Wednesday, February 18, 2015

the darkness of BV

i already know how deeply rooted this particular problem is in this village.  its the very reason God called us to pour into the hearts and lives of 30 boys every day... teaching them the bible, how to treat women, how to be free from the bondage left by prior generations.

but even knowing that, its still frustrating when a friend of 6 years who i've mentored, counseled, constantly prayed for and prayed with - and seen huge growth by the way - hauls off and beats up his wife for no reason.  literally leaves her black and blue.

kerrie spent the day encouraging her and loving on her. apparently he just had a tough day at work and has some financial issues stressing him out.  all she did was ask what was wrong.  i'm so mad i want to go pound his face into a wall.  and i think i'd be justified in doing so.

but i know its all he knows. i know his dad.  i know his mom. i know his brothers and uncles. violence and abuse is how they have always dealt with things. my friend has seen it his entire life. its been taught to him by example since the day he was born.  ESPECIALLY as it relates to abuse towards women.

please pray for him.  and for me too as we have a scheduled time together this weekend.

but also PLEASE pray with us for the village of buena vista.  contrary to its name, the view isn't always so good here.  this summer we'll celebrate 7 years, and i can honestly say that the longer i'm here, the darker this place gets.  the more horrified i become at the depth of the problems.  i have never seen anything like it.

despite significant progress that has been made, sometimes i feel like this place must be one of the darkest places in the world.  women are beaten and raped on a regular basis... and its talked about casually, like it means nothing.  no one seems to care.  in all of our time here, i've never seen ONE man stand up, or speak out, against it.  ever.

the men are complete asses in this place!  i know its not their fault.  it was handed to them by their dads, and their dad's dads.  but i'm so angry i just want to punch a hole in every last one of them.

God and God alone can save and redeem this place.  i feel extremely honored to have a role in his redemption plan.  but it still feels hopeless sometimes.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

if we truly believed...

dennilson's little sister
if we really believed as christians that life is eternal - that it lasts forever - and that life on earth is just a blip on a millions-of-years scale:
  • would we spend so much of our time devoted to earthly endeavors, ambitions, and accomplishments that have no eternal value?
  • would we be so consumed with money, raises, promotions, titles, etc - all of which have no eternal value?
  • would we spend so much of our energy devoted to our belongings, houses, cars, electronics, etc - none of which spend eternity with us?
  • would we fascinate and obsess as much about how to entertain ourselves?
  • would we hold grudges, and pridefully focus our energy on winning arguments?
  • would we ignore those in need?  people who are hurting?  people who are poor?  knowing that caring for them has eternal value?
  • would we focus as much on how we look, what we wear, what we drive, what stuff we have, what other people have, and what people think about us?
which begs the question:  do we really even believe?  james 2:14-26

Monday, February 9, 2015


even during tryouts we noticed this kid has a dynamic personality.  he smiled, articulated things, looked you in the eye.  not normal for a BV kid.

thats why we were so bummed when Wisman told us he wasn't going to keep studying in the local school. he said it was because his
mom and dad couldn't afford it. they farm their own land and things have been slow. so even though its not that expensive (uniform and school supplies), they couldn't do it.

we offered to help find a sponsor for him, but they declined.  we tried again.  they said no thanks.  we figured they must want him to work and help the family financially, so we gave up - respecting their decision.

we were sad though.  primarily because Wisman has something different.  a different spark that suggests he can go further.  and we knew that at least finishing his middle school education would help with that.

about a week later he told me that his mom wanted to talk with me again.  they had changed their mind!  she apologized for turning down the help... said that it was an impulse reaction and that her and her husband regretted it later.

a small success story that adds a little wind to the sail today.  Wisman will keep studying!  i pray for his family that they can hold on for now, and that things improve for them.  in the meantime, their son will be getting smarter and preparing to be able to help them in the future.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

bvsa travesia - the beginning

so much happened in the last couple of weeks. i think i'll try to consolidate several blogs into one, and just touch on the highlights.  so many details are carved permanently into my mind and heart.

the goodbyes...
its been 10 days of goodbyes with the davis family and axel.  first, with all of the missionary families here in the area. we got together and shared, worshipped, and prayed.

then the rhinos party.  ugghh.  it was a tough night, but a sweet thing to witness.  one by one, the boys stood up and poured out their hearts to both the davis family as well as axel.  i can't even attempt to delve into it and do it any justice.  imagine 30 kids trying to say goodbye to people they love like their own family, who are moving to another country. people who have opened their home and their hearts in the most real and genuine way.  all i can say is there was kleenex everywhere.

boys saying goodbye to the davis family, the night before departure
and some of the things that were said to axel - as tears rolled - were absolutely precious.  (for those that don't know, axel graduated from the academy a couple years ago, and has been working full time with us as an assistant coach). allan said "man, you'll never know how much i look up to you. you've always been different, and i've always admired you for it.  you don't care what people think.  i actually want to be just like you."  julio said something very similar.  my son jake said "i'm going to miss you so much. thanks for being such a good example to all of us.  you've been like a big brother to me."  axel's little cousin melsar, who he shares a home and bed with, said in tears, "i can't believe you are leaving, and i don't know what i'll do without you."

the move...
you never know what to expect when crossing borders.  throw in the fact that this particular border divides two of the most dangerous and corrupt countries in the world, and you have to be prepared for anything.

before loading up the davis belongings in buena vista
i'm going to spare you the details, as they are long and frustrating!  but 36 hours after arriving at the border, and $2,600 more in expenses, the davis' belongings finally made it to their home.  at around 11pm the next day, a truck that typically transports animals (wood-fence style sides and gate) arrived at their home with me, paul, mynor, axel, jake, and josue standing there ready to unload.

moving truck finally arrives
(if you're wondering why their belongings were no longer in the bus we originally rented and loaded, i'm going to leave you hanging on that one... its too long of a saga to try to sum up.)

the final goodbye...
there were teary goodbyes at breakfast in the hotel sunday morning.  hugging those davis girls just about broke me. then watching josue cry his eyes out just about broke me again.  final goodbyes with paul and jess were no easier. but the last thing i remember is from the night before, when we said goodbye to axel.  he stayed the night at the house with the bus drivers, so they wouldn't have to pay for hotel rooms. it was somewhere after midnight, and he stood on the front porch of their home waving.  with tears running down his face, he screamed "i love you guys" as we pulled away.

the significance...
a family who has been immersed in buena vista, and in the ins and outs of the boys academy for the last 2 years, has taken that experience and headed out on a mission to reproduce it in a new country.  a dangerous central american country full of gang violence and drug trafficking.  they will minister specifically to a small people-group called the garifunas, who have been discriminated against and ostracized for generations.  the davis' do this with their 4 precious (blonde) daughters, and with jessica's struggling health.  sacrificial and beautiful.  may He receive all the glory!

and a young man from the little village of buena vista who spent 4 years in the academy, is taking what he learned and moving away to start another one.  no one leaves buena vista.  much less by faith, with a gringo family, to go serve another community as a missionary!  there is nothing more i can say to capture how amazing that is.

axel and the davis fam on their new front porch
God chose the village of travesia, just like he chose buena vista - that much we know for sure.  he was blatantly clear on that part.  we prayed through and created a "bvsa planting strategy" and will stick to it as best we can.  but much of the rest remains uncertain.  when will the new academy start?  what will it look like?  how will God provide for it? all a beautiful mystery.

one thing that is not a mystery, however, is that the rhinos of travesia, honduras, will learn about Jesus.  they will be loved on and taught how to become godly men, husbands, and fathers.

one thing that is not uncertain...  is that LOVE has arrived in travesia, honduras.