Up but not running. Yet!

11 Apr

The seasons do change here in Tocoa, Honduras. Now that the rainy season is over, we’re having … the dry season. Hasn’t rained more than 3 or 4 times in the last 30 days. However, no matter the season, it is still hot. I know some of you think it is all fun and games for me down here loving on these kids, but here are a few pictures from my labors. First are some vegetables and then there are some pictures of our first aquaponics system. This system is built with IBC’s (Intermediate Bulk Containers). It should hold 50 tilapia and over 100 plants when it reaches full capacity. Jeremy Frye, missions pastor extraordinaire from the Church at Agape Outpost in Breckenridge CO, helped me cut the tanks into two parts last month. We then painted them black to reduce light and inhibit algae growth. Next we painted them with a coat of white to reflect sunlight in an attempt to keep the water as cool as possible for the fish. It seemed to work in Texas at with Bruce Hammack’s system.

After Jeremy left, I cut the PVC tubes and glued them into U-shapes. Water travels from tank to tank through the tubes. The pump is in as well as the Styrofoam boards that will hold the plants. I cut holes in the Styrofoam and even transplanted a few chive plants and one okra seedling into the system. The chives are doing great. They seem to be indestructible. Oh, we also had a leak in one of the tanks and I have to patch it tomorrow. Then we go catch tilapia from the big tank at the other facility.

All this took more time than I wanted it to due to several reasons. One. I had to work in the dirt gardens. Two. The pump for our well stopped working for a few days, but Rodney Jackson, a volunteer living in Trujillo fixed it in with day’s work. And three, I have had the mother of all summer colds. Coughing, fever, gagging, spitting, oops! TMI? Well, let’s just say the last few days haven’t been fun. Here are the photos.

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The cherry tomatoes I planted back in the rainy season are finally producing fruit. Now, if I can just get the kids to stop eating them until before they turn red.

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 I love hot peppers, but these are almost too hot for even me. The plant was here when I arrived in November so I don’t know what it is, but I am saving some seeds for you fire eaters who come on a mission trip. I’ve named this pepper “the attitude changer.”

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 Anyone for sunflower seeds?

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Here is the system. The fish tank is the back one with a raised lid. The poo-collector and the plastic lids collected by the Church at the Agape Outpost are both in the first short tank. If the water looks low, it is. Still need to do more work before filling it to full capacity.

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 Here are the chives and a couple of other replants from the dirt gardens. Next week I should have photos of happy fish and happier plants. (Meaning they are well-fed) And that is all for this Food 4 Kids update. Hmm. Okay. Here are a few of my favorite kind of photos.

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This is Maria. She is 11 years old and is the caretaker of six siblings that arrived last month.

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This is Norma, one of Maria’s three sisters and two brothers.

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It’s skooter day at Village of Hope! Yes, Esther is probably too big for that little scooter, but she said it was pink and she just had to ride it. So I had to take a picture.

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I told you it was hot in that garden. See, it is not all fun and games down here just playing with the kids. Well, actually, it may be.

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Yasmin, ready for school.

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Nicol, never shy when a camera is in sight.

Be blessed my friends and family in the Lord. We are growing plants and getting ready to raise fish, but I for one will never forget why we are really here. 

Gideon

Pops & Papa

20 Mar

Much has happened since I returned to Honduras one month ago. The rainy season continued. The rainy season ended. Migraine headaches came and thankfully departed. I purchased 3 IBC’s (Intermediate Bulk Containers) for our first aquaponics system. Here I am with the first two.

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Jeremy Frye and I cut them apart and set them in place. That is Katerin beside me. She is dressed for school.

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And then Nicole gave me a new name. I have spoken of Yasmin and the special relationship she and I have, but God has given me two other little girls to love. Like Yasmin, Katerin and Nicol are nine. (Nicol is on the right) 

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They are twins. No! That is not correct. They are “The Twins,” a term to be said with equal parts exasperation, foreboding, and helplessness. For me, there is always a smile too. Tuesday, March 18, Nicol gave me a heart made of paper. Another child tore it up, so Nicol made another. On this one, she wrote: “From Nicol, To Tio Papa.” (She didn’t know how to spell Gideon.) After I read it, I asked, “Tio Papa?” Nicol hesitated, but nodded. As she waited for my reaction, her face was full of the fear of rejection. I instantly gave her a hug and said, “Thank you, but if you call me Papa, then I get to call you daughter.” She nodded again and kissed my cheek. Her grin was brighter than the sun. I’m pretty sure mine was too.

Now, that was definitely a Kodak moment, but the next day, March 19, equaled it. March 19 is Father’s Day in Honduras. At the orphanage school, many of the kids made Father’s Day cards for “Papa Barry” Compton, the founder of Open Door Ministries. But not Nicol. No, Nicol made a Father’s Day card for me! On it she wrote, “Te amo mucho papa.” It means, “I love you lots, papa.”

Folks, I am 62 years old and Wednesday was the first time in my life I’ve ever been given a Father’s Day card. This past week, Mike Atkinson, my pastor, visited Honduras. When he left on Sunday, he hugged me and called me Big Brother. I am 62 years old and yes, that was the first time I have ever been called Big Brother. (I am the youngest of three boys.) I love Mike Atkinson. We have known each other for more than 25 years. It brought me to tears when he called me “Big Brother.” However, I don’t think Mike will be offended to learn that the highlight of my week was Nicol calling me Papa. I realize now that I was receiving a lesson about the names of God.

Names identify a person, but they do so much more. Names can define character, be used as terms of endearment, or even be used as weapons. As a child, I had a hard time with my Father. Looking back, I take equal blame for our rocky relationship, but I take full blame for using his name as a weapon. Instead of calling him Father or Daddy, I called him by his first name, Levi. It was meant to hurt him, and it did. One day he asked me why I didn’t call him Daddy. I refused to answer and I refused to call him Daddy. I know I am forgiven now, but I look forward to the day in Heaven when I can apologize and call Levi by his real name, “Daddy.”

The word God seems so impersonal. Almighty God, while one of my current favorites, makes God seem a little distant. Then there are the names for Jesus: Savior, Master, and Lamb of God. All of these are dear to me, but after reviewing God’s names, I decided “Father” is my second favorite name for God and my favorite name is “Pops.” It has been my secret name for God for years now. Until now, I was too shy, scared, and doubtful to tell anyone. To you, “Pops” may seem too familiar. It may even border on disrespect. Well, if I was using it in a disrespectful manner, then it would be plain wrong. But, I want to be God’s son as much as Nicol wants to be my daughter. I want to please Him as much as Nicol wants to please me. Now, I know this nine-year old orphan is desperate for a father, but that is the point. She is desperate and “Pops” put me in her life for a reason. (It turned out that I was pretty desperate to be called Papa.) It is an amazing miracle that “Pops” put us together. And you, the supporters of Food 4 Kids, had a large part in making the miracle come true.

