In Hines Sight...

The Road Goes Further

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like being wrong. What I like worse than realizing I am wrong is admitting that I am wrong. While my sense of pride is hurt when I realize and admit to myself I am wrong, it gets hurt a little more when I have to admit openly to others that I was wrong about something.

There is nothing to like about being wrong, especially at first. But when I move quickly through the recognition and admission phase, successfully push down the ugly part of my natural self that wants to rationalize, make excuses, cover up, and pretend that I wasn’t really wrong, learning and growth take place.

In April 2015 I wrote an article titled “Winding Roads” and in that article I told you the story about how we found a village called Caiquin and that Caiquin was at the end of the road. I was wrong about that. The road goes further.

During a meeting with Pastor Jorge last August I asked him if he knew of any other communities where we could begin new outreach that would hopefully lead to the raising up a of new pastor, congregation, and church building. He thought about that for a few moments and then told me that there were actually three more communities that fit this description.

This always excites me because one of the things I love to do most serving in missions is to jump in the truck and head deeper into the mountains to visit new communities. I asked him where these communities were located and he told me they were in the mountains above Caiquin on the road leading out of town. This was my realization that the day was coming for me to admit in another article that I was wrong-the winding road to Caiquin actually goes through Caiquin.

From my perspective at the time the road did not really appear to go much further than Pastor Jorge’s house. That combined with not asking the right question and jumping to a conclusion led me to draw the wrong conclusion. Maybe one day I will stop jumping to conclusions and learn to ask the right questions first instead. Now that we have all of that out of the way lets continue on with the story.

In late August last year Pastor Jorge, Jean, our friend and interpreter Lourdes, and I went up to visit the first community he mentioned called Coalaca. We met a young man named Pastor Arnoldo and the leaders of the house church and outreach activities taking place in Coalaca under the guidance of Pastor Jorge.

While sitting on some rocks under a tree Pastor Arnoldo told us the story of how he heard the Lord during prayer one day tell him to donate the property we were sitting on to the church. This property was a piece of his family’s land that had been given to him for his future home and family. He told us about how he was afraid to do this because he did not have a lot of money and couldn’t just go and buy another piece of land. But he chose to be obedient and donated the land.

After hearing his story and learning about the ministry that was already taking place in Coalaca we were sure that the Lord was leading us to help build a new church building there in 2016. So we continued on in this direction and a team from Kentucky came to Honduras and spent a week helping our brothers and sisters from Caiquin and Coalaca build the new church in March of this year.

After we finished our meeting in Coalaca we continued on to Arcamón which is another 20 minutes or so up a very steep and rocky road to the top of a mountain. The views are breathtaking from up there. We learned that this has been a very difficult community to reach. Pastor Jorge had visited here once or twice before but had become discouraged and stopped going. We talked about that and just spent some time there that afternoon planning and praying.

Afterwards we went part of the way back towards Coalaca and Pastor Jorge pointed out a steep, muddy, heavily rutted trail that went up another mountainside. I asked what was up there and he said that a small community named Mataras was up there. He had not spent much time at all in this community but asked if we wanted to go visit. Of course I said yes even though the trail was very intimidating. We had a brand new set of mud tires on the back so we put the truck in four wheel drive and headed up to Mataras for the first time.

Like Arcamón the views are absolutely stunning. We only spent a little time there because it was getting late in the afternoon and we needed to start making our way back to Caiquin and La Campa. Since these visits we have been working very diligently in Arcamón and we are starting to see some fruit from our labor. We have not yet started any outreach in Mataras but we plan to do so once things are further along in Arcamón.

Since we have our hands full with the work in Coalaca and Arcamón, and we have plans to begin work in Mataras soon I have not yet inquired much about the roads and communities beyond these places. The road narrows significantly and goes at least a little ways out of Arcamón in one direction; there is one very small community close by that we will visit one day. But for now I am not making any definitive statements about where roads end. While there is plenty more I will be wrong about in the future I do at least try really hard to not repeat the same mistakes over and over.

In the case of Caiquin the road went further even though that did not appear to be the case at first. That may be the case in these other locations too. But sometimes the road does not go further, at least as a road. Earlier this year we drove out to Nuevo Cedros while on another one of these adventures. We reached a point where the road came to an end, however, a trail continued on in the same direction. Perhaps one day we’ll set off on foot to see who and what we find along this trail.

All of this recently got me to thinking about the end of the road in a sense other than geography. Often throughout our lives we reach points where it looks like we are at the end of the road. It looks as if there is no way to go forward. The road has turned into a path and the path has narrowed and become dimly lit and very difficult to traverse. Perhaps we press ahead a little further until we can’t see anything at all and are completely out of options. We know we can’t turn back, and yet we can’t go forward either. What do we do then?

