Our staff and families enjoyed serving at Mission Southside last night in Olathe, KS. Along with over 50 other volunteers, we prepared and served dinner for a number of individuals and families in the Johnson County, KS area. Mission Southside partners with churches, “helps” organizations, businesses, and individuals to bring hope to Johnson County, KS through the meeting of both physical and spiritual needs. You can find out more information on how to volunteer with them at: www.missionsouthside.org
One of my favorite times of the year is getting to serve in the community with our staff and their families. Yesterday afternoon we had a great time serving at the Salvation Army. We packed over 40 gift boxes for local families in the Olathe, KS area.
At the heart of every company lie its core values, the operating principles that permeate every area of business. They stand for what a company is about and how an organization is run, and reflect what’s truly important to a business and its leader. Running a company without identifying them is like hiking without a compass.
At age 15, Rosita had never owned her own pair of shoes. At least no pair that had ever fit her properly. You see Rosita was born with a split foot deformity making a regular shoe unusable. To make matters worse Rosita’s mother passed away when she was young and her father is blind. Rosita cares for her father and her 3 brothers in their tiny home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I had a chance to meet Rosita and her father on one of our recent mission trips to Honduras.
In October 2013, Kansas City hosted a world mission conference at Bartle Hall. People came from around the world to attend including some of our missionary friends from Honduras. As we visited with them, Kristin, one of the local pastor’s wives from Kansas City shared Rosita’s story with my wife Pam. Kristin said it would be neat if we could find shoes in the United States that would fit Rosita but had no idea where to look.
To Kristin’s surprise Pam said “Fulling Management & Accounting just starting working with Mid Star Lab, an orthotic and shoe fitter company in June.”
Once we shared the story with Mid Star Lab owners Kari & Ron Wagner, they could not wait to get started making a special pair of shoes designed just for Rosita. They had recently hired a master shoe cobbler, Eric Mitchel. From photos of Rosita’s feet and some rough measurements, Eric artistically created a cast model of Rosita’s feet in which the shoes were designed around.
On December 31st, I had the opportunity to introduce Honduras Ministries missionary, Jim Martin, to Mid Star in Edwardsville, KS Jim had tears in his eyes, as Ron & Kari Wagner presented the shoes for him to take back to Rosita in Honduras. “What an incredible blessing.” Jim said as he shared his gratitude for Mid Star Lab’s generosity.
We get to work with some pretty awesome clients! Thank you Mid Star Lab for a job well done.
We've all been in a position where we've seen people blame everyone except themselves for a problem. And if we're honest with ourselves, we've probably been in the same boat. One thing I've recognized, personal accountability is becoming a dying trait. A number of years ago I met with a perspective client whose company was struggling with cash flow. The owner, for the sake of this post I'll call him Brad, was doubtful he would have enough money to cover the upcoming payroll for his 15 employees. As I listened to him describe the situation, he made it clear that the declining economy and slow customer payments served as the root cause of his business problem.
Before bringing on a new client we typically go through a fair amount of due diligence. In most cases we review items such as business plans, QuickBooks data, recent tax returns, and other relevant information. It’s amazing how that data can provide some telling information as to the health and management philosophies of the ownership.
As I reviewed financial information from Brad’s company, I noticed a couple months prior to the decline in his cash flow that he had written two checks to himself for a total of $30,000. While there is nothing wrong with an owner distribution, I found it a bit odd that he would take such a large amount in the midst of an impending cash flow crunch. There was probably a good explanation.
When I asked him about the owner distribution checks and how the money was used his answer was, “That’s none of your business.”
In the book QBQ – The Question behind the Question, author John G. Miller, describes the lack of personal accountability as a problem that has resulted in “an epidemic of blame, complaining, and procrastination. No organization, or individual, can achieve goals, compete in the marketplace, fulfill a vision, or develop people without personal accountability.”
As it turns out, Brad used the $30,000 to purchase two boats for himself earlier in the year. While the down economy and slow customer payments didn’t help the situation, the real cause of the dilemma had been caused by the owner himself. Unfortunately, the lack of personal accountability had a devastating effect on his company.
