Thursday, March 9, 2023

Prayer Request Updates . . . and a few new (important/urgent) requests!

The thing about a prayer request list is that it’s not a once and done situation. Think of prayer requests like gardening or lawn maintenance. You can ask for help to rid your garden or a particular type of weed or destructive varmint but that doesn’t mean that other weeds and varmints won’t show up later. This is an update on previous prayer requests with some new weeds and varmints thrown in for good measure!

                                        UPDATES ON PREVIOUS WEEDS AND VARMINTS:

                    Rachel’s Pregnancy

Things are going well, and that's a BIG PRAISE! Rachel has now carried the little bambino for 36 weeks. As far as her doctor is concerned, there is no reason to bar her from giving birth in Gracias. Wahoo, to that! 

Please continue to pray that the remainder of the pregnancy will be smooth and that there will be an easy delivery resulting in a healthy baby and mom. Gracias is not known for its world-class medical care and any emergency would leave Rachel far from a larger, better equipped facility. 

Also pray for Rachel’s support system. Since Sowers4Pastors works in remote areas, it’s important to be able to contact Brandy whenever he is out and about, when the time for delivery comes! Trish, Allen, and Kirstin are also staying ready to drop everything in order to keep Nathan and Michael, as needed. 

                   Coffee Farm

There’s not a lot of news to share concerning the coffee farm but everyone is cautiously optimistic that the current blight will not completely end the farm. They are still struggling with the fact that there aren’t enough workers available. The guys from S4P have been working hard to apply the right fertilizers, etc., to the coffee plants. They are following all of the recommended guidelines in order to save the farm. 

There will be a loss, but the exact amount is impossible to predict. During this time of year, when the coffee has been harvested and there is no rain, things always look dead! There is some rain in the forecast and that is excellent news.

Please pray for rain and cooler temperatures throughout the dry season, and for the coffee trees to heal!

                Allen’s Health

Allen is still Allen. That means he still doesn’t like not being able to tackle every possible crisis while leaping tall buildings in a single bound. He’s continuing to deal with stressful situations while coming to terms with the fact that he needs to delegate some of the tasks he would have shouldered ten years ago. As the Hallmark card says, “Aging isn’t for sissies!”

                NEW WEEDS AND VARMINTS:

                Teams/Medical Team

This time of year is always busy because of visiting teams. There is a larger staff this year, which is nice. Staggering schedules means that everyone can get some downtime (theoretically).

A medical team is coming up in a few weeks and that brings up a whole slew of prayer requests. Getting things through customs in Honduras has become increasingly difficult. It’s especially difficult when dealing with medicines and other medical supplies. Allen has reached out to other missionaries whose visiting medical teams were unable to get their surgical supplies through customs. Some have had to cancel needed surgeries! The S4P team will be dealing with more basic medical supplies, but the government seems to be looking for reasons to stop items from getting into the country, while also charging more fees. 

S4P is in the process of compiling a list with the names of all of the medicines the team will be bringing, as well as the expiration dates on each bottle. They are filling out all the required forms, and have a lawyer helping with the process. Even so, it is expected that there will be some hassles. Allen and Trish pointed out that people prayed for the containers to get through customs - and this year proved to be one of the easiest in ages. This is the same kind of situation. Please pray again. No one wants to have a visiting medical team without their supplies!


This week, Secia developed severe, sudden back pain. She is down and unable to walk. As is the case of Rachel and Brandy, that means that Alejandro is needed at home. Secia and Alejandro have an infant, as well as a school-aged child. With Alejandro (and Brandy) filling in at home as much as possible, the ministry has even fewer people to do the necessary work. Please pray for Secia’s healing. Also, pray that the ministry will be able do everything that needs to be done, and that the stress on the staff right now will soon be eased!


Sowers4Pastors can no longer be classified as a small organization. If it were a car, we could say that it has grown from being compact to being mid-sized! That means that the paperwork has multiplied. Kirstin is putting together required government paperwork for the year. That includes showing all of the receipts for the previous year. S4P has a lot of receipts for tiny amounts of money. Many things are purchased with cash. Kirstin needs time to finalize all of the paperwork without interruptions . . . which is very difficult right now, especially. Please pray for Kirstin to be able to concentrate on this tedious job and get it behind her soon!