So, what is your favorite name for God? Jesus called His Heavenly Father, “Abba.” (He told us to do it too.) In ancient Hebrew, Abba means Daddy. (I suspect it also means “Pops.”) Do you need someone to call Father, Daddy, or Pops? Do you fear that if you do, He might reject you? Friends, it is not going to happen. In Hebrews 4:16, “Pops” commands His kids to boldly enter His throne room when we need His mercy or grace.

I have been a Dad for only a few days now, yet if Nicol (or Yasmin or Katerin) ever needed me… well, it happened on Father’s Day. Of all things, Nicol needed me to discipline her. Do you remember Esther? I once described her as a “Daughter of Thunder.” Like Esther, Nicol’s temper runs as deep as her love and her desperation. She has been in lots of trouble lately. Wednesday I saw her smack another orphan. Not hard, but hard enough to warrant discipline. I usually don’t handle discipline for the girls. I just take them to their Tia (House Mom), but Tia Flor was out of town that day. So, on my first Father’s Day I had to decide if I loved this little girl enough to discipline her. I did. As I headed toward her, she saw me coming and ran away rather than face me. You know what I did? I took a lesson from my “Pops” and I followed her until she stopped running. We got to the far side of the orphanage before that happened. I explained that I saw what she did and I ordered her up to her room for a time out. She didn’t want to go, but she did. Later, when her time was up, I called Nicol downstairs from her bunkroom. She came down slowly, cautiously, and yes, fearfully. If she could have seen into my heart, she would have known she didn’t have any reason to worry. All I wanted to do was to give her a bear hug. Which I did. Her smile lit the room…and my heart.

I know many of you have children and have learned much about the love of our Heavenly “Pops” through your love for your kids. However, it is all new to me. I just had to tell someone, well, actually, I guess I just told everyone. At 62 years of age, I am a Papa, but more importantly, God is my “Pops.”

One more point. Nicol did not earn my love or acceptance. As a matter of fact, when I first met she and Katerin, they scared me because they were so rough and wild. They were not the girls I would have picked. Being Nicol’s friend, then her Tio, and now her Papa has been and will be a difficult task. She is wounded inside and desperate for love, but that is part of the reason I love these three girls. I see their wounds, their loneliness, and their fears. However, I also see the beautiful women of God they could become if they only had an earthly Papa to introduce them to their Heavenly “Pops.” Oh, wait, that is why I am here. And why you sent me. Or were you like me and really thought “Pops” sent me this far from home just to grow a few fish? No, He had you send me for much more. Yasmin, Katerin, Nicol, and “Pops” thank you for making His miracle come true. As do I.

Gideon

Addition by Subtraction

3 Mar

Here at the Village of Hope, the kids call me “Tio Gideon.” Tio is Spanish for uncle. They use it as both a term of respect (sort of like calling me “Sir”) and a term of endearment. They call me “Tio Gideon” whether they are laughing, crying, eating, playing, and or even when I am correcting them. Now, let there be no doubt, as a 62-year old guy with no kids of my own, I am thrilled to hear children call me, “Uncle Gideon.” But sometimes, one of them will just call me “Tio.” Ahh, now that is truly special. I’ll try to explain why.

I have two cousins that I often heard say “Yes Sir” to my Dad, but it was never the same as when they said it to their own father. To be sure, when they said “Sir” (whether to my Dad or their own) it was a term of respect. However, no one else received the unique blend of respect, affection, and trust that their own Dad received. “Sir “ was more than a title for their Dad, it was also his name. My guess is, that to my cousins, “Sir” meant “Father.”

I have been back in Honduras for just over two weeks. Physically, it has been a tough two weeks. After the cold of Texas and Colorado, it took a several days to adapt to the heat. I worked in the hot sun for eight hours one day and ached for two more days. Then came the migraine. It lasted three days. Next, I set a concrete block on its end, stood up straight to stretch, and didn’t notice it toppling over until it hit the back of my leg just above the Achilles tendon. The resulting scrape was ugly, but minor. What still hurts is the Achilles tendon. All this whining is to say that I have been very unproductive in the garden. However I have had a lot of time to spend with God.

You may know that there are three little girls down here who have captured my heart. Jasmin, Nicole, and Katerina are their names. At the risk of being overly sentimental (who me?) I want to tell a couple of stories. During the migraine episode, the sounds of 50 kids playing was not a pleasant noise to my ears, but I stepped outside for some fresh air. Katerina walked by. I tapped her on the shoulder and offered her a hug. Instead, she crawled up into my lap, laid her head on my shoulder, and sat there for a long time. Now Katerina is not the toughest kid in the orphanage. She may not even be the meanest, but she does test me more than any of the others. It absolutely took me by surprise that when she got down, she kissed me on the cheek, and said, “Gracious, Tio.”

At that moment, I knew “Tio” was my name. It meant she trusted me, loved me, and also respected me. It meant we were family. Wow! You may ask, “What does this have to do with aquaponics farming?” Just hang on, I will get there in a moment.

I had a special moment with Jasmin this weekend too. I took her to the local Wendy’s restaurant for lunch. (Yes, we have a Wendy’s in Tocoa) We had a great time with lots of laughs. She ate fried chicken. Seems she is not too wild about hamburgers. Jasmin held my hand all the way there and all the way back. When we got back she hugged my neck and said, “Gracious, Tio.” Yep. Another one of those special “Tio-only” moments. I could get used to that.

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That is me with Jasmin and Katerina at last Friday night’s pizza party. Tio is happy.

Now we finally get to aquaponics,  or at least to missionary work, which is why I am in Honduras. Isn’t it? This morning I was whining because I couldn’t walk around. I couldn’t squat in the garden or use my leg to dig with a shovel. I felt useless. I didn’t complain to God, but I did apologize, because along with uselessness, I felt like a failure.

At that moment Father God whispered into my heart, “Who are you?” I gave a Biblical answer, “Your redeemed son?” “No,” came the gentle response. I was puzzled at first, but then it came to me in a flash. To at least two little girls, I was Tio. That made me think of how Katerina had disobeyed me in the garden this morning. My leg hurt, but I had to water the newly-planted seeds. (It seems the rainy season is finally over) Katerina kept turning it into a water fight with ten other kids. True, they relished it too, but she was the ringleader. Finally, I expelled her from the garden.

