Here are some pictures from our first Christmas in Honduras.
• Thank you for your prayers about our residency situation. Not only do we have our residency papers but we finally got our actual residency cards at the end of August; our residency status is in place until May 29, 2016. On that same day we talked with several people at the immigration office and had a great meeting with our lawyer afterwards. The path to getting our next two years of residency is very clear to us now and, surprisingly, the renewal process looks to pretty simple.
• Praise God for great meetings with several local pastors during the last three weeks. We have several new church planting opportunities for 2016in addition to several other projects. We are so thankful that He is opening doors for us so quickly.
• We continue to receive encouragement from so many of our friends, praise God for the encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ to continue.
• 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 excitement of brothers and sisters in Christ in the U.S. who are already working with us to plan short term mission trips in 2016. We already have a team scheduled for January, February, and April. And there are several people and churches we haven’t even spoken to yet! Update: we now have a team committed to coming to Honduras to serve with us for two weeks in March.
• 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 the success of Jean’s mom’s eye surgeries in August and for Jean’s safe return to La Campa.
• Praise God for a good time at the Networking Honduras conference. It was both informational and enjoyable.
• Praise God for healing our friend Niconor Perez. He is doing very well now and has been strong enough to come to church again.
• Praise God for Prudencia Benitez. Those of you who have come to La Campa know Prudencia as the quiet but hard working woman who took good care of you while you stayed at the Hostal. She is now working with us at our home and has been a tremendous help to us. Without her we could not have the pastor’s meetings in our home and do all of the other things that we are doing here. Please also pray for her and her four kids, Juan, Nicole, William, and Myra.
• Praise God for the baptism of 25 new Christ followers at a beautiful service on August 30th. We were so happy to be at this service because several of these people are friends of ours making it extra special. There are a few pictures below.
God has blessed us with the ability to build a beautiful place to live in and minister from in Honduras. Many of you have been asking (some for a long time, my apologies) to see pictures of the “finished” house now that we are living in it. Even though it is finished enough for us to live in it is going to take us a long time to get to the point that we call it finished, but here are some pictures of it as it is now.
It has been very, very rainy here for the last few days. We are very grateful because it is supposed to be rainy this time of year and it has been quite dry. However, the heavy rain has brought some problems to our attention that we are working through right now. Some of them we were aware of, but seeing the problems firsthand is different than imagining the problem. So, we’ve got a few projects that were on the back burner that got bumped higher up the priority list to solve these water problems. Coming soon, a new drain at the top of the driveway, a retaining wall with a drain across the front porch, and extending the back roof to keep water off of the windows. Then we’ll need to get some grass and shrubs planted to help hold the water. It’s always something with new construction but it is such a wonderful place, God has truly blessed us!
While we did receive our residency papers the government only gave us one year of residency (that expires in April 2016) instead of the three that we applied for originally. Please pray for us as we pursue getting a renewal for at least 2 more years.
Please continue to pray for the Lord to open up our “older’ minds to learning Spanish. We are getting to spend much more time studying and speaking to people using the Spanish we know now that we are in Honduras and it is helping (see praise below).
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 one family in particular, Jose Renee, Arianna, and their sons Jose Renee Junior, and Marlon. They are having a very difficult time right now.
Please pray for the Lord to give us wisdom to know how to minister to them. Please pray as the Spirit leads for the following pastors and their families in Honduras: Pastor Wilmer (San Pedro Sula), Pastor Emilio (La Campa), Pastor Jose Maria (Santa Teresa), Pastor Arturo (Gracias), Pastor Samuel (Mataras), Pastor Roberto (Gracias) and Pastor Antonio (Cruz Alta).
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, 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 pray for our new friend and sister in the Lord, her name is Lourdes. She lives in Tegucigalpa and is seeking the Lord for direction about her next ministry opportunity in Honduras. She will be joining us in La Campa for our planning meetings with local pastors so please pray for the Lord to continue to show us His will for us and her to serve in ministry together in and around La Campa.
Please pray for meetings that we are planning with several pastors later in August. The purpose of these meetings is to set our strategy for long term church planting and discipleship beginning in 2016.
Please pray for us as we begin to plan short term mission trips in 2016. 2016 sounds like it is a long time off while we’re in the dog days of summer, but it is really not far away at all.
Please pray for Jean as she spends the first two weeks of August helping her mom recover from cataract surgery, and for Greg while he continues to get their home set up and ministry established in La Campa while she is gone.
Please pray for Greg to have a productive time at an annual missionary\non-profit networking conference in Tegucigalpa on August 7-8. Please pray for good connections to be made that will help build and improve ministry in the entire nation of 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.
