Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Chat with Nana

Since Allen left for the U.S. on August 16, I chatted with Trish, this week. I was thrilled she fit me in because, let’s face it, I’m not nearly as adorable as the new grandbaby she’s cuddling.

It’s sort of tradition for Allen to make a trip to the states every year at around this time. That’s because, in the past, most of the visiting teams have come during the summer. By the end of August, people aren’t typically going on short-term mission trips. Allen generally returns to Honduras sometime around Thanksgiving. With Russell assuming so many of the ministry responsibilities, the timing for Allen's trip isn’t quite as crucial as it once was, but hey, it’s still a good time for Allen to travel.

As mentioned earlier, Trish is busy being Nana to Rachel’s new baby, Nathan. She’s excited to have the opportunity to help Rachel and get her fix of smelling that new baby smell. Brandy was called away to work before sweet Nathan even came home from the hospital. This week, he was given permission to go home just long enough to help Rachel maneuver through the process of checkups for herself and the baby at the hospital. It’s a military hospital, so that means lots of waiting, plus Rachel anticipated that there would be paperwork issues, since the baby's birth wasn't registered yet. Happily, the work Brandy had been called to do (investigating a recent airplane crash) was completed the day he came home, so he didn't have to leave again after that!

Trish said, “Rachel is doing well. She’s an amazing homemaker and Nathan's arrival hasn’t changed that.”

The proud Nana also said, “Nathan doesn’t like to cry! When he wants something, he fusses a bit. As soon as you pick him up, he stops fussing. Rachel knows not all babies are so easy!”

Meanwhile, Russell is holding down the fort at home. He’s still busy with Pastors’ Training School, the coffee farm, feeding centers, and the sponsorship program. Of course, he’s also busy with Trish and Allen’s other adorable grandchildren!

FYI, it’s almost time to pull back the curtains on a new ministry website. In between baby snuggles, Trish is spending time entering LOTS of information, so that the site will be ready to be used. Stay tuned - you’re going to love it!

On September 16th, Trish will be flying from Honduras to Colorado. Allen will fly from Maryland to Colorado on the same day. Then the two, wild and crazy, missionary grandparents will begin the great drive from west to east, collecting backpacks! - posted by Christi

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I've fallen behind on posting on the blog . . . so this post actually describes events that happened a couple of weeks ago . . .

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Surprise, surprise! It’s a busy week for the Sowers. How busy is it? It’s so busy they just might sort of forget about a scheduled phone call to discuss a blog post. Yeah, it’s that busy! The call happened, however, because a Sowers always comes through in the end.

Allen shared this week’s activities with me. After a week at MK Camp, Russell drove home, spent a night, then headed off to pick up a visiting team. Lighthouse Church from Maryland is back. Last year, their team built a bridge in a week. This trip, the team of eighteen is working in two groups. They’ve busted out the paint supplies and VBS materials.

The painting team is sprucing up the “daughter” church of their sister church. The church plant is growing by leaps and bounds because of its location. Lighthouse’s sister church is in a remote mountain region with a population of around 100 people. The daughter church is in an area with more people. Allen speculated that it won’t be long before the daughter church is larger than the sister church. Gulp. They grow up so quickly, don’t they?

The paintbrush wielding group is also working on painting the interior of Russell and Iris’s new house. Allen believes they will probably finish about half of the interior. Allen is working with the painting team.

As for the other team, they are putting on four days of VBS in three locations. That’s three VBS sessions per day for four days! They are working at three schools, which are affiliated with their sister or plants by the sister church. There are approximately eighty kids at each of the three schools.

Allen said, “They got permission to go into the schools and do an evangelistic presentation. It’s hardcore Christianity!”

That hardcore Christianity involves presenting each of the four gospels on a different day. Each VBS session lasts two hours. They include game time, arts and crafts time, memory verse time, and music. The team breaks off into different classrooms and the kids rotate through. Each session begins with a wordless drama or skit. The team has taken the time to memorize some fun worship songs in Spanish, however.

That concludes this week’s conversation because, you know… Busy, busy, busy! - posted by Christi

Monday, August 28, 2017

Generation Zealous

For whatever reason, people feel the need to name generations. There are “Baby Boomers,” “Generation X,” and “Millennials”. I’m not sure why we’re skipping over Y, but my good friend, Google, tells me the current generation of teenagers is “Generation Z”. Frankly, that doesn’t seem like someone put a whole lot of thought into a name. People often complain about whatever generations come after them, but, as a Gen X-er, myself, I think we need to lay off the Gen Z-ers. Having spoken to a couple of teenagers who attended MK Camp, I’m here to tell you, they deserve our respect.

Maybe complaints about today’s teens stem from the fact people aren’t expecting enough from them. That isn’t the case at MK Camp (or with MKs in general). There, older teens are given the opportunity to step into the role of counselor to younger kids, while still enjoying the perks of being campers themselves.


Seventeen-year-old, Isaiah, has lived in Honduras for two and a half years, but this is his first experience with MK Camp. He’s no stranger to responsibility, though. When his family hosts visiting teams, Isaiah works along beside them to build a campus of foster homes. These homes, which will each house a foster mom and dad and four children, will allow foster children to live in a family-type setting. The time away from school for mission work means Isaiah will likely take an extra year to complete his high school education. He hopes to one day attend college in Mississippi and study electrical engineering.

