We want to welcome to Monte De Horeb Grace Baptist Church. They are first timers to Honduras and we have been so blessed to have served beside of team leader, Kristi, Dean, Robert, Lee and wife Christina and Sheri and her son Jacob. Kristi did a phenomenal job preparing this new team prior to coming to Honduras. They were prepared spiritually and most definitely culturally especially for a first time team. She asked and shared with me if we do anything to hinder this ministry here in Honduras please let us know. God is good and we were beyond blessed to have this sweet team here for eight days. They all fell in love with the ministry campus which became their home for the week. They enjoyed the sunsets and especially the animals God has blessed the ministry with. I am so excited to share what an amazing week this team who is not any longer a new team but a big part of our Honduran family. Thank you Grace Baptist Church for choosing Monte De Horeb Hondruas to come and serve along side of as their week unfolded into something very amazing and only God with their true obedience should get credit. Amen y amen
Monday, February 3, 2020
This team of seven came together each morning first of all making some good Honduran coffee followed by cooking up a yummy breakfast. Thank you Krist, Sheri, Tina and Lee for cooking breakfast each morning. Also while cooking breakfast Jacob, Lee Dean and Robert prepared the coolers of water and Gatorade. Tina and Sheri also prepared the lunches for each day as they needed them. This team got a little spoiled on the lunch menu. This group of seven worked together as a team all week to get their daily chores completed and in a timely fashion.
After breakfast Jacob and Lee helped the ladies wash the dishes. They headed down the hill after washing their dishes to help Robert, Dean and Mike load the truck each day. After all this was completed daily they always left right on time to head to a place where it will give them so much joy which words and pictures will never be able to describe. They were able to come here, feel, smell, taste, most definitely taste, see and hear the beauty of this country. This was teamwork from Grace Baptist Church.
After their first morning of job duties the team headed down to a community called Cedeno. We gathered around the foundation of the home to have our introductions. Mike spoke first and thanking the team as well as our brand new brother and sister in Christ, Christian and Stephanie along with their beautiful and joyful little girl Sophia for coming together as one to serve our Lord and Savior as this week was planned along time ago by our Heavenly Father. Now the time has come to start a home for a well deserved family. This family has lived their entire life in Cedeno. They shared how they started out living down on the beach until a tsunami washed their home a way. Mike and I remember this happening very well. As we went down to help mud out the beach for those left to survive on their own. We might have helped them not knowing one day God had something much nicer for them in their future. God's timing is always perfect in every way. Manuel, our security guard on Monte de Horeb and Christian's best friend asked one day last year when were we going to build Christian a home. So I proceed to pull his solicitation and it was a couple of years old, I said, "We will try to build it in 2020. God's provision was perfect as He provided just the right team for this very quiet and sweet family. Jacob team member commented one afternoon to me how quiet the Honduran people are and how we could learn from them so many different things if we only paid attention. By the way this is Jacob's first time on an international mission trip and he got it his first day here. The entire team saw how joyful their new friends were and how they wanted to share in their genuine joy they exhibited for the next five days. Kristi introduced her team and thanked them for allowing her and her church family to be with them this week. Christian thanked everyone for coming to help Stephanie and him get their new home. The project was sitting on a beautiful piece of land and it was the last dwellings on the dirt road for miles. We learned from Christian his entire family lives all around him. There is four generations surrounding this stretch of property. How awesome it is to live where you can watch your children and grandchildren grow up with so much love. This is what the team experienced this week, lots of love by family and friends as these 800 blocks and 50 bags of cement, two doors and two windows started becoming a home.
Mike set up his blocks on the dead end dirt road in front of the home. He had lots of help getting the blocks lined up. Everyone pitched in bringing the blocks from the property to the road. As this was happening Pastor Carlos was setting the corners. There is so much going on the first hour or so of the first day. Thankful for this group to find something they could do to help the process get started. Mike was thankful for so much help which allowed him to get all the blocks cut for the team. He taught Lee how to cut blocks so he could cut the special orders later in the week. But Lee was bless when the next day Yobani from Monte de Horeb came along to help cut blocks and lay them. So Lee helped Yobani as needed on the block cutting. God is so good and He was all week with His provisions every single day. Thank you God for all our help this week.
