Message from the Missionaries
Ephesians 4:25-28 “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
When we got back from the States and started at once working in the Barrio Rincon in organizing our youth groups, school sponsorship program, our tailoring class, and basically reconnecting with friends, we found that the economy has taken its toll in the barrio and the problems that are in the States have finally reached here in Honduras in a strong measure. When this happens, anger steps in and gets a foothold on every¬one. We noticed the discouragement, the frustration, the lack of hope, and the failure to be reenergized from the Holidays. Thievery, talking about neighbors, petitions of work, the lack of sharing, and the need to hoard all came from those who were saved. We expected it from those who were not; but from those who have Christ, it was a shock. Our mission this last month was to go to work in the various programs, but to have an attitude of Christ instead of one of anger, disappointment, frustration and resentment in knowing they have gone backwards instead of forwards. I believe, just in the little time we have had, there has been a big turnaround. This is all due to the positive attitude we have shared and shown to all our neighbors in the barrio. We put our faith and love of Jesus into action not by merely saying we love Jesus and trust him, but by putting our hands to the plow. Now the people are putting their hands back on the plow and are planting good seed.
We have started work with the new tattoo removal machine. We have worked on two people at this point and will be kicking off a major campaign during the month of March. It will be our mission to hit three prisons including the women’s prison and a half-dozen ex-gang members outside of the prison. The machine is very strong and it hits a much larger area than the previous machine. The old machine would leave a line on the skin and would only affect a small area of ink. With the new machine, we actually saw ink leaving the skin. We also saw that the area being treated was larger and had an effect on the skin. There was more blistering and scabbing, but the pain was less intense than the older machine, which helped our patients take on more area than before. Angel, who is an ex-MS 13th Street gang member, used to only allow us to work on one tattoo, but with this gun, he allowed us to work on his entire arm and half of the other arm that are full of gang tattoos. He was explaining to us that he needs to remove all his tattoos before he can enter the fire academy. He had an interview and was accepted, but on the condition that he will remove the tattoos. This shows how important it is for us to serve men and women who need a new and fresh start on life. Keep praying that this machine will remove the ink in seven sess¬ions as the manufacturer claims.
Our Lord has blessed BBM and the Fuerzas Armadas public school in a huge way. During our fundraising campaign, we watched the mighty hand of God work through various people who volunteered their time, money, and passion to form teams. We would like to announce the following teams and their dates, so you can pray for and support them while they plan to come and finish this building and provide three new classrooms. The teachers ask us when we are going to complete them and provide a cafeteria to serve lunches as well. I told the Director to hang on for a change in her school like she has never seen before. The teams are: Pennsylvania Ave. UMC Team #10 May 26-June 5, 2011; the home schoolers’ Team #11 June 16-26, 2011; Victory Highway Team #12 July 15-24, 2011; Victory Highway Team #13 August 12-21, 2011. We also have nine people on standby for a September team, and only need someone experi¬enced who has the available time to lead a team with members that come from various churches. It is our goal, as well as the leaders of these teams, to train new leaders so we can have many seasoned vets that can lead more teams from our area. God is so big that we have a team formed for February 2012. Amazing! We can’t wait to see the progress and the blessings bestowed upon this school and the children.
Community Work in El Barrio Rincon
Both of our older youth groups have experienced growth. Glenda’s girls have grown to eight young ladies. Glenda is super happy because the barrio and the families from the barrio frown upon the girls selling food and having Tuesday night Bible studies. However, the parents this year are changing their minds because they have seen the difference in the boy’s youth group and they want it in the girl’s as well. The boy’s youth group has kept all the originals, but one, who has fallen to Satan’s lies and traps (please pray for Jonathan). The others stayed on and actually expressed that the first two weeks we were gone, they actually found themselves reaching for their Bibles on Thursdays and heading to the school and then realizing as they bumped into others with the same idea that, ‘hey Michael and Glenda are not here.’ They are 16 now and fill our home – and can eat us out of house and home (as we saw with our first sleepover seen in photo at right). We have many other kids who want to enter the youth group and take on the discipline and change that is asked from them. We are seeing the youth hungry for knowledge in God and His plan in their lives. We have outlined the first couple of month’s studies for both of our groups with the follow¬ing titles: A man or women who is seeking, A man or women of self control, No coarse joking, No using bad language, Respect your brothers or sisters, Morality, Integrity, Sexual desire, Taking care of the temple of your soul. These are the very things our youth are struggling with every day. We love to see their faces when the scriptures talk to them.
