Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Angelita Is Home

Forgive me for being so late in sharing an update on Angelita’s surgery. The last six days have been a blur, and I am only now getting my feet under me.

We arrived at the hospital late on Friday afternoon. My daughter, Brittney, and her fiancé, Joel, drove us and helped us get checked in to her room. Because of the long drive to the city, combined with vehicle issues and the fact that the hospital is in a more dangerous zone of the city, we decided that I would stay with Angelita the entire time and provide her care.

Her surgery was scheduled for the next morning (Saturday), but we had some immediate concerns. Friday was a big day in Guatemala. The former Vice-President, who resigned in May due to a bribery scandal, was arrested and formally charged. In addition, more evidence was released that links our current President to the scandal. This triggered protests all over Guatemala as the people began demanding the President’s resignation or his impeachment, and the central focus of that was around the seat of power, which was just a few blocks from our hospital. In addition, other protests blocked roads all over the country. So we were concerned that the staff would be blocked from getting in to do the surgery. However, after a lot of prayers, they made it in early the next morning before the protests heated up.

IMG_1653[1]The surgery on Saturday went flawlessly. The doctor was very pleased with the procedure, although Angelita did take longer to wake up from the anesthesia than normal. She spent most of the day sleeping, and only had one glitch when she threw-up at around 3:00 am on Sunday morning. But when she woke up later in the morning she had a huge smile on her face! She was alert and happy for most of the day. Wanda, Brittney and Joel came in late morning so that I could leave and get some real food. The fresh air did me good.

On Monday morning she awoke even happier than the day before. As I spoke to her she laughed! In fact, she laughed more by 10 am on Monday morning than I have heard her laugh for the previous year! Our little girl was back! The doctor discharged her late morning

By this point I was a walking zombie, having not slept well for the previous three nights. I had planned to come home, take care of urgent office work and crash. I had also planned to take Tuesday off, except for doing a quick update to my blog, but that was not to be. Instead the morning was filled with a stream of families at our gate, vehicle problems and a stomach virus that has filled our home with vomiting and diarrhea.

Speaking of vehicle problems, both of the ministry’s 4-wheel drive vehicles are in the shop right now. This has effectively shut down our rural village ministry. We are hoping to get one of them back today or tomorrow, but this is Guatemala. So we really have no idea when it will be done. Please pray that the work on both of these will be completed soon, as we have families that are waiting.

In addition, the protests continue to heat up. Yesterday roads all over Guatemala were blocked, making travel difficult. The protests will likely continue until the President is removed from office. Thus far the protests have remained peaceful and have yielded results. Please pray for justice and peace for Guatemala.

Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Angelita’s Surgery Is Paid!

SAM_0650This is just a brief update to notify you that we have received notice that all we need to pay for Angelita’s surgery is on the way! And, as I started to write this, I was notified of more money that is coming. (Any funds that arrive in excess of the needed amount will be used for other medical emergencies that arise.) Thank you so much for loving Angelita and giving so that she might live!

Her surgery is scheduled for 6:00 am on Saturday. As I have access to a computer I will provide an update. The surgery is serious and carries risks, but the risk of not doing the surgery is far greater. Please keep her in your prayers.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

An Urgent Update on Angelita

Last week I shared that Angelita is struggling. She has almost stopped eating and has recently began vomiting. We feared that the pressure on her brain from her hydrocephalus was increasing, and yesterday that fear was confirmed. We received the results of her tomography, and they show that the fluid pocket in the middle of her brain has increased in size, compressing her brain against her skull.

In the past our neurosurgeon told us that he could not do surgery to install a shunt, as the removal of fluid would result in her brain collapsing on itself. However, the rapid decline in her condition has moved us to seek out other surgeons.

Last night I shared the results for the tests on Facebook, asking for prayer. My friend, Dennis McCutcheon​, saw the post and got involved. He works with Vine International here in Guatemala, and they do amazing medical missions. He immediately put us in contact with a different neurosurgeon, and I sent him Angelita's scans.

This doctor believes that he can install a special shunt that will relieve her pressure without causing her brain, which is hollow, to collapse in on itself. He has offered to do the surgery for free (Praise God!), but we will have to pay for the hospital,  anesthesiologist, meds, and other expenses. These will likely cost between $2500 and $3500. The surgery will have to happen quickly, so we cannot wait until the funds are raised to proceed. So we will be moving forward, trusting God to supply the funds.

We do not fund raise for our ministry expenses, but we do for specific needs of children. If you would like to help, you can donate in two ways:

  1. Send a check to: Hope for Home Ministries, PO Box 393, Troy, OH 45373. Please write "Angelita's Surgery" in the memo section.
  2. Go to and click the PayPal Donate button.

