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Well….I took the plunge. Ever since I started making annual mission trips to Honduras four years ago, I have been thinking about purchasing Rosetta Stone to help with learning Spanish. Today I finally pulled the trigger. They were offerring $100 off of the Level 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 Spanish (Latin America) Set today, and this pushed me over the edge.
Since a single installation will support up to five users I am hoping that Olivia and I, along with our oldest daughter Kate, will find it beneficial. Kate is already having weekly Spanish classes in school. Olivia is a trained sign-language (ASL) interpreter and has expressed interest in also learning Spanish.
It should arrive on Monday and I’m very excited to get started.
Our group landed safely in Nashville, and now I’m home with my girls! It was a great week, but always good to be back. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support.
The Maple Hill Church of Christ missions group has landed safely in Atlanta. Hope that getting through customs will be smooth. We have about a 2-hour layover before our flight to Nashville. Can’t wait to see my girls!!!
Today we started our journey back home…
The day began with a sunrise devotional on “Prayer Rock” on the Mission Lazarus ranch, which is one of my favorite places on earth. We sang songs, and I delivered a message about God’s power from Isaiah 40.
After breakfast we headed north on a 4-hour drive to the capital city of Tegucigalpa. We stopped briefly at the hotel, and then most of us headed a little bit further north to Valle de Ángeles. This is a tourist area that ended up being a big disappointment for me. I was thinking it would be a place to find all kinds of things which were handcrafted in Honduras. Instead, it was not much more than a bunch of worthless souvenirs mass produced in other countries, and every shop seemed to have exactly the same things.
We came back to the hotel and then went our separate ways for dinner before returning back for our nightly devotional. Wayne presented a message about the things that show us the greatness of God. After the devotional, my dad and I got to spend some time talking with some of the missionaries in Honduras that Maple Hill Church of Christ supports. They visited our group at the hotel, and it is always great to meet with those who have dedicated their lives to the Gospel of Christ.
From left to right…My Dad, Juan Santamaria, Samuel Diaz, Ricardo Guerra (his son, Andres), and me
Tomorrow after breakfast we will have a worship service by the pool, and then head out to the airport for our flight to Atlanta and then Nashville. Please pray for our continued safe travel.
Today we were in the village of Las Tremintinas way up in the mountains of southern Honduras near the Nicaragua boarder. The goal was to setup a full, one-day clinic, and for the evangelism team to visit some of the families with the preacher from Jayacayan, a neighboring community. The village does not have an established congregation, but some of the initial converts are meeting in a home. This was the first time that Mission Lazarus has taken a group up to this location.
It was interesting to see the differences from Namasigue. Even though this community was in a much more remote location and even though it was still filled with poverty, overall it was a lot cleaner, the houses were quite a bit nicer, and the people were dressed a lot better. I’m not sure what the reasons are for this, but it was fascinating to observe. It was also obvious that many of the people in the village had never seen anyone from the U.S. before.
On a side note, this was probably the most beautiful area of Honduras I have seen in my four visits. It was very difficult to get up there, but the beauty of God’s creation was overwhelming.
Evangelism – Today we were working with Jose who is the preacher in Jayacayan. Jose was introduced to Mission Lazarus through his daughter who has cancer. She was going through chemotherapy treatments, but Jose ran out of money before those treatments were completed. Mission Lazarus stepped in and helped out this family to ensure his daughter could complete her chemotherapy (she is now in remission). Jose was desperate to repay Mission Lazarus for their generous gift, but they continued to tell him that there was nothing to repay. They explained that what he had received was a blessing from God, and not something provided by man. He persisted in asking how he could repay them, so they finally told him to go out and tell people what God had done for him.
Upon hearing this, he decided to become a preacher and ultimately planted the church in Jayacayan near the Mission Lazarus ranch. From there he also began preaching and teaching in other surrounding communities. This included his first contact with Las Tremintinas which occurred last October.
