Along Came Nana…

Thank you all for the prayers and concern for the tropical storm, Nana, that blew past us. I guess the worst thing I heard was that the hospital in Coxen Hole was flooded with about two feet of water. Otherwise, we had heavy rain and some mud slides but nothing to complain about. She moved through quickly so rain levels didn’t get too high. The mainland had it worse than we did but still it wasn’t as bad as some storms of the past. Looks like it’s going to be a record hurricane season.

We were not able to feed people last week due to the storm but will resume this week. Our goal this week is 750. We are adding a group of about 150 out in Oak Ridge. This is the community that donated the rice cooker so it only seems fair that they can be fed from it. We were also able to buy a stove and larger, used refrigerator from donations originating in Father Bob’s church in New Jersey. We are very grateful.

We will soon be adding another option to the website to highlight other ministries on the island that are working as hard as we are to help the people here. There is so much need on so many levels that I thought some lovely people out there would be particularly touched by what these other ministries are doing. I meet with them weekly and can vouch for their commitment, honestly, and sincerity.

Please keep us in your prayers.  We appreciate any financial support you can provide. God bless you all.

A special Shout out…

Our hearts are broken that one of our own has passed: Ben Exner. Expats on the island are few in number so we either know each other directly or just one friend away. Ben was the owner of two of our favorite restaurants, Bambu(sushi} and Casa(Mexican). He left us too young.

His mother, Linda Rotz and sister, Heather Loveday, decided to close his restaurants. In doing so, she sent over $2000 worth of food, forks, plates, and other supplies to us to share with the people of Roatan. It will help literally hundreds of people eat that otherwise could not.

Thank you Miss Linda and Miss Heather. We are so very grateful to have known Ben and thankful for your gifts. May the Peace of our Lord be with you and your family always.

You win some… You lose some…

It’s the story of life… 🙂 Some weeks ago we had a lovely, massive, commercial rice cooker and a standard home range/oven donated. The oven worked straight away and we put it to work. The rice cooker, however, had some internal issue that prevented it from working. We called the electrician to fix it but it needed some part he couldn’t find. Fast forward to last week and, praise the Lord, someone found a part and repaired the rice cooker. If you haven’t guessed already, the oven died the same week. Called the electrician, a gecko got somewhere it wasn’t supposed to and fried some really important circuit. The repair cost is roughly equivalent to the cost of a new stove. Living here requires a bit of patience and a heavy reliance on religion…

Honestly, I feel so blessed by all of this that I am hard-pressed to get to angry or even annoyed. To actively serve God is such a joy that it is hard to describe. Seeing hungry children fed digs deeply into the heart and soul. I heard one child say to another, ‘what wonderful food!’. Sounds simple but I promise you, everyone that heard her just melted.

Please keep us in your prayers. People are getting desperate down here. $50 feeds over 100 people. Please consider donating to help feed the people of Roatan. May the Peace of our Lord be with you always.

Over 5000 served…

I hope that doesn’t sound like a McDonald’s billboard. It has been a labor of love. We have been locked down over 150 days now. It appears that we may, finally, be getting to the end of this ordeal at least in terms of movement. Flights are getting in and the ferry will soon be going again. It is a mostly internal, domestic openings but it is a welcomed beginning. Some businesses are beginning to open and we are hoping this dreaded, once-out-every-two-weeks digit system will go away next week. Keep your fingers crossed for us (we are certainly keeping ours).

We are changing the menu a tiny bit this week. We are substituting couscous for the rice (a shout out to our Louisiana contingent). The price is about the same and varies the meal preparation a bit but gets a little variety in the meal. We have also been asked to make spaghetti with hot dogs (who knew?) as another option. Oddly, our soup kitchen hasn’t actually served soup… 🙂

We are still serving 600 meals a week and hoping to get enough in donations to increase that to 1000. I know money is tight for everyone and we are very grateful for the support you have shown. We are still months away from tourism returning in sufficient levels to change the economic conditions here. Petty crime is on the rise as people become desperate to feed their families. Please consider helping the people of Roatan get a meal.

A little more on that story…

Once again, because of your generous donations, we were blessed to be able to feed over 600 last week. We also wanted to share a few more details regarding a specific community and their donor. We had a lovely donor by the name of Charlotte who donated for a specific community close to her heart. She also suggested using a donation as a way to tithe. This story, however, is about the impact of this one donation.

