Showing posts from December, 2012
¡Feliz Navidad!   Merry Christmas!

A Letter from the Mission Field (Dec 14, 2012)

Greetings to everyone,
I'm settling into my new life in Honduras.  I have an apartment on the fourth floor next to Church  of Santa Maria de los Angeles and its bilingual school.  It has a balcony with a great view of Tegucigalpa.   I also have a guest room. All are invited to come and visit me.  In fact, I expect it. My second week here, I met with Bishop Lloyd Allen, who asked me to work with Aanglidesh, the Anglican Agency for the Development of Honduras, the social arm of the diocese.   The Tegucigalpa office is promoting small savings and loan cooperatives among the poor in rural areas.  They are also involved with small business development and consultation, health and architecture in rural areas, and other projects.
I will be involved with architectural design and construction, as well as some small business development.  To date, I have started designing the San Simon Church in Joconico, a remote village outside of Tegucigalpa.
I wish you a blessed Advent, Merry Christmas and …

Sketches for San Simon Church

Several Sundays ago, I accompanied Fr. Roberto Martinez, a priest and Aanglidesh staff, to his small church, San Simon, in Joconico, an hour outside of Tegucigalpa. It is located at the end of a road so rough, that I wasn't sure the four wheel drive pick-up would make it. But it did.

We met in a small school house to celebrate the Eucharist. 
Afterward, we went out to see the site for a new church. It is a beautiful location in a valley between the mountains. 
The church design, based on the simple features of colonial Spanish mission architecture,takes advantage of this view.

A Meditation for Advent

And the Word of God came to John son of Zechariah....

"For the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

"And the crowd asked him: What then shall we do?"  

And he answered them, "Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise."    

Luke 3:51-53

This picture of a woman and child was sent to me by Ana Aquilera, a young Honduran woman, working among the poor of her community. They stand in their barren home in the mountains near Copan Ruinas with no more furniture than a stove, a table and a bed. The expression on her face shows the deep sorrow of poverty in Honduras.
Ana, herself, is unemployed, income to her family is minimal, and she is behind on the rent.   But as a Christian, she has responded to the Word of God and is reaching out to the poor.  She visits the poor children around her, giving them clothing, shoes and medicine.  To see…

Savings and Loan Cooperatives: Self-empowerment for the Poor

On Wednesdays, the Aanglidesh office goes into the field to work with several savings and loans cooperatives,  which encourages mostly women (although there are some men) to manage their personal finances through small savings and loan cooperatives.

I traveled with Fr. Roberto, Allan and Celia, to Yuscarán, the capital of Paraiso, the department (state) to the east of Tegucigalpa, for a day-long trip, visiting the several small cooperatives in the area.

Each group is organized in a similar fashion.   A staff member from Aanglidesh gives a short presentation on personal finance, such as saving money, making choices between investment and personal spending, dealing with a friend, who comes begging for money, and other relevant topics.
Then the business part begins.   One women acts as chairperson and another keeps the accounts.  The chairperson goes around the room, as each member makes a deposit, pays off a loan or borrows money.  If a member falls behind on her obligations, she  must pay…

Bishop Allen Responds to Media Coverage of Crime in Honduras

Posted at Episcopal News Service. December 6, 2012.
Click here.

A Letter from the Mission Field (Nov 1, 2012)

I have arrived in Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, to officially begin my mission.  I am excited and a little apprehensive.  Since I am the first staff architect in this diocese, it is taking a little while to determine the focus of my work.     In the meantime, I am meeting with the people here and learning of their priorities. Before arriving in Tegucigalpa,  I spent three weeks in Copán, tuning my Spanish and attending the Project Honduras Conference for NGO's (Non-governmental Organizations).    

The economy in Copán, which is tourist dependent, continues to decline. Many people are suffering. The Ixbalanque Spanish School has laid off all their teachers, asking them back, only when the occasional student comes.  I was told that the school was empty for six weeks. The decline is a result the 2009 coup, the negative publicity regarding violence here and the recession in the US.
My friend Concepción, the pastor of the church of the Holy Spirit, is in an equally grim position.  He…

A Mission in the Mountains

You may remember from the previous newsletter, that Concepción had asked us (and many of you made donations) to help build a new traditional adobe house for the Canán family, which was literally living in a bundle of sticks. We are currently in the process of building this house within the constraints of a limited budget. Nevertheless, it is a great improvement for this family.

Señor Sinforso Canán, who could only afford a shack for his family in the remote village of Ingenio (pronounced In-hen-io), had become very ill.  He had headaches and vision problems, which made it impossible for him to support his family. Concepción, whose new mission, the Church of the Pentecost, had just been built in the community, could not, in good conscious, ignore their situation.  For that reason, he asked us to help.   
The house is being built by the church members, some as volunteers, others for pay.   The Canán family hopes to move in shortly.

Upon my return to Copán, I was invited up into the mountai…