These are the moments where, if we will trust Him, God will show us that the road does indeed go further. Oftentimes it takes us getting to this point of desperation that will allow God to step in and show us the way. God loves us so much that He will not ever force himself into our lives. Think of that. God loves and respects us so much that He will patiently wait and let us reach the end of the road, the end of ourselves, before He will step in and shine His marvelous light revealing that we were not at the end of the road at all. As a matter of fact, it turns out that we had only reached the beginning of His road that He had already planned for us.

While the end of our road brings us to the beginning of His road, His road may not necessarily go further in a direction that we would choose to go on our own. But when God is leading us we have nothing to fear. When we are in a right relationship with God the Father through Jesus we have promise after promise in the Bible that God is with us, that He is leading us, and that He is guarding us from behind so that nothing can overtake us. Even though there will be experiences not of our choosing on God’s road, He allows them for our benefit. If we trust and follow Him He will, either in this life or in the life to come, allow us to see and understand better what He was doing.

 “…Just as I have been with Moses I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”Joshua 1:5b, NASB

 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9, NASB

Here is the new church in Coalaca, one of two communities further along the road beyond Caiquin.

Here is the new church in Coalaca, one of two communities further along the road beyond Caiquin.

Meet the Perez Family

Greetings from barrio San Matias, located just outside of the city of La Campa in the Department of Lempira, Honduras. Many of our friends have found it hard to believe that the information provided in the previous sentence is as close as we get to an official address in this part of Honduras. When they inquire further about how to send us a care package they are more surprised to learn that there is no mail delivery service here either. It makes sense when you stop to think about it though. If there is no mail delivery service why should anyone have formal mailing addresses? Or if there are no formal mailing addresses how could you have mail delivery service? Sounds a little bit like the chicken or the egg question, but regardless, we send you our warmest greetings this month from our new home in Honduras.

Earlier this year I introduced you to Pastor Jose Maria and his family. They’ve had to endure more challenges in the first half of this year, so if you believe in the power of prayer, please include them in your prayers today. This month I would like to introduce you to another very special family, the Perez family.

Sometimes you can look back and remember the exact moment you met someone who later became a very special friend, but sometimes you meet people who you never imagine at the time will become very special to you, but that is exactly what ends up happening. That is the case with us and the Perez family. I can’t tell you exactly when we met them (other than sometime in 2010), but they are such special people that it seems like we’ve always known them.

Eusebio and Olympia have four children, Martias is their oldest daughter, Antonio (not pictured) is the next oldest, Sandra is their third, and Belky is their youngest. Like many Lenca families, they are very hard workers. They own a small family business making traditional Lenca clay pottery. The pottery is made completely from materials found in this region of Honduras. The pottery is very simple, but also very pretty, and functional.

Olympia makes most of the pottery but all of her daughters are learning the trade. Eusebio helps with the wood fired oven drying and polishing. The entire process is done by hand, without a potter’s wheel, at their home using whatever tools they have available, including old toothbrushes, various shapes and sizes of rocks, and even old plastic pens. It is amazing to see what beautiful pieces of pottery they can make with rudimentary tools, lots of skill, and patience.

In addition to helping with the family pottery business, Eusebio is a man of many talents. He is very knowledgeable about basic construction using adobe blocks and other materials and methods common to rural Honduras, and he is an excellent farmer and gardener. He grows many different flowers, fruits and vegetables. And of course, he knows how to grow coffee. His son Antonio is following in his father’s footsteps and they get to work together quite often.

It was about two years ago that we started building our home in La Campa. From the perspective of the American planner, it is incomprehensible that it would take two years. While the house is large by Honduran standards, it is just an average size American home. And it is a very simple home that does not even have central heat and air. So why did it take so long? Jean and I are both the typical American planner types so we have struggled with this too at times. As with any construction project I’ve ever been involved with there are always mistakes, decisions that get made and changed, then changed again, which causes delays. Add to that the dynamics of managing the project from about 1,500 miles away, cross culturally, and it becomes a little more understandable why it took so long. But there is more to it than that.

There are many things that were learned during this project, but I think one of the most important spiritual lessons God taught us is that He is at least as interested in the process as He is in the end result. God has two primary goals for each and every person created; first, that they understand and accept His love and gift of forgiveness for them that was revealed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The second goal He has for us is that the longer we walk with Jesus, the more we resemble Him in our daily lives. So clearly the end results are very important to God. But the process of achieving these goals is important to Him too. We don’t just all of the sudden become Christ-like. It takes time, it takes us making mistakes to learn, it takes longer than we want or expect. But if we go through the process with a humble, teachable spirit, God will help us to reach His goals.

The other related lesson we learned is that God always has much more going on in every aspect of our lives than we are able to realize at the time. Our focus was on completing this construction project so we could move down here and start engaging in the ministry that God has for us. There was nothing wrong with that focus. As a matter of fact, our desires were perfectly in line with God’s plans for us. But the God we serve is the all knowing, holy, Creator of the entire universe. With that in mind it seems obvious that He would have more than one thing going on at a time. Our construction project turned out to be a perfect example of this. While we were so preoccupied with the details of the project, God was using the project to build relationships with people like Eusebio, Olympia, and their family, which is the exact thing we want to do here.

