NPH Honduras!

Buenas Noches,

Our last day at the ranch has been such a blessing, full of lots of time with the pequeños, wonderful weather, delicious food, and many opportunities to get closer to these children. We started the day with breakfast and morning prayer where we were sure to ask God for safe travels and for smooth sailing through the rest of our trip and travels home. Later in the morning we celebrated our final group Mass; it was a blessing for our group to celebrate Mass for seven days in-a-row.

As we moved on through our day we had alot of time to spend with the kids in which we played games, sang, danced, and attended young groups with them which are surely some of the memories our group will carry with them forever. Tonight was filled with youth group, Zumba on the basketball court, and many goodbyes. We’re wrapping up the day now with men’s and women’s group to debrief the day and the week trip, followed by night prayer.

We will be heading to the airport in Tegucigalpa at 6:00 tomorrow morning and will not return to Minnesota until 11:25 PM. I will be in touch with parents tomorrow regarding travel updates, and for everyone else, THANK YOU for you support and prayers for us throughout the trip. We hope to see EVERYONE on Aug. 5 in the small dining room at All Saints after the 5:30 PM Mass for our reunion party catered by Theresa’s. Hasta luego, amigos!

Grace and Peace in Christ,

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Hola Hermanas y Hermanos,

Today was quite a fun filled day! The day started out with getting to meet Gloria, the woman that makes all the tortillas for the ranch. We also got to tour the kitchen and see how they prepare and cook all the food, which is a huge production as there are hundreds of people to feed.

After breakfast we were able to join the pequeños and see how they celebrate their cultural day! Lots of bright and colorful dresses and costumes on all ages as they acted and danced to some wonderful music. It was alot of fun to be able to experience a celebration of their culture as we experience it all for the first time.

This afternoon we had a session with a large group of girls of mixed ages. They especially liked the bead crafts and songs, and we finished our time with them with a water ballon launch/fight. This evening we had another Eucharistic Holy Hour with the boys; lots of singing, worship, and confessions.

 

Fr. Chad VanHoose


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Tomorrow is our last full day, and I’m sure it will be filled with many bitter sweet goodbyes.

 

Hola de Honduras! Day 5

 

We’ve seen and done a lot today, and there’s still more to come. This morning we spent 3 hrs with Kindergarteners at their school, playing songs, making guardian angel crafts, coloring pictures, and playing. It was a blast to be with the littlest ones!

 

Next we toured the state of the art surgery center located on the ranch that is used as an outreach to the community. Dr. Peter Daly and his wife Lulu from the Twin Cities Catholic Community started this surgery center and have been bringing down surgeons from the United States in brigades every month for several years to perform pro bono surgeries for the poor in the area. The heart of the surgery center is a newly completed Eucharistic chapel, a clear sign of their mission centered on our Lord Jesus. We also toured a newly constructed Conference Center that was built on the ranch to house the doctors for the brigades.

 

This afternoon some in our group had their hair cut by some of the pequeños. In a little while we will host another VBS session for a mixed group of boys, and this evening we will have a Eucharistic Holy Hour with the kids, complete with Spanish and English songs and confessions. Please pray for open hearts, especially for our ministry this evening. ¡Muchas gracias; que Dios te bendiga (God bless you)!

Grace and Peace in Christ,

 

Fr. Chad VanHoose

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Happy Tuesday! (July 17, 2018)

 

We have nearly hit the halfway point of our trip, and we are starting to get the hang of things! Breakfast this morning was rice and beans with eggs, which everyone really enjoyed! After breakfast we cleaned our dishes, met for Morning Prayer, and prepared for our first day of VBS!

 

The VBS involved skits, interactive songs, crafts, and game time with the pequeños. We worked with two different groups of kids (session - fifth graders and session 2 - mix of fourth and sixth graders) for a few hours and really got to see some of their creativity and personalities shine through the activities. We helped them paint picture frames when invited and were able to talk with them, having great conversations while doing the crafts. We also got to introduce them to the classic MN game duck, duck, goose (or is it grey duck?). :)

 

After we sang and painted and played (oh my!) we went back to the dorms for a brief rest as the kids finished their schoolwork before lunch. Our lunch today was rice with pork which was followed with some time to relax and bond before an afternoon Holy Hour with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, songs, and reflection of Sacred Scripture.

