Skip to main content

February Honduras Report

Happy February from Honduras!
I hope this finds you all well and keeping warm amidst the ice age you all seem to be experiencing up North. We haven't had snow (that's an obvious statement) but we have had our fair share of torrential rains these past few months which has made it it difficult to work or get's also induced rest. There's nothing like a good 3 days of rain to make you sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee guilt-free. These past few weeks have been unlike any others that I've experienced since coming to Central America; it's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride and sometimes a test of my patience and resolve but they've been rewarding as well. I've been recently finding it hard to put into words what I've been experiencing/feeling so you'll forgive me if this update lacks in coherency and all around readability. Anyway, I'll dispense with the awkward introduction I seem to have developed and get down to brass tacks; the following then are highlights from this past, rainy month of January.
Resident of Los Laureles
Well I am officially a resident of Los Laureles - the 18th of December was my final day downtown and my first here in the community that I love. It's been an adjustment to be sure; I'm still not used to the ceaseless flow of people through my home each day. More than that life has changed, the rhythm of things has changed - this is my home now. I no longer come to Laureles to simply work, hang out or play with the kids; I live here now, I have to balance signing kids up for high school with filling my outside sink up with water. It creates a strange sensation that I'm finding hard to put into words and it creates tension with the kids as well. Where once they followed me around wherever I went all day, every day, I now have to put up barriers and rules "Visiting Hours End At 9pm" or "The Haus of Keiser Has A Maximum Capacity of 10 Persons/Animals" or "Please Don't Just Assume That Because I Happen To Glance In Your Genereal Direction On My Way To My House It Means That I Am Inviting You To Spend The Rest Of The Day In My Livingroom". This has driven a wedge between me and some of the children, it's hard to explain that I need a little space without offending them and it's even harder for the kids that I'm closest with to understand that this is not their home - I love them, I love their company but I can't attend to them 12 hours a day and stay sane.
LIfe here is different, it's not been easy to find a rhythm; trying to balance the work aspect of my time here with the responsibilities of life in general or even being able to distinguish between the two has been difficult and laden with feelings of angst but at the same time life is good, this is where I want to be, I believe that this is where God wants me to be and I'm happy here. Do continue to pray for me as I slowly transition into life here, pray that I find some quiet, alone time (preferrably not before 6am), pray for understanding for the children and that a few relationships might be mended or strengthened.
My New Family
I didn't intend to start a commune but by all accounts that's exactly what I've done. I had always planned to live with Cristian (15), he's practically been my son for almost 2 years and when I first started talking about moving into the community almost a year ago he approached me about moving in with me. He accompanies me wherever I go, I love him, I discipline him as needed, all I have is his - it seemd only logical then for him to live with me and since the house has 2 bedrooms we decided that we'd each take one. That was the plan - then I met Manuel. I'd known about him for about a year but had never met him until he showed up with my good friend Soplo one Sunday afternoon to play soccer with some youth from church. A week later he showed up to church and two weeks after that he was attached to my hip and refused to leave my helped that I liked the kid. We became fast friends and as I learned more of his story I couldn't help but feel amazed by who he was and the life he had lived; I also felt that God had put him into my life at this time for a purpose. Upon a word from Leo, the man that has raised him for the past 6 years, I offered to let him live with Cristian and me on the condition that he go back to high achool and leave behind his vices. He readily agreed and I can say it was one of the best decisions I've ever made - he has been a huge help to me here around the house and has also opened doors into the world of the older youth of this community. Of course we needed to fit him somewhere, he couldn't just continue to sleep on a thin matress on the floor of the living room so we decided to buy bunk beds and put Cristian on top and Manuel on the bottom. Life was a little tight but it was easy to get accustomed to - then we got a dog. I didn't mean to get one, I wasn't actively searching for one but who can turn down a beautiful German Shepherd puppy? I couldn't and so we were 4. I thought we couldn't possible fit anyone else in here until my friend Felix approached me about helping out a boy from the country that wants to study in high school but is to poor to afford the costs. I was hesitant, I had the funds available but he couldn't possibly study in La Ceiba and live in the country, the distance was just too far; he would have to live in Ceiba but he didn't know anyone here. Felix solved the problem for me, "He can live with you" he said "Eduardo is all-terrain, he can sleep in a hammock, on the floor, it doesn't really make a difference to him." After consulting first with Manuel and Cristian I agreed and 2 weeks ago Eduardo came to live with us - for the time being he sleeps with me (we sleep head-to-foot) but I'm actively looking for a good blow-up mattress so that I can go back to getting a good night's sleep. Living with 3 other people is no easy task, it can be stressful at times, it creates jealousies and misundertandings amongst the other kids but it's rewarding. I am able to speak into and share in the lives of these 3 young men in ways that I'd never have been able to had I stayed in my quiet house downtown. More than that, when I think about it, I know God has each of these 3 here for a purpose, they're in my life in this way and at this time because God wants them here. Pray that I am able to do my part.
It's A High School Miracle!
A month ago I was beginning to get nervous - I had 13 youth from Los Laureles that were eagerly anticipating the start of classes at Bethel Christian High School and no way to send them there. After sending out a plea for help to everyone I knew the response I received was overwhelming; within days we had almost half the funds we needed in-hand and a good portion of the rest of the required funds were either pledged or enroute. I really can only say thank you and that God is faithful - please know that you were able to bless these kids and impact their future in an indescribable way. Please be praying for the kids here that they study hard, make the most of this opportunity that's been shown to them and that their example of hard work and the importance of education be a guide for others in this impoverised community. Pray too that the remaining funds come in and that we'll be able to continue on with this program for next year.
Prayer Requests
Manuel - Please be praying for Manuel - he's a had an incredibly difficult life and has made plenty of mistakes and bad decisions along the way. At the same time he knows that he wants to be different he wants something better for himself and he wants to be able to properly provide for a family if/when that day comes. More than that he's searching for Jesus, he knows there's an alternative to the life he's known, he sees the attractiveness of it but he's frightened of the committment that it entails...of the changes. There are also people and situations here holding him back, they like Manuel just where he is and don't appreciate him changing - life here in Los Laureles is full of temptations. Pray for protection, perserverance and wisdom for Manuel.
Soccer Club - Last year a very generous person donated nearly $2,000 for the purpose of founding a soccer club for all the children of Los Laureles between the ages of 9 & 14. With that money we were able to purchase soccer cleats and uniforms for 45 youth. This year we'd like to expand our club to include any interested youth between the ages of 9 & 18. This of course will require at least double the funds we received last year. Please pray that someone sees the importance of this venture and that they be moved to donate the funds needed to start this year's program.
Chihua - Pray too for Chihua, he's long been one of the kids I'm closest with here, I've known him for more than 2 years now and can say that he's one of the most innocent, kindest, gentlest kids here. He's also been a gateway for me into so many other people's lives here; he's a natural leader and well-respected by nearly the entire community. Lately though he's been drifting away, getting harder to reach. He's fallen in with a gang of older youth that, while not bad kids, at the same time are not good influences; they're arrogant, obnoxious, foul-mouthed, loud and disrespectful. I like them well enough, I'm here to help them and minister to them and they generally listen to what I have to say but I know the destructive path they're on, I see what they will become in the lives of the men of this community. I don't want that for Chihua and there is still time to prevent it. Please pray.
YES Team - At the end of March EMM will be sending me a YES Team comprised of 4 youth from the United States. They'll be with me here in Laureles for 4 months, helping me in all that I do. Please be praying for them now as they've recently started training at the Harrisburg Discipleship Center. Pray that their language study go well and that their transition into life here be smooth and rapid.
That's all for this month, have a good rest of the month. Thanks again for your support and your prayers as I would not be here writing this if it weren't for you.
Peace to you all,
Matt Keiser
"Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty." - Zechariah 4:6