While Eusebio is skilled in basic construction there was a lot about this project that was more than he could handle so we could not hire him as our general contractor. However, as we got to know him better, we learned that he is a hard worker who does everything with absolute integrity. If you ask him to do something he will do it, he will do it well, and he will do it in the right amount of time without having to be checked on constantly. We also learned that he lives out what the Apostle Paul stated we should always do, and that is to put the interests of others ahead of our own. As soon as you give him responsibility for something he will take care of it as if it is his own. He and Olympia have taught these lessons to all of their children and they all appear to be great students.

One afternoon Jean and I were working hard trying to get the house cleaned up and set up enough so that we could start living there. It was the first day that everything in the house, meaning the electricity, water, and appliances were all working. Eusebio was working on some projects outside the house that day. My Spanish is still not very good so I didn’t fully understand when Eusebio told me that the rest of his family was going to come by for a visit that day. It did not matter that it was that day or any other day because they are always welcome in our home.

A little while later Olympia and the girls came walking down the driveway so we took a break to sit down and talk in the house. Or try to talk since, as I’ve already mentioned, our Spanish is not very good yet. Not only did they come by to talk, but they also came by to give us a gift for our house. It was a flower pot that Olympia made, with a plant that Eusebio had cultivated for us. In our best Spanish possible we thanked them for the gift and told them that we would put it on the front porch so that every time we entered and left the house we would see that plant and be reminded of them. We also promised them that if they gave us a few more days we would be able to offer them coffee, tea, soft drinks and some snacks because, at that time, all we had was a couple of bottles of water in the refrigerator.

Before they left we gathered together in a circle, held hands, and prayed for one another in the dining room. Not only are they honest, hard working people, they are also spiritual giants, and we are honored to be friends with them. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to meet these very special people. Please keep them and us in your prayers as we grow closer together in friendship and ministry.

Olympia and Eusebio (rear), Martias, Sandra, Belky (front from L to R) Not pictured, their son Antonio

Olympia and Eusebio (rear), Martias, Sandra, Belky (front from L to R) Not pictured, their son Antonio

The Perez family giving us our housewarming gift that will always have a prominent place on our front porch.

The Perez family giving us our housewarming gift that will always have a prominent place on our front porch.

June 2016 Prayers and Praises

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Please pray for us as we work to finalize plans for our summer mission teams that begin arriving on June 18th. From June 18th until July 16th we will have non-stop mission teams visiting.
  • Please continue to pray for two un-reached communities named Mezcalillo and Arcamón. God is opening doors in both communities (see Praises below) but there still remains much work to do.
  • Please pray for two more communities we’ve recently learned of with no evangelical church or outreach taking place, Nuevo Cedros (we’ve visited briefly earlier this year), and Poso Verde.
  • Please pray specifically for Jean’s mom who is 87 years old and recently had two strokes. At the same time please join us in praising God for a quicker and much better recovery than we imagined possible at the time the strokes occurred. She has been moved into a nursing home where her recovery is continuing. She will need to work hard with therapy to recover enough to be able to return to her home. But even then she will require some home health care services. Please pray for a spirit of acceptance and cooperation. Please also pray for Jean and me during this time because Jean is spending time in the U.S. helping her mom while Greg is in Honduras keeping the ministry and coffee business moving forward.
  • 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 continue to pray for our Spanish language skills, and that we will make the time daily to study. We both are making progress and we are confident that this will be the year that our Spanish skills increase exponentially.
  • **Please pray for our residency again** Because of a mistake that was made we were only given one year of residency which expires at the end of this month. The renewal process is not supposed to be as difficult or lengthy as the initial application, and the process is underway, so please pray that we get at least two more years of residency by the end of May. **Residency Update** We were granted temporary papers extending our residency for another 90 days beyond May 29th while our paperwork for the next two years of residency is being processed. Please pray that the paperwork gets processed and that we receive our residency cards for the next two years quickly so we can put this behind us and keep moving forward in other areas.
  • 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 pray for us to have wisdom and discernment to know what projects and ministries the Lord wants us to participate in and which ones we should leave alone. There are so many opportunities that it can be overwhelming trying to know how to choose. This is still an important request since we have more projects than we have resources for at the moment.
  • 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), and two new pastors we’ve recently started working with-Pastor Lorenzo Mateo (La Meande) and Pastor Arnoldo (Coalaca).
  • 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 continue to pray for our short term mission teams who are preparing to minister with us this year. Three teams have already been here; there are 3 more coming this summer, and one or two more coming this fall. **Update, although we don’t understand what the Lord is up to we trust Him knowing that He has all knowledge, and perfect knowledge. We’ve had three of our six teams who were planning to come down this summer cancel for various reasons. There is a small team coming in August that developed a few weeks ago, and there is the possibility for another team to come down later this year. So we are not discouraged although we’d be lying if we said we don’t wonder from time to time about this 
  • 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.
  • Please pray for our families who are in the U.S. There are situations that are challenging, and perhaps a little more so with us being here and them being there.
  • On a somewhat serious, but not as serious as other requests, please pray for our first garden. We started out small and planted some yellow squash, okra, honeydew melon, watermelon, cucumber, and sunflowers this year. On a more serious and related note, please pray that the rains continue sufficiently so everyone’s corn and beans will do well so that people have enough food to eat this year.
  • Prayer and Praise: We received 30 cases of dehydrated, nutritionally fortified food from our friends at Networking Honduras to help people who are hungry. We’ve distributed some of this food in Mataras. Arcamón, and La Campa and we still have more to give out. Please pray for the families receiving this food, that not only does it meet their physical need, but that it also is a way that they learn about the God who cares about them and desires to meet their spiritual needs too.

