Our Heartbeat Jesus’ disciples found themselves overwhelmed by a crowd of hungry people. They were equally overwhelmed by the reality that they had no food to satisfy the people’s need--- at least that is what the disciples assumed. They ran to Jesus asking him to solve the problem since they had witnessed other occasions when he turned water into wine or healed the sick. Surely he had the ability and compassion to provide food for a hungry crowd! Jesus’ response surprised them. He gave instructions to look around and see what was already available to them. Surprisingly, they found a boy who had some bread and fish and was willing to share. Perhaps there were others there who also had food to share. How often are we quick to run to God asking for resources, answers or solutions to the problems we face? We fail to hear the voice of God saying to us, “Consider what you already have.” As Heart to Honduras walks alongside our Honduran brothers and sisters, we resist thinking we have the solutions to their problems or that we can provide all the resources they need. Instead we listen and call each other to consider the resources God has already made available.
Pastor Melvin of Achiotal, Honduras tells about a time in the life of his church when a place of worship and fellowship became critical to their community. At first, the church members looked at each other and asked, “How can we build a church building? We are poor and have no resources.” But one brother was listening to the voice of Jesus and spoke up, “I have an oak tree I could cut down and use to make the corner posts.” Immediately, another brother added, “I have an olive tree I will cut down to make the rafters.” This prompted another brother to say, “I have a pine tree I will cut down to supply whatever else is needed.” As other Christian brothers and sisters began to consider what they had to offer, it didn’t take long for the church in Achiotal to build a place of worship and community. Today the Church of Three Trees stands as a testament to what can be done when God’s people utilize the resources already given to them. What has God already given you, that when shared, could transform your life as well as the lives of others in the world?
Randy Bargerstock Ministry Developer/President
Partners in Transformattion Godâ€™s plan has always been for His children to work collaboratively in addressing the challenges of life on earth. This plan is echoed throughout Godâ€™s Word but especially in the words of Ecclesiastes 4:12 . . . A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Heart to Honduras trusts the truth of Ecclesiastes 4:12 and works diligently to forge an unbreakable cord of multiple strands. We refer to the strands that form this braided cord as Partners in Transformation. In Honduras and the United States, partners emerge from a variety of sources including community leaders, churches, ministries, colleges, and businesses. Heart to Honduras works to bring partners from different nations and cultures into a shared covenant relationship. Each partner brings their unique gifts and experiences to share with the other, never sensing one partner is better or more blessed. Partners see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ who have much to learn, much to change, and much to give. The relationship is mutually edifying and mutually transforming. Heart to Honduras considers itself an equal partner and third strand in this relationship. Although we have been serving in this capacity for over 27 years, we also have much to learn, change, and give. As part of the cord, our primary roles are to foster understanding, to navigate cross-cultural differences,
to form disciples, to elevate dignity, to steward resources, to listen well, to work for peace, and to point everyone to the God of love and Giver of Life. In June, three partners came together for the first time in the community of Achiotal, Honduras. Members of the local church and community led by Pastor Melvin Martinez welcomed members from Centerville Christian Fellowship in Ohio and members of the HTH-CPH ministry team. These three partners began their covenant journey by walking through the neighborhood streets of Achiotal. Citizens came out of their homes to welcome the unlikely and diverse team. The expectancy in the eyes of the people reflected the hope of God doing something new in their community. The week in Achiotal was filled with wonderful moments of cultural and relational exchange which included traditional music, food, and games as well as stories acted out by children. The team and the community participated in work and worship together, always attempting to communicate, punctuating moments with laughter and prayer. The team in Achiotal proves Partners in Transformation are not simply united by a common task to be accomplished. Rather they are united by their common love of God and all that God loves. And while the human eye may struggle to see the changes set in motion during this week in Achiotal, a transforming movement of God has begun as His children walk and work together: a triple-braided cord, not easily broken.
Boston Stoker Partners in Transformation
Formation and transformation mark our life in Christ. God forms us into the image of Christ and transforms our lives into things of beauty for the sake of the gospel. At Heart to Honduras, we find ourselves in a kairos moment of rebranding and refocusing our partnership model so that it might be an even more effective means of impacting both people and places in Honduras. We call it Partners in Transformation. Partners come together across all sectors of our North American society--churches, businesses, non-profits, schools, universities, individuals and families--to join with Corazรณn Para Honduras/Heart to Honduras (CPHTH). We combine our efforts and energies with specific Honduran communities in Asset-based Community Development. We know that together we can accomplish so much more than any one or two parts could alone! One such Partner in Transformation is a Dayton, OH area business, the Boston Stoker Coffee Co. In operation since 1973, Boston Stoker operates five coffee shops in the Dayton area and one store in Columbus, OH. They roast over 150,000 pounds and serve over 1 million cups of coffee each year.
