Eight years ago when Shannon and I visited Honduras, I was introduced to a church in Catulaca and told “this will be your church.” I love it there. I love the children who run up in the street to hug me. I love the women who I once knew as teenagers but are now fantastic moms. I love the teenagers that are struggling to finish school but are do just that… finishing. However, this is not my church. It is the people of Catulaca. We have been waiting and praying that there would be a leader who would want to teach the children and young people. Sunday, I sat and watched as this prayer has been answered. God is training up local leaders who want their children to know Him. Ada is one of those leaders. Ada is an amazing mom and wife with two sons. Like any mom, she worries about her kids. She sheds tears over them. She teaches them to sit in church even when they are too little to understand. Ada’s desire for her kids to learn who Christ is, is now spilling over to the other kids in the church. She is now team teaching on Sunday mornings with Edith. It is times like this that remind me of why we came here to begin with. We are not here to be the church leaders but are here to support the Honduran leaders that God is raising up. Continue to pray for Ada and this group of kids at Catulaca as Ada learns to teach and lead them.
In June we said a sad goodbye to Dr. Melissa and in the same month, God answered prayers to the 9:38 initiative. We are so very excited to have Edith officially join the 61 Isaiah team this year. She has worked as a translator for the past two years so many of you have met her. For those who have not had the chance to work with her yet… well… get ready. They say that good things come in small packages and Edith is no exception. I tried to find ways to describe Edith but have come to the conclusion that there are no words. Seriously. She is a spitfire and one of the most humble, caring, giving, and loving young ladies I have ever served with. Her contagious laugh and mischievous grin are rivaled only with her desire to serve Christ and those around her. She feels deeply for others. In the two years that I have known Edith, I have seen her cry only a handful of times and every time has been for someone else. I have seen her make hundreds of people laugh and watched her serve and love hundreds more. She is a great example of Colossians 3:11. I hope this verse gives you an idea of the young lady Edith is and the little sister we ask that you pray for daily.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
Each of these young ladies represents a story. Not a fairytale but a story of hardship, perseverance, hard work, hope and success. They have not had easy lives and yet they have taught me so much. They have taught me that we need to learn from each other and learn how to appreciate our differences. They have taught me that life is not easy, yet my Honduran friends are strong because they cannot take things for granted, like education. As a dear friend told me a while back, “We Hondurans value more what we have because of all the things we lack.” I am not just talking about the big things but just the things in day-to-day life. I want you to see the strength and to fall in love with Honduras and the amazing people here.
Through Nely’s story posted below and others I have posted before, I hope you see the struggles and the strengths of these young ladies; to love this country for what it is- a country that values what is important and struggles to become better. These young ladies and their families value an education. They have sacrificed and struggled and they have succeeded. Many are the first in their families to graduate high school. And now, will be the first to go University. They have worked hard. They have studied hard. They have loved and given much to be able to attend school. I am so very proud of them. Thank you ladies for allowing me to be a part of your lives and for teaching me what perseverance and hope looks like.
Meet Nely, a young lady that graduated high school last week, becoming the first in her family. This has come a great cost and will continue to require great sacrifice and hard work yet I have no doubt that she will do great things. She is now going on to Illinois College with a full scholarship and a hope to get a degree in business and a masters in agriculture. Read her story in her words below.
“Since my first years of life, the desire of learning has run through my veins. At the age of twelve, my parents, concerned for my education, decided to send me to another school alone. I came to live to Gracias, Lempira so that I could attend Abundant Life Christian School. In this school I learned English as a second language. I will not deny that it was difficult to leave home. But as a principle of life, experiences teach us how to live.
It has not been easy for me to receive a good education. I have had to sacrifice time, money and grow up away from my parents. My parents have worked hard to support my needs though. In my family, I am the first person to attend high school. This expense was high for my parent’s income. My parents are self-employed and their income varies annually because of continual changes in the harvest. I would love to receive not just a high school degree but attend university as well. l wish to have a college degree in Agribusiness. With this career I see the opportunity to help people from my community. I hope to keep learning and I want to achieve what my parents could not achieve because of the lack of opportunities. I not only want to go to college to have a degree, but to keep building in the bridge of knowledge.”
Mathew 9:35-38 describes a time that Jesus was speaking to crowd and had compassion on them because they did not have anyone to lead them. He tells his disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” It is from this verse that the 9:38 prayer initiative was started. Many of you have joined us in this prayer initiative and prayers are being answered. God has brought workers from the US starting with Frank and Melyssa, 9 summer missionaries, 10 teachers and several hundred people on short-term mission trips. But God didn’t call just North Americans. He is rising up people here like Dr. Melissa. He is rising up pastors in many villages to shepherd their flocks like Nicolas, Juan, Mauricio, Trini and Manuel. He is also rising up teenagers to lead their country. Teenagers like Edith who will join our team in a couple weeks and the 10 translators that have ask to serve Him this summer. He is a mighty God who is sending out laborers into HIS harvest here in Honduras. For those of you who have not yet joined this initiative, set your alarms to 9:38 and pray daily for Shannon and I, Frank, Melyssa, Dr. Melissa, Edith, our translators, summer missionaries, summer mission teams, pastors, teachers and those who have not yet answered the call. Pray that pastors and leaders will rise up and lead this beautiful country to the feet of the God Almighty.
People say that Isabella is blessed to have been adopted but make no mistake, it us who has been blessed and gifted with this child. As I sit here watching my beautiful child sleep and worrying about our final appointment with the embassy tomorrow, I have peace. I have peace not that the appointment will go well (because it likely won’t) but a peace that only God can give. I have peace that there are hundreds of people praying for us right now. And I have peace that no matter what paperwork the embassy requires, this is my child, chosen and protected by God until he gave her to us almost 3 years ago. I knew it the moment I saw her. My child, with her wild hair in ponytails and her easy smile. My child, with the mischief in her eyes even when she is not causing mischief. My child with a squeal of laughter that all the neighbors can hear. My child with unmatched stubbornness. This child that God has blessed me with.
It is us who has been blessed and not the other way around. It has been said that adoption is the only trauma in the world where it’s victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful. This is true of my child also. Isabella has lost two mothers in her short little life. She has a birthmother who cared enough about her to know that she couldn’t give her the best life. A women who wrapped her in a quilt before giving her up. A second mom who rocked her, feed her, wiped her tears and loved her for 3 years. She lost those moms and she never knew a dad existed before coming to our family. No, she has not been blessed but has lived through more tragedy than she deserves. But as I watch at my beautiful child, I am reminded of God’s greatness. He too has felt the tragedy she has lived through. He too felt her pain. And then he gave her to us to help her heal and to love her just as any mom loves. Regardless of how many more meeting we must go to our how much more paperwork we must get, I am her mom and am so very, very blessed to have this title.