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Entries in Honduras (29)

How We Help In A Crisis: Yovany's Story

Poverty-stricken environments are rarely child friendly. The risks press in on every side, from unclean water or basic sanitation, to the lack of nutritious food that weakens their overall health.

But every once in a while we hear a story so frightening, it makes our hearts stop – and what happened to Yovany is one of those stories.

Yovany lived in an area of Honduras where few adults could find gainful employment. So Yovany did what he could to help, gathering scrap metal as he came home from school so his mother could sell it for extra money.

One day he found an object that felt so heavy in his hand, he was sure it would garner the extra funds they needed each month. He didn't realize it was a grenade, and when he got home and tossed his bag on the floor, the grenade exploded, inflicting tremendous damage to his body.

Rushed to the hospital, Yovany’s family didn’t know if he would survive, let alone how they would pay the swiftly mounting medical bills.

But Yovany was registered in a One Child Matters project, whose staff rushed to the family’s side. When they sent notice of his accident to our office, we knew where we could turn – to you, and to your donations to the Children’s Crisis Fund.

The Children’s Crisis Fund allows us to respond quickly to emergencies of all shapes and sizes, from the aftermath of super typhoons like the one that recently hit the Philippines, to the aid of children like Yovany who need emergency care.

After multiple surgeries to address the wounds in his arms, legs, and abdomen, the risk of infection was great. The doctors knew Yovany’s left eye was permanently damaged, and the CCF helped get him to follow-up appointments. It also helped the project staff respond to Yovany’s emotional needs as he adjusted to his new reality.

Today, Yovany has worked through his sadness and frustration. He continues to be highly involved with the activities at his project and is doing well in school. “I thank God for giving me a second chance at life,” Yovanny shared with us recently. His mother agreed, saying that “the care you have given my child is a great example of the love God has for each one of us.”

That is the glory of the Children’s Crisis Fund – it acts as an extension of God’s love, moving in response to tremendous need, a tangible expression of His mercy and grace.

Please consider donating to the Children’s Crisis Fund this year so we can continue to help children like Yovany when their needs go beyond what sponsorship can provide. The CCF also allows us to respond to larger-scale events like the disaster in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Thank you for your generous gifts – we are so grateful for your prayers and support as we meet the needs of children all over the world.

Snapshot: Honduras

One Child Matters has 27 projects in Honduras, serving almost 3,000 children. Honduras means “great depths” – legend has it that Christopher Columbus, the first explorer to land in Honduras, exclaimed “Gracias a Dios que hemos salido de esas Honduras” (literally “Thank God we have come out of those depths”) while he sailed along Honduras’ northern coast.

We love this fact for two reasons: it seems to nod to Honduras' great depth of culture and pride. And yet it also reminds us of Psalm 86:12-13

With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.

We needed God to rescue us from the depths of death, just like the children in Honduras need us to draw them out of the depths of poverty. Honduras is one of the poorest nations in Latin America, and its beautiful children face so many challenges. Here are a few reasons why we work in Honduras:

The children need stability

More than two-thirds of children in our programs come from single-mother homes, and the most children in each family have different fathers. The average age of a first-time mother is 15. Domestic violence and substance abuse are huge issues in Honduras.

The children need support

Schools in Honduras are understaffed and overpopulated – as many as 80 children may share a classroom. Less than a third of children go on to secondary school, and less than 10 % go on to university.

The children need positive role models

Honduras is overrun by gangs, called maras after marabuntas, a type of ant that destroys everything in its path. Our country staff estimate that there are four times as many gang members than police in Honduras. The combination of abysmal educational and job opportunities and fewer father figures encourages many young boys to become a part of gangs, some as young as 9 years old. One young man shared with a reporter “you may only last one or two years, but it makes you someone.”

For many children, sponsorship provides an intervention – sponsorship proves to a child that they already are someone, that they are loved, valued, and worthy of investment.

How you can pray for your sponsored child

Pray for your child’s parent(s) and family members – pray for stable work, for positive relationships, and for their health. Pray your child can attend school with an attentive teacher, and that project staff can continue to provide educational support and tutoring to help them succeed in school. You can also pray for the staff to have a positive impact on your sponsored child, to be a role model in faith and life. Your letters can provide crucial encouragement – please write regularly and ask how you can pray for them!

What have you learned about Honduras from your sponsored child’s letters?

Country Prayer Requests

Each week, we set aside time as a staff to pray through prayer requests we’ve received from you and our partners overseas. It is so important to support those who work directly with your sponsored child.