The Boston Stoker partnership began when they started buying and roasting particular Honduran coffee with the expressed desire to benefit Heart to Honduras. For each bag they sold, they provided a donation to the ministry. In 2012, Boston Stoker raised the bar on partnership. They launched a contest to promote sales of the CPHTH coffee. Through this contest, the store manager who excelled in the contest promotion, as well as the two topselling baristas, would win a free trip to travel to Honduras with CPHTH. We caught up with Boston Stoker employees, J. Stanton, Director of Sales and Marketing, and Julie Whetstone, Store Manager of the Troy, OH store, to chat with them about their experience partnering with Heart to Honduras. Julie threw herself wholeheartedly into the contest that first year, and won the top manager spot on the team. Just ask her about this experience--her first time out of the country--and you will see the joy gush from her heart. Her eyes sparkle as she discusses being humbled and awed by the people of Honduras. Their faith, joy, spirit of servanthood, humble gratitude, love for one another, and genuine sense of
community impacted Julie and brought her back to Ohio a different person. “It was all I could ‘eat, drink, and sleep’ once I returned home,” Julie marveled. J.’s heart to serve shines through as he describes his passion for our shared work. When he interviewed for the job with Boston Stoker, it was largely the partnership with CPHTH that captivated him. He realized that Boston Stoker’s commitment to community service could help “to satisfy my soul’s need to do good in the world.” J. reflects on his first trip, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had all these thoughts about what it would be like, but…it never is what it was, and it’s often more beautiful and more grand. This was precisely my experience.” He laughed, “I thought we’d go down and build a house, turn over the keys; I’m picturing the bus moving from Extreme Makeover Home Edition…it wasn’t anything like that.” The house build quickly became secondary to building relationships with the people of the village. It would seem that J.’s heart became God’s primary project. Through our Partners in Transformation model, Boston Stoker is excited to share their assets— their knowledge, skills, and expertise--with the Honduran community which they would be in direct relationship. They look forward to offering simple tools and techniques that might help the farmers improve their beans and crops, producing better coffee so that they can increase their profits. “That’s important to us,” J. stated, “because our mission is to give back to the communities that produce our coffee.” Julie added, “I’m excited...to impact the whole village and be able to see the fruits of the labor, not only for us but for them as well… It’s all about building relationships, I think.”
Ideally, CPHTH team members return home as better catalysts for change in their local spheres of influence. J. and Julie describe and embody this phenomenon. Since they returned from Honduras, their lives are characterized by greater humility, deeper gratitude, a growing ability to “savor the moment,” a keener awareness of the needs around them, and a hunger for authentic community. J. reflects, “We [live like] we don’t need each other here [in the US]...We’re kings and queens of our own domiciles, but we’re not connected…” He continues, “The experience has changed me in ways I never expected. I really don’t care about material possessions anymore…I have much less patience for first world problems. I have a lot more gratitude.” Passionate partners like Boston Stoker embody the beauty of transformative partnership. J. maintains, “I tell people now when they talk about vacation plans: ‘[You could] spend a couple thousand dollars going to the beach…but if you want your world changed [go serve in Honduras].” This unforgettable experience, he goes on to affirm, “is what God is and where God is.”
J. and Julie see great value in the CPHTH model. J. observed, “You do what’s so important and that’s not being the ‘white knights’ coming in, but helping the local community leverage their resources. That’s huge! That’s where I find a great amount of respect for Heart to Honduras. The community itself hasn’t been improved if someone just comes in and ‘takes care of them’… people learn to do things themselves.” As Julie reflected on characteristics of a strong partnership, she lifted up values such as trust, mutual respect, strong communication, teamwork, and a commitment to relationship. She has clearly “caught” the essence of CPHTH’s core values.
