Monday, October 27, 2008

The Flood! and Corruption!

As a result of hurricanes in the Caribbean and huge amounts of rainfall in Honduras, we have experienced severe flooding in Valle, Honduras.

The bridge was 25 meters wide. The river was so wild, that it broke out the side of the dirt wall going to the bridge and forced it's way around it. After the water resided, the people were left with a bridge to nowhere. The river bed is now 150 meters wide.
Under where the people are standing is where the water used to flow. The water system pipes are broken and there is no drinking water on one side of the bridge.

Dr. Catherine Foster and I have been working jointly with the PMA Programme Mundial de Alimentos or WFP World Food Program which is part of the United Nations. There have been some 650 families served as a result of the assistance after the flooding in Valle, Honduras.
In the photo to the right we are receiving a "briefing" on what is going on and what needs to be done.
Jose and I were receiving calls for help from Valle so I started looking for food. I went to PMA and when I spoke with the director, he said, "Before we get started, aren't you the woman that asked for food after Hurricane Mitch in 1998 for the prisoners?" And yes I was, I sat in the office of COPECO and told them that I would not move until they gave me food. They walked around me for 8 hours and decided that I was not going to give up, so he remembered me.

When Catherine and I arrived at the river, we had to walk across a log and then climb a ladder to get up on the river bank on the other side. The photo below is the log that we crossed and the photo to the right is Catherine Foster climbing the ladder.
I am thrilled to be an ongoing part of this food aid. I have had a chance to share with many people and in the following weeks, I will have more chances to meet and get to know many others. I am working closely with a pastor from Playa Grande by the name of Fernando. He has been a blessing because he knows all of the families and has made our work much easier.
PMA gives each family a food packet which consists of:
11 pounds of rice
4 pounds of beans
33 pounds of corn
2 bottles of oil
11 pounds of a soy and wheat mix

This in theory is enough to feed a family of 5 for 6 days. The only problem is that many of the families are receiving reduced rations.

Yesterday I found several families which didn't receive their full portions, I found a family of 9 children and 2 adults which only received 4 pounds of rice, 2 pounds of beans, 25 pounds of corn, the full amount of soy and only 1 bottle of oil. Somewhere between PMA and the family, almost half of the food was stolen. I am in the process of finding out what has happened to the other food. The day prior, I found another family that did not receive their fair portion. Smells like corruption to me.
I came home today, to wash clothes and tennis shoes and am heading back tonight. This will be my last blog for a few weeks.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Wedding Cake At The Prison!

After two 2 week courses the final exam was a wedding cake. Since it was the 18th Street Gang, it had to be 18 tiers. And what a cake it turned out to be!

To the right is the top tier. We had the "cake from hell" experience as the weather changed from warm to cool and rainy to hot and humid again and all of the fondant icing decided to wilt. The cake was not very even on the side, due to the climate changes, but it was beautiful.

The guys learned about Royal Icing and Buttercream Icing in the first 2 weeks of classes and then they learned about Fondant and Gumpaste in the 2nd two weeks of classes.

They learned step by step how to make gumpaste flowers, starting with roses and then calle lilys. You can see some of these hand made flowers in the first photo.

In the first cake decorating classes they had learned how to make borders by piping royal or buttercream icing. They also learned how to make the leaves, which they piped onto the cake after the flowers were in place.

The cake all 18 tiers of it tasted wonderful! The background at the prison was not so beautiful and really doesn't do justice to the cake, but the cake turned out to be a masterpiece.

The center of the cake had 6 tiers which were then connected by bridges to 4 more towers of 3 tiers each.

Several of the guys had to get up on the heavy duty table to place the tiers in the correct positions. I am not sure what the final cake weighed, but I know it was over 100 pounds of cake.

First they all made flowers and flowers and more flowers. Each day the ladies showed them how to make different flowers. For two weeks, everyone in the classes made flowers and the flowers which were not eaten, were saved to go on the cake.

Then the ladies and I and Erlinda baked all of the cakes at my house, as the oven that was donated to the prison was not yet in operation. Claudia Hurt, Lisa Summerlin, Dede Reed and Tracy Wirta iced and iced and iced with buttercream until all of the cakes were iced. Then we took them to the prison. That was a trick. Each tier was 2 layers of cake with filling in between and some of them were so big that they had to set across two people's legs. The bumpy roads in Honduras were not cooperating and so when we arrived at Tamara Prison 40 miles away, with cakes intact it was a miracle.

