“Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.” – Psalm 117:1-2
As I sat in worship this morning in Durham the immense contrasts between my worship experience last Sunday were inescapable. Last Sunday I had the delightful opportunity to preach in a small Catholic Church in the remote village of Mahbita. While a small hamlet well off the beaten path, important work is being done there to rehabilitate and protect endangered bird species in the region, most notably the scarlet macaw, or in Spanish the “guara.” The small church was under a construction project which simplified its edifice even more. Under the rusting metal roof the worship space was open air to some of God’s marvelous creations. The scarlet macaws flew free through the sky squaking as they went. Horses meandered past as did a number of other livestock animals. In Mahbita the worship instruments consisted of a guitar, a turtle shell, a jaw bone, and something made from a bucket, stick and string. This was a fun contrast to the violins and piano that accompanied our singing in Durham this morning.
I was grateful in Durham though for the return to indoor plumbing after 2 weeks of near mishaps using church outhouses! It was no easy feat to get to Mahbita. The frequent intense rains left the foot path from Rus Rus too muddy to cross without rubber boots. And so we made our way over steep hill and dale in the trusty Kia truck. But the local young woman who traveled with us and helped with VBS the week before said she would certainly prefer to walk after experiencing the challenging drive. Even though this morning finds us in North Carolina under a rainy sky it is nothing like the downpour that rolls through the Mosqutia that keeps things green and verdant but also destroys bean crops and slowed our construction efforts. And that brings me to the ministry that brought our state side team of 8 into the Mosquitia of Honduras…
The goals of our team were two-fold:
1. We set out to reconstruct a new roof at the local elementary school in Rus Rus alongside several local men. Three male U.S. team members joined the effort. It proved to be a challenge since they were defferring to the leadership of the effort to the local men and they were slow in making some decisions. But our three guys patiently worked alongside these men, and despite heavy rains and slow going early in the week, by Friday evening they had accomplished the task. The new roof is only one step toward renovating the school house. Both the nationals and our guys rejoiced in one voice together Friday evening when they could walk away knowing that the school house is on its way to being a better learning environment. If you watch the video know that all the lumber you see was hand cut from local trees with a carefully filed chainsaw!!
2. The VBS team executed two VBS events in six days. Three days in Rus Rus and three in the nearby village of Suhi. We had a originally planned for 4 days in each place but had to shorten our plans after the weather delays leaving the U.S.. There was good attendance at both locations and the kids received us with the same kind of joy and enthusiasm as in prior years. Our team consisted of our USA members and about five Honduras adults and teens. We had a great time ministering together! This year’s theme verse was Ecclesiastes 4:12 and we taught on several of Jesus’ parables. I am excited to be hiding memory verses in Spanish in my heart was touched by the number of children who could still recite our theme verse from last year. It was also an especial joy to recognize names and faces from the children I had met last year. At the end of each session all the children wanted to say yes to following Jesus. It was a privilege to gather them up front and pray for them. In Rus Rus a few of the older children wanted to be baptized. Our Honduran teammate Esau baptized them the same Sunday morning the rest of us were in Mahbitah. As we crossed the bridge back into Rus Rus, we were greeted by the precious sounds of God’s people singing by the river.
As we began our journey out of the region following lunch last Sunday morning it was evident once again just how remote the villages we serve are. But we are privileged to be a part of helping the people in “distant lands” know they are not forgotten by God or their brothers and sisters in Christ.
In His Service,
In December we ask for prayer for our team mate Abrielle Braxton. To our great sadness she died Dec. 6th. But we rejoice in knowing that she is now in the glorious arms of her Savior and that our separation from her is not permanent. 5 of us from headquarters (Including Carmen), with about 15 hours notice, jumped in a minivan to make our way to Dallas for the funeral. If you want to bond with your coworkers try a 35 hour road trip! But we returned home touched by the witness of Abrielle’s life and deep faith and all liking each other even more than before we left. Please pray for her husband Joel as he grieves and discerns God’s direction for this new season in his life.
Here is a video from the worship service in Mabitah. Remote Honduran churches, no matter the denomination, seem to love “specials.” Musical solos or group singing often continues for 20-40 plus minutes of the service.
Our cooks making tortillas. They do amazing work. I didn’t embarrass myself by posting the video of me trying to make tortillas. But I will at least give you a photo.
Since there was no functional internet “down” time while I was in Honduras was spent in conversation, an occasional game, or reading. To my surprise I completed 2 books while away and would heartily recommend them to anyone who likes good mission stories and testimonies of God at work. Look for: Into the Glory by Jamie Buckingham and Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. Into the Glory is the “miracle-filled story of the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS) taking Wycliffe Bible Translators to the earth’s remotest regions.” Kisses from Katie documents the early days of a young woman called to Uganda to adopt 13 children and to care for many more.