Saturday, May 25, 2013

Micah and Abbey

Warning: This blog posts includes details of a father boasting about his children!

My children really do make a difference here at The Leadership Center in Honduras. Who would have thought that when God called us back to Honduras, He would be using 3 year-old, Micah, and 1 year-old, Abigail, to make an impact on the students, staff, and volunteers at TLC? Following are just a few examples:

-Few things light up our cook’s eyes like Micah and Abigail do. Our cook deserves to have some exciting things happen to her every day. She works so hard for the school and rarely takes a break. But, those few times each day that she gets to hold Abigail in the kitchen, or throw rocks outside with Micah are precious. For her, and for everyone watching!

-Many of our students have young siblings, cousins, nieces, or nephews that they “left” back home to come and study. Micah and Abigail are a constant reminder to them of the joy that their family brings. Being away from family is extremely difficult for our students, particularly in a culture where few young women live away from home. So, a small glimpse of their family each day is a warm welcome.

-Micah helps our students learn English. He is only beginning to understand that some students don’t speak English well because they have only been studying for one month. Nonetheless, he continues to ask the students to be his playmates and participate in conversation. This challenges them to listen and understand more English. (Micah is also picking up more Spanish phrases – he is a pro at “Buenos Dias, Buenas Tardes, Como Esta, Gracias, De Nada, Como manecio,” and a few others)

-Micah and Abbey provide some “late night” entertainment at the Rahm household from time to time. The other night, the three business students (Olga, Yanetzi, and Alex) came to our house for some help with their homework. Micah and Abbey entertained, and certainly did not disappoint. The students stayed for a while after their questions were answered, most likely because they had never seen a little white boy dance around the living room in pajamas before. It is a joy having students in our house!!

-Micah and Abbey bring an innocence to campus that may not exist without them. In a culture that is plagued by violence, crime, drug trafficking, corruption, and much more, two young children are a fresh reminder of God’s love and plan for humanity.

-Micah and Abbey are a constant reminder of God’s grace for me and Hailey. It can be easy for me to get focused on my responsibilities with the organization, but Micah and Abbey never let me forget that I am a father before anything else. Every time I walk in our door to Abbey saying, “Dada, Dada, Dada” in her high voice, I am reminded of what is most important in life.

While these are just a few examples, I am proud to see my children impacting those living at The Leadership Center in Honduras. It is a joy and privilege to watch them grow and learn here. I think the students would echo my belief that life for everyone is just a little bit better because of Micah and Abigail.

As Micah would say…”Hasta Luego!”

Friday, May 17, 2013

Feeling Grateful

I’m sitting (well, actually laying) on our couch in our humble brick home in the middle-of-nowhere Honduras extremely grateful. I’m grateful that I can peacefully allow Micah and Abigail to play with students, volunteers, and staff without having to worry about their safety. I’m grateful that Micah can run around throwing rocks, work on his tree fort, and make new friends without thinking he’ll get kidnapped or held for ransom. I’m grateful that my family can walk freely in our community without fear of being carjacked or robbed at gunpoint.

I’m also sad. I’m sad that the fears that I can so freely live without haunt many other missionaries and non-profit workers in the country of Honduras. My heart is heavy for a country that so badly needs the help and support of the world, yet groups like the PeaceCorps leave because of violence and safety. It has only been recently that I have come to fully understand this reality.

We had the extreme privilege of making some new friends recently. This family has been missionaries in Honduras for over 12 years. Until recently, they had only experienced “minor” crime or threats to their safety. However, last year on their anniversary, our friends were held at gunpoint, beat up, and robbed of their truck. After enjoying an afternoon movie and dinner at one of their favorite restaurants, they were about to enter their room for the evening. Just as the key entered the door, an SUV screeched up behind them, and 5 men exited – all armed with M-16’s and dressed in police gear. They were robbed of their belongings, beaten up, and left on the ground as the men drove away in their truck.

Another family that Hailey has known (via email) since we were here in 2011 recently decided to return to the US because of growing violence and safety issues in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, where they live. With two young children, they feel it is necessary to return home.

