2018 Team

2018 Team
2018 Team in the original church built for Suyapa

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lead the Way, God

I apologize for being unable to blog last night. I tried everything I knew how to do, but the modem did not cooperate. Julio took the computer and modem device to the airport, where Frank could meet with the man who did the modem. Apparently, he had inserted the chip backwards into the modem. Obviously, all is fixed now. I will do everything in my power to have the rest written in a timely fashion. As I type right now, this place is a beehive of activity. I look forward to sharing everything about today before retiring for the night. Happy reading!

Monday afternoon began with a beautiful Send-Off prayer service. Everything is so meaningful, from the layout of the chairs and bags on the floor (the chairs in the shape of a heart with the bags lined up in the shape of a cross) to the PowerPoint from the 2017 trip to the procession through the students and guests to allow them to “send the missioners off,” as they touch the bags, sending a part of themselves into Honduras with us.

Cindy Harpenau, past missioner, did a beautiful job sharing her mission trip experiences with everyone. It was so easy to see that Cindy’s Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras mission trip changed her life in a very positive way.

All missioners were on the bus, passports were checked, and we were off to Omaha. We headed to Spaghetti Works for supper and then returned to our hotel to share information to prepare the missioners for going into Honduras. Most missioners showered before bed after hearing of the lack of water for morning showers from last year’s team.

That 3 AM wake-up call is always a tough way to start the day, but everyone was on the bus by 3:40 and at the airport shortly thereafter. The group worked efficiently to make the boarding process as simple as possible. Once all were ticketed and bags checked in for the trip, we went through security and waited anxiously at our gate.

The flights were fairly uneventful. It was colder than expected in Florida, as we disembarked outside. The layover was just long enough to allow the team to grab some food and use the restrooms before boarding for the final leg of the trip.

The pilot of our Miami to Tegucigalpa flight prepared all of us for the type of landing we were facing. He did a nice job and received the usual applause from the passengers, grateful to finally be in Honduras.

Pretty much our only glitch happened at Toncontin Airport. We landed early, actually, made it through customs in record time, and it looked like all the bags had made it. However, we actually discovered we’d lost one. Complicating that even more is that the airline put all the bags into only two people’s names. That meant all baggage claim tickets had to be read aloud and matched with the slip on the bag. We’d made it halfway through that process when a baggage handler called from outside that one had inadvertently fallen off the conveyor belt outside. Happy to have all 77 50-pound bags, we headed for our buses. Frank Seivert, Marta, Julio and others welcomed us to Honduras. Each missioner received a water bottle with directions to stay hydrated, climbed onto one of the buses, and began our voyage through the city of Tegucigalpa and then up the mountainside that is Nueva Capital. It was extremely evident the moment we entered Nueva Capital (NC). The first thing we saw is the cemetery for those in poverty. Since the mountain is a big rock, all bodies must be buried by being covered with rocks. There are always vultures in the cemetery. It’s a bleak entrance, and one that always impacts the missioners.

Upon our arrival at Santa Teresa School, we carried in our personal bags and then the black duffles. We took a break for a lunch of chips, salsa, and watermelon. Afterwards, everyone began setting up their sleeping areas. Team members received a mattress, blanket, and pillow. AND, just so past missioners can be a bit envious, all the women and most of the girls were given actual beds to use this year! We are sleeping in comfort.

We all unpacked our personal items, but plan to finish unpacking the rest of the materials tomorrow. That gave the missioners a little free time to meet the children of the area. You can see from the photos here that they truly are enjoying the children.

Supper was chicken and rice and the fruit choices were cantaloupe and pineapple. After cleaning up from that, we had our first nightly junta to process all that has happened to us since the beginning of the Send-Off. It was a nice way to end the day.

As I wrap this up, it’s 10:00 Honduran time (11 for you). I’m pretty sure I’m the only missioner awake here. I hear a bit of snoring; I’m ready to climb into bed and get some much needed rest. I hope to be able to spend a little more time on the blog tomorrow as we start to develop a routine here. We are still waiting for all of the wood to arrive so we can build the homes and bunks. The agricultural military personnel are arriving tomorrow to begin the vertical garden project. We also plan to empty all the donated material and begin putting together the gift bags for the families. Keep us all in your prayers as we continue to work with the Hondurans in a way that impacts everyone!

Finally, I told Mya that I would say a special ‘hello’ to her. (You, too, Paige, Cayden, and Marshall) Mya, you have your class say a special prayer for us each day. And remember, we are helping lots of little boys and girls just like you and your classmates. The only difference is that they have little clothes, shoes, or food. Just think, Mya, sometimes those little girls and boys don’t even get to eat a single thing all day long. So, you should smile every day that we are here to help all those children, just like I hope someone would help you if you needed help in any way. I love you guys!

More missioner adventures and activities tomorrow. Good night!