While you and I may not be out buying a new boat with needed cash flow from our company, we can all learn a lesson from Brad’s example. As a business owner and in your personal life, many of the situations you face today are a direct result of the decisions you made (or didn't make) yesterday. So don't take the easy way out by passing blame. Instead, be a leader that takes personal accountability seriously. Not only will it help you with items such as cash flow management, but personal accountability is a trait that will help you build trust and buy-in with your employees.
As a reminder of improving my own personal accountability, my wife Pam and I will be leading a college and young adult group this fall from the book Taking Responsibility for Your Life: Because Nobody Else Will by Andy Stanley. You can check out the intro of the series here.
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Just outside of Kansas City on I-70 Matt was clocked doing over 135mph. He'd recently won a brand new street bike from a local motorcycle shop and he just had to try it out to see how fast it would go. Unfortunately the local highway patrol wasn’t impressed when they finally caught up with him.
Matt didn’t start out driving fast. He, like a lot of us, learned to ride early in life. He followed the rules of the road. He stayed within the lines.
As time went on, he began to push the limit just a bit. He started driving a little faster than he should, but nothing dangerous.
The problem was, as he began to compromise more and more on his values, higher speeds became the norm rather than the occasional thrill ride.
I often see business owners take similar compromises. Oh sure, it’s nothing in the beginning. Maybe it’s just fudging the numbers so they can get a line of credit from the bank. Maybe it’s the married business owner having another secluded lunch with the attractive single sales rep. Maybe it’s spreading that unfounded rumor about your co-worker or competitor.
Don’t we easily justify our actions with lame excuses?
“We needed the line of credit to stay in business?”
“Her? I didn’t even notice she wasn’t married?”
“The rumor could be true.”
How can you keep your values in check?
Find an accountability partner/mentor/coach – Who do you know, trust and respect that you could share your challenges, fears, and goals with? Who do you know that is strong enough to provide you constructive feedback and guidance even when it may be hard to hear?
I've personally had 5-6 mentors over the years that have been very instrumental in my life and business success. I still meet with some of them on a regular basis.
What I really enjoy these days is getting to provide mentoring and coaching to many of our clients as part of my role at Fulling Management & Accounting, Inc. In fact, Matt (past motorcycle speed demon) is a successful business owner in Kansas City and a great client that I get to work with. And part of Matt’s accountability meant selling his motorcycle. It was too much of a temptation when it was easily accessible.
What do you need to do differently or “get rid of” to avoid a current temptation?
My friend Marc owned a successful auto parts business. By age 35 he had opened his second location and the company was continuing to grow. One of his largest competitors took notice and offered to buy Marc’s company for a large sum of money. Within 60 days Marc had gone from a successful busy business owner to an early retiree.
After he'd been retired for just a few months, he told me “You can only vacation, golf, and fish so long before it gets old.” Because the transition from busy worker to young retiree happened so fast, he'd never thought about what to do next.
It’s a time when we begin asking, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” Whether it's the loss of job, loss of a spouse or other major life change, it's important to consider what’s next. The book challenges the reader to consider developing a new vision for the second half of life that is rewarding and results in a life of significance.
While some may argue that you have to be in “full time ministry” to live a life of significance, I would strongly disagree. Many of the business coaching sessions I get to have with clients often include discussions on how they can create companies of significance.
One of our clients, because of the success in his business, provided funds for ALL of the sewing machines that we distributed on our recent mission trip to Honduras.
Another client regularly sponsors students through annual college scholarships. There are a number of ways to begin living a life, and creating a business, of significance. Questions to consider include:
What do I want to do?
What is most important to me?
What do I want to be remembered for?
My friend Marc decided age 35 was too young to retire – at least for him. He now spends his time as a broker working with business owners to develop a “life after the business” plan before they sell their companies.
At Fulling Management & Accounting, we help our clients prepare for, and manage, halftime strategies. Whether it's someone like Marc or our client Mel who just started a new business at the age of 72, we love helping people reach their goals!
It was a chilly Saturday morning in late April as a group of about 50 of us from Christ Community Church went to the new Kansas City Rescue Mission Women’s Center to help them prepare for approval of a temporary occupancy permit. The group included all ages, from young children to senior adults. We split up in smaller groups to work on different tasks. There was a group who painted, those who built shelving, some who did landscaping and others who prepared lunch for the entire group.
