The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

day 3

Day 3 of the coup in Honduras - the action taken by the Honduran government of removing the president has been condemned by the US and Organization of American States, all of whom are demanding that Zelaya be reinstated. The word is that Zelaya will return to Honduras on Thursday, accompanied by numerous political leaders; no one is quite sure how they plan to arrive. The new president here, Michelleti, has said that Zelaya will be captured and detained if he shows up.

Here in Gracias there was a protest yesterday afternoon/evening and things are expected to continue and escalate today. The roads are reportedly closed between here and Santa Rosa by protestors, with more protests the closer one gets to the larger cities. We were planning to help another missionary family in Santa Rosa move to the coast this week, but all such plans have been put on hold here.

The condemnation by most of the western world on this issue has manifest itself in sanctions against the country, notably the halt of importation of petroleum products from Venezuela and other places. This morning the borders have reportedly been closed to the importation of commercial goods. All this will certainly have quite an effect on life here.

Just for your information, we do NOT consider ourselves experts on Honduran politics which is why we are encouraging you to look at the link from La Gringa in our Bulletin Board section. She has a much bigger and better grasp.

Thanks for your prayers - we need them. Hondurans need them.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Coup de villa ....

Well, as most people have probably heard by now, the anticipated military coup has indeed come to pass here in Honduras. The former president was arrested early this morning and taken out of the country, and the former head of congress, Roberto Micheletti, has been named his replacement, following the provision of the Honduran constitution . This, at this point, would appear to be the end of a drama that has been escalating here the past couple weeks.

We are all ok here; the power was shut off throughout the country this morning, but is back on now. There are reports of major roads being closed this morning and some military action, but for the most part things have been quiet and tranquil. The US embassy this morning encouraged Americans living in Honduras to stay home and avoid disturbances and protests, but so far things have the appearance of blowing over and quieting down.

A very good link - albeit in Spanish - is the Honduran newspaper El Heraldo, linked here. Another good link is La Gringa, an American living in La Ceiba (a city on the coast of Honduras) who has more time than I do to keep her blog updated with the latest news.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wars and Rumors of Wars...

Here is an update from Brad Ward (, our friends in Santa Rosa de Copan - soon to be Balfate - regarding political issues, moving plans, and general updating. He said I could copy you on it! Our helping of the pending Beverly Hillbillies epic move has been postponed 'till we see what happens.

I need to give you a little background since Honduras’ political situation has not been in the international news.

On Sunday Honduras will potentially undergo a military coup, arrest their president or at the very least experience a constitutional crisis.

Here is the over-simplified story. The president of Honduras has decreed that on Sunday the 28th there will be an election to decide whether or not to scrap the current constitution (ie: Hugo Chavez). The Honduran Supreme Court and Congress have announced that the President’s decree is illegal and that if he forces the election to happen he will have to be thrown in jail. No one is sure were the military and police stand, and people, both for and against the current president, have been taking to the streets all week.

Wouldn’t you know Sunday the 28th is also the day that the Wards decreed that they would drive their stuff, their pets and a horse all the way across the country.

The most consistent advice we get is to wait to do the move until Tuesday to see how Sunday shakes out and to gauge the safety and accessibility of the country’s highways. We obviously have no experience dealing with a county on the precipice of coups, constitutional crisis et all. We are relying on God’s supernatural guidance and the power of your intercession for us. We are not worried, and we know this situation is in His hands. We are thankful to be in a place where we can be used to be a witness to God’s plan of hope and peace.

We've never been in this situation before either. Or this close to it shall we say. We'll post updates as we can with new information. Remember - no news is not necessarily bad news.

Thanks in advance for the prayers for safety and wisdom!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pictures are worth 1000 words...

Here's a great photo montage of the area we live in. I know 99% of these exact pictures/places and even a few of the people! This wasn't done by us (our pictures don't look this good for some reason...) but by a couple that spent the last year here teaching at the bilingual school that our kids attended for a season. They did such a great job I begged permission to share.


Thanks Mike and Liz!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's a good thing I've practiced by sorting beans...

So far, this week has been pretty quiet. For me at least. Our cat a.k.a. mouser, has had a littler of kittens. Ooops.

Last week was a tad different; a week of driving of epic proportions.

Drive to MK camp for the kids. 4 1/2 hours.
Drive back to Santa Rosa. 3 1/2 hours.
Drive to Balfate. 8 hours (mas o menos)
Drive back to San Pedro Sula. 6-7 hours (mas o menos)
Drive to MK camp to pick up the kids. 1 1/2 hours.
Drive back to Gracias. 4 1/2 hours.

