Dear Friends, Family & Partners in Ministry,
Merry Christmas! It is in times of darkness that the bright light of Jesus shines so powerfully. We pray that the Good News of the Incarnation- that Jesus came to share our sorrows and bring salvation is an especial source of strength to you in these days.
This is a time of year when a lot of thought is given to gifts and so we want to reflect on a few of the gifts we’ve seen God give to us even in the distinct challenges of 2020 and in the midst of loss.
Gift 1- answered prayer!
Thank you for all your prayers for our pilot standardization month and then teambuilding month for our coworkers that are headed to Honduras. These events have been long term goals to do in house as an organization and they have taken many months of preparation. Seeing them come together has been exhausting and rewarding all at the same time. Enjoy these pictures and videos of some of the challenging grass air strips that were part of standardization. You might wonder what do you do with a group of missionaries for a month of team building? Our focus was on building relationships, understanding individual and team strengths and discussing important topics that would be meaningful for the future ministry of the team. We did inventories such as Meyers-Briggs, Strengths Finders and EQ (Emotional Intelligence). We went through the book Cross Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer and talked about Helping without Hurting (see the work of the Chalmers Center). The team took a 4WD course at JAARS and we participated in a 2-day seminar on security through Concilium. This seminar rooted practical security & safety measures in a theology of suffering and risk. One of the medical team members led a session on tropical medicine and one of the team members who has already done language school helped us think through the particular cultural context of Honduras and what habits we North Americans & Europeans need to be mindful of. We rooted all of this in the context of the 1st Commandment (Matt. 22:37) and how our love for and walk with God needs to undergird team relationships and ministry. In this era where so many feel disconnected, Carmen was so grateful to coordinate and participate in this rich time of learning and fellowship for this team.
The following videos are takeoffs and landings at two local private airstrips around Burlington for standardization flight training. We are very blessed to be able to work with local airstrip owners.
Gift 2- Disaster Relief
In the midst of preparing this Honduras team, two category 5 Hurricanes (Iota & Eta) hurled into Honduras in the span of 2 weeks and urgent relief work was needed. There was not much attention to these disasters in the US media, as this was all happening during the election in the US. The eastern part of Honduras was hit hard and this remote area that is neglected under normal circumstances was also off the charts for most of the aid that headed to Honduras. One of the torches we feel we carry as an organization is to advocate for this region. We know that God sees them and we often communicate that message. Helping to coordinate aid to that area in such devastation is a tangible way for them to receive this message. God has brought together a variety of food relief ministries and aviation ministries to labor together for the people of La Misquitia. Many homes were severely damaged and all the crops were lost due to severe flooding. Then the flooding brings an increase of mosquito borne illnesses. Through God’s people working together to supply, we were able to coordinate distribution to hard reach communities. Our Honduran MAG staff even brought relief via canoe! Once the food was taken to a community we engaged local pastors in distributing the aid. Carmen’s role in all this was to be the liaison between what was happening at headquarters in coordinating with other ministries and our Honduras staff that was receiving and distributing the aid. We learned a lot about customs process as we labored alongside our Honduran staff to get the relief aid into the country. We continue to work with our Honduran staff to help those in La Misquitia replant their crops and rebuild their homes.
Gift 3- You!
In the midst of the trials of this year we have been so steadied by the continual prayers and financial support of our team. You have comforted us in our grief and have been God’s means of sustaining us in ministry. We thank you and lift you up to the Lord as well. God’s gift of partnership in ministry is truly an unfathomable treasure. Thank you for saying yes to the Lord as we serve together.
Merry Christmas & a Blessed New Year!
Sean and Carmen Garrigan