I want to thank many of you for taking time to write to me and encourage me during the past two weeks with your words and prayers and wisdom and scripture. I was so blessed with knowing that many of you who had forgotten to pray are once again faithfully bringing Destino before the Throne of Grace and I praise God for your faithfulness to us. We are so thankful for all the support in prayer that so many of you are for us. God is faithful and He uses you and your prayers to bring about His will in this place. Thank you so much. We depend on your prayers and really sense when we are lacking that prayer support at times. I’m sorry if I sounded kind of pouty in the last email but really was feeling alone (even though I really know better) in the ministry here and was in great need of the reminder of your prayers. So thank you.
This morning Carlos gave me the bad news that he had to go get three of our church members out of jail in the next town up the road. They are all leaders in AWANAs and I was so upset. But, PRAISE GOD, we found out that they were only out on the highway in the night and the police pick young people up that are on the highway at night and put them in jail. The police actually probably save some young peoples’ lives that way because this is a dangerous place in the night. I was so surprised because many times I do not like the tactics of the police here and they are generally thiefs but this time, I was very impressed. It was hard on my neighbor (the mom of two of the boys) because they don’t have phones and she did not know where her boys were until 8:30 this morning. Whew, that was a rough night for her. The neighbors continue to have the battle among themselves and I ask you to continue to pray for them all. Anthony is one of the young men that was in jail last night. He and Karen have a little 4-year old girl. Anthony is the son of one of my neighbors and Karen is the daughter of the other neighbors so this whole conflict is really damaging so many — especially the little girl who is the granddaughter of both families — thanks for continuing to pray for them. I have talked sternly to several of the women about their responsibility to make peace and that God will greatly bless them if they choose forgiveness and they smile and agree and do NOTHING!! So we need wisdom and your prayers.
AWANAs was hysterical yesterday. Unlike American kids, Honduran kids have not ever held a basketball in their hands. One of the competition relays was to dribble a basketball around the AWANA circle and then pass it to your team mate, etc. I wish I had it on video. It was soooooo funny — they would bounce it high and then have to wait for it to come back down — it was the funniest thing but I did contain myself so as not to insult them. However, Eduard was not so kind. He was rolling on the ground laughing at all the kids. I kept kicking him but he couldn’t quit laughing. ha. The kids are LOVING AWANAs sooooo much. We have new kids every week and are way over 200 now. Carlos had to start driving the van with about 40 in it yesterday because there is no more standing or squishing room in the bus anymore. What a wonderful problem to have. We have more and more leaders too. So many of the young people are really diligently working with their groups in AWANAs and it blesses me so much each week to see over 200 kids memorizing the Word of God. Wow, what a privilege to be a part of this. We plan to open our AWANA store this week and they can finally spend some of their AWANA dollars. That will increase greatly their motivation for learning their Scriptures too. My parents are coming in tomorrow and they are bringing 100 gifts from the Dollar Store in Augusta for us to sell in the AWANA store. Please pray for the funds to support our AWANAs. We originally started the program, thinking that a church in the USA was going to back it financially. We know God wanted AWANAs for Destino but that church has been unable to back us now and it costs so much for all of these manuals and prizes, etc. There is not much better use of our Destino money though so I know that God will provide for us somehow. We need quite a few of their bible memory manuals right now. We gave up on buying them the AWANAs t-shirts because of the cost but they are very content as we are doing it now. Thanks for praying for us to be guided clearly by the Holy Spirit in this whole program. I was extra blessed yesterday because one of the 10 kids in my group received Jesus Christ as her savior during our memory time. I was so excited. Her name is Vanessa and she is 13 years old and she KNEW that God had made a great change in her immediately.
As you know, we are not continuing construction at this point but God is showing us that he wants us doing the ministries well and so we are not the least bit disappointed about not continuing building until God shows us by sending a donation designated for one of the uncompleted projects. In the meantime, God has clearly shown us how much ministry there is here even if we never built another building. Young people do not attend church much in Honduras — but in our church, we have an average of about 70 to 80 people at each meeting and at least 45 are young people. It is so amazing. Carlos gives them assignments and scripturesto memorize, etc. and is strict with them — they cannot talk in church or he moves them, etc. but they keep coming and growing spiritually and we are overwhelmed. We believe that God wants us to start working specifically with the young people and we need your prayers. We know that we have so much going on already but at least once a month we are going to do an activity. Carlos is getting a list of requirements together (memorization, bible studies, etc.) for the teenagers to do to earn the right to go to the water falls for a day. We are going to plan some things that none of them ever heard of here too, like scavenger/ treasure hunts, mystery trips, etc. We know that the youth group is going to grow by leaps and bounds once we start doing some real personal ministry with them, so pray for God to raise up the leaders for this as well. We will not take on more than God wants us to do or gives us the strength to us and so will hold it to just once a month right now until we have more help or know that God wants us to do more. It is so hard to not do too much here because there are a million needs, and such willing people. Thanks for praying for us for wisdom, strength and clear direction from the Holy Spirit. What an amazing thing to be able to lead so many young people to Christ and “build more leaders for the kingdom” (as is our theme for the home, the school and the church).
