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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pictures from Honduras #6

For my final posting of pictures from my mission trip, I thought I would post some of the fun parts of the trip. These are some of unique things that I saw or did and some of the fun people I met (Click pictures for larger images):

The two ladies in this picture with me were the translators for the group from Houston. Donya is on the left and Ruth is on the right. They never really translated for me officially, although Ruth translated for me the first day while in the car and was my navigator (more on that below when I talk about my driving experience in Honduras). They both understood English very well and did a great job translating for the group as they did evangelism.
Ruth was a goofball, as you can see here. And she had A LOT of hair!
When the group went to the T.V. station to perform their dramas live on the air, Pastor Moises wanted to interview me. So he took a few minutes and asked me some questions about what I was doing in Olanchito. I think he thought I was employed by World Hope and right before we started the interview I corrected him. Anyway, I guess my 15 minutes of fame is that I was on Honduran T.V. very briefly.
We got a little bit of rain while I was there. This is the road outside Pastor Juan's church were we had the Bible Institute. I thought Pastor Jorge's van (the silver one sitting there) was going to get washed away when we started driving down the little river.
I enjoyed meeting the pastors at the Institute. Here are some who agreed to pose for a picture with me (actually, Pastor Jorge really did not give them a choice). They are all very busy pastors. The right-most pastor in the striped shirt had to leave the Institute for few minutes to make sure he paid his workers who were working his farm while he was learning about doctrine. The pastor immediately left of me (while looking at the picture) came from 6 hours away to go to the Institute. Again, it was a privilege to help equip these committed ministers to serve their congregations.

We had to stop on the highway because the cattle had to cross the road. The little boy came out with his flag and began waving it, all the cars stopped, and the cattle crossed the road. The cattle have the right-of-way I was told.
We saw some kids trying to cool off in the river we crossed. I cannot imagine this water was at all safe to be in but they were having a ball anyway.
So here is the vehicle I drove the first day in Honduras (Click link so read about that). It is a Hyundai H-1000 van-truck-thing. This is the van part... 
This is the truck part. The back was LOADED with our luggage (much more than what is shown) and because the speedometer was in KPH I had no idea how fast I was going nor did I know how fast I was supposed to be going because there were no speed limit signs. I had the pedal down as far as it was going and they still said I was driving too slow. It was fine with me that they did not let me drive again while there.
This would have been more my speed. There were a lot of horses, horse and carts, motorcycles, bikes, and various modes of transportation.

Sunday after the worship service, Pastor Moises gave each of the group a certificate from his church and the Baptist Convention of Honduras thanking us for our service there. It was a very kind gesture. I will be hanging it somewhere prominent. 

Here is the group I spent the week with - except the lady in the green shirt on the left. She ran the Hotel Beverly. We took this picture so that we could hand our picture in their lobby. So, if you are ever at the Hotel Beverly, look for our picture!
I hope you have enjoyed the pictures from my mission trip to Honduras. It was a good trip. I am praying about going again next year. The main hindrance is the money to go (it is about $2000 per trip). World Hope Bible Institute could use more and more pastors with a Master's Degree from an accredited seminary to go on trips like these. There is such a great need to help these pastors so they can train indigenous leaders. They have these Bible Institutes not only in Honduras but all over the world.
World Hope also sends church groups all over the world to do a variety of mission trips. Please pray about the possibility of your involvement or the involvement of your church. Contact WHMI for more information.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pictures from Honduras #5

Honduras is a beautiful place and while we were there we had very nice accommodations. I love the scenery while we traveled and the hotels where we stayed were comfortable and friendly. Here are some pictures about the places in Honduras (click the pictures for larger images):

The first hotel we stayed at and the last one we stayed at was the La Qunita in La Ceiba. It is nice hotel with a restaurant and a pool. I did not take advantage of the pool - I figure if you cannot drink the water it may not be good to plunge oneself in it. Showering was as much as I would get in the water. However, the rooms were very nice and the staff were very friendly and bi-lingual, which was a great help, at least for me.

