The (now) three part series of blog posts that I am introducing started out as a Christmas letter to all of our family and friends. When I realized just how long it had been since we’d really communicated at any length with all of you, I realized we have quite a job ahead of us! The New Year Holiday came and went, and I was still writing and we were traveling and oh well, you get it. First of all, let me apologize for how little we’ve communicated this last year. 2017 was indeed a year of change, as were the last several years really. These changes that I am referring to have been difficult for us and we have found it hard to communicate how “things are going” in any kind of concise way. We decided to try and get current with our communications with the following three-part blog post. Part one will kind of be a “getting caught up” as well as a check in on how Marinajo, Ben and Mariah are doing. Part two will be a more detailed look at what Dave does here at Loma de Luz these days (as it has kind of grown and expanded a bit over time). Part three will be a thank you, an explanation of our hope, and a brief financial update. We don’t want to wait until part three to say “thank you” to all of you who have loved us, prayed for us, and supported us. So let’s start out by saying thank you! Thank you to each and every one who have loved us and prayed for us and for those of you who have supported us financially over these last nine years of ministry. We feel strongly that we are right where God wants us and we are praying for many more years of ministry right here at Loma de Luz in Honduras. We are most grateful to God for His provision (so often expressed through the ones now reading this note) and for His love and care over us. We see His faithfulness in every word that you are about to read. So let’s get started with part 1!
Part 1: How are Marinajo, Ben, and Mariah doing?
Our lives turned upside in the fall of 2016 when we learned of a cancer diagnosis for Marinajo’s mother, Mary. We spent many months in Colorado caring for her until her death in February, 2017. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that we arrived back in Honduras in March of 2017 hurting and needing to heal. It had been such a difficult time for us as a family in many ways yet, it was indeed a valuable time in our lives as well. Our arrival back home in Honduras found us shoulder deep back in the ministry of Loma de Luz and running full speed. I’m realizing that we should have taken some time to stop and rest and heal – but we had been stationary so long, that I just felt like we had to get back and get going. I’m almost 50 now, so let’s just call me a slow learner…… ?
Here’s a brief recap for each member of the family. (Note that the Dave’s section will in part 2 coming very soon!)
Ben has become a strapping sixteen year old young man and both Marinajo and I are very proud of him. He has been given some amazing opportunities here at LDL for a sixteen year old. Ben really enjoys helping out in Terapia where he is a sort of apprentice learning about many types of therapy such as wound care which includes diabetic ulcers, casting, physical therapy, and post-operative therapy. He is also learning to take x-rays and is filling a few needed roles at the hospital. He likes to dabble a little bit in welding and mechanic work, but seems most happy when he has scrubs on and is helping in the hospital. He’s become quite the technician on the computer systems that we use in the hospital and has become very proficient with the EMR (Electronic Medical Record) system and the PACS system for use with digital x-rays. These amazing opportunities for hands-on learning are a huge part of Ben’s education. He is fully homeschooled now (no online school) with his mom guiding, encouraging, and teaching. It is important to also give thanks to God for the spiritual aspect of these opportunities. Ben gets to be right in the nitty – gritty (and believe me, wound care can be gross) of the service of the hospital. He is learning that serving does not only mean work, but compassion, giving, gentleness, patience, and humility. He is serving alongside Christian men and women who have good days and bad, victories and challenges, and are setting an example for him to follow. Thank you, Lord!
Marinajo had a tough time of it coming back after spending eight months in Colorado. She really did enjoy her time with her mom and her brothers, especially while Mary was still feeling well. It was a hard time for sure, but very much a privilege to love her mama deeply to the end. It took a good three months for Marinajo to feel like she was home after returning to Loma de Luz. She continues to serve in the Eyeglasses Clinic at Loma de Luz and works closely with the ophthalmologist that comes twice a year to operate on cataracts and another eye malady called pterygiums. She led praise and worship on some Sundays and Thursday fellowships, but is taking a break from that right now. In November a wonderful distraction kept her even busier; she started planning Mariah’s wedding from afar. In late-November we all went to Nashville to really get the planning going and then celebrated a beautiful union between Nate Jung and Mariah on December 30th. Also, during our time in Nashville, Marinajo and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary and she turned 50!
We had a wonderful surprise birthday celebration at a place called Mariachi Plaza where we were lucky enough to enjoy some great live music and Marinajo got to get some good dancing in. One other special thing about her birthday party was, besides our family (including Nate), all of the guests were new friends and brothers and sisters in Christ that we had met through Mariah’s church. God is good. Even though she was far away from family and friends on such an occasion, He provided beautiful new friends and family. When you add in the miles of about 9 years of service in Honduras now and all of the stresses that go along with being “in the field” – it just makes me ever so much more grateful for her faithfulness to me and the Lord’s faithfulness to us both. Grateful, grateful, grateful – that is what I am!
Mariah, our 20-year-old daughter that grew up with us in Honduras, is married! Wow! What a blessing it was to be in Nashville and help her plan her wedding while she finished up her fall semester at Trevecca University. Nate and Mariah were married on December 30th, 27 years and one day after Marinajo and I were married! We are so grateful for our new Son in Law, Nathan Jung (pronounced young), and his wonderful family from the Green Bay area. They are just lovely people and we couldn’t have dreamed for a better soul mate for Mariah. Going through the process of planning a wedding and then the actual marriage ceremony itself has just served to reinforce for us the beauty of God’s plan for marriage and how it is indeed a “great mystery” that leads us into a new understanding of how Christ loves the Church. Let me show you just a couple of pictures of what joy looks like as we celebrated the wedding ceremony a couple of weeks ago:
We will post part 2 in a couple of days which will give a more detailed look into what Dave has been doing with his time here at Loma de Luz as well as part three in a few more days with a thank you, our hope, and a financial update. Stay tuned! Blessings, DF