My 20 year old daughter, Caitlin, and I joined the landscaping crew, and we all began by preparing the soil. When the group was ready to plant, Caitlin was helping someone else with some bushes, and I was joined by 6 year old Nathan. After being shown the flower planting process once by one of the other helpers, he quickly caught on.
A couple of minutes later, he came over to watch me as I dug a hole for the next calla lily and proudly told me that he was an expert in planting. I asked him if I was doing it right, and after a few seconds, he decided that I was.
His mother said they would have to start doing more gardening at home! It was an enjoyable day, and we were blessed to help the Women’s Center get that much closer to opening their doors to single, homeless women.
While we may think we’re experts after doing something once, it usually requires doing the same thing several times in order to become experienced and truly skilled.
We've been in business for more than 10 years and each member of our team has more than 15 years experience in the accounting field.
Whether it's gardening or running your business, we want to provide you with accounting services so that you can focus on being an expert at what you do best!
I received a discouraging phone call late on a recent Friday night. The message from my father conveyed that my cousin Matt, a Marine serving in Afghanistan, had been shot. The initial news was grim.
While out on patrol Matt had been shot in the chest and was in critical condition at a field hospital. The information relayed to the family from the military had been brief. The details were sketchy and honestly we weren't sure how to proceed or what to prepare for.
24 hours after receiving the initial phone call, I received an email with more details. Matt had actually been shot in the arm twice (and not in the chest) while in the Marine camp (and not on patrol). In addition, one of the bullets had gone through his arm and collapsed a lung.
Knowing Matt, I’m sure he would say “luckily the damage is repairable”. He was able to be moved to Germany and then on to the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Thankfully, he is expected to make a full recovery and just received his 2nd Purple Heart award. Matt survived the conflict that day, but three of his fellow soldiers lost their lives.
As we celebrate Memorial Day, I want to send a heartfelt “Thank You” to Matt and to all of those that serve in the military. In addition, I hope you will join me this weekend and throughout the year in doing something special for the men and women, and their families, that serve us in the military. Buy them a meal. Thank them for their service. Give them a gift card. Whatever you can do to let them know how much they are appreciated...
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Looking back on an incredible trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, our team of 13 accomplished the following: 4 - Classrooms were painted for Compassionate International. Our team partnered with a local painting contractor and painted school classrooms.
10 - Women were taught how to sew and received their own sewing machine, supplies and sewing certificate. This was a follow up from a father / daughter trip in 2011 when Rusty and Alyssa Fulling traveled to Honduras. At that time Alyssa taught 7 women how to sew. During this trip some of her former students joined her to help teach the class.
100+ Burritas were given to children and their families at the local hospital. Many of the children and parents often go hungry. The team provided funds for the ingredients and helped cook the burritas before distributing them at the local hospital.
170+ Patients were provided medical care. Over a 2 day period the team (nurse and nursing students) worked with a Honduran doctor to provide medical care to children and adults.
400+ Balloon animals, Beanie Babies & suckers were given to children as God’s Word was shared. The team visited La Fortunita, Cerco de Piedra, and Tegucigalpa. After worship services at each location the team distributed stuffed animals, candy and made balloon animals.
For more information www.hondurasministries.org
FRIDAY – TRAVEL TO HONDURAS
After 3 hours of sleep, my alarm rang at 1:45am. Quick shower and pack the suitcases and Alyssa & Amber in the truck. We met the rest of our group at Mid-America Nazarene University at 2:45am. MNU provided 2 vans and drivers to take us to the Kansas City airport. (Thank you Brady Bratz & Ron Jackson for driving). With this being spring break the flights were full so we traveled in 2 groups: United Airlines and Delta Airlines.
Even though I arrived at the gate in plenty of time, I ended up being the last one on the flight.
Our United Flight landed in terminal A in Houston for a "brief" layover. The exciting thing was that our team had to go to terminal "E" for our connecting flight. THAT WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AIRPORT! We took stairs, escalators, a tram, people mover, …… and made it to our flight just in time.
