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:
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.
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 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:
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.