The guys were really, really proud of themselves. First they shimmer dusted a design on the sides of the iced cake, then they strategically assembled the center column of 6 tiers. As they began to decorate the center tier, they began to get more and more enthused, finally all of the hard work was coming together. After putting the border around all of the tiers, it was time to start placing the flowers. As soon as all of the flowers were placed they had to fill in with the green leaves.

Then it was time to place the other four towers of three tiers each and each had to be decorated the same as the center tower. With 24 boys taking turns it took 4 hours to complete the assembly of the cake and the
placement of the flowers and the final touches.

But the wait was worth it. Two weeks and 800 flowers later, the cake was complete. The guys were so proud of the cake and I was proud of them.

It was incredible how well it turned out!

I am thinking of having another Cake Missionary Team come to Honduras in early spring, to teach women in southern Honduras. I have identified a large number of women who live in adobe huts with dirt floors, who need jobs to help them make ends meet and to feed their children. I am hoping to go to these people and teach them how to make flowers where they can sell them in Tegucigalpa to help their families.

Do you know a cake decorator with an adventurous heart?

Do you have decorating supplies that are sitting in your cabinet unused that you might like to donate?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Just About Time For Another Cake Mission!

A what? What in the world is a cake mission? Who in the world would go on a cake mission?

I have heard of cake walks, but cake missions?

Well, several years ago when I was actively working in the prison outside of Tegucigalpa, I found a group of young men, who were very artistically talented and who needed a way to spend their time.

So I invited a team of ladies to come to Honduras and teach cake decorating. The results are still coming into fruition.

Tomorrow I will show you a photo of the wedding cake, 18 tiers which the guys made as their final exam for the 2nd round of Cake Classes. It is incredible. Over 800 gum paste flowers were part of the design.

To the right are photos of some of the young men in the cake classes, with their final exam cake.

You can read about Joanne Balkey's trip at:

and you can read about Tracy Wirta of San Francisco's trip:

Tracy pulled together both the first and the second trips. She is a trooper.

Mary Beth Enderson of Virginia was another of the Cake Missionaries. I caannot find any cake things on the internet about her.

Lisa Summerlin of San Francisco's web page. She was a delight to have on the trip! She is a perfectionist and everything she did was beautiful.

Deloris "Dede" Reed of Illinois was yet another volunteer. She does translation work for Wilton and is a Spanish teacher.

The Final Cake Exam, before the diplomas, from the first course was stunning. There were several excellent examples using the different techniques which the ladies taught them.

Jose's Birthday is today, so I guess I have cake on my mind.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dr. Chung's Letter To His Friends About the Medical Team Trip to Honduras

Dear Friends:

I just came back from a Honduras Mission. This is the summary of my trip.

On 9-24-08, I left DFW at 6:30 a.m. to Houston and to Tegucigalpa. I arrived there around noon. We, a general surgeon from Honolulu, Dr. Lee, retired Nurse Val Miller, and myself were met by Teresa, local missionary coordinator from Kansas City. We arrived at the Hotel around 4 p.m.

We got to the Hospital around 4:30 p.m. At the clinic, a Honduran Doctor was screening patients for possible surgery. Teresa told me that the surgical team was waiting at the operating room. I looked at a few patients and decided to do 2 thyroidectomies that night. I went to the operating room and asked them where I could change my clothes. They told me to go to the bathroom. It was wet and dirty. I had a very hard time changing to the surgical scrub suit.

At 6 p.m., we started the surgery and finished around 10 p.m. Dr. Barahona, a Honduran general surgeon, helped me. After surgery, we went to the hotel, had dinner and rested.

On 9-25-08, at 7 a.m., I went to the hospital to make rounds. I started surgery at 7:55 a.m. Had 3 thyroidectomies, one septoplasty, one nasal polyps, 2 cases of facial lesions and saw 12 clinic patients. I had one ENT Doctor and 3 general surgeons that came in turns and helped me. Lunch was brought in. At 9 P.M., the hospital told me that unless it is an emergency, I would have to stop. So went to the hotel, had dinner and rested.

On 9-26-08, I went to the Hospital to make rounds and went to the operating room. They didn't have gowns to work with. The laundry finally came around 8:45. We started surgery at 9 a.m. The first case had such a large thyroid, it took us ( Dr. Barahona & me) 3 hours. It was as big as a tennis ball. Another General Surgeon helped on the next 2 thyroids. Then I did one Septal surgery. At 6 p.m., there was only one anesthesiologist. Dr. Lee needed to do several hernias and I couldn't operate, so I went to the Hotel at 6 p.m.

On 9-27-08, I went to the hospital at 7 a.m., made rounds and went to the operating room. They didn't have gowns again. We had to wait until after 10 a.m. when gowns came. We started surgery at 11 a.m. I finished one thyroid and was just finishing septal surgery at 5:30 p.m., a thunderstorm came and the operating room was flooded. We all pitched in to sweep out the water. Then we went to the hotel to eat dinner. Came back to hospital and started another thyroid surgery at 8 p.m. It was so large, like a tennis ball. I finished at 11 p.m. and went to the hotel to rest.

On 9-28-08, I went to the hospital to make rounds and left Choluteca at 8:30 a..m. to go to the Airport. After I checked in, I had only 30 minutes to spare to board the plane. I arrived at DFW at 6:30 p.m.

The problems we faced at the hospital were these: I had only one head cover and one mask for all 4 days of surgeries. No shoe covers. I used one cautery pad for all these cases. No extra EKG pads and we had to use 3 pads for all of those patients. We had to put gel on them and tape them to the patients. Cautery machine didn't have a foot pedal and I couldn't do T&As. We had only one oxymeter sensor for the patient's finger and had to use the same one for all of those patients. The bathroom does not have any towels or tissue to wash your hands. Suction machines are barely acceptable.
The most amazing thing is that 2 anesthetists handled all these cases with no problems. I really appreciated them. There is no pre-op room. Patients are waiting outside of the operating room building in lawn chairs, with an IV and just sitting there.

Dr. Charles Chung

From the above letter, you can see a few of the problems which we face working in the public hospitals in Honduras. Some of the things he failed to mention are: Cats and dogs run freely through the halls of the hospitals, dead patients are placed in the hallways, there is no equipment or supplies, the patients have trouble with transportation, there are constant strikes with the nurses and doctors, just to name a few...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Woke Up This Morning With Nothing to Teach! and 25 Pastors Waiting To Be Taught!

What a morning! I studied again last night and still had "preachers block"! I went to the seminar with 3 teachings in hand BUT totally unconvinced that I was to teach any of them. I prayed, we sang a song and then I shared with the pastors my dilemma.

I told them that I had studied and studied and studied and still didn't know what to teach so I was going to share some with them.

I shared with them about evangelism and how the Lord always has the lost on His mind. I shared with them some of my adventures in other countries. I shared with them how Mike and I had gone to South Africa in 1981 with Benny Hinn and how the Lord had used my husband Mike to lay hands on a young girl who was blind and how the Lord had healed her. I shared with them how a young man was raised from the dead in Nigeria and how he is now a teacher at the Good Shepherd Christian Academy which we built in Nigeria. I shared with them about our trip to the Philippines and to Ecuador. Basically I shared with them about evangelism and how it works.

I then began to pull out scriptures and shared with them that we all are called to "go to the nations" from Mark 16 and then I began to share on going the extra mile from Matthew 5. I shared how the multitude was at the bottom of the mountain, but only the disciples followed Jesus up the mountain. We talked about the beatitudes and then I felt led to ask who wanted to go to another country. Several pastors raised their hands, but several didn't. I asked who had been to another country and only one raised his hand.

I want you to understand the significance of this in real terms. We are in San Lorenzo, Honduras a 55 minute drive from the Nicaragua border and a 45 minute drive from the El Salvador border and only one of these pastors had ever left the country.
I then asked who had a passport and only one pastor had a passport. I then began to ask people where they wanted to go to minister. I listened to several tell me and then one said, "Costa Rica." As soon as he said it I knew that we needed to send him. So I asked all the pastors to contribute money and guess what, we raised almost enough for him for his passport and his bus fare. He only lacked $15.75 to have enough to go. So I continue to teach and continued to teach on going the extra mile even when we don't want to do so. And then I said, "Who wants to go with with the other pastor to San Lorenzo?" Surprisingly only one pastor raised his hand. So I asked the people to donate to him to pay for his trip and he raised all but $11.33 needed for his trip. So both pastors are leaving for Costa Rica the first week of December for 10 days of ministry. They are planning to work with local pastors and do some street evangelism and integrate the people into the local pastor's churches. They are also asking the Lord to open doors where they can preach at some churches. It was really an exciting day!
I ended up teaching a lot of the word and I shared with the pastors how I have had to learn to go the extra mile in my life when people stole from me, falsely accused me and hurt me. I shared with them about going the extra mile when you don't want to forgive people because they have hurt you, but you must go the extra mile and forgive.
I shared with them how it is God's job to do vengeance and when we take His job away by being vindictive for ourselves, things just don't work out correctly. I shared with them how I had forgiven people who had hurt me terribly and how God had given me peace. We all prayed to forgive those who had hurt us and then we dismissed. God was in control and it was wonderful!