If you donate, please send me an email at to let me know the money is coming. Please note: 100% of your gift will go to the need. Thanks so much!

Please pray for our girl. We have an appointment with the surgeon today at 2:00 and will know more then.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fear and Popular Fiction

I know…two blog entries in a week. Here’s to hoping no one suffers a heart attack from the shock.

Over the last few months there are several things with which I have struggled as I have sought to hear God’s voice and understand His direction for me, my family and this ministry. Imagine that God is speaking in His still, calm voice while other voices shout loudly. There is an occasional, short silence as the yelling voices take a breath, and in those moments God’s voice is clear and strong. Then the yelling begins again, threatening to drown out the voice I most need to hear.

Thus far I have been able to cling to His voice through the moments of shouting, remember the words He spoke when I cannot hear them. Other times I am able to tune out the other noise and hear Him, even when the shouting continues. But still the voices are there.

Let me explain the yelling voices to you before you arrange to have me committed to a mental health facility. The two loudest voices are 1) Fear and 2) Popular Fiction. And they have very big mouths.

The first voice, fear, is very loud these days. There have been several times in recent months that I have awoken from a deep sleep feeling overwhelmed with fear. This fear stems not from nightmares or boogie men, but from a far bigger monster…finances. I don’t write much about money, except when seeking a sponsor for a child. We make it a point not to share financial needs publically, instead choosing to take those needs to God and allow Him to place it on people’s hearts to give. This is the George Mueller model of ministry, and it has served us well. We do not fundraise for our ministry, allowing God to do it on our behalf.

This posting is no exception to that commitment, so please continue to read. I am not asking for money or griping about finances at all. I am simply sharing my struggle with fear, knowing that some of you are likely facing the same and hoping that my journey and struggle can help.

Over the last six months God has blown the lid off of my vision for this ministry. He has laid before me a plan that is way bigger than me. It is way bigger than anything man can do. And yet He continues to confirm that vision and encourage me to join Him in that work. And I agreed, even though there was a tremor in my voice as I vocalized my willingness to follow.

And from the moment I said, “Yes, Lord”, He began to open doors in front of me and inviting me to go through them. And, with each open door, there has been an increased financial commitment. And that has led to my fears.

We just added another Guatemalan staff member to our team. Joel Caal Rax will be serving as the Director of our ministry in Solola. With that addition, we now have six full-time employees. And with that comes the responsibility of paying both their salaries, benefits and ministry expenses. Meanwhile, the medical expenses within our home and rural village ministry have increased significantly. Special medical needs have arisen, medicines have increased, testing has been required and it seems like we have another doctor appointment every other day. It gets quite scary when I think about it.

And occasionally I do think about it. And the fear rises up. And when that happens, what do I do with it?

One of the things I know is that God is not the author of fear. God leads us, convicts us and challenges us, but He does not give us fear. So, when fear rises up I can know that it is not God speaking. So, in those moments, I simply have to look beyond the fear and ask myself if I am following God’s lead. If the answer to that is “Yes” then the fear actually becomes a confirmation. The author of fear is resisting my direction because he, himself, is afraid. And fear is the only real weapon that he can use against me. (If you are trying to fight the enemy, simply run toward the direction from which the bullets are being fired.)

I have reached the point at which, when the fear is the strongest, I grit my teeth and set my face in the direction I am heading. Forward, for the Kingdom!!! But that does not mean that the voice of fear will stop yelling. In fact, it seems to get louder the further we go. But one of my favorite quotes is this:

“God’s work done in God’s way never lacks God’s supply.” – Hudson Taylor

So I simply have to ask, is this God’s work and are we doing it God’s way. If so, the money, resources and people will come.

The second voice is that of Popular Fiction. What do I mean by that? I mean lies that have been so embraced by the church that they are now seen as settled fact. These are traditions that we believe are rooted in Scripture, but are instead rooted in the “wisdom” of man. What are these Popular Fictions?

1. Conservative Stewardship – Because of the excesses and materialism of the American culture, there has arisen a Christian response in the form of biblical stewardship. And this has been an overwhelmingly positive response. In our credit-driven economy there have been wonderful men and women of God who have risen up to challenge believers to live and spend carefully and intentionally and avoid debt. And I support that model enthusiastically. As believers, we should not be living extravagantly or running up debt. Around two decades ago a wonderful Christian financial counselor helped Wanda and I to get our finances in order, and those steps freed us to be able to follow God wherever He led, without the anchor of debt dragging behind.

But the problem is this…we have taken that model for personal living and applied it to ministry.We take the concept that we should not buy a big screen TV or other luxury items unless we have the money set aside for it and apply that to following God’s call. And we tell ourselves that is scriptural. But it is not.

