Message From the Missionaries
Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”
Our ever-present trouble; this is a problem that always exists in one’s life as you will see in the testimonies below in the various mini¬stries we work in. Troubles or problems seem to be lingering and causing havoc for those who have lost control, focus, self esteem, or are just victims caught up in someone else’s turmoil. Fear is a state of mind that cripples a person from making change. It is a weapon that Satan uses in his attacks against us and our faith. He sends us problems and testing in which God will allow just like He did with Job. Satan uses the opportunity to destroy what¬ever hope we may be hanging on with. This is the case for those in Honduras and I’m sure throughout the world. So many people are fragile and are scared to make any change, report a problem, or take on a time of testing with an attitude of Christ. We have seen the crippling of fear in cases so small and minor to many cases that are devastating and have scarring on the heart. Fear can stop a person from moving forward and becoming what God has intended us to become. My question to those in whom we minister to is this: “Are you becoming what God intended for you when He formed you? Or is fear holding you back be¬cause you don’t want to be hurt again?” Whether in prison or out in the Barrio, we have seen the devastation from fear because it stops a person in his tracks in wanting to be¬come a disciple of Jesus Christ and making a permanent change in his life and those around him. This may sound crazy, but ask yourself this: Why are so many not becoming disciples of Jesus? Why do so many want to linger in their problems and deny the change that is needed in their lives?
When we started work again in removing tattoos from the ex-gang members, we knew that it was going to be a long and difficult road to show the men that this gun will actually work and remove the ink they have in their bodies. We also knew that because the previous gun didn’t do too much the men have become discouraged and some actually tattooed their entire body or re-tattooed the same tattoo while we were gone to the States. This was something very difficult for us to choke down. However, those who trusted us and really wanted to make change waited for us to come back and start working again. We started on Boxy (Saul, an ex-18th St. gang member). We started to see the ink turn from black to gray and in some areas, were completely erased. Those who were watching and actually had left the program and had more tattoos put on were devastated. They sat in disbelief. They were heart broken. Israel took his shirt off and had Satan tattooed on his arm and chest to cover over the work we had worked on and said, ”What have I done. I have sold my soul.” He is now back in the program. Many are watching and waiting to see what will happen in the next months. Some are afraid to enter the pro¬gram because of what they saw in Rambo, who actually took a razor blade and cut the water blisters off his body to hurry up the process in erasing the tattoos. This fear moved 15 men to drop out of the program. They don’t want any scarring on their bodies. Rambo is now trying to convince the men that he made a bad judgment call and that they should trust the program and make the necessary changes for their lives. It is our prayer to show in seven months men that are clean so others will enter the program and save their lives. We just found out a young man who we worked with while an 18th St. gang member in the youth prison, and who we helped when he left the gang three years ago, was killed. His name was Darwin. He is seen in the
photo on the right. He left the tattoo removal program and went free. This in turn led him to his death. He never made the complete change. He never came to Jesus Christ. The men were devastated as we are for this loss. Fear again stopped him from completing the race and the change he needed for his life.
When we work with the public schools here in Honduras, you never know exactly what may come from the government in the form of change. When we all saw you in January we reported that the First Lady visited the Vene¬Venezuela school and made comments that the cafeteria should be an example for all the schools in Honduras. What we didn’t know, is that she then went and visited the Fuerzas Armadas school and saw the work being done in adding three more classrooms and also listening to the plan and needs from the director, teachers, and parents in wanting to change the school into a multi-functional school that can teach grades 7-9 in the afternoons. The parents are worried, as we are, that the children end up in more problems when they are out of the eye¬sight of the parents and also out of the area of their community. In other words, there is a huge amount of overcrowding in the junior and senior high schools. This forces sixth grade graduating kids that don’t have an 85% grade average to go to another school that is in gang territory and also 20 minutes away. So the First Lady promised three more classrooms in order to fulfill the requirement needed to change the school into a multi-functional school. The teachers thought it would never materialize. They were afraid that they would never see the completion of this dream. The First Lady has come through and they started working on the new class¬rooms that will be tied with our current project. Also, we will be having a meeting with the parents to make preparations for the new cafeteria that will be started with teams #12 and #13 (July and August).