The United Airlines team (Rusty, Alyssa, Amber, Brenda, Jennifer, Caitlin, Hannah E.) arrived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras around 11:50am. Unfortunately no one was at the airport to pick us up. So we waited and waited with no international phone to call the missionary. The funny thing was that Jim & Frances Martin, our missionaries, had been sitting in another part of the airport. We finally ran into each other and headed off to Burger King for lunch and to wait on the Delta flight to arrive with the rest of our group. 2 ½ hours later, all spent at Burger King, we gladly welcomed our Delta team (Daniel, David, Hannah T., Emily, Jolene, Tom)
Unpacking & Settling In
We arrived around 3pm at the Martin’s home and begin unpacking. As we laid out the supplies that we had brought with us, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of God’s provision for our trip. We had a 6 foot table overflowing with Beanie Babies, 3 suitcases and 5 large garbage bags full of sewing supplies, almost 100 Spanish bibles and money for painting and medical supplies.
One of my favorite team building activities of the day was sitting back and listening to our team’s laughter as they practiced making balloon animals that would be given out to kids over the next week.
SATURDAY – On the road again
Adventure through the mountains
After a good night’s sleep, we all enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, sausage, refried beans, and tortillas cooked by Tom Mitchell. He definitely has missed his calling in life!
Around 9 a.m. we loaded up the small pickup and 15 passenger van for the 3 hour journey to Choluteca. This is a treacherous drive through the mountains. We crowded 11 people, supplies and luggage into the van and 5 people and additional luggage into the pickup. MNU students, Emily, Jolene, and Hannah T. rode in the back of the pickup the entire trip. Needless to say, in the 90+ degree weather they were a bit sunburned when we arrived.
On our drive we stopped for a drink and visited a roadside zoo. Monkeys, ostriches and turtles were some of the favorites of the group. We arrived in Choluteca just in time for lunch at a local restaurant. The choices were Chicken, Beef or Beef with Sauce. They brought out a potato soup as an appetizer. We all really enjoyed it, especially David (until he found out the soup was actually squash and not potato). He said his mom would be proud that he was eating vegetables.
After checking into Hotel Kali, we headed out to our first service activity into the village of La Fortunita (Little Fortune). To get to this community we traveled about 10 miles of washed out roads that rarely receive any type of maintenance. Along the way we saw tons of trash littering roadsides. People we passed along the dusty road were mostly on foot, bicycles or motorcycles.
When we arrived we were greeted by curious kids and a few adult onlookers. The candy and beanie babies we brought as gifts were eagerly accepted. A local pastor and musician led a worship service in their new, open air church. Most of the homes in this community are made of mud & sticks. The new church was built out of concrete blocks.
There was music and several Christian greetings throughout the service. The worship leader invited anyone who would like to come up and sing a special or share their testimony. Emily from our group led us in a Spanish song that was well received. Great job Emily!
During the sermon the pastor was asking if anyone needed to ask Christ into their life. All of a sudden Jolene from our group started to fall over and fainted (later we would discover that she was dehydrated). We quickly took her outside and helped her get hydrated. It was neat to see the community and our team work together to help her. As Jolene began to feel better we made balloon animals for the kids and stayed until dark. On our way back to the hotel we passed several people walking and riding bikes in the dark on the dirt road heading home to La Fortunita.
Roosters do crow at 5am!
Luckily the hotel we stayed at was surrounded by small homes that all seemed to have roosters. As the choir of roosters greeted the day, they were kind enough to start their crowing before the sun came up!
We (Tom & Rusty) also shared our room with many ants both in the beds and in the bathroom. At least our room was supplied with a small lizard that enjoyed the ants for breakfast.
After a great breakfast at a local Wendy’s, our team loaded up the vehicles and headed out to Cerco de Piedra for worship.
