years before I ever went on a hike or long walk just for the ‘fun of it’. Moderate hiking in our Stateside National State Parks is something our family has always enjoyed. However, after living here and walking cardiovascular challenging hills on a daily basis it is not high on my list of leisurely past-times – until this week. What was I thinking?????

It all happened because of Jake – he keeps us young. I’m hoping after he flies away from the nest Lowell and I still have these fun adventures but, in the meantime I know it’s because he drives us … and I’m glad.  We chose to go back to Guatemala for our ‘time-out’ (90 day stamp renewal for our passports). The guys had already been but now I was along for the ride and this time we decided to include a visit to a nearby tourist site – Ipala Volcano, Crater Lake outside Chiquimula, Guatemala. According to the hotel owners, people at the desk and anyone else we mentioned the possibility of going to, well,  the walk to the top was “vale el esfuerzo” or, worth the effort. (I now really, really appreciate this expression!)

First of all let me clue you in on the transportation we used in Guatemala … all our travel from La Entrada, Honduras and throughout Guatemala was via rapidito vans – some of them supposedly can seat up to 21 but on one, we were truly loaded with 48 people  – ridiculous! We were always moderately comfortable and never felt endangered – but yes, crowded as all get-out! So, for this day … March 29, 2012 – we headed to Ipala in a rapidito, changed to another in a little town up the highway to get to the base of the mountain and then caught a ride in the back of a truck to the tiny village below the actual trail.

Oh my! Let me say here that labeling this as a rigorous walk is an understatement! We started climbing up this long, hot, rocky, dry & dusty trail – and it took an hour and a half and it was a long, hard trek.

This is Ipala Volcano from the highway.

Lowell in back of truck we headed up in.

The trail is dusty and

rocky and hot and steep

But, the there were million dollar views 🙂

We're at the top and first view of the lake!!

Love it!

Jake at Crater Lake

Crystal blue loveliness! Isn't this amazing! Lowell and Jake took this from up on the edge ...

after a good fun time it was all about getting down .... ugh!!

Here are some cool, interesting links about Ipala Volcano and Crater Lake and people even camping there – we felt safe and of course, there were oodles of people there because, even though it was a Thursday, school groups had come because of being close to vacation time and their Easter holidays – everyone is up for an outing. I think there were only 2 others that actually swam but they played ball and had a good time – like us …

Yep, another adventure under our belts and it was definitely “vale el esfuerzo”.

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2012 Support Letter

Robin, Jacob and I began working with Phil and Donna Waldron and René Rosa in September of 2010.  We moved to Santa Rosa de Copán in the western part of Honduras after having worked in Santa Ana for seven months.  We are excited about what is being done here and we feel our prayers have been answered that an offer was made to us about joining this team.

We are working with a team of fourteen. We are three North American couples and the rest Latino couples or singles plus two single North American interns. Most of us attend and work in conjunction with the church at Santa Rosa de Copán.  This team has vision, excitement and they have a PLAN!  That plan is to plant churches and teach them to plant more churches with an emphasis on the six “states” in western Honduras called “Occidente.”  The movement that begins here may very well continue throughout Honduras.  At least, this is the dream and prayer.

These are not just dreams, though, the team has worked together to plan how this will happen.  There is now a strong and active church in Santa Rosa.  We have worshiped with them for a year now.  The church has caught the same vision as the team.  We haven’t seen a church more excited about what God is going to accomplish than this one is.  There is something going on four or five nights of the week.  They are growing and reaching out to others with the gospel.  There are regularly 185 in attendance any given Sunday.

Part of the strategy involves C.R.E.O., a school to train men to carry the gospel and the vision back to their home congregations.  Seven young men attend at present.  They will attend classes during the week but are expected to return to their home congregation each weekend.  This is done for two reasons – to help the local church but also to encourage the student to return to his home when he graduates.

