I had the amazing opportunity to be introduced to the children of Nueva Esperanza, translated it means New Hope.  I could not count the kids but there are more than 50, maybe around 75, that call it home.  For the kids placed there that are already walking and talking, they seem to be doing well with the amazing volunteers that come in to teach classes and love them.  I watched them in class intent on the activities going on and later they all had puzzles they were working on.  The walls are painted bright colors and there is a large outdoor play area for them.  There are swings, slides, and space to run. 
For the ones with out voices, the ones who can not  speak, it is a different life.  Walking in to the toddler and baby room that is shared by those who have physical handicaps that keep them from the rest, it is absolutely heart tearing.  They spend their days in their crib, they have their bottles propped up by a blanket.  Kids that should be learning to sit up and crawl and explore, sit and wait for interaction when they need a fresh diaper.  My new friend Tara pictured below has made it her ministry to them.  She goes and loves on them and has brought in bouncers and a exersaucer and toys.  She has hired a women to work in the baby room.  One woman and one staff for about 20 little ones.  I can not imagine how hard it is just to keep up with diapers and feeding.   Tara, another friend Sara that I brought along with me from Gracias, and I each grabbed a little one and headed outside.  They all have a purpose and are known by God.  I just pray for clear direction on which ones journey in this world will cross into our home for a time.
And there is this little guy.  Look at his smile!  I am not sure about taking on this challenge but he needs a home, a real home.  He has been in his crib his whole life and still only drinks formula from a bottle.  He has not learned to sit up, crawl, walk or even talk.  He turns 4 on May 17th.  Please pray for a forever home for him, one with loving people who will see that he thrives and lives up to his full potential. 
 
 
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My kitchen is complete!  Well I am going to hang a rack for my pans to hang on, but that is a small thing.

I really like having all my items in the kitchen and not spread out over different rooms based on how often I use them, and not sitting in tubs.

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We have a gate and half the barbed wire is up and the other half is being worked on as I type this blog.  It should be done in the next few weeks.  15 lines of barbed wire being strung about 1,000 ft takes time.

This picture is taken looking out from the property.  Can you see how dry it is?  We had our first rain in forever the other day, ready for rainy season to start and our garden to explode with produce.  We are seeing life and the seeds are sprouting, we have sweet corn, pumpkins, green beans, carrots and cucumbers starts already at the end of the first week.

 
 
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It has been almost a year since the last time we served breakfast in Colonia Progreso here in Gracias, but we are still fruit of the relationships we made with those kids.  Whenever we are in town it is most common to hear boys yelling "KEVIN!" as we walk or drive around. 

In the past several weeks, we have had the pleasure of several of the older girls coming by our house and the visits are getting more frequent.  They act quite shy but they come and sit on our porch and just spend time for a hour or more at a time.  Janet just turned 17 with her daughter Helen now 6 months, Myra is 16, Chelly is 15, and Delmy who is 12. 

We invited them over the other night to introduce them to s'mores.  It was a little mess but was enjoyed by all..

Also pictured is Paquita, the young girl who lives with us and help me with the household chores and Kelsey who has joined us thought the beginning of July via the mission minded agency www.missionnannys.org.  She going to be working with our kids on several skills; writing, spelling and Spanish as well as going through the parables of Jesus.  They kids love them both and they are enjoying the extra attention.

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We also have the privilege of having Johanna, a young Honduran woman, join us this month to help with the planning, preparing and planting of several garden areas to add to house hold and the number of people grows this year.    Johanna graduated with a BA in agriculture here in Honduras and was able to spend 18 months finishing the degree at the North Carolina State.

Johanna is seen here with Abby on her lap and Paquita has Jaelle.

Here is the work we have been putting in this month.


 
 
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So I enjoy reading other missionaries' blogs.  It is uplifting to hear about others joys and fruit and be able to relate with the unique challenges that come from living in another culture than the one someone was raised in.   ! have actually always been fascinated by missionaries.  I was always willing listen to those who came through my childhood church.  I even committed to support one for a whole year as a high school freshman.  $20 a month for a family in Russia.  I was so excited to support a real missionary that I was often able to convinced one of both sisters to chip in $5 a month towards the monthly gift.

