There are two sides to ministry the spiritual and the practical. Today we did more of the nitty gritty, roll up the sleeves practical type of work. The soup kitchen has come a long way since last time I was here. They poured a concrete floor, put up a barbed wire fence, and are installing a restroom. But today we made even more improvements. Bro. Alan wanted to make the soup kitchen more colorful and fun looking (he said to make it look less like a prison) so we painted the tables all kinds of bright colors. Blue, green, yellow, orange, and a pinky red color. First, however we had to sand all the benches and tops and bottoms of the tables to prep them for the paint. This was no easy task and took us most of the day. Our hands and clothes were covered in sawdust, dirt and rust from the tables. By the time we started painting some of the kids from the neighborhood had already started to gather around and watch us work. Just as we predicted, they were already laying claim to which color of table they would sit at on Saturday! I’m thankful to be able to be apart not only of ministering to the kids in church but also to be able to help the Sumner’s tackle projects that is hard to fit into their already extremely busy schedules!
This morning we had our second service of kids' crusade instead of the normal Sunday school for the youth. Bro. Pahlman taught the adults while the rest of the SENT team ran the kids' crusade. Today went much smoother than the night before and the kids responded better in the altars as well. Tonight’s theme was the call of God and we had a skit about answering the call of God from the royal telephone that Bro. Brock made. You definitely have to see pictures!
So the young people have this little game they play where they will assign someone a nickname that rhymes with your name. The meaning to us isn’t really funny but to them they think it is hilarious. My nick name is Melissa Pata lisa which means Melissa slippery foot. Rachel's is Rachel Pastel (which means Rachel cake…I told you they don’t make any sense!) Well now, whenever I walk into the church or get on the bus they call out Melissa patalisa! Tonight there was a little boy about two years old…he was the cutest little thing ever. His name was Danielito and all the other kids were calling out my nickname and he looked at Sissy and said Melissa patalisa! We tried to get him to do it on video but he was too shy. One thing is for sure, it is hard to come to Honduras and not fall in love with the kids and if you don’t have a heart for kids you sure will by the time you leave!
The Sumner’s run a soup kitchen and every Saturday they feed children and adults a nice meal and share the Gospel with them. This week the SENT team reenacted the story of Jericho. Our reenactment starred Bro. Pahlman as God, Chris LePelley as Joshua and the rest of us as soldiers! After the soup kitchen we travelled around to different Saturday schools and did the Bible drama. These Saturday schools are run by different women in the church who got a burden for the children in their neighborhood. Every Saturday these women have Sunday School right in their houses complete with songs, games and a Bible lesson!
Tonight was the first night of the children’s crusade. Overall it was a good night. We learned a lot about the work that goes into a kids crusade--not just the preparation but also the execution. After the service we stayed a while and fellowshipped with the young people. This has to be my favorite part of SENT. It means so much to these young people when you take the time to get personal with them. If you are at all thinking about going on a missions trip or you are a student at FGBI and are thinking about joining SENT, take the time to learn some of their language. It will endear you to their heart and them to yours.
Our last police service was today at the police station in Danli. The SENT Team went together to minister. Bro. Chris LePelley preached the service and several came down to pray. One woman in particular I remembered from last year. She came down to the altar and wept and prayed. Next we went down to Milays for typical Honduran food (meat, beans, tortillas, cheese, fried bananas and creme....yummm!) Rachel took Katrina and I to the Catholic church on Danli. It was sad to see the people lighting candles and sitting in the pews.Tonight Bro. Daniel and Bro. Brock preached the service. Both messages were very good. Bro. Brock preached on taking up the mantle of ministry. Some of the young men and even some of the adults responded in the altars. It was awesome and humbling to see as God reached out for a generation of ministers to take up the mantle in Honduras!
The first half of the day today was spent traveling back to Danli from San Pedro Sula. Along the way we stopped and explored a cave, drank hugo de coco (coconut juice), and bought some pineapples. We finally arrived in Danli around 5:00 p.m. just in time to eat dinner and then headed off for the first night of the youth crusade. It was awesome to see young people that I met on SENT last year. Mari cuz, Edwin, Katherine, Ariel, and so many other familiar faces that are still coming to the church here in Danli. Tonight Aaron Gilles preached on how you end your life comparing the lives of Judas Iscariot, Absalom, Paul and Peter. Bro. Pahlman preached after him on you can be a winner and the steps of a backslider. The Lord really came by in the altar call as young people wept and cried before the Lord. After church we fellowshipped with the young people and talked to them as much as possible with the limited Spanish we know and also through our personal interpreters…the Sumner girls!! It doesn’t take much to make friends here in Honduras! All the young people love to at least try to talk to you, and even if they cant understand a word of what you are saying they’ll still try to play with you or tickle you!!! It may seem small and sometimes we may think we are not making a difference but we may never know the impact we are having on a life. Looking back in my early teen years I can remember young adults that were dedicated and served the Lord (such as Sis. Mercy). Though not much older than me they had a tremendous impact on my life and I wanted to serve God just like them. The example was all I needed, and hopefully we are able to be that example for some young people in Honduras to encourage them to be sold out and dedicated serving the Lord in their youth!
