Archive | August, 2014

Garden of Hope

7 Aug

Although not all dreams come from God, the Bible is full of dreams, dreamers, and dream interpreters. I think God gave me a dream a few months back More accurately, I think He gave me a further part of the dream He had when He called me to Honduras. Last December, I was working in the garden and looked through a window in the security wall that surrounds the orphanage. Nothing dramatic happened at that moment, but just like in a gardener, God planted a seed that day. Afterwards, almost every day I was drawn to think about the empty lot on the other side of the wall.

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Weeks passed, but I was drawn back to that window time and again. Each time I wondered why I was so intrigued by the view of that empty and overgrown lot. Then one day, I heard a whisper, one so faint I almost missed it. It said, “I could make a great garden there. I could help feed the kids so Barry and Penny and Lauren could bring in more kids who need to be rescued.”

No, I wasn’t speaking to myself. I believe it was God speaking to my heart. I believe He was telling me what was in His heart. He was speaking out His vision and His dream for that empty lot. Since then I have quietly pursued the dream. I shared it with Mike Atkinson and Jeremy Frye, two of my pastors from the Church at Agape Outpost in Breckenridge, CO. Both caught the vision. Jeremy and I even measured the lot and sketched out plans for buildings and aquaponics systems. I later shared it with the Comptons, the founders of Open Door Ministries. They liked the idea and got us a meeting with the mayor of Tocoa. You see, we think the land is owned by the city of Tocoa, and if so, they might give us a long-term lease on the land. Possibly a 90 year lease that would cost next to nothing, or maybe nothing.

As part of my dreaming, I had made a 3D sketch in a program appropriately called “Sketchup.” I had tried to use Sketchup before, but could never figure it out. Still, I tried again. This time it worked almost without effort. So when we went to meet with the mayor, I took my computer with me to show him the plans for the property. When we got there and I opened my laptop, it would not work. I got excited and told Barry,  “My laptop won’t work. Isn’t that great?” Barry smiled, but you could tell he felt sorry for the dumb country boy sitting beside him. I continued, “Equipment breaking down before a meeting to do God’s Kingdom work means Satan is fighting us. Barry, we are on the right track.”

And it appeared we were on the right track as the mayor was acceptable to the idea. First there had to be a title search done to insure the land actually belonged to the town of Tocoa. Well, it has been over a month since we met with the mayor and we’ve heard nothing. But, things move slow in Honduras. It doesn’t mean the answer is no. I was getting a little down because I wanted to go ahead and get started, but then Barry said, “It may be that the Lord wants to provide another property that is better, maybe even bigger.”

So, I put aside my hesitation and my doubts, and decided to go for it by publicly sharing the dream for “Garden of Hope.” Here is a 2D image of the facility we want to build.

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This is drawn on the lot next door, which is just more than half an acre. (I have not given up on the lot because of its proximity to the orphanage. Perhaps we will get it AND another lot. Only the Lord knows what He has planned. In this view the salmon-colored buildings are the warehouse, the group kitchen, a dining area, the shower house, watch guard’s house, the well house, and battery houses for the solar systems. The green house is the main house and the aqua colored building is housing for mission teams and interns. The purple buildings are for animals.

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In this view you get a better view of the aquaponics grow beds. (the long blue structures.) There are also a few dirt garden plots to the far right. The two blue round structures are an above ground swimming pool and a kiddie pool for the orphans. The warehouse building has an open air roof for dining and meetings in the evenings.

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In this final shot you get a better idea of the fish tanks under their protective roof which will double as a platform for solar panels.

I am working on a video to show this in 3D and it will give much more detail, but here is a summary of what we hope to provide orphans from the “Garden of Hope.”

70 pounds of fish per week.

20 dozen eggs per week.

30 pounds of rabbit meat per month.

Several gallons of goat milk a week.

Vegetables from hundreds of plants.

And of course fruit from Honduran fruit trees.

Of course, these amounts are averages. Not included is what we will grow to feed the staff and volunteers at the garden. Oh, the intern housing isn’t just for “Garden of Hope.” We are in this for the kids and young ladies at Village of Hope and Gates of Hope. I hope to see interns who teach and work with them staying with us. That is why I think the property next door to Village of Hope should be the location of this project. However, I know that God sees from a greater perspective and will gladly surrender to His will.

I will be in the states for most of August to share the vision with those interested. For now, please prayer for God’s will to be done in this endeavor. Don’t hesitate to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in joining us.