One blog I enjoy for time to time is this one who calls herself the worst missionary ever.   And recently I read the following entry and it was very easy to relate too.  She is quite blunt and to the point about life and for any sensitive readers, it might be offensive to you.  But is fact for her and many others of us.  You may read if you want by following the link below, but I will tell you summarized form because I hate the asking part too, I just want to pray and have God tell people to give and I can just be doing what God is asking and money just shows up in the account for those things. 

But the truth is God does provide and He does link people in the kingdom together for His purposes.  I am feeling the weight of everything changing with both immense excitement and fear...like right before getting married, or have a baby.  You know it is going to be awesome and hard and a lot of work, but totally worth everything that needs to be put into the new part of life.

God has been answering our prayers for help in the means of other people.  I have had 2 young ladies join us April 1st.  One for the month of April and one is open ended.   There is another young girl coming down for 3 months starting April 17th and another young lady May 3rd.  We have received a few other requests of others that would like to look into coming. 

We are one final step away from taking in kids....the fence is going up and the shipment of donated items to fill in the holes of needed items arrived the first week of April.  We are officially on the top of the call list with the Attorney General's office for Lempira for the children that need a home that meet our requirement of being 3 years old and younger.  We have one more meeting set up with Hondurans agency IHNFA, which is the SRS type agency and we will be added to their placement list after they do a home visit.   We feel ready one minute and like Whoa the next for this.  But God planned and orchestrated, here we go!

Ok, back to the part I do not like, but I know God is already working on.   Here is the link to the original post I am using:

http://www.theveryworstmissionary.com/2011/02/ive-been-meaning-to-ask-you-something.html


I've been meaning to ask you something... ...Oops... I meant to say, "I've been meaning to ask you FOR something."

Ok. I can't believe I'm about to do this. So, first, here are the prerequisites to anything having to do with asking for money:

1. If you're new here, feel free to ignore this.

2. If you're old here, feel free to ignore this.

3. Please be aware that this is my least favorite part of being a missionary.

4. Know that I wouldn't be writing this post at all if I didn't feel like this is something I was supposed to have written months ago but didn't, and now every time I hit post on something new this little voice inside of me (or possibly outside of me) is asking when I'm going to stop putting it off.

5. I mentioned this not being enjoyable, right? But I really hope you understand deep, deep down that this is the woooooorst part of the whole gig for me.

*deep breath*

Ok. So you know I'm a missionary - and one of the things about being a missionary is that you have to do this thing where you go around asking every single person you've ever met if they would like to give you money. It is exactly as awful as it sounds, and goes something like this:

"Excuse me, sir-in-the-grocery-store. Didn't I see you at the coffee counter at church last week? Well, isn't that a coincidence! I just stopped you - of course to say hello - but also, to let you know that my husband and I are missionaries, about to embark on the great adventure of being and making disciples in the faraway land of Honduras..... and I was wondering if you might be interested in helping us along the way.....ya know..... maybe..... somehow......"

It's kinda like selling girl scout cookies. But not. And instead of promising a box full of delicious goodies in exchange for a few bucks, we're offering a highly intangible nice feeling and, perhaps, a tax write off. I know, it hardly seems like a good deal.

But it is. I honestly believe that.

I believe in what we're doing here. And I truly believe that the people who support us financially should hold tightly to that "nice feeling" because the gifts that they give so that we can be here are changing peoples lives for the better. I know this to be true. I've seen it with my own eyes, I've touched it. It's not intangible to me. It's real. And it's worthy of every dollar spent to make it happen. (Also, I know I've been ambiguous about what it is, exactly, that we do. That's intentional, but it is by no means a secret. If you want the low-down on what we do and how we do it, I'd be more than happy to share the details of our ministry with you, just hit me up at melissa.goodwin1@gmail.com or find me on Skype, and I'll spill.)

