Sunday, February 1, 2015

Scholarship Special

This is a scholarship donors update! For those of you who have designated your donations to scholarships, you'd be proud of most of the students. Like all programs, there has not been a 100% success rate, but John repeats often that "the last chapter is not yet written" and we continue to pray for those who haven't ended up being shining stars!
 Will briefly capsule those recently graduated and those still in process. Argentina joined Loma de Luz full time as a newly graduated LPN who did her social service at our hospital.
Rosalinda will finish up her social service with us in March, and has been recruited to join Dr. Jeff and Rosanne in the OR. She was our first student to try out the public program vs. the private one. Consensus seems to be same results for about the same amount of money!
Patricia is in the middle of her social service with us, graduating from the private program in the fall. She and her mom recently  hosted a wonderful dinner, with her speaking to honor those who had blessed her with the scholarship help! Xiomara has been working as a staff nurse at Loma de Luz now since her graduation in the fall of 2013, the expert in OB due to her years working for John.
Raul is in his last year of highschool and gets a stipend to work on the Margarita church maintenance, which allows him to finish his studies. His father is blind. Raul's goal is nursing school!
Anael is beginning his 3rd. year of a 4 year seminary in Siguatepeque. His goal is pastoring. He studies 8 times a year, for 15-18 days each session, then returns to the church to put it into practice!
This past visit the first 2 weeks of January, 2015, we became aware that our friend/househelper of years past was going to be unable to continue sending her 2 little girls to the ministry's bilingual school, El Camino. We made a contract with her to help her with the $70 monthly tuition (combined) for Noelia and Shelby, in which she committed to helping both her 2 and 2 other relatives that attend the school with their studying weekly. This is a big commitment for a single mom who works fulltime.
Each of these young people deserves a book of his own! There is one more scholarship-needy young man, Joni, just turned 17. He will get a blog of his own! Suffice it to say for general scholarship supporters that he began attending a bilingual college prep highschool in the city 2 weeks ago, and if he can handle the load, will do 2 1/2 years to finish up his highschool and then be applying for medical school should the Lord continue to lead him towards that dream.
Dr. Jeff and Roseanne are leaning towards some other scholarships-seeing the need to contemplate other disciplines as necessary, like business. They would also like to see some men scholarshipped to meet ongoing nursing needs.
At present, the cost of nursing school as about $110 monthly for about 2 years. Anael's seminary is about $1500 yearly, Raul's work/study is $700 yearly, Joni's schooling/room and board/tutoring/transportation is about $5000, and the little girls, Noelia and Shelby, need about $70 monthly between them.
So those are our commitments in a nutshell! With Patricia being the only nursing student left with any time to speak of, that commitment is close to completed. There is one other prospect pending need and approval by the committee. As funds are available, we will take on more students.
To those who have made this possible thus far, we are grateful, as is the Hospital!
Our current position with our mission board, Cornerstone International, is long term/part time, so this allows us to still keep our account active for these needs. Any contributions can be send there via online donation ( or still the old address of PO Box 192, Wilmore KY 40390.

Gratefully, John and Penny Alden





Noelia and  Shelby

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 2015 Back in Honduras

John with his Villanueva girls
 New Year's Day found us winging our way from freezing Tulsa to flipflop Honduras. Our preference is to tolerate the rain and mud there during this, the rainy season, in favor of less sweat. As you can see in all the fotos, definitely was warm enough to remind us we had returned to the tropics.
We coordinated our arrival to coincide with our old neighbors, the Merritts, so got to catch up with them on the flight down and the 5 hr. ride out to the hospital.
We spent our 2 weeks visiting hospital staff, village folk, and church friends. Shared many tortillas, several meals of "here's looking at you" fried fish, fresh pineapple. The biggest accomplishment of our time there was to finalize all plans for Joni's entry into a large city bilingual school. That was no small venture, as its over an hour away over horrifically potholey roads, and we had to borrow vehicles. Joni (17) began Tuesday as an audit student for the next 2 quarters, to catch up in Math and English. It deserves a blog of its own, so stay tuned for "He has a Dream"!
Don Pablo's self-styled new home-he is faithfully repaying the loan that allowed him to put his family all under one roof.

