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Faithful brothers and sisters in Christ!

February 2, 2021

February 2021
Where have we been?

What a challenging time we have experienced for the past two months. Since the beginning of December, Gary had surgery, Cheryl had a serious fall on the ice resulting in broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and our partner in the ministry, Tim Colwell, contracted Covid-19 and made his way to heaven on January 14. Yet, in all things we praise the Lord for He is good, and He alone is worthy of our praise.

If you are interested in Tim’s “final testimony,” you can view his Celebration of Life at this link.

TRIBUTE TO TIM COLWELL

It was in 2012, after speaking in the Carpentry Class at First Methodist Church in Tulsa that Tim came up to me, handed me a donation and said, “somehow I feel we will work together.” Little did we know, just how much that would come to pass

For the last five years Tim and Patty Colwell have worked alongside us. Tim has written our updates, including the hardcopy end-of-the-year report of what God has accomplished in the past year plus an additional mailing of a beautiful thank you card for our donors in 2020.

Tim has been to Honduras many times since his initial visit in 2013. He hiked into steamy hot villages with Gary, documenting the work with his photography (that’s why there aren’t many pictures of Tim in Honduras as he was always the photographer!) Upon returning to the U.S., he was always inspired to spread the word about the work of the ministry and truly gathering hearts for Honduras.

His care and concern for the poor was obvious. Because of his and Patty’s love for the people of Honduras and their desire to serve the Lord, there are a lot of little children that now have clothes, food, school supplies and even Christmas gifts.

Only in eternity will we know the impact that he has had on the lives of these people in Honduras. His humble, gentle spirit glorified God and made a lasting memory for those who were privileged to know him.

Answered prayers for Christmas for the children

You may remember the prayer request for Christmas gifts going into Honduras. Our prayers were that the Lord would provide a way to purchase Christmas gifts for the children there in country and make something special during this truly difficult year.

With the help of a family giving their Christmas budget to Honduras, plus Avery Johnson’s trip to Honduras in early December, our staff and volunteers were able to purchase gifts for the children and make Christmas very special for many.

Nicolas, Nelson, Sonia, Consuelo, Joel, Christiian, all of our staff members and volunteers, not only arranged to purchase the toys in the middle of a flood catastrophe, they even gift wrapped every single one! Then they carefully made the distribution to children throughout the villages.

The donor even specified that every staff member should receive a gift as well.

Prayers answered and blessings abundant to the receivers, but mainly to the givers and servants!

School Resumes…Virtually for now

Despite the pandemic, Gathering Hearts for Honduras classes began February 10th. In Honduras, the school year runs from February until November due to the rainy season. As you know last November classes were cancelled due to hurricane flooding, leaving many in the villages we serve either homeless or in vast need of cleaning and repairs.

In 2021, all Honduran universities and schools are remaining closed until April unless they can provide virtual learning. We are grateful again to Denny Boersema who continues to teach some of those classes from here in the States.

For now, only 67 of the returning students are enrolled. Beginning students find it very difficult to learn in a virtual environment, yet we are hopeful those classes will begin again in April at the Gathering Hearts mission center.

 

Denny Boersema teaching English from Michigan to Honduras.
Nelson Osorto, Pastor PLUS English teacher for Intermediate and advanced level
Sonia Gabarrete, pastor’s wife PLUS English teacher Basic and Intermediate level
Eva Orellana, lead English teacher, Basic and Intermediate level
Abigail Grijalva, Computer teacher

Meanwhile, the classes for younger children and feeding program are ongoing and in person at the mission center. If it weren’t for the dedication of our workers, many of these children would not have food without this part of the ministry.

The medical clinic is also a necessity especially during this pandemic. Nurse Consuelo is continuing to monitor patients and dispense essential medications for those with high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious conditions.

Village Ministry Update

Last November’s flooding left some of the area we minister, (Department de Puerto Cortes, Campana) in destitute condition. Many lost their homes and some lost loved ones. Gathering Hearts for Honduras fed 300-500 people a day throughout the crisis in three relief stations with the mission center as the base. Many of you helped to make this happen. We feel deeply for these people who are still trying to put their lives back together.

The COVID-19 numbers remain high in Honduras. Many are out of work and this especially affects the impoverished areas where we serve. We are grateful to the Lord, that we can continue the food relief program. As mentioned before, God has used this not only to draw people to the ministry and to Templo Evangelical Emanuel (the church connected to Gathering Hearts Mission), but it has also drawn people to the Lord. The church has grown during this time as people find that Jesus is the only answer.