All of that, to say this: We need financial help.

If we lived in the states I would have taken on a part-time job at Starbucks or Walmart or whatever, months ago. We just aren't cutting it and the reasons are plentiful:

1. A budget.We arrived here 2 years ago with a hypothetical budget. Turns out our hypothesis were incorrect and our budget was just stupid. Housing, gas, food, and incidentals are ALL way higher than we anticipated.

2. Rising costs. In addition to having a stupid budget, costs have been soaring.

3. New/Unexpected Ministries.  But we are doing these things, believing that these are opportunities to share our love for Jesus, and, more importantly, His love for us, out in the community. And that costs money, too.
So, I'm just gonna throw this out there and hope that we're all still friends afterward:

Would you please consider making a donation to our lives and ministries here in Honduras?

There's an easy to use, friendly PayPal account linked to me through my email at melissa.goodwin1@gmail.com
But. If you'd like that tax write off for giving to a charitable organization, you can give through Ascend International Ministries Inc or just AIM Inc by sending a check to our Kansas address or through your banks electronic checking feature.

A HUGE thank you to anyone who read this whole post til the end. You're the bees knees.
Ugh! I feel like a schmuck...

Have you ever had to ask for money? Isn't it the worst?!


Not gonna lie - Raising support sucks. But we happen to be "Support-based missionaries" so it's kinda part of the deal. Our paycheck is a conglomeration of donations from a bunch of individuals. This means that every month we live through the pure angst and sheer Joy that comes with knowing that we are wholly dependent on the provision of God. It also means that some months we wonder how we'll eat (but I guess that's why God invented rice and beans).


Monthly financial support for meeting the basic needs of our multi-family house and operating the projects we are working on is $3,000 per month.  We are currently short $1,225 \from our goal for monthly budget.   Our monthly committed sponsors are $1,775 per month

Ok, now for some pictures!  The next blog post will be tons of the pictures of what we have been working on and who we have been working with for the past few months. 
 
 
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Kitchen counters in, sealed and waxed, check. 
Wall painted BLUE, check,
Pipes bought, sprayed black for shelves, check.
Black and white checkered curtains made with love and included in the shipment to hide all the stuff in the lower spaces, check!
Next is to buy three 11 foot long planks of wood, treat, stain and install wall shelves!
I am excited to be able to use my counter tops and to be cooking in my kitchen.  A big shout out of thanks to my husband for all his hard work, to Marcelo for helping a ton with the counter tops, and to Kristen, Alex and Sydney for helping get the painting done in record time.


Kevin and Marcelo have been working hard as a 2 man team to do what a 4 or 5 man team should be doing.  We have tried to hire on other hands, but most men are still out picking coffee or have just returned with pockets of cash and are not looking for more work yet.  It has been very frustrating.   Add that to the fact this is the 3 time preparing for a fence as the property line was changed 2 times since we moved in November 1st and the fact than even though it is in the contract, the owner did not provide all the materials for the fence and kitchen as agreed upon.  We have been working out our plans for the work God has for us with every spare dollar and moment we can find.  God is faithful, and there has been progress on the kitchen and the fence. 

Unfortunately we have lost our vehicle during the process as well.   I am praying for a vehicle or the money to buy one as we need one for the work here.   I know our God is a Big God and our small challenges here are worth every effort to be able to have our home be a home to many more kids who need love.  We push though and look forward to the smile and hugs and the lives that will be changed for the Glory of God. 

Please if you read our blog, we would love to hear from you.  We often see more than 100 unique hits on the days I post new blogs and I would love to hear from you.  Let us know if you are praying for us, are encouraged by the work, are motivated to seek God's plans for your life, would love to come down and help, would like to support the work down here and just to say hi!