There was lots of music this morning at church. Some were special songs that started out as a solo and then the congregation joined in. Not understanding a word, I at least joined in when everyone was clapping. On one side of me sat two active boys. I’m not sure they stayed in one place during the entire service. On the other side of me were two girls, one of which went up front and led the congregation in a special song. All four kids loved seeing the Bible on my phone during scripture reading. I could hear them trying to sound out some of the words as it was all in English. The pastor that preached at La Fortunita also preached at Cero de Piedra. He did a great job in telling the story of the prodigal son. We found out later that the pastor, now in his 60’s, only had a 1st grade education. 17-year old Andrea Martin translated for us. We also got to share in communion during the service. They served fruit punch and broken up vanilla cookies for the communion elements. This was actually one of the most meaningful parts of the trip.
Walking to School up hill both ways
Sunday afternoon was a time of rest and fun. We packed up and headed to a beach that was about an hour away. On our way out of town we passed a young teenager walking along the road. He was wearing a school uniform. Jim pulled over to the side of the road to pick him up. I was thinking the van was already full enough and one more person would be a little uncomfortable.
It turned out Jim knew the boy. He was walking home from school to his home in La Fortunita. Every school day he walks 13 miles to school and 13 miles home. That’s 26 miles down dangerous roads. All of a sudden my "little discomfort" of a full van was a bit humbling.
After about an hour drive we arrived at the beach. Along the way we saw salt fields and sugar cane being harvested. We also had to stop occasionally for cattle crossing the road. We even saw a few pigs running through the little beachside town.
Our team enjoyed playing in the extremely salty water. This was the first for some to ever see a beach. We had a great time jumping waves and were all worn out on the ride back to the hotel.
We have been blessed to have the Martin’s neighbor Luz housing some of our group and even serving as our driver for the pickup. Luz is a 56-year old widow that is a barrel of laughs. With a big smile she is strong and opinionated. She was widowed over 20 years ago and was raised Catholic.
As our group ate dinner Sunday night at a local restaurant Luz was her normal crazy self. We were laughing and having a good time telling stories. Somewhere in our joking around the conversation turned serious. Luz shared with a few of us at the end of our table that she has a hard time forgiving people that have hurt her. So much so she said she was going to hell because she could not forgive others. Even though she does not normally attend worship services, Luz had actually translated for us during our service in La Fortunita. During our conversation this evening she began quoting some of what the preacher had talked about. I could tell just by this conversation that God was already beginning to work in her life. Please pray for Luz that she would come to know her own personal forgiveness.
MONDAY – BACK TO TEGUCIGALPA
Before checking out of our hotel we noticed water flowing out of one of our rooms on the 2nd floor and it was creating a waterfall in the parking area below. One of the toilets had accidentally overflowed and the water was stuck on. Thankfully we were able to get the water shut off so the maintenance man/hotel guard could fix the plumbing issue.
Tow truck and throwing rocks
Traveling back, Daniel, Jennifer, and Hannah T. rode in the back of the pickup. Even after a heavy dose of sunscreen, Daniel received the worst sunburn of the three. Before leaving we stopped at a local mechanic to arrange for the mission’s main van to be towed back to Tegucigalpa. It had broken down during the previous week’s mission trip, a team that visited from Kansas City. We also stopped at a local mission to provide money for a church member to receive dialysis. The mission was gated and the not easily accessable. Jim threw rocks over the gate at the door of the building in an attempt to get the pastor’s attention. Our team was amused with the antics he was going through until he climbed over the spiked 6 foot fence. We all gained a whole new appreciation for our 68-year old missionary host.
After a few additional stops along the way our team was thankful to get out of the vehicles after the 3+ hour drive. We cleaned up for the evening and watched "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. We also spent some time sharing about significant things that we had experienced. Jim Martin shared that he had been in contact with the painting contractor that would be working with us on the painting project. Our team fundraising had raised $300 for the project. After talking to the contractor he said $300 was the exact amount needed to complete the project. It’s neat to see how God provided the EXACT amount needed!
TUESDAY – PROJECT DAY #1
Daniel started out our day with a time of devotions. We enjoyed eggs, bacon, tortillas, refried beans, toast and then a visit to Expresso Americana (Starbucks) for coffee and Carmel Granitas (spoiled Americans!). Then we setup for the sewing class and medical brigade at the local church. Our painting and burritas groups headed to their locations.