Cindy Harpenau shares her mission experience

Lighting a candle for special people

Missioners form a heart with a cross in the center

Saying family good-byes

Kellen family poses

Missioners' candles

Now lit for the people we dedicated our mission to

Loaded bags are ready to go

Fr. Lawler blesses the missioners

Bags awaiting transport

The missioners are ready to go!
Blessing the bags

Students and guests 'send off' the missioners

Counting bags in the hopes that all have arrived

All bags are loaded at Toncontin Airport, Tegucigalpa

Cemetery as we enter Nueva Capital

Setting up the tool room

Carolyn & Marta go through necessities to get organized

The boys are ready to play

Delanee tries her Spanish introductions

Addison gives piggyback rides

The girls greet our missioners

Carlyn meets some Honduran friends

Students cleaning up at the pilas

Waiting to board

Disembarking in Florida

Getting close to the airport

Missioners arriving at Santa Teresa de Jesus School

Military transport truck delivers the bags from the airport


  1. So glad to hear it was a successful trip to Honduras! Thanks for the wonderful updates, Carolyn! To the Seniors, we will be reading the blog in class during 2nd period English IV and I will be sure to type messages from your classmates for you. Looks like you are already enjoying the children there.... soak up the happiness!

  2. So thankful to hear and see that all is going well! Our prayers are with you each class period, have an amazing experience. Mrs. Kellen and all of your friends and classmates!

  3. Love the photos and the blog!!! What a privilege to be like Jesus to all of the sweet children there!!! Many people are keeping all of you in their prayers.
    Kathryn, we are so proud of you and miss you!!! We love you bunches and bunches!!!

    Keeping the prayers coming to all!!!

  4. Glad to hear everyone landed safely! Erin H. - Cant wait to see you again! Enjoy your trip! Love you! - Brion

  5. Bet the boys got some soccer lessons for the kids there! I am sure that the school is a bit more quiet with all of you away! We are so proud of all of you! Lucas, we miss you greatly and you are in our prayers. (Cole makes sure to mention you each night as he goes to sleep and does his nightly prayers) Just remember who was to king of the ping pong table when you left Lucas! YOU can get your revenge when you get home! Have a great time! We love you!!!

  6. Carlyn, Michael and I are praying for you every night! I'm so proud of you for going to Honduras to serve. Enjoy getting to know the people around you! I love you!

    Michaela Bretey

  7. So happy to hear all is going well so far. Delanee your Grandpa N would have a grin from ear to ear. Love you kiddo, have fun.

    Patty Dau

  8. Glad you made it there. God must really be watching over you since ALL your bags made it there. Looking forward to more pics. Take care. Mark/Susy Kessenich

  9. Hey everyone! So happy to see all the fun you guys are having and I hope that you all enjoy these days because they will be gone before you know it. Also, just wanted to share something funny with Pat that I read today. Apparently, the proper way to prevent trips and falls while walking is to walk with your head up and going slow. Strange, considering that was the method I used last year and we know how well it worked for me! Good luck everyone and I am excited to see what great things you all accomplish. God Bless!

  10. Glad the trip is going well so far. Continued prayers for a safe and fruitful trip. Keep those pictures coming - love seeing them. Take care and enjoy this experience. LOVE you and the adorable picture of you, AJ.
    Bobbi Hirschman

  11. Thankful all is well. Love and miss you BooBoo.
    Mom, Dad, Syd & Ryan

  12. PS. Lucas I thought you might want to know your Wendy’s gift card came today!

  13. Hey missioners, hope you are all enjoying your first taste of Honduras! I remember my feelings last year, from not wanting to be there at the beginning to not wanting to leave at the end! I hope all of you have similar feelings when the trip is coming to an end, but for now enjoy each day and focus on having a good time! It will be over before you know it and your outlook on life will be changed forever, as mine was. Your own experience will be different than what anyone has told you about the trip in the past, so approach everything with an open mind. Special shout out to Jordan and Mark, let me know that you guys got this message and are doing well! Lucas and Brady, say hi to Kenny and Javier for me if they are around. Hope everything goes well throughout the duration of the trip, and don't take it for granted because I wish every day that I could return to Honduras!

  14. Thanks for giving Mya a shout out! She had a much better day today. She loves reading the blog everyday in class. She misses you a lot and prays for you every night. Be prepared to have your kitchen “decorated” with lots of crafts when you get back. She has been busy!

  15. So glad that all is going great so far. We’ll continue to pray that you will have a safe and amazing experience and that you will make many new friends. Kayla, we love and miss you! Enjoy your time there!

  16. Hello to all! I love all the pictures posted today. I hope you are all enjoying your time there. Keep smiling for the camera as I will need copies of those pictures for Jared's scrapbook. (Yes I am that mom) By the way Jared, Presley says "Hi and she's glad you made it to Honduras!" Love & Hugs to you bud ~Mom

  17. Kayla, so far, I haven't messed up your snapstreaks, but you may not have any friends when you get back... Ha ha ha! I can't wait to hear from you about the trip when you get back! Isn't it crazy how different the fruit tastes when it's fresh and without preservatives!? I've been praying for all of you in Honduras! Love you, Kayla!

  18. Grandma Bickford, thanks for the shout-out to me! Love you lots Mya! Grandpa Joe, Addison sends a big hug to you! Eli, Jayden and Maleah say "hi"! We are praying extra hard for all of you and when we read the blog, it is the highlight of our day! We so proud of you all and keep making a difference.

    1. We have received your message and will share it at junta.

  19. I,m glad you arrived okay. It looks like you are getting lots done. The weather has been nice here but we may get snow and ice tomorrow. I.m praying for all of you. I.m proud of all of you, I hope the houses all get done. Take care Dave. Love Mom, Marilyn Klein.