 
 
I know without a doubt that we are in the right place, pursing the right things at the right time.  One way that is confirmed is that each step we take there are multiple challenges that must be overcome to continue.  This is not an easy journey, there is a lot of hard work and lots of hard choices.  I read Hebrews chapters 11 and 12 and know we have to choose to not grow weary and lose heart, even through all the challenges.  Those who have run their race of Faith before us as both witnesses and encouragements of an Awesome and most loving God, they wanted to be on the end of the plan where the children of God are full of the Holy Spirit and able to persevere as the sons of God.  There are so many around us that have no hope, who know no love or peace.  We desire to be able to share with them who our God is!

Please....

We need those who can pray, to pray!

We need those who can give, to give!

We need those who can come serve, to come!


Hebrews Chapter 12:1-3  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Romans 8: 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Isaiah 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners;


 
 
It must be snake breading season in Honduras because we are spotting quite a few out and about in the daylight as if they were meant to be that way.   Abby found and Kevin killed a snake he called a coral snake a few weeks back.  During all the fun and commotion I did not get a picture.  Part of me was hoping it was not a coral snake but in fact a milk snake and thus harmless.  Well I was not able to live in denial any longer as of yesterday afternoon.  Our sweet Abby once again noticed a snake.... on our porch this time.  Red touching black is a friend of Jack, Red touching yellow can kill a fellow.  Well you can check the pictures out for confirmation.  We have no doubts of God's protection over our lives, but he could not stay.  Our friend Shannon came over with a syringe and a plan that included his high school science class that have a reptile unit coming up.  Once he was no longer moving, Kevin put him a milk jug. 

On anther more un-dangerous note....when visting Doña Desideria's pottery school and store in La Campa, we found these great light covers for the wall.  We liked them so much we asked for hanging lights that matched.  They came in few weeks ago and Kevin has hung them.  They are really beautiful.  Next up some seating areas or maybe one of these
http://www.atticmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/dec-hode-swing1-435.jpg. 
We have been working inside the house as well.  I have been without a kitchen for almost 2 weeks now. 
First are the before pictures, next are the current pictures of the concrete curing (I have cleaned the floor and removed the tape) and hoping to have finished pictures really soon!

I have been also working on organizing the house in preparation for adding more little people.  First is a before shot of our home school, reading, and craft area and the next 2 are after shots.
Kevin is putting posts in the ground for our fence as I type this, I will get pictures soon as more go into the ground over the next week.  Please continue to pray for the ministry here.  As we feel the time is here and the ministry is growing and moving, we are encountering many obstacles.  Some are just plain frustrating, like the owner who offered and added to our contract that he would provide the materials for the fence and the kitchen, didn't.  This has been a huge expense we were not planning for but these are needs so we must move forward.  So far the materials are almost $1,000 for these projects.  That might not sound like a lot for a kitchen and a fence but we are doing most of the labor and each dollar here must do the work of $5.  Kevin is also traveling more and I have not been able to find a young girl to hire on to help and provide an extra set of hands.  We know God has someone in mind, we are praying for that person as I really need to help.   We also are in need to translate and file our ministry's paperwork to be a ministry recognized in Honduras.  For a mere $3000 or so.  If you are a part of this ministry prayerfully and financially, you are be an answer to my prayers. 
 
 
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I am excited for what this years holds.  So many of the things we have prayed for and have been seeking to do are coming together.  I know this year will hold a lot of opportunities for growth in faith, in patience, in love for others, in all areas of life.... I am willing and ready to grow.   
I am trying new things like my own extracts to have a few of the items you can not buy in any store here.  I started almond, cacao, coconut, lime and mandarin orange. 
I am still working through what works for us to have 2 kids schooling here at the house and 2 that are younger needing my attention also.  We have been searching for someone to help in the house with some of the daily household needs to give me more time with the kids but it is proving to be a challenge to find someone.

Big thanks to some of the teachers who have come to Gracias to teach a year at one of the local bilingual schools for coming over last weekend to paint the beds.   Seven are done and one is waiting on a second coat of green.  They look great and I am so thankful they are complete, painted, and in the house.  They have mattress and some friends and soft blankets waiting for their new owners. Some of you that have given to the Mommy Project might spy something that you gave including the tub of cloth diapers below also.

