Letter from the Mission Field (Dec 25, 2014)

¡Feliz Navidad!
and Merry Christmas!
(and Happy Chanukah!)

It’s Christmas again in Honduras.  It’s time for parades, fireworks and eating tamales.  

The Christmas tamale  is something new for me.  A tamale is    made from  various vegetables, rice and meats, placed inside a masa (corn dough) dumpling. The dumpling, itself, is wrapped in corn leaves and steamed or boiled.  It is an ancient food of the Mayas, Lencas and other indigenous people, and a tradition, which continues today.   Its connection with Christmas is obscure, but everyone makes them this time of the year.  They have become, in a way, a   New World offering to the Christ Child. 
Again this year, I went with Father Roberto on his tour of the countryside on Christmas Eve Day (December 24) to celebrate the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas. This year we had several  baptisms at both the Church of the Annunciation and at San Isidro.  

And, of course, we brought presents for the kids of campo. I am always amazed at how much joy these simple presents bring to the children.  You can see more below

Finally, I wish  you and your families a very Merry Christmas.

Also, if possible, please consider an end of the year donation, so  that I may continue with God’s work here. (See link to the right.)  Thank you. 
Peace and all goodness to you,


A Christmas Meditation: “No Distance” by Theophane the Monk

No distance   by Theophane the Monk

I stumbled upon  this  story from Tales from the Magical Monastery (1), which  has been helpful to me for my spiritual journey.   It is told as a parable, and, in it’s peculiar style, raises questions about our response to Jesus’ coming to us in this Christmas season.
The story, told by Theophane the Monk , begins:
“I asked each of  the monks I met this question: ‘What great blunder have you made?’
One answered, ‘There was a stone in my room and I did not love it.’
Another said,  ‘They called me a Christian, but I did not become Christ.’
I asked the first, ‘What do you mean?   I don’t understand.  You didn’t  love that stone….’
 ‘I just didn’t love it.  I was so close to redeeming the  whole world, but I looked down on that stone.’
I asked the second, ‘You did not become Christ?  Is one supposed to become Christ?’
‘I kept putting distance between myself and him —  by seeking, by praying, by reading.  I kept deploring the distance,  but I never realized that I was creating it.’
‘But,’ I insisted,  ‘is one supposed to become Christ?’
His answer:  ‘No distance.’ ” 
Christmas is about God’s coming to us.  Born in Bethlehem,  He offers us a great intimacy.  Thus, he closes the great distance between heaven and earth.  He comes to live with us.
But  do we respond?  Do we come to him?   Can we love even the stone in the room?
Or do we just become complacent Christians from afar?   Do we continue to live  at a comfortable distance, Christian in name only, but not as Christ?
Can we renounce what keep us apart, in order to accept this great intimacy?
But are we supposed to become Christ?
No distance.   
(1) Theophane the Monk, Tales from the Magic Monastery
      Crossroad Publishing Co., New York, 1981 

Feliz Navidad from the Campo: Christmas presents for the kids

Christmas presents for the kids

Again this year we bought presents for kids living in the campo (countryside) around Tegucigalpa.   These may be the only presents that some of these kids receive.
The kids at San Isidro dig into Santa’s bag to select their Christmas present.   Fr. Roberto stands by to make sure that no fights break out.   The kids, in spite of their excitement, were actually very well behaved.
Alejandra and friend show us their presents
at the Church of the Annunciation.
Two boys at San Isidro with their presents.


This morning I had the honor and privilege to speak at my church, St. David’s Episcopal in Roswell, GA.  This is what I shared:

There is a best seller and movie about a man during WWII who suffered greatly and emerged unbroken.  At LAMB in Honduras we have our own Unbroken story.

Picture 8 girls, ages 8-18, laughing hysterically…about nothing – raucous laughter, tears, doubled over, gasping for air.  These silly, laughing girls not too long ago were enslaved by human traffickers, often their own family members.  They came to us traumatized, broken.  We wrap them in Christ’s love and ours and they discover they are precious, beautiful, beloved daughters of the Risen Lord.

12 of our young people, in a country with 52% unemployment, in a broken society, spent 2 years working hard at an outstanding vocational school.  Through scholarships, nurturing, and constant reminders that God has a plan for each of them, they graduated with a well-respected certificate and a new found hope.  Their dreams for the future seem within reach to these newly educated, confident young electricians, bakers, stylists, carpenters, and IT technicians.

After years of wrangling in a broken, corrupt political system, we finally got the necessary permits to begin construction of our water project at the Children’s Home. Now, the littlest ones are experiencing, for the first time in their lives, running water!  Although we still have a lot of work to do to fully “liquefy” the Children’s Home, we are finally pumping and using our own, pure water!

Jasmine, a young woman Suzy and I love deeply, gave her testimony to a recent team.  She described her life as a child, beginning with sexual abuse by her father at age 7.  She ran away to escape the continued abuse. Life on the streets included drugs, beatings, prostitution, and more drugs.  Today she is almost 2 years drug free, working for LAMB and volunteering for our Alonzo Movement.  The reason she never gave up or succumbed to life with gangs or worse?  “I always believed God loves me.”   A broken child with unbroken faith.

I want to end this blog the way I ended my presentation at church.  This is to my parish family and to all of you who love LAMB: 

Through your prayers, visits, and support, we are able to bring God’s unbroken promise of redemption and love to His precious lambs in Honduras.  Thank you and God bless you.