PRAISE:

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

  • Mezcalillo Update: God, through the ministry of the Hoy Spirit, is continuing to move and work in Mezcalillo. We had our first church service at the house of Gloria Marina and her family (this is the family God revealed to us during a day of home visits in January) recently. Pastor Samuel and several people from Mataras joined us, along with several other people from Mezcalillo. That day we learned that there is a piece of property that will be donated for the construction of the new church when the time comes.
  • Arcamón Update: We had a great afternoon of visits on April 28th and did in fact have church service that evening in the center of town outside the community center. Many people from the community were there and the gospel of Jesus was proclaimed for all to hear. There were not any conversions that we know of that night but praise God for the opportunity, and pray for us to continue to serve Him there in faith, knowing that the time will come for people to begin following Jesus.
  • The church service Jean and I spoke at in Caiquin on April 27th went very well. Praise God for a man who came forward and chose to become a follower of Jesus Christ. A community leader from Caiquin visited for the first time that night and came forward requesting prayer for her family. We do not believe she is a follower of Jesus so praise God for her visit and pray to God for her and her family.
  • Praise God for a new believer named Rosa in Arcamón, and the other new believers listed on the February prayers and praises, and for all of the new believers in Mezcalillo (see above).
  • Praise God for the 3 confirmed summer mission teams coming to minister with us this June and July, and the one or two other teams that may develop in late July and August. We are so thankful for all of our short term mission teams who come and serve with us.
  • Praise God for the completion of the new Torre Fuerte building and the beautiful dedication service that we got to participate in at the end of April. It is such an honor for us to be a part of what is happening in Torre Fuerte. It is also humbling to learn of the history of this church, the faithful believers who have contributed so much to the legacy of this church, and for us to have the privilege of sowing and harvesting alongside our Torre Fuerte brothers and sisters, and also so many friends from the U.S. who have sown far more than we into the life of Torre Fuerte.
  • Praise God for our friends Alan and Don who were able to bring several bags of things down for us earlier this month. Besides the positive economic impact of not having to replace these things by purchasing them here it is such a pleasant surprise to receive familiar items from our previous home. It’s funny, in a good way, the good memories that come to mind as you unpack something familiar from a different place that you have not seen in a while.
  • 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 Progresso. We are especially thankful for Pastor Emilio and his family, the Perez family, Pastor Wilmer and his family, and Tony, Juanita, and Rommel-our Hotel Plaza Victoria family in El Progresso.
  • 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.
  • Praise God for all of the little things we learn almost daily about life in La Campa and Honduras. It is so much easier to be effective when you know the rules J
  • Praise God for a generous financial gift that allows us to help with five different construction\ministry projects. This gift was given by a man simply because he heard reports about what God is doing in and around La Campa and decided that he wanted to be a part of it. **Update**Praise God that the four construction projects are all in process right now, this money is helping to fund construction of church bathrooms in Caiquin and Mataras, pouring a concrete floor in the church on Olo Minas, and construction of a Sunday school classroom for the children in Cruz Alta. There were also some funds to put towards new seating in Torre Fuerte, our home church in La Campa.
  • Praise God for four straight days with rain, our garden is looking healthy, the mountains are turning green again after a very, very dry year so far, and our first rain barrel is already full of water for our garden and flowers.

Separate But Together

The first quarter of 2016, of our first full year serving in full time ministry in Honduras, has come to a close. Combined we have spent approximately five of the first fifteen weeks of this year serving alongside three different mission teams, and then another few days serving with Cassie, Josh, Jenna, Meily, and Aisha who are friends and missionaries also serving with Frontline Missions. And while the cover of the newsletter features on the most recent team that was here we would like to dedicate a little blog space reflecting on the beauty of how all of our teams have worked separately but together.