Another method to train preachers and leaders is intensive weeks – a time when Christians from rural areas come and attend classes for six straight days. The most recent one was a study of the Sermon on the Mount. There are six sessions planned for this year. This has been shown to be an excellent method of preparing leaders for rural congregations.

The following is one area in which we, the Whites, fit into this plan.  Robin and I noticed even before we moved to Honduras what a terrible problem exists here in relation to marriages.  There are very few people married.  The culture has developed into a mentality that living together without marriage is normal.  Men do not want to make the commitment and women don’t expect them to do so.  Infidelity is rampant.  The team and we understand what an impediment this is to the maturity and growth of the church.  Add to that the promiscuity of the youth and you have a recipe for failure as far as the church is concerned.  Our task, not an easy one, is to begin a program of teaching to change this.  We will concentrate on teaching the church membership but hopefully will branch out to those not yet in the church.  We will teach the sanctity of marriage through the use of preaching, seminars, pre-marital counseling sessions and any other means which proves valuable.

Phil and Donna have already identified a couple of programs that have been successful elsewhere that they believe can be adapted and translated into the Latino context.  Robin and I feel we have the experience and knowledge, with the help of the team, to build several programs that will bring glory to God by changing the minds and hearts of both young and old in Honduras.  We do not presume to think it will be an easy task.  We are daunted by the thought of making it happen and have not made the decision easily because we understand how difficult it will be to change a culture of thinking that has been molded by the world and the evil one who influences it.  But it must be done if the church is going to successfully grow in this country and we believe the Lord will be leading us and supporting us and helping us all along the way.

Let me quickly share some of the other things we and the team are doing. I (Lowell) am in charge of the Tuesday night children’s classes. The men teach these classes – something out of the ordinary in the Latino context.  Robin teaches a children’s class almost every Sunday. She and I have a weekly Bible study in our home on Friday. Each Saturday night the couples who have been recently legally married attend a class and discussion on marriage issues in our home. Most recently we’ve been studying lessons based on the Fireproof movie. Tuesday nights we attend praise and worship. Thursday nights we attend disciples classes. Saturday nights Jacob, our son, attends youth meetings. Robin has a group of children in our home on Wednesdays to work on crafts. Every other Monday night is a men’s meeting with the brothers of the congregation.

The team works with short-term missions groups who come to hold medical, dental and eyeglass brigades. Some brigades will work on other projects like painting a kindergarten, painting murals, holding volleyball clinics and conducting VBS. We expect over two hundred people here this year. And to give an example of what they accomplish, there were 900 people seen at a medical, dental and eyeglass clinic this month. Plus, we try to hold these in villages where we plan to plant a church soon or where one already exists. Donna Waldron is the coordinator for these but she enlists the help of most of the team. It’s a big effort.

The team also has a work called DESEO. This is an effort to enter primary schools and teach classes with the goal to “impact the children in a way that forms their character and helps develop an intimate relationship with their creator”. Last year there were team members working in four schools. This year several more schools will be added. In conjunction with this the team is starting a program based on the Upward basketball program in the States which also works on developing character and a relationship with God, but in addition, works to impact the parents as well. We’ve already had one training camp and a brother is returning this week to continue the training of those who will be involved.

Did I mention that the team would like to plant 12 new congregations this year? I’m not as optimistic as others on the team about the possibilities of accomplishing that but even if we are able to do half and instill in them the desire to plant other churches, the year will end well.

We believe the work in Santa Rosa fits our gifts, personalities and experiences because there is:

A Team – A group of missionaries and Latinos with one goal.

A Vision – A restoration-type movement concentrating on the six states of western Honduras.

A Plan – To plant churches and grow mature Christians who want to plant churches.

An Excitement – Young people and old, new converts and older Christians are filled with excitement.

A Need – Our purpose will be to build Godly marriages and encourage lives of purity to make the churches strong.

May God continue to bless each of you as you seek for and find the will of God for your life,

Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

If you would like to help, please contact me at lowellwhite@post.com

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