Season 3 – Episode 8

BIG IDEA  We get it.  Season 3 has been a bit on the heavy side, learning about the challenges of orphans and vulnerable children around the world.  So in this final episode we’re bringing nothing but positivity and joy.  We hear from Zoe and Alex, two formerly vulnerable children who are now fully supporting themselves as adults and sharing their gifts and love with their families and others.   
OUR GUEST(S)  Faith Ntinyari – Malawi
At age 16, Faith lost both of her and was left with four siblings to care for.  Three years later, she graduated from ZOE and now supports her family and others through clothing sales and design as well as farming.    

Alex Yanez - Ciudad España, Honduras
Alex is an entrepreneur who designs graphics and is studying to become an English teacher.  Most of his interview about the design program – is there more we can add here about his personal life, etc.?       
CALL TO ACTIONSend us an email at and we’ll send you a thank you card designed by Alex.  We’d love to hear your questions, suggestions for future episodes or just a hello to let us know you’re listening.  We appreciate you so much!   Can they place orders for thank you notes directly from Alex?  
Faith Ntinyari
Alex Yanez

As always, thanks for listening.

Love, the Bridging Cultures Podsquad

Season 3 Episode 2

BIG IDEA  In Ciudad Espana, Honduras there is little room for economic growth.  Parents are forced to find jobs in other communities, leaving their children behind where they are vulnerable to abuse, gangs and other negative influences.   Some children are completely abandoned, with no good options to care for them.  Two orphanages in the region are small with limited space. Family members that are left with abandoned children lack the resources to care for them in addition to their own families.  The government provides no solutions.    But a scholarship program through Juan Wesley School is breaking this cycle by sponsoring at-risk children.  Children are taught to take ownership in their education, learn to believe in themselves and see a future of hope.  Parents are involved in their children’s lives and work hard for their success.  And in return, families receive additional support from the program. It’s a win-win-win!  
OUR GUESTAmanda Martinez is the Juan Wesley School Sponsorship Coordinator. She works as a bridge between families and sponsors to foster connection and ensure that students are on track. She volunteers extensively at her church in Ciudad Espana and is a loving wife and mother. To know Amanda is to be loved by Amanda, she is warm, kind, and exudes the love of Jesus.    
From Left Amanda Martinez, and her friend and fellow volunteer Vilma Barahona
CALL TO ACTIONCourt-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) make a life-changing difference for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Each volunteer is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court and help judges make the most well-informed decision for each child.   To learn more, visit impact and search “casa.”  Or locate the CASA organization in your community.  

When we were on a family trip with our sons when they were little guys, we'd wrap up the day with a family prayer.  Our youngest son would always start us off:  "Today was a great day!  (Pause.)  What did we do today?"  So, here are some scattered memories of a fantastic week in Honduras:

We were 8 guys who kind of knew each other - now we are friends in Christ.

We have had a trip filled with God-Moments, laughter, & WAY too many conversations about bodily functions.

      Humor?  What is the difference between a guy on a Mission Trip to Honduras & a catfish?  One has whiskers & smells.  The other is a catfish.

We experienced a beautiful country, with even more beautiful people.

We met so many wonderful teachers & fantastic students.

We met entrepreneurs, who each of us would love to hire in a heartbeat.

      Honduran Fact: Per the Honduran constitution, there are actually 2 capital cities: Tegucigalpa & Comayaguela.  Most of the governmental business is handled in Tegucigalpa. 

We were guided by 4 awesome translators & drivers, who never seemed to tire & who constantly kept us on the right track.

We had 3 amazing worship experiences that reminded each of us that we are all truly united in God.

We heard some fantastic musicians praising God through song that helped us hear the Holy Spirit's message for us each time. 

We heard new music & even some old music that was familiar to us - both versions made us want to shout for joy.

We met dozens of children in El Obraje - all of them were filled with excitement & smiles.

Our basic needs were always met - good food, clean water, & safe shelter.

