Friday, September 30, 2011

Specialized Science Teachers Come to AFE

AFE is excited to welcome Ryan and Erika Lewis as our newest volunteers. After two months of intensive Spanish study in Copán, Ryan and Erika arrived last week to begin their time of service at AFE.

The Lewis’s are both graduates from the University of Idaho and have been married for two years. Erika graduated with a double major in Biology and secondary education while Ryan received his civil engineering and then a Master's degree in geo-technical engineering. They have come to serve with AFE at a crucial time as more and more students move up to higher levels of math and science and we have lacked the personnel qualified to teach such classes.

Ryan and Erika have visited AFE several times over the years working with construction and medical teams with their home church, Lake City Community Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Yet it was on their first trip to AFE in March 2010 that they both felt God leading them to uproot their lives and move to Honduras to serve as teachers. One and a half years later, they are here with us, full of energy and ready to see what God has in store for them.

This enthusiastic young couple will serve as a great example of a godly pair to the young people of AFE. When asked what they hoped to get out of their year-long term of service the poor country of Honduras, Erika replied:

“As a couple we hope to create a foundation for our marriage where God is the leader...and to put ourselves in a situation where we must rely on God and each other to work through ‘the good and the bad.’ We also hope to be mentors and encourage the students of AFE in their lives at school and at home. We have said that next December will be the end of our time in Honduras [we will be with the students the entire school year], but we are going to be flexible to what the Lord has planned for us at that point. We don't know what God has in store for us this year, but we know already that He is going to be using us and stretching us in ways we would have never dreamed possible.”

We are so blessed to have this couple bring their talents, enthusiasm and compassionate hearts to serve AFE. Please pray for Ryan and Erika as they adapt to life in a new country with a new language and begin to play a part in rescuing children from the trash dump. For more updates, you can visit their blog at

Monday, September 19, 2011

Breast Pumps Save Babies

At AFE we strive to meet the healthcare needs of the students and their families while extending our reach to other patients in nearby communities. A large part of what I (Hollie Macenczak) do as the nurse at AFE’s clinic relies on donations of medical supplies. Recently, the Health Resource Center (HRC) from Washington Cathedral (WC) donated two high-quality, manual breast pumps to two women in need with two very different situations. A mission team from WC generously transported the pumps when they came to serve at AFE for a week.

One of the leading causes of infant mortality in Honduras is diarrhea. Moms who use formula often mix the powder with contaminated water, which causes diarrhea and dehydration. Often times they over-dilute the powder in order to save money and babies suffer from malnutrition. These breast pumps were such a blessing to combat these easily-solved problems and to improve the health of babies in situations of desperate poverty.

Initially, I wasn’t sure how these women would respond to using a breast pump because this type of thing is practically unheard of within this cultural group. Neither woman had seen a breast pump before nor known another woman who had used one. The good news is that most women who live here breastfeed for financial and health reasons, so both women were willing to try this new method of pumping.

The first woman (I’ll call her Stefany) is a 16-year-old new mom who had mastitis. Mastitis is a painful, and sometimes dangerous, infection of the breast tissue and nipple often caused by a bad latch and not emptying the breasts completely with every feeding. It is always a challenge to breastfeed for the first time, especially as a young mom, so when Stefany initially came to me with this infection, I knew I had a small window of time to encourage her to continue providing healthy breast milk to her baby. At her first appointment, Stefany successfully pumped two ounces of milk all by herself! After seeing how easy it was to manage the pump independently, she continued to breastfeed regularly and to use the pump in between feedings. After only two days of regular feeds and pumping, Stefany was recovering physically and still able to provide breast milk for her baby.

The second woman (I’ll use the name Maria) is a mother of six children. She works in the trash dump, collecting and recycling materials for a living. After having her baby, she had to return to work, but still wanted to breastfeed. In the past Maria could never have done this without a breast pump!

You might be asking yourself, “How can I help?” Donations of medical supplies and medications are always needed. Also, monetary donations are great for buying antibiotics and other prescription medications that are more economical to purchase Baby Johanna (pictured here with her cousin) is
one of the babies to benefit from the breast pumps
here in Honduras than transport from the U.S.

If you are interested in making a donation to the clinic at AFE, please feel free to contact me at and I will send you our current needs list and let you know how you can help.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Are Not Alone

I sensed them before I saw them. The garbage dump had descended the hill and was now standing in our doorway….the flies buzzing in near proximity, the smell overwhelming. Of course they smelled like the garbage dump. They had been living there the last couple of months.