Burrita’s – Hospital Visit
The Burritas’ team (Amber, Daniel, Jolene) spent the morning in a small Honduran home and help finish making the burritas’ (homemade tortillas with refried beans, cheese, and eggs). As the ministry has money available, they distribute burritas to parents and children at the local hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted at the entry gate by an armed guard. Once inside the hospital compound, people were lined up to get into the hospital. Some were most likely waiting for hours in the hot sun to see loved ones or to receive medical care. Since missionaries Jim and Frances were regulars and served the patients, we were able to get in and head to the 3rd floor, the children’s ward. Stepping out of the elevator on to the 3rd floor was like stepping back in time. People lined the non-air conditioned halls. When we entered the first room we saw 6 beds full of children with various conditions mostly abdominal issues. The kids smiled as we passed out beanie babies and the parents were grateful for the burritas that we gave to them and their children. Unfortunately this may be the only meal they receive today.
One room we stopped in had a 15-yearold boy with his 21-year old sister sitting beside his bed. He had been shot in the leg. Their mother had died and the father was left with their 9 children. The sister had stepped into the mother role to help care for her younger siblings. We also visited a little boy, 3-years old that had been attacked by a dog. The attack damaged the boy’s left eye, face and left arm. Even as his mom tried to console him, he cried and cried the whole time we were there.
As we worked our way through the ward we came to a children’s floor that had 2 rooms of kids with what they described as "watermelon heads". Basically their heads have built up so much excess fluid they have grown as much as twice the size of their original size. Unfortunately their life expectancy would be very short. This was heartbreaking as some of the parents cradled their children in their arms or rubbed their backs as they lay in their hospital bed.
The last section we visited was kids with broken legs or arms. One room had 20 beds full of kids. We gave out burritases, Beanie Babies and made balloon animals for this active group.
We arrived at Iglesia Filidelfia (church) at 9 a.m. to setup for a medical clinic. The pastor had announced the previous week at church, that our team, along with a Honduran doctor, would provide medical care for the community. Our team had one nurse and 3 nursing students. Once we had everything setup we realized that we would need additional vitamins and medication to meet the volume of people that the pastor was expecting.
Brenda led the nursing team and worked with a 15-year old Honduran girl that would serve as interpreter for medications. Caitlin worked with Brenda and took the blood pressure of each patient that came through the clinic. The clinic was set up in exterior Sunday School rooms at the church. Basically they are open air rooms with little to no breeze. After 6 hours and 70 patients, the medical team was wiped out! Great job ladies! As a comparison to the United States, many doctors only see 25 patients in a day.
Alyssa and Jennifer helped organize the sewing class for the first day. The lesson was planned for 1 ½ days. The great thing about the class is that we had 2 former students from our last trip help out. Our goal was to not only teach the students a skill but to equip them to teach others. By the end of the day 3 of the 5 students had completed their sewing project early!
The painting team of Tom, David, Hannah T, and Emily, were sent to a Compassion International building to paint classrooms. The team painted the back wall of 3 classrooms blue and the rest of the walls white. They also painted a hallway blue and white. After a couple coats of paint on all of the walls, the team had been hard at work reaching high and low areas and moving furniture. In addition to the walls, the team had a lot of paint on themselves as well. Towards the end of their time there, many kids were getting out of school and walking home. Emily welcomed two young boys into the building to help paint a small area. Afterwards, Hannah T. and Emily found a soccer ball and started to play outside with the two young boys. Eventually, more and more children and parents came out of their homes to play and watch.
Tuesday Worship Service
We attended an awesome worship service tonight at Iglesia Filidelfia. Although the music was in Spanish, and I didn’t understand a word, it sounded very much like a traditional praise and worship service in the States. I was glad they ended the music with a familiar song "Alleluia" that we were all able to join in on.
The church provided a young man to serve as translator from Spanish to English for our group. The pastor mentioned our group in the service and came up to us afterwards and expressed his appreciation. His wife was one of the sewing students 2 years ago and 2 other former students came up to Alyssa after the service to greet her.
Out of Water
The missionary home has a cistern that provides water for showers and the kitchen. The city of Tegucigalpa normally fills their cistern 2 times per week. Unfortunately our group used all the water in the cistern so coming back after a long sweaty day of painting, hot hospital rooms, and working in open air facilities in the heat, we had no running water for showers or flushing the toilet.
