So I don’t want to form a pattern, but I really can’t talk about March without mentioning my favorite church patriarch of all, St Patrick. Out of all of the great forefathers of the church, his story is my favorite, because it is almost unbelievable! St. Patrick was really not Irish at all, and his birth name was not Patrick. His birth name was Maewyn Succat which is Anglo for “warrior” and he was born in England. At the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped by a band of Irish Pirates and brought to Ireland, and sold into slavery. During his time in Ireland he had an encounter with Jesus and gave his life to the Lord. One day while working at his duties nearly six years after his abduction, the Lord spoke to him and told him to go, and that a ship was waiting for him at the port to take him back home. He dropped his shovel and hoe and walked 22 miles to the port in Ireland were he boarded a ship and returned home to England.
While back home, he continued to study the word of God and drew closer to the Lord. One day while praying, Patrick had a vision – Irishmen men, women and children calling out to him to come and help them. At that time Ireland was 3% Christian. God showed Patrick that he was to go back to Ireland and reveal Jesus to the Irish people. So the story goes, Patrick returned to the country where he was once beaten, abused, and sold into slavery, and spent the rest of his life loving and serving those people. By the time Patrick went to be with the Lord, Ireland was mostly a Christian country. I don’t know if there is any other time where we can say that practically one person evangelized an entire nation, but with St. Patrick there is an exception! But the most amazing part of the whole story is that the level of contempt met with an even greater level of forgiveness. The level of injustice met with an even greater level of mercy. My first thought is “I want to be like that guy”! What an amazing example that he did not hold on to his right to be bitter and angry, but I must confess we are also seeing little pockets of that happening here as well.
A few years ago, Oscar and I were sitting down at the girl’s house visiting with the girls, when Wendy came and sat down on the floor next to us with a notebook and pencil in hand. Now I often tell the children, “Don’t think I am SO unselfish. I do want a reward in all of this! Since I have left my country and my home to come here, I do want something out of all of this. And what is it that I want? Well, I want to know that if their destiny was to be in gangs, in jail, pregnant by age 15, or dead, that this will no longer be their future. If they have a personal relationship with Jesus, have a job that gives them and people in their lives what they need, if they are happy in life, that is the reward that I want.” So, as we sat, Wendy proceeded to open this notebook and give us her “five year plan”. She and her siblings, Marvin, Amabilia, and Susana, had a plan about going back to Los Flores, the mountain community where they came from, to evangelize. First, they would go in and start Bible studies. Next, they would build a church, then a medical clinic, then a school, that way they could preach Jesus to the entire village. We sat and marveled at this modern day St. Patrick, talking about going back to the place that she had experienced darkness to bring light.
My only hope for them was to not suffer anymore, but I think they will surpass that by far. Yes, they have suffered many injustices; however they have had an encounter with the God of St. Patrick, and a voice has called many of them, as well. Who knows what God can do? Maybe many of them will go on to have a ministry that will make the outreach of WWH2H look insignificant, and perhaps should the Lord tarry, by the time they go to be with Jesus, Honduras will be completely a Christian nation!
Here in Honduras the Lord is doing great things! Mikeala and Mercedes are on furlough in the US and we miss them very much. We said a tearfully goodbye to Maddie as she has also returned to the U.S.. The construction of the school building at our new property is advancing greatly! The west wing is nearly ready for the roof to be put on. Please help us by continuing to pray that the funding and labor to complete the work will be in our hands. As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, Enrique and Dennis have graduated high school and now on to college. After being postponed a number of times, we finally had the graduation ceremony. Please enjoy the pictures! And please continue to pray for these two young men as they move on to the next phase of their lives. We are definitely proud parents as Dennis got an academic merit award for graduating with a 92% GPA!
Weather here in Honduras has been colder than usual, and when I say cold, I mean low 60’s. The kids ask me if I think it will snow. Some of our upcoming spring teams have been postponed due to the Zika situation. Praise the Lord, we have had no problems with the illness. We ask that each of you continue to pray for our children and staff, that we are kept illness free. We also ask that you all pray that those teams that are bringing vitally important projects will be able to reschedule in the near future.
Finally, we are preparing for Spring Break at the end of this month. We have an Optometry team coming soon, lead by Dr. Jim Ogden. Dr. Jim comes down every other year to check eyes and to provide glasses to the kids that need them. We are so very thankful for this much needed service. Plans for Spring break include traditions like Easter egg hunts, and Easter egg dying; but this year we will also take on homemade ice cream in zip lock bags, as well as each child decorating their own bunny cake. If we survive the week you can read all about it in next month’s newsletter.
Once again, how can we thank you all enough? I am thankful today, mostly for your willingness to help these children be all that GOD has called them to be, and for trusting the GOD who began a good work in them to be faithful to complete it, knowing that the beginning of their story, certainly will not be like the end. To GOD be all the glory!
~ Oscar & Amy Serrano