This was the view from the door of my room. There was a nice courtyard where I was able to rest on our free day (see previous posts). It was quite beautiful.
We stayed at the Hotel Beverly while in Olanchito. This, too, was a nice hotel, but not as nice as the La Quinta. But it was clean, each room had A.C. and there was an attached restaurant that would take our requests for what we wanted to eat the following day. If you are in Olanchito and go to the restaurant, look for my name on the wall. Also, look for our picture hanging in the lobby!
I am always impressed on how clean Honduras is. You always see someone sweeping or cleaning up the area. Here is one of the streets in Olanchito. I was a nice scene showing the street, the mountains in the background, and the rain clouds coming in. I am not sure the picture captures it.
Buildings are close in Olanchito. I took a panoramic picture of the church and the houses next door. The truck is a small truck, not even a midsized truck. The house on the right is occupied by Pastor Juan's daughter, Myra, and her husband, Daniel. I had the honor of going to their house one evening and chatting with them for a little bit. I prayed for them before we left over a specific need. Anyway, it is close quarters in Honduras.

The scenery is beautiful with the mountains covered in different kinds of trees. Everything is very green from the daily rains (at least it rained every day I was there).

Another scene from Olanchito.
I liked this picture a lot.

Here you see how the farmers grow African Palm Trees like any other crop. You will see fields like this all over - even over a mountain. It is my understanding that it takes about five years for the palm to grow and begin to produce its fruit, which I was unclear what the fruit was. I thought it was coconuts but was told it was something else. Click Here to see what the fruit of the African Palm Tree looks like.  

We did not only see the nice parts of Olanchito and La Ceiba. When we were leaving Olanchito, Pastor Jorge and Pastor Moises took us out toward the town dump where some of the incredibly poor people live. This is a house made out of mud. It may look like bricks but it is only mud bricks.

Here is another mud brick house. These folks are really destitute. I think Pastor Jorge was talking to the World Hope representative to show there was work they could do in this part of town. I also think he was doing whatever he could to make sure we would all come back the next year.
Honduras is a beautiful country and the people are very hospitable. They seem to enjoy having us gringos locos running around their town. Granted, I have had limited exposure to the country. I have been there exactly twice and have been to only four towns along the northern coast. But I have enjoyed my time there.
More pictures to come...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pictures from Honduras #4

One of the things I most appreciated while in Honduras was the Hondurans inhibitions when worshipping God. At every church service I attended while I was there, the people sang with all their hearts, prayed with fervency, and listened to the Word of God intently. It was quite refreshing. Here are some pictures about what I am talking about (click on picture for larger image):

Before every service, people would come forward and use the stage as an altar and lift the service up to God. Even before I taught at the Institute, there were men and women up front praying for the day. In the picture above, the church has laid down a little strip of carpet so people can kneel (the floor was rough concrete).
Here is a man at Pastor Moises' church before Sunday's worship service.

Additionally, at every church they had a worship team. They may not have lights, they definitely did not have air conditioning, but they had a great sound system and instruments and musicians who played them. In the previous two pictures above, you see drum sets on the stage. In this picture, the pastor said these men who played for this church's worship team didn't even know what a guitar looked like six months ago but their worship leader taught each of them to play and sing. They did a fine job leading worship. I thought it was interesting that they all coordinated by wearing pink shirts with black pants. They obviously had thought about leading worship for that evening.
The reason they were to effectively lead worship, in my opinion, was because they realized they had an audience of One. They were not playing for those in attendance; they were worshiping the One True God. This is evident in the fact that when they were finished tuning and practicing, they gathered to pray. Again, you see how prayer is integral to the worship service in Honduras.

I had to include this picture. They would use whatever they could as a musical instrument to praise God with. The man above is using a turtle shell as a type of cow bell (I have a disease, and the only cure is more turtle shell....I gotta have more turtle shell).

In each church, the people responded in worship with passion and loud, unhindered singing and praying (I will note here that I realize worship is more than singing but I am just focusing on the singing part of worship). There was a point while at the church in this picture where the electricity cut off and the piano stopped and the microphones cut off. This did not stop the people singing their hearts out. It was so beautiful to hear them singing acapello, with all the parts present. I tried to record it with video on my camera but failed to do get it.

