“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8
Dear Partners in Ministry,
We are so thankful for you! Your prayers and financial gifts have made it possible for us to serve full time with MAG for the last 6 years. That is something only the Lord can do when his people are willing to partner with Him to participate in the Great Commission. We are thankful for your “yes” to that call. We wanted to send this newsletter to share about our final months as a family in Honduras and to reflect a bit on the season we’ve just completed.
As MAG’s lead flight instructor, Sean is always making sure our MAG pilots are meeting currency standards. All of our field pilots are instrument rated (so they can fly in the clouds), but there are some technical aspects to this type of flying that need to be practiced. In the US, this process is easily attained, but planning this in Honduras for the first time took more logistical gymnastics. God provided the opportunity and funding for all the field pilots to meet up with Sean in San Pedro Sula to practice instrument approaches so they are current and can fly in the clouds when needed. Also, since all of our field pilots are in their first year of flying on the field there is a required 6 month field check. We took a quick trip to our remote base for Sean to facilitate that training. Being in Honduras already was a huge help to making these training events fly.
One of the main goals our Honduras program has for 2022 is developing partnerships. We want our plane to provide other ministries with access to the Mosquitia so they can do their good work in that part of Honduras. Also, to make the most of the medical facility we operate in Rus Rus, we are looking to partner with other mission hospitals to improve the care we offer the people in La Mosquitia. We are thankful how God used our time in Honduras and in language school to build these kinds of relationships for our Honduras program.
One such dream was realized in early March. Over 2 years ago the Lord began to cultivate a relationship with an organization who wanted to partner with us in training remote pastors. Together, we facilitated a team of Honduran pastoral trainers to lead a “taste and see” event focused on the book of Ruth. By God’s grace they overcame numerous challenges in their travels to a remote town on the Nicaraguan frontier. The church leaders’ hunger for God’s Word was remarkable. They had been praying for over 2 years for Bible training and the Lord had answered their plea through this team. They expressed a desire to commit to a 4 year training process that will equip them to be better students and teachers of Scripture.
March brought our annual medical brigade for our remote clinic. This one was the first our new Honduras team led together and they did a great job. This year’s team consisted of Honduran medical professionals and missionary medical professionals already in the country. We helped in getting the needed personnel in place and adding our knowledge from previous years’ events. One of the things we were particularly excited about this year was having 2 pastors, dedicated to providing pastoral care and prayer, for those seeking medical attention. We also had a person dedicated to photographing the event and hearing people’s stories so we can better know and understand those whom God is sending our way- many of whom walked a considerable distance (hours or days) to receive care. We look forward to sharing those stories with you. Here is a video our teammate Brad made about why these types of events are an important part of our ministry.
One of Carmen’s roles at MAG is mobilization. This means helping people discern and follow the call God has placed on their lives. When that call involves serving with MAG, it means walking with them through their initial contact, the application, and field readiness process. For pilot/mechanic families this can be a several year process. The culmination of being field ready is the move to language school. Having lived through that ourselves, we can be even more equipped to counsel others through that transition in their own family. As a part of that mobilization work, our last event before we left Honduras, was hosting a family for a vision trip, who is considering MAG for their place of long term service. It was sweet to show them around Honduras and the places MAG is currently serving and may be serving in the future.
When we were packing up our apartment in Siguatepeque, we found the notes we had used when speaking in a church right before our departure. It was fun to see those goals and note that we had met them! Our goals for our time in Honduras were:
1) Restart the MAG aviation program in Honduras.
2) Be a blessing to our newly launched Honduras team.
3) Improve our Spanish language and culture skills.
4) Be ready for other assignments the Lord would have for us.
Often in the Lord’s service we walk into an assignment with set of expectations, but the Lord reworks in a way that we didn’t see at the beginning. While, in one regard, our time in Honduras unfolded in a way we didn’t anticipate, in another sense the 4 goals we had at the beginning pretty well describe what transpired.
One of the tremendous blessings we didn’t count on was how much we’d enjoy and be involved in our local church in Siguatepeque. We started attending because our other MAG teammates had connected there, so it was an easy “sell” for our kids- they would already know someone. We discovered we couldn’t have picked a better fit for us. We were able to jump into ministry with them from the beginning and felt very loved and cared for in that community of faith as well. They not only had a heart for missions and the Mosquitia but we saw the Holy Spirit working in some profound ways. Sean played in the worship band and grew his bilingual worship leadership skills. Carmen preached several times and was asked to lead a study with the church leadership which she is able to continue over zoom. We helped a family from La Mosquitia, with a special needs baby, settle into Siguatepeque so they could travel to the capital for their son’s specialized care. A children’s Christmas party was given for a community who makes their living by sifting through the trash at the dump. Our time with this body of believers was super precious, Carmen cried when we left. The couple who planted the church also hosts teams and we’d love to connect anyone with them, if getting out to the Mosquitia with MAG isn’t possible.
There is so much we could say about our time living in Honduras. Ultimately, we are grateful the Lord gave us this opportunity and provided for it so wonderfully. For instance, we were able to use our co-workers’ truck as they hadn’t decided what to do with it yet after moving to the Mosquitia. It was a blessing to have this ready transportation available. The Lord taught us many things as a family and our capacity to do hard things together. We can already see how the connections the Lord made while we were there are bearing fruit for MAG, our team and God’s Kingdom. We know we will see more evidence of this as time progresses. We are thankful for the friendships and community we had in Honduras and feel the loss of those interactions keenly. We are thankful for the insight a missionary friend gave us- that returning to the US from the country one was living in, is actually harder than leaving the US. This has been true for us (at least Carmen who is doing the writing!). One of the challenges of our HQ work is living in 2 cultures, still we are glad for the insights this brings into hopefully illuminating our own cultural blind spots. To God be the glory!
As we shift gears to physically working in Burlington again, one of our key tasks for the summer is to continue to build and evaluate infrastructure. There are a lot of processes: software and training that go into keeping a missions flight program running and Sean finds himself daily in the middle of all those things. We will be welcoming a new apprentice family at the end of the summer, so meanwhile it is a good time to evaluate our apprenticeship flight training curriculum and bring our new Chief Pilot up to speed in this area. Having accomplished standardizing our field pilots, Sean’s next task is to standardize our flight instructors. Carmen continues to work on strengthening our member care practices. She also has the “hat” of overseeing MAG’s short term teams. We had a hiatus of hosting US teams due to the pandemic, but folks are traveling again and we are establishing new infrastructure to plan and care for these teams. If you or a group from your church are interested in learning more about a short term team with MAG please let us know.
Thanks for reading this far! One of the things we noticed in arriving back in the US is the many price increases- being away for 9 months makes that even more noticeable. We know this has been hard on many folks financially and we are deeply thankful for the generosity of our partners. If you have the means, would you prayerfully consider an increase in your giving? Thank you for coming alongside us in providing help and hope by air to remote people! It is a blessing to share this journey together.
Yours in Christ,
Sean and Carmen Garrigan