Staying true to the church's motto, LOVE IN ACTION, March and April were full of activity!
The youth group has been growing each week with teenagers from all around Danlí and the Urrutia community. Each week, the group steadily grows, hearts are slowly changing, leaders are emerging, and the community growing stronger. With a group of 60 youth, we pulled off one of our biggest events yet, an evangelical outreach in the extremely impoverish Ramiro Chacon neighborhood. The youth first went house to house inviting the families to church, praying for their needs, and sharing their faith. Afterward, we hosted games for the kids and teenagers for the neighborhood and ended the night sharing the gospel message. For most of the teenagers with us, it was the first time they had ever stepped out to reach people for Christ as the church had done when she reached out to them in there own communities. They all left filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit on fire for the God that saves. The following weeks we have intentionally created opportunities to build relationships with the youth. Sean took a group of young men to climb the highest point in Danlí and later in the month we each hosted a lock-in/sleepover with the girls in the apartment and boys at the church. Both successful in building community as we take time to laugh, joke, play, and pray with the youth.
BEFORE and Afterschool Program
With the huge successful start of the afterschool program now completing its second month of offering free Spanish, math, English, and computer classes to around 160 children twice a week, we felt the urge once more that we needed to do more. As a solution to the overcrowded, unstaffed public schools, most children in Honduras either going to school in the morning or the afternoon. Since our tutoring classes are offered in the afternoon, children in school at that time were unable to receive classes. We have decided to step out in faith, knowing that God will provide the necessary funding to teach and feed these kiddos, and begin a Before-school Program in the mornings for these kids. Morning classes have begun and the word is beginning to spread in the surrounding communities of this great help for the children.
How many kids now...?
Ruth, Pastor Arturo's wife and administrator of the Honduras Education Project, and I have finished FORTY-FOUR profiles of new children entering the scholarship program. Each time a child is entered into the program, we visit the child's house, speak extensively with their family getting to know their story, their situation, their need, and their hopes for the future. It is a tiresome and long process, but absolutely necessary as we begin a relationship with a family in need. The stories are heartbreaking and sometimes the hopelessness is overwhelming, but this first meeting offers a glimmer of hope for each of these kiddo's lives. Once these kids have officially entered the program, the Honduras Education Project will be sending 139 children to school!
Praise God for Baptism
Our favorite days here are Baptism days. The church rents out a pool in a remote area of Danlí and the entire church family gathers together to celebrate the new life we are given in Christ Jesus. Nine brothers and sisters were baptized this time, two mamas from the Honduras Education Project and seven teenagers from youth group. It was a truly beautiful time that causes us both to stand in awe of how God can transform the hardest of hearts and bring to life what was once dead in hopelessness and sin. After a beautiful service, the church celebrated together eating, laughing, swimming, playing, and just simply spending time together as a one family.
A bit of rest...
After much activity, we happily accept the blessing of rest. Reuniting with Sean's family in Florida for a week is a happy ending to a wonderful two months of ministry. In these times away, we have time to reflect on all this: all the good that God is doing here in Danlí and how richly blessed we are to be a part of it all.