Excluding travel dates I will be in the following towns on these dates:

Georgetown, Texas – August 12 to August 17

Chattanooga, Tennessee – August 19 and August 20

Summit County, Colorado – August 22 to August 25

Georgetown. Texas – August 27

Honduras – August 28

Folks, if this gets done, God will get tremendous glory, because I am entirely incapable of pulling off such a stunt as this on my own. I hope to see you while I am in the states. And this time, the words of T. D. Hall are for my benefit as well as yours,

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

Gideon

PS A few kid shots lest we forget.

NYELLI

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MARLENI & JASMIN

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MARIO

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JUNIOR

Junior

Junior

ELMER

Elmer

Elmer

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Home?

3 Aug

“He was born in the summer of this 27th year,

coming home to a place he’d never been before.

He left yesterday behind him,

you might say he was born again,

You might say he found a key for every door.”

Rocky Mountain High

by

John Denver

 

How about that? Ole’ John Denver wrote a song about me. Of course he got a few details wrong, I’m 62, not 27, but hey, nobody’s perfect. I thought of this song tonight when I started writing this post. My thoughts were inspired by a friend on Facebook who asked when I was coming home for a visit. After I read his question I sat back and thought, “Home? Coming home? What in the world are you talking about, man? I am home.” Stunned by my own thoughts, I thought about what I had just thought. (Think about that three times as fast as you can.)

 

A little perspective may be due my readers. I left Tennessee in the late 80’s and moved to Colorado trying to find “home.” I did find my first church family, the Church at the Agape Outpost, but I did not find home. Over the years I left Colorado, came back, and then repeated the cycle several times. About three years ago I hit the proverbial bottom and finally surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. Oh, I have been a believer since I was about eleven, but I was never a surrendered believer. After I surrendered, I even got baptized again. Not as a believer, but as a follower. Changing John’s song just a tad, you might say I was born again, again. (That is not a theologically sound statement folks.)

 

They say home is where the heart is, but during my years of searching I had a different definition of home. I believed home was a place where everything went my way. It was a place without pain. Since I didn’t really like people, it was also a place of solitude. What does home look like now? It is a three-acre, walled enclosure in Honduras where I live with 50 other people. For the last two weeks I have checked the Weather Channel on my computer daily. Consistently it lists our temperature as only 88 or 89 , but the “feels like” box says 108, 109, or 110 degrees. So… home is also hot! Really hot.

 

Back to the heart issue. There are some little people in my home who have invaded my heart. Their names are Brianna, Carlos, Noe, Adan, Elmer, Alexa, Santos, Eili, Saidi, Karla, Wendy, Junior, Mario… and the list goes on. And it is not just the young ones that have made their way into my heart. Freddis is 27, Gisele is 21, Sandra is 23, and Sabastian just turned 16. There are others, but I won’t mention their ages. (Yes, they are older, but still not as old as I am.) There is another Sandra, Flor, Edgardo, Nora, Roberto, Carolay, Lauren & Nillson & their son Jaydon, Barry & Penny, Sandy, Mirian, Sara, and that is still not all of them.

 

Strange thing about a real home and the people who live here. They are in my heart, yet I don’t even like all of them. At least not all the time. Still, if any left, I would miss them. Oh, and then there are my girls. Jasmin, Maria, Nicol, and Katerin didn’t just invade my heart, but they took up residency. I’ll give you an idea of how special they are. They have called me Papa (sounds like Popi when they say it) for 2 months now. This week that changed. Without my knowing it, they got a word in English from Nathan, my intern, and this week, they started calling me “Daddy.”  So you see, Honduras is where my heart is and therefore it is my home. I plan to live here until I go to my permanent home.

 

Oh, by the way, home it is not a place where everything goes my way. It is not a place without pain. However, it is full of life. Those sweet little girls I call my hijas (daughters) test me all the time to see if I love them enough to correct them and to do it without getting angry. I have found that home (and life) is good and sad, joyful and hurtful, adorable and depressing, sweet and gritty, clean and messy, refreshing and–hot! It all sounds so right now, so sensible. But four years ago, who among you would have told me that I would start a ministry to orphans, go to aquaponics school, do a six-week evaluation trip to Honduras, then move there for a year, find children in my sixties, and… well I will share the dreams for the future in another post this week. Who was prophet enough to tell me I would find home in hot Honduras. Well, I never saw it coming. All I can say is that God is good all the time and if you surrender to Him, He will prove it.

 

Friends, when I started this post, I had pictures I wanted to show you. I also had plans and dreams about the future I wanted to share with you. However, it seems that all I have done is tell you that thanks to Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Best Friend, and my Master, I am finally home. For all your help in getting me here and keeping me here, I thank you. My girls thank you. All the other kids and adults thank you. And the Lord thanks you. I will be in Texas, Tennessee, and Colorado in August. I will give details later this week. I hope to see you while there.

 

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

Gideon