God’s love shines on His people in Honduras during the pandemic but the needs are great
Gathering Hearts staff taking food and provisions up into the mountains in very difficult terrain where some families actually live in caves and make-shift shelter.
July 16, 2020
Dear Friends of Gathering Hearts,
I don’t think any of us could have predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would be such a long siege. We pray against it with UNITE714, which has united Christians around the world to pray the same prayer twice a day against the pandemic. Ultimately, even though God uses doctors, nurses and researchers, it is ultimately He that will use this plague for His glory, to bring many to Him.
Gary and I are still quarantining in Tulsa, but that has not stopped us from being able to minister long distance. We’re so grateful for this digital era in which we live. Gathering Hearts’ supervisó, Nicolás, and our lead teacher and pastor, Nelson, are our capable hands and legs on-site there in the mission center and the villages.
The week before last we sent down to our church, Templo Evangelical Emmanuel, a Sunday morning message on Titus I and II. The scripture exhorts our brothers and sisters to remain faithful to the Lord, and faithful to reaching out to their brothers and sisters. We are seeing young converts come alive as they reach out to help others in their own poverty-stricken communities. It is rare for villagers to see the needs of others, but this pandemic is causing them to look around and to look up and seek God for protection and provision. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purposes.” Romans 8:28
We are so grateful to so many of you and to Southern Heights Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan who have funded the bulk of the food relief program during the pandemic. As we had mentioned before, God is using this food relief outreach to bring people to the Lord and to the Gathering Hearts ministry. As our workers distribute food, we are also praying for each individual. This outreach has put Templo Evangelical Emmanuel church on the map in this area with a reputation for serving others. We provide food relief and services our church people, and to the poor in general, believers and non-believers, and members of other churches. And we have particularly emphasized finding the children who came to our ministry and the sick and elderly to assure they have provisions.
The people we serve are very poor and have very little resources. Most of them live day-to-day and as a result many of them, right now, are going without food. Honduras continues to be shut down; people are permitted to go out of their homes only two days a month. Many are out of work, and many without resources. At this time, the president of Honduras is hospitalized with coronavirus. Our workers in Honduras are telling us that more and more cases are showing up in the villages.
While we are so grateful for the help with food relief in the impoverished area where we serve in Honduras, please pray with us that we can also afford to pay our workers. Over the past 20 years God has been faithful, but, like many other ministries, we are facing a financial crisis. Like so many times in the past, just in time and not a day before, donations came in to make the payroll due today with $13 to spare. Our workers depend on us, and many people – not just their families – depend on our workers for their provision.
So you will know who you are praying for…this photo was taken of our entire staff, in uniform, just before the 20 year celebration in Honduras and right before we returned to the US for the 20 year celebration in Tulsa. We are so anxious to return. God is in control and teaching us a new thing!
We are grateful to our partners who continuously support us as we share the Gospel, educate young people, feed children and their parents, train adults in vocational skills and provide medical services to surrounding villagers. May God richly bless you for your love for the Kingdom and the people of Honduras.
Stay safe and protected, under the shelter of the Most High.
Gary and Cheryl
Classes continue in non-traditional ways
We are still not permitted to hold classes together in the mission center, but with the use of the phone apps WhatsApp and Zoom, classes continue. Students hand in work in rotation following strict guidelines for safety, teachers review and grade assignments then return their workbooks.
Denny Boersema, a long-time partner with Gathering Hearts, and a frequent visitor and worker at the mission center, has not only kept English classes going, but has really raised the bar in the quality and effectiveness of the teaching. Using Zoom, Denny, a retired schoolteacher from Kalamazoo, Michigan, teaches not only the students, but the teachers as well.
Many of our students do not have a full high school education, so most curricula for teaching English to Spanish students is not practical. As a result, Denny is hammering out a first-year curriculum that will be more user-friendly to the teachers and especially user-friendly to the students. He, along with another longtime friend and ministry partner, Ellen LaGrone, of Tulsa’s First United Methodist, are working on this curriculum specifically for the Gathering Hearts’ students.
Denny not only teaches but he communicates frequently with many of the students… mentoring them, encouraging them and leading them to Christ. Words cannot convey our gratitude for the hours of work and dedication that Denny has given to God’s kingdom there in our part of Honduras.
Please pray with us that at this time, many will see their need for Jesus Christ.
Pray with us that we will be able to pay our workers during this difficult financial time.
Join us in prayer that God will protect the people of Honduras who have no medical resources if they contract the virus.
Please pray for those who are distributing food, that they will be protected, and that we could reach all the people who are in dire need.
Our desire is to keep our classes going, and that the teachers will be able to teach their lessons long distance. Please pray that will be possible.
We so appreciate your prayers for Cheryl’s continued recovery and for Gary’s health and stamina as well.
No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways. – Psalm 91:10-11