Traveling in Honduras is always a challenge. You must always be alert because you never know what is going to be in the road. Rocks, trees, tires, people, a herd of cows, a broken down vehicle, holes so big that they could swallow your vehicle, and of course a wide variety of vehicles. Aside from the obstacles, there are several police checkpoints. The police force is limited in the number of vehicles they possess, so there are various manned checkpoints on the road. I am finally getting to a point where the checkpoints no longer make me nervous. At first I was nervous because of the language barrier. The longer we are here the more stories we hear about challenges with the police. The biggest challenge is you never know what kind of police officer is going to ask you to stop. For the most part every officer I have encountered has been very nice. In mid-March I paid my first bribe, which I think is pretty good after living in Honduras for 10 months.
Over the last 6 weeks I have traveled to San Pedro Sula six times. The drive to San Pedro Sula is usually three and a half hours. Most of the police near Gracias have gotten to know me, but the further I travel from Gracias, the less the police officers know who we are. I decided it was time to get to know the officers. A few weeks ago I went to pick up my dad at the airport and I had a great conversation with one of the police officers. When I took my dad back to the airport the same officer stopped me again. The police love my vehicle, so I am always stopped. This time we recognized each other. We had a very nice conversation and I gave the officer some money for a drink, because it was a very hot day. This past Friday I went to San Pedro again to pick up some Bibles. One the way to San Pedro Sula, I was stopped and the same officer remembered me once again. We exchanged greetings and he let me go. After we had some lunch and picked up the Bibles in San Pedro Sula, we headed back to Gracias. One the way home I was stopped once again. This time I did not know the officer, however the officer who I had been talking to the previous three trips saw me and walked over to talk. He visited with the officer who stopped me for a moment and then asked where I was going. I told him I was going back to Gracias. He then asked if I would be willing to take someone with me to a town close to Gracias, called Santa Rosa de Copan. I had a friend riding with me and I turned to him to asked what he thought. He asked who the guy was. The police said the guy needing a ride was a police officer who was recovering from an accident. He needed a ride to meet his family in Santa Rosa. We decided it would be a good thing to do.
For most of the way to Santa Rosa my friend talked to the officer. My Spanish is limited, so I was limited in how much I could engage in the conversation. About halfway to Santa Rosa I felt God asking me to witness to the young police officer. So for about half an hour I asked the only questions I could and gathered some information about the young police officer. When we arrived in Santa Rosa, I was hoping my ministry partner, Brother Armando, would be waiting for us at a gas station so he could help translate for me. However, when I arrived at the gas station Brother Armando was not there. So I prayed and asked God to help me with the words. Before the young man got out of my vehicle, I told him that I did not believe it was an accident he traveled with us today. I began to share the message of salvation. I asked if he had a Bible, and he said he did not. So we got the officer a Bible and I continued to share the Gospel with him. At the end of our conversation I asked if he wanted to ask Jesus to be his personal Lord and Savior. He said YES! We prayed together and exchanged contact information. As I drove towards Gracias and the young police officer caught a taxi into Santa Rosa I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I was so thankful the young police officer accepted Christ and that God helped me with the language to share the Good News of Jesus clearly. Please pray for our new brother in Christ, Elmer.