We are told that responsible Christian stewardship means having savings, investments, a retirement plan, emergency funds and more. And over and over again I hear respected Christian financial advisors quoted as the reason why a family cannot head to the mission field or rescue an orphan or begin a ministry. They treat following the call of God like buying a television or new car. But the two are not the same, and the biblical principals that determine the decisions are different. And sometimes God calls us to sell  everything we own and give it to the poor, or go to the mission field or adopt an orphan. And that call means leaving behind our safety nets.

Churches establish their budgets by looking at their giving from the previous year. But they call it a “Faith Budget” because they add in an additional 5% or 10%, trusting God to provide. Then they decide the ministry they are going to do based upon those numbers. And we call that “stewardship.” But is it? In fact, is that even faith at all? To me that seems like men doing man-sized things that do not require God at all.

What if, instead, churches fasted and prayed and got on their faces before God to seek His direction for ministry? And then, after hearing His voice, determined how much those ministries were going to cost?And then (Gasp!) they made that their budget?

Isn’t stewardship simply the awareness that what we have actually belongs to Someone else? And that Someone has the right to demand and use any and all of it for His pleasure and purpose? In other words, isn’t true Christian stewardship simply doing whatever God tells us to do with the money, time and resources He has provided? And (get this) usually biblical stewardship does not involve a safety net.

If you are reading this and thinking that Daryl is off his Bible rocker, please show me where I am wrong. But even though I know this is true, that voice of Conservative Stewardship keeps yelling at me and trying to dictate how I lead this ministry. Sometimes it comes in the voice of another person, a good person, providing me with a friendly caution. Sometimes it comes from a sermon or book I read years ago. Sometimes it is just another tool that fear uses. But I cannot allow traditional teachings to override biblical truths.

2.  Visionary Leadership – It is very difficult to find a book on ministry leadership that does not promote an aggressive and well laid-out vision for ministry. It is constantly promoted that a good leader knows where he wants to lead and has a thought-out plan regarding how to get there. This usually includes one-year, three-year, five-year and ten-year goals, and regular meetings to reaffirm the vision and goals with your team. A good leader knows exactly where he is going and keeps the team in line toward that goal.

But that has not been true of me. Before we moved to Guatemala I sat down and did the visionary leadership thing. I made one-year, three-year and five-year goals. I made flow charts and bullet lists and I presented those plans in churches. And now, as we approach five years in Guatemala, I can tell you that very few of those plans have transpired the way I envisioned. Our rural village ministry progressed beyond my five-year plan within two years on the ground. My vision for opening this group home dragged behind. At this point I had hoped to be working on licensing our third group home, but we are still waiting for a couple to lead the opening of a second.

Even the goals we did reach were reached in different ways than I envisioned. And none of them were reached because of my great visionary leadership and planning. Everything happened because God orchestrated the details in spite of me.

Several months ago, when God gave me the vision of opening a headquarters and resource center in all 22 departments of Guatemala, I immediately began setting goals and making bullet lists again. About an hour into that process I had a conversation with God that went something like this:

God: Psssst! Daryl!

Me: Yes, Lord?

God: What are you doing?

Me: Making plans to accomplish the vision you gave me.

God: Really? You are making plans to open 22 headquarters all over Guatemala? Please, explain to me what you are going to do to accomplish that impossible task.

Me: ….

God: How did this ministry get to where it is now?

Me: Well…I have tried to hear your voice and obey you each day. And, as I did, you made it all happen.

God: So, why do you think anything has changed now? I am the visionary leadership of this ministry. You just need to hold my hand and walk with me while I accomplish my purposes.

Me: (Wadding up my list of goals and plans and taking a sigh of relief) Deal!

But occasionally I hear that nagging voice shouting in my ear. It comes from all those leadership conferences I attended as a youth pastor and pastor that claimed to be rooted in Scripture but were actually rooted in the wisdom of man. The principals work well if you are building a human institution, but fail miserably if you are building the Kingdom of God. But still it screams and threatens to block out God’s voice that reminds me that He is the wisdom and the source of all that needs to be done. I just need to hold His hand and do what He tells me…one step at a time.

Don’t believe me? Read the Bible and see the great men and women of God. God did not give them 10 year plans. Instead, He gave them a general vision that required them to walk closely to Him and listen to His voice for every step.

So, here I am in Guatemala, surrounded by shouting voices. But only one voice matters. And I can still hear it when I focus on Him and cling to truth. Please pray that I will do that well in the days ahead. And I will pray the same for each of you.

Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Catching Up

There is an old episode of I Love Lucy in which Lucy and Ethel get a job in a chocolate factory. They are to wrap each of the chocolates as they come down a conveyor belt, which seems to be a simple task. It starts out well enough, but as both the speed of the belt and the volume of chocolate increase the two ladies are quickly overwhelmed. By the end, they are shoving the chocolates down their shirts, in their hats and in their mouths, trying to keep them from flying off the end of the belt.

Welcome to my life for the last few months. While that scene may seem funny when you see two comediennes on the receiving end, it can seem less than funny when the “chocolate” is barreling down on you and there is no where left to stuff it all.

God continues to bless our ministry and we continue to grow. In addition, the quality of care that we provide to both the children in our group home and those in rural villages continues to improve. But we continue to stumble upon more and more children in severe need of care. And while I have gotten better at saying “No” to lesser needs and those that do not match up with our calling, I still cannot say that word to a child that is in serious trouble. So, this ministry continues to grow at a rate that leaves me, at times, trying to find places to shove the “chocolate” that comes barreling my way.

However, with each passing day, we continue to better organize and plan for growth now and in the future. Here are just a few of the changes that are happening:

imageWe recently hired Joel Caal to serve as the Director of our soon-to-be headquarters in the Department of Solola. This area includes the towns of San Pablo (our largest town based upon the number of families), Solola and Panajachel.

Joel is a young Guatemalan man of God who graduated from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, TX. He is a Cowboys fan, but other than that, he has a good head on his shoulders. He is a good friend to our family and is involved in a serious relationship with my daughter, Brittney, that will likely be leading to marriage soon. Together they will lead our ministry in San Pablo and the department of Solola. This will free up my time considerably, which will enable me to begin new work in two new departments in the months ahead, Santa Rosa and Chiquimula.

Joel will begin working with us on Tuesday, August 18th. He will be living in our home for the next three to four weeks and training under Manuel, Gerardo and me. We plan for him to make his move to San Pablo in mid-September. Please pray for that transition for both Joel and our ministry.

IMG_1595Over the last four weeks we have had a constant stream of teams without a break. They have been wonderful groups that have blessed us in so many ways. Grace Chinese Christian Church was with us two weeks ago, and they had two nurses that were a part of the team. They were instrumental in helping us sort through donated medical supplies and get them organized in our new rural village ministry headquarters. We now know exactly what we have and how to find it.

IMG_1596There will still be more work ahead as we get our inventory of wheelchairs and parts organized. But by the time we are done, we will have a nicely ordered workplace and storage spot. This is a crucial step as we begin to take steps to establish departmental headquarters. This site will become the national headquarters for Ministerio de Esperanza, supplying all the other departments. I foresee us outgrowing this location in the next couple of years, but it will be a good bridge for what lies ahead.

Another change has been the addition of a van to our fleet. We currently have 24 of us living full-time in our home. When we take the entire group out for something, such as going to church, we have been using our 15 passenger van and my dual cab pick-up, which seats five. That means we are four seats short of being able to safely seat everyone. For Guatemala this is not a problem, as they have no problem with seating 25 or 30 people in a 15 passenger van, but we are concerned with the safety of the children.

IMG_1594Recently we learned that our friends at Amor Guate were selling their 15 passenger van, so we jumped at the chance to buy it. It is an older model Ford van with an eight cylinder diesel engine, and lots of space inside. We can remove the rear seats and install strap brackets which will enable us to transport most of the children in their wheelchairs. Between the two vans, we can now transport everyone safely. We are praising God for His provision, once again.

I want to end this post with updates on a couple of our children:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRosalinda is now in the malnutrition ward at Hermano Pedro. In spite of our best efforts and consultations with specialists, we were simply not able to get her to gain and maintain weight. So she entered the hospital two weeks ago. This has been a rough transition for her, and she has cried much of the time that one of us are not there to hold her. However, she has begun to gain weight. We are hopeful that she will improve quickly and be able to return to our home in another two months.

SAM_0650Two weeks ago Angelita became very lethargic and stopped eating well.We assumed she was sick and called our doctor, but after numerous tests it was determined that she did not have an infection. This news was a great concern to us, because it could indicate that the pressure is increasing in her brain due to her hydrocephalus. She has a unique type of hydrocephalus that makes installing a shunt dangerous. So we are concerned that there is nothing we can do.

We immediately made an appointment with our neurologist, who ordered some more tests. One of these tests was a urine culture that came back positive for an infection. Although it is a mild infection, we are treating it aggressively, hoping that this will result in overall improvement. And we are seeing some improvement.

The neurologist also referred us to a different neurosurgeon, in hopes that he can do something to relieve the pressure on her brain. We are getting the required scans and tests and hope to get her in to see him next week.

Please keep praying for these two little ones. Both of them are struggling in their resistance to illness and are at risk.

Well, the chocolate keeps coming down the belt, so its back to work. Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew