Friday, November 21, 2014

Fernando's Trip Report

Dear friends, thank you for praying for Fernando's trip to the U.S. and for those who gave special gifts to cover the cost. Here is a report with praises for what God did:

BILD Conference: Training and Fellowship

Fernando attended the annual BILD International Summit in Ames, Iowa, for the second year in a row. Leaders in theological training programs around the world attend this event to receive classes, learn more about how BILD can assist their ministry programs, and hear about what the Lord is doing through BILD at an international level.

Fernando took two classes. One was about the leadership model of the New Testament church in Antioch, from which Paul and his apostolic team strategically spread the gospel throughout the Roman Empire. The other covered the essential teachings of the church: the kerygma, or message of salvation through Christ, and the didache, or the apostles' fundamental teachings in the New Testament epistles.

Class session
We praise God that Erick, a Garífuna pastor who lives in Houston, could attend the Summit for the first time and learn about how to train other Garífuna leaders in the U.S. He and Fernando enjoyed talking with people from India, France, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and many other countries. Not only did they gain information, but they also were encouraged in the work God has called them.

Fernando (far left) and Pastor Erick (far right) with other participants

Visiting Ministry Partners

Fernando spent several days in Minnesota to meet with prayer and financial partners. He shared at a supporting church, an excellent opportunity to talk about what God is doing and thank people for their role in helping the Garífuna church.

Garífuna Church in Houston

Fernando traveled back to Houston with Pastor Erick to spend time with his family and church. He gave the sermon at the Sunday service. It was a real blessing for him to spend time with them and see how eager Pastor Erick is to start teaching his church about the Christ and the apostles' teaching, as he learned about at the BILD Summit.

Follow-Up Praise

We thank God for providing replacement laptops for those that were stolen when our ministry office was robbed in September. Fernando, Alex, and Wilber are in a different office in a safer location. Thank you to those who prayed and gave special gifts to meet that need!

Finishing 2014

Garífuna Bible school students will meet for this year's final class session the first week of December. Pastor Mark will come and share again. You can pray for students' travels (more difficult in rural areas due to rainy season), for the Lord to speak into their lives and ministry, and for a strong finish to this year. Thank you!

Just for fun:
Baby J enjoying oranges, which abound this time of year

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Typical Day Part 5: Evenings and Expecting the Unexpected

This is the final post of a five-part series about a "typical day" for us in Honduras.

Part 1: Rise and Shine!
Part 2: A Somewhat Quiet Time
Part 3: Dinner Time?
Part 4: The Great Escape

After Baby J and I get home from our late afternoon walk, I start preparing a simple, light dinner. Honduran dinners usually consist of either flour or corn tortillas, or fried green bananas or plantains (tajadas), with refried beans and cheese, egg, avocado, or a combination.

Proof I can make almost-round flour tortillas, although I have taken a hiatus since having a baby because it takes me so long and they don't always turn out right!

After dinner Baby J sometimes Skypes with his far-away grandparents. He loves bathtime, being read to, and burning off lots of energy before bed. He usually wears himself out (and his mommy out) by 8:00 or so. Then I finish any remaining chores, spend time with Fernando if he's home, read a bit, and go to bed! I have a hunch that moms all over the world look forward to when their babies drift off to sleep. :)

Good-night, world!

Several evenings each week Fernando goes to meetings and church events, and it's usually this time of day when "the unexpected" occurs. Something I love about Fernando is his servant heart and willingness to help people last-minute in times of need (day or night), such as:
  • Taking people to the hospital for emergencies. There is no reliable ambulance service, and some people do not have their own cars. At the hospital relatives often must provide basic ítems, such as IV ports, bedding, and medicine for the patient; dealing with the hospital system itself can be more thorny than treating an illness. Fernando is good at helping people in these situations.
  • Being with families who have lost a loved one. Garífuna families hold wakes when a relative passes away, and people from their home communities and acquaintances show solidarity with their presence.
  • Talking in person or on the phone with pastors and leaders who need counsel and encouragement in personal or ministry situations.
  • Mediating conflicts.

God has given him the ability make strategic plans in his work but also be flexible and available as needed (OK, I'm biased, but I'm sure others would agree with me!). Although these situations only occur on occasion at night, it has not always been easy for me not to worry about his safety, but I am learning and continue to praise God for how Fernando is a willing instrument of His love and care to others.

As for other exceptions to the "typical day" I've described include:
  • Fernando stays home with Baby J when I go to my weekly Bible study and when I run errands.
  • Fernando is gone all day when the Garífuna Bible school meets for classes.
  • Every once in awhile he travels to rural areas for ministry events and meetings.
  • Sometimes relatives stay with us when they travel to La Ceiba.

In many ways, our daily life is probably similar to that of our friends in North America: we love to spend time together, we try to use our time and resources wisely, and we long to see His kingdom come and His Name glorified where we live. In other ways, our life is quite different: you most likely don't have razor wire around your house or bars on your windows, and you probably don't stop by at a friend's house without calling to plan it ahead of time!

Some of you might not know how encouraging it is for me in daily life to know you pray for us and care so much about our family -- and on the not-so-good days it makes all the difference! My prayer is that even in small details of everyday life we will faithfully praise the Lord, love our families and those around us, and share the Gospel through our words and actions. Thank you for reading!