Pastors Seminar in Valle Attracts 26 Pastors

Today was the first day of the 3rd Pastors Seminar in San Lorenzo, Valle, Honduras. 26 local area pastors showed up and Mike Rudd and Harold Priday taught. Pastors came from Goascoran, San Lorenzo, Nacaome and 4 pastors even arrived from the island of Amapala off the southern coast of Honduras.

Mike Rudd spoke on Wisdom and his teaching was well received by all of the pastors. He also brought with him a treasure trove of Children's Church Teachings. Each pastor of each church received a book with 52 teachings in it. I was really impressed as were the pastors. He also brought with him enough Bibles to give each of the pastors 6 new Bibles to share with the people in their congregations which need Bibles but cannot afford them.
Mike also brought with him his friend Harold Priday, a long term missionary in Honduras. Harold, spoke in the afternoon along with Pastor Gustavo of Siguatepeque, Honduras. We had a question and answer session which was very productive especially considering the wisdom of the the years Harold has been on the mission field and in the ministry.
Mike Rudd and his wife and girls have a ministry to the deaf in Siguatepeque also. So the three of them had to leave this afternoon and that left me to teach alone tomorrow.
The Lord has allowed me to have 3 seminars for pastors in the last 5 months. We invite the pastors, feed them a morning snack, lunch and afternoon break. Several stay over in the apartment which the Lord gave me free of charge in San Lorenzo. I have 5 army cots, 4 long tables, 12 plastic chairs and a refrigerator in the apartment and that is it, but it is a nice place for the pastors to stay when they live to far away to return home after the seminar. For those who stay, we also serve them breakfast and dinner.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Am Frustrated!

Even though I am open for adventure, I am not open when it comes to my teaching. Before I speak to a crowd and especially to a group of preachers, I like to have it hammered out and down to the letter.

Today I awoke at 5:30 am and started studying BUT to no avail. As soon as it was a reasonable time, the telephone started ringing off of the wall with different people needing this and that and something else.

I studied between telephone calls, but nothing came together. I worked on several different Power Point Presentations, but stopped each as they just didn't seem to flow. I stopped and prayed but still a brick wall. I stopped and ate but still a brick wall. It was one of those days when nothing seemed to come together. But I continued to study. At 5:30 pm I finally gave up. Hours in front of the computer studying and still nothing. I quickly printed off several teachings, about 100 pages and ran out of black ink. So then I had to change the color and reprint.

It was late and I still had to drive to San Lorenzo, through the mountains and the fog.

I arrived safely along with Erlinda, the designated cook for the weekend. The car was crammed full of pots and pans and food for the pastors. During the frustration, I managed to at least get 2 cakes baked for snack for the pastors. When we arrived in San Lorenzo, Jose was no where to be found, but we finally tracked him down at the local Chinese restaurant eating with the people who had been working with him on his campaign. They had borrowed a friend's pickup, which blew out a tire and they had to walk 4 kilometers to the nearest intersection with the main highway. They had a vitamin brigade and a haircutting brigade. 3 hair stylists went with them and they cut hair for 40 women and 30 men. They were all at the Chinese restaurant with water and mud up to their knees. I have prohibited Jose from eating at the Chinese restaurant, because every time he does, I have to buy medicine to kill the amebas. Maybe this time he will not get sick.

In Honduras when you are in a political campaign you meet the people's needs. That includes, haircuts. Unfortunately I do not have a photo as of yet. Jose's telephone ruined from the water.

I will study tonight and see if I get a flash of what I am to teach on Saturday to the pastors.