As we started out our first morning there was only Christian, Jacob and Lee sifting the sand. I was standing over in the front of the project observing the morning when I was praying for more help to arrive for this sweet family. Suddenly up behind walks by me this large young man and I said God is this an answer to my prayer. Is this strong large young man going into Christian's yard. Yes he did. He was one of many friends who showed up this week to help mix the mortar for the home. This angel's name was Kevin. So Jacob stayed on to help Kevin and Christian mix the mortar and Lee went about helping do other necessary items as well. About thirty minutes later here come another angel who we all love him who knows him, Fernando, a long time friend of Christian and Mike and I. He actually took one hour off of work to come help his friend and headed back to work. But he came and made a big difference in getting that first batch of mortar for the first block. As the week progressed many different young men came by to help Christian get his home. What a testimony for all of us to see these young men come beside their friend and work diligently for five days so their friend and his family would receive their home. Lee and Jacob shared their time around that mortar pile each day was special to them as they did not know the language but they did know they all had a common goal in mind building a home through the mixture of mortar. Christian is very blessed to have grown up in a community where all his friends are still close by and now they can watch as each other start their own families. The only reason Manuel was not there he was working and going to school but he surprised Christian on the day of dedication. God is so good because Manuel was off of work this week of the dedication and he was there for his friend.
The four corners got started as Lee and Christina, "Tina" along with Jacob, Robert and Dean helped lay out the four corners. This team were quick learners which helped Pastor Carlos so much. Pastor Carlos learned Jacob's name very fast as his go to person along with Jacob's Aunt Tina who speaks the language. Pastor Carlos had two "go to" persons on this team. He was very blessed with some hard working and eager helpers who gave it their all. As the four corners came together the first batch of mud was about ready. What an exciting time for the team and the family as everything slowly started coming together. The team was finding out where they could use their gifts and talents early on the first couple of hours on their project. Mike and I firmly believe the reason this team came on board with willingness of their hearts was because of such great leadership from Kristi prior to entering this beautiful country called Honduras. They were prayed up and prepared up for this opportunity God had placed before them. They are and were an amazing first time team to Honduras.
The mortar was ready and Pastor Carlos was prepared to lay the first block down, Mike and I asked the team and family to gather around the first block. Meida collected Christian, Stephanie and Sophia asking them to squat down around the first block of their new home. Team members, family and friends all touched someone to totally connect them to the Rodriguez family. Lee began praying over the block and the family giving our Lord and Savior all of the praise and honor for this moment and time. Lee's words were indescribable except they totally came from the Holy Spirit as words poured from Jacob's mouth. His words of encouragement to this young family as they start a new life in their new home in just a few days. As Jesus will radiate this week as they build this home for all to see. Let Jesus shine through the labor of love going into this home. Thank you God for this team and this family on this week.
Mike asked the entire team to gather around to see how the Hondurans lay the mortar and the block. We had two construction young men on this team, Robert and Dean, but they were willing and able to learn a new way to do construction. For this we are most grateful. We are grateful for their humbleness of trying something new in the construction world. They all caught on very quickly and teamed up with another person and off they went laying mortar and block. They also all got great applying the mortar into the joints to make this home on the fifth day perfect in everyway. There was a lot of love and hard work on each and every block and joint filled this week. Have I shared it was quiet warm here as well. God blessed their sweaty bodies with a wonderful breeze throughout their days in Cedeno. God also blessed them with one corner which was shaded the entire day due to three palm trees. After their first day five courses and the doors were set. This first evening of God moments was filled with surprised and tired bodies. Shelia shared how overwhelmed she was upon arriving seeing all the work ahead of each of them. But she knew God was faithful and she had to trust in Him this house would become a home in five days. Robert shared how humbling it was Christian took a week of vacation from his job as a security guard to build his home. This was a week without pay for those of you reading this right now. This was a huge sacrifice on his part not to bring an income in this week but I am sure he prepared in advance for the needs of his family and most definitely for the needs of the North American as well.
