Hello family and friends,
Wow, there is so much to write about! That is a good thing because it means God has been faithful and we get to share with all of you, most of whom have had a part, either by praying, giving, or accompanying us through the adventures of the last several months.
As most of you know, we were able to be in Oregon in May and June. What a huge blessing for our family to get to see so many of you and even make some new friends! Thank you so much to each and every one who had us over; your families are so beautiful; what a joy to be a part of your lives for a short time, and we will treasure those memories for a long time!
We cannot fail to give praise to God for protecting Abigail when she fell at church. Though it was scary going to the emergency room, we were covered in prayer and knew we could trust the Lord no matter what. And the test results revealed that God chose to let us keep her in perfect health – thank you, Lord!
As we moved along to Teen Missions International base in Merritt Island, Florida, God’s hand continued to guide our family. It was good to see fellow staffers who we don’t see very often – including some from other bases around the world. Of course, the main reason we were there, was to meet and train with our team that would go with us to Honduras. The training was hard– as it is supposed to be, and there were times when some of the team wanted to give up and go home. But we praise the Lord that they all stuck it out! Indeed, the training proved to be good preparation for what would meet us in Honduras.
Also in Florida, Abigail got to go to another emergency room! This time it was Cape Canaveral Hospital – and this time it was her mother’s fault. Yes, I have learned that it is not a good idea to run when you are carrying a child. I tripped and she fell from my arms onto a gravel road. Although, she was lethargic and acting quite odd for a few hours, she sprang back to her normal self while we were at the hospital so, thankfully, no testing was needed.
July 12th, our team and the Honduras pre-teen team flew in to San Pedro Sula. A bus was waiting to take us and all our baggage out to the base. The pre-teen’s project was to work on the driveway at the base property, and they got to see why their project was necessary right away. It started raining before we got to the TMI base and by the time we did get there, it was dark and pouring, and the bus driver was afraid that if he went in he would get stuck. So, we were almost going to have to get out and walk the half-mile up to the base, in the rain. But, at last, the driver decided to risk it. I think most of us were praying most of the way as the bus groaned and slid down, then up that driveway to the base. What an arrival!
July 15th, our team left early in the morning, traveling in two vans for about 10 hours to a small town in Southern Honduras called Palestina. We stayed the night at a church and left early the next morning to get to the river where we rode in two canoes for a couple of hours. We unloaded on the bank of the river and then loaded things onto horses. There were not enough horses for everyone so some people walked to the first village, about two hours away. After a quick lunch of PB & J sandwiches, the team got right to work because they had to make the blocks that were going to be used to build the latrines!
In all, our team built four latrines in four different villages. We were in each village for about five days. The team was also able to do evangelistic presentations in each village, once in a soccer field, and others in churches and schools. We are so thankful that the people are still open to let us talk about Jesus in a public school! The biggest highlight of this, is that in one of the schools, 14 people prayed to receive Jesus as their Savior!
Were their difficulties? Oh yeah! This was definitely the most primitive and difficult place that I, Kathy, have ever been. There was no electricity in any of the villages. We cooked all the meals over an open fire. We bathed and washed our clothes in rivers. One night after a late church service, we had to walk back to the house we were staying in; it was pitch black, the trail was steep and muddy, and then…it started raining! By the time we got back, we were all completely soaked from head to toe – even Abigail! Although during the entire trip, it was muddy everywhere, the last village was the worst because there were a lot of animals – so the mud was all mixed with manure! Gross! In each of the villages, the only place the blocks could be made was inside the church because the floor was smooth concrete. So the cement was mixed inside, by hand, and blocks were made, and then the floor was swept. We had our evening classes in the same place, with a lantern because there was no electricity, then we swept again and put down our sleeping bags, and that is where the whole team slept!
