In Hines Sight...

Soles & Souls

Below is an article (with pictures) that I wrote for the July edition of the Bookfun Magazine. It is an on-line publication featuring family and Christian oriented authors. Every month there are many encouraging articles and it is a great way to learn of new Christian authors. So if you enjoy reading and being encouraged please visit http://www.bookfun.org

 

Now that July is upon us it has forced me to realize that half of 2018 has already passed. Where does the time go? June was an extremely busy month for us as we hosted four consecutive mission teams from the U.S. here in Honduras. As you are thinking about 4th of July celebrations, and maybe a family vacation, I’d like to share one story with you about something that happened during a visit from one of our June teams.

Every year we are blessed by a team who comes down and ministers to children in schools, works on a construction project-usually a new church building-and shares the gospel while distributing water filters. As you might imagine there is a lack of safe, filtered\purified water in much of Honduras.

While we want to bless families with improved physical health we are ultimately interested in their spiritual health. As Christians we believe that we are eternal beings as we have been created in the image of God himself. According to the Bible the choice is ours where we will spend eternity; either in God’s presence in a place of perfection, peace and rest, or, in a place completely separated from God’s presence where there is nothing but pain, suffering, and regret.

As important as is our physical health much more important is our spiritual health. These water filters are a great evangelism tool because they serve as simple illustrations, and great segues, that help people give a clear presentation of the gospel. For example, the Bible says that Jesus is the Living Water so it is easy to move the conversation from purified water to Living Water. Another example is that the water filters are a free gift just like the gift of salvation offered by God through Jesus.

So much for the short introduction. Last month with one of our teams we visited a very materially poor community about four hours from La Campa and near the capital city Tegucigalpa. One afternoon after a great morning spent ministering to children in a small school we went door to door with our buckets and water filters in the community surrounding the new church we were building. We prayed together and then set out on foot from the construction site anxious, in a mostly good way, to see what God had in store for us that afternoon. We walked for about fifteen minutes until we reached the first house. As soon as we got started I received a phone call from one of our interpreters at the construction site. Something had come up and the vehicle I was driving had to be moved.

Setting out on Foot

Setting Out on Foot to Visit Families

Just as we were starting I had to walk back to the construction site and move my vehicle. I was a little upset about this, mostly at myself because I should not have parked the van where I did. While on my way back a woman with a small child asked me if she could have a filter. She lives in the opposite direction of where the team was going but I told her we would do our best to come and visit with her and continued on my way, still a little upset.

Since it was late in the afternoon I decided to bring the van with me to where the team was since we were going to leave together anyway. The woman I had talked to earlier decided she wasn’t going to take any chances on me and went to where the team was. In addition to her a few more families had gathered at the first house.

There was an older woman named Cristina in the small group and she was not wearing any shoes. While this was an obviously materially poor community someone without shoes does not necessarily mean that they don’t have shoes. In the rural parts of Honduras, like rural parts of the U.S., some people like to go shoeless. However, we learned that this was not the case with Cristina when, after the presentation, she asked us if we had any shoes for her.

Cristina

Cristina Without Shoes

Our first thought was no, we have water filters but no shoes. And then we remembered something. One of our previous teams had left a grocery bag in the back of the van under a seat and inside that bag was a pair of slightly used gym shoes. Unknown to me Jean had asked multiple times if anyone from those teams was missing a pair of shoes but nobody claimed them. We pulled the shoes out of the bag and gave them to Cristina. We still don’t know whose they were but we are so grateful we had them.

After dinner we always have a time for the team members to share and reflect about the events of the day. Like many of our teams this team was divided into two groups. About half served at the construction site and the other half did ministry in other locations. Since we can’t be in two places at the same time there are a lot of things that happen that everyone does not get to experience directly. Because of that the evening share time is almost always a special time to hear about the things God did at the other locations.

The evening of the day that we gave the shoes to Cristina was no exception. Several members of the team shared about the different ways they had seen God at work throughout the day and how they had been impacted. But then Karla, one of our interpreters, said she had something to share. I thought to myself that there would be nothing new or exciting because I had served with her all day in the same places. I thought that whatever she had to share I already knew about.

But, our God is a God of surprises and He often humbles me when I think I know everything that He has been up to. Karla began to tell a shoe story. She began by saying she met a woman who asked her for a pair of shoes. I thought to myself, ok, she is going to tell the Cristina shoe story. But then she said she went to the woman’s house by herself so I knew this was a different shoe story. The woman Karla talked to has a son and he had outgrown his gym shoes. He needed them for obvious reasons but she said she did not have the money to get him new shoes and asked if the team had shoes.

The team did not have shoes. Water filters yes, but shoes no. And we had already come up with a pair of shoes for Cristina. But God, as He always is, was at work in this situation long before us. While Karla was at home packing and preparing to spend two weeks serving with us and our first two teams she saw an old pair of gym shoes. She heard that still small voice tell her to pack the shoes.  Like most of us, she questioned the Lord about what she had heard. Why should I take these shoes? I don’t have the room for them in my suitcase. What need of another pair of shoes do I have? Imagine that, questioning the Lord of the universe who knows everything! But we all have.

The Lord was very patient with her as He is with all of us. And every time she questioned why He simply said to pack the shoes. Karla finally agreed and packed the shoes. When she went to the woman’s house and heard her story and need she then understood why the Lord had been so patiently insistent about her packing the shoes. The shoes were the exact size that the woman’s son needed.

I don’t know about you but so often I am looking for the big thing that the Lord wants to do with me or through me. There are times in our lives where the Lord does big things in and through us. There are times when He asks us to make big, life changing decisions. But there are so many more times that He asks us to do little things like pack a pair of old gym shoes. I am afraid to think about all of the times I have heard His still, small voice, and ignored Him. Or let myself get distracted to the point that I forgot about what I heard. Or questioned what I heard to the point that I talked myself out of doing what I heard Him tell me to do.

Our God is a God of the big things but He is also a God of the details, of the little things. Little things like old shoes. When you hear that voice, His quiet, gentle voice, telling you to do something that seems insignificant, I encourage you to be obedient immediately. Do what He is telling you because while it may seem insignificant to you, it is of tremendous importance to Him, and to the person He wants to bless through you.

Old Shoes

Old Shoes Can Be a Blessing

July 2018 Prayers and Praises

Please join us in these prayers and praises to God for all that He has done.

