UPDATE – Aug 9, 2018

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.  Many of them received Gathering Hearts Christmas gifts years ago.  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……  We had a very good meeting with Alba and Pedro Paz on Tuesday to discuss our purchase of the soccer 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; we have two teams coming in October.

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Lord, make me willing to be made willing.

 

 

UPDATE – July 30, 2018

Yesterday our pastor, Doug Johnson, arrived from Tulsa.  He’s been here less than a day and already we are having a very enjoyable and productive time.  He will be here a little less than a week.  Pastor Doug Johnson had a communion service for the church and  a Baptismal service on Sunday, July 29th.  While in San Pedro July 26th  preparing to go to the airport to pick up Doug, we were rear-ended.  The one who ran into us said we had to pay, so we decided to contest that.  We waited for the police at least two hours in the hot sun.  They never did arrive, but our insurance adjuster showed up and worked on the issue.  It still isn’t settled, but we’re getting closer. Also had a meeting with our lawyer regarding a couple of issues in regards to our ministry legal status.  Hopefully we are getting closer on those things too.  We will be coming to Tulsa August 12 for health checkups, itinerating and seeing  family.  It’s been more than a year since my open heart surgery and I have to have several exams.  I think I’m doing pretty good.  I go on church visitation each week and am able to climb the mountain trails, some pretty steep, without much trouble.  Cheryl will have some doctor appointments too, though her main one is in December.

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Would you believe that one of the main reasons people don’t pray more is fear?

UPDATE – July 24, 2018

Our third team since May left just last week.  This one was from our own church, Beacon Hill Baptist in Oklahoma.  They participated in nearly every one of our ministries.  It was a great week.   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.  Next week her dad, pastor Doug Johnson, is coming for a short visit.  He will work with our lawyer with regard to closing on the land we are buying.  He will also conduct a baptismal service—in addition to several other things.  On Monday (7/23) we were scheduled to take a seriously injured lady to a hospital more than 3 hours from here.  However, Honduras is in the midst of a public transportation strike and we may not be able to go.

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One of the most important results of seasons of prayer is coming nearer the place where you are willing to let go with the other hand

UPDATE – 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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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.

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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.                       -Mac

 

 

UPDATE – July 5, 2018

I regret that we have written so few blogs lately. Certainly there has been no lack of activity here in Honduras.  To the contrary, we have been preparing for and hosting teams from the US almost consistently since we returned here in April.  We had a team from Christ Presbyterian Church, Tulsa in May;  Turning Point Church in Tulsa in June; a team from Southern Heights Church in Michigan also in June; and a team from our home church in Oklahoma, Beacon Hill Baptist, will arrive on Sunday, July 8.  We have stated in the past many of the wonderful things that happen while these groups are here ministering to the Honduras people—and they continue to happen.  These events are life-changing….at the same time life here can be challenging.  We have received the money to purchase land for a much needed classroom building.  But in order to close the deal quickly and properly we need our tax-exempt status from the government here.  We continue to work on that but at this point we are making little progress.  We did have a real blessing on Tuesday.  We took the legal work and documents to immigration in hopes of getting our permanent Honduras residency.  It took only a short time and by the time we left a short while later we had it.

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Probably the most important result of seasons of prayer is coming closer to the place where you are willing to let go with the other hand.

 

UPDATE – Jun 22, 2018

Cheryl made it back to Honduras before the next group arrived on June 9.  While she was gone, Avery Johnson from our church picked up the load.  She was in most of the classes for both teens and tots; discipleship, Bible Studies; visitation; carpenter class devotions; multiple church services; home visitations; etc., etc.  While on visitation one day we saw a girl who had been in a terrible motorcycle accident; and she’s pregnant.  She has scars all over her body.  I didn’t know her but she knows me.  She said she was a student in one of our classes nine years ago.  We frequently run into students who have been connected with the ministry in some way.…Last Saturday we had two groups of parents whose kids are starting the Saturday class.  It was a good opportunity to encourage them to inspire their students to come to class.  I have gone several times to pray for Lola, our guard- Pastor’- wife.  The doctor told the family she is full of cancer and there is nothing more he can do.  No need for further treatment.  Please continue to pray for her, we are trying to get her stronger pain meds. ….. We had a church meeting at Nelson’s last Thursday night.  I had forgotten how far up it is.  I  made it with a little help.  I don’t know how some of the others were able to do it…. On June 9th the team from Turning Point Church in Tulsa arrived.  We had an amazing week of preaching, teaching, visitation, children’s ministry, healthcare, sports, and a revival.  It was a great week.  The team from Southern Heights Church in Michigan will arrive next Friday, June 22nd

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Have you ever caught yourself saying to someone, “I’m praying for you”  when in fact you’re really not?  We shouldn’t be mired down in  guilt over such a thing, but we should either stop doing it, or else somehow make a practice of following through.

UPDATE – May 20, 2018

We’ve been back for several  weeks now; it’s gone pretty fast as we have been busy.  The medical team from Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa arrived on May 5 for one week.  It was a really great week as their three doctors, nurses and support staff saw several hundred patients.  Each day one group went into a village and the other group saw patients at the mission center.  There was also evangelism; and ministry to the children and women. A couple of highlights were Lacinda’s (Keilbarth) handling of the large amounts of medications; and Mary Jane Friend’s dispensing of eye glasses to many with such great needs.  The whole team are real pros….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.

Gary

UPDATE 5-1-18

As planned, we got back to Honduras Wednesday (4/25) at noon.  For me, it had been a year since I’ve been here.  As soon as we got to the mission center and out of the van, streams of little kids came from every direction wanting a hug .  That afternoon we visited all four of the young adult classes.  It was such a blessing. On Thursday the employees had a surprise luncheon for us.  Nicolas said each employee contributed $15 to buy food and gifts.  He told us a little more about the terrible situation here in December during the election.  There were 15 straight days they couldn’t get out on the roads.  Lots of businesses were burned.  On Thursday we were invited to the little kids class where they sang songs and recited Scriptures….. We had lots of medications, school materials, and other supplies to bring back with us this time.  As is often the case, everything fit into four suitcases of almost exactly 50 pounds each.  Temp here is running about 95 degrees.

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UPDATE – April 10, 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. We made more good contacts. We got a note from Nicolas saying that Luis Paz had come out to the mission center and wants to know 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 do want it; we will be praying for the money to buy it. This land is where we have our soccer tournaments.

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.

UPDATE – Mar. 29, 2018

Last week we got a message from Dr. Paul Weckler at Oklahoma State University saying there have been some changes at OSU and at the US State Department, and he thinks there is a good possibility the OSU Chapter of Engineers Without Borders will be able to reconnect with Gathering Hearts for Honduras in the water filtration project they began with us back in 2012.  We will be meeting with him and with Dr. Greg Wilber, faculty advisor, next week.  That meeting will likely occur on the same trip as our trip to the capital to get apostille for some Honduras legal documents. We also have a meeting with Dr. David Dyson and the head missions at Oral Roberts University.  There has been renewed interest there too, to get more involved with GHH. Christ Presbyterian Church, Tulsa, OK will be sending a medical team in May, Turning Point Church, Tulsa, will arrive the end of May and the team from Southern Heights Church in MI will be coming in June. July will bring our sending church, Beacon Hill Baptist, Owasso, OK.   Cheryl has been working with them in planning for ministry opportunities for the ministry in Honduras.  We have seen God work in many ways through teams coming to serve the Lord and the Honduran people.

Nicolas will be making a trip to Tegucigalpa next week to deliver documents to a lawyer there for renewal of our residency.  This renewal should give us our permanent residency.  Whew!! Please pray for that !