On the shelf below is all the items the ministry has been given, is from the curriculum my girls use or I have found around Gracias for the schooling needs the children will have.  Please be praying as this school is a large need we see in the future and we are seeking the people that God wants to use to rise up and prepare to join the work down here.
The other large project I have been working on is the work of nesting for both genders and a wide range of ages.  I have been picking up discarded baskets that the avocados arrive to town in and putting them to a new use as I sort the clothing by size, gender and seasons.
I have updated the needs page on this site.  I am praying for those to that follow our ministry and have the ability to give the items on the list to please do so.  We are putting together a shipment to be send down mid February.  If you would like to help out there are locations in Derby KS, Dallas TX, or Houston TX to bring or ship items. 
Thank you for being a part of Gods plans for Honduras.

 
 
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I have been struggling with writing this post.  I have had 20 complete gifts ready since June.  There is an overabundance of young new moms everywhere.  I could have opened my door and handed them all out in one day as I watched them walk by.  But I want to be able to minister to girls and have the time to honor their new role as a mother not just give them some items.  So I waited....the first mother I wanted to give a gift too was a regular at our feeding out reach in Pinalito.  She continued coming when we added the Bible class for the kids with Pastora Yeni.  Yafet was born in the beginning of July and the weeks I would bring the gift were weeks she would miss.  It finally worked that she came and I had the gift the last week we were in Gracias in mid August.  But it was down pouring and we were all getting soaked even under the tent there was so much rain.  I so wanted to give her the gift and be able to show her the items I put together with love.  But the rain was so loud we could not even talk and I was not going to have another chance for several months.  I gave her the gift and it was awkward and anticlimactic for all the work it took to get to that point.  We did not even get a good picture.  The praise report is I have run into both of them in town since we have been back in Gracias.....and she had her sling with her!  She was very proud to show it to me too.

The next baby to receive the gift was a few days later, out neighbor had just given birth to a little girl and had just walked home from the hospital.  I went next door with my gift and Annalise and Abigail  She was happy to show off the baby but was very tired and the baby was ready to eat.  I kindly gave the gift showing her the instructions I included and took a picture of the baby and needed to leave the new mommy to be with her baby.

Then yesterday I was finally able to see the vision of the Mommy Project come to fruition.  One of the young girls, age 15, from the Breakfast Kitchen has a little girl, Helen Bernice, in October.  Kevin invited her over to our house to show off her daughter.  I have had Fatima over before and told her about how God sent us here to love on people just like her.  She has always been shy around me, but not around boys.  I know nothing about the father of the baby other than he is 21 and lives somewhere else.   I was told Helen was very little and skinny the first month but now that Fatima has been faithfully nursing her, she is making more than enough and the baby is now filling out to be nice and healthy.  I was able to give her her gift, to her embarrassment.  Also to her embarrassment, the baby peed threw the little piece of cloth she had on for a diaper all over me.   It was the perfect opportunity to open the gift and get out a real cloth diaper.  I was able to talk about the amazing thing that is a waterproof diaper cover.  Perfect for when you leave the house and for bedtime.  She was excited at the thought of not getting soaked at night.  I then moved on to showing her how to wear the sling demonstrating it first, then having her try. 

So my grand goal for 300 moms for 2012 has only been 3.  But I am thankful to be waiting on God's timing to be able to minister to girls as God opens relationships for me to be able to love on a new moms one at a time.   I have 17 more ready for when the times present themselves.   I have blankets, stuffed animals, and hat for at least 300.  I am going to trow out the numbers and just bless new moms as I am able.  I will make more slings and buy more cloth diapers as I am able.  

The moms I am able to share the gifts with, that so many of you friends have helped put together thru your prayers and resources, will be blessed and loved on.  Just dropping the numbers and focusing on the