June 30, 2009

Current Events in Honduras

Just wanted to let everyone know that we are doing fine here in Roatan, Honduras. The recent political unrest is mainly secluded to the mainland, for now anyway. The locals that we have gotten to know are quite optimistic that the democratic system will work and that President Mel Zelaya will not get his way. He is due back in Honduras on Thursday and it is said that he will be arrested if he sets foot on Honduran soil. Please continue to pray for our safety and lift up this country as well as our own.

Here is an article in the Wall Street Journal that closely mirrors what the locals have been telling us about what is going on: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124623220955866301.html

Also, a new friend of ours that is a prominent real estate person and very involved with the governmental process around here, TJ Lynch, has a blog that explains in great detail the current events: http://buyroatan.blogs.com/tjs_roatan_real_estate_bl/n_real_estate_bl/

Now, for some lighter news; today we went on the zip line that runs below our house. Anna and Wiley got to go while the rest of the crew watched some of the runs from the back deck. The kids had a great time, wild Wiley was very cautious while responsible Anna was the dare devil on this adventure. You just never know how the kids will react to new situations, just when you think you've got them figured out, bam! it's a whole new learning curve.

Yesterday, Trey got his guys started on the foundation for the storage building for Henry and Frances. The church in the colonia is going to use it to store all the VBS stuff and other things that the different mission teams bring down for use with the church. Saturday, we are going to help transport luggage and people in our rental truck for the group that is arriving from Atlanta. Obviously, it will be either Trey or myself and not the kids for this, as a family of 6 there would be no room for anyone else. This group is here for LW4R, they will running VBS for the children in the colonia, among many other needed things.

We have enjoyed getting responses to the blog as well as supportive emails from everyone. Thank you for continuing to pray for us and we just can't say enough about how blessed we are to be on this journey and to be able to share each step with you.

Take care and God bless.

Top 10 of Roatan (so far)

Today's blog is courtesy of our own Anna Vick, age: 9

these are the things I like so far:

10. makeing homemade tortillas

9.watching the sunset go down

8.driveing in to town with the windoes down

7. hunting for iguanas, lizards, and,birds

6. watching crab raceing and fire dancers

5. eating fresh food from our trees

4. watching zip liners below the house; today we are doing it

3. butifull flowers

2. seeing starfish, fish, and stingrays!

1. swiming in the ocean

thew only things we don't like are .........Bugs ,Bugs,and,More BUGS!!! (oh, and when the power is out)

June 27, 2009

The end of our first week in Roatan, Honduras (four more to go)

We had a tough time trying to put into words what our day on Friday was like, so we decided to think a bit before putting pen to paper...

Friday morning we met up with Henry and Frances of LW4R and they took us up to the colonia for the first time. This area is land that the people have squatted on and now call home. There are now about 2,900 people that live in the colonia, in other words, it looks like a small city of little wooden houses and shacks all on top of each other throughout this little valley. The people that live there decide among themselves who gets what 20X20+/- spot to build their home on and are for the most part very proud of what they do have and take care to keep it as tidied as they can. Anyway, it was a bit overwhelming and we didn't even take any pictures because of how powerful the moment was. And literally, all we did was drive to where the water well and open air church is and walk up some really steep dirt roads and checked out the public water lines that are run to each house. Every 8 days, those that have a tie into the water line, get to fill up as many containers as they can to drink, bathe, wash clothes/dishes, etc. Doesn't sound that great, but at one time they had a public water well that quit working and the government turned their heads for nine months and let sickness and even death take its toll on these people. Two little babies died because of the sicknesses in the unimaginable water they were drinking, bathing in, washing clothes in, fecal matter, e-coli, etc.

So this is where Henry and Frances knew they had to help and thus Living Water for Roatan was born. We will tell more of their story, it is well worth the read, also check out their website linked above if you haven't already.