Were there answers to prayer? Yes! God kept us all safe – not one person was seriously injured. We did have one girl who fell while crossing a river and hit her leg on a rock, and a boy who slipped and hit his head on a rock. We were two days travel from a doctor so we prayed for them and praise the Lord they were OK. We also had no serious illnesses. There were many upset stomachs despite all our efforts to only use purified water (we carried a filter with us), but they all got better within a day or so. Our team members kept a positive attitude most of the time, so that was good. The day before we left the last village, Samuel came down with a fever. When I took his temperature it was 104.5! I gave him some children’s Tylenol that I had brought for emergencies and put a wet cloth on his head, and we prayed for him. The temperature went up and down over the next few days. The third day we were in Tegucigalpa and were able to get a blood test. We were told he had a form of Dengue, and that we needed to watch him closely because many children and adults have died from that illness here in Honduras. All praise and thanks to God, about three days later the fever lifted and Samuel was better! The other thing that happened, we think in the third village, was that a fly laid an egg in a scratch that Abigail had on her head. We didn’t really notice it until a few days later when we realized the scratch was getting worse instead of better. We still were not sure what was wrong, but after a full two weeks had gone by, we went to a doctor who was able to extract the worm that had hatched under the skin on her head! Talk about disgusting, the worm was about the size of the fingernail on your pinky finger!
The day the team left the mountains was August 5th – the same two day traveling trek on horseback and canoe. In Tegucigalpa, the team was able to give a presentation at a Christian middle and high school. That was a blessing because the directors of the school are family with the missionary who works in the mountains where the team was, and so after our team’s presentation, the school gave a thank you presentation to our team! Back at the Teen Missions base, the team was able to enjoy a few days rest, shopping, and beach time before returning to Florida August 11th for a time of Debrief. The Chicas family stayed in Honduras, of course, and started to get back to semi-normal life. August 20th was the end of the Bible School student’s term, and they left for a week of vacation with their families. That left only our family at the base for a chance to get a little family time before the next term started. We do praise the Lord for the time that Benjamin and Ana were left in charge of the school. It appears that they handled all the responsibilities quite well, and we returned to find the students and the property all getting along well! We also are happy to share the news with you that Benjamin and Ana are expecting to have a baby sometime around the beginning of 2011!
Some of you are aware that we had planned to take the students on a trip to Belize in September to help out there and get a new experience in ministry. The students and our family had been raising the funds needed to make this trip. Well, during the month of August, rainstorms pounded Honduras, and other nearby countries so much, that there were landslides and major damage was done to homes and churches in different areas. One of our students is from one of the poorer areas of Tegucigalpa where many people’s homes were damaged or destroyed. So we decided to use the funds we had raised to make a special trip to Tegucigalpa and help the people there. The group worked hard, moving and breaking rocks among other jobs. They were also able to take clothing and shoes and purchase food to give away to 60 families.
We would like to ask that you remember us in your prayers over the next few months as we prepare for the Honduran Boot Camp. We have decided to hold it in a totally different place this year, so it will be in the southernmost part of Honduras, in a place called Choluteca. We will have to be very organized to think of what will be needed to transport down there so we don’t have to make any extra trips as it is about a six hour drive one-way. Also, pray for which team projects we should accept, and who God will send for leaders and team members.
We have been working on our new house as much as possible because we are getting more and more anxious to get moved in! Chico has been getting the electrical wiring put in and staining the wood ceiling among other things. Daniel and Samuel painted their own room and Kathy painted Abi’s room! We don’t have a move in date yet but will keep you informed of the progress. Most of the time we were away, Chico’s father and other helpers were working on covering the brick walls with a smooth cement coating so the walls will look nice when painted. It was a time-consuming process.
We have way too many pictures to put in this newsletter, so if you want to see pictures, please look us up on Facebook under Francisco Chicas. Well, I think that’s about it for this newsletter. Hope you have all had a blessed summer, and we look forward to hearing from you!
Love in Christ,
Chico, Kathy, Daniel, Samuel, and Abigail Chicas