If you haven’t heard yet Cathy and I left the City of Refuge and moved to Cerro Azul near our friends Josh and Paulet.
They are more than friends. They are family to us.
Josh is the former mission’s director at the City of Refuge and the president of Hope in Time Ministries. We are coming alongside them to bring the voice of experience and elder-ship to the ministry as well as our usual media support.
If you haven’t seen our intro video to our tiny house rehab project then, by all means, click here.
We are still coaching our AIM GAP year mission squad and recently returned from Guatemala.
They are a pretty resilient and independent group of young adults with a passion for intimacy with God. They are headed to Ecuador as I write where they will have less direct oversight and more independence regarding ministry. We will be encouraging them to be scripturally sound in accordance with a 1 Peter 3:15 apologetic approach as they move forward.
Being in Guatemala again…
allowed us to reconnect with good friends Kevin and Nicole in Santiago. They are like a young Heidi and Rolland Baker as I imagine them. They’ve been through the proverbial wringer this year that included losing the house in which they were doing foster care for young unwed mothers. But they are not giving up and are currently preparing to drive a truck and fifth wheel with their two children from Texas to Guatemala. They will live in the camper in Santiago while they build a home/mission base. Please keep them in prayer.
Thanks to our friend Jason who is a missionary pilot…
…in Guatemala our return trip from Santiago to the airport in Guatemala City was quicker and a whole lot cheaper than the usual shuttle. If you are planning a mission trip to Guatemala City you can contact us. His base has an extremely affordable and comfortable missionary housing that is close to the airport.
As might be expected, people are beginning to ask us why we left IMI.
“OMG. Is there something wrong?” “Is there something we should know?” “Is there a reason why we shouldn’t go to serve there?”
Let me be clear. We love Tom and Teresa. We are not done with the children at the City of Refuge. We have a perfect venue for youth retreats here and they are excited to visit. We’d be visiting more frequently to do church services and discipleship but we don’t have a vehicle to get there. As for anyone wondering…
You should “give”, “go” and “do” according to how God leads you. Period!
That is what we are doing, and we are being led in a different direction. If you’ve watched some of our personal outreach videos, then it should be clear that we’ve had a different philosophy regarding priority and method in missions. That’s ok. No single ministry can do everything. The current direction that IMI is moving in does not match our passion, priority or our skillset.
Hope in Time just received 501c3 status from the IRS. You’ll be able to read more about our vision soon on the Hope in Time blog as we get the ball rolling.
As stated in the video we are in the “forerunning” stages of our mission. That means building relationships. In missions school, we learned the importance of going “low and slow”. That’s hard for me and is Cathy’s passion. Low and slow means not riding in on our proverbial white horses to fix people and things and save the day. Even the most cursory internet research will reveal how many grandiose activities carried out by “first worlders” in the name of good end up bringing more harm than help. We were taught to honor locals as modeled by Jesus when He honored the woman at the well in John 4 when He asked her for a drink before informing her that He was the living water. We are not Jesus and are coming in on equal footing, sometimes less than equal footing as brothers and sisters in need ourselves. The truth is right now we need them more than they need us. This will be the subject of the next Hope in Time blog.
The very first order of business in forerunning is to find the man and or woman of peace. These are the people that God puts in your path to help pave the way to building relationships within the community at large. One sure way to identify them is that they seemingly appear out of nowhere and are knowledgeable about the very things you need most.
Karen was our first. She speaks a fair amount of English and periodically shows up to give impromptu Spanish lessons. God blessed Cathy and I with many gifts. Languages is not one of them. Thank God for people like Karen. Her sister sells eggs and she’s also knowledgeable about local plants. Here she is showing Cathy a natural Honduran sleep aide that comes from a tree outside our house. We don’t really need sleep aides here but its cool info and Karen was excited to show us what was growing just outside our door.
Cathy and I were exploring our new community during a three-hour hike when we ran into our second new friend Alfonso. It just so happens that Alfonso lived in the USA until he was deported 13 years ago. He speaks fluent English and was excited to befriend some North Americans for the first time in years. Hondurans are extremely generous and relational. Alfonso usually stops in to see us a few times per week and brings Yucca or some other vegetables.