Well, the update on Sammy is that he is finally well. It was not chicken pox and it was not scabbies but an allergic reaction to some kind of insects that have bit him — he had to go on a week of antibiotics and has a month of cream to use on his sores. I felt HORRIBLE for waiting so long to take him to the dermatologist but I learned from this experience. Sammy doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge with me, though, ha. He is so loving and fun and was a real trooper through the whole thing. I was putting the cream on him the other night and he just looked tenderly in my eyes and said, “Gracias, Tia.” I about cried. He is pretty amazing for a 22-month old.
Time sure flies with these children — they are all growing up so fast. Emily will be one year old in less than a month and I can’t believe it. She is walking so well and is so sweet and cheerful all the time. Ana is 8 months old and it seems like yesterday when they found her thrown out in that field to die. She is a strong-willed little baby girl. She eats more than Sammy every day and is tiny but so strong and is trying to walk already.
Erick graduated from 6th grade and will start in a private school next year for junior high (a friend from Texas has offered to pay for his whole year). He is so intelligent and it will be great to get him in a better school now. Eduard had good grades for his first year of technical school. He is so smart and soooooo humble and servant-spirited. Carlos said the other day — there are no teenagers anywhere that compare to Erick and Eduard — they are so uniquely humble and Christ-like. I am so proud of them and praise God for sending them both to Destino.
All the other little ones are doing great — Jonathan and Josue are having their devotional in the morning with one of our workers since the other kids are in school in the morning, and they have learned so many more Bible verses by memory. The 6 in school are doing great and loving it. Two of them won the school dollars this week for the character qualities. We made up dollars for motivation for the school like we use in the AWANA program and there is one child in each class each week that wins a dollar for best demonstrating whatever character quality we are emphasizing for the week. Please pray for Blanca. I have just realized lately that her great shyness really affects her work in school and she is too afraid to participate in the games in AWANAs too so she doesn’t get the dollars when her team wins because she has not been a participating team member and that makes her cry. We have all been praying for her and ask that you pray for her as well. Thanks.
We found a wonderful Christian movie recently and Carlos is planning to take it to show at some of the junior high schools soon. It is about two different teenagers — both pregnant — one aborts the baby and the other one keeps it but is kicked out of her parents’ home. The movie is so realistic and powerful and both teenagers receive Christ as their Savior and God forgives the deep guilt of the one and provides the needs for the other one to provide for her baby, etc. It is so well done and the acting is great and it is powerful. We have heard that teachers at many of the junior highs around here (especially at the one in our next village where Erick goes to school) have found a lot of fetuses in the trash and that abortion is a HUGE problem among these young teenage girls. Pray for the doors to open up for us to share this film in the schools and that God will bring many teenagers to Christ through these means. We showed it to the more than 40 teens in our church and they felt that it was very powerful so I know it will be effective in many young lives.
Thanks for praying continually for the finances. We barely made it again this week and that must be how God wants it right now but it sure is stressful trying to juggle the groceries to last and decide if we can drive somewhere or not because of not having enough gas. I am not complaining because we do always have just enough but maybe it is for lack of praying that we are not receiving a little more. God is faithful and is teaching so much to us through all of this and we see His perfection in never letting us go without food. Many around us (even our students) go without food every day and so maybe God is using this lack of abundance to remind me the condition of all of those around me. My kids always pray for the children that live on the street and have no food or roof over their heads.
I met with two other missionary ladies this week and when we were praying the Holy Spirit impressed me to pray that we would have the restoration of our PASSION. One of the ladies has been here for 13 years, the other 11 or 12 and me only about 7 years, but we just want to have that same passion for everyone around us to know Jesus Christ and to look at each new day as an opportunity like we all did when we first came to this country. It is very easy to get accustomed to your life and ministry here and not be looking for those divine appointments to share Christ with everyone. Please pray that for us as well in that respect. Carlos gets convicted every once in a while and comes to talk to me about the fact that he hasn’t led anyone to Christ for several weeks. I am glad that he has the same passion for souls as I want to have and we want this ministry to be a haven of HOPE for all who are lost and hopeless.
Thank you so much for your prayers — I know I say that often but it really is the backing we have to have or we cannot accomplish what God has for us here in Honduras. Praise God for His mercy for me every day as I struggle to get my own life surrendered completely to Him, much less trying to lead so many others to do that same thing. I need prayer always!!
Love to all of you and I want you to remember to write to me about how to pray for you as well. I love being more a part of your lives as well.
In His PERFECT grace,