We spent the day today visiting homes and distributing food bags with Jose. Some of these families had already committed themselves to Christ, some had just begun visiting the house church in Las Tremintinas, and some had no association with the church at all. Since this a new work in this community, the studies were fairly basic compared to some of the ones in Namasigue. Our goal was to plant the seed of God’s word and share his love.
From left to right…Joe, Wayne, Jose, Joseth, me
Jose had not worked much (or any) with Americans, so there was a bit of a feeling out process. However, it turned out to be a great day with several good studies. Please pray for this community and these people.
Overall, we had a great week on the evangelism team. Eight new sisters were baptized into Jesus Christ. We visited with over 50 families, distributed over 50 bags of food, and had lots of great Bible studies in Namasigue and Las Tremintinas. Praise God!
Clinic – The medical brigade was setup in a schoolhouse in Las Tremintinas. They were able to operate a full clinic in cramped conditions and saw a LOT of patients today. This was the first time that anything like this has ever been done in this village.
One gentleman who was so happy to receive his first pair of eyeglasses asked the question “Why are you here?” Someone from our group answered “Because God loves you!” He thought about this for a second and said “Yes, and God’s love is manifested in you.” Please pray that these seeds that were planted today will bear fruit in this great community.
Local residents lining up for the Medical Brigade
Our clinical group has done amazing work this week, and the following are the patient totals for each area:
- Monday – 130 medical, 30 eyes, 9 dental with 22 tooth extractions
- Tuesday – 170 medical, 46 eyes, 12 dental with 39 tooth extractions
- Wednesday – 125 medical, 56 eyes, 9 dental with 39 tooth extractions
- Thursday – 104 medical, 33 eyes, 7 dental with 21 tooth extractions
- Friday – 153 medical, 37 eyes, 11 dental with 28 tooth extractions
That’s a total of 932 patients seen in the brigade this week. WOW!
Construction – This part of the post is especially for Judy Vance. The picture below should explain why I have not posted much about the construction crew this week:
On a serious note, the construction crew has continued to work on the new warehouse and offices for Mission Lazarus. They have endured a number of frustrating circumstances, but were able to make good progress today. This new building is going to be a great blessing to Mission Lazarus once it is completed
From left to right…Justin, Blake, and Jody
Closing Out the Day
Once we got back from Las Tremintinas I did my last 4.75-mile run around the ranch, and my legs will be happy to not do this route again for a while.
After dinner, we listened to a great devotional by Joe Widick from the 23rd Psalm, and then shared with each other the reasons why we came on this trip and what we are taking away. Great night.
Tomorrow we head back to Tegucigalpa in preparation for our flight out on Sunday. Please pray for safe travel.
Today was our last day in Namasigue, and my last day working with our dear friends in this great community.
Evangelism – This was another special day today working with the evangelism team. Joseth was our translator, and he did a fantastic job. He is a medical student in Tegucigalpa who has been working with our group this week. It was a pleasure to work with him out in the community. Here are a few of the highlights from our day:
- We visited with three families who are members of the local church to encourage and pray with them. One of them had a 6-month-old baby girl that had the sweetest little cheeks I’ve ever seen.
- The team studied with two different ladies that had never visited the local church, and had never been through Bible studies. We studied with each for about an hour, and both said they would be very interested in continuing to study with the local evangelists.
- Every day this week we have attempted to go to one particular house that is fairly difficult to get to even in a four-wheel-drive truck, and every time the lady we wanted to visit wasn’t at home. Today we started in that same direction, and I began to think about what a pain it is to get up to that house and how unlikely it was that anyone would be home again. Well when we got there, sure enough, there wasn’t anyone at the house. However, someone came running up the hill and said that the lady was just down the road in another home and would be coming back very soon. We waited on her and ended up having a very long bible study with her. She ultimately decided to be baptized into Christ. I’m very thankful that the local evangelism team was persistent in their attempts to reach out to her, and not impatient like me.
