Dear Friends and Family,
This past month has been a blur! But thankfully I was able to capture a few moments amidst all the busyness!
Pic: “Bridge to Bridge” Road Race – Las Mangas – Girls Division Every year Larry and Allison organize the annual 3.1 km “Bridge to Bridge” road race for our little community of Las Mangas. The road race is a chance to bring the whole community out to see what all the commotion is about! Because Larry has been here for 21 years, and Allison 9 years (and because it’s a small community) everyone in the area knows them pretty well. They use this as an outreach opportunity to the community as Larry gives a short gospel message just before the race.
Pic: Wednesday night sharing night (noche de compartir) I haven’t talked much about what all the Discipleship Group entails, so I thought I’d start including more details on that in my updates. One component of the group involves practicing different spiritual disciplines, like scripture memorization, praying together, and fasting. Larry and Allison have scheduled certain times throughout the week to include these practices, using them as a way to train us all up together in the Word and Spirit. Sunday mornings during our worship time we share scripture verses we’ve memorized. In November we will have a competition to see who can remember the most! Every Wednesday night after supper we have a special time of sharing what God is doing in our lives and then pray together. The first Thursday of each month we set aside time to fast and pray for each other. I would like to encourage all of us to practice spiritual disciplines. These are used as tools to grow us close to God and to know Him better. We don’t do these in legalism to make us righteous or out of a feeling of obligation or even to make us look better! We practice these disciplines as a way to open ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we cultivate our relationship with Jesus. Colossians 3 talks about walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Walking in the Spirit every day takes a conscious effort and attentiveness! To say we won’t put forth effort because we’re just going to be “led by the Spirit” is a false dichotomy. We need to actively pursue God. God’s grace and mercy are there to help us relax in attaining righteousness… because He already took care of that!! These disciplines are our response of our love for Jesus as He has loved us. For example, fasting can’t be our circumcision (an act done in the old covenant to attain righteousness before God). Fasting is our reaction, a work and an act of love that we do as we reply to Jesus! It is fruit and evidence of our faith! Isaiah 58 describes fasting as a lifestyle. Just as in a marriage, we can’t make a covenant with God and then just go on with life and keep doing our own thing and just use the other person in the relationship when we need help. These disciplines help us along in our walk, when Jesus is calling us and asking us to do something, we will have a ready response of “Yes!” As we make ourselves available to God, the will and desire will both come from Him.
Pic: “Beans!” she roared! (taken from The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea by Tony Johnston) Every couple weeks we cook 16 pounds of red beans on the adobe cooking stove. I have taken on this chore and am in the process of mastering my fire building skills. It takes a LOT of wood to keep a strong fire going for 3 hours straight! Just a word of advice, if you decide to come down and visit, bring along with you a hearty appetite for rice and plenty of beans! Speaking of coming down for a visit… the rainy season has officially begun here. So from now until January we will (hopefully) be receiving a good deal of rain. I’m mentioning this to note: If you would like to come visit me (and the ministry as a whole) February is an ideal month (weather-wise) to plan for. But you are welcome to come at any time. 🙂
Pic: Discipleship Group at the beach Left to right: Allison and Larry with the girls, Walter, Bayron, Joel, myself During a school vacation we took the chance to hit the beach and hang out as a family. I mentioned in my last update that Larry and Allison now just have 2 students, Walter and Bayron, in their discipleship group. Walter is in 8th grade and Bayron is in his 2nd year of university. After several weeks of discussing and clarifying the ministry vision and purpose with the students, several decided not to continue and left campus. Now, with just Walter, Bayron, and Joel we are a much smaller group, but unified. We are growing closer together (just as in a small group) and are experiencing a true sense of family. A note on Joel: Joel is not a student but he came from difficult circumstances. At just 10 months old he was hospitalized with cerebral meningitis. While he was in the hospital there were 3 others with cerebral meningitis, all of whom died, while Joel lived. However, the meningitis left Joel suffering with epilepsy and grand mal seizures. When he was just 16 years old his mom left him alone to fend for himself. He does have family in the community but none are willing to care for him. So in 2000 Larry and Allison started caring for him and later in 2007 he came to live here at campus and be cared for here. He is a believer and is one of the most encouraging members here at campus, eagerly awaiting Christ’s return and the new body he will receive that day!
Pic: Leaf with thorns coming out of the leaf vein While hiking in the forests and up the hillsides, one must be VERY careful what trees and plants you grab onto for support! There are hundreds of different thorny plants and trees, with some thorns less visible than others.
