Anatomy of Deception – Binding the Strong Man

How do you determine what is true? How do you discern right from wrong?

How you answer these questions is determined by your world view. There are many. If you are Christian the Word of God should interpret your experience and frame your world view. Deception results when people interpret the Word of God via their experience and allow their experience to frame their world view. The first is objective. The latter is subjective.

Subjectivity is a growing problem in the body of Christ

Many refuse to see it.

In Mark Chapter 3 Jesus appoints the 12 disciples and gives them the power to preach, heal, and cast out demons. When the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees heard this they tried to attack Him.

Jesus was the Truth and they called Him a liar and a devil.

So He used the laws of coherence and correspondence to refute their claims. The laws of coherence and correspondence require that a truth claim makes sense and corresponds to reality within the context in which it is being stated. Violations of these laws are most easily demonstrated by the oxymorons like this famous nursery rhyme that result.

“One bright day in the middle of the night two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords, and shot each other.”

In this case, Jesus simply points out that a house or a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand and asks,

“How can Satan cast out Satan?”

He goes on to say that

 “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”

While people tend to focus on the unseen supernatural power involved in casting out demons, Jesus began every confrontation with the truth. E.g. Luke 4:1-13, John 8, John 17:17. Objective truth is the most often overlooked supernatural aspect of God.

The strong man is the lie that masquerades as truth.

Of course, the natural man wants to find a natural manifestation of the lie to oppose in the flesh. Social media and our city streets are proof positive of this. Yet we do not war against flesh and blood. While our battle is ultimately metaphysical against rulers and principalities of the air Eph 6:12 the more tangible context is often in the realm of belief and world view. It makes sense given that everyone’s eternal disposition is contingent on these.

That’s probably at least one reason why belief is addressed 148 times in 135 verses in the New Testament alone.

Satan has from the beginning always attacked belief on the grounds of the existence and nature of truth.

Today we are facing an outright assault on truth in the form of a calculated deconstruction of our history, identity, language, education, culture, and most importantly our faith. While people like Paul-Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida often get much of the contemporary credit, deconstruction began with Satan in Genesis 3,

“Did God really say?”

Deconstruction always attacks meaning and is ultimately about power.

Random and crazy as it often appears, deconstruction is neither of these.

On January 10, 1963, Cleon Skousen a former undercover FBI Agent, presented 45 stated American communist party goals to congress. These enumerated deconstructive goals included tearing down statues, defunding the police, and replacing them with mental health professionals who would diagnose anti-communist propensities as mental disorders. It proposed using the UN to achieve a global communist government. Getting people to accept this would be gradual and achieved by first circumventing education and dumbing down the curriculum. This would be further supported through the discrediting of parents and the institution of the family as a whole and finally teaching violent student insurrection as a legitimate method for achieving political goals.

Sound familiar?

Of course, the Christian church and our faith was and is acknowledged as the primary obstacle to achieving all the other goals.

Hence

Communist agenda #27 “Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with social religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a religious crutch.”

This is happening!

In addition to the social and political deconstruction of the American way of life, there is a growing Christian deconstruction movement resulting in people including leaders rejecting Christ. The supporting intellectual framework is often just a cover for sin and or a worldly agenda. The most sophisticated arguments usually revolve around apparent textual inconsistencies in the Bible, as yet unproven historical claims, fake science, and false justice. “How could a loving God…? “If God is real why doesn’t He…? “Where is the proof of….?” They demand proof according to human criteria in apparent ignorance that God is sovereign, His ways are higher than our ways and that faith, not empirical proof is the foundation of lived Christianity. Luke 18:8 In the end Biblical truth is deconstructed according to the standards of man. Like Jesus, in Mark 3 God and His Church are judged as evil.

Of course, nature abhors a vacuum.

Once God is removed from the equation, those programmed by media to embrace an entitled, monetized victim mindset are more than ready to accept the State as the god who provides.

#27 accomplished.