Was I still her Tio? You would have to ask her that, but was she still the little girl who had captured my heart? You bet. Did I still love her. You bet. When she returns for a hug, will I still hug her. You bet. Will I hunt her down and offer her a hug. That would be a winner too. Why? Because that is love. After the water wars, I limped back to my room. Later, Jasmin came by my apartment and waved  through my open door. I got to my feet and stepped outside to take a picture of her. I got another hug and she left with “See you later, Uncle.” Now, don’t think that Jasmin was all that good during the water wars. She was an instigator too, but she was wise enough to stop when she saw Katerina expelled from the garden.

Here is the point. I don’t have much progress to report concerning aquaponics or gardening this week. My leg hurts, the  power just went out, and my fan is not working. Did I mention that it is hot in Honduras. Especially without a fan. But it has been a great week. One of my best.

My God, the one that tells us to call Him Father, just showed me how much He loves us. His love is greater than that of a Tio. Even when we act like brats and get consequences. (like Katerina) Even when we act like brats, but somehow avoid consequences. (like Jasmin) Even when we are unproductive concerning our tasks. (like me) Even in all those times, and many others, He still loves us. Like a human Tio, He is always thrilled just to hear us call Him “Father.”

Would God send me to Honduras just to help me understand His love? Yes and no. To understand our Father’s love means you must give it away. If you aren’t giving it away, you don’t truly understand it. So while he reveals to me and teaches me about his love, I am (and have been) giving it away to others. Finally, I can agree with that great philosopher, Forrest Gump, and say, “I know what love is.” Well, I am at least starting to get an idea. I do understand this: Aquaponics is not the mission. It is the excuse for the mission. I am the mission. Katerina is the mission. Jasmin is the mission. Nicole is the mission. Adan, Junior, Tia Sandra, Tia Flor, Tio Roberto, Tio Edgardo, and all the other children are the mission. If you are reading this, then you are the mission too.

Some may fear that this post is about abandoning aquaponics. Nothing could be further from the truth. As God heals my heart and is free to operate through it, I will be more successful with aquaponics than ever before. I want to be the best farmer I can be so Open Door Ministries can feed more kids. That means they can rescue more kids. Oh, and one other thing, I want him to heal my heart because I want to be the best Tio I can be. Since God put that desire in my heart, he is sure to fulfill it and I want to say, “Thanks Father God.” Or, I could subtract a word and say more with: “Thanks, Pops.”

Helloes, Whys, Blessings, and See Ya Soons.

19 Feb

 

Hello all! It is February 18 and I am back online. I arrived on Feb. 13 and I confess it is my fault it took this long to get back online. I took a couple of days off to settle back in to life here at Village of Hope. The time I spent in the USA was marvelous and much more than I expected, but it wasn’t a relaxing time. So, I haven’t done much since I returned except watch it rain. Oh yeah. It is still the rainy season here in Tocoa, Honduras.

While in the states I realized that I have failed in my duty to inform you, the supporters of Food 4 Kids, on how and why you can help. I’m sure you noticed that I have begged, pleaded, and threatened you in the effort to sign everyone up on the Food 4 Kids blog. However, I never explained WHY it matters or HOW it can help. To be honest, in the beginning, getting everyone to sign up for the blog was a matter of convenience, but not now. Now it is a matter of economics. Okay, economics and convenience.

When I purchase a month of internet service in Honduras, I am paying for the right to use a certain amount of data within that month. When either the data or the month runs out, I must purchase a new month and a new block of data. If I send updates to the 105 people on my email update list, then I use 105 amounts of that much data. Admittedly, if it is a text-only email, that is not much. However, I want to send pictures and videos too. If I send 105 emails with pictures or videos, it would use up my data quickly. So, if everyone signs up for the blog, I only have to make one post to the blog and it sends out 105 emails for me. (That is assuming that all of you sign up to follow the blog) So, now that you understand how and why it will help Food 4 Kids, you will all go to the blog and click on the “follow” button and put in your emails. Right? Thank you.

With Helloes and Whys out of the way, here is the Blessing part. When I made this trip to the USA at the end of January I thought of it as a recruiting trip. I hoped to have a team-building meeting for those interested in short term trips or even a longer stay in Honduras. I prayed for 10 or 12 folks to show up, but I was determined to stay thankful if only 5 or 6 showed up. Imagine my elation when 22 folks came to the meeting while another 12 told me they were interested but for various reasons couldn’t come to the meeting. Wow. I am so humbled by my God and His people.

Mike Atkinson and Jeremy Frye are planning a trip to Honduras in March to evaluate the opportunities for short term teams as well as longer term individual stays. While here, they will meet with Lauren, the director of Open Door Ministries. Many details are yet to be worked out, but soon we will have a trip planned with tasks, dates, costs, and other pertinent info. Yes, this was a very successful recruiting trip, but while in Colorado, we received several financial gifts to Food 4 Kids, including the largest single gift we have had – so far.

 A few reports from Honduras:

The kids said, “Kidy.” Umm. That is as close as they get to “Howdy.”

The gardens are in poor shape after I was in the states for three weeks. Lots of work to do.

It is still raining several times a day.

I gave out hugs with your names on them. I received hugs meant for you.

To those coming on a mission trip, I will see you in Honduras. To those not coming to Honduras, I hope to see you on my next trip to the USA in May. Be blessed and See Ya Soon!!

 

AND THE STORY TOOK A TRAGIC TURN

25 Jan

Somewhere in every great book, the story takes a tragic turn. My favorite authors seem to delight in making tragic turns occur just when everything seems wonderful and peaceful. The first such story happened in the Garden of Eden. Sometimes I absolutely hate what authors put their characters through. My favorite writers do it consistently, yet I love their books. Why? Because an adventure requires more than good guys, true love, and good times. It also requires villains, betrayals, and tragic turns. Why? Well, it sells books is one reason, but another reason is that it resembles real life. 

There is an unwritten contract between writers and readers. It states that each tragic turn must serve a purpose. The hero must either grow from the experience or learn from it. Often they will go through a similar (and usually worse) event in the future. We readers will endure tragic, even evil, turns in the story if we see good come from it. Why? Because that is what we want real life to be like. We want to believe that there is a purpose for the tragedies we experience. Most of us don’t want to read books that follow the philosophy of Elbert Hubbard who said, “Life is just one damn thing after another.”

So, with that intro, do you feel a story with a tragic turn coming on? Here it is. In my last post, I wrote about becoming a Tio, or house dad, to three teenage girls. It was with joy, hope, and honor that I wrote that post. I was exhilarated at the thought of helping those young ladies. However, within days, life took an unforeseen turn. While not really a tragic turn, it felt that way at the time. One girl got angry with a government official and left the program. One failed to take care of her child and was placed in another house with a Tia who would train and guide her to be a better mother. The third girl couldn’t stay in their apartment by herself so she was moved to yet another house. In twelve hours, we went from working together as a team and growing as a family unit to me sitting on the floor of their apartment watching all three cry. I tried to offer words of comfort, but I didn’t  know the language well enough to do so.

