The team spent Thursday relaxing and reflecting on the week. Mike and Ginger took us to a place called the Valley of Angels and we shopped for some souvenirs. Everybody had great fun!
We are now at the airport in Tegucigalpa waiting on our plane. It departs at 2:55pm EST. Please pray for safe journey as we travel home.
Day 6 – Honduras
Started the morning out a little later than other mornings because the dedication of the hose was not until 9am. The missionary, Mike, and a couple of the guys got up and cooked pancakes and bacon for breakfast. I don’t think any of us are going to lose any weight on the trip. We have eaten very well for a mission trip!
We arrived at the house a few minutes early and many of the people were already there. We built the house for a young couple with two sons and they are expecting their third child. They live on the property of his parents and we built a house for them right beside the grandparents. The whole family, their pastor, a few people from the church, Pastor Guillermo (the Honduran construction leader), the missionaries, and the mission team gathered in the house for the dedication. I welcomed everyone, read Psalm 127, and recognized Shawn Pearce to speak on behalf of the mission team. He praised the Lord for the week and presented the family with a brass lock for the house on behalf of the whole team. Then boh Honduran pastors were invited to offer words of encouragement and challenge followed by me (Steven) giving a charge to Carlos and his family to commit this house and their family to the glory of Jesus. I presented the family a Bible with notes from each member of the mission team and led in a prayer of dedication. As I started praying, many in the room laid their hands on the walls of the house and we all prayed in one chorus to our great God!
Afterward we fellowshiped with the family for a while. There were many hugs, smiles, and tears as we said our departing words. You could sense a common longing for the day when we all will be unified in Jesus and the language and distance barriers will once again be broken by King Jesus so all of His family will be able to worship around His throne as one people.
The grandmother, who had brought us coffee and cookies everyday at 2pm, brought us all a fruit plate and a tortilla with chicken and pico de gallo. We enjoyed sweet fellowship with the family! The team had prepared gifts for all those who volunteered their time to help us during the week and we were asked to wait until the moments prior to leaving to give the gifts. We gave bags of clothes, tools ,and miscellaneous gifts to: Pastor Guillermo (the leadrer of the construction project), Jose (hired to be our driver, but voluntarily spent everyday mixing mortar and concrete), Jose Perez (59 yr old church member who showed up everyday to mix mortar and concrete), Adonis (approximately 12 yr old who hauled mortar and concrete with Wiley – he could haul more than Wiley;), and Santos (concrete finisher who helped the final day). It was unforgettable to see their gratitude! (The team also left many clothes and some supplies for the missionaries to use when they go to the more remote areas of Honduras.)
After the dedication and the “goodbyes” we took a trip over to the Maxi Bodaga (i.e., the Honduran Wal-mart). The team enjoyed seeing the store. We bought Honduran coffee, vanilla and snacks for the trip home. We went back to the mission house in Choluteca and packed our stuff for the trip back to Tegucigalpa and started on the 2 hour journey back to the capitol city.
Day 5 – Honduras
We went out this morning with the hopes of finishing the work on the house. The Lord was gracious and allowed us to complete it! We started out the morning placing the beams across the house from gable end to gable end. These are cut in the block and then held in place with mortar. The metal is then attached to these. Although i call them beams, please do not be under any misconception. They are 4″ C-channel made of pretty thin metal. So thin that Pastor Guillermo pulled Ryan and me (Steven) as the two smallest guys to get up on the roof and made it really clear that the other guys didnt need to go up. What a blessing! We got up there and as we laid a walk board across the beams they began to roll under our weight. The tin we put on the roof buckled under our feet if we stood on the ridges. Both Ryan and I left our mark(s) on the roof! While we were doing this some of the team began cleaning up and filling in mortar joints that needed it while the rest of the team poured the concrete floor for the house. There are no concrete trucks with shoots to place the concrete, just shovels, wheel-barrels and men. Praise the Lord for our driver and some other men from the church who spent everyday mixing mortar and concrete. They were very busy today especially.
It was Shawn and my day to have kitchen duty (laying out food and washing dishes). So, we made an executive decision that to celebrate the last day of work on the house we would go to Pizza Hut for lunch! Yes, they have a Pizza Hut in Choluteca. Unbelievable! They actually have great pizza. I believe the team enjoyed it and Shawn and I didn’t have to do any dishes. However, just for the record, we had bacon and eggs for breakfast and a big dinner (cubes steak, mashed potatoes and green beans), so we washed our share of dishes. But just so our wives know, we probably didn’t do that great of a job!
At lunch a really dark cloud came up, so when we got back Pastor Guillermo and Mike were already placing the rest of the tin on the roof. Jesus held the rain off and we were able to finish the roof. Ryan and I are especially thankful for you prayers today!
We planned a dedication for tomorrow at 9am. Shawn and I will speak and encourage & challenge the family and then dedicate the house in prayer.
Day 4 – Honduras
After a wonderful day of worship we were back on the job site at 7am. The evangelism team did some outreach to the women and children in the area and the constuction team laid the last two courses of block and the gables of the house. It was a long day and HOT! However, the Lord gave us a cloud in the afternoon and a little rain to finish the work day. The team was tired but we came back to the house to a great dinner made by Rosa. Afterward we had a team meeting to discuss odds and ins and then do our Bible study. We have enjoyed studying Ephesians and learning about what God is doing in all creation.