Please pray for an important visit in September from two friends from the U.S. who are also pastors. This is an exploratory\vision trip so please pray for the Lord to open a door for us to minister together in the future.
We have lots of praises this month to share with you!
July was a big and very productive month for us. We spent our first night in our new home on July 16th. What a blessing to finally achieve this goal that we’ve been working towards for so long. While all of the major construction has been completed there is still much to do. Day by day we get a few more things finished that continue to make us feel more and more at home.
Praise God for us getting high speed internet access set up in our home at the end of the July. It had been very challenging trying to get certain things done without rapid or reliable internet service in our home.
Praise God that our water filtration system works. We have been drinking the tap water for a few weeks now with no health problems.
Praise God for helping us to find so many things that we need and\or want in Honduras. There is so much more available here than we knew about a year ago. God even surprises us with little blessings like finding a grocery store that sells bagels (bigger deal for Greg than Jean). Praise God that He loves us so much that He delights in blessing us in all kinds of ways big and small.
Praise God for one family in particular, the Perez family, who has fast become more like family to us than just friends, they are Eusebio and Olympia, and their four children Martias, Antonio, Sandra, and Belky. We’ve had nice visits and prayer time with them in our new home already and look forward to more. Praise God for healing their grandfather whom we rushed to the hospital early one morning earlier this month with a very high fever and pain. He is back at home and doing very well now.
Praise God for a very productive conference earlier this month in Tegucigalpa with Networking Honduras and Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries.
We continue to receive encouragement from so many of our friends, praise God for the encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ to continue.
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 excitement of brothers and sisters in Christ in the U.S. who are already working with us to plan short term mission trips in 2016. We already have a team scheduled for January, February, and April. And there are several people and churches we haven’t even spoken to yet!
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.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been in Honduras for close to a month now. There remains much to do to get ourselves established here, and of course, there is no shortage of prayer needs. But more importantly, there is so much to be thankful for. So please rejoice in what the Lord has been doing for us and pray for us too.
-It was a little stressful finishing up the final details to be ready to leave the states but our move to Honduras on May 30th went very smoothly. We got to the airport in the morning and all of our bags were within the weight limits (we didn’t have a scale at home), and they all made it to Honduras safely.
-We are very thankful for the mission team we traveled with who covered the cost and carried several extra bags for us. This allowed us to bring quite a bit more of our things than we thought we’d get to bring. Praise God for making the way!
-Our yard sale in May was very successful. We sold most of everything we put out and that generated quite a bit of money to help us begin furnishing our new home in Honduras.
-On June 5th we received our residency papers from the government. This has been an ongoing prayer request but, as always, the Lord answers in His perfect timing.
-We are making time almost every morning to spend between 2-4 hours studying Spanish and we are already starting to see a difference.
-We have heard from so many of our friends during these first few weeks and have been really encouraged by them. 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.
-For our home and small group training center in La Campa that is nearly complete. God has blessed us with a beautiful spot to live and serve in the mountains of southwest Honduras. We have electricity and all of the cabinets, sinks and counter tops are complete. Water will be connected very soon so we expect to begin cleaning and moving in during the first week of July.
-God is helping us to make more and more connections in Honduras. We met a new translator, who quickly became a new friend. Without her help there is no way we could have gotten all of the business done in June that needed to be done. We are looking forward to spending a few more days with her in early July to take care of some more things that we need to get done.
-While we did receive our residency papers the government only gave us one year of residency instead of the three that we applied for originally. Please pray for our attorney who is going to begin the process of obtaining the other two years for us next month.
-Please continue to pray for the Lord to open up our “older’ minds to learning Spanish. We are getting to spend much more time studying and speaking to people using the Spanish we know now that we are in Honduras and it is helping.
-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 our “new” families and friends that the Lord has already blessed us with in Honduras.
-Please pray as the Spirit leads for the following pastors and their families in Honduras: Pastor Wilmer (San Pedro Sula), Pastor Emilio (La Campa), Pastor Jose Maria (Santa Teresa), Pastor Arturo (Gracias), Pastor Samuel (Mataras), and Pastor Marco Tulio (Cruz Alta).
-Please pray specifically for Pastor Jose Maria and his wife Marta, they had a motorcycle accident last week and are in San Pedro Sula getting medical attention. We spoke to Marta and she is pretty banged up but we don’t know exactly how serious the injuries were.
-Please pray for rain. This is a very serious request. It rained heavily and consistently a couple of weeks ago so most families planted their corn and beans. Ever since then it has been completely dry. If we don’t get rain soon crops are going to die and there are a lot of people who will be struggling to eat in the weeks and months ahead.
