A Letter from the Mission Field (November 30, 2013)

Greetings from Honduras! 
 
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your family!
  
Here in Honduras we have a new president, Juan Orlando Hernández of the National Party (center-right).
  
People went to the polls last Sunday, admidst fears of violence to voters.  Yet  the day passed peacefully and  without incident.
  
However, on Tuesday, Mel Zelaya, the husband of the opposing  Freedom Party (Libre) candidate, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya (leftist),  gave a press conference refusing to concede the election.  Later in the afternoon, students sympathetic to Libre gathered at UNAH, the national university in Tegucigalpa (and just down the street from me), in a  protest that turned violent.  Heavily armed riot police quickly quelled it, dispersing the crowds with tear gas.  Whether that was just an isolated incident, we`ll have to see.
  
While the vote has not been totally tallied, the trend is significantly in Orlando`s favor, to the point that other foreign governments, including  leftist Nicaragua, have recognized his presidency.
  
Nevertheless, the violence is indicative of the tension in this country.
  
Honduras continues to face huge problems.   Crime, unemployment and poverty head the list.   The question is whether this new government will  address the issues or continue in the private quest for power and wealth that ignores the needs of the people.  
  
All of this impacts the work of the church in caring for the people of Honduras.  But it is also the reason we are here.
  
Do keep us and this country in your prayers. 

In the midst of all the politics,  I continue to  work on two churches plants (i.e. starting a new church):   Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd)  in Santa Maria, Paraíso and  Emmanuel Church in Roatán. 
  
We will begin building the fence around the property of the Buen Pastor in the next few weeks.   We have picked Oscar Rolando Rodriquez, a local  man from Santa Maria, to be the contractor.   If he does a good job, we will ask him to bid the church construction.  
    
As for the other project, Emmanuel Church in Roatán, see the article below.
   
Also, please see my requests for prayers and mission needs below.   
 
Especially note the need for a used laptop for Fr. Roberto.  He spends hours travelling, working in the office and pastoring his church.   If he had a laptop, he could spend a little more time with his family.
 
Paz y bien,
Jack

PS. Please consider coming to Honduras on a short-term mission.   Contact me for further information.  There is a new group in the planning to come in the Spring of 2014.
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FAQ

Q. Is it safe to come to Honduras?
  
A. It should be recognized that any mission, even short-term, is not a vacation.   As followers of Christ,  we are called to serve, not where it is easy, but where it is difficult.   Coming to Honduras does involve risk.   But that being said, each short-term mission is placed in a location, which is  considered safe  by the local church.  The violence in Honduras, like in the US, is  localized.  Here, it occurs mostly  in the poor neighborhoods of the large cities and in northeastern frontier of Honduras.  Each year, many short-term missions come to help the church in Honduras and 99% are without incident. 

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