WEDNESDAY – PROJECT DAY 2
Out of resources
We headed out early to our projects. The painting team finished up early so they joined the team doing the burritases. When they arrived at the hospital they didn’t even make it in the hospital door before giving away all their burritases and beanie babies. People outside the hospital flocked to them asking for more. Unfortunately we only had enough to provide food to part of the crowd.
Sewing Group #2
The second group of 5 students arrived bright and early. We again had former students that came and helped. It was great to see them again. The women learned how to use their sewing machines and how to use a pattern to make a skirt. At the end of the day students from Tuesday’s class joined us for a graduation ceremony. Each student received a sewing diploma, sewing machine, and a huge bag of fabric and sewing supplies. One woman commented "Ever since I was 21 I always wanted a sewing machine, now that I am 54 I finally have one!" We ended our time together in a prayer circle and the ladies shared their appreciation to Alyssa and thanked God for his provision.
Medical Brigade #2
Jolene joined Brenda and Caitlin for the second day of the medical clinic. Many people brought in their kids and elderly, similar to the day before. As we were heading to the church that morning we saw an accident that had just happened. A bus had hit a motorcycle. The motorcycle rider is a member of the church we were serving at. The pastor brought him to the medical clinic we had setup. He was lucky to only have suffered a broken leg. Patient count today 100!!!!
Beads and artwork
Much of my time today was spent hanging out with kids whose mom’s were either in the sewing class or standing in line at the medical clinic. I never knew I was so gifted at making beaded bracelets and necklaces. (ha ha). Luckily Amber was there to help me. The kids loved drawing using the colored markers we had brought along. At one point I had 3 or 4 kids drawing on various pieces of paper all around me. As I looked down one of the girls had actually decided my jeans made a better drawing surface than the piece of paper I had given her. By the end of the day I had various colors of ink on my clothes and arms.
Thursday / Friday
We will be touring the Church of Nazarene seminary and local district office in Tegucigalpa on Thursday and then on to the Valley of the Angels (a shopping area with items made by local merchants).
Friday we pack up and head back to Olathe, KS.
As I visited with Jim Martin this evening he expressed his appreciation to our group for all their hard work and everything that was provided. It has been fun to see the group dynamics that have evolved through the week and lives that are being changed (both us and those in Honduras).
Thank you to all of you that helped support the team with your prayers and financial support. It has been a great experience.
Father / Daughter Trip
So my daughter Alyssa was going to be turning 16 in few months. Wow 16! That’s a big deal. Knowing the importance of the father daughter relationship I wanted to do something special for her 16th. I had just the idea – a father daughter trip. So I started looking online for places like Six Flags, Branson, and Disney. Yes, Disney that would be a memorable trip. I’d like to go there.
While I was planning in my head this really cool surprise trip to Disney, our family was invited to join some friends for dinner. They had guest from Honduras visiting. Missionaries Jim & Frances Martin and their 15 year daughter Andrea. I remember Jim sharing the typical missionary story about what they do like sharing the gospel, providing food, clothing and medical care for those in need. But then he said something about sewing. Sewing?
Part of the ministry goal is to teach and equip individuals to be able to support themselves. One of the skills that Honduras Ministries teaches is that of sewing. Alyssa had learned to sew from her grandmother at an early age. While many teenage girls enjoy going to the mall and buying the latest fashions, Alyssa enjoys designing dresses, skirts, tops, etc. and making them on her sewing machine. When she found out that God could use her gift for sewing to help others in Honduras, I knew my hope of seeing Disney would have to wait until another year.
As Alyssa and I planned to travel to Honduras over Spring Break of 2011, we began telling the story of what we were planning to accomplish. Our goal was to raise enough funds to cover the $200+ per sewing machine and materials. The class size would only be limited by the number of machines that we could raise money for.
In sharing our plans, other people decided to join us in our journey to Honduras. We had 2 nurses and a pastor’s family along with a local Kansas City business owner. It was nice to have other people go with us with various skill sets.