Getting ready to baptize Sara into Christ…
This visit was also special because her name is Sara just like my youngest daughter. Because of this I asked if I could be the one to baptize her in the river. I was able to show her pictures of my daughter and I promised her that I would tell her about the Sara I visited with and baptized in Namasigue. After the baptism she seemed genuinely happy to be a part of God’s family.
It is always a bittersweet moment to leave our friends in Namasigue. It was awesome to work this week with Javier, Marlon, Janier, Ricardo, Ariel and Erminio. I love these men, and ask that you continue to pray for them as they spread God’s Word in Namasigue.
From left…Erminio, Wayne, Marlon, me, Janier, Joseth, Ricardo, Joe
Tomorrow we visit a new village called Las Tremintinas, which is a community without an established local church. We will be working with a preacher who has never taught alongside Americans (with an interpreter) before, so it should be an interesting experience. Please pray for our efforts tomorrow.
Clinic – I honestly don’t know a lot about what happened in the clinic today, but I do know that Javier told the entire group about what an incredible impact that are having on Namasigue. It has obviously been a great blessing to this community.
Tomorrow these talented men and women will be setting up a full clinic in Las Tremintinas. It sounds like this will be a big challenge since the village is so remote, and because they will have to operate without electricity.
Closing out the Day
After we finished our day in Namasigue, most of the group went on a brief walking tour of the Mission Lazarus Refuge with Rebecca. Even though I’ve been on several tours of the refuge, it was great to get an update on the awesome work they are doing.
Once we finished the tour, I went on another 5-mile run around the ranch with Dan and Blake, who will be running his first half marathon next weekend. My legs are really feeling the effects of so much hill running, but it is always good to get in some miles.
For the devotional after dinner, I shared with the group some thoughts on personal evangelism along with one of my favorite stories from the book of Acts.
Looking forward to a new experience in Las Tremintinas tomorrow.
After another good breakfast at the ranch we headed out toward Namasigue around 6:45am this morning. The highlight of the drive down was finally getting a chance for Dan Johnson and my Dad to get a picture of one of the more humerous road signs on the Pan Am highway up in the mountains.
Driving in Honduras is always an adventure, but it has been even more interesting this year with all of the potholes and chasms in the roads from the massive flooding during the past rainy season. I have actually really enjoyed getting to drive here over the past three years. However, I’m not sure if any of the new “skills” I’ve learned translate to driving in the states. Don’t often get to drive 6-wide on a two-lane road in the US 🙂
Evangelism – Today was a pretty powerful and emotional day working with the evangelism team, and I just want to share some of the highlights:
- My dad joined us today after working construction for the first two days. It was awesome to be able to spend the day with him in Namasigue. It has also been great to work with Joe Widick and Wayne Smith on the evangelism team this week. Both of these men are great servants for God and excellent teachers of His Word. Joe was one of my Bible teachers in High School, and continues to be one of my spiritual heroes.
From left to right – Wayne Smith, Marlon Sanchez, Joe Widick, Javier Perez, me, Patrick Agee (My Dad)
- Last year our group studied with and baptized Meylin Cordova. We found out today that she has not attended the church in Namasigue in almost five months. We went to her house today to study with her and encourage her to be together with her brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray for this new sister.
- We visited with several members of the local church who are dealing with various issues, including one lady who was diagnosed with diabetes yesterday. It was great to be able to meet with these brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and pray with them. For the sister with diabetes, Marlon (one of the local preachers) was able to talk about his mother who also has diabetes. Joe from our group was able to tell her about his mother who has diabetes and is 86 years old. Finally, Wayne from our group also has diabetes and was able to talk to her.
- This afternoon we visited with several of the families of the young men who work on the local evangelism team in Namasigue. For a typical family in Namasigue to survive they need every able bodied man in the household to go out and work whenever possible. These particular families are so committed to making sure the young men can spend all of their days working to evangelize Namasigue that they are willing to sacrifice this income. Because of this, the church tries to provide food bags for these families to try and offset the lost wages. Today we delivered food bags, talked, and prayed with them. It was awesome to see powerful way in which these families are working for the Kingdom of God.