Unexpected surprise on arrival was to find Drs. Shaw and Sharon Yount and their 2 girls visiting., who were there when we arrived in 2004.  Here is a foto of the Vintage Missionaries- Reunion! 

Seminary student, Anael, visiting with John in the new Sunday School classroom.

Another unexpected surprise- got to accompany friend Ritza during the birth of her second baby, a boy. She was one of the first Honduran nurses to join us over 10 years ago.

Recently returned from Italy, where she went to work, Olga and Renan are now planning to marry later this year. Her absence convinced him he wanted to be a father and a husband, and they are now coming to church as a family.

Lisa, Mom of the Boys Home, being loved on by Prodigal Jose, recently returned from a foray back on the streets chasing crack. Pray for him.

Some of our nurses at change of shift.

The bridge reconstruction has begun,  almost 12 years after the accident that cost 2 lives. 

Estelle and Julia Barnett, ex-Tulsaites, back for the 2015 school year of El Camino School.

"My, what big eyes you have!"

Our hostes with the mostest! Doli treated us to a feast.

Instead of a breezeway to protect one from rain as they exit the plane or walk out
on the tarmac, a handy basket of umbrellas awaits the passengers!
Kind of tiny! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scattered Puzzle Pieces

Winding down our 2 1/2 weeks visit back to Honduras.  Every place we visit, we see pieces of the puzzle that was "Aldens in Honduras" for almost 9 years. Eating with Honduran friends, we sat around our old kitchen table that John designed, with the handmade chairs. Sipping coffee with fellow missionaries, we sat around the patio table John designed for me. Admired with nostalgia the bed John designed for us, and were delighted to see how well our small-scale furniture fit in Christine's little casita. Our rug looks perfect in another missionary home. We see and hear Deana riding my motorscooter up and down the hill as she teaches Spanish. The projector donated by someone in our Tulsa Sunday School class is meeting the needs of the church, as well as the hospital with the nurses and in the honduran bilingual school. On and on....when I mentioned it to someone, they responded by saying, "Its the same as your influence here- its scattered around the community, everywhere".  At least it made me see the scattered household items in a different light! 

Great expansion of nurses' station at rear. Good job, Mike!
Xiomara, 1st. homegrown LPN from scholarship
program to sign contract
Have long since lost count of the number of homes we've visited, the babies we've cuddled, the meals we've shared, but  can say, "It is VERY good". We see growth in the church both in numbers and in spiritual growth and taking responsibility. We see a well-organized, efficient, and MUCH nicer nurse's station, thanks to an addition that blocks the fierce sun and gives our nurses a much-needed space to prepare meds and also have a place to heat their own food and that of patients. We see our first scholarshipped LPN signing a contract and stepping up to the plate as a well-prepared and respected addition, and 2 more students that have begun their year of mandatory social service that they owe the government. For the first time, the hospital has adequate staff in nursing, thanks to many who have contributed to the scholarships for the nurses.

Lunching with new believers.
Yuri, in white, now doing her social service
with us. Thank you, Mike and Cathy Breckinridge, for
investing in her!
Emanuel #1- mom died after birth
In a brief conversation with Dr and Rosanne McKenney, founders and directors of the hospital work, they expressed their desire to see us continue the scholarship fund indefinitely. We're thankful they have found it a blessing. Its the key to expansion here, to have local, homegrown nurses. There is now a committee here that manages the applications,  and the monthly distribution of tuition to each student. In our absence these past 8 months, its proved to run smoothly, funds being distributed from the hospital administrator. Right now, there is one probable applicant for a scholarship for 2014, so we are making that need known now. It costs them about $100 monthly for 12-16 months, depending on whether they go to a private or a public program. There are benefits to both. Alejandra has chosen the public one, which would be 12 months, with a need for a small stipend to support her during her year of social service.  Our account is open at Cornerstone International, with a project fund marked for nurses' scholarships.
Emanuel #2- successful repair in US of spina
Emanuel #3- late in life unexpected joy
They make it so easy- just look under longterm missionaries,  click on Aldens, and there is an easy way to donate directly to that fund from there. Things have become SO efficient since we began in 2004!