So life took an unexpected, sad, and disappointing turn. In the past, this is where I would usually say, “I won’t do that again. It hurt too much. No. Not me.” That was me in the past, but what about now? Do I still like the adventure God has placed me in? Heavens yes! Two reasons come to mind. The first reason is that in the days since then, I have lived through the next several chapters of the story. I can already see good things happening. Things that might not have happened in our previous arrangement.

Under the tutelage of a woman she likes and loves, the young mom is learning how to take care of her child. Three days ago she hid her head in a pillow and cried. Today, she is smiling and happy. The girl who got angry and left won’t be back, but she understands that she let her temper put her where she is now. The third girl has started cooking for the boys in one of the houses. I got to eat her fried chicken the other day. Sorry Mom, but Eili’s fried chicken may be the best I’ve ever had. I am not exaggerating. So see, all is different, yet all is well. The Author of this story really does know what He is doing.

And that is the second reason, and perhaps the main one, that I still like the adventure. I personally know the author and trust that He will succeed in writing the story He wants to write. He will end this story with, “And they lived happily ever after.”

Do I have questions about what happened and why it happened? Yes. But here is the real question. Would I do it again? YES! (All caps equal a shout) Now, I know that this turn of events wasn’t truly tragic, but what if it had been. A death could have been the cause of the breakup of our farming team. Or the two girls that stayed could have run away later and ended up in who knows what kind of horrid situation. So would I do it again even if it had been tragic? You can bet the farm on it. Oh, don’t misunderstand me. Watching my girls cry hurt so badly that I went back to my apartment and cried too. It hurt especially bad to know that one was leaving the group for good. But I absolutely trust the author of this story. He has proven His qualities to me time and again. I trust that He is in control, and most of all, I trust that His heart is good. You see, every story He writes is History. (His Story – get it?) And His Story is always good.

As an author, He does have a unique problem. His Story is an interactive story. He lets us participate and our choices determine much of our part in His Story. Don’t jump on me for heresy. I believe God is sovereign and absolutely in control, but I also believe that within His sovereign will, He gave us free will. He chooses us, but we choose whether or not we accept His choosing of us. (You may need to read that line again. I did.)

Life is supposed to be an adventure. Yet, I lived most of my life paralyzed by the constant fear of pain. I did almost anything to avoid even the potential of pain. So, am I having fun right now? Yes, and it hurts. Relationships hurt. Disappointment hurts. Broken relationships hurt. But, I know the end of the story, and friends, we win. Those of us who choose to listen to His call “live happily ever after.” The story doesn’t end with this turn of events. This isn’t the final chapter. Heck, it isn’t even the main storyline. Life truly begins when we enter into the presence of the Author.

Yes this turn of events hurt, but this is the storyline that the Author wrote specifically for me – and my girls. I go through these hurts because I now know that my life has purpose. Plus, even with the hurts, the life I am living now is just plain fun. Other than my salvation, I may be walking through the greatest miracle of my lifetime. God has changed me from a guy who avoided all risks of pain into a man who doesn’t want pain, but sees it as part of this life and is willing to go through it. I know that what I face will make me better and that it will help me face problems in the future that are similar – and maybe worse. Besides, this is History, not my story. My part is just a small part, although to the Author, I am as important as any other character, except His Son.

This poem has been one of my favorites for years. It is just now that I am actually understanding and living this mindset.

My Orders by Ethelwyn Wetherald

My orders are to fight; 

  Then if I bleed, or fail, 
Or strongly win, what matters it?
  God only doth prevail.

The servant craveth naught
  Except to serve with might.
I was not told to win or lose,–
  My orders are to fight.

To have this mindset requires trust. To have trust requires asking the Author to write you into a chapter on trust. It will be a grand adventure, but there will be tragic turns. And it will hurt. But friends, it is worth it. I promise. How do I know? Because we win. What does victory look like? It looks like a celebration of champions. I see one day when you, I, my three girls, and all the other champions will gather in the Author’s house for a party to celebrate the wedding of the His Son. It will be a grand event, but it will be absent one thing. A tragic turn.

“And they lived happily ever after.”

God’s gentle sense of humor.

18 Jan

Last week I was thrilled when Tio Edgardo finally arrived back from his vacation. Tio is the Spanish word for uncle and Tia is the word for aunt. At Open Door Ministries, the titles of Tia & Tio are equal to a house-parent at orphanages in the USA. Back to Edgardo. It wasn’t his fault that he was three days late. Floods washed the roads away. He got back as soon as he could. The reason I was thrilled with Edgardo’s arrival was that while he was on vacation, I took his place as a Tio. I lived in a small house with 6 young boys for two weeks. With his return, I was looking forward to what I considered a well-deserved rest. I won’t take the time to explain the circumstances, but within a day of Tio Edgardo’s return, I volunteered to be a house parent again. This time it is a little more complicated. I am back in my apartment here at the orphanage, but living in the apartment above me are . . . drumroll please . . . three, beautiful, wonderful, but troubled, teenage girls. (Emphasis on wonderful and troubled)

Now, let’s clarify my status. I am a 62-year-old guy who came to Honduras to farm at an orphanage for a year. I am single, never had children, and I am a loner. Yep, put me in a room with a Bible, a book, a praise CD, and plenty of food and I don’t need other people at all. People wear me out. I can make it on my own quiet well without others thank you. I’m not saying that is the way that I (or anyone else) should live, it’s just the way I have lived for many years now. However, sometimes, in the quiet of those quiet days, I would pray for something else, something more. Sometimes I admitted to myself and to God that I wanted to be part of a team, to be part of something that mattered. Almost as soon as the words would leave my mouth, I would slam shut the door to my heart again and forget them. Guess who didn’t forget my words or prayers?

Yeah, that’s right. My Abba Daddy didn’t forget. So, here is where God’s sense of humor comes into the story. To answer my secret prayers for companionship and purpose, God sent me down to Honduras to be a farmer. Huh? Does that make sense to you? Me either, but let’s face it, if He had told me to do what I am doing now, I would have never believed it was from God. It is just too crazy! Not only does it not make sense, there was a greater problem. I didn’t have enough love in my heart to take on caring for three teenage girls. So do you see why God put me in an orphanage for 3 months? He knew I would fall in love with the little kids and He was softening my heart so He could do His job through me to the big kids. He wanted me to love the lonely, help the helpless, and defend the fatherless. Sound familiar? From his own mouth, here is Jesus’ job description.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,

Because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Luke 4:18 NKJV

Monday, my girls and I worked in the garden together. What a hoot seeing these 14 and 15 year-old girls with their hands in slime and mud separating dirt from sod. Farming will be part of their chores each day. Did you get that? God has given this ex-loner a team of farmers!

