Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19, 2012 Eye Clinic Colonia San Miguel in Tegucigalpa

Today we spent the entire day in Colonia San Miguel in Tegucigalpa at a small church.  We saw about 76 people in the eye clinic and found 8 who had cataracts.  Those eight will receive surgeries next month for free.  They only have to pay for their bandages and medicines which all together runs about $25.  We gave away 42 pairs of reading glasses and some eye drops to those in need.  Thanks to Clinica Zoe of Vida Abundante Church and thanks to Victor Montoya.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012 Eye Clinic Colonia Habitat

 These are just some of the people who were checked and given new reading glasses today in Colonia Habitat in the Valle de Amarateca.  We saw a total of 85 patients, gave away 51 pairs of eyeglasses and scheduled 11 cataract surgeries.  It was a busy but rewarding day!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Goodness Of God And The Wickedness Of Man

The Goodness of God

Sometime around 1979, I was living in Raytown, Missouri and a newlywed.  I went a few blocks to the corner grocery store and while I was purchasing our food for the week, the Lord spoke to me to buy two heads of lettuce and not one.  I argued with the Lord, but He insisted.  I purchased two heads of lettuce.

I arrived home and about that time my Tupperware lady called and told me that she had just received the order from the party I had held for her the prior week.  I have tried and tried to remember her name, but I don’t remember it, I guess it has been too many years and too much water under the bridge.  Anyway, she called and asked if she could deliver the Tupperware right then, because they were going out of town for vacation to visit the family and she didn’t want to leave the order hanging.

She arrived at my door and as she walked up the steps, I saw her four RED (flaming red) headed boys and her husband in the car all packed and ready to go to visit the folks.  Her husband was in Nazarene seminary at the time to become a pastor.  As soon as I saw them the Lord said to me, “Give them the head of lettuce.”  I began to argue with the Lord as she walked up the front sidewalk with all the Tupperware in hand.  I told the Lord that she would think I was ridiculous if I gave her a head of lettuce.  Anyway, I fumbled around and finally I went to the refrigerator and handed her the head of lettuce, still not understanding why! Just being obedient!

She said, “Thank you!”  Then she said, “Isn’t it interesting how God answers children’s prayers.”  It seems as though that morning she had gone to the grocery store with the kids in tow and bought sandwich supplies to make sandwiches for the road.  When she came to the aisle where she had to buy the tomatoes and the lettuce she had to make a decision.  They were on an extremely tight budget and she could only buy one or the other but not both.  The sandwiches were for the road trip, where they didn’t have to stop at a restaurant and spend a lot of money which they didn’t have. 

She asked her four boys what they preferred, “Lettuce or tomatoes?”  One wanted lettuce and the other 3 wanted tomatoes so the lettuce boy lost out.  Rather than being upset, he said, “I’ll pray and God will send me lettuce.”  He did and God did. 

As she stood inside my door telling me the story, she and I both marveled at the goodness of God.

God does care about each of us!

Since that time, I try NOT to second guess when I hear that still small voice of the Lord telling me to do this or that.  This is one of the reasons that I love being a missionary in Honduras.  I can listen to the Lord and do things to help others every day!

The Wickedness of Man

Daylight gave way to darkness as I talked to neighbor after neighbor and heard how the MI-04 police car along with a police motorcycle had headed into Colonia[1] Habitat this morning at 6 AM.  This had started as a beautiful sunny morning, now it was 6 PM April 14, 2012 before the dew had dried off of the grass this morning, Boli and Peewee were dead.  Long before the other police cars and motorcycles arrived, the police from MI-04 had chased Boli down and killed him.  While he lie, dead in the grass covering a barely used path to another colonia, the police threw a very alive, but injured Peewee over the back of the motorcycle seat and drove him a click[2] further down the path which runs close to the Penitentiaria Nacional[3] and finished him off, shooting him in the mouth and blowing his brains out of the back of his head.  All this done where they could later say he was running, stopped and then committed suicide.  As the Police Patrol followed behind, they drove through the weeds and when they saw they were close to the chicken farm and almost to the other road, they stopped the motorcycle and killed him.

I breathed in the unique aroma of chicken poop as I stood on the road in front of the chicken farm.  When I had pulled into Colonia Habitat, I was a very suspicious looking white woman with blond hair and blue eyes very out of place.  I had called Ana when I first received the call that the boys were dead and several more missing, injured and arrested.  In Honduras everyone is open game when the police have a hunger for blood.  This idea is so foreign to my United States and Arkansas viewpoint of the world, but after so many years in Honduras, I find myself cringing when visiting on furloughs, when I see police cars driving down the road.  It is a fight or flight response, which is not easy to describe unless you have been in a precarious position where your life floated somewhere between life and death.

My paradigms have shifted.  I used to date a police officer, Detective Allen Quattlebaum in Little Rock, Arkansas where I grew up; he was a wonderful caring individual and was a real Baptist gentleman, except for the fact that he always raced to claim his chair first when we went out to eat; back of the room, with the lengthiest space between us and the front door, his back to the wall, this was always his preferred spot.  I also dated a DEA agent named Mark for a while, I remember his last name but should I use it? After all he was DEA, but maybe after thirty plus years, it doesn’t matter.  I, by and large, had a great respect for police and then I moved to Honduras. 