While Kirstin works on the equivalent of tax stuff, Trish is also extra busy. As teams passed out backpacks the past couple of months, they also collected registration info on each child. Trish is now inputting all of that information into the system. This isn’t work that is easily shared. In order to do this task, someone must be fluent in English and also know a fair amount of Spanish. Trish is getting it done but she also needs to be able to carve out chunks of uninterrupted time. She is working with multiple deadlines because the various sister churches in the States do sponsorship drives on different Sundays, to get the new children sponsored. The deadlines stretch from March through May. Please pray for Trish's stamina!


As was mentioned in the snippet about the coffee farm, there is a labor shortage. Finding labor-level employees was never an issue before, but it is now a consistent, ongoing problem. In order to get things done, some of the S4P employees who would normally be dealing with other things have found themselves doing manual labor. They are doing so with minimal complaints, but it isn’t an ideal situation. Please pray for health and safety and strength for all the staff . . . as well as for the ministry to find some more laborers to employ!


Allen and Trish know they are working within an unknown window of time. They voiced the question, "How long will the government allow us to do our Christian work through the public schools?"

The culture is changing, too. Lifestyles are changing as the kids are being exposed to things on social media. Trish said, “The distractions we all face are increasing in this culture by leaps and bounds. We want to make use of the time in spite of things that seem to be slowing us down.”

Allen chimed in to talk about what is going on with the ministry. Now that Alejandro, Secia, Esdras, Brandy, Rachel, and Kirstin are on board, the opportunity to meet people’s spiritual needs has been greatly increased. With that, Allen is sensing greater spiritual warfare. Please pray that the ministry will be able to accomplish all of the tasks God places before them.

 - posted by Christi - apologies to everyone on staff who found themselves labeled as a "weed" or "varmint" in this post.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Training Pastors and Teachers

Allen and Trish are excited to share about a training session for pastors, Sunday school teachers, and schoolteachers that took place this past weekend. The session was for anyone involved in teaching Bible lessons in the sister church sponsorship programs - whether through a church or public school. In truth, Allen and Trish are excited for a couple of reasons: 1) It was a smashing success. 2) The event was put together through the hard work and ingenuity of Alejandro and Secia.

More than 70 people were in attendance. For some of the attendees, that meant a trip involving multiple bus transfers. Sowers4Pastors helped with the transportation costs as needed. The event was designed to make sure the people presenting Bible lessons are up-to-date on the various curricula used. A few of the pastors had schedule conflicts but they still sent representatives because they understand the importance of Bible lessons for the students.

The goal here is to help the programs improve and update what they can do in their lessons. For that reason, it is important to provide several options to better serve each program based on the ages of the students, number of children involved, and other factors. Around 2800 children are being taught by the attendees! That's a lot of people to impact with one conference!

While the event was taking place, other staff members were on the road picking up a visiting team. And where was Allen? He spent that time under a truck, working alongside a mechanic. Why is that noteworthy? Because it is a sign that the ministry is operating effectively and fully utilizing individual team members. Everyone could carry on with handling other ministry responsibilities, while feeling confident that this event was also in good hands and running smoothly. 

It’s always fun to see pictures of kids receiving backpacks, shoes, and food. Sowers4Pastors wants to make sure that supporters know they are fully committed to the sponsorship programs having a spiritual impact, as well. The Bible lessons are not an afterthought! Even though COVID may seem like old news in the States, it shut down programs in Honduras for much longer. Hosting this event was a big step in assuring that things are in place for the pastors and teachers to regroup, reorganize, and reach lives.

 - posted by Christi

Thursday, February 16, 2023

A Gigantic Small Step

It’s the time of year when Sowers4Pastors updates the registration rolls for the kids in the sponsorship programs. Just like every year, a lot of new youngsters are entering the program and a lot of kids are leaving it. Understandably, it can be upsetting for a sponsor to see a child leaving the program. It is not uncommon for those sponsors to ask, “Why are children leaving school at such young ages?” It’s a complex question with some complex answers. Today, Allen and Trish want to address those concerns. 