Do not be deceived. The real battle is against God regardless of the social issues in which it manifests.

Today we have growing divisions in the church. There are political divisions, racial divisions, and divisions over gender to name a few. More importantly, there are divisions regarding God’s position on these and other issues. Every conflict is ultimately rooted in Pontious Pilate’s question in John 18:38,

“What is Truth?”

If you are a Christian then Jesus is the Truth. He is also the Word. We learn what is true by studying it. 2 Tim 2:15

We bind the strongman by knowing and proclaiming it. 2 Cor 10:4-5, 2 Tim 2:15, Col 2:8-10

Biblical truth always corresponds with the Word of God and remains coherent within that context or it is not Truth.

Coherent exegesis is always God-centered and objective.

Man centered exegesis is always subjective and results in perverted truth, sin, and divisions.

Not sometimes.

Always!

Hence Jesus ended the discussion with a warning.

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—because they said,

“He has an unclean spirit.”

In it’s simplest form, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the insistence that the Truth is a lie and a refusal to be corrected.

If we profess to be Christian but lean on our own understanding of God and His will and refuse to be corrected by the Word of God, then we risk being as guilty as the Scribes and Pharisees and subject to the same consequences.

So how do we avoid this?

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Anytime you find yourself passionately arguing for or against a particular world view or moral issue etc. be like the Acts 17:11 Bereans and do so Biblically. That means citing scripture or at least being able to support your position with scripture if and when your position is questioned or opposed. It means demanding the same regarding all truth claims from brothers and sisters whether or not we agree with them.

“Where is that in the Bible?” Should be our default.

Sometimes this requires long-suffering and bearing with one another while Prov 27:17 sparks fly. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is happening today. People are refusing to even discuss let alone debate essential doctrines. In the case of radical subjectivists, either you agree or you get canceled. This rapidly emerging trend looks a lot like a 2 Thes 2:1-3 falling away. So be it. The Bible says that will and must happen.

One thing is certain. Truth isn’t Christian Truth unless it corresponds with scripture and remains coherent within that context.

Any other standard of truth, justice, or righteousness is at best an attempt to cast Satan out with Satan. At worst it is the manifest presence of Satan himself. Many today refuse to hear this. The organization Black Lives Matter is a perfect example. I realize that my saying this will send some people into a rage. Several have already accused me of misrepresenting Jesus. Others have accused me of white supremacy and of representing Satan myself.

I’m ok with that.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!” Mat 10:24-25

Besides, Jesus “didn’t come to bring peace but a sword.” Mat 10:34-39

In any case, BLM supporters should definitely watch this and listen to the words directly from their founders before disagreeing.

The salvation of some could very well be in the balance.

Then explain,

What fellowship does light have with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14

Call it subjectivism, Marxism, witchcraft, progressivism, Critical theory, postmodernism, deconstruction; call it whatever you want. The Strongman is doing home and church invasions.

If we don’t bind him with Truth now, we are going to be bound and plundered later.

Maranatha!

Racism, Truth and The Samaritian Woman

As missionaries, we view the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John Chapter 4 as a wisdom treasure trove and a template for ministry and missions especially within the context of racial prejudice.

As is the case with pretty much every ethnic conflict, 1st century Samaritans and Jews were diametrically opposed to each other on the basis of race and heritage. The Samaritans lived by Jacob’s well and believed they were God’s righteous people. The Jews in Jerusalem believed the exact opposite. The Samaritans worshiped on Mount Gerizim. The Jews worshiped on Mount Moriah.

Both groups were focused on the fleshy constructs in the name of the kingdom.

Samaria was regarded by the Jews as a racial no go zone kind of like the old “wrong side of the tracks” or “skid row” in the US. In fact, Jews would walk several extra miles around Samaria when journeying between Judea and Galilee just to avoid walking through it.

John 4 says Jesus “needed to go through Samaria.”

