My Journey through Three Continents. August/23
Honduras. It was encouraging to attend the inauguration of the recently accredited Bible and Trade Institute in Puerto Lempira. It was dedicated to serving the Miskito native community, one of Central America's most neglected and poorest indigenous groups. Twenty Christian leaders from the nearby communities received Bible training and basic carpentry skills in the fully equipped and functional workshop. The attending church leaders also received a donation of essential carpentry tools. We also helped install water purification equipment so at least three thousand people would drink clean water and assisted with raw wood materials and outreach at the local penitentiary. The construction of this Institute started over twenty years ago. It has been by far a journey of struggles and setbacks, including a bitter divide of the local denomination, persistent hostility from our very own ranks, several hurricanes, my time off while taking care of Pam, two years away serving in Haiti after the earthquake, a relentless war between drug lords topped with the Covid pandemic. The Institute is fully functional, so I have decided to move on to another indigenous community supporting the same vision.
Venezuela. The prison ministry team has returned to the home base after a successful 6th mission. The goal was to replant 23 acres of vegetable gardens and train the leadership of five penitentiaries, including the starting gardening work in two of them. All my teachings were prerecorded. The impact of the message of redemption in some jails is tremendously far-reaching inside and outside the prisons, as many people leaving the prison have chosen to abandon their criminal lifestyle. Two penitentiaries have reported starting gardening projects in nearby communities, with two banning narcotics.
Guatemala is my home country. As a teenager, with my brother Anibal's support, I started as a Red Cross rescue volunteer and started serving in local prisons. Because of homeschooling at eighteen, I had already completed three years of law school. My brother became a successful church planter and led a Christian ministry. Ten years ago, he had to leave his ministry because of health issues. While recovering, he started a new ministry, working with children in public schools through a group of teachers he and his wife Sonia provide discipleship. As these public school teachers moved to key leadership positions, the ministry experienced exponential growth. Over 8,000 volunteer teachers teach Christian principles to children in public schools and have served over 60,000 children and young people. Sonia and Anibal intend to continue ministering to these children and many more if resources become available. To sustain and continue the exponential growth of this outreach, they need to raise at least two million dollars per year. I've included a link to their service. https://express.adobe.com/page/tqgCD2trL09Iu/
Costa Rica. I am in Costa Rica for two weeks. I have a busy time ahead of me since I must complete a lot of paperwork and home repairs before returning to Ukraine. While in Costa Rica, I am connecting with the family of a Costa Rican volunteer soldier who recently died in Ukraine. He leaves behind a wife and a teenage son. Since his wife is foreign, they have little community support, topped with the fact that repatriating his remains to Costa Rica is almost an impossible task. Before I return to Ukraine, I intend to organize a reunion so this family and his friends (he was a police officer) can have some closure for their loss.
Canada. I intend to stop in Toronto, Ontario, on my way to Ukraine. I will be in Toronto from September 8th to the 16th to connect with friends and Jonathan. You are invited to accompany me to the first fall concert at The River in Whitby on Tuesday, September 12th, at 7:30 p.m. https://www.instagram.com/p/Cvus5wIMRLt/. We can meet at 6:00 p.m. at the facilities to have time for fellowship. Please let me know if you want to attend so Jonathan can reserve seats since the venue is usually fully packed. This ministry significantly influences thousands of young people's lives in southern Ontario.
Spain. On September 18th, Andrea and I are all set to start our 201 Km pilgrimage from Ponferrada, Leon, to Santiago de Compostela (El Camino de Santiago). I look forward to spending quality time with my daughter and using this hike to meditate on our journey of redemption and significant ways to invest in serving others.
Turkey. In the first week of October, I will participate in a Global Gathering of international churches at the biblical symbolic city of Ephesus. Influential Christian leaders from most major cities worldwide will attend. I will share my experiences on humanitarian Christian missions.
Ukraine. I look forward to returning to Ukraine for four months. I am still trying to figure out in which city or what capacity I will serve since I have several door openings, including one as a rescue medic and instructor, plus chaplaincy. Since Ukraine has rapidly changing scenarios, I have decided to leave this decision to the last minute. Please let me know if you wish to support this mission trip financially. Most of your donation will go directly to the people I serve.
Honduras. Inaugural class for Bible/Trade School