Category "Updates"

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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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.

Scolarships and Tacos

April 15, 2018
Lesbe, (left) came to Christ with Juliza Batista (2nd to left)

Partnerships and village initiatives are going strong.

In San Roque we now have an outreach from the Templo Evangelical Emanuel, our home church.  This includes small meetings in homes as well as a joint meeting in the community center.  Pastor Nelson Batista and his wife Juliza have been working tirelessly in the discipleship programs in the villages around the Mission center.

One great blessing of the discipleship program, is a young girl named Lesbe who accepted Christ.  Like many young girls in Honduras Lesbe  had been unable to attend school for years in order to stay home and take care of her mother’s younger children. In addition education in Honduras is expensive, often times costing well more than the average family is able to afford. In Lesbe’s case she was given a scholarship to the private school and has begun to thrive.  Her academic scores are rising, she attends church, and through the discipleship program she found Christ.

All this from one scholarship!

This last month, the village women made tacos to help support the church.  What a great exercise in giving of these women who  are so in need themselves, giving of what they have!

Father’s day came early

April 15, 2018

Father’s Day Comes Early!

Unlike American holiday dates, March 18 was Father’s Day in Honduras. The people here love to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Days and make it a big fiesta.

There is no exception in our church, Templo Evangelico Emanuel.  Pastor Nelson Batista centered his sermon on the Fathers and we had a big luncheon in the Production Center after the service.

What struck Gary and I was one particular story concerning Nelson Osorto’s father.  Nelson was baptized several years ago when he gave his heart and soul to the Lord.  Nelson is our computer/Bible/English teacher and interim pastor in Nelson Batista’s absence.  Like so many scenarios in Honduras, Nelson’s father abandoned him and his mother when Nelson was young. Nelson’s mother worked several jobs in order to make a living and pay for his education.

Nelson was able to get a job on a cruise ship and earned enough money to build his mother and family a house.  Nelson would hand carry the cement blocks up the steep mountain side to build the house.  Nelson’s father happened to live at the bottom of that mountain and watched Nelson work so hard, but never reach out to help.

When Nelson started preaching in the church, his father showed up one day.  What an incredible surprise and blessing.  Our prayer has been his father would come to Christ and restore the relationship.  What a thrill it was to get this picture of Nelson’s father at the Father’s Day service in church with Nelson’s arm around his father praying.  God always trumps wounds with his incredible love.

The Beginning

April 15, 1999

It all begin with prayer.

 

At the beginning of 1999 the Gary and Cheryl Kuney had no plans to become missionaries. They were raising their five children in a comfortable suburb of Tulsa Oklahoma.  Gary worked in management at a local hospital and their lives were on a predictable path.  Everything felt right except that deep within their hearts they felt as if something was missing, as if God had more and so they began to pray.

 

During that year they felt God leading them in a new direction, one that seemed radical.  Together they stood at a fork in the path, feeling increasingly that God’s calling lay not only in a new vocation but in an entirely different country.  What would this mean for family and friends, for their finances and future…and yet the call on their hearts was undeniable.  By the end of that year the Kuney family with the exception of one daughter away at school had  moved to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

 

Since that time the stories of God’s faithfulness are too many to recount.  Gary and Cheryl have joyfully seen God change the hearts and lives of individuals searching for truth. They have gained precious partners in ministry and service, both those born in Honduras and those born in America.   From short term mission trips to long term involvement God has led fellow workers, givers, servants and prayer partners to join the Gathering Hearts team in sharing Christ’s message of love and hope.  A message of love and hope that continues to resonate not only in Honduras but in communities and families in the United States as well.

 

Today the Gathering Hearts ministry has developed a variety of programs to show God’s love in Honduras and inspire all Christians to have a global vision for the church and the gospel.  While we believe that vocational training, ESL classes, Computer courses, medical clinics and other opportunities are critical tools empowering strength and dignity we know that these things alone are not enough. A transformed society must have transformed people and so we have committed ourselves to training and service but most importantly to bringing our friends to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.  For this purpose Gathering Hearts exists, working both directly and with local Honduran churches so that all may know the good news!

 

Your gifts, prayers, and service are all a part of this ministry! We thank God for all of our friends who share our burden for gathering hearts for Christ in Honduras.