Let’s begin with the things most of us already know about the cycle of poverty and how that affects education. 1)  People in poverty often struggle to keep their kids in school. 2) In some cultures, kids leave school to go to work and help earn money for their families. 3) It’s also fairly common for some cultures to educate boys and not girls. 

Now we’re going to move on to the things that are more unique about the area served by S4P. Because the ministry serves a variety of economic levels, Allen and Trish are trying to speak in averages. Most of the areas served by S4P are incredibly insulated–they are far from paved roads. The residents of those insulated villages don’t see the opportunities that are available in other areas. 

The farther a child lives from the road, the greater the likelihood that his or her parents never attended school at all. It wasn’t a matter of not prioritizing education. School simply wasn’t an option for those parents because there were no schools near them. None. Zip. Nada. Even when the Sowers family arrived on the scene 16 years ago, many of the communities had a lot of kids and not a school in sight. 

Given that cultural perspective, sixth grade graduation is a big deal. There are caps & gowns, pomp & circumstance, and great rejoicing. In the U.S., high school graduation is seen as a minimum expectation. In the areas surrounding Gracias, graduating from the sixth grade is met with the same level of enthusiasm we tend to reserve for graduate school. It means the child has exceeded expectations! Trish said, “There is absolutely no way to place U.S. expectations on these families and expect it to make sense to them. If a child learns to read, write, and do basic math competently, they are better off than previous generations of their families.”

Allen shared, “Many of the coffee harvesters we hire can’t sign their own names. They either sign with an ‘X’ or they have one of their kids sign for them. It’s not weird here. It is seen as the norm.”

Trish explained the complex emotions she personally feels surrounding this issue. She said, “I feel bad when I see a sponsor upset and grieving because a child has left school. At the same time, I know the child's family is ecstatic - and it’s important to celebrate with the families. When a child can read and write, that is thrilling to their families! We want to celebrate the successes and encourage more. We’re trying to get municipalities to build more middle schools. As more children graduate from the sixth grade, this becomes more likely. And even if we have kids that didn’t finish the sixth grade, more did than ever before. If we used the U.S. standard to judge our success rate, we would… quit! We can’t judge things that way in this culture.”

“In many locations where we work, the population attending elementary schools has doubled since we started our program,” Allen chimed in. And gradually, more and more children are continuing on to higher grades!


“That is both gigantic and a small step,” Trish said. “We recognize that.” Sponsors look at one child. Sowers4Pastors must look at education as a community-wide thing. She added, “From our point of view, looking at the big picture, the program has been super successful. But it's understandable that sponsors are disappointed when their children leave the program."

The program has been so successful that other communities are taking notice. Talgua is a municipality that has some of the sponsorship programs within its boundaries. The school board from Talgua went to S4P and asked them to start programs in all of their schools, which would have included about 13 additional elementary schools. S4P had to turn them down because the ministry does not currently have the resources or manpower to handle that many more schools. If you know Allen and Trish, you know what a difficult decision that was. 

Allen said, “Talgua wants the kids to go to school. So do we! If a church comes along and wants to start a program at some of these schools, maybe we can make that happen. But we will still need more staff–particularly more North American staff. We’re praying that God would raise up another missionary couple or two who want to settle in and work with us for the long-term. If you are seriously interested in this, we would love to talk with you about the possibilities!"

Let's end with some prayer requests:

  • Please pray for the sponsors who have lost sponsored children, and for the children who have left school
  • Please pray that the impact of the sponsorship programs would impact these entire communities and help them recognize the value of higher levels of education.
  • Please pray that the Pastors running these programs will impact these children and these communities with the Gospel!
  • Please pray that God would provide the staffing and resources needed, so that S4P can help even more children attend school and hear the Bible lessons!

  - posted by Christi

Friday, February 10, 2023

Serious Prayer Concerns - and a LOT of them!

You can tell a lot about what is going on in the life of a Christian based on what verses of scripture they are clinging to at a particular moment. What’s going on with the Sowers family? Well, take a moment to read the verses Trish shared and then we’ll talk about it.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4

Are you ready to continue? So, clearly, life is not all sunshine and lollipops right now. In fact, there are some serious struggles happening right now. Allen and Trish would like to share those struggles with you as they ask for prayer.