We are headed out of the country now, but wanted memories to be fresh. The new role of being listeners, encouragers, and counselors was different- but we had a delightfully memorable time. Blessings, John and Penny

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Aprovechando el Tiempo- Making the most of the time! Nov. 3 2013

Arrived Honduras for a 2 1/2 week visit last Wednesday. We've had a delightful few days full of visits to mainly Honduran friends and staff, Sensing an urgency to share deeply and without much preamble amongst Hondurans we know and have loved. Some that have at one time seemed to have walked with the Lord and are either backslidden or were never saved. The Lord has given us some rich visits, one on top of the other. Lunch one place, another visit, then supper in another home, all deep and rich. The schedule began filling on arrival. Trying for 1:1 visits with staff and church folk, as most involve deep stuff. 1 staff nurse's husband has been murdererd since we last saw her. One student has lost her gran (who was her mom). A church member has left his many kids and wife for another "christian" woman...brazenly being seen with her in the village. Their kids go to school together. Heavy stuff. Hurting hearts. 
The Lord arranged for a former assistant of John's to be back in the area for her second baby- someone he loved like his own. We got to take she and the baby (and kin!) home to the campo between church and a lunch invite today- great joy for John. And that birth will bring other family back to the rural village so we will see some unexpected people from our past. God is good. Without Him bringing these people home, we'd never have had time to see them all!
John doing what he loves- 
View of the coastal waters from where we are staying

Our LPN student's family

Steep climb to visit with a student/friend

Monday, October 7, 2013

Northwest Fun-The Redwoods Bike Ride

Day 1 from the CA/OR border south
October 6, 2013  Left my last blog hanging, wondering if  John's shoulder would really permit him to complete his long-awaited bicycle adventure with his friend Bill over Labor Day.  Well, it really happened!  John and Bill spent 6 days riding together from the CA border south thru the Redwoods along the Pacific Coast, ending at the Golden Gate Bridge. We took several side trips to sightsee, and to visit with 2 sets of friends. The weather was perfect...couldn't have been a better trip. Then we spent 2 days near Tillamook, OR on the beach, with my sister Shellie, just winding down after a demanding week.  Ask John if he'll show you the hardcopy book I made him of the adventure!
Day 6, riding the Golden Gate Bridge
Enjoying the OR beach at end of bikeride

The allotted time here in our home in WA has flown by.  We've enjoyed beginning to put down roots in our sunday School class, getting to know more folks weekly. John continues to be involved with the neighbor boys, 6 and 8, who see him as a Grandpa. He rides one to school daily, and both are in our home frequently, working on numbers and letters with Checkers thrown in! Thru John's involvement with the boys, the mom asked me to Bible study with her, and I have delighted in that.  John continues to ride bike daily to stay in shape, and I have found a daily walking partner.

This past weekend, we planned a 4 day trip to drive the North Cascade Hwy over to Bellingham, WA to see fellow missionary friends, Leon and Judy Greene. The night we crossed over the mountains, the pass got 2 feet of snow, so we were none too early with our exploring. After spending 3 nights with them, we went south to see another couple from our Honduran Adventure, the Kesslers. We loved their healing cottage, and know we'll go back when we have opportunity. Didn't see sun from the time we left home til we came back over the Cascades into eastern WA. Thankful we live on the sunny side!

