Monday, May 28, 2012

Newsito: A Tale of Two Teams - PART 2

Calvary Chapel Des Moines Team 2012
Souvenir shopping in Ojojona

The Ranch’s most recent team visited and served alongside us from Sunday, March 18th through Saturday, March 24th. This team was an extra blessing because not only were my parents visiting at the time (extra help with the team – thanks elder Beards), but the team was from our home church in Iowa – Calvary Chapel Des Moines (CCDM; formerly known as Heartland Christian Fellowship).

It is difficult to express the impact that a team can have on the community and our lives as missionaries. How does one judge such an intangible idea? Each team has their own unique logistical obstacles to overcome. First off, this particular team was relatively small, consisting of 10 people (8 adults and two children) and were staying for a quick five full days at the Ranch. How effective could a small team without any Spanish speakers be for such a short time on the ground? God would soon make it clear that true ministry is not judged by quantities impacted, but the quality of the impact.

Prayer with the team before the day's projects begins.

This team was unlike the previous team helping the Ranch in February (See Tale of Two Teams - PART 1 ) which was was twice as large and divided into three separate ministry areas (construction, VBS and health outreach workshops). The CCDM team was coming together with the Beard family to minister to the people of El Circulo. This allowed us to really build relationships with the team, families in the community and to give a truer sense to our visiting friends of daily life at Rancho Oasis.

I, Jon, introduce the CCDM team to the elementary school students

The CCDM team was able to join me in the school as I started English classes to continue to build relationships with children and parents in the community.

Teaching #'s via the card game UNO!

Visiting Ilsy's kindergarten / Photo op with military patrol during class 

Nando, Lupe, Angeli, Gerson & Luis
While we wait on God’s timing to purchase the property, God has moved our focus from on-site projects to off-site projects. As we’ve gotten more involved with families in the community, we want to bless without creating a sense of dependency on “the great white hope.” We’ve seen and heard too many sad ministry stories of well-intentioned missions creating more long term problems, such as apathy, greed and a sense of entitlement to foreign help. So, we’ve asked these families to pay back Rancho Oasis 10% of the cost of the materials. Labor is freely given by the teams and the 10% tithe back to the ministry, is actually used for more community projects. Therefore, the families that receive help are actually going to help other families in the community. So far, so good!

Outdoor Wood Shop

Family, team & finished walls
The CCDM team was able to complete two projects for families involved with Rancho Oasis. The first project was to add a few partitions/walls to a large living room area for Guadalupe and her kids (Jessica, Fernando, Gerson, Genderson and Angeli). The single room was divided into a bedroom for the three teen boys, a bedroom for the baby girl and teenage daughter and a living room area. The work was simple and the team was able to complete it in a day! An extra blessing was the involvement of the family’s father, Luis and their middle-son Gerson (pronounced “hair-son”). Luis is not pursing the Lord, so it was great to have a bunch of godly men present to show Christ’s love in action. Gerson is one of the local kids stuck in limbo – he’s already graduated elementary school, but is too young to start high school. He was able to learn a few technics with power tools and be a blessing for his family in the work.

Gerson: super-assistant!

Luis, Oscar and one of the walls / Culture shock setting in (I'm speaking of Oscar!)

Roof Discipleship

Cesar & Nexser
Our second project was to re-roof Cesar’s home. I met with his parents Javier and Maria and discussed the need for a new roof. I learned that actually three families live in the home with at least 11 people! Again the work was fairly simple: removing the three different kinds of roofing material and replacing it with metal sheets. Praise the Lord it wasn’t blistering hot! Cesar and his cousin, Nexser, worked beside the men in the afternoon after school. Not only was the completed roof a major blessing to the family, but also an eye-opening experience for the team to see how those we minister to really live.

Before shot rusted with metal sheets, clay tile and composite roofing

Removing Tile - one by one / David, my father, Pastor Brent and Kenny

Removing metal sheets / Saving the old roofing material

Installing new material over house, not porch / Cesar lends a hand

Almost done! / Gabriela entertains Mauricio and Yaemi

Finished roof with Nexser's mom, Magda

RO4Y Lunch!!!

While the men were completing projects off-site in the community, the ladies were assisting Mare in her daily life and completed many projects that simply get put off when you’re a deaf, pregnant mother with three toddlers and a hubby to take care of! The work and more importantly the fellowship for Marillyn were greatly appreciated! Mare doesn’t have a lot of involvement with the community because of her hearing impairment and limited Spanish, so when the opportunity arises to speak English with some Christians, especially from our home church – the opportunity is taken! When modern Midwest city gal has a chance to sit down and speak to pioneer, missionary mom, it is always an interesting conversation!