Whew. We've seen a LOT of Honduras. :) It's a good thing. The picture in the header here is of the banana stands on the side of the road. I would've taken a picture of the gigantic HOLE off the side of the highway from the earthquake but there just wasn't anywhere safe to pull over. :) The driving experience is SO HARD to explain. The roads here are painful. The drivers are downright scary, but gracias a DIOS, we made it there and back again safe and sound.

We're helping another missionary family in the area change locations. ( They love us for more than just our truck and trailer, but it adds to our charm. Plus, we love them too and are excited to be able to help them. NOT happy about them moving so far away from us but I guess when God calls you to a new area you better go, in spite of what I want. :) We'll do the last run (move) on the 29th ish of this month. That will be one for the books. Both our families - 4 adults, 5 kids, 2 cats, 1 dog, 1 horse, plants, and the rest of their stuff. Good thing Alan has his banjo down here - I need to see if Trish has a rocking chair we can strap to the top for that extra seating. Beverly Hillbillies anyone??? I wonder if anyone will notice us on the road? Please pray for our 'super invisible capes'. :)

(One MAJOR praise is that we were only stopped by the police ONCE and never had to pay a bribe, explain the mountain of stuff in the back, or do any kind of haggling. THIS is a BIG DEAL folks. )

Upon arriving home after a week of being gone, we've done the laundry, had good coffee, and are now down with sick kids. :) If you read the last post you saw some of the evidence of the great time had by at least one of our children. Janelle and Natalie have a few bumps and bruises but nothing as impressive as Riley's. Boys. They are thinking through their 'writings' of camp - that may be a future post. Janelle came home with more than just dirty laundry though and has been puny with a fever for a few days. Praise the Lord, I think we're on the upswing for her. I'm trying to make the rest of us drink lots of orange juice and wash hands constantly.

The BOY had his birthday and he said it was the best one ever - which is pretty stinkin' impressive as it was just our family including one sick girl and a pirate hat cake that looked more like a muddy car wreck than the magazine promised me. Hmmm...if they are chocolate deprived enough, ANY chocolate looks dreamy. I'll have to remember this as my dabblings as cake baker/decorater get worse with every birthday.

I'm sure the new camping cot (really, it's his new bed...) and parrot had something to do with his love of the day. Dr. DoLittle is his name and he is pretty cool. Except, of course, when he squawks LOUDLY in the passage way where it echoes because that one little squawk just isn't enough. Like I've said before, we love this boy. The jury is still out on whether or not we love the parrot too.

Alan and the other Allen revisited the aldeas with earthquake damage with more firm plans for rebuilding. Alan had been working on some reconstruction ideas and instructions in Spanish for this new project. There have been various donations coming in via the Sowers family so now it's onto the distribution/construction helps part.

The other Allen asked if I was interested in sorting donated vitamins for distribution during their visit (of course!) so that took up a couple of evenings for me (mostly) and kids.

Over 700 bags of 60 each. I have vitamin sorter cramp in my hands. :)

That's a lot of vitamins. My house smelled like a pharmacy. Here are a couple of pics of the process. Notice the pink princess tea cup. You just never know when you'll need one of those...

Later this week Alan is going to be handing over some more plans for the bridge projects. I know very little about this process except for the late nights he's spent on the SolidWorks program and engineering paper strewn about the bed. Hmmmm....he can post with more info on that one.

So it's been a little of this...and a little of that....and a little of that other thing here lately. In other words, LIFE.

Oh, and because we just can't get enough of driving here - we have to drive to Belize again in about three weeks to stay legal. Ugh.

Que tengan un dia muy feliz...


Monday, June 15, 2009

"I LOVE MY LIFE" - Riley Hayes 11 years, 362 days old...

That is a direct quote.

This from the boy who is now, as of 10:28 this morning, 12 (TWELVE) years old.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Isn't he cute?

I never would've expected him to be living "this" life that he loves. For goodness sakes, he's lived in three different countries by now. He's watched us make choices based on what we feel God wants for our family as a whole and not primarily by what we desire in and of ourselves. He's reminded me a few times of that 'from the mouths of babes' phrase when I've been a doubting Thomas.

He's able to make friends with people from different walks of life and strike up conversations in two languages.

He loves exploring. He looks upon new places as an adventure to be had.

Creatures = bliss; in his definition of course.

He assumes everyone would like to hear about his latest find. He'd rather not bother with hanging out indoors. He's learning that his choices will shape his character (that's a lesson we're all working on...). Perspective. Life lessons that seem overwhelmingly crucial to me lately.

On the subject of life lessons...

The kids spent last week at a camp for missionary kids in Honduras, living it up. This was our kids' (and mine - but we won't dwell on that...) first experience with camp. When I was growing up, CAMP was a four letter word - and not a good one. We left the US before I even had to think about sending off my children ALONE for a week at a time to trust them to practical strangers. To trust them to drink enough water, BRUSH THEIR TEETH, change their clothes daily, and behave themselves.

