It is always exciting when we are about to return to San Diego. I can hardly wait and am so glad for the opportunity to see old friends and family and to make new friends. I hope to speak in some churches and be a missionary to my own country for the time we are there. This last trip was no exception, but a fulfillment of my desires. God was so good to us, even to the point of giving us snow for Angie and Nathanael to play in. A few highlights stick out in my mind: In January we had our benefit night and this time Rina made a dinner. Honduran baked chicken was the menu and we spent the week before going around San Diego looking for chicken breasts with bones and wings still attached (because the flavor is in the bones), but we could not find chicken anywhere! Every store in town only sold boneless/skinless breasts. We finally found a butcher at a supermarket that said he could provide what we wanted, and we ordered a chicken breast for each anticipated guest. When we were preparing the chicken for baking, the breasts were so big that they needed to be cut in half. We cooked all of it and when the night was over, we had so much left over chicken that we decided to feed the homeless with it. So Monday, after the benefit, we returned to SDFC and made plates of food for the homeless. Rafee and Gwenn, their kids and my mom joined us in walking Balboa park downtown, praying for the homeless and blessing them with a home-cooked meal. This has been a family tradition of ours every Christmas, and it felt good to share it with some friends. The best part for me, is always to see how happy the homeless are, and eager for prayer. I also enjoy seeing my children get excited about helping others. The connection is priceless.
Our trip to Indiana was a special one. God placed us in a family’s house where we were well taken care of and the family was so special. C1 and Spencer churches went out of their way to get to know us and connect. We were honored at every turn, to know each new person. I am so impressed with the quality of Christians we encountered, and the churches they serve in. Indiana was a treat for us.
We were so blessed meeting each new person. We feel like we have family in Indiana now. I had asked God for the opportunity to see a person in Indiana that I had met in Honduras at the ministry for only half an hour, Pastor Brent. He lived in Indiana, but did not attend C1 or Spencer Naz. As the trip came to a close, I thought I may end up going back to SD without meeting him again. Then four days before we were to leave, he called and we arranged to meet on my last day there. I didn’t know what we would do when we met, but I was hoping we would pray together. When I met him at C1, that is exactly what we did! We spent three hours praying in the sanctuary, talking, laughing and encouraging one another. He gave me a passage of scripture that was on his heart for me, and I gave him some words of encouragement that I had written while praying for him during the week.
Back in San Diego, we visited Las Flores Church of the Nazarene. We entered the foyer right at the end of first service and I could hear the worship inside, “Holy Spirit”. We sing the song in Spanish in Ministerio la Voz. We were in time to attend the second service and I started to pray for God to meet me and fill me. I did not know what would happen, but worship started and every song touched me. The lyrics and the music seemed to pound into my chest. All of a sudden, waves of electric chills flowed all over me and I nearly burst into tears of joy. I felt my Lord just wrapping his arms around me in a way I have not felt for a long time. I asked the music pastor afterwards for the song list and he sent it to me. I then had the privilege of sharing at my mom’s home group. They had asked me if I would lead some worship, since they had no guitarist. Errol, the home owner, lent me a guitar he had not played in 20 years, an Ovation and the most beautiful guitar! I play my late step-father’s Ovation in Honduras for our services. I took the songs from Las Flores church to the meeting and Rina sang them with me. At some point, hearing her voice in worship with mine, I felt like I was floating again and was moved by the Spirit of unity we felt with our new brothers. It was again a heavenly moment.
Another story is about mine and Rina’s old iphone 5 cell phones that Joel and Elda gave us a few years back. My phone had the home button broken and trouble with the battery when we got to San Diego. Rina’s phone had the memory full and was no longer able to take more photos because the memory was so small. I told her that I was going to pray for a new phone. She agreed and said she wanted one too, so we prayed for two. Toward the end of our trip, new phones had not appeared, so I went to the Apple store to see about repairing the one I had. The Apple store clerk did not give me very good news. She said that my phone could not be repaired, but if I wanted, I could trade it in for the exact same refurbished model, and also pay $260. Seeing the price so high, I thanked her but said I needed to think about it.
Two days later we were at Knott’s Berry Farm celebrating with the family and our friend’s Mark and Julie, before we went home. This was a long anticipated day that we had hoped to have had in Dec, but couldn’t. Then in January we wanted to go and couldn’t. We had planned for Valentine’s Day, but that too fell through and it rained all that day. So it was Friday the 15, the last chance we had, and it was beautiful. We went on Silver Bullet first, a crazy loop-d-loop ride that goes so fast and made Rina scream her head off with fright. Finishing the ride, there was no line so we ran around and got on again. We flew through the loops screaming and then ran down to meet my mom and the kids. I put my hand in my pocket to take out my phone and take a photo, and it was gone. On some part going upside down or turning sharp, my phone had flown out of my pocket to be lost forever. Now I couldn’t even trade it in for the refurbished one. Oh Well. We reported it, but no one found anything. Then Mark said he had his old phone from a few years back and wasn’t using it and it had twice as much memory as my broken one. He offered it to me to take! I was so excited, but politely just said, “Sure.” I didn’t say anything about Rina’s phone, but I prayed that God would give Rina a phone too. A few days later, Rina and mom went to Mark’s home to pick up the phone for me and he offered Rina Julie’s old phone too, with twice the memory! We
both got upgraded phones the day before we flew home.
We returned to Ministerio La Voz to find everything in order. All the leaders we left in charge of things had worked well and met all of our expectations. The day we returned we started to get ready for the new year. Sign-ups have started. This was the first week and we have 100 students. We have made some changes since getting home. We are about to hire a new computer teacher, and we are finally installing a new air conditioner in the class. I started the process to get new water service to eliminate the old one, which has never given us more than a trickle. Having water serviced, which works, will allow us to get started on one of our big goals for the year, to re-model the bathrooms. All of this is by faith, knowing that God will provide everything we need this year.
Already since being home, we have had opportunities to pray and see God move. Mary from our service broke her foot in several places a week or so before we came home. We visited her at her house and were able to provide her with provisions, since she cannot work. We prayed for her foot and she said it got really hot inside and all the pain from the break went away! As we were leaving, she stood on her broken foot and walked to the door to lead us out and started crying because there was still no pain! The next day, she woke up and her foot was swollen, but she still had no pain. She came to service and we prayed again. She felt the same heat inside her foot and still no pain. I am expecting her foot to recover in record time and the swelling to be gone so she can walk.
We also visited Jason Courtney and his work and witness team in La Pita. We met Carloline who had meant to come to Honduras last April, but had a terrible car accident with a semi truck just before the trip. A year later, she was here serving. I asked her how she was feeling since the accident. She said her knee was hurting and we prayed for that, and also her hand. Her right pinky jutted out the side of her hand and it was impossible for her to bring it in next to the other fingers. She pushed on it and it popped right back out. We prayed for her hand and in the very moment we prayed, her finger straightened and she regained control of it! She started crying and told us that she had had a year of therapy and it couldn’t do what God just did! It was an encouraging way to come home and I am so thankful to the Lord for his answer to prayer and for his healing touch.
As I write this, I just got news that my Uncle Jimmy had a stroke and is in the hospital. His wife is Dianna. I want to ask all of you to pray for them. Pray for his complete recovery with no paralysis or brain damage.
Thank you to all of you who visited with us this trip, and to those who we missed, you are in our hearts. We look forward to sharing this new amazing year 2019 with you. May God be glorified! Our first newsletter will be coming out at the end of March with many new testimonies, and I will write again soon about the start of classes.