I am sure there are countless other stories that are similar, yet I sit on my couch, knowing that my family is being helped and deeply cared for by some amazing people. Micah is currently in the kitchen helping our cook make tortillas (he is probably better at the eating than making part). He has been able to help two volunteers finish the construction of an oven. He runs around freely without having any idea that he lives in one of the most dangerous countries in the world, according to statistics. His only injuries are due to him being a 3 year-old boy, and not due to the fact that Honduras has a high rate of violence.

So, the next time I wish that we lived closer to a city so that I could drink iced coffee, purchase any groceries I wanted, or control the temperature of my water, I will remember how grateful I am that we live in a peaceful place. I will remember that God has allowed us to get involved in a ministry that changes the lives of Hondurans, but also provides us a safe place to stay. I will be grateful that this couch I’m laying in not only provides physical comfort, but comfort from so many things that are bringing fear to my fellow missionaries and philanthropists around this country. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Great Night

Our family got to spend last night away from campus with a missionary family in Zambrano, a town about an hour away from The Leadership Center. This family has lived in Honduras for twelve! They are missionaries for Foundation Casa De Luz ( and are doing some wonderful work here. We had the privilege of some great conversation and encouragement, and some delicious cooking as well (Lasagna, Hamburgers, Snickerdoodles, and much more). Our family is truly blessed by this new friendship, and we look forward to many more fun times with the Schuberts! Thank you Ed and Val for blessings us tremendously with your encouragement and hospitality. We are praying for your upcoming time in the US and look forward to your return!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Visit to the Embassy

Today, I (Joseph) got to go into the capital city of Honduras (Tegucigalpa) for a meeting at the US Embassy. Several months ago, one of the Economics Officers at the Embassy contacted me to see if there was anything the Embassy could do to help The Leadership Center. After a great visit in March, he invited me to the Embassy to talk in more detail. Unfortunately, he was called out of town for business, but set me up with one of his co-workers.

After a long morning (motorcycle paperwork not in order, no license plate on another motorcycle, flat tire on another, and more), I finally made it to the Embassy 15 minutes before my meeting started. I sat in the lobby waiting, only to find out that my passport hadn't been processed properly, so I didn't clear security. Thankfully, a brief conversation and some extra help got me in just in time.

I had a wonderful conversation with an Embassy officer about the work The Leadership Center is doing to improve the lives of young women and communities around Honduras. The officer was encouraged and will put me in touch with a wide group of people in the coming weeks. Hopefully, these new contacts will help provide internships, funding, mentorships, teachers, leadership opportunities, and much more for the students of TLC.

It has been great to see how doors keep opening without me having to go run through them. When the first Economics Officer visited campus and I asked him him how he got my contact information, he said, "I don't remember, but I'm glad I got it" (Joseph Paraphrase). Me too!

I returned to campus greatly encouraged and motivated by my conversation at the Embassy!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Our First Week

Tomorrow will be the end of our first week in Honduras, and I feel like there’s already so much to say. Because we are simply unable (due to time, Internet capacity, etc.) to write very regularly, most of our blogs will be bullet points of some of the highlights or lessons learned from the past week. So, here goes entry #1:

-The travel to campus went pretty well last Tuesday. Our children decided that sleeping on the plane wasn’t on their agenda, so we had two exhausted little ones when we arrived in the Tegucigalpa airport. Thankfully, they both fell asleep in the van, and the bumpy roads only lulled them into a deeper sleep. We arrived on campus with plenty of daylight left, which allowed us to unpack and get settled.
      -Our second night on campus, there was a MASSIVE thunderstorm. It was bigger than anything we experienced during 2011. It rained throughout the entire night, and I don’t think the lightning and thundered lightened up until 5 AM. I (Joseph) spent about half of the night in Micah’s bed, snuggling a little guy curled up in the fetus position. Abbey slept through it all like a champ! Needless to say, Hailey and I barely slept a wink.
      -I (Joseph) had to make a trip into Zambrano to get some supplies for the children. A student who was sick came along with me so that she could see a doctor and get some medicine. This trip perfectly highlighted many things about Honduran culture:
1)   The doctor’s office was closed right in the middle of the afternoon. There was no reason, but we were told the doctor would return at 3:00 PM. Keeping true to Honduran culture, she showed up quite late.
2)   The small store in Zambrano was closed – again, no good reason at all.
3)   My motorcycle wouldn’t start after dropping Claudia (the student) off at the doctor’s office, so I had to push it down a hill and pop the clutch to get it running.
4)   I got pulled over by the police (because I’m American, most likely), but (surprisingly) wasn’t hassled too much.
5)   The medicine our student needed was nowhere to be found in Zambrano.
6)   On the way back, we came upon a Catholic worship service. The interesting thing is that it was a walking service, taking up the entire street. We went approximately ½ mile in 20 minutes and almost got our heads blown off by bottle rockets (Jesus and Mary both loved bottle rockets, apparently).
7)   We had to stop in the middle of the road for a horse to bend over and eat his own feces. He literally did his business and then turned around and ate it. I know that’s gross, but in that moment, it highlighted for me the extreme poverty in Honduras (either that, or horses have some weird habits that I am unfamiliar with).
     -We have eaten 6 months worth of rice, beans, eggs, and tortillas in the last week, but are grateful that we aren’t going hungry.
      -Today we had a wonderful church service led by several of the students. We enjoyed the Spanish worship songs, I (Joseph) led a few songs in English, and we were inspired by Yanetzi’s sermon, titled “Jesus should make you smile.” She spoke of the joy that Christians should receive from everything in their lives, simply because our lives are a gift from God.
      -Upon arriving, Micah said, “I will start talking to the students in 5 days.” Sure enough (and true to his word), Micah began enjoying the students today, and even asked several of them to play with him. He is enjoying roaring at chickens, playing on the tire swing, “working” on his tree fort, and splashing in puddles in his boots. He has adjusted quite well.
      -Within the first few days here, Abbey seemed destined to be walking within a couple weeks. However, she has decided to return to crawling over the last day or two. Not even oatmeal cookies could convince her to walk from Hailey to me this afternoon. We are both hoping that she can be persuaded to walk more in the near future, as it will make our (primarily Hailey’s) life much easier when she is walking on her own.
      -Hailey and I are both enjoying reading a new book titled “Going Deep” by Gordon MacDonald. We had the privilege of attending a weekend event where Pastor MacDonald was the guest speaker. We have both dived into the book the past few days, and have been greatly encouraged to become “more deep” in our relationship with God, and to encourage others to do the same.
      -We have been having some great conversations about our impact on the students here at The Leadership Center. We are both excited about the opportunities that will come in the future.

I suppose that’s about it for now. We’ll post again within a week and will try to include some photos shortly. Please keep in touch with us, as we are greatly encouraged by brief emails or updates. Please also keep us in your prayers, and let us know how we can be encouraging and praying for you.

Many Blessings,
The Rahm Family

Friday, April 26, 2013

Our Brief Story...

In early October of 2012, our family moved from Seattle, WA to Nashville, TN as the start of a new chapter in our lives. I (Joseph) was returning to full-time schoolwork in a doctoral program in Leadership at Lancaster Bible College. No longer would I have been able to work as an engineer, attend school, continue our work in Honduras, and be a halfway decent dad and husband. Thus, we decided to pack up our belongings and move to Tennessee, where I would have easier (and cheaper) access to Pennsylvania and Honduras, and Hailey could pick up some photography work to help support the family. Little did we know that about six months later we would be packing up once again, but this time to move back to Honduras.

On Super Bowl Sunday, we began our day like any other day. We woke up, drank coffee and ate breakfast with our children (the kids didn’t do the coffee part), put Abbey down for her morning nap, and then left for church. After church, I had a meeting to attend (at the church), so Hailey returned home to put the children down for a nap. Because we only have one car, I had to wait after the meeting was over for Hailey to return to get me with the kids. Then, it was off to Hailey’s brother’s house for a Super Bowl party.

Rewind just a couple hours to my meeting…it was a meeting for people interested in getting involved in missions at Brentwood Baptist (The church we have been attending since our move). At the end of the meeting, I had a couple hours to wait, and I spent it reading and praying. It was during this time that I felt God impressing upon my heart that He desired a change in our lives. Both Hailey and I felt like we were spinning our wheels here in Nashville, and weren’t serving in ways that God has gifted us. To make a long story short, I decided to write Hailey an email explaining everything that I was feeling and thinking.

