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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2007-04-22 22:15:32
Subject: Sunday April 22, 2007

    We are looking forward to our visit with our old friend Mike Jones and his daughter Shelby (a year older than Hannah). We have a lot of work projects going on right now and have many more to do. This week we hope to complete our chicken house and fill it with some egg layers. Last week some of the boys and I dug a thirty foot trench, up to three feet in some places, to begin to drain the fish pond. It needs to be drained, sanitized (parasites killed), refilled and restocked. I'm not sure if the boys realize we might have to make the trench 2-3 feet deeper, but right now some of the water has drained and continues to. We will eventually put a drain pipe in and refill the trench. Meanwhile, the boys are taking what fish they can find (usually perch sized), cleaning and cooking them. There seems to be a daily fish fry here, but there isn't enough meat on the fish to cut a meal out.      Today the boys are moving rooms around so that we have a guest room again. We can also split our four children out of the smallest room in the house and separate our girls from our boys. The girls will sleep in the room closest to us. We still need to build some bunk beds so that their double beds can be removed and they will have space for clothes.      We are also looking for funding for some projects that would greatly reduce our dependence on monthly donations. We need a small animal barn ($400 materials and labor) to protect the goats at night. If we had the barn, we could also raise some sheep. Both goats and lambs are easily processed and sold to our neighbors. Goat milk is also very good for small children and toddlers, better than cow milk. By the way, the cow we have has producing more than enough milk for the family for the past month. Roque, the farmer, has been really getting after the milking. John and Fernando do it when Roque is not here.      We still have pigs and will continue to raise them, but we have found a way to turn money over quicker. Rather than trying to raise pigs from scratch (breeding, feeding & waiting for hogs to reproduce), we are going to purchase young pigs, fatten them up and either sell them whole or sell the meat. Until we have a very large operation, breeding is not cost effective. We can actually buy young pigs for about half the price we can produce them at. We would like to build another house (with four rooms) for more pigs so that we can raise and sell more pigs. The cost of the house is about $1200 with parts and labor. We are hoping to raise this money before Mike Jones comes for his visit. He hopes to help us in that endeavor. There is potentially $200-$500 (depending on the food source) monthly profit by building another pig house. That amounts to about 50% of monthly donations.      Please pray for Gerardo. He has never met his mother before this week. She showed up and expected something out of him that he was not ready to give. He does not want to see her. I honestly have no idea how it would feel. His mother has been living in our little town of Siguatepeque all of his life. Now she is saying that Gerardo was stolen out of the hospital. I tend not to believe that. You would think the police would have tracked him down, but you never know. Of all the children, Gerardo seems to be the most stable, but this is really affecting and unsettling him.      Eli's mother is also turning up the heat. She has visited twice in the last month and halfway expected us to release Eli. Eli seems to have no interest in going with her, but even if he did, we could not legally release him until IHNFA (Honduras' child protective service) gives the OK. Of all the children, Eli seems to have been abused the most. Eli could use prayer as well.      The mother of Fernando, Arnol and Carlito's died a couple months ago. We did not find out until last month when we visited IHNFA and they gave their condolensenses about the mother. Fernando, being the oldest and having the most memories with her, seemed upset for a short while. Arnol was not visibly affected. Carlitos was too young to tell. All of them have different fathers. I have to ask myself if they are adoptable now.

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