Dec 31, 2008

Copan Part II: Thinking about the Ruins

Ever since the day we toured the Mayan Ruins I have been thinking about their religious practices. Some of you may have seen the movie Apacalypto, depicting some of the Mayan ceremonies. Although there were no human sacrifices in Copan, the Mayans there did participate in many rituals involving animal sacrifices and human blood. 

Antonio, our tour guide, said something that I have not been able to shake. As he was explaining the religious ceremonies, he told us that the sacrificial practices of the Mayans escalated from animal sacrifice, to human bleeding rituals to full on human sacrifices in order to appease their gods. 

Now we know from the story of Abraham and Issac that the Lord abhors human sacrifice. We know that our blood can never cover the sin in our lives because we are not sin-less like Jesus. It took the blood of Jesus Christ, a perfect sacrifice, to bring us back into relationship with God. 

Looking at the early Mayan animal sacrifices, I began to wonder how close they were to the animal sacrifices in Leviticus. I noticed a few things. The Mayans were not sacrificing the animals as a cover for their sins...they were sacrificing the animals to their pagan gods of agriculture and rain. These sacrifices were ultimately out of selfish motives...good

We can see similar sacrifices in the Old Testament when the Israelites turned to idolatry and began making sacrifices to the Baals and other pagan gods of fertility and agriculture to hedge their bets for good crops. They didn't trust God to provide for them anymore, so they began to incorporate idolatry to make up the difference. They too, were acting selfishly...more crops...more money...more status and more earthly security.

The Mayans sacrificed the animals and then burned the blood, believing that the smoke would carry their blood to the heavens, therefore bringing them favor with the gods. It didn't seem to work, at least not well enough because they soon stopped sacrificing animals and started bleeding themselves and burning small amounts of their own blood. As this continued to fail, not producing enough crops or enough rain, they began offering self sacrifices. These sacrifices, although not carried out in Copan, were abundant in the Mayan culture. People offered themselves as sacrifices to the gods in order to provide food for their kings. Then the Mayans began attacking villages and sacrificing unwilling victims...but still to no avail. 

The selfishness and greed of the Mayan rulers eventually destroyed their dynasty. Their slash and burn agriculture techniques produced large amounts of crops in the beginning but eventually destroyed the soil so that nothing could be grown. Their escalating sacrifices took a toll on the Mayan people as well and they began to leave the imperial cities in search for freedom and food. 

My heart aches, when I look at the pictures of the ruins. I saw the altars and temples. I saw the statues and palaces. I saw the Necropolis - city of the dead. 

Today, I am so happy to know Jesus. I am so grateful for His redeeming blood. I praise God for sending His son to pay a price that I could never afford. I love Him because He first loved me. I know that I could never do anything to deserve His is a gift. So my heart breaks for the Mayans who thought they had to do more to find favor with God. I am grateful that the Lord has opened my eyes to this, and I pray that He will show me how to make a difference in the lives of His people. 

Dec 30, 2008

Copan Road Trip...Part I

Can you say really say it out loud...F-U-N!!! Wendy and I made an executive decision that the family needed to have some fun. So we all piled into a rental van and headed for Copan, Honduras. 

Rachel and I in the back of the van...watched so many movies my eyeballs started to swell.

Wendy, Cindy and I...staring in awe at the Power Chicken menu. This place really does have something for everyone...that is if you like chicken!


We rented single beds at a Hostel for $5 each and we finished off our Power Chicken left-overs in the lobby. We forgot to get to-go forks so I felt like we were a pack of lions devouring a fresh kill.

We had breakfast at Mary's...the best papusa place in Copan. Cafe con leche, papusas, plato de frutas, and yes...Rachel had pancakes! 

After breakfast we hit the town to take in the local sights. 

Cobbelstone streets and motorcycle taxis reminded me of Cuzco, Peru. Except it is always springtime in Copan and the weather was beautiful.

We met up with Pastor David and Candy Beebe, the same pastor I met at HPC a week before I left for Honduas, and we began to plan our trip to the Mayan Ruins... 
stay tuned for Part II...

Allison's Drumming Debut

We were in Copan, Honduras for a little vacation time and Allison got asked to drum for this marimba band who was short a drummer. Haha!

It was so funny...cause Allison is pretty shy, but she did great! She played by ear...adding her own beats and solos. It was incredible! Martin had to sit in front of the drum set because it kept sliding will actually see Alli stop playing in the video and pull part of it back to her. 

