Love is not always easy. It is not always fun and roses. When we open our hearts to love somebody, it makes us vulnerable. It leaves us open to disappointment and heartbreak.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight
God’s timing is never wrong. It might not exactly line up with our personal plans; many times it may not even be close. But His timing is never wrong. Learning this fact and trusting in His timing is never an easy thing.
After returning from our 12 month stay in Honduras in April 2012, Lauren and I knew we wanted to return to the House of Hope full-time. Over the years, we put together a timeline. We would quit our jobs and move to Honduras in September, 2017. Lauren would graduate from nursing school and I would receive certain financial benefits at my job. The plan was perfect. Or so we thought. In June 2015, Dr. Tom Brian, founder and president of Send Hope, approached us and asked if we could move to Honduras immediately. The current director was needing to take some time off. I said, “No, that’s not MY timelines.” So he asked Lauren, who responded with a similar, “no, OUR plan is in 2 years.” Then we went home and prayed about it. We talked to our pastors and family. We discovered that our personal plan was not God’s plan. God had a plan for us, but it was up to follow Him. So we stepped on in faith following Him. We arrived in Honduras in September, 2017.
In July of last year (2016) Lauren and I received an email from a young man named Joe Randolph. He and his family have been supporters of Send Hope and the Hosacks in Honduras from the beginning. He was set to graduate from college in May of 2017 and get married the next month. He received a job offer and could either start in June 2017 or January 2018. Joe emailed us to say that he and his future wife wanted to delay his start date and spend 6 months volunteering at the House of Hope but wanted to be sure they would be useful and that there would be work for them. Our response was immediate, absolutely, we would love to have them. Little did any of us know how much they would be needed.
Lauren and I returned to visit Dallas in the fall of 2017. Shortly after Thanksgiving and only eight (8) days before we were to return to Honduras, Lauren told me she needed to talk to me privately. “I think I’m pregnant”. The thought was confirmed, and the next 8 days were filled with doctor visits, insurance confirmation, hiding pre-natal vitamins and pamphlets, then, finally, revealing the news to our families. While the timing was tight, it was just enough to get everything completed. God was in control.
At some point during that time, somebody asked us, “Who is going to cover for you at the House of Hope?”
Without second thought I replied, “Joe and Allison Randolph.”
Lauren and I looked at each other and nodded. That big, huge worry just faded away. We knew that this couple was more than capable of managing and loving the kids while we were gone. The only question was timing. Could Joe and Allison make it down before we had to leave? Could we show them how to run the House of Hope in just a short time? But who were we to doubt Him?
Lauren left the House of Hope on June 15, while 33 weeks pregnant. Joe and Allison were married the next day. The newlyweds left their families on their 6 day anniversary, arriving at the House of Hope on June 23. That left me just two weeks to show this young couple everything they need to know about managing a house of 36 kids and feeding program of 576. Would fourteen days be enough time? I left Honduras 3 days ago confident that Joe and Allison would not only handle, but thrive at the House of Hope.
God had a plan for us, the Randolphs, and the House of Hope all along. And He continues to have a plan for us. Futures are always unknown with a new baby, especially with the first. Our plan, and we feel God’s plan, is for us to return in September to resume our duties the House of Hope. Joe and Allison will still be here helping us to adjust to life with a newborn. From there, God will once again be in charge. I do not know how the future will unfold, but I know I have a loving, powerful God that already has the bricks laid.
We just have to follow Him.
Hi everyone! Steven and I are nearing the end of our trip to the States and we are loving it. It goes without saying that we miss our kids but we are getting caught up on sleep, eating a wide variety of foods, fundraising, and great conversations with friends, family, and supporters. We have visited a number of groups and organizations and one of the biggest questions that people have is “what is life like in Honduras?” Unfortunately, unless we are sitting down to a leisurely cup of coffee or meal together, there simply isn’t enough time to give a full answer. After a couple times of not being capable of eloquently summarize an entire year into 2 or 3 sentences, I thought it would be a good idea to attempt a written summary for those that are more interested.
In a nutshell, this year was challenging, exciting, frustrating, aggravating, brought many tears, but was full of joy, laughter, and growth. Steven and I arrived in Honduras in September 2015, just 88 short days after making the decision to move down there full time. We didn’t have much (read: any) time to get settled before we were serving in our new role as on-site directors of the House of Hope in Puerto Lempira. The best part of the transition was that we already had a good framework with the children living at the House of Hope. Since we were able to serve as volunteers for a year in 2011, we had been able to forge relationships with most of the children and staff. We quickly jumped into setting structure and discipline. Things were going relatively smooth until late October.
