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.