September is a busy month in Honduras, mostly because two of the big holidays fall in this month. First we celebrated Dia del Niño, Kid's Day. This year the kids had a party with a piñata in either school or preschool, depending on their age, and then we hosted a carnival during Library time. Click here to see more photos of our Dia del Niño partying.
Right after Dia del Niño comes Honduras' Independence Day. The biggest tradition here is that all the kids march in parades with their school. This year we had kids in every section of our village parade, from the military corp, to the pom-pom squad. The kids really enjoy participating in this show of national pride.
This September though, we were even busier than normal, because of our new classes, called Tutoria Estudantíl La Esperanza. Below you can see all the kids lined up on the first day by class level. We have 60 kids coming, from 4 villages!
The older kids are studying English and computers, taking a music class, and participating in Bible, library time, and sports. These classes are much more formal than anything we've done on-site before and the kids are really responding and rising to the occasion. More parents are asking when their kids can start.
Somehow we always think we're building as much building as we'll need, and then we start a new program like this. We've already outgrown all our Library and office areas! The above English class is in the "garage." Plans are already in the works to add on more classroom space to this area.
We're tutoring the younger kids in the basics: reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, and incorporating other fun learning activities into their class time, like pirate treasure hunts!
We just had a heartbreaking thing happen around 11:30 this morning. For reasons that are still unknown to us, the six new children that have lived here for less than a month were taken away by social services. We all gathered around them, gave them hugs and kisses, and prayed together with them. I don't know why things happen the way they do sometimes, but I do know that God has a plan for every one of those precious kids. Please help us pray for Carlos, Ingris, Agustín, Jorgito, Yensi, and Dennis. Even though we are all upset, I feel that in the time we had to watch over them, that we did the best that we could of showing them that we love them and that God loves them. We'll send out more updates as soon as we know more. We would appreciate your prayers for our ministry and our work here.
Update: These kids were put up for international adoption.
The ministry of Give Hope 2 Kids couldn't function without great volunteers. We've been blessed through the years with awesome volunteers, people who have come and helped us love kids and do excellent ministry work. This season, we have our largest volunteer force to date. We're doing more than ever before with education for our community and it's all thanks to these great people.
Kelvin & Monica Johnson, with their daughter Kelly, have served with us for over a year and a half now and have made a big difference in our ministry. They have tackled a wide range of projects while they've been here, from hosting groups, to working on construction projects, to throwing parties for our kids. They currently lead in the planning of the Friday Night Youth Group and the community classes we teach. The Johnsons plan to stick around GH2K for at least another year or two and we're certainly grateful for the role they've played in our lives and ministry.
Recently, another family moved down to work with us: Jacob & Cynthia Baker, and their girls, Maddie & Myra. All four of them have jumped in here with hearts to serve. They expect to be with us for a couple of years and we're looking forward to spending that time with them. Their family is involved in a wide variety of activities, from collecting eggs (the girls big job), to co-leading the preschool class, to administrative work, to leading the volunteer "church."
Leah is an awesome gal who is part-way through her year volunteering for GH2K. She is our resident librarian, who organizes the Library and much of the Library Program and classes. The spark she's added to the Library is huge! Leah also co-teaches the preschool class. We really appreciate her great attitude and willing heart.
In July, Kaitlen came and started her year of volunteering here. Kaitlen is assisting with teaching English, preschool classes, and is using her passion for soccer to spend time with kids here. She has a great heart for the kids and we really enjoy that about her.
And here's an updated photo of the our family. We're Jason & Sarah Furrow, the directors of GH2K, and our kids are Josiah & Eliana.
In the past year, we’ve made incredible strides in producing our own food and working towards self-sustainability. This is an important value of Give Hope 2 Kids, for we try to stretch every donated dollar as far as possible.
Producing our own food also gives meaningful work to our Honduran staff and is something for them to teach our kids. We want to raise up good workers and not people who have their hand out, expecting life to given to them.
We have a new agricultural expert on our Honduran team, so we’re planting more of our own food. We recently moved the cows and sheep across the river, away since they kept eating everything we were trying to grow.
The animals are doing really well though, even though we relocated some. We’re able to raise a good percentage of our meat now. We have great laying hens that produce three dozen eggs every day. Our cows produce all our milk and most of our cheese and yogurt. We’ll be putting in more pasture for cows though, so we can keep up with our dairy demand.
Our best product to grow and sell for self-sufficiency is coffee. So, we’re planting more acres in coffee and learning better growing techniques. We've recently perfected our roast and we’re getting rave reviews on it.
In the upcoming months, we hope to raise the funds to add some solar panels to our buildings. We have a solar plan that should easily cover half of our electricity usage. Since we pay more per watt than anywhere in the US, this will be a big savings for us.
Please click here if you'd like to donate towards our solar panels.