It's about time right?

The drop off on Monday went smoothly - just a few 'oh my goodness I'm going to be without you' looks from Natalie and Janelle. Of COURSE Riley promptly got out of the truck, dumped his stuff off and went to see what interesting things (creatures and the like) this new environment held for him. I did manage to find him again to kiss him goodbye but the look of SHEER BREATHLESS ANTICIPATION of what the week could hold was priceless. Parting words of 'May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you' and 'Don't forget to brush your teeth every day' were said and off we parents went.

Fast forward to Saturday morning pick up. 6 DAYS later. I was excited to see them again and hear all the news of things I had no part in. Snuggling girls, smelly boy, big smiles, scratches and bruises, new friends, great mentors, encouragement for their walk. Wow. I'm grateful.

Then the crowning moment.

I was getting to meet one of the camp directors for the first time (they weren't there yet when we did the drop off...) and he launched into a story about Riley. Apparently at some time around the middle of the week the group was off at a local waterfall carousing. Riley was running through an area with no concept of others either around him or listening in and announces at the top of his lungs and to no one in particular,
"I. LOVE. my. life.!!!"

Even though he hurts pretty darn bad from throwing himself around and running 5 million miles an hour for the last week - he LOVES his life.

Does that ever do my heart good. :)

My son - here is my prayer for the rest of your life. The CAMP part where I will have less input (Control!!! YIKES - you scare me kiddo.) and only a vague idea of all the things you're doing.

2 Peter 1:3-8 His (God's) divine power has given you everything you need for your life and godliness through your knowledge of him who called you by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given you his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason,
make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self- control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (emphasis mine)

May you continue to build your character house on the grace and knowledge of Jesus and LOVE the life He has given you, in whatever path HE has before you. It's scary but I hope and will be looking for that look of SHEER BREATHLESS ANTICIPATION for what it can hold for you and your relationship with your Heavenly Father.

There are lessons I can learn from your wonder and excitement for what God has in front of you, even if you didn't brush your teeth those last couple of days at camp due to an incident with the bug repellent and a certain toothbrush.

With tons of love for my wild one,


Monday, June 1, 2009

when the earth shakes and the sky falls

Life is pretty simple here. More for the native Hondurans than for us, and especially for the people in the small villages that pepper even the most rugged reaches of the landscape. Many of these villages have no road access at all, nothing more than foot-paths that wind through the trees and over the hills and valleys. Quite a few still have no electricity. The people in such villages - 'aldeas' they are called in Spanish - eek out a living of a few dollars a day doing what they can, growing corn and beans on steep mountain hillsides and live lives of absolute simplicity - unimaginable simplicity to most Americans. In the aldeas, fields are plowed and wagons pulled with oxen and houses are built of adobe mud bricks with no foundation; roofs are clay tiles - 'tejas' - laid (not nailed or screwed) on a framework of wooden slats.

Such low-tech building techniques prove to be particularly problematic when, for example, the area is hit with a sizable earthquake, like the one we had here last week. While block houses and more modern buildings were spared notable damage (we are a couple hundred miles from the epicenter), the rustic houses in the campo and the aldeas are quite susceptible to earthquake damage. Today Allen Sowers and I spent the day visiting one of the areas hardest-hit by the earthquake, an hour and a half from Gracias. In the single town we visited - Tablones, Lempira - we saw over 20 houses that were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and a sizable percentage of the other houses in town sustained more minor damage. Damage to the houses generally involves the tejas on the roofs falling in, and walls cracking and, more seriously, collapsing. The pictures here were taken today, Monday, several days after the quake, after most families have started cleaning up and rebuilding.

We delivered food and blankets to the 22 houses we visited in Tablones, and left more for another 25 or so families that had reported their houses destroyed to the county government; we'll quite possibly make a few more such deliveries in the coming days. We are also working on raising money for cement and re-bar to allow those rebuilding their homes to put a cement footing under the house, and, confirming that, a cement band around the top of the adobe walls - standard building procedure here for those who can afford it. None of the damaged buildings we saw today had any of these improvements. All donations sent to us denoted for earthquake relief will be used entirely for such projects.

Kind of a side-note - this earth oven is very common down here, and is what everyone in the villages cooks on. They are made of the same adobe mud the house is made of, and are built into the house. They are wood-fired. This one has a chimney to vent the smoke outside, an improvement over many here.

This is temporary housing built after the earthquake to house a family whose house was lost; the elderly gentleman at far right and his wife now live here, along with several others. The tarp says USAID, an American aid organization that works here.

'Tejas' - the roof tiles. The ones that didn't fall are removed and stacked on the ground to be re-used.