Community Work in El Barrio Rincon
Two weeks ago, on a Tuesday night after the girl’s youth group had their bible study, I walked in and saw Estefani sitting in the chair with thoughts running through her mind and in her eyes. I asked Glenda what is up. She told me they just had a tough reflection time during their bible study in self-esteem. Glenda told me that the girls said they were all ugly. As you can see in the photo below, they are not ugly at all. So I sat down and put my arm around Estefani and I asked her why she felt ugly. At first, she gave me all the typical teenager reasons why (my eyes aren’t straight; my body isn’t this or that, etc.). In my heart I knew that wasn’t the only reason why she felt this way. She then started to cry and told us that she was being sexually abused by her teen¬age uncle. She didn’t know how to tell her mother nor con¬front the whole situation. I then asked for the other girls to come so Estefani could be comforted and when they came they started to open up one by one that they are being abused either physically or verbally. This is why they feel so ugly inside. They have been carrying this bur¬den around with them for years and haven’t told anybody nor had anybody to trust in. They told us that their parents (many mothers because their fathers don’t exist) tell them they are prostitutes, they will never amount to anything, they wish they weren’t born, etc. As we listened, we counseled with the word of God and encouraged them to overcome their fears by talking, reporting, and trying to make change so they can start to heal. We prayed and walked out of the cafeteria and found our boys down and with concern. They said, “Michael, we are going through some similar things. Our mothers tell us to find our own way to feed ourselves, to find money for transportation, etc. Plus the verbal abuse and in some cases the physical abuses are distracting us.” Estefani did talk to her mother and they are getting help. The others are trying to move forward with healing in their hearts.
School Sponsorship Program
When one starts out on a new adventure or new ministry, you always have some sort of reservation in the back of your mind whether this is going to make a difference in a person’s life or not. When we started the Technology scholarship program, we did a model project-sponsorship with two boys from our youth group. When we saw the change in them, we decided to announce it to all of you back in January to help find sponsors to fund young boys who are in need of a scholarship for a technology education. One story speaks loudly to us. In the photo to the right is a young man named Francisco Lincona. He was sponsored before by us with a regular scholarship but was dropped from the program because he was carrying a grade average of 40%. He basically didn’t want to go to school. He said to his parents that he would rather pick up garbage or clean the streets than go to school. The parents continued to try to force him and we tried as well but no such change came. We sat him down and talked with his parents present and found out he wanted to go to INFOP (tech school). So when we came back to Honduras this year we had a scholarship for Francisco. His dad was super happy. He is a struggling pastor who works and pastors an Assembly of God church. He has been a friend of ours for years and we knew of their financial struggles and worries. Basically, without the scholarships for both his kids, they wouldn’t be in school. Francisco has been going to school every day and is studying mechanics. Out of one problem came a blessing and a chance for this young man to change.
Announcement to all our Sponsors
Glenda has been making all the information packets for you to receive. We have mailed out two large packages to the States and then they’ll be mailed out to you soon. By the end of this month, the majority should have a photo of your child and his/her letter to you translated. Again, thank you for your blessings on these children’s lives and their education. We are currently at 158 sponsored children. Absolutely awesome!!
With all the interest in short term missions we actually have enough to form another team for September. However, we don’t have an experienced leader to bring this team down. Our Board is praying for someone who has experience in leading short term teams to take on this special project and see if the formation of another team can come about. If you have interest in leading a team in September and have experience in short term mission teams and are praying about coming to Honduras, please contact Lisa Edger, our missions director at: Laedger@stny.rr.com. She’ll be glad to talk to whomever may be led to lead this potential team. Cheryl Cleveland, our financial secretary, just mailed out all the quarterly financial statements. If you haven’t received yours, please e-mail us and we’ll make sure we check in to this. On our BBM website, we have a Pay-Pal donation button set up. We now can receive credit card donations through our website. Some of our sponsors do use this service and it has made it much easier for them to donate. The donations are transferred into our account and Cheryl is notified with the necessary information so you’ll be credited with your quarterly statement. Our Board is making preparations spiritually for what God has in store for BBM. Our Board also recognizes that it is by all your prayers and love for Jesus Christ in why you make the sacrifice for helping all those in Honduras. They and we are thankful for all our sponsors!
Father, we know that fear cripples and it stops us from speaking out, making necessary change, and it limits us from bringing your peace into our lives and into our hearts. Satan lost this battle a long time ago when it was nailed on the cross and paid in full by the blood of the Lamb. However, Lord, men are still walking away and putting their trust in themselves, in drugs, in sexual temptation, and in any avenue to distract the pain they are suffering in. Our prayer, Lord, is that they will seek your face and seek your peace. Our prayer is that you’ll use all those who are called by your voice to serve all those we come in contact with. Lord, it is a hard job but not one that cannot be done. We are encouraged by you in 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Thank you, Lord, for Paul’s encouraging Spirit-filled words. We lift our eyes upon you and gaze in your Glory in knowing that your promise will be fulfilled. In Jesus’ name, Amen.