Day 3 – Honduras
Mike (missionary) cooked us pancakes (plain and banana) and bacon for breakfast! We went to Iglesia Bautista Libertad (Freedom Baptist Church) for Sunday school at 9am. It was a wonderful experience. I (Pastor Steven) brought greetings from PSBC and Shawn spoke on behalf of the group. We really enjoyed the music and singing songs with our brothers and sisters in Christ (some we recognized, some we did not). The opening song was my favorite, Worthy Is the Lamb (Thank You for the Cross). The Pastor came over at the preaching time and asked if I would preach. I had prayed for the on Sunday morning and God had brought James 1 to my mind, so I had put those sermon notes on my ipad (praise the Lord!) and stood and preached with Erin translating. When I had finished, the Pastor taught the Sunday School lesson on Exodus 18.
We left the church after the service, picked up Pastor Guillamo and headed for the beach (Pacific ocean side of Honduras). We drove about an hour to the beach and saw a beautiful countryside. They grow a lot of corn and sugarcane. We were visiting a Baptist camp on the beach and the men decided this would be a great place for a men’s retreat sometime! We all got out of the van and were greeted with the smell of fish and shrimp cooking. We enjoyed a meal of fresh (i.e., caught that morning) fish and shrimp. After lunch some of the guys got in the ocean and the rest of us sat under a homemade shelter on he beach. I got the privilege of swinging in a hammock while listening to the waves crashing on the shore and looking out over the Pacific ocean at El Salvador and Nicaragua. It was truly a beautiful afternoon!
We returned to the house and prepared for evening worship service at 6pm. The evening service was shorter than the missionaries told us it would be – it only lasted two and a half hours. We had Wiley, Ryan, and Jose (our driver) share testimonies and the pastor preached from Revelation 21 on the coming day of the Lord.
After the evening service we went to Wendy’s in Choluteca and had dinner. It was a long but incredibly blessed day.
Day 2 – Choluteca, Honduras
Arrived at the job site a little earlier today and started work a bit earlier. According to the missionary it was 105 in the shade at 9am. Wow! It’s hot, very hot and humid. I believe everyone’s clothes are soaked as soon as we start working and never dry off all day. However, the Lord is awesome and He has given us a breeze at the right times throughout the day. Praise His name!
We finished the tenth course of block on the house today, but more importantly we are building some great relationships with the Hondurans. They especially love Ricky (mucho grande) and Wiley (his little brother-pocito)! The evangelism team went out today and got to spend some significant time with one family. In the afternoon, they were able to do some activities with the children and build some relationships with the extended family of the young family we are building the house for.
We are back at the house and it is thundering ferociously. This is the rainy season and Choluteca gets rain almost every evening. . . Usually after 4pm. This is a real blessing because it cools everything off. We will have dinner and then have some time to share our group Bible study together. Tomorrow (Sunday) we will worship with the Baptist church here in Choluteca. Shawn Pearce and I will share testimonies, sonplease pray that God will be glorified. We are praying for worship services at PSBC!
May God be praised!
The first day started out early with some of our group having difficulty adjusting to the time difference. So, we had someone up at 4am taking a shower. This would not normally be any big deal, but the men are in a room with bunks and the bathroom is just separated by a curtain. We were all up! About the time everyone got back into good sleep it was time to get up.
We loaded the trucks and headed out for our first day at the job site. The job site is wet. It is hard to move around without stepping in water (praise the Lord for goretex). Once we got all the tools out, we measured the foundation in preparation for laying block. The foundation is off about ten inches one side from the other. Nothing we could do so we put up a string and started laying block. We worked with Pastor G, a bivocational Honduran pastor hired by NC Baptists to help on thus project. He is a humble and gracious man who is always smiling and willing to show us the Honduran methods of block-laying. We have all grown to love and respect him.
While we waited for the mortar to be mixed (done by some Honduran partners with shovels), we saw the many of the blocks were not where they needed to be, so we set up an assembly line and moved blocks. That was a workout for everyone! Once we were ready to lay the blocks, we invited the homeowner to come in and lay the first block as a cornerstone to his home. We prayed for the home and the family, that God would be the God of this house and of this family! Once this was complete, we laid a mortar bed and started up with the walls of the house. We reached our goal of five courses of block for the day, but not without some obstacles. In addition to the foundation being out of square, it is significantly out of level, so we had to work on leveling it up with the first course of block. The heat and humidity are incredible and so we must take frequent breaks.
God’s blessings have been evident! We have met the young family that will live in the house, Carlos and his wife and two children. We have a man God saved not too long ago as our driver, Jose. He is a blessing and a very hard worker. Pastor G, Ophileo, and others who are working alongside us are a great encouragement! Pray that we will be able to build some great relationships. God sent us cloud cover and the afternoon was bareable.
We were reminded in our Bible study today that God’s will is to unite all things in Christ (Eph 1:9-10). We are getting a taste of that awesome reality here in Honduras. Language and cultural barriers can not divide those who know Jesus. We are united in Him! Continue to pray that we will see fruit that will remain into eternity to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!