Category "Updates"

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.

July 2020 God’s love Shines Bright!

July 1, 2020

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.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

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

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

Update – Oct 12, 2019

October 13, 2019

Well, we had the Gathering Hearts 20 years event Saturday and it was so special.  We invited 61 mayors and pastors from our villages with their wives, as well as special friends.   Of course, we also invited all of our employees and their spouses. The program consisted of several speakers, some music, and a video, very well done by a videographer from a nearby village.  It is a real blessing that Dennis Boersema from Michigan was here for the event.  He has played a very special part in this ministry.  After the program we had dinner for everyone, served by young ladies from some of our classes.  There are lots of good pictures on Facebook….. Norma Bonilla’s (our sewing teacher) sister died today; several of us went to the burial service this evening.

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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 – Sep 30, 2019

September 30, 2019

Dave the Bible is a big event in Honduras. Our church was part of the parade that ended up in Compana soccer field.

The parade ended in a field for an outdoor meeting where Gary talked, and Nelson gave the message, and 12 people came forward. 

UPDATE – Sept 24, 2019

September 25, 2019

Things continue to move forward quickly here at Gathering Hearts.  Plans are being made in both Honduras and in the US to celebrate in October the Kuney’s  20 years in Honduras.  Yes, we moved here from Tulsa in 1999.  We’re looking forward to seeing many people we haven’t seen in a long while. Denny Boersema will be coming down to Honduras on October 2; he has certainly played a big role in the development of Gathering Hearts.   After the celebration we will be leaving for the US on October 22….  This past weekend was independence day here in Honduras; the country gained independence from Spain 198 years ago.  The same day is also dedicated to education in Honduras.  Both Saturday and Sunday students paraded through the streets. 

Nicolas with son, Alexandro Pela and Carlos   Perla won Academia Excellence

Several of those who participated were ones that have been scholarshipped through Gathering Hearts. 

Perla carrying the banner

Probably the most familiar are Perla and Carlos… I am so  gratified at how the Gospel is being presented here every day.  For example, this morning started out with Nicolas giving an inspiring message to the carpentry class.  Then there were Bible classes for the children and young adults. Then at noon Cheryl gave a really good message to the teachers centered around Rick Warren’s materials.  Before the day is over I’m sure there will be more.

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Have you noticed?  The more you eat the more you eat; the more you pray the more you pray.

UPDATE – July 15, 2019

July 17, 2019

It’s now July 15; we got back to Honduras last Thursday.  We had two return dates set prior to that, but each time something popped up at the last moment that had to be dealt with.  Now that we have arrived it seems really good to be here.  The compound looks good, classes are full, and all the teachers are in place.  Our former student and teacher, Christian, is back for a break but will probably be heading back to the ship soon.  Jose is still here.  Before leaving the States we met with building experts who want to help with the sports park and the new classroom building; we received another project for the production center so these women have some temporary work; another couple that was connected with a well known evangelist wants to come down and minister; and someone with a master’s degree in teaching wants to come down and teach our teachers.  Our delays were not in vain; His ways are always better.  We had another direct answer to prayer this week.  We needed money to be wired right away to cover payroll and expenses for the mission center—and we didn’t have it.  We decided to go ahead and wire what we had and try to come up with the rest some other way.  Then suddenly our electricity went out and we had no phone or internet to contact the bank.  We continued to pray about the situation, and two things happened: 1) the electricity eventually came back on 2) we were then able to read an email from Donna, our treasurer, saying we had received a donation in the mail and she was on the way to the bank to deposit it in our account.  As you might expect, it was enough to meet to need.

UPDATE – May 13, 2019

May 17, 2019

Saturday (5/11) was a busy day.  The first event of the day was loss of our electricity.  Poor timing; it just so happened that Saturday was one of the hottest days of the year.  Furthermore, we had  parent’s meetings scheduled starting at 10am.  We had about 100 people in the conference room at a time—and it really got hot.   The purpose of the meetings was to keep parents informed and involved in what their sons and daughters are doing.  We also solicited their help in making sure the students do their homework, come to class everyday and on time, wear their uniforms etc.  Despite the heat, it was a very productive time….. Later on in the day we had Timothy Training for our youth leaders.  Saturday night we had been invited along with some other churches to attend a worship service.  The church that extended the invitation was very small, and I expected attendance to be around 25 people.  As it turned out, the service was outside; approximately 250 chairs had been set up in an open lot next to the church—and all were filled.  It was a real blessing.  On Sunday we went to church at International Christian Fellowship in San Pedro Sula; it was great to see friends we haven’t seen in a long while.  Today (5/13) we started out with a student’s meeting to discuss and distribute their new handbook.  Cheryl has done an amazing job with these students in choosing their curriculum, developing lesson plans, teaching their teachers, outlining student deportment.  The classes are much more effective than they were a year or two ago…. I am now being included in some pastor’s events.  They refer to me as Mr. Gary Missionary.  This noon we will be having a pastor’s meeting (including Missionary Gary) in our conference center.  This is a big answer to prayer.  Ever since we got here we have been working toward seeing cooperation among the Evangelical pastors in our villages.

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There’s a big difference between being called to stay and deciding not to go.