Prior to arriving Kristi, team leader, already had every evening lined up for devotionals except one evening. Our sweet precious "Tina" had not signed up for devotionals yet. She was apprehensive about doing a devotional as was her precious husband Lee. But as it got closer both of them signed up for a devotional and I'm sure it was Tina's first time and I believe Lee had shared before. But in saying all this when we allow God to use us to glorify Him and not ourselves God can do all things. Tina picked a sick in the dorm bathroom where the scripture over the sink said this, "Nothing is impossible with God". So this was her theme for her devotional the night she shared and it is absolutely amazing how awesome our God is when we are obedient to something He truly wants us to do in His Name. Tina you did an amazing job because you allowed the Holy Spirit to work in and through your words. Because your words were God's words. The next evening Lee followed his lovely wife and I shared with him he had a tough act to follow after Tina's devotional. He chuckled and said yes and how very proud he was of her and her boldness in sharing God's Word. Thank you Lee for sharing your testimony of being a Christian for four years and how you would never dreamed you would be sitting in Honduras sharing a devotional with his church family. His scripture came out of Romans 12:3-8, one of Mike's favorite scriptures from God's Word. Lee shared we all came with different gifts and talents as I was sharing with the ladies prior to Lee's devotional about the team prior to them preached on gifts and talents from the North American team and the Honduran Sunday School teacher fell right in behind the sermon with the identical topic gifts and talents. Obviously I am suppose to hear this and now I am asking God what gifts and talents am I not using to further His Kingdom work in Honduras. Let's all ask ourselves are we giving God all of us to further His Kingdom. This week this team gave their all and more to further the Kingdom of God. They used their gifts and talents and so much more. This group served this week humbly as Lee shared we should do during his devotional. Lee shared how he loved going to church weekly and being spiritually fed and to go out into my community back home serving others but this past week took my spiritual growth to a whole new level. Amen y amen Lee! The reason Lee grew spiritually and took it to a whole new level is because his as well as his team members hearts where totally in Honduras and allowing God to teach them how easy it is to get out of your comfort zones when God is in control. Along came Sheri sharing about "flying blind". She shared how she had not any idea what to expect when finally the plane landed in Tegus. She came in blinded and unsure. As the pilot of the plane trusted his instruments to get the plane safely on the ground we as well need to trust God our soul instructor who can guide us daily if we only allow Him. My life back home is the same daily. I was unsure about building a home and doing VBS in a different setting. A very different culture for all of her team. But as she shared she was a Martha she decided to let go and following God and allow Him to lead her and her teammates to a week full of His joy. Sheri decided to trust God and follow what He had called her to do and be obedient fully to His Will. Sheri shared how God proved Himself faithful. Sheri's scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6 which shares how we have to acknowledge God first in our lives and He will provide all we need.
Kristi shared the first and last evening about Paul being an awesome missionary from 2 Timothy 4:1-8 at the beginning of the week. This week we need as a team to deny ourselves and be fully committed what God has called each of us to do. We are not here by mistake or coincidence because God is not in the business of coincidence. He is in the business of providing all we need if we are obedient. We knew coming in this was not going to be like our home conditions, climate was going to be very different, language very different and the way Hondurans build homes is quiet different from how we build homes back in the states. But as God knows so well when we are totally obedient which this team was it all becomes a blessing instead of a challenge for each of us. This team found such joy in getting hot and working beyond their own means. So on Kristi's last evening's devotional she shared about a book she was reading while here in Honduras, "Something Needs To Change" by David Platt. We all need a heart change and going out where God has called us to do. She shared how she did not want to loose what God taught her in Honduras but to apply it to her life back home and the rest of the team agreed with Kristi. Kristi shared how all our hearts need to break and feel the need to help others who cannot help themselves. Jacob shared one evening how we must fear God as well as love God. It is necessary to fear God in order not to have sin in our lives. Jesus has taken the punishment for our sin. This week Jacob shared how we need to humble ourselves to do the work God has called us to do and as I shared earlier this team did exactly that, became humble, trusting God totally and truly obedient. As Jacob shared God is all knowing but yet we try to do it all ourselves. This week this team allowed God to use all of them in a mighty way by saying "Yes" and coming to Honduras and serving their Lord wholeheartedly. Thank You God for sending this precious group of people who love You first and serve You the most!!!!