Upon arrival, He encountered a disenfranchised adulterous woman at the community well and asked her for a drink. Community wells were a focal point for village social life among women. The same practice can be seen throughout the third world today. That the Samaritan woman was there alone in the heat of the day is an indication of just how ostracized and shame-based she must have been. Not only did Jesus violate the rule that Jews did not talk to Samaritans. But Jewish men, and especially Rabbis did not talk to women at all let alone known serial adulteresses. While both the woman and the disciples were incredulous that Jesus would even acknowledge her presence, He turned around and drank Samaritan water from a Samaritan cup. Anyone involved in third world missions will be familiar with the thoughts that run through one’s mind when handed a cup of potentially bacteria-ridden water to drink. It always comes down to a question of personal well being versus honoring your host.

Honor is the foundational key to opening doors in missions and reconciliation.

Racism, be it rooted in ideas of racial supremacy, purity, or systemic power, is anti-relational at its core in that it denies an individual or group their inherent, God-given dignity in order to dominate them. That Critical Race Theorists and Social Justice Warriors do so for the sake of achieving dominance over those whom they regard as abusively dominant still qualifies as racism. As in the case of any sin, the devil doesn’t care if one is obsessed with continuing to sin or obsessed with not doing it. He just needs sin, not God to be the main focus.

The same applies to the sin of racism.

Jesus repeatedly ignored man’s interpretations of identity, value, culture, and morality. He never debated because He knew what was in man, namely a constant vying for personal prosperity, privilege, and power. Neither did He debate the devil when he tried to tempt Him with power and privilege. That’s not just white people. That’s all people and is a result of the Fall. Sometimes he exposed and firmly rebuked those like Peter, who should have known better than to judge according to the standards of fallen man. More often He simply short-circuited false and or disingenuous arguments with parables and scripture then left people alone to wrestle with the truth before God.

The story of the Samaritan woman is poignant in regard to race and racism because Jesus modeled the correct approach. He honored her in spite of her sin and in the presence of those who normally would not have. He didn’t embark on a long diatribe about inequity or misogyny. He did not engage in a long philosophical and historic apologetic analysis of systemic issues. Neither did He ignore the woman’s sin. He called it out in a very matter of fact way and then directed her attention to Himself.

The end result was a flipped script among everyone present and the transformation of a shame-based and marginalized woman into the first recorded evangelist in the Gospel.

There are so very many lessons and prophetic implications contained within this story. The moral as it relates to racism is that racism is best countered by ignoring all its fleshy social constructs and short-circuiting it with honor in the presence of others. Healing comes with an intense focus on Truth. Jesus was clear.

True worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24

Flesh based socially constructed racism is not possible within that context.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

Think about it.

Cool Kids and Skids

The Absurdity of Snobbery

I grew up in a very old town with even older money. While my family was not poor, neither did we qualify to be part of the local country club elite and I was always very aware of being looked down upon by wealthier children. In fact, there were just two classes of kids in our school, “cool kids” and “skids”. I was never sure if “skid” referred to skid row or “skid mark” but I knew it wasn’t good.

I became an official skid at 14 when my family fell apart and I ended up living on my own. My newfound status was made abundantly clear when I found myself no longer welcome at the homes of many of my friends. Some parents were afraid I’d become a bad influence on their children. Others were simply dumbfounded and overwhelmed by not knowing how to respond. The same fear driven, paralysis manifests everyday all over the world as people pass by the nameless and forgotten on park benches,sidewalks and the sides of roads. You know what I am talking about. The image of that one person you passed by when Holy Spirit said to stop is still etched in your mind.

I might be a missionary but I’ve done it myself.

When the snobs of Jesus’s day questioned Him regarding His association with potentially bad influences like tax collectors and sinners in Luke 5:27-32. Jesus replied, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Over and over we see Jesus bucking the false social constructs of race and class. The story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 shows the incredulity of both the Samaritan woman and the disciples regarding Jesus’s rejection of society’s expectations. “How is it that you being a Jew ask me a Samaritan woman for a drink?” Normally Jews would not even walk through Samaria let alone talk to someone who lived there.

