April 2017 Update

Dear friends and family,

As I mentioned in last month’s update, as time goes on we’re getting to know the families at Puran. After spending the past 6 months visiting these families each week, we’ve started to grow deeper our relationships with them. I promised last month I would share more in-depth about each family. Over the next several months we would like to share more of their stories with you, so you know how to better pray for them.

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Daileen & Franklin (the couple in the picture above) have 2 kids. Their oldest, Cynthia, is plagued with constant ear infections and they spend a good portion of their wages on medicine for her every month. About a year ago they began to have financial trouble. Sometime this month people who were hired by a bank to promote loans, came to their community, offering small loans at very low interest rates. Daileen and Franklin needed money to pay debts and Franklin needed a new cell phone for work, so they decided to apply for the loan. They paid 500 lempiras (over $20) to fill out the paperwork and apply. Then they waited, and waited, and waited for the phone call to see if they were eligible for the loan. Finally, after about a month of waiting, they were given the loan. At first when Daileen was telling us what had happened, we all thought they had been swindled. But one day while making our rounds, visiting the families at Puran, we prayed with her and later that same day they received a call that they would receive the loan! Please continue to pray for this family, that God would provide them the way to get out of debt. Many families here lose their homes due to accumulated debt. Concerning their garden, Daileen has told us many times these past few months how thankful she was that they had vegetables from their garden to eat while they were short on money. Praise the Lord for His provision!
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Eva (pictured above) and her husband (Armando) are a couple we have mentioned several times in our updates. They have 2 healthy boys, Francisco and Armandito. This couple is very active serving God, in several ways in their local church. Eva teaches for a kid’s discipleship group and helps out with the feeding program the church started for the elementary school (which feeds lunch to over 100 kids, 4 days a week). Armando is helping build the dining hall, a project the church has taken on so the kids have a place to eat lunch.
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Eva and Daileen have become close friends over the years as they grow in their faith. They share many trials and joys together. Their husbands, who both happen to work as security guards with the same company, have come to faith after them. Armando (Eva’s husband) has grown in his faith so much, while Franklin (Daileen’s husband) has had a much slower growing process. Eva says she oftentimes encourages Daileen to pray for her husband, as she looks back and remembers how much Armando has grown and what a difference it has made in their family. Also, Eva and Armando had applied for the same loan as Daileen and Franklin, and were waiting anxiously just the same, until they received the loan. Pray for these 2 ladies, that God would use His word and His people to speak into their lives and continue growing them stronger in Him.
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Armando (pictured above with his youngest – Armandito) has testified to us how God has transformed his life over the years. He used to be an alcoholic and says there was no peace in their household. Simply put, He told us he changed because he was tired of seeing his wife cry and later began to attend church with her. He’s told us on more than one occasion how wonderful it is to have peace in the house. He says God has taught him so much about faith and perseverance, especially through gardening. He likes to use the garden as an example to teach his kids. Please pray for God’s will concerning Armando’s future work and ministry. He is praying that God opens doors in the future when his kids have graduated, to leave his full-time job as a security guard and do ministry while working at home in agriculture and small jobs, like welding and construction.
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Elba is another gardener we have mentioned a few times before. She is basically living as a single mother and a single grandmother, as she raises both her kids and her grandkids. Her husband works in El Salvador and only returns home every 3 months, for a short week, before returning to work. Elba has shared with us about her situation, that her husband lost their house due to his problem with alcoholism. She experienced a deep bitterness towards him, but then God prompted her to ask her husband’s forgiveness for any time she had been disrespectful to him… even when she felt he was the one who needed to be asking for forgiveness. What a challenge! But that’s what God calls all of us to do! Remember towards the end of Matthew 5, when Jesus talks about loving our enemies? He reminds us that anyone can love the “lovable” but He calls Christians to love the “unlovable”… because He loved us when we were “unlovable!” Please keep Elba and her family in your prayers, as we haven’t yet heard her clearly profess that her faith is in the Lord.
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Herminia is a believer and has 3 healthy kids, however, her husband is also an alcoholic. On top of this, she suffers from neurocysticercosis, a parasitic disease usually acquired by consuming undercooked pork. Doctors discovered this when she had her first child. She has had to take medicine daily now for the past 14 years. Even still, she thanks God for every new year of life He has given her. Please pray for her health, as she deals with seizures due to this illness, as well as healing from a recent gallbladder surgery. Herminia is also the president of (what I would call the Honduran version) her local parent-teacher association for the elementary school at Puran. She wants to use her connections with her school’s association as well as other area schools to help us connect with them and start school gardens. Pray for God’s guidance in each step if this is His will.

Testimonies like this encourage us to continue 2 things: 1. Ministering in word and deed to the family of God and 2. Proclaiming in word and deed God’s Word to bring more into God’s family. I will share more testimonies next month. We would like you, as part of this ministry, to experience the joy of how God is opening the way for real relationships with these families and the commitment for all of us to pray for them.

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Pic: Lunch with Calin (from Balfate, Honduras) & Christine (from Georgia). It’s been a blessing getting to know others our age who also are cross-cultural couples working in ministry. We had visited Calin & Christine last year where they work in northern Honduras. This year they came down to see us in Siguatepeque with Samantha, their first addition to their family.
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This month the youth group has been joining Samaritan’s Purse and Kingdom Growers (the ministry to coffee farmers) in distributing shoeboxes to mothers and kids in rural communities. The youth led a time of worship, played games with the kids (photo below), and Job shared a gospel message at the end of their time together. Pray for these kids and their local church, that the seeds planted would be well watered and come to bear much fruit!

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Pic: A choir made up of different churches in the Central American denomination. We were up especially early on Easter morning for a joint sunrise service at 5am with all the churches within our denomination in Siguatepeque. Whenever we have these joint services I always enjoy the choir. I miss worshiping in my native language, but more and more I’m loving worshipping in Spanish. ¡Resucitó!
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Job has received the opportunity to participate in a course offered by the FAO (the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization). The course is called School Feeding: Development of Sustainable Programs from the Brazilian Case. Job says this is an opportunity to understand better the challenges of bringing nutritious food for students. It’s an opportunity to know what nutrition the kids and the families as a whole need to be healthy. Also, it has served as a chance to network with other organizations that are combating this issue of student hunger, and make relationships to work together. The group presenting the course is showing how they’ve found what has worked well in Brazil through a project they started to feed students with the local agriculture supplies. Now they are sharing their experience in 6 different countries, besides Brazil and Honduras: Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. Pray for Job’s safety as he travels about once a month to the capital (Tegucigalpa) for the course. Pray that God would use what he learns there to further use our resources in Puran.

Praise:

  • Thank God for His living and active Word… the greatest gift we have to share with others!
  • For each day’s provisions!
  • For the family of God, as we support and encourage each other!
  • For God’s unconditional love, given to us in Jesus!

Prayer:

  • For each of the families’ requests at Puran.
  • We are in the beginning stages of planning and preparing to help schools start gardens. Hopefully we can meet this month with the teachers at the school in Puran to see what the first steps would be in helping their school start a garden.
  • Continue to pray for Awana leaders. We had a meeting last week and are planning to invite various speakers to give the devotional each week. This will help lift that responsibility from the leaders and allow them to focus on the individual time they have with the kids.
  • Finances for some repairs needed on our pickup.

 

 

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