Because of her innate capacity for organization and leadership, Rachel hit the ground running when she began working with Sowers4Pastors. She assumed the responsibility of scheduling what everyone is supposed to do each day. 

Recently, she started having some contractions and her doctor has put her on bed rest for the remaining 2 months of her pregnancy. It goes without saying that the first prayer request is for Rachel and her unborn son. 

The ministry also needs prayers because when Rachel isn’t there to work, things are infinitely more difficult. Her doctor has okayed her to work from her laptop. That requires someone to be on hand to take care of her other two boys. Baby Michael is at a very curious stage and his capacity to reach new things is growing each day! Rachel loves to be in the middle of the work, and for her, bed rest is more challenging than “doing all the things!”

Coffee Farm        

At some point during the last part of the coffee harvest, it was discovered that the Sowers4Pastors coffee farm had a new and unwelcome guest–coffee blight. The blight has been moving all over Honduran coffee farms, so its arrival wasn’t a total surprise. It was just a matter of time. But the timing was particularly bad as it arrived as the trees were straining to produce coffee. The plants were giving all of their energy to the beans and weren’t able to protect themselves. 

Coffee workers are still in short supply, so the farm is operating with a skeleton crew of four men spraying the plants with fertilizers and fungicide. Everyone is trying to take it in stride. Allen is hopeful that most of the coffee trees can be saved. They are trusting God with the future of the farm. Please pray for additional workers, and for God to heal the trees!

Food Supplies

The food that Sowers4Pastors uses in their sponsorship programs and feeding centers is shipped into Honduras from the US. It's special food, formulated to stave off malnutrition. Unfortunately, there have been delays and delays related to the process of getting government approval to start moving the next container of food - which is ready and waiting in the US. It is not in Sowers4Pastors' hands, to fix the delays. They just have to wait.

At this time, they have had to suspend food distributions to all of the non-sponsorship feeding centers, so they won't run out as quickly. Please pray that the situation is corrected quickly!


The willingness to be vulnerable is courageous. Allen courageously shared, “I’m feeling like my age is catching up with me. I want to help Rachel and the team. I want to fix things. My mind says, ‘Yes!’ My body says, ‘No!’ I’m feeling the stress of it all and, because I am a doer, it’s hard. I don’t want to say it’s depressing, but it’s a downer. It’s a bummer to not be able to do as much as I could have done two or three years ago. I’m spending a lot of time in prayer–praying that God would give me energy, but more that He would give me peace. The peace to accept the things I can’t change. It would be great if I could step in and help with more of the office work, but that is really not my gift!”


And, of course, S4P is right in the middle of team season. Trish said, “While we have a great time with teams, it’s a lot of work. Plus this is when the teams distribute the shoes and backpacks. That means loading trucks and doing inventory. Everyone is putting in more hours. We’re trying to be respectful of people’s time and not pull the newer employees in after hours. But right now it’s necessary. Everyone is willing and, like us, they see this as an opportunity to advance the Gospel - but we also want them to have some downtime.”

Prayer is something S4P always covets. But sometimes it feels like a more frantic need. Please pray for God’s continued guidance, the feeling of peace, and enough downtime to keep everyone’s energy level where it needs to be.                                                                                                                                         

 - posted by Christi

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Medical Mercy for Families in Leadership

Most of the time when we talk about Medical Mercy projects with Sowers4Pastors, they involve children from the sponsorship programs or feeding centers. Occasionally, this involves a family member of one of the children. Today, we’re talking about three examples of how the medical mercy branch of the ministry is involved with helping leaders in the programs. 

Katherine with therapist
Pastor Marvin leads the sponsorship program in Arenales (sister church of Life Community Church). Pastor Marvin’s six-year-old daughter, Katherine, has been diagnosed as severely autistic. She is unable to communicate or take care of herself in the simplest of ways. Allen described the child as being “terrified of life.” She doesn’t understand what is going on around her, which causes her to be in a perpetual state of panic. Because of her constant agitation, caring for her requires a 100% time commitment, making it almost impossible for a caretaker to do other tasks in addition to watching over her. 

