Monday, May 26, 2014

Get to know Karen Vanesa

Karen is the second child we're highlighting from our feeding center in Tejeras Lempira. Isn't she lovely and soulful-looking? (You can read about Yovani, in a previous post, here. That post also gives some info about how our feeding center program works.)

Karen lives with her mother and three siblings. She's eleven years old, and she attends the local elementary school. There is no father in this home, and they are extremely poor. Although families with no father in the picture are not at all uncommon, this family has been somewhat ostracized in their community. Her mom works doing housework in other people's homes, on a regular schedule, so she does have a small amount of relatively reliable income.

Because Karen's family had no place to live, a member of the church which runs this feeding center is allowing them to live rent-free in a small house he owns but hasn't been using. In spite of the stigma sometimes attached to single parents in these small villages, the church reached out in love to this family. The house is in very run down condition. It only has two rooms, no electricity or water in the house, and the size of the whole house is around 20' x 15'. It is also located in a low, swampy area. They are grateful to have the use of it, though, as they own no house or land of their own. (Much of what you or I would consider to be "slum conditions" in this loaned housing is actually pretty standard for this area - dirt floors, crumbling adobe brick walls, no screens or glass in the windows, leaky roof, no utilities, no indoor bathing or cooking facilities, etc.)

Karen's future is not bright. It is likely that she will receive minimal education, and will feel hopeless about her lack of opportunities. But Karen and her family are learning about God, and his love for them, through the ministry of Pastor Orlando Rivera. They are receiving tangible gifts of love, from God, through Pastor Rivera and his congregation, and through us, with your help! Our prayer is that the love of God will transform the lives of Karen and her family, giving them an understanding of God's wonderful plan for them!

We don't offer sponsorships for individual children, but without any paperwork or funds transferred, you can pray for Karen and her family. Prayer does change things! You can also pray for Pastor Rivera and his church, as they minister to this family. And you could pray for our ministry, as we strive to help the pastors in our area get the resources that help them in their work.

If you'd be interested in donating toward the feeding center project, as a whole, here is the information you need for that:

To Donate by Mail, send checks to:

The Foundation
PO Box 560233
Orlando, Florida 32856-0233

- Make check payable to "The Foundation" -
- Be sure to write "preferenced for Sowers Ministry - Feeding Centers" on an enclosed paper -

To Donate Online:

Click on THIS LINK to donate online using credit card, debit card, or automatic monthly donations from your bank account. Make sure that you choose "Missionary Support" from the drop down menu, and type in "Sowers Ministry - Feeding Centers" in the box requesting "additional specifics on how to use the gift."

If additional instructions or information are needed for donating, please don't hesitate to call The Foundation for Missions, at 407-796-4939or send your questions by email to

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Missionary Kids Camp - here's an update

If you missed the post about the upcoming camp for Missionary Kids in Honduras, which Rachel is organizing this year, you can find it here.

Since then, Rachel has kept busy! She and Boo created a FB page, MK Camp Honduras, and she's been recruiting campers, counselors, staff, and donors. So far she has signed up 39 campers, 13 counselors, and 18 staff members! This is already enough people that we could hold the camp today, and there are more than 2 months left until the camp. We know some families have not been able to officially sign up yet, as they're checking on schedules and such.

Additionally, worship times, themes, T-shirts, schedules, foods, and activities are all in the process of being planned. Candy for canteen sales, handkerchiefs for team colors, prizes, etc are being ordered and are traveling down in suitcases with teams between now and camp.

Now, we are still badly in need of donors to complete the funding of the camp. So far we have about $800 donated. You may recall that we have a donor offering to match all donated funds, up to $3000. That means, we are still $2200 short of getting all of the matching funds that have been offered! Obviously we still need some additional donations here.

If you'd like to help the children of missionaries enjoy a week of camp, geared specially for the needs of kids raised outside their home culture, here's how you can donate:

To Donate by Mail, send checks to:

The Foundation
PO Box 560233
Orlando, Florida 32856-0233

- Make check payable to "The Foundation" -
- Be sure to write "preferenced for Sowers Ministry - MK CAMP" on an enclosed paper -

To Donate Online:

     Click on THIS LINK to donate online using credit card, debit card, or automatic monthly donations from your bank account. Make sure that you choose "Missionary Support" from the drop down menu, and type in "Sowers Ministry - MK CAMP" in the box requesting "additional specifics on how to use the gift."

- If additional instructions or information are needed for donating online, 
please don't hesitate to call The Foundation for Missions, at 407-796-4939,
or send your questions by email to

Thank you so very much, from all the Honduras Missionaries and their kids!!!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Feeding Centers - Meet Yovani

Twelve year old Yovani Mateo lives in the sprawling village of Tejeras. He and his four siblings regularly attend the feeding center run by Pastor Orlando Rivera, of the Iglesia Lirios de la Valle (Lilies of the Valley Church). 

Yovani's parents both live in the home, but his father has lost both of his legs in an accident, so he is unable to work. His mother picks up jobs around the village when she can; cleaning houses, washing laundry, cooking, and doing other kinds of housework. The family is desperately poor, and they have trouble getting enough food to eat on a regular basis. Yovani attends the public school in his village.