We were given several physically demanding projects that, yes, left us exhausted, but oddly mentally refreshed & spiritually renewed at the same time.

Finally, this week has changed each of us.

Closing Prayer: Dear God we are grateful for our safe travels & for Your protection & guidance on our entire journey.  Amen.

And we are home.


Your Faithful Honduran Bloguero

Today's Theme: Enjoy Honduras!

Our morning started in Danli with a fantastic breakfast prepared by Carlos of baleadas, which are a traditional treat of Honduras consisting of a tortilla, a smear of mashed refried beans, crema, & crumbled queso.

We then made our way along some bumpy roads to return to our starting point - Tegucigalpa's Mission House.

Humor?  There was a recent article teasing the discovery of a great archeological find at a Mayan dig site.  At first, the archeologists were hoping they had found the legendary calendar of the Mayan people predicting the timing of the apocalypse.  Sadly, it just turned out to be a Mayan colander.  All it said was "Pour in corn & rinse."

We ate lunch at Virginia's Papusas in the Valle de Angeles (Valley of Angels).  We had our typical raucous conversation as we chatted about the week & the fantastic lunch of a traditional meal of papusas (Thick Tortillas, Cheese, & Pork)

After lunch we browsed around the Valle de los Angeles & were struck by the town's beauty & the wonderful people in the village.

Afterwards, we drove to Santa Lucia & enjoyed a fantastic vista of the town & surrounding valleys from the Bendito Cafe'.  

      Honduran Fact: The Mesoamerican Reef, lying off the coast of northern Honduras has a large reef system which is 2nd only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. 

We returned to Tegucigalpa, did laundry (seriously!), toured the beautiful church above the Mission House, and prepared for our final evening in Honduras.

Thomas Brooks, COO & CFO of the Honduran Mission Group, born & raised in the United Methodist church on the Bay Islands, then spoke to us about their mission in Honduras & his role on this mission.  He talked about the challenges of having many languages spoken within the conference like Spanish, English, Creole, Dutch, & French.

We went out for dinner for our last evening in Honduras & then finished our evening with a powerful night of devotions.


Your Faithful Honduran Bloguero

Today's Theme: Mountain Top Experiences

We disrupted our routine today, by starting at 6:00 a.m. with a hike to the Cross of Danli.  It's a very steep hike (Our "Price is Right" contest guessing the elevation climb of the hike is still up for some debate.)  During the hike, we had magnificent vistas of Danli & the surrounding valley.  At the Cross, we were given time to reflect & to send a letter to ourselves to open 6 months later.  It was an amazing start of the day.

We climbed back down & had a fantastic breakfast of eggs, pancakes, & bacon.  

We returned to El Obraje to continue our projects.  We were all assigned to ditch duty & spent a bulk of the morning making concrete.  Taking sand that had been sifted, mixing in cement, mixing in sand, & then building a "volcano" shape & adding water as needed to get the right consistency.  We started pouring the concrete into the draining ditch to form the base for one of the walls lining the ditch.

Darren's COMEDY corner!

Humor?  Even with us working to smooth out the mortar between the cinder blocks, none of us suffered from Irritable Trowel Syndrome.

We had sandwiches & chips for lunch.  Interestingly, they get better tasting each day.

The afternoon had several highlights:  

After school, the children of El Obraje once again descended on our work site.  We had fun chatting with the kids & hosting an impromptu Quiz Bowl giving the kids candy as the prizes.  Amazingly, the kids were super focused on the questions.  

Lluvis de Bendicion held a Women's Service this afternoon as well & we were invited as special guests.  It was an inspiring service with a top-notch praise band & a great message of "God's Plans" by Pastor Alejandero.  The crowd was around 50 guests.

We returned to Danli & had a fantastic dinner hosted by Carlos.  Scott led a powerful devotion focused on the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Honduran Fact: From 250 A.D. to 900 A.D. Mayans dominated the region.  Copan, a ruined ancient Mayan city, is believed to have served as the political hub for the Mayans & is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 


Your Faithful Honduran Bloguero

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