Here is another worship service and you see the people praising God unashamedly, raising their hands in praise to God. Their worship services were really celebrations of God and His grace given to us. I would encourage you listen to Louie Giglio about this phenomenon of raising hands in worship (just click his name to watch a video - if you do not have an hour, then start at about 28 minutes and listen for about 8 minutes - it is worth listening to).
I was so glad to be able to experience worship in another culture. It is a great thought to remember that Jesus' grace is spread around the world and it is not just America that impacting the world for the Kingdom of God. Nations around the world are ministering to those in their country and bringing people to Christ. It was also refreshing to worship with Christians who are not stunted in their worship but instead pour their hearts and soul out to worshipping God in a manner in which He deserves.
More pictures coming...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pictures from Honduras #3

I was not in Honduras alone. I actually tagged along with a group from Second Baptist Church from Houston. They were from a small group of singles in their church and several were on the trip from last year, so I recognized several of them. They did evangelism in Olanchito with Pastor Moises (see previous post). They did this through dramas, songs, testimonies, and preaching. Here are some pictures of this great group (click picture for larger image):

This is the group from Second Baptist, along with some extras. From left to right, it is Craig, who actually works for World Hope and is not from the same church but served with the group all week, Donya, who was one of the group's translators and lives in La Ceiba, Kelsey, Jennie, Celia, Pastor Moises (see previous post), Sondra, Kelley, Shafie, Claudia, Carol, David, and Matt. They all participated in some way through the week either in a drama, testimony, song, or something. They worked hard all week. They went to schools during the day and churches during the night. On Saturday, Pastor Moises took the group to the T.V. station where he has his show each week.
This was the set up on the T.V. station. It was what you would expect of a T.V. station in any country. I met a young man there name Samuel who showed me around the place while the group was doing their thing. It was neat to see the behind-the-scenes of the station.

This is Kelsey doing "The Sin Box." The Devil, played by Shafie, comes out with a box of sin, or Pecado in Spanish, and the girl jumps in and has fun in her box of sin. She soon finds out she is stuck in sin and cannot get out. Several people try to help her but cannot get her unstuck. Finally, a child introduces her to Jesus and brings her out of sin and into a relationship with him. It is great little skit to show how sin can trip us up and only Jesus can take care of that sin.

Here is another skit but I never really saw it. I just saw this part of the skit and not sure exactly what the message of the skit is. Here, they are obviously crucifying Jesus. Matt is playing Jesus.

Donya, one of the group's translators, Kelsey, and Jennie are singing a song. I don't remember which song it was here but they sang it in English and then Spanish. I like Kelsey's ukulele!
The group performed Lifehouse's Everything Drama (if you have not seen it, you can Google it and watch it - a lot of churches do it - it is a very powerful skit). It shows a girl's relationship with Christ being hindered by many of the things of the world. Eventually, she is tempted to end her life. She chooses against that and attempts to get to Jesus however she can but the worldly influences make it impossible. Eventually, Jesus comes to her. Here, Jesus is keeping all the negative influences from influencing the young lady. Then, Jesus throws off all the influences and resumes His relationship with the young lady. It is a powerful skit and this group did a great job with it.
Several from the group also gave testimonies throughout the week. Each of them were very well spoken and had powerful testimonies of how God not only worked in their life in the past, but is working in their life now. This group was a dynamo. They continued to minister and when they were asked a moments notice to perform again, they did so with no complaints. I pray that their time in Olanchito will yield a great harvest for the Kingdom of God.
More pictures to come...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pictures from Honduras #2

The trip to Honduras could not have been accomplished without the participating, administration, translation, and humbleness of the local pastors which we ministered. This post will show the churches which I went to and the pastors of those churches. I was honored to preach in a couple of these churches. The description will be under the pictures. (click picture for larger image):

First, from right to left is Noel, my translator for the week, Pastor Jorge Duran, the main partner of WHBI in Honduras, and me. Pastor Jorge organizes all the groups and the continually recruits new pastors to participate. He is an excellent leader and administrator all while being a very humble person. Noel has an incredible command of both Spanish and English and is well versed in theological language in both languages. Without these two men, I could not have been able to minister in Honduras. Pastor Jorge leads Mt. Horeb Baptist Church in La Ceiba.