Yet Jesus drinks from a Samaritan cup.

Here in Honduras, the wealthy upper crust in our village would not even qualify as the lower class in the US. A lot of people would simply assume they were criminals if they saw them wandering on a US city street. Even so, we encounter the same old spirit of snobbery made even more absurd by the poverty in which it exists. In the US you hear stereotypical warnings like “be careful, they’re “from the wrong side of tracks”. In our village, we hear, “be careful, they’re from the “wrong side of the bridge”. “Don’t go there,” they say. Why not? “They’re bad people.”

So we went.

It seems that no matter where we go we find modern-day Samaritans.

Yesterday one of the young local Samaritans to whom we minister visited us and parked his mule by our house. Our neighbor had a fit. “Who does she think she is?!” “It isn’t even her property!” I said.

“Wait a minute. Is she being a snob?”

That’s when I remembered how much I had hated the rich people in my town. Those girls who looked down their noses and sneered in disdain as if to say, “don’t even think about it scum!” Those boys who snickered as if to say “You’ll never measure up! You’ll never make the grade!” If it were today I might be in the streets protesting their privilege fueled by my own never-ending projections of “as if to say”.

My problem wasn’t them. My problem was me.

Every bit of conflict in our society today is the result of the same stupid albeit ever-expanding social constructs upon which people justify taking offense. I despise the ideas of those Marxists protesting in the streets. But if I am honest before God and take the plank out of my own eye, when I look at the people in groups like ANTIFA all I can say is

“There but for the grace of God go I.”

We have witnessed the consequences of this same Mat 7:3-5 dynamic among all kinds of people from those in the US to remote Teramanani and Huaorani tribes in the Amazon and South Sudanese people in the Rhino Refugee camp in Africa. People have been beheaded in a village where we served in Mozambique. We have seen violence in Honduras. We will see it here again. We are seeing it in the streets all over the world today. Those whose identities are informed by social constructs rather than God inevitably come to the same end of a pointed finger; destruction and bloodshed in the name of a socially constructed false concept of righteousness.

There is nothing new under the sun. Apart from Christ, the sins of one generation continue through the next three or four and even seven until all involved are stripped of everything but the inescapable FILTHY RAG reality of Isaiah 64:6-7 and Rom 3:10-18.

No One is righteous. Not one!

But that’s the red pill that fewer and fewer are willing to actually swallow let alone preach. Hence Jesus said “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.Mat 7:13-14

Every last one of us is born into a proverbial crash at sea and everyone is drowning. Jesus is the one and only life raft. He has space enough for everyone. John 3:16 But we have to repent Acts 3:19 and embrace the ministry of reconciliation that He has provided. 2 Cor 5:16-19 That said, He only responds within the context of the recognition of our own spiritual bankruptcy. A drowning man who doesn’t know he is drowning must first be convinced. A drowning man who refuses to a knowledge he is drowning can not be saved at all. Yet if we throw our hands up in surrender He always responds. He responds because of who He is and in spite of who we are. This is paradoxical to the natural mind. It requires humility to accept it. Understanding comes later. In any case it is through humility, and brokenness, not status or class that we find freedom, true life, and purpose.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10

Ironically as much as we like to read ourselves and others into various parables and verses, those whom Jesus called “sick” do not represent any particular group, ethnicity, or class. At the end of the day, “Sick” could be a cool kid pointing a finger at a skid or a skid pointing a finger at a cool kid. While many remain consumed with the perpetration of a fraudulent worldly facade,

this life is a vapor. James 4:14

There are no cool kids on a death bed, only drowning skids who need to be saved and those who already have the revelation of the Imago Dei.

There are no skids in Jesus only kids made eternally cool. Col 2:8-10

Pray On MLK

Anatomy of Deception 1.5 – Countering the Lie

“Inequity demands a civil rights movement. Iniquity demands a civil righteousness movement.”