In October, a special needs, mentally challenged woman was dropped off at the hospital from a very distant village. She was pregnant and was on bed-rest for one month before the birth of her twins. The two baby girls were born seven weeks premature and a few days later the mother and her 3 day old, 3 pound twin daughters came to live with us. The nurses and doctors at the hospital were concerned that she would be unable to care for her twins on her own. They asked us for help to evaluate the mother (Marta) to see what she was capable of doing. It became obvious very quickly that she needed a lot of extra help. Marta arrived at the house frightened, untrusting, and convinced that her babies weren’t going to live. The next several months were the hardest of my life. It is still beyond comprehension to me that our home would be the safest, cleanest place to put twins born 7 weeks premature that weigh only 3 pounds each! I tortured myself thinking of the care they would be receiving in the United States; thinking of the nurses, the incubators, the monitors, everything that we could not provide to them. I was not only scared, but truly and deeply frightened and certain, above all else, that God made a mistake when he placed me in the position to care for these fragile little lives.
These beautiful twins, Marta (named after her mom) and Nila (named after her grandmother), were born fighters and I thank God every single day for that. They got sick, very, very sick. They had diarrhea, infections, vomiting, high fevers, and pneumonia. They would gain a pound, then get sick and lose two. We couldn’t figure out what was happening. We boiled everything in case it was the water, they still got sick. We coached the mother on proper hygiene before breastfeeding, they still got sick. We had them under the full-time care of a nanny, they still got sick. We were very, selective and intentional about who could handle the twins. I would estimate that Marta and Nila spent about 2 months of their first 4 months admitted to the hospital. The doctors finally suggested that we insist that Marta discontinue breastfeeding. They ran some tests and decided that she was passing some sort of infection into their tiny systems. This decision did not go over well with Marta. She still didn’t trust us and with this decision we lost any progress we had made.
In the spring, something started to change; the girls would go longer amounts of time before getting sick. They weren’t getting as sick, they would gain more weight and lose less when they had a bout of diarrhea. Marta started to see that they were improving, fattening up and starting to show their sweet little personalities. She started to trust us as we continued to make adjustments to the girl’s daily routines. They got fatter, more active and we all collectively sighed a breath of relief. I still wasn’t confident that they were both going to make it but I didn’t fall asleep each and every night begging God to just give us one more day with them. I didn’t have to quietly wipe away tears as I was kissing them goodnight convinced that they wouldn’t make it until morning. Instead, I could give them their kiss goodnight and get teary at the progress that we saw happening before our very eyes in these precious lives.
Finally, it all clicked. The twins are out of the danger zone and will probably both be walking by the time we get back to Honduras. Marta trusts us and we love her and her twins deeply.
For us, the twins are a prime example of our first year in Honduras; their ups and downs mirrored our ups and downs, their challenges were our challenges, and their successes were celebrated by all. We made constant adjustments, we were constantly learning and doubting and praying. Just as Marta had to learn to trust us, a white couple that didn’t speak her language, we had to learn to trust the doctors, our employees, ourselves, and God. It was a very rocky and slippery slope, we backtracked more times than I can count but in the end we made it to a beautifully rich and intertwined relationship with our children, staff, and local agencies. There was heartache; we lost a little one in March which shook us to our core. Even out of those days of pure grief and utter sorrow, there was growth. There was rejoice and excitement as kids learned to read, I attended our first high school graduates ceremony, Steven and I became Honduran residents, more children joined our family, other children were reunited with their families, and we made the House of Hope our home. We will never be done learning, new challenges will always find us. There will be days of grieving and days of praise. It will be hard, harder than we ever imagined, but we are happy and most importantly, we are home.
Throughout our preparations to move here and talking with groups while in Honduras, we have been asked what our job is here. Why did we move to Honduras? We always answer that we are here to be parents to the 30-35 kids that live at the House of Hope. We provide structure and discipline. We bandage cut knees and put ice on bumped heads. We help with homework and make sure the kids have everything they need for school. We keep order in the house and discipline the children when necessary. But most importantly, we LOVE the kids. We show them the LOVE of Christ.
We were fortunate enough to see Dr. Brian and Melissa Randolph in one of the bigger cities (San Pedro Sula) on our way to the House of Hope. As we left him, he looked at us and said, “I can't believe you are actually here. Thank you.” Dr. Brian, I can't believe we are here either.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
In Matthew 14, Jesus is walking on the water towards his disciples. Then in verse 28 & 29 it reads,
Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” "Yes, come," replied Jesus.
Making the decision to pick up our lives and move to Honduras has not been an easy decision. We prayed constantly and sought the advice of our pastors and family. As you may have read in our bios, both Lauren and I had felt the call to live in Puerto Lempira for an extended amount of time. We had felt the call to step out of the boat and walk to Jesus, but it wasn't supposed to happen for another 2-3 years. When the time came to actually make the first step, it became all to real. It wasn'tour timeline and didn't fit our plan. But we felt it was truly God calling us to follow him now. So we took the first step and put our feet outside the boat.