Our mission team touched down back in the good ol’ US of A this past Wednesday evening. It was a great mission trip to Honduras and as always there are mixed emotions as we settle back into our day to day American lives. In this blog entry hope to briefly share with you some of the wonderful things God did in and through our team in Honduras. I’ll save a more detailed presentation of the events of the trip for Sunday, July 24th when our team will be sharing testimonies of how we saw God working.
For me this mission trip was a time of much needed refreshment and renewal. By that I do not mean it was filled with down time and rest, quite the opposite, this was one of the busiest mission trips I’ve ever been a part of. What I do mean is simply that the experience of ministering to the Honduran people was itself the means God used to renew and recharge my own spiritual walk and ministry.
The trip allowed me to escape some of the distractions of American life. As we witnessed in poor homes of small Honduran villages I was able to momentarily forget the shenanigans and over-the-top rhetoric of American politics. As I preached in Iglesia Bautista Renacer I was able to momentarily forget about evangelicalism’s love affair with success and numbers. As we taught men about Biblical headship I was able to forget about amateur theologians rudely blogging past one another while proudly claiming final authority on ancient Trinitarian debates. As I played soccer alongside Honduran young men I was able to momentarily forget the nearly daily racial provocations that are plaguing our nation.
I say all this not to promote some sort of naïve missional escapism, for alas life is not a mission trip, and these issues that are stirring up our nation and our American churches are real and need to be addressed. Beyond that it is truly the heart of naïveté to think that Honduran culture and churches themselves do not have their own set of distracting and debilitating issues and controversies.
I’m simply saying that crossing into another culture for a season of ministry can sometimes give much needed pause and perspective to the many things that demand our attention in both our culture and our churches, and for me this past week was just such an experience.
But really the most important thing to focus on are not how the mission trip made any of us feel, but rather on what God actually did in and through us. So, with that said, here are some highlights of our week:
Women’s Ministry: Our ladies ministered to the women of the village El Naranjal through health and hygiene classes, Bible studies, and sewing/crochet projects. The young ladies of our team ministered to the children of the women who attended these special women’s ministry events. This was a very special time that equipped and encouraged many women in El Naranjal.
Prayer Walking and Evangelism: While the ladies did the women’s ministry the men went door to door sharing the gospel and praying with people. On the last two days of the mission trip the ladies joined us in these efforts. Through this door-to-door ministry we saw many believers encouraged, we saw seeds planted as many politely heard the gospel, we saw fruit blossom as several people professed Christ, and sadly we saw the sinful condition of man on display as some openly rejected the gospel.
Youth Camp: Our whole team worked with the youth of El Naranjal for three consecutive days. During the camp we had times of fellowship, games and most importantly teaching from God’s Word. On day one Larry Doyle taught on the importance of holiness, one of the young leaders from Iglesia Renacer spoke on the holiness of God on day two, and on day three Heather and I separated the boys and girls to teach on holiness in the arena of sexuality.
Men’s Ministry: The men had the privilege of doing a leather knife sheath project with 27 men from El Naranjal and another village. The project was accompanied by in-depth Bible study on male leadership in the home, in the church and at work. This was truly a blessed time that led to some robust interaction with the men who attended. Many of the men plan to use what they learned in regards to making leather sheaths to make more to sell in the future. And the church hopes this will be the beginning of monthly discipleship meetings that will get more men involved in the church.
Worship and Bible Study: We had the joy of worshiping with Iglesia Bautista Renacer on Saturday night and then returning to be with them on Sunday morning for their Sunday School time. I was the guest preacher Saturday night and preached on the importance of worship as seen in Psalm 150. My dad, Larry Doyle, preached from Ephesians 2 for the adults and youth on Sunday morning. The focus of his sermon was our identity in Christ, something he taught our whole group on each night during our team devotional time.
Painting Project: On Sunday afternoon, after some rest and enjoying the Euro 2016 soccer final, our team helped the local church in El Naranjal by painting their worship center and a couple of children’s classrooms.
VBS: On Monday and Tuesday we did a one-day VBS focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit. On the first day we were in a town called Sabaneta which has a strong Baptist Church in it called Iglesia Bautista Betel. We had to adjust on the fly to some space limitations, but overall we had a great VBS with about a 100 kids in attendance. On Tuesday we went to a city called Yuscaran, and ministered at a churched called Iglesia Bautista Eben-ezer. That church has been through much turmoil over the past few years. They are currently in need of a new pastor. From at one point running 150 in attendance, they now only have a few families remaining and in many ways feel all alone and abandoned. We were able to encourage them and show them that someone does indeed care for them as we came in and, in combination with prayer walking, hosted a VBS for about 30 kids.
This summary doesn’t include the many ways that we ministered to one another, the other ways we were able to minister to the Honduran people, or the ministry that our team had toward our bus driver, Santos. Nor have I even begun to describe the many times that we saw God go before us. I look forward to sharing more with you on July 24th, and can’t wait for you to hear some of the testimonies of our team members. Until then, thank you for your prayers and praise God for all that He has done and is doing in and through our church for the people of Honduras.