To enable Pastor Nelson Osorto to spend more time meeting the demands of the church, we have hired a new lead teacher, Eva Orelllana. Eva has been a good student in our English classes for several years and has shown leadership skills. While Nelson will continue to teach the advanced class and lead the Bible studies while in session, this will free him to minister more to the people. His wife Sonia will remain an English teacher and has proven herself to be a faithful pastor’s wife as well. With so much need in the villages, they were working almost around the clock for weeks on end, and we are so proud of them.

Food Distribution – April 2020

April 24, 2020
Food poverty – living from meal to meal and often going without, is very real and common in Honduras. As a part of Gathering Hearts for Honduras one of the ways we show the love of Jesus to our community is by distributing food to those who are in great need.

Below is a picture of Consuelo, our GH for H Nurse and a TEE church member distributing food and working in our community. Two doctors who have previously traveled to Gathering Hearts on medical missions helped us get a brochure to inform how to keep hand sanitized and stay protected during the current Covid-10 pandemic. Instructions were also sent down on how to make hand sanitizer from scratch.

Here is Consuelo again with one of our children’s teacher, Belmi, distributing food to some of our students.
Please continue to pray with us that at this time, many will see their need for Jesus Christ. Join us in prayer that God will protect the people of Honduras who have no medical resources if they contract virus and please pray for those who are distributing food, that they will be protected as well.
How to give … Thank you for your tax-deductible gift to support the programs of Gathering Hearts and to further God’s Kingdom in Honduras! Please send your gift to:
Gathering Hearts for Honduras 2220 W. Oak Ridge Street Broken Arrow, OK  74012. Or click the link below:

DONATE
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 If you choose to spend your life in the comfort zone you will never know for sure what you really believe about God.

Gary

Update – April 2020

April 17, 2020
April 16, 2020,

Dear Friends of Gathering Hearts,
 
We pray this update finds you all in good health and protected from the Coronavirus COVID-19. We also pray that God will draw people to the Lord at this time.
 
In the last update, we shared how a pandemic like this can hit a Third World country much harder than here in the U.S. In the rural area where we serve on the north coast of Honduras, testing is not available, so there is no way to be sure how many cases there are.
 
The Honduran government has put in place a mandatory shut-in; people are permitted out of their homes only one day a week to shop for groceries. In spite of this, Gathering Hearts for Honduras has been able to distribute food to the needy. Many of the people in the rural area have no food, nor the means to get it. As mentioned in the last update, there’s no such thing as stocking extra groceries, as they live pretty much day-by-day. This has given us a great opportunity to share the redemption of Christ, as we distribute food.  
 
We are amazed how our church, Templo Evangelico Emanuel, has stayed connected during this time, having long-distance prayer meetings, Bible studies and communicating the needs between members. Nelson Osorto, our pastor, has done a marvelous job of rallying them together to help take care of their needs and others.
Since there is no hand sanitizer or masks in this area, we received a recipe to make hand sanitizer, along with a pattern to make masks. We pray our folks can find the sanitizer ingredients and fabrics for masks. And we are hopeful Consuelo can make and distribute the items. 
 
We are so grateful to Denny Boersema, who stays in touch with the Computer/ Bible/English teachers, as well as several students. His idea of dividing the student body among the five teachers, so that they could call the students to check on homework, encourage them in the Lord, and share Bible study has been so productive. As we have mentioned before, many of the students have not excepted Christ yet, and this is another rare opportunity to share one-on-one. The coronavirus has gotten everyone’s attention; we know that God will use it and be glorified.

Blessings to you!

– Gary and Cheryl Kuney
 
No evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent, for he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 
Psalm 91: 10-11
PRAYER REQUESTS  Please pray with us that at this time, many will see their need for Jesus ChristJoin us in prayer that God will protect the people of Honduras who have no medical resources if they contract virusPlease pray for those who are distributing food, that they will be protected, and that we could reach all the people who are in dire needOur 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.At this time, we are trying to find the little children that we fed on a regular basis when they were in class. Some have a family and some of them live with other people. We are trying this week to locate them and be sure they are fed.Cheryl’s surgery to remove a brain tumor a has been moved to May 13th. We so appreciate your prayers!
How to give … Thank you for your tax-deductible gift to support the programs of Gathering Hearts and to further God’s Kingdom in Honduras! Please send your gift to:
Gathering Hearts for Honduras 2220 W. Oak Ridge Street Broken Arrow, OK  74012
Or click the link below:

DONATE
  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 If you choose to spend your life in the comfort zone you will never know for sure what you really believe about God.