Here are some of the requests we've been praying for this week and into the next:

ETHIOPIA: The cost of living in Ethiopia continues to rise, putting strain on the parents of children registered in our programs as well as project staff. Our Ethiopian staff has such a huge heart for the children, but they are burdened by their own needs as well. Please pray with us for provision and that our staff can find favor at home, in the marketplace, and in their communities to help them make the most of their resources.

Also, a mission trip with radio listeners from The House FM in Oklahoma and WCLN in North Carolina will leave for Ethiopia on September 13. They will help build a restroom and shower facility at one of the projects to address pressing public sanitation and health issues. They’re also going to do Vacation Bible School with the kids. It’s going to be a powerful trip, please pray with us that God will do much in them and through them.

KENYA: A Women’s Circle of Caring team is also leaving on September 13th for their final trip to the Emarti Maasai people. They have many projects and programs for the children and their mothers. A special message will be given – please pray for open ears and hearts.

CAMBODIA: A serious and mysterious illness is striking children in Cambodia; several children have died but the cause of this sickness has yet to be determined. We praise God that none of the children in our programs have fallen ill, but we must continue to pray protection over them and for the staff as they stay vigilant. Please also pray that the government and health care workers can find the cause of this to address it before more children are sickened or lost to this disease. 

HAITI: Our staff asks for prayers for the parents to stay involved in the development of their children. As parents come to understand the benefit and value of the program, the children attend more consistently.

ZIMBABWE: So many communities need help. Please pray for discernment for the country staff and that God continues to raise up sponsors who can help them minister in powerful ways.

HONDURAS: Gangs are very active in several of the communities we serve. Please pray for the safety of our staff and that children in our programs find sanctuary at the centers. Siblings and parents can also use prayer that they stay out of reach of the gangs and provide positive, stable role models for the kids.

Thank you, as always, for joining us in prayer for the sake of the kids.


Team In Honduras: God Is Building Things

Here's an update from the mission team in Honduras. After a Sabbath day where they worshipped in a local church, the team began construction. Janelle writes of the experience:

Today was a serious workday.  We had floors to pour, walls to build, bathrooms to finish, and sponsor kids to visit. The team of 35 divided and conquered.

The teams mixed bags of concrete, water, and rock then sweat together to make a kitchen floor, a cinder block shower, some bathroom walls and walls for some classrooms. 

This team in which most of us didn't know each other three days ago worked together like a well-oiled machine to make the living conditions of families better. Even though we loaded up with our best tools and muscles, we know that God made the projects possible but also worked through each pair of hands and each pair of feet.  I love it when a plan comes together. God made much out of our little. There is more work projects planned for the next two days.

So another treat for some of the team members was meeting our sponsored kids. Although I don't have a child in Honduras (yet, insert smiley face here), I had the privilege of meeting Christian, a friend's sponsored child. It was very encouraging to meet this little boy, and then also see his home and meet his family. 

Here's what God did...we walked in and the grandfather was holding his well-worn Bible. We met the entire family living there, including the great-grandmother of 84. Christian was very proud to show off his family.  He showed us a letter from his sponsor.  They keep the letters too!  So I took the opportunity to ask the grandfather his favorite verse.  He shared Hebrews 12:5.  I shared Proverbs 3:5-6 with them and told them why.  It was a blessing to exchange our thoughts about God's word. We filled the room with some English translated prayers and I felt God's presence in that small tin-roofed home.  That was a great opportunity to encourage hearts and share faith.  I like it when God's plans come together.

Tammy, one of the team members, met her sponsored child too.  It was life-changing for her to be able to meet her child's family.  In fact, she was out of descriptive words about how it affected her.  To glimpse into a child's life after being connected by prayer is incredible.  Consider sponsorship today then maybe God will take you to their home and you can see how important and life-changing your $39 a month can be.

3 Countries, 5 Cities, 10 Days

One of the things we love most about our partners in ministry is their commitment to the children.We write often about Dr. Beyda. His leadership of Mission of Mercy's medical component (Medical Mercy) is inspiring and challenging.

Right now Dr. Beyda is traveling to our projects in Latin America to check on the health programs and staff he has trained. That's why we praise God for His work through Medical Mercy; it is not a one-time mission trip. It means establishing and continuing sustainable health care for the kids who need it most.

This is how he explained the purpose of the trip:

Three countries, 5 cities, 10 days. That's Honduras, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. I'll be going to several of our projects in each of the countries to see how we're doing with our medical care.

We've been to each of those countries, bringing medical teams and teaching, and now I'm going to find out how sustainable our medical care is. It's all about what we leave behind.