When these lovely ladies were not laying blocks or filling joints with mortar they were busy providing water for those angels from God. Every thirty minutes or so either Sheri or Tina were going with the muffin pan full of water or Gatorade to replenish our Honduran helpers. They worked endlessly without a break said Lee and Jacob. Tina felt ashamed to be drinking her water from a water bottle as she served her new friends out of a 4 ounce cup. But we shared how they are use to the elements of the heat a whole better than them. It does not take as much water for them as you. They do need to be hydrated but it does not take quiet as much. This North American team learned quickly how hard these men work in such rigid hot weather and scorching sun beating down on them. They mixed and delivered the mortar all day long for the North American team. This bond of care for each other in different ways, providing water from North Americans as the Honduran angels provided the hard labor for their friend, Christians as well as for Pastor Carlos and North American team. It was team effort on everyone's part in Cedeno this week.
We were blessed each morning with a delicious hot breakfast prior to our workday. On one morning the ladies had a huge surprise Ingrid came in and prepared some homemade Baladeas for the new team. We only asked Ingrid to make the shells but for some reason she prepared it all and had it ready to eat at 6 am. I was beyond humbled by her act of kindness which is not in her job description at all. She has occasionally come in to make the shells but not the entire breakfast. What a special treat and blessing from God this bright and beautiful morning at Monte De Horeb. Baladeas are one of our favorite dishes here in Honduras. This team was not any different. They fell in love with all the Honduran cuisine and especially the fresh fruit daily, honey dew, watermelons, pineapples and bananas were their desserts for the week. I do not believe these folks were ever hungry while their stay at Monte de Horeb. How blessed we are all to have such a wonderful place to come to retreat in the presence of our Lord as well as great food and fellowship. Thank you God for our wonderful staff and facility You Father so graciously provided.
As the week progressed so did the magnificent work of this North American team. They all found very quickly where they were the most effective for this house to become a home and they used their gift and talents accordingly. The walls are being built as well as relationships being built as well. Everyone became one unique family this week. Because of Tina's gift of speaking the language she became very close to Meida and Stephanie. Stephanie shared with Tina how she had never met her parents they gave her up when she was born. Tina shared with her how blessed she was to have a loving extended family with Christian's mother and grandmother who have taught her so much. Tina shared with Stephanie as she has observed her this week she is an amazing mommy to Sophia. She sees the love and joy this little girl has from much loving parents, especially in her mother. How beautiful this was to have Tina encourage her new friend in the manner she did. Tina and Meida talked to and from the project in the back of the Landcruiser each day in Spanish of course and Sheri and Kristi listened in bewilderment. Kristi and Sheri were just fine and was grateful for how beautifully Tina reached out to all the locals in such a compassionate manner. We shared in orientation the first night, the house will get built in five days but do not miss the opportunity of getting to know these beautiful people God put in their paths this week. Job well done Grace Baptist Church family. We all came to love you as you lived out each day here in Honduras to its fullest.
Mike and I came to acknowledge this was Lee and his lovely wife Christina, "Tina" first time on an international mission trip. Tina shared with me this was her first mission trip ever and I truly would not have known this if she had not shared this with me one day as we were working back from the sports center. This young Christian couple exhibited strong faith and trust in their Lord and Savior the entire week. They came all in and gave it their all as they served side by side this week. They laid the corners together on the first day. They faithfully washed breakfast and dinner dishes daily together. Lee led in prayer several times throughout the week with boldness and sincere love for His Savior. It is so refreshing to see a young couple and young in their walk with Christ being so solid in their walk. They both shared this week was huge for both of them as they stepped out in faith what God would reveal to them as a couple. What a testimony. They can return home to their sweet daughter and share with her their love for this beautiful country and how as a couple they will be able to talk and share their many memories together whenever the time arises. Their love for Jesus first was most evident and their love for their church family as well was evident as they worked side by side with family and friends from Grace Baptist. Their love for each other was precious in so many ways as well. Thank you both for what all you did in so many different ways, leading devotionals for the first time, getting out of your comfort zones, serving relentlessly daily, sharing in the home dedication, praying and encouraging each other as well as your team each day.