Thursday, May 31, 2012


Another outing.  This time to we went to Space Center Houston, NASA's official visitors center for the Johnston Space Center.  But first we had lunch at a uniquely Texan BBQ place called Rudy's.  The place had a wonderful smell of oak wood which is what they use to grill and cook their meats.  Good food and a an authentic Texan experience!

The Space Center Houston is an interactive museum and educational center for NASA.  Lots of interesting and informative stuff.  From there we took a tram tour of the sprawling NASA Lyndon B. Johnston Space Center right across the street.  JSC is NASA's center for astronaut training, research and flight control.  We visited several buildings there.  The Mission Control Center building where we observed the original flight control room which was used up to 1996.  This was the nerve center for a lot of amazing history!  The moon landing, historic launches etc.  We also visited the Space Vehicle Mock-Up Facility.  A very huge and interesting place as well.  They are in the process of removing the Space Shuttle mock-ups that will be replaced by new space vehicle mock-ups.  We also visited a building housing a massive Saturn V rocket, the type used on all the Apollo missions.
Space shuttle rocket engine

"The Eagle has landed! "-Original Mission Control Room w/ original 1960's equipment- "Houston, we have a problem" 

Space vehicle mock-up building

A space robot to be used on future flights

Astronaut training to perform tasks in zero gravity 

Mock-up of the International Space Station

Saturn V rocket.  The ones that went to the moon!

Houston Zoo

We spent an afternoon at the Houston Zoo the other day.  We enjoyed the visit but it was HOT!  The animals were not exactly hyperactive while we were there.  Most were in "siesta" mode and if we hadn't known better we would have assumed about three quarters of them had recently taken leave of this world!  

"Shoot.... I told them I wanted McDonald's today" 

A typical pose.


Texas longhorns!?....Wrong guess!

In spite of  having gone ape, we're still smiling! 

Had something like them in Honduras!


Blue-tongued Skink...........

Blue-tongued Zack!

"Wish we were in there with you!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, Memorial Day, we went to the beach in nearby Galveston, TX with Ginger, her daughter Aaryn and son-in-law Ryan.  Beautiful sunny day with warm water to get wet in.  First time we've wet ourselves in U.S. Gulf Coast waters.  We are all getting a bit of color from the sun, some of it the reddish, painful variety.     

What? get in the water?!

Come on, I want to get back in the water!

A book at the beach. What could be better!
 Aaryn, Ryan and Ginger

After the beach, we stopped in for cook-out dinner and visit with friends of Ginger and family.  We also played with their ducks.  Thelma and Phil live in the low marsh lands between Galveston and Houston.  The storm surge from Hurricane Ike in 2008 nearly flooded their house.  Water was up to their front door which is about eight feet off the ground!

Thelma, Phil & Ginger

Hungry ducks!

"That tickles!"

Somewhere out there is a 'gator.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Hasta la Proxima" Honduras

Our exit out of Honduras yesterday was a low key affair.  We said good-bye to the kids at La Finca early in the morning then Alonso took us to the airport.  Danilo, Rafa  and Yessica and German met up with us there.  We were able to "break bread" (tortillas actually) one last time together thanks to McDonald's strategic location in the airport.  As we were getting ready to leave, it was a tremendous blessing to hear the others with us discussing plans for future cooperation between the ministries and people we've been working with in Honduras.  Thank you God for letting us go out on such a high note.  God is faithful!

We then had to say some difficult good-byes and go get on our plane.  We enjoyed a completely uneventful flight (that's the way we prefer it) to Houston where we were met by Ginger and her daughter, Aaryn.  We are now being subjected to some serious Texas/Southern hospitality!  More on that in the next blog.........

Late breakfast at Mc's in the airport 

Danilo took a break from his work day to say good-bye.  What a tremendous example he has become of what God can do for someone when they surrender their life to Him! 
"Fly away, fly away"

John Deers and jets!  
Backin' out
Should have flown with that airline.  No, wait.....that's the Honduran airforce! 
Hey!.......Want to race?
Good-bye Toncontin (one of the most dangerous international airports in the western hemisphere).  Thanks for the many thrills over the years!
"Adios" Teguc.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Today we're leaving Honduras on a jet plane, bringing an end to this chapter of life in our dearly beloved Honduras.  It will be difficult to say good-bye to so many great friends and very special relationships.  But God has called us to move on and so we are.  Our exit will be quite a contrast to our arrival in Nov. of 2008 when we entered Honduras by land in our truck.

On  our way out we will fly from Tegucigalpa to Houston.  We will spend about a week there staying with a friend of ours and a friend of La Finca, Ginger Noyes.  We will then take the train on to New Orleans, spending a night there then proceeding to Hattiesburg, Miss.  There we will get of the train and spend two nights with the Schoefields, friends and former missionaries in Honduras.  Then we will re-board the train to Gainsville, GA where we will rent a vehicle and drive to visit Harlan's sister and family south of Knoxville, TN.  After spending a night there, we will return to Gainsville, re-board the train and travel to Washington D.C.  From there on to Philadelphia then on to Lancaster, PA.  Hope to arrive there (home!) June 7th around 5:00 PM.

