Monday, August 13, 2012

Snorkeling Photos

I took an underwater camera with me on the snorkeling trip, and I just got the photos developed.  Here are a few of the better ones:

 3:18 AM

Well, this is our last day in this wondrous place.  We have been  blessed this past week by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in many different ways.  The weather has been uncommonly mild and cloudy and cool.  The day the team went snorkeling the day was clear and beautiful.  We were blessed to come to know Mike and Erin, John and Kathy and Mike and Ashley.  The three missionary teams working down here.  We were blessed to have the perfect team: Zach our team leader made it easy for us to enjoy our trip since he worried about all the stuff behind the scenes, Daniel and John the builders who helped actually build the home, Trevor and Caleb the young men who were able to see the world thru different, innocent eyes and loved the kids here. Phil the friend, the pastor, the mentor the best friend I could ever have, and myself, Richard, he guy who was lost when he got here, who was blessed to be able to come, who now understands why God put me here in this particular place ,during this exact week, with these wonderful people.  I don't ever see myself as a long term missionary, but like I told Mike after dinner last night, I'll be coming back as long as the Lord wills it and Mike wants me back.  And when I can't come back, I'll be supporting those who will come after me.  I needed this trip to understand what I am about, what my life is about and to appreciate all I have in my life. From my wonderful sister Jackie whom I would love to bring down here, to the children Stephanie, Richard, and Kevin whom the Lord blessed me with, I plan to bring them down here, maybe not all at once, but hopefully one a year. To Josie the woman who has stolen my heart, ( no thats not true, she didn't steal my heart I gave it freely and with abandon to her) I am such a blessed, blessed man.  I don't live in a beautiful 4 bedroom home with a pool and greyhounds racing across the rolling hills I don't drive the latest sports/luxury touring car, but what I have I need to appreciate more and thank the Lord for providing it to me.  What I have is through his will, and I need to understand that and embrace it with all my heart.  when we went to the Honduran worship service on Sunday night, the speaker was talking about being proper stewards of Gods gifts.  Everything we have is a gift from God. Not somethings, not most everything, but EVERYTHING we have is through Gods will and we need to cherish and embrace the gifts we have. If I have learned nothing else,  I have learned that on this trip

We are at the ferry landing waiting for our departure at 9:30 watching Honduran tv, blogging, reading.  Boarding the ferry, I moved to the front to watch a bit of Animal Planet.  After about 15 minutes I moved back to the safety of the rest of the team. Put on some Alan Jackson and fell asleep to Itty Bitty.  As the drone of the engines stopped I woke up to the sight of the ferry landing.  We gathered our bags and once again Phil took the lead getting us 2 taxis for the ride to the airport. As we got the airport at 11:30 we got in line to check our bags and we were told we needed to wait until 1:30 to check our luggage. As we searched for a bit of floor to park our luggage and our tired sunburnt bodies we looked like a bunch of lost ragamuffins.  But we were a bunch of happy ragamuffins, we are on our way home!!  I sat down for a bit to read my book but soon the hot hard floor and my old bones were at war and in the end the floor won making me yield,  I had to get up and walk around.  Soon enough it was time to get back in line to check our bags and go through the X-ray machine again.  Once through we found seats and proceeded to wait some more.  But finally it came time to board, and board we did, now we are winging our way to Houston and the arms of our loved ones!!!  Arrived in Houston, with a list of things we needed to get accomplished, get our checked bags, go thru customs, go thru the screening process and then recheck our bags to get them to Phoenix.  All in 45 minutes.  Normally that would not be an issue except that it seemed that the entire 737 needed to catch a connecting flight, everyone was rushing, and everyone was trying to get the same thing done.  When we were finally thru everything we came to find out that the flight was delayed about 45 minutes.  So we got to the gate as fast as we could, then went on a search for food, panda express, subway, and some Greek restaurant that caught my eye were where we ate at.  Then we boarded the plane for the flight to Phoenix.  We landed in Phoenix, and Phil, Caleb and I  took off to Tucson.  During the drive Phil and i had wonderful conversation regarding the Bible, how to learn from it and how to talk to people about Jesus.  Before I knew it we were at my house and I was saying goodbye to Phil who was gracious enough to drop me off at my house to see the people I love.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Here's a brief video Mike put together of our time in Honduras:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Health Update

Overall, the week went very well health-wise.  There were no major injuries on the work site--and given the safety conditions that was a definite blessing.  Richard took a beating this week, but after staying in the dorms and sleeping most of the day he feels "a million percent better."  Some of us are dealing with stomach issues and flu-like symptoms, so please pray that those will clear up for our day of travel tomorrow.  We should arrive in Tucson around midnight tomorrow.  Please pray for safe travels.

Day #7

Today was our day off, and we went snorkeling.  Richard wasn't feeling well, so he stayed behind and slept most of the day.  He's feeling much better now.  We took about a half hour bus ride, and then an hour long boat ride out to a small set of islands where we snorkeled.  It was called the Cayos Cochinos, which means Big Keys.  There were two larger islands made of volcanic rock, and then seven smaller islands made of built up reef and coral.  We watched a short video (which had way more sea life than we actually saw) and then the told us what we could and could not do, and then we went out in the boat and jumped off.  For the most part we stayed horizontal above the water because there is fire coral that if you touch is poisonous and they warned us to stay away.  I took an underwater camera with me, but I'll have to wait and see how the pictures turn out.