Tuesday, we piled into a taxi and I took them for a class in shopping at a local grocery store. Each girl had a list of 20 items and a certain amount of cash. I had them get a shopping cart and turned them loose with no help or instructions other than “buy the stuff on this list.” I haven’t laughed that hard for a long time. Imagine three cute teenage girls, each with a shopping cart and each looking at a shopping list. It was like an episode of keystone cops. If one went across an aisle, the others followed. If the first one realized she was in the wrong aisle and turned around, the others followed. I stopped laughing long enough to stop that behavior and then noticed another problem. Each had loaded her cart with her three loafs of bread first, and then piled other stuff on top of the bread. I went to each cart and put the bread in the section for fragile items. Somehow, the girls had formed a line again. I noticed that if the first one in line took an item off the shelf, the others took the same item. If she put the item back, the others stared at her, grumbled among themselves, and then put the item back. By this time, I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I’m not sure if the girls learned anything, but I had a blast.

There are two passages the Lord has given me for working with these young ladies.

The first is something King David says to the Lord.  

“Your gentleness has made me great.” Psalm  18:35

Wow! We spend so much time talking about God’s power and holiness (and rightly so) yet David said that it was God’s gentleness that made Him great. I know my girls need discipline and tough love, but even tough love can be done in a gentle way.

The other passage is a familiar one to many of us.

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13

This quote is from the New King James Version, but I looked it up in the “old” King James Version too. Check this out!“mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”

Sometimes we forget (at least I do) that triumph (victory) brings joy. And if we are truly filled with joy, we can’t help but laugh. Somehow, God’s sense of humor is wrapped up in His joy and His joy is wrapped up in His triumphant victories in our lives. He thinks it is funny to send an old, single farmer to care for teenage girls.

My time with my girls (I can’t help but call them mine even though they are His) may only last for the rest of my year in Honduras. Or . . . it may last for a second year. Or a third year. Or it may last for the rest of my life. I truly don’t know, nor do I care—as long as I am obeying my Jesus and He does His job through me.

Do you see what a mission trip has done to my heart? In less than 3 months, I have learned not to plan the adventure, but to live it. Life without a plan is finally fun for me. But here is something equally amazing, life in the midst of fifty kids is actually fun. I do truly love my girls, but I know that they will make mistakes. Most of them already have. However, the real tragedy is that God had to send a 62-year-old guy who doesn’t even speak their language to be their Tio and His example of His love for them. It is a tragedy for those who were supposed to do this and missed out, but a tremendous privilege, blessing, and adventure for me.

Once again, I want to thank Barry and Penny Compton, the founders of Open Door Ministries and also Lauren Compton, their daughter who manages the day-to-day operations of the orphanage and the girls’ home. They are trusting me with their kids and allowing me time to change into whatever God wants me to be. Thank you Barry,  Penny, and Lauren, I am humbled and grateful to be part of your ministry team.

I thank you, friends and supporters of Food 4 Kids. Please know that our original mission is intact. We will finish the gardening school. We will install aquaponics systems. But we will do all this in God’s timing. Our Father is at work in many hearts and I for one want to live the adventure. Who knows, someone reading this may be the next one to sleep in a house with six boys for a week . . . or longer. Know this, your prayers and financial gifts are making a difference in the lives of the children down here. Go look in the mirror. You will see a Tio or Tia in the reflection, Listen close and you will hear God say, “Good job.”

Last, but most, I thank You, Jesus Christ, Lord of lords, King of kings, and lover of my soul. I thank You for the love that now flows through my heart. It seems like every couple of weeks You have me fall in love all over again. First it was with my little buddy Manuel. After he went back to his mom, you increased my love for Esther and Jasmin. Then I learned to love the boys in Tio Edgardo’s house. Now, You have added Jocelyn and Eili to the list of those that have captured my heart. What is neat is that I don’t have to stop loving one person to love the next one that Jesus puts in my path. He expands my heart’s capacity so I can love them all. Lord Jesus, I hope that You enjoy Your sense of humor as much as I do. And Lord, I don’t know if I am great, but I know this; Your gentleness has made my life great. Thank You.

Tio Gideon,  

January 18, 2014, Tocoa, Colon, Hondura

It’s a New Year!

4 Jan

Remember do-overs? Reboots? How about reformats? That’s my life this year.

Living with 40 or 50 kids will change your perspective about what is really important and especially what it means to truly love someone else. I’ll give you an example.

The last week of December I served as a house parent here at Village of Hope while Edgardo was on vacation. I lived in a casita (small house) with six boys: Carlos, Engleis, Mario, Noe, Adan, and Junior. On New Year’s Eve, we had pork sandwiches as part of our celebration. Later, when I ordered the younger boys to bed, Junior didn’t go. He slowly sat down on the kitchen floor, leaned forward, and puked. The other boys thought it was hilarious. I thought, “Oh joy.” Another temporary house parent, Keyla, came to my rescue. Keyla is bilingual. She brought some antacids and asked Junior some questions. She smiled at his answer. Then she laughed. When she had me feel his stomach, it felt as though he had swallowed an entire watermelon. “Ready to pop” was the phrase that came to mind.

Remember those pork sandwiches? Junior ate all three on his plate. Then he ate one of Mario’s. Then I gave him half of my last one. He also got another half or full sandwich from someone else.  Now Junior isn’t the youngest of the boys in my house, but he is the smallest. He is tiny. We got the antacids into him and got him to bed. I thanked Keyla and she went back to her house. Then I went into the bedroom to pray for Junior. Here’s where I got my lesson.

I put my hand on Junior’s tummy and started to pray. Then it hit me that no one in the room would understand what I said except God. I had an audience, but my faithful sounding words would not encourage Junior nor would they sound spiritual to the other boys. What a shock to realize how much I depended upon impressing other people with my prayers. At that moment, I entered  into a true test of my faith. Did I truly believe God was there, or was I just spewing empty words to an empty room?

Yes, I pray for others all the time when I am alone with God, but this was different. Junior needed help right then. He wasn’t in great pain, but he was laying there looking up at me. He knew I was going to pray for him and I think he was depending on me to come through. What a helpless feeling. It may not sound like that impactful of a moment, but it shook my world. Why? Because all that mattered was results. Not for me, but for Junior. Once again, I received the lesson that this life is not about me.