The first place we went today was the special services division of the police force in San Pedro Sudro. On the way to the service Bro. Scott explained to us that this group is so close to the bad that sometimes they are bad-and you could tell. There was a mix of men and women in this service some listened and others seemed to act like they were too tough for the Gospel.
San Pedro Sudro is the industrial Capitol of Honduras. It's more developed and it is even larger than Tegucigalpa but yet it is a city of contrasts. Driving down the street you would see something like a newer Ford F150 all waxed and shiny yielding to a horse drawn wagon. It's not uncommon to see restaurants like Applebee's, TGIF, Chili's, Pizza Hut, etc but keep driving and you'll see a huge pile of trash spread out along the curb with a horse or dog pilfering through it!
"Oh, look at the wind mill! This was Autumns reaction as we pulled into the air force base for our second service. The windmill turned out to be a propeller. :) After the service they fed us lunch and then gave us a personal tour of the air craft on base. Then, before we left, we got to take our picture in front of the windmill. :)
The last service of the day was the best. Bro. Brock preached on being ready for judgment and used the passage of the five wise and five foolish virgins. The spirit of the Lord came down as he admonished them that life is a vapor and we must be ready to stand before God. "Your time could be tonight, or during your next mission. We don't know but don't be foolish and not be ready." When asked to come to the altar for salvation the whole battalion came forward- some because their buddies were, but some were sincerely calling on Jesus. After the service one of the soldiers testified that he was thankful we came. He felt the presence of God and got strength and encouragement. He said they needed God and to hear a message like that because their next mission is so dangerous. Afterwards the captain stood and said a few words. "We have armor on the outside to protect our bodies but we need armor on the inside to protect our hearts and that is the blood of Jesus". What these men say is so simple yet it is so honest and sincere. They don't know all the fancy religious rhetoric so they just speak from their heart and it is a beautiful thing to hear!
Cheese, cheese and more cheese. They serve a chunk of cheese with every meal. It's white and kind of tastes like a salty mozzarella. If you don't like it, don't worry...Daniel will gladly eat it for you! It's a wonder with all the cheese he's that he hasn't had problems yet!!!!
"Just because you are a soldier does not mean you have to be far from God. It just means you must be ready for war." This is what Major Paz told the S.E.N.T. Team as he thanked us for coming and reassured us of the importance of preaching to the military. Today we (the northern SENT team) ministered at 5 different bases-the tactico (parachute training), artillery, agricultural, air force academy, and engineering battalion. Each base is different in its own way- some the services are inside, some outside, some have all men some have a few women, at some the soldiers are young and at others men of all ages fill the seats.
The Spirit of God really came by in the services-especially at the air force academy. Bro. Brock Moore preached on transformation and the change that comes in Christ. He dealt with the problems of alcohol and drugs which are common, in the military. He gave an altar call for those who wanted deliverance. The altars filled as 30 men and women called on the Lord, some with tears streaming down their face.
Every individual is important to Christ. He went to extreme measures to bring redemption to man. What a privilege to be a part of sharing the Gospel in Honduras!
We had good times today too! From the sheep that joined us to hear Bro. Brock preach to the giant beetle that was crawling up my leg (this was no ordinary beetle...it was at least 4 inches long!!!!!) to Autumns interesting bathroom experiences to being serenaded by dancing mariachi while we ate fish! (They tried to charge us $20 for singing! They thought we were stupid gringos) WOW! And there's still more...in the downtime we all crashed in the van trying to catch up on the precious sleep we missed due to the 3:30 am wake-up call!
Currently we're in the van headed to our hotel for the night. The van is quiet and heads are nodding off to sleep. Everybody's pretty much tuckered out and definitely ready to get some rest! Signing out for now but we will be back at it bright and early tomorrow morning! Please keep us in your prayers- we need the Lord every step of the way! Buenas Noches!
It's good to be back in Honduras! The SENT Team left for Pittsburgh Airport at a bright and early 4:45 am! We arrived safely at Tegucigalpa International and were greeted warmly by the Sumners. If you know the Sumners, you know they treat everybody like part of the family!