Where does the medical mercy part come in? Working with Life Community Church, S4P wants to do what they can to help Katherine, which in turn will be helpful to the family. One aspect is providing the medicines prescribed to help ease her anxiety. Alexandro and Cesia (S4P staff) found a special needs therapist to work with Katherine. The therapy visits will require a 3 - 4 hour bus trip each way. The prayer is that therapy can help her better understand her surroundings and be calmer. Please pray for Pastor Marvin's family.

Alejandro and Cesia, taking Katherine and her mom 
to the first therapy session

Pastor Lorenzo lives in Guacutao, and oversees the sister church with Edgewater Alliance Church. Shortly before the start of COVID lockdowns, Pastor Lorenzo’s grandson, Isais, was born. The child was born without an anus. In the States, that would involve a series of surgical procedures shortly after the birth to repair the birth defect. Pastor Lorenzo’s grandson immediately had a colostomy surgery, to keep him alive, but COVID restrictions meant that additional surgeries needed to actually correct the problem were delayed. Additionally complicating the situation is the distance to the missionary hospital where the surgeries are being done, an eight-hour drive from their home. Private transportation must be arranged for the ride home because a post-op bumpy bus ride is out of the question. Members of Edgewater Alliance are helping with funds for this project.

The third project involved Profesor Celio of the Escuela Lemanal (part of the Crucitas program with Lighthouse Church). The Profesor had a motorcycle accident, and his ankle was badly broken. There was talk about putting in a metal plate to physically reconnect the bones. Surgery was delayed until the plate needed could be located. In the end, Profesor Celio decided to not have that surgery. He is currently recuperating, and S4P and Lighthouse will continue to partner in helping with medical expenses. There is some concern that he chose a less-than-ideal path to avoid having the more complicated surgery. He is hopeful that he will be up and about fully in six months. Time will tell, and prayers are certainly appreciated!

Allen and Trish stressed that it is a blessing to them, when Sowers4Pastors is able to be of assistance with these kinds of needs. They wish to thank the supporters who provide funds to make such assistance possible. Please pray for each of these situations. For Pastor Lorenzo’s grandson, there is an expected resolution before too long. Profesor Celio may require more assistance down the road if the ankle doesn’t heal properly. In the case of Pastor Marvin’s family, the situation will likely continue for many years into the future. 

 - posted by Christi

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Picture It: A Pastors' Conference, 2023

A special note for readers: Hopefully some of you were fans of the 1980s TV show, The Golden Girls: Please begin reading the introductory paragraph in the same tone Sophia might have used when saying, “Picture it: Sicily 1922…” Much like Sophia Petrillo regaled Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche with stories of her youth, the following blog post is written in the present tense. And, much like Sophia’s stories, the quotes are not 100% accurate, but they do convey the gist of what happened. Ready? 

Picture it: Honduras 2023. It’s Saturday, January 14th and Sowers4Pastors is hosting a pastors' conference at Hotel Guancascos. If you’ve ever been a part of an S4P team visit, you shouldn’t have any difficulty picturing the hotel and restaurant, as well as the beautiful gardens If you haven’t visited Gracias, just do your best with the information you have been given. 

It is a relatively brief event that serves a big purpose. Twenty-five pastors serving as denominational supervisors are in attendance. Multiple denominations are represented. Some of the supervisors oversee as many as fifty different communities. Some of the pastors are old friends, having worked with S4P since the Sowers family first moved to Gracias. Others are new to S4P – known only by reputation. 

The pastors gather at 10:00 AM and are introduced to the newer staff members with Sowers4Pastors. Some of the people in attendance haven’t before met Brandy & Rachel, Alejandro & Secia, and Esdras. Introductions are made. There is a time of praise and worship.

Everyone listens as speakers go over the projects S4P does and the resources the ministry offers. Alejandro & Secia present information to the crowd. Alejandro, who was previously an associate pastor in charge of 500 people is in his element. Once a public speaker, always a public speaker. Brandy also addresses the group and does a great job. 

They talk about the schedule of when projects take place. This is especially useful information because pastors often ask questions like, “When are you taking motorcycle applications?” Now the supervisors in attendance know that applications are accepted twice a year and will be able to share the specific application windows with the pastors they serve.