After a few moments of hesitation, I finally prayed out loud in English. And guess what? Junior went to sleep, slept all night, and woke up feeling great. He also had a much smaller stomach. Sounds great doesn’t it. Just what missionary stories are made of. But what if Junior had gotten sick again that night? What if we had to take him to the clinic or hospital in the morning? In my prayer, I covered all that.

I told the Lord that I believed in Him. I told Him that I had settled the matter in my heart. I not only believed that He is real, but that He is good! Whether Junior got better or worse didn’t matter as far as what I believed. However,  it mattered to Junior. I believe this prayer set God free to act in Junior’s best interest, not mine. With my statement of faith, I got out of the picture and God healed my little buddy.

But the question remains. How will I pray next time I pray in front of a group of people? Will I strive to sound spiritual or faithful. Or will I humbly approach the throne of mercy and grace to ask the Master to help others? Will they be offended if I ignore them to speak to my Savior and Master as though He and I were alone? Well, if not before, I will find out when I visit the USA in January and February.

“Don’t forget in the darkness what God told you in the light.” T.D. Hall 

Blessings,

Gideon

PS – ANNOUNCING THE FOOD 4 KIDS BACK TO AMERICA TOUR”

Eighteen days! 4 airports (2 times each!) Several Presentations!

Dates: January 29, 2014-7:00PM

Georgetown, TX at the home of Bruce and Joyce Hammack. Includes dinner of rice, beans, and tortillas. Ensalada & carne tambien!

February 2, 2014: 8:30 AM & 10:00AM

Breckenridge CO at the Agape Outpost. I will bring the message from the book of Luke at both services. (I may mention kids, mission opportunities, and show some photos too.) Can’t be there? No need to be square, watch the 10:00AM service live by streaming video.Still can’t make it? No problema. Watch it later on the Agape Website.

February 9, 2014: Agape Outpost, after the 10:00AM service. A short meeting to form a team for short-term and/or long missions.

Small group members of Agape, ask your leaders to book a night. Food 4 Kids will be in Summit County, CO for the entire week of February 2 thru 8. Your leaders can contact one of the pastors at Agape or email me directly at food4kids@agapeoutpost.org  Questions can be sent to the same email.

All sessions include photos and home movies of KIDS FROM HONDURAS!! (What could be better?!!)

 

 

NOVEMBER, 2013

19 Nov

NEWSFLASH from the Jesus News Network! November 1, 2013.

“FIRST CONTACT” An alien Gringo has landed in Tocoa, Honduras. Hugs delivered and received.

Hola y’all. I must warn you that this update is a long one. I know, I say that with every update I send, but hey, this is my first one since I landed in Honduras.

First, I’d like to take a moment to say, “WOW! I’m really here.” Yes, I know that I’ve been in Honduras over two weeks and I should be settled in, but I’m still in that “Pinch me, I must be dreaming” state. To me, it seemed like it took forever to get down here, but to Barry and his daughter Lauren, they can’t believe I got here this fast. To them it is proof of God’s involvement.

Now look, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have learned that when others see God’s hand in something and I don’t, then I’m missing something. Therefore, I did some calendar work. Here’s what I found. I returned from my first trip to Honduras in late February, 2013. Then I spent a month planning. Then God changed those plans and revealed that He wanted me to stay in Honduras for at least a year. Let’s call that the beginning of April. Next, I proposed two budgets to the pastors at the Church at Agape Outpost and to you, the supporters of Food 4 Kids. The 1st was to cover my time down here. The 2nd was for the projects I believe God wants done.

SECOND NEWSFLASH! Did you know that no budget was presented for hug distribution? It costs nothing. Just saying.

Back to the calendar story. God completed raising the money for my trip in August. Then came two “long” months of preparation, purchasing items needed, and praying. My first full day here was November 1, 2013. From the time He told me to come for at least a year, God raised the full amount for that year’s stay (including travel) in only 5 months and got me down here in only 7 months! So, yes, I did get down here fast and it had to be God’s action because several of those months I spent in Texas working with the aquaponics system in Bruce and Joyce Hammack’s backyard. WOW!

THIRD NEWSFLASH!!!  Alien completes water tests from the orphanages’ wells and the fish farm. PRAISE THE LORD!! (I’m doing a lot of shouting aren’t I?) The pH is low and the water is soft. Both are great for plants. Remember, high pH and hard water were the problems we had with the system in Texas. But not in Honduras!

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, God got me down here in only 7 months, but in the meantime, He sent me back to school for a refresher course. No, not just in the Hammacks’ backyard, but He actually sent me back to Florida and Morning Star Fishermen for a week. Then I got to return to Colorado for a few months. Another important bit of information that is praiseworthy is He got me out of Colorado before winter set in! YEAH GOD!! (Sorry Rita, Candy, Mark, Carol, and any other warm-blooded friends still in the mountains.)

Now, here’s the important stuff. These are just the names that I can put a face to. I’m trying, but I can’t learn them any faster. Seriously, show me how to do a memory trick with names like Mayalin, Miyeli, Eyeni, Yami, Fany, or Eili.

THE KIDS: Manuel, Jonathan, Jasmin, Briana, Nohemy (pronounced no-amy), Amalia, Esther, Jona, Jose, Yami, Sebastian, Estefani, Eili, Saidi, Fany, Zahir, Junior, Carlos

My newest BFF is Manuel. He is about two years old and before Sunday, all I ever heard him say was “Hey.” Today Manuel said, “Hola!” On the trip from the airport to the orphanage, Barry Compton and his friend Jay said that I didn’t have to pick out a special kid, that he or she would pick me. The next day Manuel walked up and held his arms out for me to pick him up. I did and that was special, but then he laid his head on my shoulder and just melted against me. He didn’t move, talk, or do anything. In my imagination he said, “Hey Gringo. Love. I need it. Give it up.”

Next I met Nohemy (At first, I thought her name was spelled like it sounds = Noamy.) Nohemy is 13, almost 14, and her daughter’s name is Amalia. Amalia is around one year old. Yeah, that’s right. Do the math. Nohemy loves Amalia tremendously, but dang it, she is still just a kid herself. She should be skipping rope, but instead, she is trying to be a Mom. If I let it, her situation could break my heart, but instead, I have chosen to let Nohemy inspire me. Manuel may be my new BFF, but Nohemy is my new hero. By the way, I’ve been privileged to earn her trust and give her a bunch of hugs too.

Another new friend is Jonathon. He is one of Manuel’s older brothers. Jonathon joined me one day at the garden and became my first helper. He stayed beside me for hours and helped as I dug up sod and then helped me separate the dirt from the grass. As more kids came to join us, he instructed them on how to help. He even told them to keep the red worms in the garden and throw the white grubs away. He gets hugs from me too, but what’s better is that he gives them back.

