Cricova and Monastery

Fyodor picked us up at 10:00am for our 11:00 tour of Cricova, a wine cellar with 120 kilometers of underground tunnels. We stopped at Fyodor’s home to pick up Galena and Samuel and then met Dima, Kristina and their boys, Marco and Dominique at the winery. It was very interesting but the 90 minute tour was long enough. This is the same town where I visited the prisons last Tuesday.

We then drove toward Butuceni where we would visit a 16th century Orthodox monastery. We stopped for lunch at a really nice outdoor restaurant that had a great playground for the kids to play. It took about 45 minutes to get our food, a grilled hot platter of assorted meats and some vegetables. It was a delicious meal but we were shocked to find that it came to $130 – OUCH! Way too much for Moldova. Apparently the menu pricing was misleading, according to Fyodor. We had plenty of leftovers as they served us way too much food.

We then toured the monastery. It was at the top of a hill that was not easy to drive, but Fyodor made it. The Monastery is cut into the side of the cliffs overlooking a fertile valley and a river directly below. This entire country is made up of very fertile farmlands, rolling hills as far as the eye can see. It is perfect climate for grapes and everywhere we go we see vineyards, sunflower fields and wheat fields. People are selling grapes and watermelon on the side of the roads all over the country. It is a beautiful country and has been a real treat for they eyes. The weather has been nice the whole time with the exception of a couple rainy days early last week.

Arriving back at the camp around 5:30pm mom and I walked to the river so she could see Transnistria, an area with a very heavy Russian presence. They are somewhat hostile to the west and want to separate from Moldova. We were supposed to hold our clinics in Transnistria but, due to the political position, Fyodor and the team decided it was not wise. While walking we each got an ice cream and ate it on the way back to Doxa Deo Camp.

We wound down the evening talking, blogging and sorting through gift bags. Tomorrow we leave for home on Lufthansa through Frankfurt and San Francisco. We arrive home at 1:15am and I have to work Friday since Clayton has the day off. Saturday we have a family birthday party and Sunday and wedding. Monday I leave for Portland for a business meeting all week. I won’t really be home until the end of the month. This will be more than three weeks away.

July 26 – Wednesday – Travel Day

Susan drove Melissa, Jessica, Nathan and me to the airport and we met the rest of the team at the gate at 10:45pm. Our Spirit Airlines flight left at 12:38am. This is the first time any of us have flown Spirit – they are a cut rate airline that prides themselves on cheap fares. They cut out a lot of expected amenities in order to keep their rates low. It’s simply an overnight flight so it wouldn’t seem that it would be a big deal but the first thing we noticed is the seats have less padding and they don’t recline at all. Nathan and I were fortunate to be able to sleep the entire flight with the assistance of my doctor but I woke up with really sore buns several times during the flight. Unfortunately the rest of the team barely slept. We arrived in Houston around 6:00am and had some breakfast and lethargic fellowship for a few hours before departing for San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
We arrived around 11:30am and were met at the airport by our supported missionaries, Robb and Sherri Kensinger, alongside whom we will be serving this week. After the two hour drive to Siguatepegue we arrived at the MEDA compound where we will be staying. It is a very nice seminary campus that provides pastoral training for pastors in Central America. Pastors come for two weeks, 8 times per year. They take 8 modules per year and after four years receive their Masters in Divinity degree. We have 5 rooms for the 12 on our team.
After dropping our bags and getting organized we went to the church where we will be holding our dental brigade and VBS this week in order to organize and plan for the next few days. There were a few bugs to work out and, after everyone understood was briefed and prepared we returned to MEDA for dinner and some instruction about the week from Robb.
Everyone was exhausted from a long night and day of travel so we all retired about 8:00pm.

Returning to Honduras

It's been six years since I was in Honduras. I'm very excited to be returning as part of a team of twelve of my family from LHBC to the country of my first mission trip in 2007. A big part of my heart is in this country. Although I won't see the people with whom I served many years ago I'm certain the warm hearts of the Honduran people will make it feel like home. I'm very excited to see what God will do through all of us as we hold a dental clinic for the people of Siguatepeque, host a Vacation Bible School, play our hand bells in the local schools and other means of community outreach. Much more detailed information will come over the next few days. Please watch my big and subscribe if you haven't already, I will keep you updated as often and as completely as possible.