“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”-Psalm 5:3

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Please pray for the spiritual health of all of the churches we are serving with here in Honduras. Please pray for the spiritual health of the pastors, their families, and the congregations. There have been some things happen recently reminding us that we need to be on the alert because the enemy is always looking to divide and destroy. Update: God has been at work in some of these situations, particularly so in one church that went through some difficulties earlier this year but things have turned around dramatically recently.
  • Along the line of the first prayer request please pray for wisdom for us as we review what we have been doing, assess the success, and determine if there are changes that need to be made to improve. We believe the Lord is leading us to narrow our focus to a few communities so that we can spend more time in those communities and churches to help bring about real transformation. We’ve gotten spread pretty thin and it seems that we only get to spend very short amounts of time in lots of places and we’re not sure that is what is needed going forward. It seems that perhaps fewer healthier churches are better than a whole bunch of churches just barely hanging on, and there are a couple of churches here that are hanging on more than thriving right now. Update: We have received clarity as to how to move forward and concentrate our efforts a little better. There are still some decisions to be made but we think that we have more clear direction now.
  • Please continue to pray for a young man named Ruben whom we met in Mezcalillo last year. Ruben is paralyzed from the neck down. We’ve not been able to see him in quite some time now so we don’t know how he is doing but we assume he is still struggling with several physical issues related to his spinal cord injury. Update: we have visited Ruben a few more times and he is doing better but we still haven’t found an affordable way to get him the regular physical therapy that he needs. Please pray for the resources and place for him to stay to become available. We believe that with 6-9 months of intense therapy he can be much more self reliant but it will take a lot to get him to that point.
  • Please pray for the ministry of the new church in Mezcalillo, and pray that the new believers there will live out their responsibility to share the gospel with their neighbors.
  • Please pray for us as we continue making plans for our teams coming in July-September. Teams are already booking dates in 2019 too!
  • Please continue to pray for the family of Gloria Marina. She and her family live in Mezcalillo and they were the first family of Christ followers we found there in January 2016. They continue to face some very difficult personal situations right now. Update: Please pray specifically for a full recovery for Gloria Marina-she fell and broke her arm right at the wrist. She too will need physical therapy once the cast is removed to regain full use of her arm and hand.
  • Please continue to pray for San Cristobal; the work has been restarted and we are beginning to see some fruit. Please pray for the church to grow, that the Holy Spirit will move mightily, and that more people will choose to follow Jesus.
  • Please continue to pray for Pastor Claudio, his family, and his church. In partnership with a church in the Atlanta area we helped them with the construction of a church in their community called La Jagua. We are also doing evangelism with them in four communities and many people have been receptive to the message of hope and salvation available through Jesus Christ. Update: Our relationship with this pastor and church continues to grow. We are spending more time in these communities and there is much fruit. It looks like we’ll be working in this area for quite some time.
  • Please pray for Pastor Emilio, his family, and the congregation of Torre Fuerte here in La Campa. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and continued spiritual growth and impact in the community.
  • Please pray for us as we begin to finish the guest house on our property that was started some time ago. We have begun the work and we trust that God, as He has always done, will provide what we need to complete the house so that it can be used for ministry. Our goal is to have this house ready by the end of 2018. Update-we have our plans and God has His plans, and His plans are always better even though sometimes He surprises us. Because of a new situation we find ourselves needing to finish the house within the next couple of weeks. It has been a strain from the financial side and having to manage another project right now but the Lord is providing the resources and we are close to the finish line. Update #2: We did not finish the house in a couple of weeks but it was finished enough for a family to move into when needed. There are still some little things remaining to be done but the main projects are completed.
  • Please pray for us to receive our residency cards. Our papers for the next two years were approved but it is taking longer than usual to get our actual cards that make doing many things much easier.
  • Please pray for wisdom as we share, and for people to be receptive to the message of love, forgiveness, and salvation available through Jesus Christ.
  • Please pray against a spirit of fear that controls a lot of people we meet. Many people hear the truth and know they need to make a change but they are afraid for lots of different reasons. The reasons aren’t that important, just that they find courage and strength to not be scared or intimidated by others.
  • Please pray for the continued encouragement from our friends and family in the states. It is amazing what a blessing it is to receive even a short note from loved ones.
  • Please continue to pray for the reliability of our truck. Update: We have had another breakdown and major repair, and all of the other little things keep adding up as the truck ages. It is 8 years old with only 116,000 miles but the miles are much harder here. We really need a newer, higher quality truck. Please pray for God to provide this need for us. It is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on this truck to transport us, but more importantly, our teams.
  • To aid in minimizing the wear and tear on our truck, and a new truck whenever the Lord provides one, we need to make an investment in our road. We put in a nice concrete slab\bridge earlier this year to keep it from washing out at the bottom where the water drains from above. That has helped that part but we’ve been “patching” up the rest of the road periodically but it is a losing battle. Paving the entire road is not possible. However, we can strategically excavate and put down concrete\rock pathways for the truck. We also need to improve the runoff to prevent future damage. Please pray for the resources for this project.
  • Please pray for us, Dr. Maria, and the entire board of directors for the Family Health and Development Foundation Honduras. We will have much to share with all of you when we return to the states later this year. Please pray specifically about helping us to find medical equipment, office equipment, supplies, computers, etc. We are very new to this so any connections you can help us make are greatly needed and appreciated.
  • Please pray as the Spirit leads for the following pastors, their families, and the churches represented: Pastor Wilmer (San Pedro Sula), Pastor Emilio (La Campa), Pastor Jose Maria (Santa Teresa), Pastor Arturo (Gracias), Pastor Roberto (Gracias), Pastor Modesto (Gracias), Pastor Marco Tulio (Cruz Alta), Pastor Amilcar (Monqueta), Pastor Rosita (Gilguarapez), Pastor Jorge (Caiquin) and Pastor Marco Antonio (Olominas), Pastor Walterio (Tegucigalpa), Pastor Claudio (La Jagua) and Pastor Arnaldo (Coalaca), Pastor Franklin (Tela), and Pastor Fredy (La Paz).
  • Finances (see praise below). Please pray for our financial support to continue coming in strongly and consistently.
  • Please pray for our personal prayer lives to grow stronger and stronger. We can run around and do a lot of things, but without prayer we will not bear lasting spiritual fruit.
  • Please pray that we don’t neglect to maintain our relationships in the midst of doing ministry, the most important one being with our Lord, then with each other, then with our friends and family, while we continue to establish ourselves and our ministry in Honduras.
  • Please pray for our faith to stay strong, and grow even stronger, for continued protection from spiritual attack, and for strength when the attacks do come.
  • Please pray for us to be bold and courageous, to not miss any opportunities to glorify God, and to draw people closer to Jesus.

