This morning I awoke in the dusty Honduran village of Mal Paso to barking dogs and roosters on the last day of a rich, seven-day visit to our ministry. After packing my bags, braving a cold shower from a bare white PBC pipe, and eating a delicious breakfast of beans, eggs, chicken and tortillas I said goodbyes and I took off in my 4×4 rental for Tegucigalpa to catch my flight home.
Tierra Nueva’s Honduran leader Angel David suggested that he accompany me on the first hour of my journey. Honduras has been especially unstable of late due to a devastated economy, political and moral chaos. In our once-peaceful town of Minas de Oro there has been an alarming increase in home break-ins and armed robberies. Police defend those who pay them, and look the other way when citizens shoot to kill local thieves.
On the road into Tegucigalpa bands of young men with AK-47s, often freshly-deported from the US, have been assaulting motorists and kidnapping people—often killing those who resist. So Angel David’s company was comforting—and we were able to wrap up some plans to encourage a beautiful wave of God’s Presence that is growing into an unstoppable remedy to crime with its resulting insecurity and fear. And I am now on a flight from Houston to Seattle.
Angel David leads Tierra Nueva’s growing movement of young leaders emerging from home Bible study/prayer groups we’re calling “Hogares en Transformacion” (Households in Transformation). These began 2-3 years back when he began visiting some of the poorest and most spiritually-alienated families in Minas de Oro. He spoke to them of Jesus’ special friendship with sinners, listened to their problems and prayed for them. We’ve been amazed to see Jesus heal one person after the other in ways that directly confirm the message of God’s unconditional love for the poor and undeserving.
Last week over 50 young leaders from these households from age 13 to 70 gathered for two days for teaching on the ministry of Jesus with lots of worship, conversation and prayer. The third day we took two truckloads of main leaders (28) on a day-long field-trip to visit Tierra Nueva’s 15-acre coffee farm high in the mountains of Yoro (first two photos below, second photo showing Dago and Angel David) to check on the harvest for our Underground Coffee Project in Burlington. Many of these young people had never been out of their villages. We met and talked with the workers as they picked coffee and saw the new coffee processing plant.
The last two days Angel David and I have visited most of the leaders in their homes. Here are some highlights.
Carina (third picture below), is 15 and eagerly accompanies us from house to house, laying hands on people in need of healing and commanding pain to go in short, non-religious commands. “Go away sickness in Jesus name,” she says, hands placed on a woman’s congested chest. The woman coughs and sputters for a few minutes and then announces that she’s cleared up and feeling better. We pray over her and her husband’s house for God’s protection from evil spirits that torment them at night, before heading down the trail to another home where more healing and peace are offered and received.
Carina’s father left for El Norte (the US) years ago and is now with someone else. Carina looks to Angel David for paternal support and receives it—like many others who text him day and night with “textos para cobrar” (“collect texts” that he pays from his credit as they can’t afford their own minutes) for their raggedy cell phones.
Elena (not her name) is another emerging leader in her early thirties who came to every event hungry for learning and prayer—though she was strongly rebuked by a man who goes back and forth from her to his wife in another village. Elena was traumatized at a young age when her mother paid someone to kill her father after he reputedly cheated on her. She consequently dropped out of school after third grade and began selling goods and then her own body in the capital. She has four kids from three fathers. When we visit her she wants prayer to forgive her mother and be free from deep crippling resentment.
Elena just finished 4th grade in an adult education program that Tierra Nueva sponsors called Educatodos (Educate Everyone), which now has over 30 participants. I attended the graduation two nights ago and saw Jorge, Angel David’s 65 year-old brother and veteran TN promoter receive his 6th grade diploma. Angel David (53) himself graduated from 7th grade this year!
Yesterday Angel David introduced me to a group of notorious young men who he visits weekly in one of Minas de Oro’s poorest neighborhoods. Nearly all of them are now enrolled in 4th grade with Educatodos, and Angel David has organized them into a soccer team that played Mal Paso’s young men yesterday (photos below). We visited the parents of the most at-risk youth, whose older brother is in prison for robbery.
We visited Abram (59) and his wife Ana Gloria (58), parents of two young men who attend all of Tierra Nueva’s activities and are emerging leaders. We watched Abram’s lame ankle strengthen and Ana Gloria become free of knee pain before our very eyes.
Lester is a young man we recently helped with a $150 loan towards buying a cow to start a butcher business. He has now built up enough earnings to provide for his parents, grandfather and younger siblings.
I’m convinced that a peace movement is on the rise through these hogares en transformacion that combines practical skills-training, education, Bible study, prayer for healing and deliverance, subsistence agriculture and loans for micro-enterprises. Regular pastoral visits by a growing cadre of workers empowered by fresh impartation of the Holy Spirit keep things moving forward. Angel David and I discovered a scripture that seems to encompass much of what we are witnesses firsthand:
“Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but he will save you.” Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness (Isaiah 35:3-6).”
Please intercede for Angel David and these emerging leaders, for:
· Wisdom and strength
· Growing spiritual hunger, awareness of God’s goodness and understanding during the Bible studies.
· Favor from religious and civil leaders in the community.
· Protection, conversion and new hope for the young bandits of our region.
· Financial support for our many projects in Honduras.
Check out my website for my photos (www.bobekblad.com) and order some coffee at www.undergroundcoffee.com
Have a blessed Christmas!