She is now a least to me, the marimba guys and the 20 people who were watching her play in the hotel that night!

Christmas in Las Minas

I just had to post this picture. It took a wile to get it uploaded, but it was totally worth it. 

I have been feeling a bit disconnected from home lately but when I saw this picture on Pastor Dino's Blog about the HPC toy give-away:

I had to share with you our toy give away...Honduran style.

We still have a lot to learn about making sure the event is done Jesus Style and that the kids realize that is itsn't just about the toys. But how cool to see that I do have a bit of HPC DNA in me after all! 

It is my heart to serve here, knowing that I am not perfect, and that God has a lot of room to be strong in my weakness. I am here none the less...waiting to be of use...crying out, "I am here, choose me."

Dec 25, 2008

New Method

I have been in Honduras over a month now, in fact I am at the 6 week mark. I have been writing updates, blogging and taking pictures and video like you wouldn't believe. The only problem is...I can't share tham all with you because of our sporadic internet connection. I wrote a November Update for the email list and I still have 81 people that haven't received it...they are in my outbox...and if I am lucky 2 or 3 of them will send every day. 

So I have decided to try a new method of Updates...I turned my Christmas update into a jpg file and uploaded it onto the blog. Suprise it uploaded...thank God! So let's see if this works. Try and click on the picture...will it open so you can read it? Who knows? haha Try saving it to your desk top, will it work...I have no idea. haha

Let me know if it works. I am willing to try anything at this point. I want to share what is going on here. I want to let you know what you are a part of. So let me know if you can read this. 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

I am feeling like a stuffed pig right now...which is kind of dangerous, since they kill pigs around here for Christmas dinner. haha 

Today has been a great day. All of the missionaries on the mountain came together to celebrate the birt of Jesus. That's right...Jesus. It wasn't about the food (although there was pleanty). It wasn't about the gifts (but we did that too). 

It was about Jesus. 

It was about His love for us. 

It was about His love for others. 

I am so thankful, I am having a hard time finding the right words. Tonight I received the best gift possible...the gift of knowing I am right where I should be. This is going to sound silly...but I got a strawberry cream cheese fruit salad. 

You may be wondering what that has to do with let me explain. Ever since I can remember, my grandmother has made a strawberry cream cheese fruit salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every year the recipe is lost again until the holidays. We search all the places it should be...look in the places it shouldn't and then finally find the recipe in that "safe" place where all lost things usually are. Then we take our time blending all of the ingredients until they form they best tasting thing you have ever put in your mouth. 

Well guess what the Lord did for me...He had someone eles make that very salad in Honduras. She makes it every year because her grandmother made it every year! Ha! Can you believe that! Sometimes the Lord speaks in the small things, and sometimes He speaks through food...which is my favorite way. I am so grateful for His love. I am so thankful for new friends and even though I miss my family, I am in the Lord's hands. And believe me...they are very big.

Dec 22, 2008


There are two seasons here in Honduras. The wet season and the dry season. I am in the wet season now...God is pouring out His love and His spirit is guiding me into a deeper relationship.  I believe God is giving me this opportunity to store up His precious living water for the dusty dry season ahead. 

It is out of character for me to not be busy all of the time. I want to pour out. I want to water the ground around me and plant seed, but now is not the time. The dry season is coming and if I pour out everything He has given me now, I will have nothing left to give the people when they are thirsty.

I am craving more interaction with the local people here. I dream about the kids and laughing and playing with them...loving them. I cherish the opportunities at clinic when I get to minister to someone by showing interest in their life. The smallest things make the biggest difference. 

So many times we want to get ahead of God's plan. We see a glimer of the future in our heart and we want it right now, but if we jump ahead God's plan will not be fully developed. I see the teams coming in a few months. I can imagine the lives that will be changed and I can almost taste God's victory, but it is not for me...and it is not for now. 

So I will be obedient. I will wait. I will soak up the Word like a sponge. I will work and pray and prepare for the future so that I will be ready to pour out everything that the Lord has planted in my heart. I am praying for patience. I am praying for infilling. I am praying for leadership and excellence. Will you pray with me?

Dec 21, 2008

Open My Eyes Oh Lord

The stars are amazing here. 

Ever since I was little, my Pawpaw would take me out into the field behind his house and point out the constelations. He would show me Orion's belt, Casieopia, the Big Dipper and the Pleidies. I learned where the North Star was and how to tell if I was going in the right direction at night. 