PRAISE:

  • Praise God for the approval by the government of our papers legally establishing The Family Health and Development Foundation Honduras. Not only that but we will be meeting this month with our engineer to review the land use plan, blueprints, and budgets. We are so excited to see how far God has brought us in a relatively short time.
  • It has been an amazing year of ministry with the short term mission teams who have already been here this year. We can’t thank all of you who have come and given of yourselves in obedience to God’s calling to find out where He is working and join Him because He is clearly at work in the western mountains of Honduras.
  • In June we celebrated our second new church building dedication service in Jagua. What an honor it was to participate in this service, and to see another church building that is being used to honor God and change lives!
  • Chebito gave us another scare in May with another very high fever as a result of a respiratory infection. Praise God that he is doing very well now. He has a bunch of teeth so he is eating and growing rapidly.
  • Praise God for the new believers in La Campa and Jagua as a result of the efforts of our short term mission teams this year. We also heard a report that ministry that was done in schools in La Paz in June is already bearing fruit.
  • Praise God for the recent reliability of the electricity and water systems! Praise God that this has continued through today!! We’ve not experienced significant outages in La Campa for quite some time now.
  • Praise God for the continuing increase in our language skills. We both still have much to learn but the language continues to be less and less of a barrier for us.
  • Praise God for the donations we have received for several different construction projects. We are not a construction ministry per se but construction does have its place. Update-the Sunday school classroom\kitchen in Cruz Alta now has walls, roof and a floor. This project will serve both the church and the future medical center. The children’s Sunday school classroom and kitchen project is underway in Mataras. The walls are finished and the floor and roof are being worked on now.
  • We continue to receive encouragement from so many of our friends, praise God for the encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Praise God for His continued faithfulness to provide for our needs through our friends and partner churches that faithfully and generously support our ministry.
  • Praise God for the great friends He has brought into our lives in La Campa, San Pedro Sula, and El Progreso. We are especially thankful for Pastor Emilio and his family, the Perez family, Lennar & Maria, Pastor Jorge and his family, Pastor Wilmer and his family, Pastor Walterio and his family in Tegucigalpa, Pastor Fredy and his family in Comayagua, and Tony, Juanita, and Rommel-our Hotel Plaza Victoria family in El Progreso.
  • Praise God for all of our prayer supporters because we can’t do what we do effectively without the prayer support of all of you.

April 2018 Prayer Requests and Praises

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Please pray for the spiritual health of all of the churches we are serving with here in Honduras. Please pray for the spiritual health of the pastors, their families, and the congregations. There have been some things happen recently reminding us that we need to be on the alert because the enemy is always looking to divide and destroy.
  • Along the line of the first prayer request please pray for wisdom for us as we review what we have been doing, assess the success, and determine if there are changes that need to be made to improve. We believe the Lord is leading us to narrow our focus to a few communities so that we can spend more time in those communities and churches to help bring about real transformation. We’ve gotten spread pretty thin and it seems that we only get to spend very short amounts of time in lots of places and we’re not sure that is what is needed going forward. It seems that perhaps fewer healthier churches are better than a whole bunch of churches just barely hanging on, and there are a couple of churches here that are hanging on more than thriving right now.
  • Please continue to pray for a young man named Ruben whom we met in Mezcalillo last year. Ruben is paralyzed from the neck down. We’ve not been able to see him in quite some time now so we don’t know how he is doing but we assume he is still struggling with several physical issues related to his spinal cord injury. Update-we are going to visit him this month to check on him and to assess the type of physical therapy he needs and the likely outcome of consistent therapy with two therapists coming from GA.
  • Please pray for the ministry of the new church in Mezcalillo, and pray that the new believers there will live out their responsibility to share the gospel with their neighbors.
  • Please pray for us as we continue making plans for our teams coming this year. June is completely booked and about half of July is booked. It looks like we will have a couple of teams in September as well this year. And we already have a team scheduled for 2019!!
  • Please continue to pray for the family of Gloria Marina. She and her family live in Mezcalillo and they were the first family of Christ followers we found there in January 2016. They continue to face some very difficult personal situations right now.
  • Please continue to pray for Arcamón. We’ve been doing outreach here since January 2016 and the work continues to be very difficult. People’s hearts are hard and they don’t want to hear about Jesus. We are encouraged because there was a time long ago when La Campa was like that too. Please pray for us that we will be able to spend more time there this year.
  • Arcamón continued-please pray for the families of Oliverio and Oscar. We first met Oliverio in January 2016 on the day he had a bad construction accident. We took him home from the medical clinic and have visited with him and his family several times since then. We met Oscar in September 2016 and the rest of his family on a recent visit. They too are very friendly, open to more visits, and seemingly open to hearing the Word. Please pray that these are some of the families who will help us establish the evangelical church in Arcamón one day.
  • Please continue to pray for San Cristobal; the work has been restarted and we are beginning to see some fruit. Please pray for the church to grow, that the Holy Spirit will move mightily, and that more people will choose to follow Jesus.
  • Please continue to pray for Pastor Claudio, his family, and his church. In partnership with a church in the Atlanta area we helped them with the construction of a church in their community called La Jagua. We are also doing evangelism with them in four communities and many people have been receptive to the message of hope and salvation available through Jesus Christ.
  • Please pray for Pastor Emilio, his family, and the congregation of Torre Fuerte here in La Campa. Things are going very well and we are making plans for a great year of ministry with them and our short term mission teams. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and spiritual growth in 2018.
  • Please pray for us as we begin to finish the guest house on our property that was started some time ago. We have begun the work and we trust that God, as He has always done, will provide what we need to complete the house so that it can be used for ministry. Our goal is to have this house ready by the end of 2018. Update-we have our plans and God has His plans, and His plans are always better even though sometimes He surprises us. Because of a new situation we find ourselves needing to finish the house within the next couple of weeks. It has been a strain from the financial side and having to manage another project right now but the Lord is providing the resources and we are close to the finish line.
  • Please pray for the formation of the 2018 mission teams, that they continue to develop and grow to the size that the Lord wants them to be.
  • Please pray for the renewal of our residency papers that is underway. We did not know in the beginning that we could have applied for 5 years of residency so this has been much more complicated than it had to be. So, we are applying for our final two years of temporary residency now. The next step once these two years pass is to apply for permanent residency. Once we become permanent residents we will not have to go through so many renewal processes.
  • Please pray for wisdom as we share, and for people to be receptive to the message of love, forgiveness, and salvation available through Jesus Christ.
  • Please pray against a spirit of fear that controls a lot of people we meet. Many people hear the truth and know they need to make a change but they are afraid for lots of different reasons. The reasons aren’t that important, just that they find courage and strength to not be scared or intimidated by others.
  • Please pray for the continued encouragement from our friends and family in the states. It is amazing what a blessing it is to receive even a short note from loved ones.
  • Please continue to pray for the reliability of our truck.
  • Please pray for us, Dr. Maria, and the entire board of Fundación SADEFAH as we really start getting things underway now that our papers have been approved. Please pray for God’s favor to continue to go before us in all of the registration, licensing, permitting, etc. that is and will be taking place. Please pray for us to continue to make connections to help us find medical equipment, construction funds, medicines, vitamins, etc. This is a whole new world for us so we have a new steep learning curve ahead of us. And while it is new and different we believe that it is complementary to our mission to share the love of Christ by our words and deeds, to strengthen and encourage the existing churches, and to continue to start new churches where none exist.
  • Please pray as the Spirit leads for the following pastors, their families, and the churches represented: Pastor Wilmer (San Pedro Sula), Pastor Emilio (La Campa), Pastor Jose Maria (Santa Teresa), Pastor Arturo (Gracias), Pastor Samuel (Mataras), Pastor Roberto (Gracias), Pastor Modesto (Gracias), Pastor Marco Tulio (Cruz Alta), Pastor Amilcar (Monqueta), Pastor Rosita (Gilguarapez), Pastor Jorge (Caiquin) and Pastor Marco Antonio (Olominas), Pastor Walterio Cruz (Tegucigalpa), Pastor Claudio (La Jagua) and Pastor Arnoldo (Coalaca), Pastor Franklin (Tela), and Pastor Fredy Vega (La Paz).
  • Finances (see praise below). Please pray for our financial support to continue coming in strongly and consistently.
  • Please pray for our personal prayer lives to grow stronger and stronger. We can run around and do a lot of things, but without prayer we will not bear lasting spiritual fruit.
  • Please pray that we don’t neglect to maintain our relationships in the midst of doing ministry, the most important one being with our Lord, then with each other, then with our friends and family, while we continue to establish ourselves and our ministry in Honduras.
  • Please pray for our faith to stay strong, and grow even stronger, for continued protection from spiritual attack, and for strength when the attacks do come.
  • Please pray for us to be bold and courageous, to not miss any opportunities to glorify God, and to draw people closer to Jesus.