Visiting with Janier’s sister (Janier is one of the local evangelists)
- This morning we were able to have a Bible study with Eva Luz Prealta and her family. Marlon had been studying with Eva and we were able to continue that study together. Eva decided that she wanted to be baptized into Christ, so we traveled down to the river to help her as she began her new life. Praise God!
With Javier getting ready to baptize Eva into Christ
- Throughout the day we were able to deliver 13 more bags food to families in Namasigue which brings our total to 32 for the week.
Clinic – I don’t know how many patients we saw total, but it was another very productive day in Namasigue. I did hear that our dentist Dr. John pulled 37 total teeth from nine patients…WOW! We also distributed an additional 55 pair of eyeglasses. Our doctors continue to be impressed at how many fewer cases of parasites there are compared to previous years. The water purification system has really been a blessing to this community.
Closing Out the Day
After returning to the ranch, I was able to get in a very enjoyable 4.25-mile run with Dan Johnson. This was the first time running on the ranch with someone else and it really made the hills and elevation easier to endure. I’ve enjoyed spending time with Dan this week and getting to know him better. Dan is a pharmacist at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, and actually works with many of the same Cardiologists that I used to work with at Saint Thomas Hospital (small world). He is hoping to run his first half marathon this fall or winter.
Once we finished dinner, Jeff Hallums (our group leader) delivered a devotional that tied in extremely well with the things we are experiencing here in Honduras. Tomorrow we plan to spend a half-day in Namasigue before heading out to another community on Friday. Another great day in Honduras!!
We got a much earlier start this morning, leaving the ranch around 6:30am for Namasigue. This allowed for an earlier start in the clinic and for the evangelism team.
Evangelism – Today was another good day with the evangelism team in Namasigue. I continue to be impressed by the work of the local evangelists. Working with them, we distributed eight food bags, visited with six women who have recently visited the congregation in Namasigue to encourage them to continue to visit and study, and did follow-up with two women who were recently baptized (Including Eni from yesterday). The second of those two follow-ups was with a woman named Suyapa who was baptized a week ago Sunday. While visiting with her we were able to begin studying with her mother Candida. After studying for quite a while she decided that she also wanted to commit herself to Christ in Baptism. Praise God!
Candida Cordoba Ochoa being baptized by Marlon
The past two days we’ve been very blessed to have Seth and Riley from Mission Lazarus to translate for us. I really appreciate their dedication to the Lord, and the powerful work they are doing through Mission Lazarus.
From left – Seth, Javier (local preacher), Riley, Marlon (local preacher), me
Clinic – Another busy day at the Medical Brigade in Namasigue. They saw 169 patients which included 39 teeth pulled and 65 pair of glasses distributed. It is obvious from working throughout the village, how much this medical care is needed and appreciated.
Construction – A small number of men from our group have been working over the past two days on a new warehouse for the Mission Lazarus ranch. This warehouse will be used to store the food which is used for the food bags like the ones distributed today. It will also be the new home for the Mission Lazarus offices.
Closing Out the Day
Since we started out so early this morning I didn’t get to go out for a morning run, but was able to get in a little over five miles in the mountains around the Mission Lazarus ranch just before sundown. It is amazing what a difference it makes running between 4000 and 5000 feet above sea level. Feels like trying to breath through a straw, especially when running uphill. I’m not sure how much total elevation gain there was in that run, but I’m guessing it is in the thousands of feet. Tough!!
After the run we had a fantastic dinner at the Posada, followed by a devotional with an excellent lesson by Wayne Smith.
All-in-all, another great day in Honduras for our group.
What are you there for? I’m going to be there in August…looking forward to hearing more about your trip!
This is my fourth consecutive year to come to Honduras during March. It is a mission trip focused on Medical, Evangelism & Construction. Most of our group are running a medical brigade in Namasigue, which is a small village outside of Choluteca in southern Honduras. I am working as part of a three man evangelism team also working in Namasigue. We help out the local ministers with Bible studies, follow-ups, food distribution, etc.
Why are you coming to Honduras?