– Civilrighteousness.org –

Today is Aug 8, 2020.  It was on this day in 1968 at 6:01 pm that Martin Luther King was shot and killed. His desire was that one day his “children would be judged according to the content of their character rather than the color of their skin”, that “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood”.

There is only one way this will ever be possible.

Finally today there is a scripturally sound seed of hope.

The young people to whom we have ministered through the years and those who have been following this series of posts know how adamantly opposed I am to the false social justice gospel that has emerged out of Critical Race Theory and all it’s attendant Intersectional  “ists” and “isms”. Well-intentioned or not, the implicit denial of Imago Dei in favor of dividing people according to categories of oppressor and oppressed along the lines of race, gender, and class, etc. is Marxism. Those familiar with the works of Richard Wurmbrand know that Karl Marx was not just an atheist as so many have claimed.  He was an initiated Satanist.  

While being unwittingly duped by Marxist ideology does not in itself make one a satanist, Marxism is the spirit of anti-Christ.

Some of us were alive when the system that resulted in the deaths of more than one hundred million people in the 20th Century reached its crescendo and collapsed with the fall of the Iron curtain in 1989.  Others have been unwittingly indoctrinated into a diluted form of Marxist ideology within our very own public school system. (more on this later)

“If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” Matthew 6:23 Similarly, if what you believe is the truth is actually a lie, how great is that lie? In any case, the bible is clear.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Cor 6:14-17

While most if not all of the warnings we have sounded amidst those who were not alive during the Cold War or the Civil Rights Movement have fallen on deaf ears, it is with the knowledge that our “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor 10:5 remains in the context of 1 Cor 3:6-9. “Only God gives the increase”. We are “not shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter…” 2 Thes 2:2 when people recoil, rebel or gnash their teeth at us.

Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.” Prov 16:22

One of the benefits of age is a deeper understanding that we all reap what we sow Gal 6:7 and that learning often requires affliction Psalm 119:71. While the requisite “great falling away” 2 Thes 2:1-4 is almost certainly upon us, we know that the “gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations(Ethnos; People Groups) Mat 24:14 We take comfort in the fact that the suffering and confusion in the last days will be accompanied if not offset by an even greater revival and harvest Zephaniah 3:9-10.

I believe that today Aug 8, 2020, at 6:01 PM represents a window of opportunity for the body of Christ to choose God and reject friendship with the world James 4:4 by casting down the vain imaginings of secular social justice through which the enemy seeks to “spoil many through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Col 2:8 It is a call to replace false secularized justice with true biblical justice in Jesus Christ who gave us the ministry of reconciliation, the spiritual lens through which “we regard no one according to the flesh” 2 Cor 5:16-19 but according to whether or not we be “alive together in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:1-10

At the end of the day, all must choose between “the doctrine which accords with godliness” or “the useless wranglings of men” 1 Tim 6:3-5 

One thing is certain. Our enemies are doing everything in their power to foment a violent Marxist revolution under the guise of empathy and compassion. THE ENEMY wants bloodshed. He doesn’t really care why or how it manifests.

Therefore won’t you join us at 6:01 today as we partner with others in the spirit and pray that the USA and the world would

“enter the one day”?

Click the button below for more info.

Still Growing Down in Honduras

Like much of the rest of the world, COVID cases in Honduras continue to climb in accordance with increased testing. The more relevant mortality rate has remained at around 2.5 – 3.1%. Whatever the biological and clinical reality of COVID turns out to be, the economic fallout is wreaking havoc in the cities here. Thank God we are not in a city. At this time we are allowed out to buy food in the city once every 15 days. For the most part, we eat, rice, eggs, beans, and bananas.

The good news is that at the time of this writing, the uber strict nationwide lockdown has started to ease. A lot of Hondurans are convinced the whole thing is a power grab and are ignoring the lockdown anyway. Of course, that could change at any moment.