PRAISES

We have lots of praises this month to share with you!

  • Praise God for the approval by the government of our papers legally establishing Fundación SADEFAH, for how far God has brought us in 1 year, and for the addition of Dr. Maria Betancourth as our Executive Director. She is a blessing not only to this project but to us personally.
  • Although ministry in Mezcalillo was taking place before now we are so happy to announce that the church building was dedicated on March 11th and regular weekly church services are being held for the first time ever!!
  • On April 29th little Chebito, the newest, and surprise addition to the Perez family, will celebrate his 1 year birthday! He was really small when he was born and he had a series of pretty scary health emergencies during his first few months of life but you wouldn’t know it now, praise God!!
  • Praise God for the team from KY who served with us in March and for all of the teams scheduled to come and serve with us this year. We can’t touch as many lives here by ourselves as we can with teams so we are grateful to God for all of our teams.
  • Praise God for the three new churches that were built last year in Mezcalillo, La Jagua, and Mataras de Caiquin. The believers in these communities have a place to worship and the truth of the Gospel is being proclaimed!
  • Praise God for the new believers in Mezcalillo. Pray for their spiritual growth and service to the Kingdom.
  • Praise God for the ability to make some major repairs and improvements to our home that is making life a little less stressful.
  • Praise God for the recent reliability of the electricity and water systems! Praise God that this has continued through today!! We’ve not experienced significant outages in La Campa for quite some time now.
  • Praise God for the continuing increase in our language skills. We both still have so much to learn, but at the same time more and more people are complimenting us on our advances.
  • Praise God for the donations we have received for several different construction projects. We are not a construction ministry per se but construction does have its place. Update-the Sunday school classroom\kitchen project in Cruz Alta is underway, the walls are up and the roof and floor will be completed in April. This project will serve both the church and the future medical clinic. There is a meeting planned for April 13th to kickoff the Sunday school classroom\kitchen project in Mataras.
  • We continue to receive encouragement from so many of our friends, praise God for the encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Praise God for His continued faithfulness to provide for our needs through our friends and partner churches that faithfully and generously support our ministry.
  • Praise God for the great friends He has brought into our lives in La Campa, San Pedro Sula, and El Progreso. We are especially thankful for Pastor Emilio and his family, the Perez family, Pastor Jorge and his family, Pastor Wilmer and his family, Pastor Walterio and his family in Tegucigalpa, Pastor Fredy and his family in Comayagua, and Tony, Juanita, and Rommel-our Hotel Plaza Victoria family in El Progreso.
  • Praise God for all of our prayer supporters because we can’t do what we do effectively without the prayer support of all of you.

Mystery of the Blue Cross

It is a little intimidating for me to think about presenting any kind of a mystery story with all of the accomplished mystery and story writers represented within our book club. However, the story that I’ll share this month is a bit of a mystery that we experienced late last year. And as you’ll see hopefully, it ties in nicely with the theme for this month’s magazine. So if you’re ready, pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee and settle in for a few minutes while I share with you the mystery of the blue cross.

On a cold and clear December night last year we were driving home from our Sunday school class Christmas dinner with a couple who are good friends of ours who graciously opened up their home to us for the month of December. On our way Debbie noticed a blue light in the sky off in the distance and pointed it out to the rest of us. It took the rest of us a few moments to see it because of the trees and the distance. But once we saw it we knew it was something different.

We decided to try to get closer to it to see what it was. Once we finally got a little closer to it we could tell it was a cross. But where was it coming from? Who put it up there? How did they put it up there?

We made our way around the curves, hills, and subdivisions of northwest Georgia and finally pulled into a subdivision where we could get a pretty good look at it. Sure enough it was a blue cross. But we were still no closer to the who or the how. We thought that maybe one of the churches was somehow broadcasting the image of the cross using lights or lasers of some sort.

So we drove around the area looking at the local churches to see if we could find out which one of them was responsible for the blue cross. There was a church that had their Christmas concert earlier that evening so we thought maybe it was a part of their celebration. But as we neared the church it became apparent that the cross was not emanating from there.

We had to get home because it was getting a little late so we abandoned the search. As it turned out the cross was visible from our friend’s house although from that distance it wasn’t apparent that it was a cross. However, we knew better.

As the days went by leading up to Christmas we noticed that the cross was not visible every night so that became yet another point of curiosity. Why would the cross only be visible at certain times and not others? There seemed to be no pattern we could discern.

One night Jean and I were coming back to our friend’s house by ourselves and we could see the cross in the sky. So we decided to take up the search again. We pulled into the first subdivision we went to during the first search where we could get a pretty good look at it. Jean noticed that in the very gentle breeze that night that the cross was moving ever so slightly. It was almost impossible for me to detect at first. But then I saw it move too. The cross was waving as if on some kind of a sheet or piece of fabric.

We still didn’t know how it got up there or how it was lit up but we continued the search. At this point we abandoned the idea that it was being broadcast somehow from one of the churches so we focused on the nearby subdivisions. As we entered a neighborhood a little closer we could see that there was some kind of a tether leading up to the cross. And in the reflection I could occasionally see something that resembled a balloon a few feet above the cross.

Now we were getting somewhere. The cross was tethered to something and thereby appeared to be floating in sky. We assumed that the cross was lit up using LED bulbs, probably battery or solar powered, although I suppose an electrical cord could be part of the equation since the cross was tethered to the ground somehow. We continued to advance down the road turning into each subdivision we found that got us closer to the cross.

