It has been awhile since we wrote about what is happening here with us in Honduras. We could tell you that it was because of the business of having 6 weeks of teams visiting Manos Extendidas but that would only be part of the truth. The truth is we have also been grieving.
For me (Anna) It has been hard for me to adjust and carry out my ministry without a friend and ministry partner, Pastor C., that I had grown to love, respect and yes, rely on. We first met Pastor C. at our church here in Honduras, almost one and a half years ago while he was preaching on a Sunday. The message was about relying on God for everything. I was introduced to him by Alvin and he said that Pastor C. and I would be working together. He would introduce me to the families whose children were in need of sponsors. Pastor C. and I developed a friendship. Lots of laughter and a few tears. He loved how God was shaping him to be a shepherd for the church where he was pastoring, in one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the city. We enjoyed our visits with the families, providing support and developing relationships. Pastor C. is a prayer warrior and was well respected in the area. He showed me by his example how to rely on God as we ministered in an area filled with hopelessness. As we built bridges into the lives of people in the area, we were seeing answered prayers as children were receiving sponsors and we were receiving requests from other families for us to come and visit. We learned about each other. I saw how Jesus has healed Pastor C. from his past and he understood my calling to be here. There were lots of mistakes and laughs as he helped me with my Spanish and I tried to help him with his English. Most days ended with us stopping for coffee on our way home from ministry.
For me (Gordon) I first met my friend Pastor C. at the boy’s prison ministry. We hit it off right away. As our friendship developed, it was great to have a Honduran guy friend I could just hang and chat with, laugh with and talk about ministry with. Our weekly meetings were ostensibly about both of us improving our 2nd languages, him with his English and me with my Spanish. But we would cover many topics like life, family, ministry, pastoral challenges, preaching, understanding Scripture and of course me trying to “enlighten” him about the superiority of hockey over soccer! Most days we would meet at my house and he would sit in “his chair” (aka my leather recliner) and drink my A&W Root Beer. Another thing I “enlightened” him about. Some of the most difficult conversations we had were in relation to his wife’s desire, and later the execution of, her plan to move to the United States illegally. He did not want to go and he didn’t, in the beginning. But it was all very painful.
Both of us tried to counsel Pastor C. both before and after she and their children moved to the US. He wanted to stay, but was grieving and would often say “Anna/Gordon I am so sad and I have pain in my heart for my wife and children.” It was beginning to consume and take a toll on him. He couldn’t sleep and he often felt tired and stressed out. Even though we understood his strong desire to be reunited with his family, we also tried to remind him that Satan was working on him to take his focus off Jesus and onto what he didn’t have, he still obsessed. Sadly he gave Satan a foothold in his life by listening to the Enemies lies, particularly that he could not survive without his family and his only alternative was to follow them, by also entering the US illegally. One day, without telling anyone, he packed up and left and it was a couple days before we heard from him telling us he was already on his way and asking for our prayers and our forgiveness for him not even saying goodbye.
He did eventually make it. He is back with his family. But it is not what he expected it would be, even though we tried to tell him before he left. He now says that after only a few weeks, all he seems to do is work & pay bills, with little time for anything else, including his family.
This is a serious issue here in Honduras. Severe poverty, along with limited opportunities have led countless people to make the same choices. The majority seem to think that “providing more” for their families, is worth the cost of separating the family. What a tragic lie! One that is ripping apart many families, separating friends and tearing away at the fabric of Honduran culture…the family! Sadly, we now have our own firsthand, painful experience of this reality. We, along with many other family and friends of Pastor C and his family, have been dealing with the disappointment, and grieving the loss, of losing one of our closest friends, to one of the Enemy’s greatest lies… “More is better! No matter what the cost!”
We are both sad and disappointed for him and the ways things have worked out for he and his family, his church family, the boys he served at the prison and his family and friends. For us personally, having left all of our friends and family behind in Canada, making new friends in a new culture, with a new language, is very difficult! So we keenly miss our friend, Pastor C.! We both miss his laugh, his sense of humor, his friendship and his ministry partnership!
As we continue to pray for him & them, please pray for them & us! Pray that they are able to deal with the consequences of their choices and find God and His leading in their lives. Please pray for us, that we will continue to reach out, make new friends and develop new ministry partnerships, as we deal with the disappointment of losing someone so close!