From left to right, this is Pastor Juan Rivera and Pastor Jorge Duran. Pastor Juan leads Eternal Life Baptist Church in Olanchito. This is the church where we held the Bible Institute. He was very gracious to let us use his building. He sat in all the classes as well and received a certificate. He led us in singing and has a great voice. He made sure we had everything we needed, including the food for lunch. This man of God does a great job shepherding in Olanchito.
Here is the building Pastor Juan's church meets in.
The man in the middle is Pastor Moises. He is the pastor of River of Living Water Baptist Church in Olanchito. He is a busy man. He has four mission churches and he led the group from 2nd Baptist, Houston all week. He took them to schools, put them on his weekly T.V. show, had them share in different churches throughout the community, and basic ran them ragged. He always has a smile on his face and was trying hard to communicate with us.
This is the church building where Pastor Moises church meets to worship.
I had the honor of preaching at Pastor Moises' church on Sunday morning (7.21.13). Additionally, one of the Bible Institutes I taught at last year was held here. This is Noel and I sharing on Sunday. I preached on the Temptation of Jesus.
This is Pastor Adrian Stoddard on the right. Noel is translating into English for us gringos. Pastor Adrian pastors Living Word Church located in El Pino, just outside La Ceiba. I was not able to get to know him very much as we were not there for very long.

This is Pastor Adrian's church building where he and his church worship. It is a new building recently built by WHMI. The building was there but WHMI put up the bricks and enclosed the building. There is still some work to be done to it but it is coming along.

 Sunday night (7.21.13) I had the privilege to bring the message to Pastor Adrian's congregation. Here Noel is translating for me as I preached John 10:1-11 where Jesus tells us that He is the Gate or the Door.  

The group from 2nd Baptist, Houston, did some dramas and preached at a church on Saturday evening (7.20.13). They went to Rivers of Living Water Church in Olanchito (which is a different church from the one mentioned above but I think it is a mission of Pastor Moises' church). The pastor is Pastor Luis, above in the blue shirt. I remembered Pastor Luis from the Institute last year but was not able to be the Institute this year.

Here is the church were Pastor Luis serves. You can see him talking with Noel in the bottom right corner of the picture. You can see Pastor Moises on the left side.
Finally, this is Noel and me. I told him I cannot even imagine what goes on in his head. One minute he is listening to English and translating it to Spanish and then the next he is hearing Spanish and translating it to English. He told me all we that him and I were "Chained and Bound," that is, I assume he was told to make sure I was never without a translator. He always had me laughing, like here in the picture. Noel is 70 and still goes to check up on his mom whenever he can (who has to be 90 or more!). He made sure I didn't eat anything I shouldn't, he drove us, he always made me sit in the front seat of the van, he translated, and just made the trip very enjoyable.
These men work hard for the Gospel of Christ and are making a different in the Kingdom of God in Honduras. They are seeing people coming to Christ and they are discipling them to not only become mature Christians but to go and plant new churches. I have respect for each of these guys.
More pictures to come..


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pictures from Honduras #1

Now that I am home from my trip, I wanted to post some pictures since I was not able to while I was there. I wanted today to be about the reason I went: the pastors and church leaders who I was teaching. Descriptions will be below each picture. Here are some pictures of them (click picture for a larger image):

This is the church we met in. As you can see, we had a good group and they were all eager to dig deeper into the Word of God.

We started each session with a short worship service. They were not afraid to sing at the top of their lungs and raise their hands to the One True God. It was refreshing to be around such honest and heart felt worship.
Some of the pastors live a LONG way from where we had classes. One group lived 6 hours away! Here is a group of pastors on their way home after one of the days. The pastor in the cowboy hat was present at last year's Bible Institute, as well. He lives in the mountains and walks an hour down the mountain and then rides a bike another hour to get to the classes. 

When we finished all of the sessions for both classes, we had a group pictures. These in this group are those who were present for every session for both classes. I was impressed not only with the men who attended the classes, but the women as well. Note the one who brought her little one with her. 

 Here is the group with the certificates they received for completing the two classes. They receive certificates after every Bible Institute and then when they complete the entire set of classes (which should take about three years), they will receive a diploma saying they have completed the program. It will not be a degree but it will give them what they need to be equipped to lead whatever ministry they are serving.  
This young couple came up to me after the group took the picture with the certificates. They asked if I would take a picture with them. They are probably 23 to 25 years old and she is pregnant. I was honored that they wanted me to take a picture with them...and whenever asks to take my picture, I also take one of them.
What an honor it was to spend time with these pastors and church leaders in order to help them minister better. I was blessed to be able to do this.
More pictures to come...