This is view of the mainland as we were leaving.

Here's the boat we rode over in.  There was also a group from Spain there on vacation that rode with us.  It was a pretty choppy ride.

Here is our tour guide giving us a lecture on the local islands and what we can expect to see while snorkeling.

We ordered our lunch before going snorkeling, and then they went out and caught what we ordered to have ready for us in a couple hours.  The restaurant is a tiny grass hut building without walls.

Most of us got the fried fish.

This is Jennifer, and she is a new intern with the Pettengills.  She'll be here for 11 months, and she arrived just a few hours before we did and was thrown right in to a role of responsibility as head of the dorms and translator.  She's been doing a great job.

Daniel went big with the lobster.

The shrimp were good as well.

Here's a view leaving the island we ate lunch at.  It's small, and has maybe 70-80 huts on it.  You can stay there for $5 a night.  Not too bad.

After our snorkeling trip, we went out to a souvenir shop where they had some local trinkets and stuff.  Now we have one last dinner with the team, and then pack up for our trip home tomorrow.

Thursday  08/09/12

Oh my gosh, I am so sore!  My knee, my mouth, but most of all my back... I can barely walk upright.  I guess being 51, I don't bounce like I used to, and it takes longer to get back up.  But I am gonna take it easy today, I'll do anything I can to help, but I'm not gonna kill myself.  After breakfast of cornflake I went outside to put my shoes and socks I was listening to the rapid fire Spanish from the workers building the compound. Smelling the wet earth, the ripe mangos alongside the rotting mangos, the whiff of  the trash pile.  Something I learned about the workers here is that a skilled laborer, a cement worker or carpenter makes around $15.00 a day, a manual laborer makes around $10.00 and they are grateful to have a job.  As we left the compound on our way to Armenia Bonita we were in high spirits  and also kind of sad since this would be the last day we would be helping our families and playing with the kids. 
We get to the house where we were working on the septic tank and the homeowner was hard at work already.  We jumped right in and started mixing more cement to build up the foundation for the lid on his septic tank. I took a video of the cement mixing process to show it in action.  My camera ran out of memory just before the end. You will get the idea when you see the video.  We mixed I think 5 batches of cement in the morning.  Since we we going to play with the kids after lunch we knew we would not be seeing this family again this trip so Pastor Kruis (not Phil Kruis, a very different person) said an amazing prayer for the family who will be moving into the home.  We walked back to the location of the house we were building and enjoyed a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sammiches again.  After lunch we loaded up into the 2 trucks and drove back to the compound.  The young energetic athletic members of the team went to play with the kids, while the more refined and gentlemanly members of the team took a more leisurely view of the afternoons activities, and conserved our strength by sitting and conversing with members of the dental team.  Once the dental team finished with their last patient, we packed up their gear for our ride to the restaurant.  A word about the dental team, in the 2 dental clinics they ran in Armenia Bonita they blessed approximately 75 people with dental treatments.  Many of these people had never seen a dentist before, or if they had it had been several years.  The are even leaving behind a " dentist office in a box". It's a suitcase sized portable unit containing a drill, and suction device and the handles and bits and everything needed to conduct dental clinics except the dentist.  It is a huge blessing for the Pettingils.  This will allow more dental missionaries to come down and have the equipment they need for their job.  At the restaurant we had three different dishes from 3 different countries down here.  Honduras, Ecuador and Mexico.  They were a thick deep fried corn tortilla, a flour tortilla filled with beans, cheese and scrambled egg, and a taquito.  Guess which one's from Mexico?  Just to bac ip a little bit, earlier in the day I got a case of Montezuma's revenge, not to bad but bad enough to be a concern to Erin the nurse. And back at the compound when my team mates were playing with the kids I was busy puking up 2 pb&j's, a bag of papas fritas (potato chips) and 56 ounces of Gatorade! What a glorious way to spend the afternoon. Not to mention that my headache was nearing epic proportions by that time and only got worse with my intestinal issues.  The reason  I mentioned this is to tell you that all I had for dinner was the flour tortilla with beans and scrambles eggs. It was very tasty, but I would have enjoyed it better without the eggs.  But I survived....  After dinner both teams went to an indoor soccer arena to play some soccer, I wasn't there, I went back to the dorm to try and heal up for the next days activities, snorkeling!!  As soon as I got back to the dorm I went straight to the shower to cool off.  Let me just say this, I HATE COLD SHOWERS!!  but when that all you got its all you got. It took me 10 minutes to slowly work my way under the shower spray, once there I commenced to shivering and trying to wash up. 30 minutes later I must admit I did feel better and cleaner and almost human, I got out, dried off and went back to my bunk, where I proceeded to wipe hand sanitizer on my cut knees and hands.  OUCH!!! According to Mike pettingil, the lead missionary, an open cut is one of the easiest way to get sick down here and we need to be very careful with scrapes and cuts, thus the sanitizer.  I laid down in my bunk and putting in my ear buds proceeded to fall asleep to the sounds of Allan Jackson, Brad Paisley, and Earth Wind and Fire.  I slept right thru my call time to my love, I jerked awake, called her then went back to sleep... So much for Thursday.......