Not quite as an exciting adventure as driving to Honduras but should be fun and interesting.  We will make an effort to blog and post pics on the highlights of our trip at least every other day as we are traveling.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers as we head out!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Last words from Honduras

O.K., here goes one last shout out from Honduras to you all!  We are officially in our last week as we write this.  Our heads are spinning with many different thoughts and feelings as we come to the end of the road here.  So many things to take care of and remember, but God is giving us the grace to plow through it.  What began weeks ago with a slow contraction of our lives here in Honduras has now shifted into high gear.  Our house is emptying out quickly and it looks like our truck will be gone on Monday.  

What a blessed relief to have a buyer for the truck!  Thanks for your prayers to that end.  Trying to get repairs completed while knowing we were running out of time to sell the truck had been a source of stress.  We were not able get the 4x4 repaired, but did finally get what we consider to be a reliable diagnosis of the problem.  Some fellow missionaries have agreed to purchase the truck, get the needed part shipped in and complete the repair themselves.  We are still owed some money by the previous mechanic but that's in the Lord's hands.  God has a very unique way in which He weaves things together for His glory and purposes.  He used this frustrating truck repair experience to make it clear to both of us (independently, but at the same time) that the truck is His, we shouldn't worry about its issues and oh, by the way, when we sell it the money should go back into the work here in Honduras.   Hmmm....not what we were originally thinking but considering the peace this thought process brought us, we knew it could have only come from God.  

We've said it before, but it's worth saying again: our truck has been a real blessing to us and opened many possibilities we would not have otherwise had.  Many,many others have been blessed by it as well, which quite possibly is why the repair bills have been adding up lately ;-}.  Guess we're feeling a little sentimental (or guilty) about selling off one of our "partners" in mission! 

Another intense area for us in the past few weeks has been the process of walking along side La Finca, particularly Alonso and Michele, as they've been working through a difficult situation.  We were glad we were still here to support them during this rough time.  Praise God, the worst of this storm seems to have passed and we are hoping and praying the directors of La Finca can once again focus on their mission of ministering to the needs of the children in their care.  

We are excited about the potential for future collaboration between El Camino Adelante and La Finca.  Rafael Rivas, who is taking our place as director of ECA, will be the point man in making this co-operative relationship work.   ECA, by way of Rafa, will offer practical help where possible at La Finca and most importantly continue building relationships with the kids.

And now some final words of reflection on our experience in Honduras.  Looking back, we recall leaving Honduras in 2003 with a sense of heaviness.  We had been watching many older kids and youth leave La Finca and sort of disappear off the radar.  We knew they were facing unbelievable challenges with little or no help.  It was very unsettling at times, knowing the great effort that up until that point had gone into preserving and sustaining their lives, and suddenly they were gone with the wind in many cases, not having anybody to watch out for their wellbeing.  At some point, as we observed all this, we knew in our hearts that in the future, if God presented the opportunity to us, we were obligated to serve in this area of need..

Quite a few years (in 2010) later, this opportunity to act would present itself and would become a reality.  However, when we returned to Honduras in 2008, we did not necessarily come with the intention to work in this area.  But it remained an underlying concern and as we served at La Finca the urgency of the need once again became very clear to us.  We were by no means the only ones to perceive this need, but we knew we were in a unique position to do something about it.  We knew we were in one of those situations where there was no mistaking the need to act, even if in many aspects we felt we were clueless and attempting something way beyond us.  Indeed, as we have been walking alongside these transitioning youth, we have been frequently reminded that we many times don't have the capabilities or the answers they need.  But God has shown us over and over again that He does have what they need and, as we've learned, His grace is more than sufficient to make up for the many places we come up short!  

So as we leave Honduras this time, there is a different feeling in our spirits, a much more hopeful one. Not because of anything we have done but we have witnessed God's faithfulness to the least of these. We know He will continue to use willing hands to bless the people that are near and dear to us.  As for what we have been able to accomplish here in Honduras, the words of Jesus from Luke 17:10 come to mind: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say. We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”

How humbling it has been to serve the Lord knowing we are unworthy and imperfect servants. Yet the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ has been sufficient for us to answer the calling He has given!

We will soon let you know of ways you can continue to follow and support the efforts we have been involved with here in Honduras. Please continue to pray for each of the young people we have been working with. By God's grace, they all continue finding their way on "el camino adelante"!

Many thanks again to each one of you for your love and support. There are no adequate words to express what you have meant to us. May God richly bless you.

Harlan, Janelle, Angelica, Ali & Zack

Sunday, May 6, 2012

purify, refine, renew

Oh, God. Draw out of me all darkness so that I may be transparent, so that your love might clearly shine through me, so that others may only see you, oh God, in me.

Reveal yourself in me, oh God. Refine, purify. Pour out your refining fire. Consume me, oh God. Give me the strength to receive your fire, your Spirit, oh my God.

As you work in me, help me clearly see your path before me so that I may not stumble.

I praise you. I worship you, my King of Kings, my Lord of Lords. Oh God, I want to be pure of heart. Renew a right spirit within me.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finca's 43rd Anniversary

 First, a time of praising God and giving him the glory for 43 years of many of Honduras' children being cared for and brought up in the knowledge of him.

Presenting the remodeled laundry room!

Ernest and Doris Soady, directors of EMC, dedicating the laundry room in prayer

Javier and Denia "modeling" one of the dryers... :)

 Alonso and Michele Gomez, current directors at the Finca

Rafael, Delmi and Samuel Rivas

Peter Payson. adding "character" to the picture... :)

 Da boyz :)

Elda Martinez and Andrea Zimmerman with some of the girls

ya llego el Kentucky...

Thank you God for the many hands that make this possible!
the beautiful evening sky over the Finca that night