I don’t remember exactly but it may have been the fourth or fifth subdivision we turned into but we were really close. This was a large subdivision that we’d never been in before and as we made more and more turns trying to get closer to the cross it was becoming clear that we might have a hard time finding our way out again. Obviously GPS would come to the rescue if necessary so it wasn’t any kind of serious concern.

Finally we were in a cul de sac very close to the cross. We knew that we might only be a few streets or a subdivision or two away but we didn’t know for sure where we would find it but we were close. We thought that when we got there we might find a house with a display announcing that they were flying the cross. Maybe they’d have some sort of message playing or there would be some literature available. We had no idea what we might find.

Just as I got back in the car to continue the search the cross was gone. We sat there in the car surprised and disappointed. We were so close. If somebody wanted people to see the cross why would they turn the light out just as we were about to get to it? Of course, whoever put the cross up had no idea we were intently looking for it that night but still…

Sure, we could have tried to continue on without the cross in sight but that would prove more challenging even though we knew we were close. And at this point it was starting to get late and we didn’t want to be disrespectful to our friends so we started making our way home.

By the time we were back on the main road and about half way home the cross appeared again. We only saw it once or twice more after that but we never got to the source of the cross. We did learn that the cross had been displayed before Christmas like this for about 7 years but we still don’t know who is behind it. So in that respect, the mystery is not solved.

Likewise, the cross of Calvary is a mystery to many today. We met a young woman while on our search for the blue cross who was out walking her dog. She is the one who told us that the cross had been visible there for the 7 years she lived in that neighborhood. As we were finishing up the conversation she even said that she thought it was “creepy”. Looking back on it that should have been an open door to share with her the truth of the cross. I am ashamed that I didn’t know what to say in that moment because I was so stunned at her response.

For those who haven’t sought after the Lord I guess the cross could be considered creepy. Maybe some of the weirdness done in the name of Jesus and religion makes the cross, and the whole notion of Christianity, seem creepy. For certain our enemy, satan (purposely not capitalized), does everything in his limited power to make the cross seem scary, creepy, offensive, disgusting, or whatever, to steer people away from the truth of the cross.

Paraphrasing Jeremiah 29:13, God told the prophet Jeremiah that if he searched for God with all of his heart that He would be found. The God of the universe desires to be found. Along with seeking is the concept of drawing near and that is exactly what God desires. He desires to be near to us. But we are easily distracted. He created us, He knew we would be easily distracted, but He had a plan from the beginning.

And that plan was the cross. The old rugged cross that Jesus was nailed to for our sin. In the hands of men the cross is not pretty-it is an instrument of death, and therefore creepy I suppose. But in the hands of God, the cross is transformed into something beautiful.  We have to draw near to the cross, pick up our cross and carry it as Jesus instructed, if we want to be His disciple.

That is my prayer for you, and for the young woman we met that cold night in December on our search for the blue cross, that you draw near to God, but that you do it His way, by drawing near to Jesus and the cross, for that is the only way God has provided.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6)

The Blue Cross

Three Thoughts

Here’s an article I wrote for the January edition of Book Fun Magazine, hopefully it encourages you as the New Year begins.

Ready or not 2018 is here. Perhaps you were able to take some time after Christmas to reflect on the year that was about to pass. Perhaps, as 2018 is still very young, you are still reflecting on what transpired last year and what is, or what you would like, to come this year. As I’ve written before there is really nothing special about the turn from December 31st to January 1st. We turn the calendar eleven other times during the year from one last day to a new first day without any fanfare.

But yet there is something special about this turning of the calendar. This is a time to reflect. It is a time to take stock of where we have been and where we think we are going. As the year was winding down and we were spending time with family three things continued to come up in our conversations that I want to write to you about as we start the New Year.

Learn From Your Mistakes and Move On

We all have made mistakes. Some of us more than others perhaps and some mistakes are more serious than others to be sure. But nonetheless our pasts are littered with mistakes. My past contains numerous mistakes and bad choices that don’t need to be mentioned in detail here to make the point. There were careless words spoken that can’t be unspoken. There were emotional overreactions that can’t be undone. There were unwise decisions choices that can’t be remade.

Sometimes the consequences of our mistakes are fairly light and short term. Other times the consequences last a lifetime and nothing can be done to reverse them. In these cases the pain never completely goes away. There are always reminders, especially when others are affected seriously by those mistakes.

The Apostle Paul was a man who knew a little something about mistakes and consequences. Prior to his becoming a follower of Jesus on the road to Damascus he was a violent persecutor of Christians. In a letter he wrote to the Galatian church he recounts about how he locked some of them up in prison and how he supported the killing of others who followed Jesus.  In Acts Chapter 7 he stood by and guarded the robes of those stoning Stephen to death. Paul even pursued people to other cities to punish them. You can read all of this for yourself in Acts 26:9-12 and Galatians1:13.

Paul began as an angry, violent, murderous persecutor of the early church. He finished as a great teacher, evangelist and church planting missionary. The man who was enraged at people simply because they believed in Jesus later wrote some of the most beautiful words about love ever written in the first letter to the Corinthian church in chapter 13.

How did this happen? First and foremost it happened because of the grace of God according to Paul. The grace of God that was given to him, self described as the least of the saints (see Ephesians 3:7-9), and because of one other thing I think.

Paul learned from his mistakes and moved on. Easier said than done I realize. But Paul must have done it. Along with God’s grace there is no other explanation for the turn around. If Paul did it then I can do it and so can you. The regretful memories of putting people in prison and either murdering them personally or approving of someone else doing the dirty work in his name could not have gone away completely. But because of God’s grace and Paul’s ability to move on he became a servant that the Lord was able to use.

And so can you. Your past does not have to determine your future. Sure, there may be lost opportunities because of past mistakes, but you can still be of use to someone somewhere. God still has a plan for you but you have to learn from your mistakes and move on. You have to accept God’s forgiveness-that’s the easy part. After that you have to forgive yourself and then take action to move on-that’s the hard part. No more feeling sorry for yourself over the mistakes, no more pity parties, no more excuses about how unworthy you feel. If God says you are worthy then you are worthy. Paul learned and applied that to his life. You can too.

Let It Go

It has been said that 10% of life is what happens to us and the other 90% is how we react to what happens to us. We seek to control so many aspects of life and yet the one thing we have the most ability to control is the very thing we fail to control most often and that is our reactions.

In the first section we focused on the mistakes we make and how they can hold us back. Now we are looking at the impact of the mistakes others have made, and our reactions to them, that hold us back. This can be a very, very deep and difficult topic of which I am not certified to plumb the depths of fully.