Alfonso tried to buy land in Santa Barbra Honduras after he was deported. He paid a certain family for the land then they changed their mind. One of the family members did not want to return his share of the money and tried to murder Alfonso with a machete instead. His hand was cut off, he lost hearing in one ear and sight in one eye. His nose and part of his mouth were almost cut off, his neck was slit and he very nearly died. But Alfonso is a miracle.
He is also resilient. Many people in his shoes would have just given up. But Alfonso recovered and started farming a different piece of land. We visited his farm which is a forty-five-minute walk up a mountain from his house. He keeps the land cleared with a machete. We are in pretty good shape but this walk alone is exhausting. Alfonso has planted hundreds of coffee trees and recently planted 1000 Yuca by himself. Alfonso loves the Lord and while he doesn’t have a church to attend, he is our new disciple and reads two pages in his bible every day. We are working to get him a prosthetic hand. Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen before January.
Even so, God is a dot connector.
Alfonso used to care for horses and attend church in Ohio.
As it turns out our good friend Matt Burris who used to pastor in our home church in Hawaii moved back to the mainland. The people Alfonso used to work for are Matt’s current pastors.
Seriously what are the odds?!
We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store.
Living off base means perfecting the art of shopping in the Sunday street market. It’s something like a farmer’s market in the USA. Another new friend Jenny is a master “marketeer” and even teaches Paulete a thing or two.
Living in the mountains in Honduras also means learning to roast your own coffee Honduran style. Jenny is Cathy’s roasting teacher. It’s safe enough here in Cerro Azul for Cathy to walk the three and a half miles to Jenny’s house by herself. That is not the case in the places we normally do ministry.
Jenny learned the recipe from her mom. The process begins with roasting rice.
Then coffee is added
Then cinnamon and pepper
Then the coffee is ground and bagged.
The whole process takes about four hours.
At this time we are pursuing God, coaching our Gap year racers online, building the website, and developing a scholarship program to help families who can’t afford to send their children to school.
Stay tuned for our upcoming devotional.
In about ten months. I’ve always wondered what my father and grandfather(s) thought about life and God etc.… The older I get the more I wonder and seek out wisdom and wise counsel from elders. There are a couple who are still alive. While our children and grandchildren might still be in the “we don’t give a rip what you think” stage of life. Given our experience, we suspect that will change as they mature and come face to face with the abject fragility and shortness of life on here earth. Tomorrow is not promised and we won’t always be here. So just in case they ever get curious, Cathy and I are writing together. It’s a fun side gig and we want to leave something behind.
Speaking of our DEVOTIONAL
A word on fear…
There is a lot of fear permeating society lately with the advent of things like the Novel Corona Virus. Non specific anxiety and depression are off the charts with our youth. Here is one of our recent devotional entries that seems relevant at this time. We hope it serves as a reminder and brings you peace.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7
When crises come as they inevitably will and do, there are always two extremes; alarmism, and apathy. Alarmists go from crisis to crises and live perpetually in the “wars and rumors of wars” of Mathew 24. Meanwhile those prone to apathy which in the eyes of the world often looks like optimism proclaim, “don’t be so negative!” “…relax, eat, drink, be merry.” Luke 12:19
Neither apathy or alarmism is correct.
Tomorrow is never promised and all our lives are like a vapor. James 4:13-14
As Christians, it doesn’t matter if we live one more day or ten thousand. If we have laid down our lives and picked up our cross then our treasure is laid up in heaven Mat 6:19-21 We have been given a spirit of love and the assurance that allows us to keep God’s priorities and promises at the forefront of our minds. We have the power of Truth and His word. We have been given a sound mind that allows us to remain calm and at peace amidst tribulation – however that may appear. John 14:27. It doesn’t matter if we are on a beach in paradise or under machine gunfire in some dark corner of the world. Our blessed assurance does not change. His attendant peace shouldn’t either. At the end of the day, the only question that matters is, “am I in God’s will?”
Being in God’s will means walking in Truth. It is being in an intimate relationship with Him via Holy Spirit every day. Jesus likened Holy Spirit to oil and believers as lamps. One thing is certain. If you haven’t put oil in your lamp today you’ll end up like the foolish virgins who freaked out in Mat 25:1-13 tomorrow. One thing is certain. All things eventually come to an end. Fear is a sure sign of an oil shortage.
Truth is the only ANTIDOTE.
It is also the only real source of Hope In Time.