Our first team came down to Honduras towards the end of January with the primary purpose being to speak and teach in several different churches on prayer and other topics. In addition to that we also took our first trips to Mezcalillo and Arcamón to begin new ministries in these communities because neither of them have an evangelical church. Our second team came down just a couple of weeks later in February with plans to build on what was started in January. In between these two teams was the visit from our Frontline friends and missionaries who got to help us build on what was started in Arcamón in January.

While things went largely as planned for our January team, very few things went as planned for our February team. But God is sovereign so we knew He orchestrated all of the changes that took place. This team rolled with every change that came along, but not only did they roll with the changes but they eagerly embraced the opportunities that God brought them through the changes. One of our plans was for this team was to go to Mezcalillo for a day to build on the foundation laid by the January team but we couldn’t make it because of the muddy road conditions. So on that day this team ended up going to Coalaca and spending an afternoon in the elementary school ministering to the kids there for the first time. At that time we had a new church construction project already under way in Coalaca and our plan was for the Kentucky team to lay the foundation in Coalaca in March by ministering to the children, and doing medical clinics and construction.

But instead of the KY team laying the foundation for ministry in Coalaca, they built on the foundation laid by the February team. Instead of the February team building on the foundation laid by the January team in Mezcalillo they laid the foundation for the KY team to build upon in Coalaca. And the KY team got to build on the foundation that was laid in Mezcalillo by the January team. And all of these teams got the opportunity to build on foundations laid by many other teams in places like La Campa, Cruz Alta, Monqueta, Gilguarapez, Caiquin, and Olo Minas since 2009.

We love the way Paul described this very thing in the first letter he wrote to the church in Corinth:

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”-1 Cor. 3:10-11, NASB

Preceding these verses Paul used an agricultural illustration to make a similar point about working separately but together:

“For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”-1Cor 3:4-6, NASB

Sandwiched between these two illustrations is the application. A wise teacher and personal friend of ours once told us that whenever preparing teaching material do not wait until the end to give all of the application. Something might happen that causes you to not make it to the end of the lesson so it is better to sprinkle the application throughout the lesson to make sure that if something happens the listeners will at least get some of the application. It would appear that she learned this from the Apostle Paul because that is exactly what he did.

He gave the agricultural illustration first and concluded that portion by stating that it does not matter who plants, or who waters, because God is the one who brings the growth (see verses 7-9). Paul was not diminishing our roles in the process, he was simply stating that one person is not better than the other because they got to do a certain part. It is better for us to work together with our focus on God instead of trying to work together while worrying about who is getting the recognition, or who is getting to do the “better part”.

After that he gave the construction illustration and concluded that not only do we have to work together in unity, but we also have to work together carefully, to make sure that we are building properly. Obviously the foundation is laid first and that must be built properly or else the whole structure will fail eventually. The same goes for every part that is built on top of the foundation. Should the construction at any point not be done properly, some or all of the structure will fail eventually. And the same principle applies in ministry.

We are pleased to be able to report that every team who has visited and served with us here this year has done their absolute best to fulfill what Paul wrote about being careful to establish Jesus Christ as the only foundation, and to only build upon that foundation with biblical truths about Jesus. This is the kind of ministry that will last. This is the kind of ministry that transforms lives. This is the kind of ministry that glorifies God. This is the kind of ministry that can only be done by humble servants who are surrendered to God and to doing only what it is the He wants them to do, with the goal being to glorify not themselves but Jesus Christ.

The January team visiting families in Arcamón.

The January team visiting families in Arcamón.

Children hearing the story of Jesus on the side of the road in Rancho Obispo from the February team.

Children hearing the story of Jesus on the side of the road in Rancho Obispo-the February team.

KY team helping to build the church in Coalaca.

KY team helping to build the church in Coalaca.