The final new friend I will tell you about is Esther. I know less about her than any of the others, but I also know her the best. I met Esther last February on my first trip to Honduras. I sat outside one night at the girls’ home and played “quick hands” with a group of the girls. You know the game where you put your palms on the other person’s palms and they try to flip their hands over and touch you before you can remove your hands. Esther was there that night only 8 short months ago. She is a beautiful, young lady about 15. It is easy to tell that Esther has a problem with her temper and her mouth. She is brash, bold, and yet, surprisingly gentle. When she yells at one of the little kids, it will leave your eardrums ringing. Two minutes later, she will hurry over to pick up a little one who has fallen. She seemed embarrassed both times I saw her do that. She will hurl dirt clods at one of the older kids with the speed of Nolan Ryan, but then gets sad if I squish a grub I find in the garden. She reminds me of some of my heroes from the Bible. I think Jesus would have named her “Daughter of Thunder.” Soon, I will ask Lauren about Esther’s story, but for now, all I know is that she is here, and that means her past is probably not a good story. However, she gives great hugs.

I’m going to wait a few days before posting some pictures. Right now, I would ask you to just dwell on their names and their stories. Then try to imagine life as Manuel, Nohemy, Amalia, Jonathon, or Esther. No, I’m not talking about imagining life in a nation of poverty. I’m talking about life as an orphan. Some of you may have lived this life, but most haven’t. Many of us did grow up with only one parent. Some had a parade of stepparents. Others lived in houses with two parents but no love. Some of you may have been taken from your natural parents and grown up in foster care. In truth, without Jesus, we’re all orphans. As you pray, remember that the kids I have introduced to you are the fortunate ones. They are clean, well-fed, clothed, and loved. So as you pray for them, pray for those still out there that need help, and love. And don’t just pray for the orphans of Honduras.

One of the reasons I am so grateful to be part of the Agape Outpost is that this little mountain church helps orphans all around the world in places such as Kenya, India, Uruguay, and now Honduras. (and I’m probably leaving out some other nation where we help orphans.) We help the spiritual orphans of the world too by supporting churches and/or missionaries in South Asia, Uruguay, Mexico, China, India. (Again I am sure I’m forgetting someone.) Friends, I am honored, humbled, and I thank you for sending me to Honduras. And remember, each of the hugs I give away is from you and each one that I receive is for you.

Don’t forget in the darkness what God told you in the light,  Gideon

NEWSFLASH!! “An alien sits alone in a room and there is a knock on the door.”

As I finished this update, I heard a light tapping on my door. I opened it to find Jona, a tiny fellow about the same age and size as Manuel. While Manuel is quiet and serious, Jona is a talker and a grinner. I picked him up and he wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed for all he had. No talking today, just a long hug. We hugged for a couple of minutes before I set him down. Then he grabbed my hand and started tugging on it and talking. I didn’t understand a single word, but I knew what he wanted. Jona loves to be pushed on the swing set. So I set the tiny fellow on the swing and started pushing. An older boy got in the swing beside us and said, “Hola, Gideo.” I have to admit, I don’t know the older boy’s name – yet. However, there is still tomorrow. Then Esther came running from the front porch of her casita. I stepped away from Jona for a moment as Esther and I bear-hugged. Then I went back to pushing Jona. Bold, brash, beautiful Esther pushed the other boy. See, I told you she was gentle too. We did this for about five minutes, and then the older boy jumped out of the swing. Esther took his place and I pushed her, a 15 year old, and Jona, a 2 year old, for another few minutes. As I pushed I thought how similar they were, both are starving for love from someone they can trust. Then Esther jumped out and ran to her casita. She waved and called back, “Hasta luego, Gideo.” I somehow convinced Jona it was time for him to play with the other kids and then returned to my room where I typed this  - and cried. In many of my recent emails I have stated that I am the most blessed man you know. I mean that, but let me clarify something. I am not saying that I am the most deserving man you know. Friends, that is why I am so blessed, I don’t deserve this. But in His mercy, Father God has chosen to give it to me. So yes, I am blessed, but it is because God is good, not me.

September 24, 2013: Two Updates in One!

24 Sep

Yes, I’ve waited so long between updates that now you get a twofer. Wow! Are you blessed or what?! Don’t worry, the first update is short. Kinda.

Update #1 – “I’m outta here!” No, really, I mean it this time. Really! I am headed to Austin, TX on October 28 for a few days and then (drumroll please) on October 31, 2013 (cymbal clash) I will fly from Austin, TX to San Pedro Sula, Honduras (trumpets sound, bugles blow, & angelic choirs sing). Yes, except for leaving every 90 days to get my passport stamped, I will be there for the next year. See!! I really am outta “here.” And just in time too. “Here” is the Colorado mountains, and it snowed “here” last Sunday night. Snow! In September! I’m shocked and outraged. Well, not really shocked, but I am outraged. Okay, I’m not outraged either, but do you know why not? Because I’m outta here! YES! Let my whining end. I’m outta here! Oh. Umm. No offense meant to those of you who still live in this winter wonderland called Summit County, Colorado. Please enjoy it, but as for me and my house, I’m outta here!

Before I go on to Update #2, I need to make my first apology to all the supporters of Food 4 Kids. I am sorry that it’s been so long between updates. I kept putting it off, hoping to announce a departure date. And now I have one, I see that I waited too long because Update #2 should have been out a long time ago. Sorry.

Update #2 – “Bricks and Sticks!” It has come to my attention that many people misunderstood me when I said that the Lord had provided all the funds I needed for my year-long stay in Honduras. Several thought we had all the funding we needed for everything, including the construction of the aquaponics farms. Unfortunately, the Lord has not provided those funds – yet! While God has provided for all expenses needed for traveling to and staying in Honduras for a year, we still need funds for the projects we want to do while there. This is my second apology, I should have corrected this misunderstanding earlier. We still need money for the “Bricks and Sticks” part of the mission to Honduras. Funds will be needed during the next year for the aquaponics farms and the solar energy system. Until Father God provides these funds, I am blessed to proclaim that our mission to Honduras will go on. As soon as I arrive, I will start planning and building the small gardens for the gardening school. More on that later.

By the way, from now on, I will write all the updates in first person plural. Why? Because I, Gideon Cooper, may be the one going to Honduras, but this is not just my mission. All of you have made it possible by giving your money, your encouragement, and most importantly, your prayers. This is your mission too. From now on, you will get to read about what “we” are doing on the Food 4 Kids’ mission to Honduras. I may be the boots on the ground, but “we” are the army.

