Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Mission

It is July 21st and we recently returned from Honduras.  As always, the trip was amazing and fulfilling in our global mission quest.  We have been traveling to Honduras every summer for the past 5 years now with friends from the Presbyterian church to work with a nondenominational program called HOI.  HOI is a fantastic organization that does so much outreach and assistance to the people living in the rural area of the Agalta Valley in Olancho, Honduras.  This year was the first time that Roy, Heather and I all went as a family.  What an amazing experience to share together.  The only missing link was our eldest daughter Stephanie, and I hope to complete the missing piece some day in the future with her to join us as well.  The village we worked in this year was a place thirsty for the love of Christ.  They had a church in the center of the community, but no one could tell us the last time a priest or pastor came to open the doors.  They felt they were abandoned from the church and many were hesitant to open up and trust in the Word we wanted to share.  No one showed up for the adult bible study we wanted to share.  The were receptive to prayer and the home visits that Fr. Roy, Pastor Wilmer, and Pastor Joy gave.  Many opened up and shared their heart-aches and asked for prayer.  The worship service on the last day far exceeded previous year's fiestas we'd done in the past.  What a glorious experience.  After the team left for the airport to return to the US, Kitti Ginn and I waved them off with a strange sense of excitement and uncertainty.  We had decided prior that we would stay a few extra days to research what type of mission opportunities were available that were supported by the Episcopal Church. 

 El Hogar was started about 33 years ago by an Episcopal priest whom is now retired in our diocese.  It is supported nationally by the Episcopal Church but also relies on funding and volunteers from all faiths.  The school in Tegucigalpa is the original site which was initially started to assist street boys in the city and provide them with a home, food and education.   This site houses 103 students (27 girls and 76 boys).   El Hogar has grown to now 4 cooperatives, 2 are strictly boy centers for vocational training, 1 co-ed elementary school (Teguc site) and the newest site is at Santa Maria for all girls.  I was told that boys are more often cast off from families than girls, but many factors are changing the dynamics of the increase in need for girls.  Girls are now being trained in vocations as well – El Hogar Esparanza for example has volunteers come in that train the girls in beauty skills (hair, nails, make up etc). 

 The Agricultural Center is about 1 hour outside of Tegucigalpa and houses 56 boys.  They work the farm in the morning learning agriculture skills with cattle, chickens, farming (they produce corn, red beans, soy beans, zucchini, and plantains).  They also have a Tilapia fish hatchery.  As you may already know, Honduras is the leading country of import for the US for Tilapia.   In the afternoons the boys attend classes for 3 years.  They can obtain a high school diploma as well as learn the vocation of farming.  After 3 years, they have the option of attending workshops at their Technical Institute.  The Technical Institute houses 88 boys and provides technical training in carpentry, electricity, plumbing and mechanics.   There is no volunteer housing available at this site only, but volunteers can commute here from other centers.  The program can house a total of 15 per group at any given location (that is their van size).  I’d love to talk more about this or you can find more information on their website at

Global mission is definately an inspiration to our ministry.  However, we also enjoying our ministry in the states as Roy has had a call to St. Mary's Episcopal Church of Bonita Springs.  Our move from Wisconsin back to Florida was filled with teary goodbye's, but the welcome from the parishioners of St. Mary's has been such a comfort in this new transition in our life.   We look forward to the next phase of "Our Faithful Journey".

Until next time.  May God bless you and richly fulfill your life.  Listen to His voice in your life and reach out to do the work he is calling you to do.