January 2012

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll shut up and let you enjoy a slideshow that is the equivalent of 23,000 words.

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Sara and I just returned from our trip to Nicaragua.  The trip was a success.  Three practitioners saw 813 patients in five days and the pharmacists filled over 1800 prescriptions.  Hundreds of lives were impacted and the grandparents made it just fine with the kids on the home front (thanks grandparents!).

 It was quite an adventure.  We flew into Managua and drove about 150 miles north to the mountainous region of Jinotega, which serves as our base while in Nicaragua.  From there, we journeyed out to some of the remote villages that lacked sufficient medical care and set up clinics. 

Some of the travel was quite interesting.  One of the areas we visited, Puertas Azules, was about a 2.5 hour drive from Jinotega – 30 minutes of which was paved roads.  The rest was mud and rock.  We crossed a river in our four-wheel-drive truck and scaled a mountain on a muddy road with a precipitous drop just beside the road. 

There are many images that will stay in my head from my trips to Nicaragua, but one in particular occurred when we dropped off the garbage at a dump.  When you go to the dump, you literally drive over a mountain of trash.  Amongst the garbage, you can see little shacks where people actually live.  As we slowed down, two kids – probably 6 and 8 years old – came running to the truck and jumped into the bed before the truck came to a stop.  They pulled the garbage bags out of the truck and eagerly ripped the bags open looking for food.

When we turned the truck around, I saw two dogs arrive at the scene.  As we drove away, I saw two children fighting off two dogs so they could eat garbage.  Images like that don’t go away.  What if those were my children?  What if they were your children?  We can stick our heads in the mud and pretend that this sort of thing doesn’t exist… maybe that will keep it from being real in our world, but to these kids it’s an everyday experience.

Some people question how God could allow this sort of thing to go on.  Just remember – we live in a fallen world.  Despite the fact that we live in a fallen world, the same God that allows these people to live in such deplorable conditions also put people like you and me here – people with the means and the ability to do something about it.  You have to choose to make a difference – it won’t just happen automatically.

I’ll post some photos next week after I have some time to get everything downloaded.  Until then, take some time to be thankful for what you have.  You have no idea how rich you are.

Sara and I are getting ready to go to Nicaragua for a Medical Brigade.  This will be the first time that we have gotten to go together on a mission trip and we are very excited about it.  The grandparents are teaming up to watch the kids while we’re gone and I think they are tentatively looking forward to it.

Here’s some advice for them while we’re gone.


  • ·         If you think it’s chocolate but aren’t sure, don’t taste it – smell it first.
  • ·         You will have zero privacy for the next few days.  Showers, trips to the restroom, and sleeping are all community events.
  • ·         Prepare to spend at least 30 minutes every day looking for Bunny and Blankie.
  • ·         Remember – their powers are multiplied when they’re together.  Divide and conquer whenever possible.
  • ·         If you do anything wrong, Olivia will tell on you.  She is the Informant.
  • ·         The “Santa’s watching” bit still seems to be effective, but I think we’re stretching it.
  • ·         You’ll be watching a lot of Nickelodeon and Disney.  Good Luck Charlie, iCarly, and The Wizards of Waverly Place aren’t too bad.  Yo Gabba Gabba and Blue’s Clues will give you suicidal thoughts.
  • ·         There’s Benadryl in the medicine cabinet and we’re not above using it.
  • ·         Chicken tenders and French fries will be embraced at any time.  Go for it – by the time they grow up there’s no telling what statin drugs will be able to do.
  • ·         The house will be a wreck.  Get used to it.
  • ·         Don’t forget about the dog (she sometimes gets lost in the shuffle and barks at us after patiently waiting at the back door for an hour or so).
  • ·         Amelia will wear at least four sets of clothes a day and most of them will look hideous (pink tutu with boots and a Hello Kitty sweater).  There is nothing you can do about this.
  • ·         They are smarter than we think they are and they can manipulate effectively before their first permanent tooth comes in.  You’ll have to be on top of your game.
  • ·         However bad it is, remember you get to go home.  The chaos that you will endure is what we call home.


Thanks to the grandparents for helping us out!  There will be no post next week and I’ll update you our trip when we return.






Sara got me a banjo for Christmas.  That may sound like a weird gift, but I actually asked for it – I guess that makes me weird.  I’ve always liked Bluegrass music and I love the newer music that incorporates banjos (Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, etc.).  Plus, tons of people play guitars.  How many people do you know who can play a banjo? 

If nothing else, I thought it would be a great addition for home security.  What would-be intruder wouldn’t go running for their life if they broke into a home and heard first line of Dueling Banjos?  I guarantee you Ned Beatty won’t be breaking in.

I’m starting from scratch, so it’s been pretty rough but I’m improving.  I’ve found some banjo tabs online that show you how to play songs even if you can’t read music.  One song I thought would be good to learn is the theme song from The Dukes of Hazzard, so I went searching.

While searching, for some reason I thought about how ridiculous that show was.  Don’t get me wrong – I was a big fan.  I had my Duke Boys lunchbox and watched the show every chance I got.  It’s just that I can’t imagine a show like that coming out today.

Imagine describing The Dukes of Hazzard to someone today who had never seen it.  You and a friend are exchanging idle chatter and you bring it up…

“You know our family is really hooked on this new show.”

“Really, what is it?”

“It’s called The Dukes of Hazzard.”

“What’s it about?”

“Well… it’s about these two racist redneck brothers who run moonshine for a living in their bright orange Dodge Charger named after the Confederate general of the Civil War with a rebel flag on top.”


“…and their sister is a bartender at a honky-tonk bar owned by the mayor.  His name is Boss Hogg.  He’s this stereotypical obese Southerner who is the brother’s mortal enemy, but for some reason he employs their sister.  It must be because she wears these really short shorts all the time and flirts with everybody constantly – even her own brothers.  That’s a little weird.  Oh, and they can’t have guns, so they blow up a lot of stuff with dynamite-tipped arrows.  You know, just like Wyle E Coyote.”

“Sounds interesting.”

“Yep, it’s a great show for the family.”

I know we often talk about how terrible television is these days, but I think we sometimes forget where we were.