April 2016 Prayers and Praises

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Please pray for us as we work to finalize plans for our summer mission teams that begin arriving on June 4th. From June 4th until July 23rd we will have non-stop mission teams visiting. It takes a lot of time and effort to make all of the plans and reservations for 6 teams.
  • Please continue to pray for two unreached communities named Mezcalillo and Arcamón. God is opening doors in both communities (see Praises below) but there still remains much work to do.
  • Please pray for Jean and I as we prepare to speak at a special church service on April 27th for the women of Caiquin, and pray that through us all of the women have a personal encounter with the Lord.
  • Please pray for the first church service in Arcamón on the evening of April 28th. There is not a church building so we think the service will be in somebody’s home but we don’t have all of the details yet; Pastor Jorge is putting this together and will be leading the service.
  • 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 Lord to give us His wisdom as we explore working more closely with one of the other missionaries in the area. Update, it seems that the Lord is opening this door because we have started to coordinate efforts in a couple of areas and it looks like it is going to work out well. There is a lot of work to do here so it will take all of us, and we want to make sure it is the Lord bringing us together with this particular missionary and his family.
  • Please continue to pray for our Spanish language skills, and that we will make the time daily to study. We both are making progress and we are confident that this will be the year that our Spanish skills increase exponentially.
  • **Please pray for our residency again** Because of a mistake that was made we were only given one year of residency which expires at the end of May 2016. The renewal process is not supposed to be as difficult or lengthy as the initial application, and the process is underway, so please pray that we get at least two more years of residency by the end of May.
  • 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 pray for us to have wisdom and discernment to know what projects and ministries the Lord wants us to participate in and which ones we should leave alone. There are so many opportunities that it can be overwhelming trying to know how to choose. This is still an important request since we have more projects than we have resources for at the moment.
  • 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), and two new pastors we’ve recently started working with-Pastor Lorenzo Mateo (La Meande) and Pastor Arnoldo (Coalaca).
  • Finances (see praise below). Our financial support is coming in very strongly, but after finishing our income taxes recently we’ve also just experienced the impact of having to pay the self employment tax (SS and Medicare), so this expense needs to be an addition to our monthly budget going forward.
  • 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 continue to pray for our short term mission teams who are preparing to minister with us this year. Three teams have already been here; there are 6 more coming this summer, and one or two more coming this fall.
  • 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.
  • Please pray for wisdom in determining what to do with the rest of our “stuff” in the U.S. While visiting last fall we went through quite a bit of it and were able to organize some of it so that our mission teams can bring some things down here for us this year. While sorting through it we were reminded of why we did not get rid of these things before we left, and we realized these things would really help transition our house into feeling even more like home if we could get it here. But if we can’t get it here we’ll need to make some decisions soon because it does not make sense to keep paying for storage. While not consuming our thoughts this is still a situation that needs to be resolved this year.
  • Please pray for our families who are in the U.S. There are situations that are challenging, and some more so with us being here and them being there.

 PRAISES

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

  • Praise God for an amazing start to 2016. We just finished up with our third mission team for this year and the Lord is blessing our efforts greatly. With these teams we have been visiting in several communities sharing the gospel and love of Christ. We have been welcomed into every home that we have visited.
  • Praise God for 2 new church buildings, thanks to our friends from KY!
  • Mezcalillo Update: Along with our friends from KY we did a 2 day medical clinic (or brigada en español) and nearly 80 people accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. In addition to the family we met on our first visit in January it appears that God is moving very quickly to establish a church in this previously unreached community.
  • Arcamón Update: Jean and I spent another day in Arcamón with Pastor Jorge (from Caiquin) and about 20 or so others from his church. We visited many homes and shared the truth of the gospel with many people. We helped one young woman named Rosa to become a Christian, and the Lord revealed to us two families of believers in Arcamón who are ready to see an evangelical church form in their community. We are going with Pastor Jorge to have the first church service with these families, and any others who want to join us on April 28th.
  • Praise God for a new believer named Rosa in Arcamón, and the other new believers listed on the February prayers and praises, and for all of the new believers in Mezcalillo (see above).
  • Praise God for the 6 summer mission teams coming to minister with us this June and July. We are so thankful that He is opening doors for us so quickly and we are excited about the ministry God has for us this year.
  • Praise God for getting to meet some of the other missionaries serving near us and in different parts of the country. And praise God for the two organizations we have joined recently called Networking Honduras and Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries. There is still so much work to do in Honduras and in order to get it done we will have to work together and these organizations make it easier to work together.
  • We continue to receive encouragement from so many of our friends, praise God for the encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • For the continued faithfulness of our God to provide for our needs through our friends and partner churches who 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 Progresso. We are especially thankful for Pastor Emilio and his family, the Perez family, Pastor Wilmer and his family, and Tony, Juanita, and Rommel-our Hotel Plaza Victoria family in El Progresso.
  • 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.
  • Praise God for all of the little things we learn almost daily about life in La Campa and Honduras. It is so much easier to be effective when you know the rules.
  • Praise God for a generous financial gift that allows us to help with three different construction\ministry projects. This gift was given by a man simply because he heard reports about what God is doing in and around La Campa and decided that he wanted to be a part of it.

 

Child of Peace

Meet little Francisco.

Meet little Francisco

My first title choice for this post was ‘The Peace Child’ but as soon as I put that to paper I remembered that years ago I read a book with the same title written by Don Richardson. Out of respect for him and that amazing story I did not want to mislead, misdirect, or appear in the slightest way to draw an exaggerated comparison to my story so I chose a slightly different title. Nonetheless I am very excited to tell you a personal story involving a very special child we met recently.

Jean and I moved down to Honduras at the end of May last year, and through the end of the summer we worked with several mission teams that had been planned by a close missionary friend of ours. During that time we also had to work really hard to get our house finished, move in, and then adjust to our new lives in a different land.