Everyone there knows Henry and Frances and are so thankful for all that they have done. A little boy ran up to Henry saying, "Mr. Henry, Mr. Henry, how are you doing today?" and Henry replied, "very well, and you?" The boy's English was perfect and very proper, "I am doing fine, thank you for asking." So, it was at least 100 degrees when we were there, it is the dry season so it is very dusty, there are some quite awful smells (no plumbing at all), the houses are on the sides of this extremely steep valley that you have to walk up and down, driving is impossible, we were drenched in sweat and trying not to complain, and that little boy chased down Henry just to say hi and let him know he was 'doing fine.' Amazing that we had to "think" about not complaining and this sweet little boy, with what most would consider nothing, actually has more than all of us, right in the middle of his heart. We should remember to be thankful for absolutely everything in our lives, especially the little things that we just don't think about and too often take for granted.
This was a very moving morning for us, sorry for the lengthy story, however, we were just totally in awe of all that God has blessed these people with including blessings through others, like Henry and Frances.

Saturday, Trey met up with Henry and took a friend of the caretaker of the house we are renting to give him a bid on the foundation work for the storage building that the July 4th mission team will be building. Labor is a large part of concrete work and the labor here is more than half what it is in the states. Exciting things here in Roatan.
Sunday is the big election in Honduras, they say there should not be anything for us to worry about, maybe some extremists will blockade roads, but nothing violent. Please keep us in your prayers.

Take Care and God Bless....

June 25, 2009

Another Day in Roatan

We started out our day at the usual time, 5:30-ish...goodness that is so early, but when you go to bed at 8, you are bound to get up earlier than usual. Seriously, 5:30 is too early no matter how early we go to bed. We now eat breakfast at 6:30 and then we end up eating lunch at 10 or 11, how old are we? No offense, but this is pretty funny.

So, after breakfast we went to the beach, which we totally have to ourselves at that time of morning. Saw some people that we met yesterday (from Northern California) and had a pretty cool snorkel. We saw starfish, squid, a sea snake, flounder, a blow fish and several other cool fish. Good stuff.

Anna and Parker had their hair braided, they look like little island girls, too cute. Ms. Yolanda had a great time doing their hair and even stopped to take a picture with each of them. This island is very friendly.

Today was supposed to be a cruise ship day, every other Thursday a ship comes in, today was supposed to be one from Galveston but they ended up cancelling this stop. Everyone on the island is very aware of when ships will be docking. Yes, the economy is totally driven by tourism and the ships are a very large part of that. So, the rumor is true, the beaches fill up on cruise days which are Wednesday and Friday every week and every other Thursday.

So, after lunch and naps, we headed back to the beach and watched the sun set and played on the beach. The kids were out by 8 sharp, no pushing needed, they are wiped out everyday.

Tomorrow we are booked with Henry and Frances to check out LW4R and what they have going on over there with the colonia (an impoverished community of locals).

Take care and God bless.

June 24, 2009

Okay, so we have survived some different situations in the past two days, so our postings have slowed a bit. We have lost power for an hour or two at least two times a day the past two days. So, without a/c, it is alright when you have ceiling fans going non-stop and the ocean breeze blowing into the windows, however, the wind shifted to the north and it has been pretty warm in this house especially during the heat of the day, not that we are complaining, we are very blessed to be here in this paradise. Besides, we hear it is blazing hot and dry back in Conroe.

So, we have had our usual beach runs early in the day and again in the late afternoons, to allow for baby and sometimes mom or dad naps. We have explored the island a little bit and found a wind-surfing school that Wiley is dying to go and try out. We will see. We actually met a couple from Kingwood that owns a little ice cream shop in West End. Small world. We plan to take a water taxi over there and check it out. Just so the kids can experience a little boat ride, otherwise we could easily drive there. Lots of stuff to do around here. Today is cruise ship day, they say the beaches are crazy busy and all the touristy stuff is jam-packed. We shall let you know if there is any truth to this.

Our new friends, Frances and Henry invited us to a bible study that some of the members of the rchurch attend regularly on Wednesdays. Not sure if dragging four little ones would be appropriate, we will let them make that call.

We are going to help out with the LW4R group here soon. Trey will help design a foundation for a storage building and the entire family will help out with their next mission group that arrives July 4th. We definitley want to let everyone know how the service work goes, so check back or be looking for our updates on this. Our hope still lies in exposing our children to as many things possible that will have a life changing effect on them.
Until next time, God bless.