The meals at the feeding center are available twice a week, and they are enriched with a collection of vitamins and minerals specifically designed to supplement the diets of malnourished children. Hopefully this enriched food will help stave off some of the possible effects of poor nutrition - like stunted growth, skin and muscle damage, blindness, and cognitive delays. 

In addition to receiving this food, the children visiting the feeding center learn about God and His love for them. Yovani and his family now attend Sunday School and worship services at Pastor Rivera's church, as well.

Here on the blog, I tend to write about the big picture . . . that we supply and oversee more than 100 feeding centers in small remote villages throughout the mountains of western Honduras (and even a few in other locales - like the center we supply which feeds homeless children in the large and extremely dangerous city of San Pedro Sula). I haven't made a habit of highlighting the individuals who benefit from these programs, but we recognize that people need to hear that part of the story, as well.

Large sponsorship programs feed large numbers of children by creating a relationship between the donor and the individual child. While this method helps encourage donors to stay involved with the specific child or children they are helping, it is a very expensive ministry model. We've looked into setting up a similar sponsorship program for our feeding centers, but we simply don't have the resources to maintain this model. We would need to visit each feeding center frequently, take regular photos of all of the sponsored children, see that they write letters to their sponsors, get the letters translated, and mail the letters. When communications were received from sponsors, these would have to be translated and delivered. We simply do not have the ability (time or manpower) to be the intermediary for all of these relationships, and if we made the attempt to do all of this, it would require the collection of significantly more funding to run the program. 

Here's what we do, instead, with the resources we do have:

When a pastor or other individual approaches us about the need for a feeding program in their area, we help them set it up. Generally the pastor recruits volunteers from his church or community to cook the food, and a convenient location in the village is chosen for the site. This location is often the church building, or a large porch off someone's home. The pastor of the local church is the one who has the relationship with the children and their families, not us, and not the donors. He is the one who helps them, prepares the Bible lessons, teaches them, prays with them, etc. We supply the food, at no cost to the pastor, and we ask for some recordkeeping, mostly just the names and ages of the children in attendance, for accountability purposes. 

The downside to this ministry model is that the donors are not getting the opportunity to develop a relationship with the children. There are many upsides. For instance:

The local pastor understands not only the child's language (no need for a translator), but also the culture in which the child lives. He can know the family situation much more intimately than a donor from afar, and.even more fully than we can do, in spite of our having lived here for more than a decade.

The local pastor is likely to be on a similar economic level as the child and the child's family. This avoids the difficult but common scenario of the recipient seeing the donor (and their comparative wealth) as the solution to their problems. The pastor is more able to point the recipient family to dependence on God, rather than dependence on the sponsor.

The local pastor volunteers his time for this ministry, as an outreach of his church. This keeps down the direct cost of a salary, and also the additional overhead costs involved in having paid staff.

The cost to sponsor one child in a large corporate program is in the range of $35 - $40 per month. This money is used for advertising, multiple levels of salaries, all of the relationship-building activities mentioned above, in addition to actually providing food and services to the child. Our program provides similar services to the child, with the exception of the communications between a specific child and donor, for approximately 25 cents per month.

Using this model, Allen, Russell, Iris and I are facilitating the feeding of 12,000 children. For the same donation which would sponsor one child in a corporate program, a donor can ensure that an entire feeding center - more than 150 children - is funded!

As a friend of our ministry stated, "With sponsorship, there is a strong cord between you and one child; with your model there is a beautiful, multi-strand web from the donor to you to the pastors to literally thousands of children. We may not be able to see those cords as well, but our Father in Heaven surely does."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The final days of the bridge project, part 2

Sickness and busyness has intervened, but I'm back now, to share the rest of the story about the La Flores bridge project. LOTS of photos in this post!

If you missed it, here is the link to Part 1.

There was much to be done in the final week before the ceremony:

Street lights were installed at each end of the bridge.

The bomberos (firemen) came out to hose all of the sand, gravel, and debris off the bridge.

All of the tools, equipment, and extra supplies which had been kept on site for the project had to be picked up, packed up, and loaded onto a large truck.

The bridge was painted sky blue and white (the colors of the Honduran flag).

Completed paint job . . . this photo was taken during the opening ceremony. 

Because the new bridge was built beside the old one, and not in the exact same location, the road was moved just a bit closer to this house, and the new road level is higher. To help protect the buildings from water runoff and eroding dirt, a small retaining wall was built between the house and the road.

In spite of all the work, there was still time for some fun with the crew:

Even though Allen is feeling his age these days, the young guys still can't take him in arm wrestling!

Allen and Russell held a barbecue the final day the entire crew worked on the bridge. Although some of the guys are our regular work crew who've been with us on multiple projects, others were local to this bridge project, and became regulars just for the duration of this job. The barbecue was a sort of farewell event for the extended crew.

Part 3 . . . when I get to it . . . the Grand Opening Ceremony!