Not everything that happens can simply be let go of. Notwithstanding those who have suffered tremendously at the hands of others, there are many of us who are suffering needlessly because of minor things. And at a certain point that suffering becomes self afflicted. We hold grudges against people, or companies, or the church, or other institutions because of offenses, which in the whole scheme of things, are really not that important.

Road rage is one example. People are getting killed over minor traffic incidents. Not often thank God, but often enough. Many of us get so mad at what others do on the roads and for what? What does it accomplish?

Someone said that being angry, bitter, and holding grudges is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Even if our hurt is justified holding onto it accomplishes nothing. We have to let things go in order to have a chance at living the abundant life Jesus promised we could have.

Letting go means we have to forgive the other party. Forgiving means that we release them from all liability to us or our loved ones whom they’ve hurt. It does not mean that we have to be friends with that person or that we have to be associated with that organization anymore. It certainly doesn’t mean that we have to trust them either. But we have to let go of the emotions that scream they owe me something, and until they satisfy that debt I will not forgive them.

Stephen forgave those, including Paul, who were stoning him to death. Jesus forgave those who put Him up on the cross. History is filled with examples of people who have learned this secret. We have to forgive others and let things go. Otherwise we are drinking the poison expecting the other person to die.

Not My Department

My sister gets credit for putting this on my radar screen late last year. We were visiting and talking about lots of different things happening around us. On several occasions she simply said that is not my department, meaning it was not for her to be concerned with. And this is a great truth. What other people are doing is not my department as my sister says. It is none of my business.

The boss doesn’t do what I think he or she should do? He didn’t ask my opinion. Not my department. A family member makes bad choices in life? She didn’t ask for my advice. Not my department. The list goes on and on. How much emotional energy do we spend being concerned about what other people are saying, thinking, or doing? How much time do we spend complaining about what other people are saying, thinking, or doing? How does any of this help us?

I don’t know about you but I have a hard enough time handling my own department, why should I be worried about everybody else’s? Why should I let what others are doing drag me down? Once again Paul has some insight into this matter.

In the first letter Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonia he told them to mind their own business (see 4:11). Apparently some didn’t get it right away so Paul had to make mention of this very thing in the second letter he wrote to them (2 Thess. 3:11). The second time he describes those who don’t mind their own business as busybodies. We all know busybodies. Most of us don’t like busybodies. Don’t be a busybody.

The Bible has a lot more to say about these things. Please spend time in the Word, in prayer, and if necessary, with trusted and wise counselors who can help you conquer these three challenges so that 2018 will be your best, most joy filled and productive year ever.

January 2018 Prayers and Praises

PRAYER REQUESTS
• Please continue to pray for a young man named Ruben whom we met in Mezcalillo last year. Ruben is paralyzed from the neck down. We’ve not been able to see him in quite some time now so we don’t know how he is doing but we assume he is still struggling with several physical issues related to his spinal cord injury.

• Please pray for the ministry of the new church in Mezcalillo, and pray that the new believers there will live out their responsibility to share the gospel with their neighbors.

• Please pray for us as we begin making plans, gathering supplies, and calculating budgets for our teams coming in 2018. This year our first team is not scheduled to arrive until mid February and then our largest group of the year arrives from Kentucky on March 7th.

• Please continue to pray for the family of Gloria Marina. She and her family live in Mezcalillo and they were the first family of Christ followers we found there in January 2016. They continue to face some very difficult personal situations right now.

• Please continue to pray for Arcamón. We’ve been doing outreach here since January 2016 and the work continues to be very difficult. People’s hearts are hard and they don’t want to hear about Jesus. We are encouraged because there was a time long ago when La Campa was like that too.

• Arcamón continued-please pray for the families of Oliverio and Oscar. We first met Oliverio in January 2016 on the day he had a bad construction accident. We took him home from the medical clinic and have visited with him and his family several times since then. We met Oscar in September 2016 and the rest of his family on a recent visit. They too are very friendly, open to more visits, and seemingly open to hearing the Word. Please pray that these are some of the families who will help us establish the evangelical church in Arcamón one day.

• Please pray for our dear friends Eusebio and Olympia Perez and their newest family member who was born on April 29, 2017. Their youngest, Eusebio Jr., was born a few weeks early and has had some health challenges but he is eating and growing like crazy; he is now at a normal weight for his age and overall doing very well. Please pray for their daughter Sandra as she begins her first year of college classes on January 20th.

• Please continue to pray for San Cristobal; the work has been restarted and we are beginning to see some fruit. Please pray for the church to grow, that the Holy Spirit will move mightily, and that more people will choose to follow Jesus.

• Please continue to pray for Pastor Claudio, his family, and his church. In partnership with a church in the Atlanta area we helped them with the construction of a church in their community called La Jagua. We are also doing evangelism with them in four communities and many people have been receptive to the message of hope and salvation available through Jesus Christ.

• Please pray for Pastor Emilio, his family, and the congregation of Torre Fuerte here in La Campa. Things are going very well and we are making plans for a great year of ministry with them and our short term mission teams. Please pray for peace, protection, wisdom, and spiritual growth in 2018.

• Please pray for us as we begin to finish the guest house on our property that was started some time ago. We have begun the work and are trusting that God, as He has always done, will provide what we need to complete the house so that it can be used for ministry. Our goal is to have this house ready by the end of 2018.

• Please pray for the formation of the 2018 mission teams, that they continue to develop and grow to the size that the Lord wants them to be.

• Please pray for wisdom as we share, and for people to be receptive to the message of love, forgiveness, and salvation available through Jesus Christ.

• Please pray against a spirit of fear that controls a lot of people we meet. Many people hear the truth and know they need to make a change but they are afraid for lots of different reasons. The reasons aren’t that important, just that they find courage and strength to not be scared or intimidated by others.

• Please pray for the continued encouragement from our friends and family in the states. It is amazing what a blessing it is to receive even a short note from loved ones.

• Please continue to pray for the reliability of our truck.

• Please continue to pray for the legal papers for our foundation to be finalized and approved by the government. At the end of last year there was a misunderstanding about some revisions that needed to be made, timing, and then there were problems with coordinating schedules and difficulties related to the post election protests. Bottom line is that our papers are being revised and resubmitted for re-approval. Please pray that this process goes well and quickly, and that we can get our new foundation legally chartered in Honduras asap.

• Please pray for the nation of Honduras and the ongoing political instability. As many of you know there were some pretty serious protests in December. There are more planned protests scheduled to begin Saturday January 20th and continue until inauguration day, January 27th. Please pray that the protests will be peaceful, that the will of the people will be heard and respected, and for there to be no more property damage, injuries, and loss of life as was experienced on an isolated bases in December. We are as prepared as we can be with supplies so that we can stay at home for an extended period time if need be. More importantly we know that God is in control and He is the best provider and protector we could have!!