Here...the stars are brighter than ever, and even though I miss my family very much I know that I am going in the right direction. God made the heavens and the earth and He placed the stars in the sky...and yet He knows me by name and He knows my heart.

I pray that the Lord continues to open my eyes to Him. 


So much is happening...I am learning so much, seeing so much, questioning so much and working so much that it is hard to find time to talk to God about it all. I am quickly finding out that the life of a missionary...even in Latin America...moves quickly. There is not much time for reflection.

God is speaking to me. I can feel it in my spirit, but I am hard pressed for time to let Him expound on things. I want to sit at His feet. I need to find Him in the garden. Like Jesus...I need to draw away and pray. 

I feel like I am far away from the arms of God...I can hear the far off sound of His voice, I know He is there...waiting for me to stop and listen. Waiting for me to follow the sound of His voice and walk with Him in the cool of the day. 

Today...I got to watch HPC live on the internet in my living room. That is nothing short of a miracle! I was filled with the awe of God in worship and my heart felt like it would burst. I saw Isaac and Carole Williams and I know that Deborah is preparing to return with them to Moze and start a new chapter of her story. I saw Mrs. DeLynn singing and heard Pastor Dino deliver an amazing message. I saw Mrs. Judi Davis in the choir and watched KIA do their Christmas program. You will never know what that meant to me! To feel remember.

I think I have a case of communication shock. I want to share all of the things that are going on here but the last thing I want to do here is become a reporter...always relaying the events but never being affected by them. Please pray that I would find the balance, that I would open up to the Lord and let His Spirit move me. That I would be a window for you into the mission field, but that I would not get lost in translation.

Dec 18, 2008

Christmas in Las Minas

We are preparing to head to a very remote village, called Las Minas, tomorrow morning to meet up with Dr. Martin. He is there now seeing patients and we are riding up with the family to bring toys for Christmas to the nearly 400 kids who live in the surrounding area.  We will have to cross a BIG river on the way, so please be praying that we will get across safely. 

I am so excited to give toys out! I am starting to miss my family because it is getting so close to Christmas so this outreach will be great! It reminds me of when we were in Swaziland...our team got to hand out Samaritan's Purse Christmas boxes to the kids. It was such a great thing to be apart of and I can't wait to love on the kids in Las Minas.

Guess What?!

I am blogging from Rio Viejo...our prayers have been answered! Thanks so much for lifting us up, it is amazing how much comfort I find when I have the internet at my fingertips. It just makes things so much easier...and I get to talk to you guys when ever I want.

Oh, by the way...Wendy is right next to me reading my blogs from seems they have some funny type-os... she is cracking up! So I apologize for the mistakes...I was flying fast in the internet cafe!


Dec 17, 2008

Internet Connectivity

Our internet has been out for a week in Rio Viejo. We lost our satalite signal after a heavy rain, that caused 4 mudslides on our mountain road, and have not gotten it back. We are all having withdrawls now and the work is piling up.

We have invaded the local internet cafe in La Ceiba, but that never quite gives us enough time to answer all of the emails, make all of the phone calls and stay connected like we want to. So please pray that the internet in la cuenca (the mountain cove) would be returned!

Prayer is a powerful weapon and I believe that God will hear us if we cry out together. Bind the enemy and get him off of our satelite!

Nuevo Nombre guys are getting pretty good at reading Spanish...I have a new name!

It seems that the Honduran people are having a hear time pronouncing my name...the culprit is the "th" in the middle...they just can´t do it! The kids end up calling me "Helen" which sounds a little like a bunch of little Asian birds chirping at my heels, haha.

The adults on the other hand...just call me "la otra muchacha" (the other girl). Dr. Martin wouldn´t have hi intern being refered to at the "other girl" so he gave me a new name... Lila.

That's all the little kids can run around calling me Lila, after my middle name - Leigh. No more "Allison y la otra muchacha", "y otra gringa" or worse "Helen" I have a new name!

Dec 14, 2008

Long Lost Heather

Hey Everyone...We have had a bit of an internet crisis here the past few days. Whil Baton Rouge was experiencing record snow we have been getting pelted with rain. Our internet satalite has been knocked out so I am posting from an internet cafe in La Ceiba.

If is so funny how attached to the internet I am. It has only been 3 days but I feel like I am totally cut off from the outside world! Haha...projects are on hold, I can´t return emails... such is life in Honduras.

