May 8, 2019
Dr. Jonathan Friend & Dr. Chris Stokes
Last week we had a medical “brigade” from Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa here at the mission center. This is the clinic established by Dr. James Green some years ago. There were three physicians, three nurses, a pharmacist, and a lens specialist. They were in the village of El Chile on Monday, and Campana on Tuesday. The rest of the week they were at our Mission Center in Los Portales. We had put out notices in the villages the week before, and more than 500 patients were seen in those five days. What a great blessing for all….. This week is back to “normal”. Cheryl will be spending much of her time with the students and teachers, both little kids and high school age. I will work with the carpentry class; and spend time in the villages. We also have a couple of regulatory issues pending which are very time consuming.
Have you noticed? The more you eat the more you eat; the more you pray the more you pray.
UPDATE – April 17, 2019
This past week we spent a lot of time in church meetings. There were 3 outdoor revival meetings; one church members meeting; and a fast and pray service on Sunday. The average time for a church meeting here in Honduras is 3 hours. That being the case, we spent 15 hours in church last week. Our church attendance is growing, and we praise the Lord for that. I have gotten a little more active in addressing groups in the Campana area. Saturday night I shared briefly at the local pastor’s convention in Campana, and Wednesday night I gave the message at church. I also meet with the carpentry class twice a week. Thursday morning (4/11) Cheryl had physical therapy in San Pedro; and she had the women’s service in the church tonight. She spoke on bearing one another’s burdens. This is especially focused to the village women’s ministry leaders.…Yesterday afternoon our children’s group presented an Easter presentation, costumes, script, and all. There were about 20 children involved. The Jesus Passion film was shown for all classes of older students. We had three showings to accommodate the schedules and capacity of the conference center. It had quite an impact. More than several students accepted Christ. Honduras shuts down for Holy Week (Semana Santa). All stores, businesses and schools closed as of noon today. Our church, Templo Evangelico Emanuel, will also show the Passion on Thursday afternoon with special services Friday and Sunday. Christ Presbyterian Church from Tulsa will arrive the end of this month, we so look forward to them coming and pray that God will bless their time here.
If you choose to live your life in the comfort zone you will never know for sure what you really believe about God.
UPDATE – March 29, 2019
Last Sunday our church, TEE, celebrated Father’s Day and invited some who normally do not attend church. There was a great response. The children provided special music and lunch was served afterwards.
Some will remember a lady from New Campana named Ramona. Several years ago she was run down by a motor cycle and had two major bones in her leg badly broken. She had surgery, but it didn’t go well; the metal they inserted in her legs started protruding through the skin, and soon she could no longer walk. About that time, Dr. Green (James Green from Tulsa) came to hold a medical clinic, and asked us to see about a restorative surgery to remove the metal and take care of the infection. She began improving right away. I have seen her twice this week and she has made great progress. She can walk now, and sometimes even walks without her cane. For awhile she had to be in a wheelchair.
Last week we had a dental clinic day thanks to some volunteer dentists from San Pedro. We continue to see more and more patients in the medical clinic four days a week.
For the classes, there are close to 300 attending classes now. We share the Gospel in each class.
Yesterday, March 28, was Cheryl’s birthday. The employees bought her a beautiful cake, and lovely necklace and earrings. Last night we had a very special birthday dinner in San Pedro with our Russian friends the Gillans. It was a great blessing.
UPDATE – Mar. 13, 2019
We finally got back to Honduras on February 26, nearly a month after we had planned. Our time up North in MI, OH, and KY were gratifying, but very cold and snowy. It has been years since I have driven in snow and ice. Mom Longstaff’s passing was difficult; yet remembering together her life of love and faith was a blessing. She will be greatly missed…. Three days after we returned to Honduras a team from Kalamazoo, MI arrived. On Saturday, March 2, there was an ordination service at the church officiated by pastor Dan Sarkipato, installing Nelson as the official pastor of our church, Templo Evangelico Emauual. A very special event as our pastor from Venezuela has not been able to return. On Sunday there was a baptismal service in the ocean. Four were baptized, this time by “our new pastor, Nelson”…. There were 11 members on the team, including two physicians assistants and a nurse. They, along with our own nurses saw 260 patients in five days. The team also hosted volleyball matches each day which included many of our local young people—and on Friday was a tournament. The group left on Saturday; the next group arrives the end of April. We have a lot to get caught up.