Their father, in a fit of anger, had set their house to blaze and their family to flee. They found sanctuary in the garbage dump…but not much. Their sanctuary was pieces of plastic mounted waist-high. On rainy nights the young mother, her 15-year-old daughter, and other children of twelve, eight, and six years, huddled together in the mud and trash and tried their best to sleep. They found discarded, rotting food to eat and bottles that still had some soda left in them, and they survived. The mother did everything she could to protect her children, but it would not be enough for long. Men in the garbage dump had noticed her fifteen year-old daughter. They each promised her a place to live and food to eat, if she would come and “be his wife.” It seemed an attractive proposition in light of their situation.

Angie, the six-year old, was the first member of the Castro family we met, in an outreach event to feed the workers of the garbage dump. Angie told us of her situation then hauled her whole family down to AFE to see what we could do. AFE’s leadership met with the mother, listened with empathy to her tale, and knew that we would do the same if the lives of our children were threatened.

“You are not alone. God knows about the trials your family has been through and He has cried with you. He brought you here, to a community that takes care of one other. And He is, right now, in the process of rallying people to help. Let’s go find out who he has called to help you.”

Five minutes later, a visitor who had come to Honduras for other purposes but stopped by AFE for the day went up to AFE’s computer lab. He took out his credit card and charged $5,000 to AFE’s online donation website to pay for a house for the Castro family, to whom no credit is available.

We began work immediately on the house. The children entered AFE’s after school program and begin coming to the church, where the Honduran community takes food offerings for those in need. We put them up in a house, rent-free while their home is being constructed. And Jesi Ordonez, AFE’s principal sat the oldest daughter down, in front of mirror.

“Katarin,” she told her lovingly, “I want you to take a look at yourself. Look at how beautiful you are. Not just on the outside, but the beauty deep within your soul that shines out of your eyes. You are too beautiful, too wonderful to give yourself away to a tyrant in the garbage dump who will use and abuse you. Wait…and pursue the plans that God has for you. Because he certainly does, he would not have brought you to us otherwise.”

*** Katarin, Alexandra, Brian and Angie are all available for sponsorship. Contact for more information or give online at:
AFE's Cart

Monday, September 5, 2011

List of Needs

Many have asked: what are AFE's needs? What can we bring down to help? We can get things donated in the States, we can pack our suitcases. What do you need?
Here is the list, for the next couple of months, of small things that would be a great help to AFE.

- Ringed notebooks – 1, 3 or 5 subject
- Small non-ringed notebooks for elementary school
- Dry erase markers and eraser
- Masking tape
- Poster board
- Pencil sharpeners
- Construction paper
- Staplers
- Educational posters in Spanish
- Hole punchers
- Microscopes
- Any educational decorations such as posters with multiplication table, alphabet, etc

EDUCATIONAL GAMES - ideally in Spanish
- Scrabble
- Boggle
- Monopoly
- Memory
- Bingo
- Uno

- Set of 10 books for 7-11th grade. For example 10 copies of "Chronicles of Narnia" for 8th grade (in Spanish, of course).
- Books to read aloud for beginners in Spanish

- Baby shampoo and conditioner
- Baby powder
- Baby oil
- Towels
- Lotion
- Wipes
- Diapers
- Fitted sheets for cribs
- Baby bottles
- Shoes for Baby – ages 2 - 4
- Shoes for Girls – ages 3-6
- Thermos for making baby bottles
- Plates and cups for children
- Underwear for boys and girls
- Puzzles for children
- Hand sanitizer
- Curtains for nursery
- Clothes for nursery (sizes 6 months to 4 years)

- 400 mg Albendazole (Worm medicine)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Sun screen
- Bug repellant
- Allergy medicine – Not Benadryl, but Zyrtec and Claritin – For adults and children
- Liquid Tylenol or Liquid Ibprofen – No pills

- Computer covers
- Keyboard covers for typing
- Extension cords
- Curtain rods
- Air compressors

- Cooking Knives
- Spoons
- Forks
- Plastic bowls
- Plastic cups
- Cutting board
- Vegetable Peeler
- Cheese Grater
- Industrial size pots and pans
- Rags for cleaning
- Curtains and curtain rods
- Hand soap for bathroom
- Mirrors for bathroom
- Toilet paper

If you have any questions about this list, please contact Thank you so mjuch for your help!