Sorry we have not been good at giving the updates. I had no access to the internet in Tegucigalpa, and I had to send the first post in a series of 4 texts to Carol who then emailed them to Tracy to post on the blog. We have been on a very busy schedule every day during this trip, and we are all very tired. We have seen so much, and it would be impossible to tell all of the stories of all of the brave people who are serving The Lord with joy and thankfulness in such difficult conditions. I will try to describe our day today.
For breakfast, we tried a new fruit, ajuticaba. It looks like a cherry, and it was very good. You don’t eat the pit or the skin. We tried another fruit out first day, lychees (pronounced leeches). Lychees have a harder shell that you peel with your fingers and also have a pit. They are both sweet.
Today we visited two Coffee farms, both located outside of Siguatepeque. To reach the first one, we went past San Isidro into Las Flores. We met Alejandro and Lydia Mazarigo. They have 5 wonderful children who do very well in school. The walls of their house are lined with the diplomas and honors their kids received from school. They told us that they weren’t Christians when married. Lydia came to The Lord 15 years ago, and he accepted Jesus 3 years ago. He recognized that Lydia preserved herself for God and for him when he went to the United States. He left to the US to make enough money to buy land and build a house, and her faithfulness was a testimony to him that her trust in Jesus was real. On his farm, he has chickens and a horse. He grows corn for his family to eat, and grows coffee to sell to provide the other things they need. The Roya virus has damaged their coffee, but he was thankful that they at least have corn to eat. They also have an orange tree and a lemon tree. Alejandro said that his heart belongs to The Lord, but he is thankful for the plants that God gives to provide food and clothing for him and his family.
As with everywhere else we have visited, Josh was a big hit with the kids as they shared the universal language of play. Josh also is the best Spanish speaker on our team. I think those two things are related because children will correct you more freely than adults will.
Before the virus infected the coffee plants, they would pick the coffee when yellow and red in November. They would roast some at the house for the family, and he would sell the rest to someone who would roast and sell it. He obtains microloans every year from Trinity Fund in the amount of approximately $400 which he uses to buy fertilizer. He borrows in May and repays in January every year. This is the the third year he has obtained a loan.
The second community is the coffee plantation called Siguacafe located southwest of the city. 11 families are provided for from this farm, and a majority of these families are single mothers. The farm contains about 10 hectares if land. Gustavo Flores is the pastor of the church and is in charge of the farm. He has been there 20 years. He was a pastor in another church (the Pentecostal International Mission), The Lord called him, and his other church sent him here. He said that with the help of The Lord it will get better for this farm and all of Honduras. Norma Martinez explained that this is a good example of what happens when you give dignity to people by providing them with opportunity to work and earn enough to provide for their basic needs and even things like their children’s education. In 2005, she learned of this group that did not fulfill the requirements of another agricultural loan program. She had been working with them and sharing the gospel with them and saw that they could be responsible and were seeing little by little that they could do something. She wanted to encourage them with that. At that time she obtained the Trinity Fund, so she gave them their for the first loan. They have borrowed and repaid loans each year since them, and some of the members have also obtained individual loans to grow coffee on their own land. That is good to see because it gives them dignity and opportunity for their kids. After sharing a meal, there was a worship time and Enrique Martinez shared the message of John 15, but changed the illustration from grapes to a coffee plant to make the image much more vivid for them. We have to remain connected to The Lord if we want to bear good fruit like the branches of the coffee plant must remain connected to the trunk of the plant to yield coffee. It was a great message for anyone, but especially relevant for these coffee farmers. Steve asked Norma what helps most I’m bringing people to faith in God. She said that friendship is first because relationships are so important to them.
You can pray for our day tomorrow. Steve will be preaching the main message, and Josh and I will be sharing in smaller classes.