The Following Blog Post was written by Board President Clifford Watson:
In June 2011, Shannon, Kristi, Tyler and Emma Hopkins packed their bags, said their good-byes and boarded a plane for Honduras. They had planned as much as they knew how to and were answering God’s call — to take the gospel to the Lenca Indians of Western Honduras. This would be done through a new mission organization called 61 Isaiah Ministries.
Shannon had been Youth Pastor to our four children since we had met five years prior. He and Kristi had become dear friends of our family during that period. When asked if I would be willing to serve on the Board of Directors, I quickly said yes. It was obvious to all who did life in the same circle as the Hopkins’ that God’s call was clearly on their lives. Although I didn’t know what all might lie ahead for this new adventure, I wanted to be a part.
Within the first month of the Hopkins’ move to Honduras, my wife Janet, three of our children and I had the opportunity to “walk with them” for the first time on Honduran soil. I recall making the trek up the mountain to one of the villages — greeting the children, then listening to Shannon preach (with the help of a translator) as chickens walked into the church mid-sermon; going to the radio station and the adjacent property to see and hear the vision of how the property could be used agriculturally to break physical cycles of poverty; and visiting the school where Kristi would teach.
Since that first trip, Janet and I have been privileged to return on other occasions to “walk with them” — most recently in April 2021. As a way of celebrating and giving all glory to God, I wanted to communicate through this blog some of what has transpired over these first ten years. Please keep in mind, this is not an “all-inclusive” list, but instead a few of my personal and recent observations.
The 5 Core Values Then vs. Now
- Prayer support of those who knew the Hopkins family and of their call to go
- 9:38 Prayer Initiative – individuals around the globe stopping what they are doing at 9:38 every day to ask God to send laborers unto the harvest (based on Matthew 9:38)
- Gospel Saturation
- Shannon spending time when available building relationships and preaching in the villages
- Relationships with sixteen churches and villages in the Gracias area
- Jeff, Josh, Mauricio and Shannon walking with people and sharing the gospel with Edith’s consistent translation support
- Partnerships with 10 US-based churches who have “adopted” a village and spend time there when possible — walking with the people
- Then: Kristi as a single contributor, K-4 teacher
- Now: Kristi as a regional administrator
- The majority of the team members teaching at least one class
- Honduran students who have received scholarships and earned degrees at US colleges, then returned to Honduras to help influence the society through education and a Kingdom-of-God mindset
- Empowering Local Leaders
- Not originally enough resources to make this a key area of ministry focus
- “Church Identity” training in the villages that instruct the local church leaders of the importance of God’s Word; its inerrancy; how to effectively study and understand scripture
- Breaking Cycles of Poverty
- Unused and uncultivated land with vision for what “could be”
- Micah overseeing and advancing vision of the “Hunger Farm”
- Partially developed property including stocked fish ponds, chickens, goats, pigs, coffee plants and production
- Remaining and additional vision for what “could be” done with the land
- A young man in one of the villages who had been mis-diagnosed with a skin disorder that was eating away his flesh; provisions made for research and proper treatment that helped bring physical, mental and spiritual healing and a confident future
- A young man who, at the age of 12 became the man of the house after his father and then grandfather died; ensuring he continues his education so that he can provide effectively for his family
- Field-based team
- Then: The Hopkins family of four
- Now: Twenty field-based team members (including families)
- “Teaming” – all team members willing to help wherever needed outside their primary areas
- Hannah and Spencer taking care of all back-office support, putting in place organizational building blocks necessary for future growth, bringing consistency to everything the ministry does
It has been fun to reminisce on the past and celebrate in the course of this blog. But we can’t stop here — God has called us to more. There is still much work to be done in the days, months and years ahead. If something mentioned above tugs at you and you would like to learn more, I or any member of the 61 Isaiah team would love to talk to you further.
The primary emphasis I want to leave you with is this: The only way we can celebrate any of the areas described above is because of God. He deserves all glory. Without Him, nothing that 61 Isaiah Ministries has ever been a part of would matter or be possible.
Here’s to the next ten. To God be the glory!