Danlí, Honduras - December 2011

Friday, December, 2 - Today began early with Noma and I getting up at 3:30 in order to get to the airport in time.  The flight to Houston, which had been leaving at 6:35 a.m., now leaves at 6:00.  It wasn’t too bad, though and we got there in plenty of time and without difficulty.  The crew working security at the airport was in a very good mood, so that made things get off to a great start.  In Houston, when I checked in at the gate, I ran into John Zellar, who is working to help Christians in the El Paraíso area become self-supporting in the area of agriculture.  He told me he had rented a pickup to drive to Danlí from the airport and offered me a ride.  I was able to get ahold of Jesús Paguaga and ask him to call Nery Irías and save him a trip to the capital to pick me up.  John and I had a good (i.e. uneventful) flight down, picked up the truck and headed to Danlí, arriving around 3:00 p.m.  A group from the Hillcrest congregation in Neosho (and some from other nearby congregations) is also here conducting a two-day lectureship today and tomorrow.  They will return to the states on Monday.  John will be here until next Saturday.  Luis Camacho is also here tonight.  He’s been here the past week teaching the book of Hebrews to our students.  He returns home tomorrow.  Tonight, the whole group of gringos, plus Jesús went to Ovi & Ser for supper and had a good time.  All in all it’s been a good day.

Saturday, December 3 - Today was a very interesting day.  The brethren from the Hillcrest congregation in Neosho are here conducting a lectureship that will end today.  I accompanied John Zellar to the town of El Paraíso to help him with a project.  He needed a translator with his workers and I hope I helped; he said I did anyway.  In the afternoon, he and I along with Jesús Paguaga and Rich Hyder, one of the elders from Neoho, went to a farm that John owns and where he employs members of the church to live and work.  They raise coffee as their most important cash crop, but also corn and beans and bananas (I’ve learned that bananas play an important part in raising coffee, providing the necessary shade for the young coffee plants).  This farm is a pretty impressive operation and is providing a living for a number of Christians families.  The farm is located 25 miles from the town of El Paraíso, which on that road is one and a half hours.  It wins the prize for the worst road I’ve ever been on.  We got back sometime after 7:00 p.m. which means most of the way on that road was in the dark, but we made it back safely.  John and I ate a bit of supper at the hotel restaurant and turned in.  I was pleased to discover that the Bedlam football game between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma was on ESPN and I got to watch the second half.

Sunday, December 4 - This morning all the gringos went in different directions for worship.  I worshipped with the El Zarzal congregation as I usually do.  We had a full house and a very uplifting service.  The afternoon was spent relaxing at the hotel and visiting and I was able to get some study time in to prepare for class to begin tomorrow.  We are studying Godhead this week.  The Neosho group will be heading home in the morning and John has checked out of the hotel today to spend a couple of days working on the farm.  I expect to see him back here on Tuesday.

Monday, December 5 - Today was the first day of class.  Things sure seem quiet with the departure of the contingent from Neosho and John.  Even the church building seemed quiet after so many people there for the lectureship Friday and Saturday and worship yesterday.  Still, the nine students and I had a good study, covering the material I had planned for today.  This afternoon they worked on their essays and studied for the exam tomorrow.  The weather is a little hotter today than the last couple of days.  This is at the end of the rainy season here and the temperatures vary from cool, cloudy days to warm, sunshiny days.

Tuesday, December 6 - The second day of classes went well.  The students did pretty well on their daily quiz this morning, although a couple of them ran out of time at the end.  Their grades weren’t too bad, though.  I think they were trying to hard to make it perfect.  The morning started out very cool and crisp.  There was not a cloud in the sky for most of the day and the air was dry enough that it got pretty warm in the afternoon, but it still wasn’t too bad.  We had our Bible class this evening at the church building; the congregation is studying the book of Acts.  Just before we were dismissed (the class had ended and brother Nery was making some announcements) the power went out.  It turned out to be just in our building, but it seemed like every light in the whole world went out, it was so dark.  Of course, we live in the age of cell phones, so, little by little, light began to be shed on the gathering.  After dinner, I met up with John Zellar and we had supper together at Paseo Pupusaría close to the hotel.  A Pupusaría is a small restaurant that serves traditional Honduran food.  We had “tacos catrachos” (Honduran tacos), which are very much like the flautas sold in our Mexican restaurants.  We enjoyed a good meal and a good visit.  John will be heading back to his farm early tomorrow morning and I may not see him before I leave on Friday.

Wednesday, December 7 - My day began at 4:40 a.m.; before I could get back to sleep the fireworks started near the hotel.  I guess someone is celebrating the Christmas season during the whole month because I have heard heavy fireworks every day (and night) that I’ve been here.  Still, before 5:00 a.m.??  We had another good class today.  We lack one day of classes and then the Final Exam on Friday.  Tonight is a free night for me and I think after I get today’s quizzes graded, I’m going to relax and enjoy it.

Thank you for all your prayers,

Donnie Bates

Posted on December 4, 2011 .