June 22, 2009

Day Three and the Crab Races

We started off our day meeting up with our new friends, Henry and Frances Zittrower, they run the local mission here called Living Water for Roatan. Check them out online, very cool things they are doing here on the island for these great people. The church is called rchurch, check them out online too, they meet at a resort called the Mayan Princess. There were about 15-20 people at the service, a small group that was all expats. The pastor, Jeremy and his wife, Melissa are young with a set of twin boys (5 years old). So, Wiley was pumped to have someone other than his sisters to hang with. We got to meet everyone there, which is not the case at our very large church back at home, so it was a nice change. We ended up with three phone numbers from people that work in different capacities in the area, we will probably get the best tours and other perks from knowing these new friends. As said before, we have great favor!
After church we had lunch and rested before heading to the beach again. We saw some cool fish and plan to get braver each day in our venture over the reef. We checked out the beach front icecream bar (turns out one of our new friends owns it, pretty cool) then headed back home for some dinner. While the girls stayed in the boys hit the beach for the crab races and fire dancers. Wiely bought a crab and won second place in his first heat then let the others take the lead for the final run. All the proceeds went to benefit a local charity. Wiley loved the fire dancers, he is obsessed with it. They told him if he wanted to play with fire, he should join the circus. That's our boy.
First thing tomorrow we are in seek of a fruit/vegetable stand and some juices for the kiddos.
God bless and take care.

June 20, 2009

Day Two and the Supermercado

Well, day two was pretty adventurous, we finally got our rental truck and the only law that the rental agency warned us about was to 'watch out for the taxis, they are crazy drivers'. We ate breakfast and took our first journey into town and went to the supermercado. It was something else, little shacks lined the streets, the beachfront nearest the store was nothing but little shacks. I'll have to take a shot of it, unbelievable beach front property they have. The kids were amazed at how different life must be for these people that we saw. The supermarket had pretty much everything we could get in the states, no butcher or real fruit/vegetable area. The island has to import pretty much everything.
The people here in Roatan have been extremely welcoming and hospitable. We took the kids to swim in a different location this afternoon, at a resort called Infinity Bay. Very swanky place and one of the managers even told us to come back anytime and feel free to enjoy the resort ammenities. The pool is amazing, next time we will definitely take her up on it. But, today we only did the beach, the kids woke up begging to snorkel so they could see the fish. Did we mention how clear and beautiful the water is? Just like a postcard, breathtaking. The kids are growing gills, Wiley treaded water for at least 45 minutes while snorkeling, we had to make him stop and take a break. He it too funny.
After our afternoon snorkel, we headed home for some grilled chicken on the pit, rice and I think that was all we ate but it was so good.
We will update soon on the next couple of days. Please continue to pray for great patience under such different conditioins. We are joining some new friends for church tomorrow, should be interesting.
Take care and God bless.

First Day of Island Life

We made it! The flight was a breeze, the little airport actually has a beach front run way. Honduran customs was simple and the car and house rental agencies were waiting for us with a large sign "VICK". So, we shoved our six large pieces of luggage, stroller, car seat and the six of us into two cars, along with two sets of drivers which each had a friend along for the ride...we looked like a car full of circus clowns, what a sight. Needless to say, we ended up with some great tips from our drivers that just happen to be born and raised here in Roatan. Boy do we have favor.

We unloaded our stuff, got our suits on and headed where else, the beach! The kids love to swim so this is right up our alley. We ate dinner at a beach side hut and hung out until just before dark. The kids were tired and ready for bed. It was a very long day. By the way Roatan is an hour behind Texas and they do not participtate in daylight savings time. So it actually gets dark at like 7pm! Awesome.

We keep you posted on our journey forward....God bless and take care.

June 16, 2009

All packed up.....

All four kids have their passports and we are officially on our way!
We have managed to fit the entire contents of our home into a storage unit and into part of an office space. Who would have thought? It has only taken an entire week...sad. How much of the stuff that we have do we not really need? Most likely most of it.

It has been about 105 degrees, or at least it feels like it, here in Conroe, TX. We have moved all of our possessions while totting four children and we have packed for our five week journey to Roatan, Honduras. We also managed to fit in taking away the pacifier from our 2-1/2 year-old, somewhat tried to potty-train her too and even got our immunizations for the two youngest, literally all in the past two weeks. Are we crazy? I felt like it on more than one occasion, however, let me tell you that God has really stopped us in our tracks each and every time. He really does let us find our way, no matter how painstakingly it can be.