We have still been spite of the conditions. The break from computer work has given us some time to work on the house Allison and I are moving in to. We spent all day scrubbing, sweeping, decobwebbing, more scrubbing, more scrubbing and more scrubbing! The cement workers are finished rebuilding the wall that was falling down and sealing all of the cracks. They laid tile in the kitchen for us and built a serving area-kitchen storage area for us. So onve they were finished the women moved in with a vengance and reclaimed the house from the termites, dust bunnies and well...just plain BUGS! Hopefully we will be able to move in this week...after we paint!

So I appologize to all you of who have emails in my inbox and are waiting for replies! I will try my best to reply and or call you asap!

I love you guys and I am so thankful for your prayers and comments! Hopefully we will lhave internet in Rio Viejo tonight!!!

Dec 8, 2008

Clinic in El Costano

The whole gang 6 people piled into the Williams Mobile...needless to say we were crammed in the Honduran style, and headed over to meet Pastor David and Candy Beebe. They are Baptist Pastors from Colorado who are staying in a small town called El Costano, about 3 hours away from Rio Viejo. They are spending 6 months cleaning and organizing a huge medical clinic/dormatory to prepare it for patients and visiting teams. 

I met Pastor David at HPC a two weeks before I left for Honduras. It was at a Highland service and I was receiving church wide prayer for the trip. He happened to be visiting for that particular service, isn't God so cool? He came up to me afterward and told me about the project in Honduras. I filled him in a little about Dr. Martin and so we decided to get together and see if we could partner somehow. It seems Pastor David has a clinic with no doctor and we happen to have a traveling doctor. What a match!

Candy is a Public Health Nurse and is going to be starting an outpatient clinic there soon. Please keep her in your prayers as she prepares to open the clinic doors. Her and Pastor David have such great hearts and I can't wait to see them again. We are hoping that they will be able to come to Rio Viejo and see the hospital/clinic soon. 

Wendy, Dr. Martin, Pastor David, Candy, Me, Allison

I just love the soverignty of God. It amazes me how He brings people together at just the right time, for His purpose and His glory. There is so much security in that...we don't have to manipulate, we don't have to force doors open...we just have to be in His will and what He wills will happen. 

Dec 7, 2008

Wow, what a weekend!

I have had quite an eventful few days! Over at the Williams House we prepared for the Christmas season by decorating the tree. We played Christmas music and ate chocolate covered pomegranate from Dr. Martin's chocolate stash. It doesn't quite feel like December here, so it is nice to have the tree to get us in the spirit. 

A few days after decorating the Christmas tree Allison and I ventrued down past a village called El Naranjo to a white water rafting place to get some ideas of fun things to do with our teams. We were going to "resear
ch" the river rafting trip on the Cangrajal. But to our dismay we had missed the trip by like 10-15 minutes. So after a tour of the facilities we decided to trek up the mountain to Las Mangas. We have some new friends there who grow food for some of the orphanages in the area. 

You can't call someone to let them know you are going to come over...or even ask them if it is a good time, you just kind of show up. God's timing is always perfect and just as we arrived in Las Mangas they were headed up the mountain to see us...go figure.
 They wanted to take a look at the clinic but everyone was in La Ceiba that day so they would have been out of luck.

We regrouped and decided to tag along with them to visit an orphanage in El Naranjo where they deliver food. We got to spend some time with the kids there and then decided to take them on a little hike. The kids knew where a real bat cave was...I was like ok...we are going to take 10 kids into the mountains to a bat cave? But in reality the kids took us! Ha! They climbed the mountain in sandals, flip flops, and shoes that were either way to big or way to small. We each had our own private mountain guide as they held our hands and showed us the best way to navigate the rocks. 

We made it to the bat cave...and there were no bats, thank God! The kids had fun climbing up the rocks and taking pictures. They had little flash lights and were looking in all of the cracks to see if they could find the elusive bats. It was great to be with the kids. I felt like I was in Africa when I pulled out my camera and they went nuts! I guess kids are kids no matter where they live!

After the bat cave we took all of the kids to a swimming hole where they had a blast jumping off the rocks and letting us swim them across from one side to the other. The water was absolutely beautiful, clear blue-green and COLD!! 

After a good swim Allison and I said goodbye to our friends and started walking up the mountain to Rio Viejo...and hoping the bus would come by soon and pick us up. With no bus in sight, we flagged a ride and hopped in the back of a truck. Since the bus is not always reliable, the people here do a lot of hitch-hiking. You pay who ever picks you up about half as much as the bus would cost and they let you hop out at your village. We were glad for the ride, because it had started to rain and we had a long walk ahead of us otherwise. 