Gary

It’s hot as we pray for the soccer field.

August 3, 2018

It’s hot in August! On Saturday I took a long walk through Seis de Mayo; I need to do that more often as I always see people I haven’t seen in a long time—sometimes young adults I knew as toddlers. This reminded me of our Christmas box gifts. Many of these young adults in Seis de Mayo received Gathering Hearts Christmas gifts years ago and we will be receiving another container of 1000 gifts this year, thanks to Candy Matheney and her team. We hope to receive the container in November.

Many of you have prayed for and asked about the concrete lot next to the mission center where we do soccer outreach. We had a very good meeting with Alba and Pedro Paz on Tuesday to discuss purchasing the field. There are still some things to be worked out, but we are all moving in the same direction. We have already received more than half of the money for the purchase. Luis Paz is currently in New York receiving treatment for bone cancer. Please pray for him. Cheryl and I will be leaving for the US on Sunday, 8/12. The main purposes are health evaluations for both of us; visits to interested churches; and time with family. Mom Longstaff has had some health issues at age 95, and we need to spend some time with her. We plan to return to Honduras on September 25 and we have two teams coming in October.

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Lord, make me willing to be made willing.

Gary

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Baptism and Communion

July 30, 2018

Our third team since May left just left almost two weeks ago. This one was from our own church, Beacon Hill Baptist in Oklahoma. They participated in nearly every one of our ministries and it was a joy as always to see friends that we have known for many years. Avery Johnson is with us for a few more weeks before returning to University Of Tulsa for the Fall semester. She is doing a great job teaching classes, hosting events, and developing new programs.

A few days ago our pastor, Doug Johnson, arrived from Tulsa and we had the blessing of sharing a communion service at the church as well as a Baptismal service on Sunday, July 29th. The baptism service was an amazing time. Those being baptized gave such wonderful testimonies of the work of Christ in their lives and afterword the entire church gathered on the beach while Brother Doug and our own Nelson Osorto baptized each person in the warm waters of the Gulf. The worship team from the church sang after each baptism as those baptized walked out of the ocean and back to the beach and together we all celebrated the newness of life we find in Christ.

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Maci in Honduras

July 12, 2018

Hello, my name is Maci and this is the first time I have ever been to Honduras. Today I got the opportunity to work with the ESL class. In this class I got to read the students Bible stories so that they could hear how to pronounce the words they were learning. I would read a passage and they would repeat it, they spoke English so well, which was somewhat surprising.

After reading the Bible stories, they were able to ask me questions, such as: Where do you live, have you ever been to the beach, do you have many friends, do you have any siblings, etc. It was so awesome to get to know the people and make relationships with them. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet so many new people, getting to read them Bible stories, and help them with their English. I can’t wait to see how God moves in all their lives and work with them all again.                       -Maci

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Dustin in Honduras

July 12, 2018

This is a post from one of the team members:

Today I want to tell you about my experiences and ambitions from the Gathering of hearts ministry here in Honduras…  right now I just finished up my second day in the carpentry class and I have found myself shocked, amazed, and regretful.

First of all, Honduras is considered a third world country that has its fair share of dangers, but I have felt an abundance of comfort and acceptance from the every single person at the facility where they work.  When I first stepped foot in the carpentry class I was shocked of how little resources they had…and for the carpentry teacher (Alfredo) to teach the students new skills, with so little, seemed impossible.  Also, for me to help the hardened, troubled carpentry students to get to know Christ is no small task.

Within the first few minutes of the humid day, Alfredo looked at the project drawings and immediately started handing out instructions as to what to do, the students immediately started working very diligently without asking any questions.  Then throughout the day I observed what was going on and was amazed at how much they wanted to work with wood!  When I was in school, I remember shop class as being one of those blow off classes where the students didn’t want to work, and the abundance of safety guards prohibited you from doing anything productive anyway.  Here, the students WANT to learn…and WANT to work…and they do!  Bible study time!  Alfredo and I gathered the students and they sat down where I began to read scripture.  I was amazed how well they listened with open ears and how I was able to keep their attention.   Then I proceeded to explain what an eternity means by comparison.  I told them “If you were to put your entire life inside a drop of water, God offers you all the rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, and all the rain to come…to spend in paradise.”  They reflected their amazement back!