At that same time (I didn’t know this until about 9 PM that night), Hailey was having a conversation with her younger sister about our lives here in Nashville. While it has been a joy to be around Hailey’s side of the family, Hailey explained to her sister that our family was not serving in ways that we would like to serve. Furthermore, Hailey felt that God would be opening up doors for her to move away from photography and back into service. She told her sister, “I just don’t want to be the one to push this, so I am praying that God speaks to Joseph.”

Reminder: The abovementioned paragraph occurred as I was sending the email.

So, Hailey now comes to pick me up at church and head to the Super Bowl party. We have a great time with family, but neither one of us mention what we had been feeling that afternoon. We left the party early (that’s what happens when you have two young kids) and went home. After getting the kids in bed, Hailey sits down to read her email. To her surprise (looking back, it wasn’t much of a surprise…that’s how God works), she had an email from me explaining why I think God is calling us back into ministry/service.

Over the next several days, Hailey and I spent a lot of time in thought and prayer (mostly individually). We both felt like God was opening up the doors for us to return to Honduras as a family. While there were several practical reasons to stay in Nashville through the summer, at least, we wanted to respond to God’s call as soon as possible. Thus, with weddings on the books in June and July, and a trip to the Northwest scheduled in July, we decided to pack up and leave at the end of April. We recognized that logistically this would present some challenges, but were reminded of the many great men/women in the Bible who did things for God that seemed crazy by worldly standards.

Since we made the decision to move to Honduras a few months ago, we have gotten a wide variety of responses. However, we have never lost confidence in God’s call, and not once have we doubted whether we should move forward with our move. We have had greater peace, and even though circumstances here haven’t changed, our outlook has. Both Hailey and I can truly say that we are excited and grateful to be responding to God’s call in our lives. While Honduras will certainly present many challenges, there is great opportunity as well.

Please feel free to share our story with others. We hope that it will inspire others to listen to God’s call. Also, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers – they are much needed and greatly appreciated! And if you ever find yourself in Central America, please contact us. We’d love to put you up for a few nights and allow you to experience our ministry.

Many Blessings,
The Rahm Family (Joseph, Hailey, Micah, & Abigail)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

One Week Left

Well, we are down to our final week in the US before we depart on April 30th for Honduras. We still have our entire house to pack, phone calls to make to get things in order for our departure, money to raise, and much more on our ever-increasing list of "To Do's." Even in the midst of a busy schedule, we are at peace, and very much looking forward to our arrival in Honduras next week. As difficult as it is to leave our family and friends, we eagerly anticipate everything that God has in store for us in the coming weeks, months, and years (or however long we are in Honduras for).

It has been an interesting last few weeks for our family. I went to Honduras at the end of March to host a mission's team from University Presbyterian's College Group (The INN, in Seattle WA). Less than 36 hours after I returned, Hailey left for one week in Seattle to visit family and friends. In the middle of the hectic schedule, I was wrapping up the end of my quarter in school, and Hailey has been trying to work through all her photography commitments. Not only has it been a busy time for us as a family, but it has been interesting to hear the wide array of responses we have gotten when talking to family, friends, and acquaintances about our move. On one end of the spectrum, we have received some great encouragement and support. Whether from new and old friends, strangers picking up furniture that we sold on Craigslist, or extended family, it has been a breath of fresh of air to hear that we are in fact doing something noble and honorable. However, on the other end of the spectrum, we have received numerous confused looks, questions that doubt our motives for going to Honduras and our methods of delivering education, and more. While this has been a bit discouraging, it has not brought any doubt to our family, nor has it drained our excitement.

So, as we begin the last week here in the US, we remind ourselves of the things that we are grateful for: warm showers, unlimited electricity, the ability to cook/eat whatever we want, close friends and family, our own transportation, and much more. Yet, while these things are wonderful, they don't compare to the joy we will receive from following God's direction for this next season of our lives.

I have attached a recent picture of our family. It was taken by our friends Eddie and Chrissy who have a photography business here in Nashville ( Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we take this next step in our journey!

-The Rahm Family