Charlotte asked if we could feed the diving community at Turquoise Bay and also provide them with food bags. Her gift was generous enough that we could do this AND have enough left over to feed about 800 more. (Food bags were $10 each and we have the cost per plate down to about 50 cents). Beans, rice, sugar, flour, milk, lard, TP, and salt were put into plastic bags by one of the members of Emmanuel and distributed with the meal. It was enough for a family of four for a week. You would not believe the looks of joy and relief on the faces of all who received them. It is truly a blessing and an honor to serve God’s people, and we are humbled and so grateful for your support, prayers, and your generous donations. You are making a tremendous difference here!!!
Blessings to you all!

Over 600 meals last week…

Blessings continue. We have gotten the routine down pretty well now. We have about 12 volunteers coming in twice a week to prepare and distribute meals all over the island. We are working with pastors and business leaders to locate the most impoverished and least served areas on the island. This week we added a small orphanage in Gravel Bay. We can only show you the plates (below) and not the children due to government regulations but they simply beamed at having someone care enough about them to bring them food.

The number of people in the areas we already serve is increasing as the word spreads. We have gotten the cost per plate below 50 cents and are still providing enough protein and calories to survive. We will have to hold at 600 until more donations come in but our goal is still to feed 1000 a week to the end of this crisis. We are all very grateful for the love and support you are all showing. Thank you so much!

Over 500 meals last week…

We’re getting there… We’re feeding the same people as the week before and even more people are coming. We have added another group near downtown in an area known as ‘the swamp’ and more people have come from the neighborhood surrounding the church. So many hungry children…

We’re running low on donation money so please share the website and facebook page. I know times are hard for everyone but these people have nowhere to go and nowhere else to turn. Begging and petty theft are increasing with the deperation. Your generous love and gifts are having a real impact and are truly appreciated.

We’re Growing…

We had a fabulous last week. With your help, we were able to serve over 440 men, women, and children! This week we are shooting for 500. We have changed the original strategy of serving from feeding the neighborhood around the church to going out in teams to feed those most desperate. Statistically, we are feeding more children than anyone else. There is one neighborhood we are serving that are children of those struggling with drug addiction. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking to see the grateful, smiling faces of those children when they are handed a plate of food. They don’t even walk away before they start eating. It is for those faces, in particular, that I am personally so driven.

In website news, the donation page is FIXED! By an act of congress and assistance from the website support staff (who blew up the page with an update to begin with), the page has been repaired. It looks a bit different but functions well.

We have also added a feature for some of you who have requested it – Automatic Recurring Donations. Basically, you can set whatever amount you want to give over whatever time period you would like to give it. It was requested so a smaller amount could be given over a period of time.

Please pray for the people here. The situation continues to worsen as the lockdown continues. We are supposed to open internally later this month but there will still be no tourism for a very long time.

More Blessings

We are getting some donations in (THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH) and getting settled into our routine. Last week we feed about 199 people and this week 232+. We are continuing to go to the dump for those 50 or so adults and children and visiting specific areas that are in the direst of need. We are find a number of elderly women that are essentially abandoned and we are working hard to see their needs are met. I can say, without a doubt, that some people would not have eaten at all had we not brought it to them. From them and us to you, Thank you.

We also are getting organized enough to feed even more. We had a refrigerator donated (Thank you Doug and Susan Geddes) so we can store food between cookings. Next week our goal is to make two meals for at least 400 people. We will smoke 20 or so chickens for both meals and distribute them on Wednesday and Friday. The ultimate goal is 300 people three times a week but you have to walk before you run. Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

We are feeding the People…

So, we are working out the kinks of large scale food preparation… Last week we fed 107 people and today we fed 176. What a blessing! It is truly amazing to witness the love of God in the sharing of food. It is a truly humbling experience for which I am forever grateful.

The goal for next week is 200. We are learning to smoke chicken in a donated 1200 lb smoker (Thank you Dwane and BK Harrison). It has the capacity to cook 30 whole chickens. We smoked 10 today. Dwane is teaching us the art of smoking meats. We are also figuring out the donated convection oven (Thank you Mitch and Rachel Spruill). Father Bob baked 14 lbs of chicken with onions and carrots. The ladies cooked 20 lbs of rice with tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, and onions on a traditional grill since the donated rice cooker has some electrical problems (once repaired it can cook 300 servings of rice at a time – say a prayer we can find the parts). They also cooked 10 lbs of beans and made over 200 7 inch maseca torillas.

On the technical front, we’re still working on adding PayPal and recurring donations to the website. I’ve been in IT for nearly forty years and trust me when I say it is difficult to make the software of several different companies agree with each other. I suspect it is the Universe trying to teach me humilty and patience… 🙂

Thank you all for the love and support of this project. The situation here is getting more desperate since there is no money coming in from tourism and no prospect in the near future for it. There is an amazing amount of support from local businesses but they are running out of money, too. Keep us in your prayers.

The Peace of the Lord be with you…