As soon as we get to Honduras, we will begin to seek out the best method, the best location, and the best vegetables for our gardening school. Everything we do will be with an eye toward self-sufficiency. We have already purchased several packs of heirloom seeds for this reason. What are heirloom seeds? Well, most seeds are Genetically Modified Organism or GMO seeds. Companies genetically modify their seeds to prevent diseases and to increase production. The process also prevents people from saving the seeds at harvest and planting them the next growing season. Some of us may not know this, but most of the seeds we buy from our local store are GMO. Heck, we can’t even save unused GMO seeds plant them the next year. Most, if not all, GMO seeds have a built-in expiration date. If you don’t plant them during the current season, they will be unusable before the next season.

Not so with heirloom seeds. Most heirloom seeds are saved from private gardens. They may be a tiny bit more expensive, but the extra cost is recouped when we harvest the seeds to use in our next crop. Part of what we will teach in our gardening school is how to save seeds and store them until there are needed in the next garden.

We will also operate by the self-sufficiency model when it comes to fish. One of the important things we hope to do is install an inexpensive tilapia nursery. Currently, Open Door Ministries must purchase each new batch of tilapia they wish to raise. Installing a nursery will free their money to care for their children’s other needs.

Back to the gardening school. First we’ll build small, raised-bed gardens. Each small garden will be about four feet across and then marked off into small sections one foot across. We’ll give each child one of the small sections and let them grow plants of their choosing. (The older kids will be encouraged to help the little ones) Those who show a passion for gardening, a desire to help younger kids, or other, as yet unidentified actions and attitudes, will be rewarded with extra sections to garden.

Once Gideon Cooper, our man with boots on the ground, learns to truly communicate in the Spanish language, we will use the gardens as tools to disciple the children about our Lord Jesus. While we have many ideas and plans, most of our final plans will be made after we are in Honduras. This is to ensure that our plans fit in with the vision that Open Door Ministries has for their facilities and the kids under their care. We already know we are in agreement with them in the general concept of the gardening school, but before we get specific, we want their input and we need their permission. Remember, our goal is to actually help, not just do something to make ourselves feel good. Such an attitude would only create problems that Open Door Ministries would have to deal with once we’ve returned to the USA. None of us wants that.

“Lego Farm On Display” Please lift these upcoming events up in your prayers. This weekend, the Food 4 Kids new and improved Lego aquaponics farm will be set up at the Church at the Agape Outpost. On Saturday, September 28, it will be on display for the member churches of the High Country Baptist Association. On Sunday, everyone at the Agape Outpost can see the new additions we’ve made to the model. We’ve added small gardens like those we will use in the gardening school, a solar electricity system, a compost bin, and a barrel garden. Later in October, we’ll set the display up once again at the Agape Outpost for the Fall Festival. This just in! On October 6, Gideon Cooper will be speaking at High Country Church in Frisco, CO. He will share his testimony and talk about our vision for Food 4 Kids. He may even set up our Lego model. Prayers for new prayer warriors, new short and long term missionaries, and new donors who want to give to the Kingdom work in Honduras.

Most of us still wonder this, “Why did the Lord give us the vision about Food 4 Kids through Gideon Cooper? Is it because Gideon loves kids? Or is it because Gideon is the biggest kid of us all? Many have verbalized their puzzlement (and maybe their jealousy) that Gideon is the one called by God to play with our Legos. Gideon would tell you that being the vision-bearer and the Lego-builder is a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Be blessed fellow missionaries to Honduras, and as always,

Don’t drop your swords.

Gideon Cooper (Writing for the Food 4 Kids Team.)

On the road again!

5 Aug

 

Hello from Georgetown Texas.

 

Yes, I’m still in TX, but soon I will be on the road again. Monday, August 12, I’m heading to Dade City, FL where I will visit with the wonderful folks at Morningstar Fishermen, the aquaponics school I attended last year. While here in Texas, I set up and operated a small, backyard aquaponics system at Bruce Hammack’s house. I learned much from the experience, but it left me with some questions that I hope the staff at Morningstar can answer. Although they are in the midst of a major remodel, they have graciously offered some of their valuable time to help me with those questions and to review the system I designed for the orphanage in Honduras.

 

Barry and Penny Compton, the founders of Open Door Ministries, live only about an hour away from the school. I hope and pray that they will be able to travel to Dade City. I want them to see a large aquaponics system in operation. I think it will give them invaluable insight on how aquaponics will help feed their kids.

 

And finally, I simply want to walk through the greenhouse, feed the fish, and “smell the aquaponics” again.

 

On Friday, August 16, I am traveling back to Colorado. I will be there for just over two weeks. On Sundays I will set up the Lego model of an aquaponics system and tell anyone who will listen about the vision and mission that God has given Food 4 Kids. I hope we can finish the fund-raising for my year in Honduras during these two weeks.

 

Speaking of fund-raising – you – the supporters of Food 4 Kids – are amazing. Between donations and pledges, we now have over $9,000 of the $15,000 needed for my year in Honduras.  That means with less than $6,000 more in donations or pledges, I can make travel plans. And man I am ready to travel. Uh, not that I haven’t like waiting. Waiting is good. Thanks everybody for your support with the ministry. And most of all, Thank you Lord Jesus for these wonderful people who have caught the vision of Food 4 Kids.

 

Okay, you knew I would eventually ask for something in this email – or you should have. I need a place to stay for the two and a half weeks that I am in Colorado. This would start August 16. I will also need someone to pick me up in Frisco that night and take me to wherever I’m staying. (Too much luggage to ride the shuttle) So, talk it over with Jesus and send me an email if you can help. Oh, one more item.

 

The Info and Update Blog for Food 4 Kids is up and running. Check it out. We got pictures. We got videos. We got a mission statement. We even got updates. (Unfortunately, we don’t got good grammar.) After September, all the updates will be posted on the blog and you can receive an email notification of them. To receive the notices, all you have to do is go to the blog and click on the button that says you want to receive the updates. Once you click on it, type in your name, email address, SSN, and your credit card number … Um, no, legal counsel just advised that I should only ask for the first two. Please sign up. It will make things much simpler for me. And after all, it’s all about … no, no that’s not right either. It is not all about me. However, you do want to get my blogs. Each month I will make a report on the work I am doing in Honduras. I may post a video about some of my experiences or the sights in Honduras. I’ll also post pictures and names of the kids so you can pray for them. If you don’t want to receive email notification of updates, you can always just check out the blog by saving the link below to your favorites or bookmarks. Give it a test ride. Hit the link below now. Um, I mean gently click the link below. (Legal counsel again.)

 

http://f4kagape.wordpress.com/

 

Thanks & be blessed my family in the Lord, and don’t drop your sword.

 

Gideon

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