Where’s my luggage?
Upon arriving in Honduras, we quickly discovered that the luggage we had all the sewing supplies in did not arrive. Luckily we had sent funds down for the missionary to purchase the sewing machines locally but the fabric, scissors, thread, patterns, etc. would not be available in time for the students that were to arrive the next day.
My first lesson on the trip was to learn to live with what you have. We were able to find some basics supplies at a local Honduran store to begin the class the next morning. Thankfully by noon the next day our lost luggage arrived!
Attitude of gratitude
Alyssa spent 2 days teaching 7 Honduran women how to sew. It was amazing seeing my 16 year old along with the 16 year old daughter of the missionary, who served as a translator; teach these ladies a whole new skill set. At the end of the lesson each of the Honduran women received a brand new sewing machine, thread, needles, fabric, and of course a sewing certificate. As we stood in a circle and the women shared their gratitude, I heard things like ….
"I’ve been saving over a year and was never able to save enough to buy a sewing machine."
"I used to sell peanuts on the street to make a living, now I can sell clothing in the market."
"You have made it possible for me to now provide for my family."
As part of our trip we were able to assist the American nurses and a local Honduran doctor by providing a medical brigade. The first day our medical team was able to see over 100 people. When people found out the local church was providing medical care they begin lining up out the church doors and down the street.
No, we didn’t assist with surgeries or some major medical procedure. Alyssa and I simply helped entertain the kids that stood in line for hours with their parents to be seen, Medical care is a huge need as some people have to go years without care. The people were so grateful for the care they received from our team
No running water, no electricity
At the local food market we purchased bags full of rice, beans and some other basic foods that we would distribute in some of the rural villages. Although the poverty in city of Tegucigalpa was unlike anything we experienced in the United States, once outside the city, in the rural villages, the living conditions were almost indescribable.
When we arrived at LaFortunita we were greeted by the entire community. Everyone that lived there was excited to greet their guests. The housing consisted of mud and stick huts. The water supply, when water was available, was contaminated with both animal and human waste. The few animals (cows, dogs, pigs) that were around were very skinny and sickly.
We unloaded the van and provided the food bags to the leader of the community. (She would distribute the food to those that needed it the most). The pastor that traveled with us would give a sermon in the center of the village along with some special music from some of the locals that traveled with us. When we walked to the center of the village, people ran to their homes and brought out the only chairs that they owned for us to sit on for the service. We were their honored guests. They would sit on the ground beside us and listen to the preacher.
We spent 8 days in Honduras and could have easily stayed much longer. Back at home there were reports due, meetings to attend, business to manage, mortgage payment to make, etc. all of which seemed a bit insignificant compared to the impact that the same time and energy would be in serving someone in Honduras.
I recently read a book by Bob Buford titled "Halftime". Buford described those of us who have spent the 1st half of our lives working towards success and how we can turn the 2nd half into a life of significance. My 2nd half includes telling others a bit of our story and hopefully inspiring people to action of serving others.
March 15-22, 2013 Going Back
My youngest daughter Amber turns 16 this year. And guess what? She wants to go to Honduras. Her skill set is totally different that that of her older sister Alyssa. Amber would like to work kids, special needs kids at that. Honduras has tons of orphans and kids that need a positive young role model. Along with another sewing class with Alyssa, we plan to provide a Vacation Bible School where Amber can use her gift of loving kids.
Our hope is to take 12 students and adults with us for this trip. Our goal is to provide the following services while we are there:
- for the children and adults of the region. Many of these people are very rarely able to see a doctor. The treatment will include a physical exam, treatment for intestinal parasites, and all other primary medical care within the capabilities of the team and a local Honduran doctor. We anticipate treating 150-200 people.
Sewing & Skill Development
- through equipping young women to become entrepreneurs. We plan to provide new sewing machines, fabric and training to a group of at least10 ladies. Once they are trained they will be able to provide clothing for their families and sell their goods in the market. We also plan to follow up with the students from our previous trip to mentor them in their business development.
- to rural villages and local hospitals. We will get to purchase, and in some cases, prepare food for those in need through Honduras Ministries.
More information can be found at www.hondurasministries.org