 

This evening we will be eating and playing with the boys in their home, which is called El Buen Pastor (The Good Shepherd). We’ll finish the day with an 8:30 PM Mass en Español with some of the kids and the camp chaplain, Fr. José. Flexibility with the schedule has been key on this trip, so please pray that we will continue to be docile to the Holy Spirit and follow His plan for our mission. ¡Muchas gracias!

Grace and Peace in Christ,

 

Fr. Chad

 ...A thriving, bustling community less than an hour from the nation’s busy capital, Rancho Santa Fe is the second oldest of the NPH homes, opening in 1985. Over 400 hundred boys and girls make their home in this vast wooded oasis in the hills—a metropolis in comparison to the surrounding quiet pueblos—while an additional 100 youths study and live in the capital, Tegucigalpa.

NPH Honduras operates a Montessori-based preschool and elementary school, junior high school and vocational workshops. Each student is required to take courses in a specific trade; carpentry, electricity, shoe making, seamstress, tailoring and welding, as well as a life skills/home economics.

 

The farm has dairy cows and pigs. Cheese is made on-site along with tortillas and bread. Aside from the farm, NPH Honduras also boasts a model greenhouse, vegetable gardens and fruit orchards which provide the children with well-balanced, nutritional meals.

 

Unique to the Honduras family is Casa Eva, is a rest home for elderly adults who previously had no one to care for them until coming to NPH. These loved grandparents are included in Ranch activities and add a wonderful balance to our growing family.

 

Fr. Chad VanHoose

 

Your prayers and support for NPH are appreciated.
 
Staff Contact: Fr. Chad VanHoose
Phone: 952-985-9981
Email: assocpastor@allsaintschurch.com

Fr. Chad's 'Saco de Papas'

 

Language is certainly an important aspect of any trip to Central America, and our mission trip to Honduras was no different. For the entirety of our week at the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Ranch, I struggled with my Spanish, repeating short Spanish phrases, fumbling my way through the concelebrant parts of Misa en Español, and even administering sacramental absolution in some of the first Spanish confessions that I had ever heard (I’m sure that I was more nervous than the penitents). With each of these endeavors, I had a desire to communicate well, but came up short time and time again.

 

But some of the times of greatest impact were those in which I tried very little. These were the moments when I simply gave to the children at the ranch and the members of our group what others had given to me at different moments during my life. And the things given and received during these moments were the things of greatest importance - things like love, faith, and God himself.

 

The personal encounter that sticks out the most for me occurred during our VBS morning with some 1st graders. One little boy clung to me right away, and so we sang songs side-by-side and then worked on a craft together. At one point, he kept wanting me to pick him up, so I did to him what had been done to me by my father and grandfather; I threw him over my shoulder and exclaimed “saco de papas,” which means “sack of potatoes.” This action paired with these three little words communicated more than I could have realized! He LOVED playing saco de papas, and even imitated it himself with a bag when I put him down! I made a little friend that day as I gave him the love, care, and attention that he deserved, and I believe that the relationship was strengthened on a supernatural level through my spiritual fatherhood that I was able to freely offer to my little mijo (son). Later in the week, when he would see me coming, he would come running towards me shouting “saco de papas” in search for another round of fun and love!

 

The Latin verb for this “handing on” is trado from which we get the English word “tradition.” Twice in his first letter to the Corinthians (I Cor 11:23, 15:3), Paul uses this verb to explain how he “handed on” what he had first received from the Lord. With any ministry or mission that we do as Christians, we must recognize that the only thing that we truly possess is Jesus Christ! He alone has brought meaning to our lives and he alone is worth handing on to others so that they might possess him as well. On the surface, I gave a little Honduran boy a fun game and I think that he gave me his cold virus; but on a deeper level, I was able to build him up, affirm his dignity, and share with him the love of the Father. If Jesus can do that through me with only a willing heart and a few words of Spanish, just imagine what he can do with the gift of your life!   

Fr. Chad VanHoose