-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, the most important one being with our Lord, then with each other, then with our friends and family, while we transition into our new life and new 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 transition into our new lives and ministry in Honduras.
-Please pray for our new friend Lourdes (see praise above). She is seeking the Lord for direction about her next ministry opportunity in Honduras. Please join us in prayer as we seek to determine if it is the Lord’s will for her and us to work together planting new churches in Lenca communities.
Even though it has only been a couple of months since our last newsletter much has happened. Please read below for details.
We had a great time of ministry with the team from Kentucky in early March. They expanded on the opportunity we have to teach English in the schools using Bible stories. In addition to that they worked on two construction projects. They helped Pastor Jose Maria and the church in Chimis Mataras build three new Sunday school classrooms for the children. This is the same community where we helped start a brand new church in 2012. It is exciting to help the church take a big step towards training the next generation. They also broke ground on a small cabin on our property in La Campa where pastors and their families or other visitors, like our friends from the U.S. 🙂 can stay when visiting us.
We have made a lot of progress going through all of our “stuff”. As of this newsletter we are better than 50% of the way through sorting, organizing, and disposing of things. Some things will be taken down to Honduras gradually, some things are being put into storage for a short time until we are sure what we want to do with them, some things are being donated, and some things will be sold at our yard sale on May 15th & 16th. If you’d like to come see us at the yard sale send us an email, email@example.com, and we’ll give you details.
We are looking forward to some domestic travel in May before we leave. We have friends and family in Illinois, Kentucky, south Georgia and north Florida we are planning to see before we go. We are also trying to spend as much time with friends and family in the north Georgia area too.
Greg started 2015 by leaving on January 2 to spend almost the entire first month of the new year in Honduras. Jean’s last day of work (as she knew it because she has been working very hard in her new capacity) was Jan. 7, she flew down to Honduras on the 11th to spend the rest of the month there, and on the 20th three very dear friends of ours hopped on a plane and came down to visit and work with us.
While Ron, Verna, and Eddie were there they helped us install door hardware, hang ceiling fans & light fixtures, and apply primer to the walls of our future home. In addition to that Jean and Verna, with the help of Digna Lara, a new translator who quickly became a new friend, did some excellent ministry with women in three churches in and around La Campa. At the close of the 2nd day of women’s ministry in Chimis Mataras we had a powerful time of release when we asked the women to write down the struggles they were having, particularly with temptation and forgiveness, then we prayed and ripped up and threw away the papers signifying that the burdens were released to the Lord. It was a great Holy Spirit filled time that we were honored to experience with them.
Friday night the whole group did ministry with the children at Pastor Emilio’s church in La Campa that was a lot of fun. We must have done something right because several of the women leaders in the church asked us if we were coming back on Saturday to do more.
We’ve reached a critical point with our attorney and may wind up having to go in another direction. Please pray for this situation. We want to be sensitive to the relational aspect of this transaction and the fact that things often take longer than we are used to in Honduras, but we really need to bring this part of our transition to a close. It is not necessary for us to have our residency papers in advance but it will be much less complicated for us if we do.
Similar to our residency papers, the construction of our home has taken longer than we expected. However, the horror stories we’ve heard and read about so many other people’s experiences with overseas construction projects, managed from a distance, have convinced us that we have been blessed beyond measure since the worst thing we can say about our project is that it took longer than it should have (according to our standards).
Right now the bathrooms are being tiled and the toilets are getting set; the septic tank should be complete and the driveway construction should be in progress. Water and electricity will be connected in March, then the cabinets, counter tops and sinks will be installed by the end of April. Once all of this is done the house will be ready for us to move into. As with all new construction there will still be plenty for us to do, (like caulking, painting, etc.) but the house will be liveable. We still haven’t purchased the one-way ticket to Honduras but stay tuned because the time is almost here and we will be setting the official move date very soon!
God has been faithful to bring us some tremendous breakthroughs in our ministry support in the last couple of weeks. Doors are opening with churches who are interested in partnering with us by sending short term mission teams later in 2015 and in 2016. There are some other “outside the box” ideas coming together that could lead to one organization headed up by close friends of ours sending multiple teams in the years ahead that we are very excited about.
As of now we have raised 72% of the projected minimum monthly budget, and 58% of the projected average monthly budget. Thank God and thank you to all of you who have already committed to supporting us financially. We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it-it is a blessing to serve as missionaries and we can’t do it without the faithful prayer and financial support of others. We will never take it for granted. If you would like to be a part of our ministry in Honduras by committing to supporting us on either a monthly or one-time basis, please check out the bottom of the newsletter for all of the contact information that will help you determine the best way for you to partner with us.