Public opinion is almost unanimous; police in Honduras are not to be trusted.  Gossip runs rampant about many of the deplorable things which the police do, I used to think it was just ugly tales or false accusations invented to strike horror in the heart of a naïve gringa[4], but now I have learned that the truth is the police here are not to be trusted.  They steal, they kill for money and for entertainment, they accept bribes, they demand payoffs, they collude with criminals, they run kidnapping organizations and they steal cars and run them across country lines into Nicaragua using the farm of a disgraced military coronel who has had a warrant out for his arrest for at least a dozen years and yet remains free.  “Uniformados picaros”[5] are the people who help the drug traffickers run their drugs and distribute their drugs throughout Central America and into the United States. 

Shaking my head at the disparity between what should be good and what should be evil, I once again watched as the beautiful Honduran sun cascaded through the clouds at sunset, looking out over the Valley of Amarateca to the northwest. Slouching and tired from the sadness of the soul and spirit draining day and from not having a place to rest my recently fractured humerous[6], I stood there slumped over on the back of the SUV listening to a sound of a croaking frog and the eighteenth witness telling us that the police had brutally and heartlessly thrown an injured Peewee, with a bullet through his side on their motorcycle and drove him across rough irregular terrain only to dump him and kill him, setting it up to look like a suicide. 

Twenty years ago, I would have questioned this version of how things unfolded this morning, but now after having counted out five patrol cars and five motorcycles and two unmarked white Nissan pickups without car plates and a car from the coroner’s office, I am convinced things are NOT as they seem and most assuredly not what will be reported in tomorrow’s newspaper.  The first patrol car to leave with a motorcycle mounted in the back, stopped and demanded to know what we were doing there.  I was hunched down, hiding behind the tinted windows of my SUV with my back to them but they demanded to know what we were doing, parked on a public street, not bothering anyone.  Ana my partner in some unknown “deleto”[7] got out of the car and announced, I am with the “Fiscal de Derechos Humanos”[8] She was met with an incredulous stare immediately trailed by “ojos de cascabel”[9] and then the police patrol MI-04 slowly rolled away. 

I think my first run in with a corrupt policeman was in Nigeria West Africa.  I was doing missionary work in a small town called Ukanafun in Akwa Ibom state.  Everyone knew me, except this one policeman from a different tribe.  I was visiting Moses Umoh, the local tribal chief’s son and a pastor.  I was building a church and school for them and teaching at pastor’s seminars for them.  This policeman asked for my passport.  I was about six block from Moses’ home walking with Moses and had just been in the mayor’s office talking with him about the possibilities of a water project, when this policeman came up and asked for my passport, Moses told him he would go home and get it so I was to go inside the policeman’s office and wait until he came back. 

The problem was when I walked into the policeman’s office; he started pulling at me and then almost ripped my blouse off of me.  He was interested in something very different than seeing my passport.  He didn’t know what had happened when I slapped him and pulled away and ran for cover in the mayor’s office bursting in on his next appointment and taking cover behind the mayor’s desk chair where he was sitting.  The policeman came in after me, but by the time he caught up with me the mayor had already seen the tears in my eyes and heard me screaming and terrified.  Since the mayor knew me and knew I was a guest of the tribal chief’s son and a Christian, the policeman was immediately tried and sentenced to death by firing squad.  Not to leave you hanging, I pleaded mercy for him; he was spared and is now a pastor… Anyway this was my first run in with a corrupt policeman and I was naïve enough to think it was a onetime event.  Had I stayed in the USA it probably would have been, but that was not to be.  God called me to be in Honduras.

My two friends were not little angels, but they didn’t deserve to be assassinated.  I guess the saddest part of it all is that when I had shared Jesus with them, neither was “listo”[10] to receive Jesus into their hearts at that time.  I only hope, like the thieves at the cross, they had a split second to ask forgiveness before they died.

Tonight when my friend who works for the Fiscal de Derechos Humanos[11] was doing her inspections, we overheard a policeman stating “comienza la carniceria" [12]  The former, was a threat spoken just loud enough for us to hear and vocalized with the sole intent of trying to frighten us.  As we left, about a block away, there were two men on a motorcycle, which is illegal, and without a tag, which is illegal, and with an automatic rifle in their hands, which is illegal and although I am sure they must have been police, there was nothing identifying them as such.  I had never seen a gun like the one they were carrying.  The stock was squared off both top and bottom and it was very modern looking with holes drilled into it.  The muzzle was somewhat long.  The closest thing I can find to it on the internet is an UZI Sporter, a very deadly but stylish gun.  

I picked up speed and flew through the market area, jumping potholes and maneuvering corners as quickly as possible.  I arrived home late having not eaten lunch or dinner, with my cell phone battery dead from over use and my heart heavy, wondering if Peewee and Boli had enjoyed their last meal, kissed their mom goodbye that one last time or kissed their baby or their wife.  I also wondered if the words of salvation which I had sown in their hearts had come to them to remind them to repent as they breathed their last breath. 

"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth" (Gen 6:11-12).

[1] A residential area is called a colonia or a barrio
[2] kilometer
[3] National Penitentiary
[4] Gringo is a slang Spanish and Portuguese word used in Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking countries in Latin America, to denote foreigners, often from the United States  and sometimes used as a disparaging term for a foreigner in Latin America, especially an American or English person
[5] People in uniform who say or do whatever, even lying about and hurting others in order to get what they want.
[6] humerous- the arm bone located between the elbow and the shoulder
[7] Legal infraction
[8] Attorney General’s office, Human Rights division
[9] Rattlesnake eyes
[10] Ready
[11] One who works for Attorney General’s office, Human Rights division
[12] The equivalent to “the blood bath begins”