I began to look around as to what they had accomplished.  Alfredo showed me several projects that were going on and I was amazed at their quality of work!  Everything here is made from solid wood, either oak or laurel…no plywood here.  In the corner of the shop, I discovered a lathe made entirely out of wood, nails, a motor, and various bicycle parts.  Then when Alfredo instructed the younger boys to build the table legs, they immediately chucked up some wood and started turning them.  The contraption works, and to my amazement quite well.  By lunchtime, all of the students, along with Alfredo, are covered in sawdust and had accomplished so much more than I had imagined possible!

After just starting to get to know the people here, I feel like I’m just starting to make contributions to the program and want to stay because these people are so capable, yet there is so much more I want to share with them.  I am regretful that I didn’t schedule more time to be here.  My hopes are that every one of the students get to know the lord and I will be praying for them.               -Dustin

 

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Thank God for Healing Hands!

June 8, 2018

On May 5 the medical team from Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa arrived for a wild and busy week.  We watched as these Doctor’s, nurses and support staff saw hundreds of patients, working tirelessly to provide healing, kind words, medical expertise and the love of Christ.  Each day one group would travel to a nearby village while the other group saw patients at the mission center, both groups working through lines of people one after the other.  In addition to medical care the gospel was hared with each person and additional ministry work was done with children and women.

Everyone on this team was such a blessing and I wish we could tell all the different ministries and acts of service.  Particular highlights were Lacinda’s (Keilbarth) wonderful organizational abilities handling the large amounts of medications; and Mary Jane Friend’s dispensing eye glasses to si many with such great needs.  The whole team are real pros and we are more grateful than we can express.

On a personal note, thank you for your prayers for me.  Since coming back I have been doing home visitation with Nelson Osorto.  I wasn’t quite sure how it would go with the heat and climbing and all, but I was able to go up a couple of long stretches up the mountain and felt pretty good.  We’ve had a couple meetings with Mauricio; one included his superior from Memphis, and they are still interested in subcontracting from Landau to us which would be great news!  Another reason to pray.

Gary

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May Update – Back to the Future!

June 8, 2018
May Update – Back to the Future!

As planned, we got back to Honduras Wednesday (4/25) at noon.  For me, it had been a year since I’ve been here.  At the mission center streams of little kids came from every direction wanting a hug .  That afternoon we visited all four of the young adult classes and rejoiced to see old friends and new students as well.  The next day the Gathering Hearts employees surprised us with lunch and Nicolas shared that each employee had contributed $15 to buy food and gifts.   We felt truly welcomed back home.  What a rich blessing!

Later that day Nicolas was able to tell us more about the terrible situation here in December during the election.  There were 15 straight days no one could use the roads.  Many businesses were burned and the threat of armed violence was constant.  We all truly appreciate those that prayed for the ministry and the people here in Honduras during that time and we ask that you continue to pray.  The immediate threat of violence has subsided but Honduras remains a troubled country, more in need of Jesus than ever before.

On Thursday we also spent some time in the children’s classes where they sang songs and recited Scriptures.  Truly God loves the little children!  We had lots of medications, school materials, and other supplies to bring back with us this time and as is often the case, we crammed everything into four suitcases of almost exactly 50 pounds each and made it without any problems.  Please pray for us as the ministry is bigger and busier than ever.  We need God’s provision, guidance and wisdom as we serve the calling he has placed on our lives.

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April 2018 Making connections – Soccer Field News

April 28, 2018

Wednesday, April 9th, we had a really nice meeting with Bob Mulloy and Mark and Debbie Plaster. All three have been to Honduras and know some of the people there. We had a good time discussing future plans for Gathering Hearts. Then yesterday we had another with Bob Mulloy at the headquarters of Literacy and Evangelism here in Tulsa.  These were all opportunities to make great connection for the ministry.

 

We have an additional prayer request for those of you who follow our ministry and partner with us.  We received a note from Nicolas saying that Luis Paz had come out to the mission center and asked if we are still interested in buying the soccer field. He was planning on dividing it and selling it as building lots. However, he said he wants to be fair to us.

 

Of course we want to purchase the property and will be praying for the funds to buy it. What we call the soccer field is really only about a third the size of an actual field but it adjoins the Gathering Hearts Ministry Center and is where we hold the  soccer tournaments we use for outreach.

 

We are communicating almost hourly with our lawyer in Honduras regarding renewal of our residency. It has turned out to be quite an ordeal sending things back and forth. We are mourning the loss of a very dear friend over the weekend. Doug Foster passed away while on a trip with his family.