We still don’t want to catch COVID in Honduras.

Thy Will Be Done!

I’ll be honest, it has been hard at times. I really don’t like to admit that. I’ve never really experienced anxiety over God’s provision before. The havoc that has been wrought upon the global economy means money is tight for everyone and our personal support has dwindled. Lately, I’ve been wondering if God isn’t going to take us to that place that so many other missionaries like Hudson Taylor have described, of being down to their very last dollar or dime or piece of bread only to be lead by God to give it away. At the end of the day, being a missionary isn’t about being some kind of world-changing superhero as so many imagine. It’s about growing in dependence upon Him. That always involves a shaking and a breaking. There’s a lot of that going on today. Heb 12:25-28 While James 1:4 “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” is my official mission motto, I know a breaking is taking place when I sit in our river and cry and can’t for the life of me explain why. As Cathy recently wrote, this is an ongoing daily call to surrender even if it means

“living like this for the rest of my life – if it is your will, God.”

Thank God, we have each other. Even so, we miss our friends both here in Honduras and in the US, not to mention our family. Some times the enemy plays mind games and we wonder if anyone cares or if we’ll ever even see anyone again. These are the days when we lay it down even more. Other days we wrestle with the feelings of utter uselessness and futility. Cathy just presses harder into the Lord when this happens. “Where there is no vision people perish…” Proverbs 29:18 is a bigger struggle for me. The men in my family keep going until their purpose is gone. Then they die. My sympathetic nervous system responds to a lack of purpose as a life-threatening event. Of course, the struggle is not for a lack of knowledge. We both have the words we would and have given to those whom we counseled through the years. In any case, I’m sure we are not unique. So…

Cathy made her own prayer closet in the old coffee mill / guest house in our yard.

In any case, we both spend a huge amount of time in God’s word. While I’m not the least bit prophetic, I keep hearing the word “preserved”. The other day Cathy mentioned the fact that Abraham waited 25 years, Moses 40, Joseph 13, David 22, Jesus 30, and Paul waited on the Lord for 14 years. Any genuine word that one of us receives is always confirmed by the other. One thing we have learned. If you don’t know how to wait,

don’t even think about doing full time missions.

Hope In Time Ministries

We are still working to get Hope In Time off the ground. Unfortunately, Josh is still in the US and Paulet lives in another village. She’s definitely got her hands full there right now. Initially, we had envisioned getting scholarships to get kids into school, showing the Jesus film in remote villages and doing discipleship with people an families struggling with substance abuse. We thought we’d be providing solar power to families without electricity and concrete floors. We could blame it on the enemy but it is the Lord who is saying otherwise. Again, sometimes roadblocks are for our growth and protection. Proverbs 14:12

In any case, Cathy and I have built many relationships over the years. We wanted to let people know where we are at without speaking on behalf of the ministry as a whole. That’s why we are doing this update on our website rather than on Hope In Time’s. God willing Josh will back in the next month or two and the next update will be a formal Hope In Time newsletter.

If you’ve been following Hope In Time Ministries posts then you’ve seen our Hope In Time outreach videos where we delivered six thousand pounds of food to Lenca Indians.

We had to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to pull it off but it happened. This is the same village in which we have been slowly building relationships for several years.

We still struggle with the language. But the soul to soul encounters we’ve experienced sometimes makes me think that words are overrated.

And true gratitude is often better seen than heard.

I wonder what you all see when you look in their eyes?

Of course, we had to quarantine inside our home for 15 days when we finished.

Then COVID came to Bacadia, the village where Paulet lives about three miles down the road. Normally we could walk there. But the leaders of Cerro Azul locked us in.

We didn’t really want to walk three miles to return a vacuum cleaner anyway. JK. That’s actually Cathy’s idea of a good time.

The roadblock was technically illegal. We figure that’s why guys in the guard shack hid from the camera.