The settling in process continues although it gets a little easier every day as we get more used to everything here. But settled in or not, last fall we knew we had to get started making plans for ministry in 2016. So we started meeting with the local pastors we know in and around La Campa. We asked them if there are any communities where you have been working that are ready for a church, and if there are any unreached communities that need a church.
During these meetings we learned about two communities not terribly far from us named Mezcalillo and Arcamón. Neither of these communities has an evangelical church, and at that time there was not any active outreach activities taking place. Since our primary ministry is church planting we were very excited to hear about these places.

Arcamón is about an hour beyond and above a place called Caiquin. Pastor Jorge is a friend of ours who lives in Caiquin and pastors the church there. In the past he and others from his church had done some outreach in Arcamón but with little success. For various reasons they did not continue the work so no progress had been made.

Pastor Jorge was very open and transparent about this during our meetings and said he would like for us to start visiting Arcamón with him. We agreed that it would be a good place to go and minister so we made plans for a team from Atlanta to visit Arcamón early in 2016. We got to Caiquin a little early so we were standing in the dusty streets waiting for Pastor Jorge. He and two others came and met us so we got started making our plans for the day.

While we were talking a couple more people joined us, and then another and another until there was almost 20 people standing around. We thought most of these were people just curious to see what was happening since it is not normal for a bunch of white people to be standing around in Caiquin. But then Pastor Jorge told us that these were all people from his church who wanted to be a part of sharing the gospel in Arcamón. Needless to say we were amazed at how God was already working and we had just barely gotten started.

We bounced along for nearly an hour up the mountain to Arcamón. It was so windy up there that we were afraid our very young, and very skinny, interpreter was going to get blown off the mountain! He didn’t of course and we got started going house to house greeting people, sharing the gospel, and praying for them. We were well received by many, some were a little apathetic, but no one was hostile toward us. While there was no visible breakthrough we know that many seeds were planted. The most exciting thing is that the church in Caiquin is now fired up about reaching Arcamón and we will get to go back with them.

The other community we visited is Mezcalillo. It is not far from Mataras where we got to help Pastor Samuel plant a new church in 2013. Prior to 2013 he was walking four hours each way to attend church in La Campa where he could hear the Word preached. He had a vision to preach the Bible in Mataras so that lives would be transformed with the truth and God has been doing just that. Pastor Samuel was unable to go with us because he had to travel to a conference that day but we made plans for Juan, his assistant pastor, and another young man to go with us.

We should have known from the beginning that God had something big in store for us that day because the first thing that happened was a disappointment. We met at the church in Mataras and started driving to Mezcalillo. Suddenly the young man asked me to stop on the side of the road. We found out that he decided to go pick coffee so he was not going with us. So Juan then got into our vehicle since we were the lead truck and I wasn’t exactly sure where we were going. Apparently it was a surprise and a disappointment for Juan too. He then proceeded to explain to us that he too had a lot of work to do picking coffee but that it was more important to go with us to share the gospel that day than to pick coffee.

A little while later we got to Mezcalillo and started going house to house. To help you get the picture, going house to house is much different here; we don’t park at the entrance of the subdivision and walk on nice level sidewalks where there are hundreds of houses, each just a few feet from the next. In Mezcalillo we hiked up and down narrow trails with lots of rocks, loose dirt, mud, and other “stuff”.

As we were walking past one house the daughter came running out and asked us to stop. Earlier we had talked to her father at a different house and the daughter and mother wanted us to stop there so they could give us some bananas. We are continually amazed by the generosity of people who have so little to give in the first place.

It was getting close to the end of our time there but Juan wanted us to visit two more houses at the edge of the community so we did. We stopped at the first house and approached it respectfully just as we always approach stranger’s homes. We have yet to be turned away and we have yet to be afraid of approaching a home but we always do so respectfully.

While Juan was asking permission for us to enter a little boy about one year old looked around the corner of the doorway. I was just a few feet away from the door so when I saw him I knelt down and said “Hola niño” once or twice like I almost always do when I meet a little boy. Normally they will smile a little, or go back into the house, only to peek out again, sometimes while hiding behind their mom’s legs. But this time was different. As soon as I spoke to him he came straight to me with open arms. Not only did he come to me immediately and without reservation, but he did not leave my side, or actually my lap, the whole time we were there.

Shortly into the conversation we learned that the mother, Gloria Marina, has seven children including a set of triplets. Most of the children were there but some were off picking coffee with their father. But more importantly we learned that this is a family of evangelical believers and they are suffering a certain amount of persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.

In Christian missions there is a phrase, or more accurately a principle, that when trying to reach an unreached community we should be looking for “the man of peace”. God always goes ahead of us to prepare the way so there is always a man who God has called out to be the Christian leader in that community before even that man realizes it. So my main prayer that morning was that God would reveal this man to us.

Shortly after we left Gloria Marina’s home I reflected on what had happened and God revealed to me that He did indeed answer my prayer. God spoke to me through the open arms of a trusting little boy, our child of peace, to reveal to us the family of peace, which we believe will become the foundation for the church that will one day boldly reveal Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to the people of Mezcalillo.

February 2016 Prayers and Praises

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Children in Arcamón

PRAYER REQUESTS
• Please pray for us as we continue to make preparations for our next team that arrives on March 5th for a two week trip. This is a large group from Kentucky that will be helping to build two brand new churches. They will also be helping us teach English in the high school in La Campa, doing medical clinics in two new communities, and children’s ministry in several communities.

• Please continue to pray for two un-reached communities named Mezcalillo and Arcamón. We have not seen any fruit from our visits to Arcamón yet but we know that God desires for His name to be made known in that community. During our first visit there the Lord gave us an opportunity to drive a man home who had a bad accident that very day. He was very pleasantly surprised when we returned the following week to check on him. Please pray for this to be a way God opens the door into this community for the Gospel.

• 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 for a young man named Kevin who helped us get back to the man’s house in Arcamón. Kevin was friendly but he kept his distance when we visited the other man. He was listening so we know he heard about the love of Jesus. Please pray for the message to take hold in his heart.

• Please pray for God to continue to strengthen us as we coordinate the activities of all of our short term mission teams. We are finalizing preparations and details for the Kentucky team, and at the same time making plans for our June and July teams. It gets a little hard to keep up with from time to time.

• Please pray for the Lord to give us His wisdom as we explore working more closely with one of the other missionaries in the area. There is a lot of work to do here so it will take all of us, and we want to make sure it is the Lord bringing us together with this particular missionary and his family.

• Please continue to pray for our Spanish language skills, and that we will make the time daily to study. We both are making progress and we are confident that this will be the year that our Spanish skills increase exponentially.

• 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 pray for us to have wisdom and discernment to know what projects and ministries the Lord wants us to participate in and which ones we should leave alone. There are so many opportunities that it can be overwhelming trying to know how to choose. This is still an important request since we have more projects than we have resources for at the moment.

• 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).

• Finances (see praise below). While our financial support is coming in very strongly we haven’t quite hit our monthly budget. Please pray for us to receive more if we need more or to recognize that we have what we need.

• 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 establish ourselves and our ministry in Honduras.

• Please pray that we will be strong in the Lord and that He will be honored and glorified through us as we establish our new lives and ministry in Honduras.

• Please continue to pray for our short term mission teams who are preparing to minister with us this year.

• 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.

• Please continue to pray for Paulino as he continues his journey as a new Christian.

• Please pray for wisdom in determining what to do with the rest of our “stuff” in the U.S. While visiting we went through quite a bit of it and were able to organize some of it so that our mission teams can bring some things down here for us this year. While sorting through it we were reminded of why we did not get rid of these things before we left, and we realized these things would really help transition our house into feeling even more like home if we could get it here. But if we can’t get it here we’ll need to make some decisions soon because it does not make sense to keep paying for storage. While not consuming our thoughts this is still a situation that needs to be resolved this year.

PRAISES
We have lots of praises this month to share with you!
• Praise God for an amazing start to 2016. We just finished up with our third mission team for this year and the Lord is blessing our efforts greatly. With these teams we have been visiting in several communities sharing the gospel and love of Christ. We have been welcomed into every home that we have visited.

Praise and Prayer Request: God revealed to us a family of believers in Mezcalillo that nobody knew was there. This family is suffering a certain amount of persecution because they refuse to participate in the religion in the area. Please pray for this family to stay encouraged, and for God to continue to open doors in this community. This and Arcamón are the two communities where no evangelical church exists, and no evangelical outreach was taking place before we started taking teams to them this year.

• Praise God for a new believer named Estella in Mataras, a new young believer in San Pedro Sula named Bryan, and for another young boy named Wilman in Cruz Alta. All of these people prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior in January and February. In addition to these there were about 10-15 more children in Cruz Alta who also prayed to receive Jesus. All of the kids in Cruz Alta are being followed up with by the Pastor of the church in that area. And Bryan is very involved with Pastor Wilmer in a church in San Pedro Sula so we know he is well on his way to being discipled properly.

• Praise God for the 10 confirmed, and 3 all but confirmed, mission teams coming to minister with us this year. We are so thankful that He is opening doors for us so quickly and we are excited about the ministry God has for us this year.

• Praise God for getting to meet some of the other missionaries serving near us and in different parts of the country. And praise God for the two organizations we have joined recently called Networking Honduras and Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries. There is still so much work to do in Honduras and in order to get it done we will have to work together and these organizations make it easier to work together.

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

• For the continued faithfulness of our God to provide for our needs through our friends and partner churches who faithfully and generously support our ministry.

• Praise God for the friends He has brought into our lives in La Campa and San Pedro Sula.

• Praise God for the continued spiritual growth of our new friend Paulino (see prayer request above).

• 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.

• Praise God for all of the little things we learn almost daily about life in La Campa and Honduras. It is so much easier to be effective when you know the rules.

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Welcome to Mezcalillo.