School Sponsorship Program
It’s hard to believe that in 2010 we had 86 children to sponsor in February. This year, we have 150 children to sponsor, and on top of these, four children who will be going to Tech-nology school. It was a moving day when we invited all the sponsored children and their parents to come and sign contracts and hear a talk from Glenda about our expectations from the children and their parents. Also, we had them read our mission sheet, be measured by our tailor, and get their photo taken for the sponsors. When we saw the huge crowd of over 300 people coming all at once, it was moving to see how many people we are impacting and being a part of. Some of our skeptics from various churches came and when they saw the people they claimed that, “this is the hand of God.” All I could say was Amen! The group was so big, and Glenda was taking them by groups of 30 so each could hear her talk, that we have decided that we need to divide this group into two Sundays and into two different sections: one Sunday for all those who live in the barrio and another Sunday for those who live outside. Thank God for our older boys, who pitched in and helped us out by working with parents who couldn’t read or write. These parents were extremely happy because they know that their children will be passing them in their educa¬tion and having an opportunity to become someone. As we worked that Sunday, we heard so many testimonies on how this sponsorship is a huge blessing in their broken lives. We heard about a young lady who will be graduating this year and how she was abandoned in a dump¬ster as a newborn and the woman with her wasn’t her mother, but someone who was walking by and heard her cry. Another young lady, who will be graduating as well, about how her mother is suffering with breast cancer. Another child who was suffering from sexual abuse. Another who had to sell tortillas and go every other year to school when her family had enough money to send her. All of you are making a difference in each child by giving them hope in a life that seems hopeless.
Our board is busy at work as well. They are a huge part of why we are organized and grow¬ing. We are pleased to announce that we have a new Spiritual Director. His name is Harold LeFever. Harold was and will always be a missionary, and he served in Honduras for ten years. He has experience in the cul¬ture as well as in how the enemy will attack ministries like ours. His goal is to strengthen our prayer support, guide our board with talks in how the enemy is working against this mini¬stry, and also in supporting us with prayer when needed. He is a brother of the faith and we are glad to have him as a part of our family and our board as well. What our board is working on this year: to form a sub-committee of experienced short-term missionaries, so they can help promote and develop our missions program. We are also working on an ECFA membership. ECFA is an accounta-bility group that will put their seal of approval on our ministry stating that we have good business practices and we are the real deal. This company is used by all the big mini¬stries, like Focus on the Family, etc. Also, it will open doors of opportunity for us to grow in sponsor¬ships and needed support. The reason being, that it will give our churches peace of mind and an accountability resource. Another aspect we are working on is setting up a booth at Kingdom Bound at Darien Lake. This could introduce BBM to a whole new group of churches, organizations and individual sponsors to become a part of this ministry. So please keep our board in your prayers as they volun¬teer their time and talents.
Father, as we embark on another year, we do want to keep you in our hearts and on our minds so we don’t lose focus on Your will and Your desire for the Honduran people. You have orchestrated so much change here and as well in the churches and individual lives back in the States. We hold these blessings in our hearts and will cherish them always. We pray, Father, that during these economic hardships throughout the world, that those who have will continue to give and put their resources to work. We know You are in control and that even out of despair and hopelessness You can give a ray of light by allowing another child to go to school, another boy or girl to learn about Your will, a man or woman to be cleaned from a past pain, hardship, or sin whether in ink or in the heart and flesh. Father, guide us in this new year with Your words from Romans 2:7 which say, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life.” We are here to bring others to hear the Truth and who He is. Thank You, Lord, for encouraging us and walking with us when it seems there are no answers, and Your answer by saying, “live out your love.”
In Jesus’ name, Amen.