In the meantime, Cathy and I continue to look for opportunities to build relationships and share the gospel anyway we can.

As it turns out, landslides are a relationship catalyst. Especially when you own your own ax and shovel.

“Why are you helping us? We can’t pay you.” is a great conversation starter.

The village has a school but many of the children still don’t read.

So we started a children’s library.

Carmen (in light blue) reads a little. Valerie reads a little more. Even so, Carmen has excellent taste in literature.

Green Eggs and Ham es mi favorito!

Carmen and Valerie are a bit intimidated by Cassie and Daisy who read really well. They declined to participate when they came to the door and saw the other two girls sitting at the table. Turns out girl drama is cross-cultural. We’re working on it. In any case, we gave them a children’s bible and we hope to create questions in their minds that will lead to ongoing discipleship.

A worker is worth his wages 1 Tim 5:18

We promised you’d be hearing more about Alfonzo.

He spent some time working in the United States then returned to Honduras where he was attacked by a man with a machete during a robbery. Today He has one hand, one ear, and one eye.

This is his coffee and yucca and Malanga farm.

It’ a hard one hour walk through the mountains and rain forest just to get there. Alfonzo walks it alone every day and carries what he needs. This day he carried I tree he wanted to plant.

The locals here know a lot about natural medicines. This bark “is good for your stomach”. “Some people get drunk on it,” he said.

Alfonzo has his challenges but he never complains, he is always grateful, always joyful.

and he loves the Lord.

He’s also a former Honduran Marine which probably explains his ability to adapt and overcome.

His coffee is nearly ready to harvest.

He nets $3 for every hundred pounds of raw cherries he picks. If he’s lucky he’ll bring in $90 this year.

How much do Americans pay for a cup of coffee at the highly WOKE Starbucks?

We are researching coffee and the coffee industry in hopes of creating a coop and finding a way to get these farmers fair market value for their coffee and their labor.

That said, we are not experienced entrepreneurs.

If you or someone you know is knowledgeable in this area and would like to help or advise us we’d sure appreciate it.

In the meantime, we keep pushing deeper into the mountains above our village on foot.

and leads to some pretty amazing views

On this day we were looking for a boy named Manuel and his family. Manuel had come to our door to sell plantains one day and he invited us to his house. We finally found them. Manuel is in the rear.

This was our first visit so naturally, we wanted to honor them and didn’t take many pictures. Like so many Hondurans their house has a dirt floor and everyone sleeps in the same room. They may be cash poor but they are rich in love. Norma the mom looks like she might be pregnant but Cathy didn’t want to ask. A low protein, high carb diet often consisting of nothing but corn results in an odd combination of malnourishment and weight gain in women here. The whole family seems to be nearsighted and needs glasses. It would be great to have a small medical brigade visit here one day. Anyway, we stumbled through a conversation with our not so good Spanish, and played some worship music over which the girls were mesmerized. We prayed for the whole family and invited them to visit us. We look forward to a growing friendship.

We think this is an abandoned baby “?”

Manuel found him and was caring for it. He tried to give it to Cathy.

We spent some time with our friend Jose on the way. He’s another hard-working farmer who also spent time in the USA.

Jose works hard and is very proud of his farm. He has a fair amount of land but is only able to work seven to ten acres by himself. He grows beans, corn, and coffee. Everything is done by hand.

Jose’s hunting dog.

Jose says he likes to hunt raccoons when he has time.

There is so much to learn each time we venture out. We are constantly amazed by the ingenuity and resilience of these people. There is so much we’d like to do to help. At the same time, we have seen the damage that Western materialism has wrought in the lives of indigenous people. We want to honor them as brothers and sisters in Christ, equals in the the light of Imago Dei and not as props in a missions drama that supports our own sense of purpose and significance. They have survived and thrived here for generations.

We wouldn’t last a week by ourselves.

Growing down never ends.

Thank you for your prayers.

If you are receiving this its because we love you.