Pic: Stem of that same thorny plant.
Pic: Coyol Palm Tree – a native palm species, literally covered in thorns!!
Pic: Our ag help filling bags for Inga trees (left to right: Toyano, Erwin, Calin) To take advantage of the rainy season we are planting more Inga trees to extend a section of Ingas Larry has planted to use for alley cropping.
Pic: Inga trees planted for alley cropping system This is the section of Inga alley cropping we are expanding. We would like to plant a section of 1 manzana as this is the typical field size subsistence farmers use. In the future then, we can base our harvest results from this single section and it will be easier to compare harvests with the farmers here. We also plan to use the field for a demonstration plot to show the alley cropping system on a scale farmers are well-acquainted with.
Pic: Harvesting corn from our Inga alley cropping system in La Muralla This year Honduras suffered a severe drought, some saying it has been the worst drought in 10 years. In contrast with other farmers in La Muralla that have commented on large crop losses, we harvested a normal corn crop in our plot in La Muralla, using the Inga alley cropping system. This plot in La Muralla has continually, year after year, proven to show the benefits of conserving soil moisture, controlling weeds, and preventing soil erosion.
Pic: Larry planted this stand of Tropical Kudzu in the garden and after 1 year it was well-established, and as you can see, completely covering the area and preventing any weed growth. We are also experimenting with Tropical Kudzu (Pueraria phaseoloides). Don’t worry! This is not the same invasive kudzu plant found in the southeastern United States! Tropical Kudzu has been used effectively as a cover crop. It is a great cover crop to be used for increasing organic matter, fixing nitrogen, weed control, erosion control, and conserving soil moisture. However, as with any technology, there are also drawbacks. It is slow to get established and therefore slow to have an effect and produce results. One needs to plan ahead for the right timing to plant the seed or cuttings. Our agriculture ministry involves taking those risks that experimentation involves which subsistence farmers cannot afford to take. We are planting experimental plots of these different cropping systems (Inga Alley Cropping, Tropical Kudzu, etc) to test the results and viability of each system against each other to determine what is feasible for subsistence farmers in this area. One of our long-term purposes for the agriculture ministry is to use our experimental plots as demonstration fields so that farmers can come, see, and learn about the results of each cropping system on the same area scale (1 manzana) that they are farming.
Ok, I couldn’t help but throw in this picture of such a strange insect! He showed up on the dinner table at Walter’s birthday party. I have no idea what he is… let me know if you find out. All I know is he’s got a hairy snout and can fly.
Pic: La Muralla community water project Larry along with the Agua Viva engineer and mason (Adolfo and Enemecio) are helping to organize the community of La Muralla to work together and put in a gravity-fed water system. This project will take time, as each family will be working on the system just 2 days each week over the next several months.
October 31st through November 8th Larry, Joel, myself, as well as Job will be serving with the team coming from the States on the Agua Viva water project. We will be helping 3 rural communities in southern Honduras put in a gravity-fed water system. Please pray for safe travels to/from. Pray that God’s love would be clearly seen and understood by each community member we work with throughout the week. That God would use each of us, as team members, to bring glory to Him.
Please pray for me as God provides different opportunities for spiritual conversations with our ag helpers, Calin and Erwin, who are not yet believers. Pray that He would speak through me and that their ears, minds, and hearts would be open and prepared to hear, understand, and accept the Truth for their salvation.
Pray for all of us here at campus as we walk through life together and grow in our faith together. Pray especially for confidence and boldness in the faith for the 2 students, Walter and Bayron, as they “go against the flow” of the world and many of their classmates. Pray that God’s Spirit would expel any fears or worries to follow Him and proclaim His Truth.
Pray for the community of La Muralla as they come together to install the gravity-fed water system. Pray for both Dilmer and Larry as they work on the project, that God would use them to demonstrate in a physical way who He is.
This month Job finished his job with ICF, the Institute of Forest Conservation of Honduras, and has decided to come work and serve with us here in Las Mangas. His ministry vision to use micro-enterprise and cooperatives to serve the poor is something Larry and Allison have also envisioned for several years as a part of the long-term ministry plans! We are excited to welcome him to our ministry here and are eagerly awaiting to see how God will use our passions and callings to serve Him together!
Our growing knowledge of God and who He is as we learn through spiritual disciplines.
His constant provision for our daily needs!
Thank you for keeping up-to-date on my ministry! I covet your prayers and appreciate the way God is working through you to partner with me, to be His salt and light in Honduras!
Love in Christ,