Women keep turning tragedy into good news

Friends salvage scrap metal to help purchase Bibles for poor families in Honduras

By Ryan Quinn, Published:

It’s a fitting destiny for a house that was once home to a pastor and a Christian counselor.

The scrap metal from Sandra Murphree and Carol Saenger’s former home, which burned down early Sunday morning for unknown reasons while the two were out of town, will be sold to buy Bibles for poor families in Honduras as part of a medical mission trip in March led by Frankfort’s First United Methodist Church.

Murphree, 67, is pastor of Resurrection United Methodist Church in Louisville and former associate pastor of First United Methodist from 2000 to 2009. Saenger, 72, is a licensed Christian counselor at Resurrection who also previously worked at First United Methodist.

Jeremiah Littleton, 34, a long-time friend of Murphree and Saenger, came up with the idea. He said there has never been enough money to provide Bibles along with much-needed medical care and access to clean water to the people of Tegucigalpa, Honduras’ poverty-stricken capital.

“We definitely did not want to take away from those medical efforts,” Littleton said.

“But thankfully, Carol and Sandra’s house burned down, which will give us a lot of money,” he joked, making Murphree and Saenger laugh.

Littleton said the scrap metal – from file cabinets, refrigerators, washers, driers and other objects ruined by the blaze – could bring in $200. That would buy 50 $4 Spanish New and Old Testament Bibles.

“It means so much to people that have so little,” said Cindy Littleton, 35, Jeremiah’s wife.

“Being from eastern Kentucky, I thought I knew what poor was until I visited inner-city Honduras,” Jeremiah said.

Jeremiah said they aim to buy enough Bibles to give one to each family that comes into the clinic, which sets up in a church in the Fuerzas Unidas neighborhood of Tegucigalpa and provides basic medical services as well as a dentist, an OBGYN, a pharmacy, a veterinarian and a health education program.

The program teaches the importance of habits such as washing hands and drinking water instead of soda. Jeremiah said soda is a problem because Coca-Cola is cheaper in Honduras than clean water.

Jeremiah and Cindy helped remove the scrap metal from the house Wednesday afternoon. They weren’t even done with the garage, yet they had already mostly filled a large trailer.

Cindy said removing the scrap metal also helped Murphree and Saenger remember what was in the house so they could document items for insurance purposes.

Saenger and Murphree said they loved the idea of giving Bibles along with medical aid to the people of Tegucigalpa.

“I believe that we are spiritual beings,” Murphree said. “And, in the long run, it’s their spiritual condition that’s going to last.”

Jeremiah said people can donate money to First United Methodist to help provide medical services or water, and they can donate to Louisville’s Resurrection United Methodist – Murphree’s church – if they’d like to help provide Bibles.

He said the mission trip, though led by First United Methodist, includes people from other churches and has even included people of no faith. He said missionaries pay their own way.

“Anything you give is going to go straight to the people of Honduras,” he said.

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  • Way to go Jeremiah and Cindy, two very good people! Glad no one was hurt and it's nice to see the two ladies are able to be in such good spirits after losing their home.