Folding Soccer Uniforms with Ilsy / Washing out the chapel

Corn tortilla making class with Ilsy

Ladies Hike! (My mother, Marsha, in the light green)

While all the physical work was being accomplished, it must not be forgotten that one of our ministry goals is to foster a sense of service in the lives of all the short-term missionaries that come to RO4Y. Our desire is that a week away from the hustle and bustle of life in the US (family, work, school, hobbies and even church activities) will begin to build a servant-like attitude in the hearts of the people. It would be wonderful if some of these short-term missionaries became long-term missionaries with us in Honduras, but we are also thinking about service within their church fellowship, seeing/meeting the needs of their neighbors and finally, truly ministering to their family members (spouse and children).  I beleive the personal testimonies speak for themselves of how God worked this last March!

“I served Marillyn and Mauricio. I served Mauricio by playing with him and I’m sure he’ll remember me. I served Marillyn by watching and helping with the kids. [God] told me what my gift is. That is interacting or entertaining little kids. Playing with Mauricio was my highlight. The way he laughed and smiled just filled me with joy.”
              -Gabriela, age 12, student

“No matter what you are going through you can do all things with Christ who strengthens you. [God taught me] to see just how much I take for granted back home and how thankful and blessed I truly am.”
              -Jill, age 40, sales associate

“I learned how to fully trust in the Lord this week… I recognized how much control I feel I need to have on a daily basis, how much I don’t trust the Lord. Through that I saw the beauty of a sovereign God that no matter how much I don’t deserve it, He always takes care of me. I learned what it truly means to abide in Christ; that when you let any sin, even a thought, how much that can tear you away, how much it can consume you, and over take you.”
              -Rebekkah, age 22, student/waitress

New Chicken Hotel

“I enjoyed spending so much time with Mare. I have been praying for her to have more fellowship and I really wanted to help her in the kitchen and spend time talking to her. Marillyn expressed how she has enjoyed our time together which I was very grateful to hear. God showed me through several people that I didn’t need to be sweating in order to be effective in my service here. He showed me that [Mare] doesn’t get a lot of fellowship and that spending time with someone from her home church was extra special. She provided comfort in an unfamiliar place.”
              -Brenda, age 38, operations analyst

“No matter how much you prepare or even if you have been to the Ranch in the past, we must always plan for God to do a new work. I thought I knew what to expect based on last year’s trip, but this year presented a whole new set of challenges as well as blessings. I can see how God has used both the ups and the downs of my week to change me and grow me… [My suggestion to make the team’s stay better is] to tell the cook to not feed us so well… it’s hard to go back to work in the afternoon when you’re stuffed. J
              -Brent, age 34, electrician/pastor

“[A memorable moment for me was] to watch the joy of the children. I am amazed that there is such joy and laughter despite all of the obstacles! I truly believe and am excited that RO4Y is reaching the correct age group in this community.”
              -Jeff, age 31, project manager

GOAL!!! Futbolito after guitar class

“[God taught me to ask,] are all the things we have (distractions) necessary? They keep me from spending time with God. I really enjoyed spending time with the children… playing soccer and horsing around. Visiting the elementary school and kindergarten was very enjoyable. Replacing the roof on Cesar’s house was also a highlight… seeing the before and after pictures!”
                                          -Kenny, age 41, IT Infrastructure

Charades before girl's Bible study
“It was my second trip to the Ranch. Throughout the course of this week God has really showed me how important faith is in my life. To claim faith and to practice faith are two different things. He also used Oscar, yet again in my life to teach me about my perspective. On our trip to his house I heard him talking with Jon as he was saying, “I know God said He would provide for me, but I never thought it would be this much.” WOW!!! Humbling to say the least.”
              -Kevin, age 28, server/bartender

Playing w/ the Danes

“[God taught me] that I don’t need everything I have to be happy. [A memorable moment for me was] seeing my wife get used in ways she thought she could not be.”
              -Ray, age 49, truck driver

Money was given to Marilyn, Oscar's wife, for a new pair of glasses;
She no longer struggles from eye fatigue nor head-aches from sun glare. PTL!

“I came down here thinking that I was going to make a huge impact and help a ton of people. Then the job fell upon me of watching Naomi, Tabi and Tobi. It seemed like a very small job, but it turned out to be really great. Coming to the Ranch every day and immediately having Tabi at my side was so heartwarming. I loved every minute of the time that I spent with the girls and Tobi. I was very nervous to speak Spanish and I felt like I wasn’t being very helpful at all. God just really stressed something that I have been taught before. God taught me that what we may think is small is huge to him and that what he thinks of us really is all that matters. Brent told me something that made it all so real. He said that last year God had told him that a youth would lead the way to come down here… I was that youth that he spoke to Brent about! This trip has been so effective for me and I am sooo thankful for this experience.”
              -Chelsea, age 14, student

Dog tired.

CCDM Team admiring the Iglesia Catolica in Ojojona

Overall it was a great week of fellowship, ministry and intimacy with the Lord. Thank you CCDM team for your willingness to sacrifice a week of your busy schedule to meet with and serve our Jesus in Honduras. We and the people of El Circulo are very grateful! 

Team Photo at Retreat Center

See you next year CCDM!