The pastors are given the following directive: “If you know of a pastor who is of the highest moral fiber – someone in need of resources – please send him our way. If you know of a pastor who is less than upstanding – someone not utilizing resources properly – please forget we were ever here. We ask that you not send shifty people our way.” (Remember that poetic license has been taken! No one at S4P would ever be so blunt!)

At noon, the conference-y portion of the conference concludes. Let the lunch and fellowship commence! The conference is a success and beneficial to all concerned. 

As one pastor said prior to the meeting, “I’m so busy. I don’t have time to come but I’m going to make time!” 

To that, S4P responds by saying, “Thank you for being a friend" . . . and more importantly, "Thank you for prioritizing spreading the Good News!"

To everyone who supports Sowers4Pastors in the work of empowering pastors in western Honduras, so that the Gospel can be preached more effectively in this part of the world - "Thank YOU for being a friend of the ministry!"

 - posted by Christi

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Prayer Requests to Kick Off 2023!

Sowers4Pastors is serious about “making the main thing, the main thing" . . . which is to say, they don't want the spiritual aspects of the ministry to be overlooked in the midst of school supply distributions and feeding malnourished children. They can’t do it without the prayers and donations of supporters. As they are moving into 2023, they want to offer a huge “Thank you” to each and every person who helps them do what they do. 

Here’s your first official S4P prayer request list of the new year:

  • Please pray for harvesters! There is an ongoing shortage of coffee harvesters and the Sowers4Pastors coffee farm is in competition with every other coffee farm in the region. Just a month ago, there were 120 pickers helping out on the farm. They were harvesting faster than the equipment and farm crew could process it all! Fast forward a month. This coffee harvest started out with 8 pickers. A day later, that number had increased to 25 outside pickers plus the farm crew.

  • Pray for the ministry vehicles. There’s going to be an overlap between the coffee harvest and the arrival of teams. The first team to arrive will be from Lighthouse Church. Their Lighthouse for Lempira sister church program is a hard 1 hour and 20 minute drive each way. The vehicles are also needed to drive coffee harvesters to and fro each day, as well as for moving the actual coffee around on the farm. Obviously, working vehicles are not really optional in this scenario - every vehicle needs to keep going during this busy time!

  • From the ongoing prep work and organization to the upcoming distribution, backpack work and backpack recipients are always good additions to a prayer list.

  • Please pray for the building of the new house on the property–specifically that there will be gaps in the day-to-day responsibilities to work on it and that Allen and Trish’s personal funds will stretch to meet the rising costs. With Allen’s travels back to the States for backpack trips, everyone will feel better with increased security. It is likely that Kirstin will join Allen on future trips. For Trish’s safety and the safety of the property, everyone wants to have Brandy and Rachel close at hand. The sooner the new house is built, the sooner Brandy and Rachel will be able to move in. 
  • Pray for the progress Alejandro and Cesia are making, as they work on the partnerships with the sister church locations. This Saturday, they will be meeting with the supervisors who oversee the pastors. Alejandro and Cesia are relying on the supervisors for their recommendations to maintain accountability and good stewardship in everything. 

  • Please pray for the next container of food to arrive with no issues. Container issues seem to be more frequent than in the past, and the food supply on the ground right now is starting to run low.

  • Pray for continued safe travels for Trish. She’s having a great time snuggling baby Steven. Pray for a safe trip home.

  • Please pray for Rachel’s 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Since this coincides with team season, pray that she will not feel overloaded with stress and that she will find plenty of time to rest and nest! Prayers for a healthy third child for Rachel and Brandy and seventh grandchild for Trish and Allen.

  • Pray for the matching funds drive. Allen never wants to miss out on a single penny that could be used to feed a hungry child. With a matching funds drive in play, there are a lot of potential pennies! This comes at a time when a supply of food is especially needed. Also pray for the children who will receive the food. 

  • Prayers for this time of transition, as people are learning new jobs and positions within S4P, are appreciated. As the Gospel is being spread throughout each of the ministry’s programs, pray that the pastors and staff will all be focused on making eternal things the priority. Pray that each person involved will deny themself, pick up their cross, and follow Jesus.

 - posted by Christi