Isaiah did attend MK Teen Retreat, back in June. He said the retreat is more laid back, though the schedules are about the same. As he put it, “Here, there is more responsibility because there are younger kids.”


Trey has only been in Honduras for a year and three months. Moving from Michigan after his freshman year in high school to live in a remote mountain village was a shock to his system. MK Camp has been a time for him to build relationships with his unique peer group.

When asked about how he has liked being a counselor, Trey said, “It’s been enjoyable. It really has. It’s been pretty easy because most of the kids are very respectful.”

There were twelve campers on Trey’s team. He said, “I took one of the larger teams. There are seven kids in my dorm room, ranging from seven to sixteen. The sixteen-year-old is a co-counselor.”

This is great experience for the young man who said, “I’m hoping to go back to the states for college. I’d love to be a youth pastor. Yeah, I’d love to do that.”

If Isaiah and Trey are at all representative of the younger generation, perhaps we should change their name to Generation Zealous. - posted by Christi

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lighthouse Church Team Video - get a glimpse of one team's trip

From August 6th through 13th, the team from Lighthouse Church in Glen Burnie Maryland visited us, and worked alongside us.

They presented a VBS program in three different schools in Crucitas, over the course of several days. In Honduras, their work will be followed up by local pastors, who are starting to teach weekly Bible classes in each of these schools (and two others in that area).

This is actually a new kind of sponsorship/feeding center program we've started doing. The pastors continue to participate as an outreach ministry of their church, but the gatherings, the Bible lessons, and the feedings take place at the public schools - where the children already gather regularly for classes.

The team from Lighthouse will be returning home with a lot of enthusiasm to get these children sponsored. On Sunday, August 20th, Allen and Kim Hall will be at the morning services there at Lighthouse, to registers sponsors for the children of Crucitas through their new sister church sponsorship program!

We're super excited about this new partnership. We know the pastors in the Crucitas area are excited about this new ministry opportunity. The children and their families are excited about the meals, school shoes, and school supplies they will receive through the program. The team members are excited about being able to stay in contact, through correspondence, with the children they met during their week.

Here's a glimpse of what their week included:

- posted by Trish

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Transitions for MK Camp

When that great philosopher, Dave Barry, said, “Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business,” he obviously wasn’t talking about MK Camp. Having spoken to both staffers and campers, it doesn’t seem like they would trade the experience for a week at a Hilton. (Though they would probably appreciate some mints on their pillows!)

MK Camp looks a little different than it has in past years. That’s because for many missionaries in Honduras, this year has been a time of transition. Some missionaries have left the mission field. Some other missionaries have arrived. Several of the teenagers who attended camp in the past have grown up and returned to North America for college or to begin their careers. It’s the sort of transition that might leave some people a little melancholy. But not the Sowers family! As Russell described the differences between this year and camps of the past, he eagerly said, “It was a great opportunity to have new campers!”

There have been sixty-nine campers this year. Staff members bring the number up to more than ninety individuals who have enjoyed a break from their daily lives. In the past, camp has been limited to missionary families in Honduras. This year, some MKs whose families are missionaries in El Salvador joined in on the fun. They heard great things about the camp and asked to be included. Theirs aren’t the only new faces, however. For almost half of all campers and staffers, this was their first (though likely not last) MK Camp.

Russell handed the phone off the Lindsey, who served as camp music leader. Like so many others, this was Lindsey’s first time at MK Camp, though she has been in Honduras for four years. She spent three years teaching at an international school before becoming a full-time missionary. Lindsey’s dream is to open a coffee shop in Honduras, called Cafe Koinonia. Since koinonia means “fellowship,” it’s the ideal name for a coffee shop whose mission will be to “bring people together and provide a way to open doors to sharing the gospel while providing jobs to the area.”

Describing camp, Lindsey said, “Camp has been so much fun! I was not the sort of person who grew up going to camp every year. I counseled at camp a couple of times, but this is different.”
As worship leader, Lindsey is in a position where she’s not sleeping in a cabin with a group of girls. Yet she still gets to see the kids interacting with each other.

Lindsey described the importance of the campers getting to interact in English and hear messages in English. She said, “The camp is very well run. Teens get to be counselors for the younger kids, but they are also still campers. They have teen programs in the evenings, which are just for them, while the younger kids have ‘Radio Hour’. (They’ve been listening to Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  It’s a nice way to serve a large age range. All of the teens have great attitudes. They do goofy things with the younger kids, but they also have their own programs.

When asked about her thoughts as worship leader, Lindsey said, “I’m impressed with how the kids have been opening up and engaged in worship. There’s a difference between singing and worshipping. We’re not just singing to the sky! It’s been great to see them begin to engage and not be ashamed to sing out. I think it started with about four kids. Each night and day, they get louder. More people are engaging because a few people have been willing. They’re like sixteen-years-old and to see them not be ashamed is great. They’re seeing they have the opportunity to influence their environment rather than be influenced by their environment.”

With experiences like that, who needs mints on a pillow?

- posted by Christi