Over the years, it has become gradually harder for me to write blog posts about our work. Our general ministry model has been to identify major needs in the community – both spiritual and physical needs – and look for solutions. Sometimes the solution takes a short time to implement, like building a bridge. For larger problems, we have set programs into place to assist the local Honduran people in alleviating the situation. Some examples of this include the training of pastors, who are then equipped to spread the gospel into the unreached mountain villages, and also the feeding center ministry, which gives the local pastors the resources to battle the ongoing problem of insufficient nutritious food in these same villages. Once a long-term program is in place, then the day-to-day work of administrating the program must be carried out.
Much of this administrative work, while essential and absolutely on-task with our stated goals, is not especially interesting or, as we missionaries like to say – it doesn’t make good newsletter/blog fodder. At the same time, we absolutely believe that encouraging the Honduran people themselves to be the feet-on-the-ground in most of the ministry work is absolutely the right way to do things, and we have no intention of changing that just so that we can write more interesting letters and blog posts!
However, a few things are changing around here just now, and I’m pleased to have something new and exciting to write about!
This ministry work started, back in 2001, when Allen and I obeyed God’s call to travel to Honduras and work for Him here. Our kids were dragged along, mostly enthusiastically. As the children grew, and the work developed, they each took on aspects of the ministry work as their skills allowed . . . and as they worked, their skills developed, and their contributions expanded to include additional aspects of the work.
A few years back, this was a thriving, family-run ministry, with everyone doing their part, until the unthinkable happened – the children started growing into independent adults and moving away from home! First Kirstin, then Rachel and Christopher moved out of the house and away from the Gracias area (and Boo is leaving next month), and they are no longer able to be physically involved in the work here – though they support us prayerfully and financially, and Rachel has started working in ministry in a different part of Honduras. Russell, though married and no longer living in our household, is still local and has continued to work alongside of us in ministry.
At the beginning of the new school year in September, our immediate household will only contain Allen and I, and Ben. Ben is now attending a nearby Christian bilingual school, instead of homeschooling, so life is significantly different at our house now, compared to the years when this place was filled with the energy of six children, learning, growing, and working in ministry with us!
I might have been writing to you about a downsizing or even an ending here – but apparently God has other plans for this ministry, and has brought us new ministry partners, Clay and Cynthia Powell. I don’t know what God has for us, long-term; I don’t know where God will lead Russell and Clay and their families . . . but for now, this moment, instead of seeing a descent toward an ending, I’m seeing a fresh start – an opportunity for growth and almost certainly changes, as new eyes and hearts follow God’s paths for them and for the future of this ministry!
Russell and Clay (and their wives) have a whole set of varied skills which they can bring to this ministry. They are both totally bilingual, both married to Godly Honduran women, and are both settled into family life (Cynthia and Clay are expecting their first baby in about a month). Russell has the advantage of knowing Honduran culture, from having grown up here, plus the skills in construction and administration which he learned from Allen. He also knows the pastors here, and is quite knowledgeable about their churches their villages, plus he’s familiar with the geography. Clay has degrees in theology and missions, and brings knowledge about agricultural ministry to the mix. Cynthia is Honduran, and is fluent in English. She’s great at writing in both languages, which will be extremely helpful!
Just so there’s no confusion – Allen and I aren’t going anywhere. There is still plenty of work for us to do in the ministry here, and we’re excited to see what God has planned for us next!