me and my house

chihua on his 15th birthday

manuel on his first day of high school


I've been reading your blog for several years and appreciate the ministry you have with the young men God has brought to you.

Someday I hope to live in Honduras and also appreciate your transperancy with the issues you are dealing with...especially recently in terms of your new home. I understand the reason for living where you minister and also (to some extent from afar) the changes that it means. It seems prudent to establish boundaries and rules for your new life. As North Americans we are probably more used to having privacy and "our space" and I've thought about how some of these things may play out in my life when I live in Honduras.

May God continue to bless you and your ministry. Thank you for sharing your part of it through your blog.
Rick said…
I always enjoy reading your blogs. I've been to Honduras on several trips and really have a heart for the people there. I will keep the prayers coming for the boys and also for your transitions with your move.

Popular posts from this blog

Coming to Honduras

The other day in philosophy class I was teaching about existentialism, a philosophy with which I have myriad problems. The universe is absurd, life is meaningless, authenticate yourself with irrational leaps of faith! Hopeless and disconnected from reality if you ask me. Get out of the café Camus, mix with some common folk! Nevertheless, as I was introducing the material I mentioned that the existentialists really probed the questions of Life's meaning and purpose:

"How do I create myself to be unique and significant?" "How do I live an authentic existence?" "How do I give my life meaning and purpose in an otherwise meaningless universe?"
These seem to be questions that are attendant to societies that possess extreme wealth and privilege and an over-abundance of leisure time. I have serious doubts that 15th Century English peasants or even nobles for that matter, spent much time contemplating how they might make their lives unique or leave a significa…

Art Day

I've been forced into an "art-day" by Girlfriend; against my better judgement I've decided to turn to the only medium that I'm remotely skilled at. It's been far too long since I've written anything of worth and as I sit here, pondering my lack of output in the last 4 years, I'm left wondering if I have anything substantial left to offer to "The Conversation". I think I did once, when my integrity and identity were intact and people were genuinely curious about my life here. For reasons too numerous to count though, not the least of which is my own retreat from reflective thought put down on paper, I can't shake the feeling that I've lost the ability to speak and be heard. Girlfriend and I are reading a book about marriage together given to me by my sister; we take turns reading it aloud to the other and as salient points are read we often stop and discuss our thoughts. Thus far it's been a fairly blithe and carefree romp through…

10 Years In Honduras

My good friend Jessiel Rivera reminded me the other day that it was 10 years ago this month that I arrived here in La Ceiba. I remember my arrival here from Costa Rica fairly vividly. I had been getting teary-eyed on the plane from a combination of sleep deprivation, my longing to remain with my friends in beautiful San Jose and some sad indie music on my iPod. It was a hot and terribly humid Sunday afternoon when I landed in the La Ceiba airport and when I stepped off the 10-seater hotbox of an airplane onto the tarmac I was sweaty, bleary-eyed and disheveled. I looked like a typical gringo backpacker except for my mountain of luggage that I had in tow. Two members of the Central Mennonite Church picked me up in their car; how they knew I was the Gringo they were supposed to collect was beyond me but they got it right. I remember them remarking on the number of suitcases I had brought (3) and their heaviness (maximum weight allowance); and the resulting weight of embarrassment I felt…