• Please pray as the Spirit leads for the following pastors, their families, and the churches represented: Pastor Wilmer (San Pedro Sula), Pastor Emilio (La Campa), Pastor Jose Maria (Santa Teresa), Pastor Arturo (Gracias), Pastor Samuel (Mataras), Pastor Roberto (Gracias), Pastor Modesto (Gracias), Pastor Marco Tulio (Cruz Alta), Pastor Amilcar (Monqueta), Pastor Rosita (Gilguarapez), Pastor Jorge (Caiquin) and Pastor Marco Antonio (Olominas), Pastor Walterio Cruz (Tegucigalpa), Pastor Claudio (La Jagua) and Pastor Arnoldo (Coalaca), Pastor Franklin (Tela), and Pastor Fredy Vega (La Paz).

• Finances (see praise below). Please pray for our financial support to continue coming in strongly and consistently.

• Please pray for our personal prayer lives to grow stronger and stronger. We can run around and do a lot of things, but without prayer we will not bear lasting spiritual fruit.

• Please pray that we don’t neglect to maintain our relationships in the midst of doing ministry, the most important one being with our Lord, then with each other, then with our friends and family, while we continue to establish ourselves and our ministry in Honduras.

• Please pray for our faith to stay strong, and grow even stronger, for continued protection from spiritual attack, and for strength when the attacks do come.

• Please pray for us to be bold and courageous, to not miss any opportunities to glorify God, and to draw people closer to Jesus.

PRAISE
We have lots of praises this month to share with you!

• Praise God for all of the opportunities we had to share about what He has done in Honduras in 2017. Praise God for new opportunities and new relationships that He brought to us while we were in the states.

• Praise God for all of the great teams who came to serve with us last year and the ones who are coming to serve with us in 2018.

• Praise God for the three new churches that were built last year in Mezcalillo, La Jagua, and Mataras de Caiquin. The believers in these communities have a place to worship and the truth of the Gospel is being proclaimed!

• Praise God for the new believers in Mezcalillo. Pray for their spiritual growth and service to the Kingdom beginning in Mezcalillo.

• Praise God for the timing and quick replacement of the clutch during our trip to San Pedro Sula last weekend. God continues to amaze us at how He uses the relationships that He has helped us to build over the years at critical times.

• Praise God for our family who provided a great place for us to stay during our visits to Chicago and for our special friends who provided such a great place for us to stay during nearly all of our time in Georgia. And praise God for all of our other friends in GA who offered up their homes too! We are blessed beyond measure by all of you, even if we can’t stay with all of you 🙂 We could not visit the states for as long as we did without faithful family and friends to provide us with very affordable housing, thank you, thank, you, y muchisima gracias!!

• Praise God for the recent reliability of the electricity and water systems! Praise God that this has continued through today!! We’ve not experienced significant outages in La Campa for quite some time now.

• Even though the work is difficult in Arcamón we have reasons to praise God. First, we praise Him for the fact that it is difficult. The difficulties prove to us that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing there. Second, we praise him for the good relationships we have with a few families, including Oliverio, in Arcamón. Third, we praise Him for the good relations we have with the director and teachers of the school in Arcamón. We have an open door to bring our teams into the school to teach the kids as often as possible. And there is a new praise. On a recent visit we met another family who is very interested in hearing the Word of God and for there to be an evangelical church in that community!!

• Praise God for the continuing increase in our language skills. We both still have so much to learn, but at the same time more and more people are complimenting us on our advances.

• Praise God for the donations we have received for several different construction projects. We are not a construction ministry per se but construction does have its place and we are grateful for three for sure, and maybe four, new churches and two new Sunday school classrooms and small kitchens at two of our existing churches that will go up this year. Update-the Sunday school classroom projects in Mataras and Cruz Alta have been pushed back into 2018 but we are still most grateful for the donations and that we know the work will be done in God’s timing!

• We continue to receive encouragement from so many of our friends, praise God for the encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

• Praise God for His continued faithfulness to provide for our needs through our friends and partner churches that faithfully and generously support our ministry.

• Praise God for the great friends He has brought into our lives in La Campa, San Pedro Sula, and El Progreso. We are especially thankful for Pastor Emilio and his family, the Perez family, Pastor Jorge and his family, Pastor Wilmer and his family, Pastor Walterio and his family in Tegucigalpa, Pastor Fredy and his family in Comayagua, and Tony, Juanita, and Rommel-our Hotel Plaza Victoria family in El Progreso.

• Praise God for all of our prayer supporters because we can’t do what we do effectively without the prayer support of all of you.

September 2017 Prayers & Praises

PRAYER REQUESTS
• Please continue to pray for a young man named Ruben whom we met in Mezcalillo earlier this year. Ruben is paralyzed from the neck down and struggles with a skin ulcer on his backside and urinary tract infections from the catheter. He has a wheelchair now so he is able to be sat up and taken outside periodically. He also has a family member with a car who takes him to Gracias periodically for medical treatments and just to get outside. He needs physical therapy but there are other situations that make it very difficult for him to receive the therapy. Please pray for him and his family.

• Please pray for the construction of the new church in Mezcalillo. Because of the logistics, location, the rains, and the planting seasons the construction has progressed more slowly than we would like. Update: the walls and roof are done. The floor is going in now and soon there will be doors and windows!

• Please pray for our safe travels for the rest of September as we travel in the mountains to do two more medical clinics, and for another possible trip to Tegucigalpa, and for our trip to the U.S. at the end of the month.

• Please pray for us as we are finalizing reports on the ministry that took place this year to share with our partners and supporting churches in the U.S. this fall.

• Please pray for the Lord to provide us with affordable cars and housing while we are in the U.S. this fall.

• Please continue to pray for the family of Gloria Marina. She and her family live in Mezcalillo and they were the first family of Christ followers we found there in January 2016. They continue to face some very difficult personal situations right now. See below for a praise regarding the resistance they had been getting from the religious leaders.

• Please continue to pray for Arcamón. We’ve been doing outreach here since January 2016 and the work continues to be very difficult. People’s hearts are hard and they don’t want to hear about Jesus. We are encouraged because there was a time long ago when La Campa was like that too. See below for a praise regarding this situation.

• Arcamón continued-please pray for the families of Oliverio and Oscar. We first met Oliverio in January 2016 on the day he had a bad construction accident. We took him home from the medical clinic and have visited with him and his family several times since then. We met Oscar in September last year, and the rest of his family on a recent visit. They too are very friendly, open to more visits, and seemingly open to hearing the Word. Please pray that these are some of the families who will help us establish the evangelical church in Arcamón one day.

• Please pray for our dear friends Eusebio and Olympia Perez and their newest family member who was born on April 29th. With this newest addition they now have 5 children ranging in age from 22 years to now 4 months. Eusebio Jr. was born a few weeks early and has had some health challenges but he is eating and growing like crazy and overall doing very well now, but please keep them in your prayers. Update-please continue to pray for them and little Eusebio Junior, also known as Chebito. He had another sickness with a very high fever that was a little scary a few weeks ago but once again he is doing well, eating and growing like crazy.