If we've done our job well, we've left behind an infrastructure of health care that is supporting the growth and development of the children. I'll be going to the projects, looking at the children, talking with the project leaders, the teachers, the cooks, local health care professionals, and yes, even the children. It's a time to fix what needs fixing, and applaud that which is going well. I'm looking forward to clapping long and hard and perhaps even giving a standing ovation. We'll just have to wait and see.

So what did Dr. Beyda find on his first stop?

There is nothing better than being surprised and happy about it. Honduras has 3000 Mission of Mercy children in over 20 projects, many of them in Tegucigalpa, some in the north at La Ceiba and some in the south near Choluteca.

How do you ensure that those 3000 children get health care, all of the time, consistently, completely and without question? You have doctors like Victoria and Francisco with the help of Mae-Ling and her husband to take care of the Mission of Mercy children. 24 hours a day.

Really. 24 hours a day.

Victoria and Francisco, two recent graduates from medical school in Honduras, had a place in their heart to serve the underserved, to give and expect nothing and to be there for all who came to them. Through a series of events and some divine intervention, Mission of Mercy came upon these two noble physicians and they found us, and the relationship was born.

For several years now, Victoria and Francisco have served all of the projects, visiting all of them and all of the children multiple times a year, established a nutritional supplementation program, a 24-hour call center, an ambulance, a central clinic base, and a mobile clinic program, twice yearly physical exams for all the Mission of Mercy children, and much more.
I spent two days with them, traveled to 4 of the projects, saw what they had accomplished, and stood up and applauded. Standing ovation!! These two young physicians found a place to serve, to give and to fulfill their vision. The children of Mission of Mercy are better for it.

A Special Christmas Menu

Your sponsored child may live halfway around the world, but you have more in common than you think in terms of Christmas traditions... especially food! We even included some recipes if you'd like to try something different this year!

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Christmas Wishes In Every Language

In the coming weeks you should receive a Christmas card from your sponsored child, and on it will be Christmas wishes in their own hand. We love this time of year because you can see the anticipation of Christmas in the children's heartfelt wishes. 

But very few of the children in our programs speak English -- so what do their Christmas wishes look like?

In most of the countries in which we work, the language spoken does not use a Latin or Roman alphabet such as what we use in English or what many of the countries in Africa or Central America use above. 

Yet the result is just as beautiful. Several countries, such as the Philippines and India, have regions that use different languages or dialects, which are represented below.

And then there's the Middle East, where Christ and the Christmas season was born. What wonderful wishes!

It's a bit early to wish you a Merry Christmas, but we can't help getting in the spirit! 

Prayer Request: An Update from Honduras 

In the aftermath of the recent flooding in southern Honduras, information about our children and projects has slowly started to trickle in.

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Prayer Request: Heavy Rains in Honduras

Honduras, and a large portion of Central America, has been receiving heavy rains as part of a slow moving storm. The heavy rains have caused severe flooding throughout the region. 

Our projects in southern Honduras, near Choluteca, have especially been affected. The Choluteca River has already overflowed and it is expected to rain for another 28 hours. The city of Choluteca is on alert for mudslides and continued flooding.

The flooding has ruined all of the crops in the area, which is the poorest in Honduras. As most of the residents in the area are subsistence farmers, this loss of income is devastating.  

So far, approximately 30 of our children and their families have been affected and are taking shelter in schools and churches that have been set up as refugee centers. As this storm continues, we are expecting the loss of more homes as many of our children live along the Choluteca River.

Our staff in Honduras is working hard to get us more information as soon as they can. As we receive updates, we will share them with you here. If your sponsored child is affected, we will personally contact you with the information. 

There is an urgent need for food, water, and clothing. We are sending funds to cover these immediate needs and to help our children and their families recover from this crisis. If you would like to help, please consider giving to our Children's Crisis Fund.

Please keep our children, their families, and the staff in Honduras in your prayers!

UPDATE On Storms And Goodbyes

We anxiously watched as Tropical Storm Emily approached the Dominican Republic and Haiti. And we are praised God as this storm weakened to Tropical Wave, which is weaker than its previous category of Tropical Depression.

Those praises continue as our field staff reported no damage. Some rain fell in the northern parts of the DR and Haiti, but not enough to cause concern. We thank God that our projects can continue to operate normally as they minister to the children and the community.