The people you love really do get the best of us, right? Well, we should definitely make a point of seeing that it happens, for the positive.

Until tomorrow, take care and God bless.

June 14, 2009

Five more days...

It is Sunday night and we are down to mattresses and very
few other furnishings. We are so glad to have so many things to get done before we leave for five weeks with four kids...otherwise, we would obsess about what to take or not take and we would probably think a little bit more about the fact that we are about to spend 2-1/2 hours on an airplane with four kids!!!!! oh, and 5 weeks in a foreign country...no big deal, let it ride....

No, we are eagerly awaiting Anna's passport, USPS says it should be here on Monday, no prob, it's in the mail. We only leave on Friday!!!!

We want to take a moment to let everyone know of our thanks for everything from email, facebook, texts, voicemail and in-person, for all of the wonderful well-wishes. We are absolutely beside ourselves with the support we have received. We were ready for some nay-sayers, but never for the out and out support that we have so graciously accepted. Our family thanks you for absolutely every single prayer, thought, email, text, etc....we are blessed beyond belief.
Today we visited a church that spoke of praying boldly. Pastor Mike Davis spoke of asking specifically during prayer. We, as a family, ask for continual prayers of strength and that God's presence in each of us would rub-off on others. It is so contagious. Even when people least expect it, there it is. So pure and so available.
Talk to you soon and God bless.

June 12, 2009

Countdown Begins

We leave in 7 days! We are feaverishly packing and trying not to pull out our hair! We are currently renting a house and must have everything in storage before we leave for five weeks. This has not been an easy task with our oldest going to camp and needing certain items for her trip and not to mention the other three little "helpers" along for the ride. As each box is packed, another is unpacked by sweet little fingers trying their best to find something new and exciting in all these big brown boxes!

We are waiting for the last passport to arrive, we ended up sending Trey to take our oldest daughter seperately to get her passport because she was still in school. Well, that added another piece of paper to her application and you know how the beurocratic process goes....Anyway, one call to Congressman Brady's office and they had it all taken care of and we should have it by Monday. The system really can work.

By the way, we will be posting more on some of the different items that we touched on that not everyone may know about. Keep us in your prayers.

June 07, 2009

here we go

OK, so we have decided after many months of contemplation to take the leap of faith and take a month off to volunteer in a third world country with our kids. Yes, that is right, WITH the kids. After many months of research and most importantly, prayer, we have been in contact with several different organizations and they have greeted us with open arms.

Our Pastor, Kerry Shook, speaks of "open gates", but do we ever actually listen or look for these opportunities? Most likely not, we are definitely poster children for not paying attention. So, as He would have it, times that may seem dire or helpless have taken such a turn. As they always have in the Vick household.

With the many trials and tribulations we have endured during our marriage over the past ten years, we have learned that life is entirely too short and we only have but a blink of an eye to make our mark and leave our legacy, we only hope we can measure up. (We love you dearly and miss you, Phyllis and Dale).

To begin with, here are a few of the open doors that we have experienced recently: we just happen to be able to fly to Roatan for the exact amount of frequent flyer points that we have been saving up forever; we got a house for rent for five weeks for half the price, and the mission organizations actually NEED our help; oh, and Trey and I both happen to be able to take off work for the next five weeks, who would've thought? And this is just the tip of the iceburg.

Our main objective is to expose our children to the world of "no need", meaning, the people we will be with actually have "no need" for all the things that we think we NEED and really only want. The reality of it all is that we live here with something and need for nothing...but so often we long for everything (here in America). So much of that "everything" is right under our noses, God has purposefully placed it there, yet we all turn away from it and instead seek all these worldly things to fulfill what has been there all along.

And so begins our journey to Roatan, Honduras. We are a family of six, Trey 38, Connie 35, Anna 9-1/2, Wiley 5-1/2, Parker 2-1/2 and Laney 1. Keep us in your prayers.

Keep posted for more details...we leave Friday, June 19, 2009.