Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 - A Year in Review

The countdown is over. The big ball has dropped. The confetti has flown all over Times Square, and 2016 has officially ended. You know what that means: It’s time for Sowers4Pastors Year in Review! Now we merely need to figure out if we should go in chronological order or in order of WOW factor. Hmmm… Or maybe we should do it like they do in the movies and give you some basic background info. Yeah. Let’s do that.

It has been sixteen years since Allen and Trish pulled up stakes and moved to Honduras with their passel of children and whatever else you take when you move to Honduras. Undoubtedly, there were those who thought they had lost their ever-lovin’ minds. Their plan was to stay for a couple of years or so, but God had other plans. In that sixteen years, the passel of children grew to adulthood and Ben joined the family. And Russell is in the process of assuming more and more ministry responsibility, which will allow Allen and Trish to spend more time promoting the ministry in the States. Now, we can move on to 2016.

The Pastor Part

Let’s start with the pastor part of Sowers4Pastors. Forty-six indigenous pastors completed the year-long pastor training school, where they were able to gain knowledge on how to study the Bible and improve their preaching skills.

Fourteen more pastors are riding new motorcycles in their villages of Western Honduras, thanks to funding which helped Sowers4Pastors distribute them. The motorcycles are being used by the pastors to minister more efficiently to their congregations.

Other Cool Stuff

Three bridge projects were completed in 2016, including one in Haiti. Another bridge project is underway. The fun never stops!

Bridge in Haiti, built May of 2016

2000 children were added to the general feeding program, in 30 new church feeding centers. The grand total of children being fed through Sowers4Pastors’ feeding centers is now a whopping 14,000! Even this math hater loves those numbers!

The new sponsorship programs--the Manna 4 Lempira program and the Sister Church program--provided school shoes, backpacks, and school supplies to over 1200 children. That’s above and beyond their regular participation in a church-run feeding center.

Ahead of Schedule

2016 was the Year of the First Great Coffee Harvest. With Russell overseeing the whole shebang, the ministry brought in its very first coffee harvest. It had a much larger yield than anticipated, meaning the project is ahead of schedule and the farm should be producing funds, which can be used for ministry, much sooner than expected. But a big coffee harvest wasn’t the only thing that came sooner than expected...

De-pulping - separating the fruit from the "bean" - the harvest from our coffee farm!

The WOW factor of this post is undoubtedly the fact that R.J. is a big brother! Russell and Iris welcomed Baby Abigail a little ahead of schedule, but right on time to send 2016 out in style.

Prayer Requests for 2017

As we all move ahead in 2017, please remember to take time to pray for Sowers4Pastors and the entire Sowers family. Allen, Trish, Russell, and Iris' greatest desire is that they will be able to discern God’s leading--both in the ministry and in their personal lives.

Working like Energizer Bunnies for Jesus can take a toll on a person’s health! Pray that the Sowers will enjoy good health to continue doing the work set before them. When they are in Honduras, health care is limited. When they are in the U.S., they don’t have health insurance and the costs are exorbitant. Allen and Trish blame aging for some minor health concerns, but, as we saw last year, a tiny mosquito had the ability to make Russell and Iris feel yucky for a while.

Please remember Ben at his new school. He’s doing great at his missionary-run boarding school, the Plan Escalon school in La Entrada, which is about an hour and a half from home. Let’s pray he continues to maneuver the adolescent years in a way that is honoring to God.

Russell and Iris are spinning a lot of plates for a young couple. There’s the ministry, their marriage, moving to a new home, and parenting two of the most adorable children on the planet. Pray that God would continue to bless their marriage and their young family.  

And, as always, remember to pray for the ministry programs, particularly some of the newer projects, like the coffee farm and sponsorship programs, which currently require a large investment of time and money. We all know Sowers4Pastors is great at stepping out on faith, and that’s wonderful. But sometimes it’s nice to know the funding is there BEFORE taking a leap!

Now, would someone get the broom and start sweeping up all of this confetti? It’s time to get busy with 2017!

 - posted by Christi

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