In this image from August 3, Tropical Storm Emily approaches the DR, Haiti, and after that, Cuba. Image: NOAA

The mission team in Honduras wrapped up their projects in Choluteca and Tegucigalpa and safely returned to the U.S. God has surely knit their hearts together, so we can continue to pray that they can hear God clearly and have the time and space to seek God's face about all they saw, felt, and heard in Honduras.

Serving Children With Your Children

One of the teams in Honduras boasts FIVE mother-daughter teams... and there's also a husband and wife who brough their two sons on the trip, as well!

One of the mothers wrote that "when you go on a missions trip, you never know who you'll be serving alongside, but you always see God's hand at work in the people He brings together. None of us had any idea there would be other mother-daughter teams along, but we've all been so blessed to be serving the Lord alongside our children."

How do you involve your children when you sponsor a child overseas? Has sponsoring a child helped you teach your own children about God's kingdom and work in the world? Share your answers in the comments below!

Faces Of Sponsorship

These are the faces of children in our projects in Honduras.

What do you see when you look at their faces? Do you see hope? Joy? Dignity?

That is the goal of all of our programs in each country we serve, to give each child the opportunity to learn, to feel accepted, to see just how much God loves them. And when given that chance, these children truly transform.

The mission trip participants currently in Honduras are seeing this first hand. One participant from our radio partner WPFF in Wisconsin wrote this:

The difference in the children who are in the program [and those who are not] is like the difference between night and's the difference between hopelessness and HOPE...hope of a happy, healthy life. YOU may be the one to put an end to their family's cycle of poverty that has been in existence for generations.

Over the course of this week, several of our partner radio stations will be asking listeners to sponsor some of the children their friends and fellow listeners are serving. If you came from WPFF, WNLI, KSLT, KLMP, WMSJ, or 97.9 The Point, welcome.

If you came looking for more information about child sponsorship, please explore this blog. But if you want to see the impact of child sponsorship, look no further than these faces. Listen to the experience of others, such as this trip participant from WMSJ:

Today we were reminded that we are all one family and these children in God’s eyes are ours. You wouldn’t believe the joy in the eyes of each child who was able to meet their sponsor. It was hard to hold back the tears as we watched when a child was overcome with joy upon meeting their sponsor for the first time, and the hugs and sheer gratitude they had in knowing that they had a sponsor. It was almost as if they were meeting a long lost family member.

But there was also some sadness as one little girl mistook one of our team members to be her sponsor. When he told her he was not her sponsor, she said to him that the sadness in his eyes reflected the sadness in her heart.

What wisdom in that precious child! Proverbs 27:19 tells us that “As water reflects a face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” What is your life reflecting right now? Did you know you could bring such joy and hope to a child for $34 a month?

Praying "that some of it rubs off on us"

"I truly believe that both sides are recieving equally from this experience! The people here have really been blessed with uncomparable humility... I can only pray that some of it rubs off on us!"

-- Tyra, mission team member serving in Choluteca, Honduras 

"How Could I Feel So Connected After Just One Day?"

The radio mission teams in Honduras are going full swing, and here are their first reports from their epic travel day.

And also one of the sweetest meeting-my-sponsor photos we've seen yet!

As jet lag hits, the team will need prayer as they minister to two areas of Honduras.

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Team Departs For Honduras Today!

What would you pack if you were going on a mission trip? The team who leaves for Honduras tonight has an interesting collection of items to fit into their suitcases!

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They Pray For You, Too

We are so glad you joined us in prayer on June 15. Did you know our international staff was praying with us, too? Here's what that looked like in two of our countries...

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Tour Of Homes: Latin America

Have you ever wondered what your sponsored child's home looks like? If you're the curious type, you'll enjoy this week as we travel around to each of the countries where Mission of Mercy works and show you the types of houses your sponsored children call home.

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Celebrating Easter

How does your sponsored child celebrate Easter? Some of the traditions are more familiar than you'd think...

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Spring Means Many Things

Water affects so much of your child's life -- is there enough to wash up before school? Is it safe to drink? Can I go out and play? What season is your sponsored child experiencing right now, and what does that mean for daily life?

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Bill's Story

Throughout Scripture, we have the ability to see God's hand at work in all situations, even the painful ones. We can read about how God positioned Joseph (through more than a decade of slavery and prison) to save his brothers’ lives during the famine in Egypt, or how God would be glorified through a man born blind.
It's harder to have that perspective in our own lives, especially in the midst of deep personal tragedy. When Bill's daughter Emma died four years ago, his entire world changed. Yet God is continuing to work through that terrible loss and is ministering to Bill (and others) through children around the world.

Watch the video below to hear what God did in Bill’s heart and how he ended up on a trip to Honduras with his church.