UPDATE – Feb 4, 2019
Well, January has come and gone and we are still in Tulsa. Cheryl had shoulder surgery on January 7, and is now in rehab. Our return date is now set for February 13. It is a tremendous blessing that we have Nicolas and Nelson and the other 18 employees at the Mission Center to keep things running. We, and especially Cheryl, normally communicate with them several times a day. Cheryl had made arrangements with her physician to be dismissed early from PT to leave for Honduras on February 13. However we have received word from her sister that her Mom has been put under hospice care. Therefore we will be making a trip to Michigan before returning to Honduras. We are just now collecting information regarding how soon to make the trip. Today (2/4) was the first day of classes at the mission center. Cheryl and Ellen LeGrone have spent a lot of time introducing a new curriculum, lesson plans, a new student handbook with new rules, etc. We’re depending on our Honduras staff to implement all of the changes.
UPDATE- Dec. 12, 2018
- We got back to Tulsa last Tuesday (12/4); the trip was pretty much uneventful. A day earlier we said good-bye to Denny Boersema. He spent ten days with us working on the education program. He and Cheryl worked on new applications of curricula, as well as procedural handbooks for students and teachers. On the same day that Denny arrived, a group from Beacon Hill Baptist in OK was just leaving. Candy Matheny and her parents have been running the 1000 Christmas gifts project since 2007. This time Candy and her mom, Collene Jennings, along with Linda Thornhill, Avery Johnson, and Phillip Deckard came along. It was a great experience for all. First of all, the container came in much faster this year. The boxes were in our warehouse by the time Jim Redyke and the group from First Methodist had arrived. This year we went further back into the “jungle like area” to hand out the gifts. Over past couple of weeks we have had several meetings regarding the future of our Honduras church. Since Nelson Batista has been held in Venezuela so much of the time, the decision was made to ordain Nelson Osorto, so he can do baptisms, communion, marriages, etc. He is working on a seminary degree. For now the two Nelsons will be co-pastors…..Just before we left on Tuesday we had Saturday graduation at Gathering Hearts. A real highlight was when the 94 graduates sang songs and hymns in English. We served sit-down lunch to about 200 students and family. Later in the day we attended junior high graduation at the private school where we and other Gathering Hearts participants scholarship students. That was a very special time also…. Before leaving Honduras we also had several meetings about the land for our soccer field. The deal was sealed just before we left.
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Sometimes I think we may be fuel for the unbeliever when the things we preach are not the things we do.
Newsletter 2018 available as PDF
Newsletter 2018 available as PDF.
UPDATE – Nov. 14, 2018
We are currently getting the container with 1000 children’s Christmas gifts every other year—and this is the year!
Furthermore, this year we got the container in record time. In years past it has arrived as late as the end of December, and at a much greater cost. This week Nicolas, Joel, and I have gone into the villages of Tronconera and El Sauce registering the kids and giving them a ticket for a gift. We began this program in early 2000 and we met many adults in those villages who remembered receiving one of our gifts when they were a child. We have yet to hand out tickets in Seis de Mayo; and then next week we plan to distribute the gifts. Candy Matheny and Celline, who have headed this project since 2007. will be arriving this week to help with the distribution. Avery Johnson will also be coming, as well as Linda Thornhill, and Mr. Deckard.
Things are going well in the other parts of the ministry. Last week 20 dump truck loads of fill dirt leveled the lots where the new classroom building will be built. Classes are lively as we come to the end of another year. Graduation will be in two weeks; Denny Boersema from Michigan will be here for that.
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It’s hot as we pray for the soccer field.
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.
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