The time in the NW is drawing to a close, as we need to be back in Tulsa soon to fly down to Honduras for a visit. 10 days from now, we pack up the winter clothes and holiday decorations and head back to Tulsa, with a visit in Sun City, AZ with my folks. We will have just 4 days there to unpack the cold-weather gear, repack the flipflops and shorts, and fly to Honduras in time for a nursing school graduation. Next blog will capsule that trip- our first as "visitors", not residents!
John studying with Graison on the patio

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Opportunities/needs at Loma de Luz

Teachers (college grad requirement) and teachers aids (high school degree required) wanted! No Spanish required. Check out the new video for the bilingual school that is part of the ministry here at Hospital Loma de Luz. The school year runs February though November. (copied from Abby and Rimas' blog)

Breaking the silence

Just noted that last blog was early May! I have composed many in my head...but there they remain in the black hole. The last thing I'd mentioned was that John was going to have shoulder surgery. Well, that is now almost 3 months behind him . He had a partial shoulder replacement, with a new ball being put in and another rotator cuff repair of the same shoulder. He says that he'd never do it again...but living with constant pain, it was the only alternative. After many weeks of physical therapy, we were released to travel from Tulsa back to Moses Lake, WA on Aug. 2!

So, besides daily trips to the gym to use the stationary bicycle, and 3 times a week with the therapist, what occupied our 3 months? Well, John's surgery was May 20, during all the tornado warnings and touchdowns in Oklahoma. Less than 2 weeks later, we closed on the condo on the Riverside bicycle trail and spend weeks making it a home. Both the realtor and the painter (her husband!) were close friends, and to their credit, we ended the 3 weeks of painting and repairs even better friends! There is nothing they don't know about us now, having spent that much time at close quarters, often from about sunup til sundown, with poor John in pain all the time! They even were gracious enough to let us move a lot of impetuously- bought furniture into their own living room while we awaited the readiness of the condo.

Having left everything we own in Moses Lake, WA, we had to start from scratch, much like our beginnings 9 years ago in Honduras! But its beginning to look like us, we've proved it works for overnighters and meals, and we're getting to know our little community there. I think its a good fit! In between all the hard work, we spent weekends with our kids, Kate, Jake, and Dan, and 5 of our 7 grandkids. Jake came by the condo several times to offer his muscles to get some of the hard things done.

I began working once weekly at Christ for Humanity, a multifaceted ministry from whom we received medical supplies during our years in Honduras. Other women from our church volunteer there, so its good fellowship as well as delightful to be working at the place thats blessed Loma de Luz so much. We are enjoying reconnecting to church friends from the past!

We left Aug. 2 to travel north for what remains of the warm weather in Moses Lake, WA. We are still planning to spend summers here, and winters in Tulsa, hoping to capitalize on the best of both places. Our 4 day drive NW was enjoyable, reminiscing about the past, planning the future, detouring thru Glacier National Park, where we spent our 10th wedding anniversary. On spur of the moment,we called a former short-term missionary friend that lives in Montana, and she was able to be flexible enough to meet us in Great Falls, and we had 4 hours of sharing together as we journeyed north to Glacier. Thank you, Kristal, for making time in your young life for us oldsters! You inspired us with your dependence in the Lord, your faithfulness in adversity, your transparency.

Glacier was very nostalgic, full of "remember when's", trying to recreate events and timelines of our past. Just the privilege of having energy and means to see the grandeur of the Lord there was humbling.
First ever "self-foto" in Glacier!

We arrived in Moses Lake with our home there beautifully groomed by our neighbors, the Kirks, for our homecoming. We only had 3 days to unpack and re-acquaint ourselves with things before leaving with the Kirks on an adventure that had been planned since winter: test-driving their new RV with a trip to Mt. Ranier. We'd never RV'ed before, as we are tent-campers and backpackers, and I'd not been to Ranier since I was about 10. Our Creator certainly outdid Himself on that one! Enjoyed evening campfires, MANY marshmallows, roasted to perfection, Ranger programs, hiking, lots of fotos. 
We're now fine-tuning John's next adventure that he began planning while bedridden from a motorscooter accident in Honduras back in February. We are meeting his Tulsa friend, Bill, in northern CA around Labor Day for John to test out his new shoulder with a week bicycle ride thru the Redwoods and down to San Francisco. It will be a leisurely trip, sightseeing and visiting, with me carrying all the gear in the car so the guys can just enjoy. What will John plan next? Stay tuned for his next adventure!
with our friends at Ranier
Note their license plate- Awesome God- and the view in front!
Hard to imagine, but John was actually sitting down!

Incredible view in Reflection Lake