• Please continue to pray for San Cristobal; the work has been restarted and we are beginning to see some fruit. Please pray for the church to grow, that the Holy Spirit will move mightily, and that more people will choose to follow Jesus.

• Please pray for a pastor we’ve started working with named Pastor Claudio, his family, and his church. In partnership with a church in the Atlanta area we are helping them with the construction of a church in their community called La Jagua. We are also doing evangelism with them in four communities and many people have been receptive to the message of hope and salvation available through Jesus Christ.

• Please pray for us to finish the ministry events that we have scheduled for September, house projects that are underway, and that we make the correct plans for work to continue while we are visiting in the U.S. this fall.

• Please pray for wisdom as we share, and for people to be receptive to the message of love, forgiveness, and salvation available through Jesus Christ.

• Please pray against a spirit of fear that controls a lot of people we meet. Many people hear the truth and know they need to make a change but they are afraid for lots of different reasons. The reasons aren’t that important, just that they find courage and strength to not be scared or intimidated by others.

• Please pray for the continued encouragement from our friends and family in the states. It is amazing what a blessing it is to receive even a short note from loved ones.

• Please continue to pray for the reliability of our truck.

• Please pray for a missionary family serving in Honduras that is going through some very challenging times in their ministry. God is in control and they know that. They are making some hard choices and there are some potential personal safety issues involved. There is nothing new to add but they continue to need our prayers.

• Please pray specifically for a big new project we are currently working on that will be a huge benefit to many communities in this area. We are in the very beginning stages but we will be able to share more very soon. Please pray for the paperwork to get submitted and approved by the Honduran government before the end of the year, and for funding.

• Please pray for the upcoming national elections at the end of November. Here like in most places, politics tends to bring more division than unity, but praise God, there is nothing on the horizon to indicate that this will not be a peaceful campaign and election.

• Please pray as the Spirit leads for the following pastors, their families, and the churches represented: Pastor Wilmer (San Pedro Sula), Pastor Emilio (La Campa), Pastor Jose Maria (Santa Teresa), Pastor Arturo (Gracias), Pastor Samuel (Mataras), Pastor Roberto (Gracias), Pastor Modesto (Gracias), Pastor Marco Tulio (Cruz Alta), Pastor Amilcar (Monqueta), Pastor Rosita (Gilguarapez), Pastor Jorge (Caiquin) and Pastor Marco Antonio (Olominas), Pastor Walterio Cruz (Tegucigalpa), Pastor Claudio (La Jagua) and Pastor Arnoldo (Coalaca), Pastor Franklin (Tela), and Pastor Fredy Vega (La Paz).

• Finances (see praise below). Please pray for our financial support to continue coming in strongly and consistently.

• Please pray for our personal prayer lives to grow stronger and stronger. We can run around and do a lot of things, but without prayer we will not bear lasting spiritual fruit.

• Please pray that we don’t neglect to maintain our relationships in the midst of doing ministry, the most important one being with our Lord, then with each other, then with our friends and family, while we continue to establish ourselves and our ministry in Honduras.

• Please pray for our faith to stay strong, and grow even stronger, for continued protection from spiritual attack, and for strength when the attacks do come.

• Please pray for us to be bold and courageous, to not miss any opportunities to glorify God, and to draw people closer to Jesus.

PRAISES
We have lots of praises this month to share with you!

• Praise God for all of the great teams who have come to serve with us this year. The amount of lives that have been touched and all of the great ministry that has been done are too much to write about here.

• Praise God for the three new churches under construction right now in Mezcalillo, La Jagua, and Mataras de Caiquin. Praise God that all of these projects are at or very near completion.

• Praise God for a safe trip to retrieve our shipment in July. There was some water damage but fortunately it was not a lot. We are so thankful to have received the shipment and it has been such a blessing to distribute clothes, coats, and other items to families here in Honduras.

• Praise God for not having any serious problems with the truck since our last update. We’ve had to spend some money on maintenance but most of it was routine stuff like brakes, tires, etc.

• Praise God for the recent reliability of the electricity and water systems! Praise God that this has continued!! We’ve not experienced significant outages in La Campa for quite some time now.

• In March while our team from KY was here one of the ministry activities we did together was to show a movie about the life of Jesus in several communities. The day we were scheduled to show this movie in Mezcalillo, at the home of Gloria Marina, we learned that she had received a letter from the local religious leader telling her not to show this movie. Praise God for her courage to stand firm and allow the movie to be shown. There were about 70 people from the community who came to see the movie that night so many seeds were planted. Praise God for her courage to also host a medical clinic in her home that same week, and for the courage of her three sons to work alongside of us to build the evangelical church in Mezcalillo. We left the previous praise in place but want to share a new praise. We visited Gloria Marina recently and learned about a meeting that the community religious leaders had in which she was the topic of conversation. Someone was saying all kinds of bad things about her at this meeting. After a while the others in the meeting told this person that Gloria is a good and honest person, and that if the person continued giving her a hard time they were all going to start going to the new church that is being built in Mezcalillo.

• Even though the work is difficult in Arcamón we have reasons to praise God. First, we praise Him for the fact that it is difficult. The difficulties prove to us that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing there. Second, we praise him for the good relationships we have with a few families, including Oliverio, in Arcamón. Third, we praise Him for the good relations we have with the director and teachers of the school in Arcamón. We have an open door to bring our teams into the school to teach the kids as often as possible. And there is a new praise. On a recent visit we met another family who is very interested in hearing the Word of God and for there to be an evangelical church in that community!!

• Praise God for the continuing increase in our language skills. We both still have so much to learn, but at the same time more and more people are complimenting us on our advances.

• Praise God for the donations we have received for several different construction projects. We are not a construction ministry per se but construction does have its place and we are grateful for three for sure, and maybe four, new churches and two new Sunday school classrooms and small kitchens at two of our existing churches that will go up this year. Update-the Sunday school classroom projects in Mataras and Cruz Alta have been pushed back into 2018 but we are still most grateful for the donations and that we know the work will be done in God’s timing!

• We continue to receive encouragement from so many of our friends, praise God for the encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

• Praise God for His continued faithfulness to provide for our needs through our friends and partner churches that faithfully and generously support our ministry.

• Praise God for the great friends He has brought into our lives in La Campa, San Pedro Sula, and El Progreso. We are especially thankful for Pastor Emilio and his family, the Perez family, Pastor Jorge and his family, Pastor Wilmer and his family, and Tony, Juanita, and Rommel-our Hotel Plaza Victoria family in El Progreso.

• Praise God for all of our prayer supporters because we can’t do what we do effectively without the prayer support of all of you.