We arrived at Rio Viejo after about 20 minutes in the truck and headed back to our casita to cook dinner and talk about our day. Since we missed the rafting trip that day, we made plans to catch one at the same time the next day. So we went to bed early and woke up to catch the 7oclock bus down the mountain...round 2.

We made it in plenty of time to get to know our guide, Miles, and the two people who were rafting with us. Once we were all suited up for the trip we jumped into the truck and headed out to the river. We had a great time on the raft. We went over some sweet class 4 and 5 rapids and everyone made it out alive. The boat never flipped and no one fell out! Cheers Miles would say. 

After the rafting Miles let us float down the river a bit on our own...a solo mission. So we all jumped back into the river and assumed the white water float position...which looks a bit like you are sitting in an invisible recliner. So there we went 4 gringos floating down the Canrejal river. I think I swallowed a half cup of river water, pray that I don't get amoebas

So, this has been a very adventurous weekend! We start clinic tomorrow morning at 7am sharp! 

Dec 4, 2008

My Back Yard

Honduras is either gray and brown or blue and green. This was one of the first blue and green days we had in weeks, so Allison and I took the opportunity to explore the creek-bed behind our house. It was the day after Thanksgiving and we were so thankful for a dry day! 

I have been thinking a lot about what I am thankful for, I guess this season just puts that in your mind. I keep coming back to a verse in 1 Thessalonians 3:9, 

"How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?"

I am so grateful to all of you. We have begun working on team planning, policies and procedures, going from paper to an elecrtonic medical system, remodeling a house, finishing construction on the dormatory and the Casa de Williams, and many more projects. In all of the work I am trying hard not to be like Martha in the New Testament. I want to be at the feet of Jesus. 

Everything I need to know I learned as an HPSM Intern...

How my intern experience with HPSM prepared me for the mission field:
  1. Vacuuming Highland Sanctuary before church --> Sweeping the chicken poop off of the hospital porch before clinic.
  2. Setting out purple chairs for HP Women --> Setting out white plastic chairs for patients.
  3. Serving with hospitality for HPExperience --> Cooking and cleaning up for HHIM Board Member visits.
  4. Keeping track of the class/intern schedules on Google Calendar --> Organizing visiting team schedules, projects and activities.
  5. Planning HPSM intern retreats in St. Francisville, LA --> Planning learning experiences at the Copan Ruins for visiting Canadian Interns.
I could go on and on! HPSM has prepared me for this experience in every way possible. I can work hard, play hard and, of course, pray hard! I want to give a big shout out to the HPSM directors and intern staff. You guys are amazing!

Dec 2, 2008

Papa Jack Update

Thank you for all of your prayers! Papa Jack is doing much better after the second surgery. The antibiotics were effective in stoping the spread of the infection! The doctors have moved him to a rehab facility to begin the healing process and prepare him for the skin grafts that he will need. 

Please continue to pray that:
  • God will continue to work though the antibiotics.
  • Papa Jack will keep his spirits up during this trial and that he would find rest at the foot of the cross.
  • Papa Jack will heal quickly from the surgeries and the skin grafts.

Glory to God, there has been so much ground covered already. The prayers of many saints have been going up all over the world for Papa Jack. His revocery already is astounding the doctors. Let's keep the prayer cover up for him so that God's name will be further glorified!

Dec 1, 2008

Prayer for Papa Jack

Many of you know that Papa Jack and Mama Shirley were the begining of the work I am doing in Honduras. They served the Lord here for 23 years before being called away to India. I met Papa Jack through the School of Minisrty, he was one of my teachers. He is my main connection to was through Him that the first conversations about sending me here took place. 

Right now Papa Jack and his family are engaged in a battle. He is fighting a dangerous bacterial infection. He has already undergone 2 surgeries to remove the infected areas of skin. He has done well and the doctors are pleased with his progress so far. I am writing this blog to request prayer for him. 

Papa Jack loves the Lord and is secure in his salvation, for sure! Lets lift him up together and help carry the burden for him before the Lord. Pray for his healing, his wife, his children and grandchildren. Pray for the doctors, the medicines, and anything else the Lord lays on your heart. 

This man is very special to me. He has served the Lord with everything. He has been obedient all the way, and I know that if the Lord chooses to take him, then Papa Jack will serve Him in Heaven. 

I will let you know whan I hear more about his condition. Thank you!