Meet Catalino Mendoza An omnipresent dust cloud seems to accompany the HTH/CPH Community Development truck. But as the truck arrives in Canchias, the dust settles and Catalino’s smiling face is waiting, squinting through the grime, as he leans on his crutches. With a bundle of documents clenched in his hand, he’s ready to get to work. He is not an NGO employee or an international visitor. He is a native Canchian, and he is shaping the future of his own community. In 2007, Catalino Mendoza set off from the small town of Canchias, Honduras in pursuit of the American dream. Having crossed Guatemala into Mexico, he climbed atop “the Beast (La Bestia).” This northbound train is famous among Central American immigrants as a convenient ride through Mexico. But the ride is seldom free, and many pay a high price for the quick lift. The Beast is constantly patrolled by drug cartels and frequently checked by the Mexican “migra” immigration officials at stops. Even if immigrants survive being captured by the cartels or being deported by the migra, riding on the roof of a swaying train often proves fatal. Every year, many of Catalino’s fellow pilgrims lose their lives to the train or lose their future to a cartel. Catalino was fortunate to only lose a leg to the train’s wheels.
Upon his return to Canchias, he was ashamed of his new physical condition. He struggled daily with feelings of failure and depression. He was no longer able to return to agriculture and work the ground as he once loved. All around him, his childhood friends were raising their own families. Daily, they walked past him into the surrounding fields to clear and till land, plant corn and beans, and harvest the fruits of their labor. As he sought alternative employment in the area, he struggled to find a good fit. He occasionally found clerical work in the larger towns of Meambar or Santa Cruz, but the stigma of his disability and geographical distance from his supportive parents and siblings made it difficult for him to retain jobs for long. As he worked through these difficulties, Catalino began to understand he had been given a valuable gift: the gift of time. Life is difficult in rural Honduras. Most community leaders work long, hard days in order to provide food and income for their families. But because he had no wife or children and now found himself frequently unemployed, Catalino realized he was in a unique position to overcome the time constraints that plague most community leaders. Catalino was now able to invest long, hard days into the progress of his community.
In 2015, the residents of Canchias recognized his efforts and Catalino was elected President of the Community Council of Canchias. Prior to his election, he had a significant role in the electrification initiative of the community of Canchias. This initiative was a large, community-wide effort valued at nearly $100,000. It required many clerical transactions and numerous trips to government offices for permits and meetings. Whenever the process required additional work, Catalino was the first to volunteer. He also encouraged others to continue moving forward. In April of 2016, under his leadership, the lights turned on all over town for the very first time! Canchias was now connected to the national electric grid.
Long after foreign visitors leave, Catalino will continue to help set the tone in Canchias by looking toward the future and looking out for the next generation. He is an eager advocate for Canchias and an effective collaborator with HTH and the local government. To us, Catalino is not just an afterthought in the development process; he is a leader in his community and in the development of the region. He reminds us the future of Honduras does not lie in the hands of foreigners, but in the hands of empowered, inspirational local leaders. With Christ before us and our brothers and sisters of Honduras beside us, we know a better future exists and Godâ€™s plan of redemption is being carried out as we walk together.
Pastoral Pig Initiative At HtH we get excited when an idea is conceived, discussed, planned and developed by our Honduran brothers and sisters. Recently, we were presented with an idea formulated in the hearts and minds of pastors from the local association of churches, Brazos Abiertos. These Honduran pastors recognize that for many years they have been dependent on the monthly offerings from their Sister Church in the USA. While they are extremely grateful for this regular contribution, the pastors are working to establish, not only within their churches but also within their own families, the dream of becoming self-sustainable. For several months, these nine pastors have been discussing the possibility of starting a collective hog farm. With one boar and three sows they could breed up to 30 piglets per breeding cycle. The piglets would be raised to maturity and then sold at market. The income generated from this collective hog farm could adequately sustain all nine pastoral families and eventually eliminate
the need for monthly offerings from the USA. The pastors have already taken inventory of their own resources and have determined what they can contribute to this initiative. Now they are looking for partners who will help this dream become a reality. An initial investment of $6000 is needed to purchase the boar and three sows. Imagine the impact of supporting a local initiative in Honduras! Your gift could help break the bonds of unhealthy dependency while also instilling confidence and dignity in the lives of Honduran pastors. As you consider what God has made available to you, would you also consider investing a portion of your resources into the lives of pastors who are working to transform their world? If you can help, please go to the project page of www.hth.org and look for the Pastoral Pig Initiative or call and talk with us at 937-372-3503.
Initiatives in Healthcare
“We are poor and don’t have any resources. We need to wait for international aid to come and provide free medical care, medication and prayer.” Norma, Argelia, and Doris, 2011
The women from Las Lomitas, who originally made this statement, have slowly changed over the years. Today, these same women are confidently teaching in health education fairs. Their teaching topics cover a wide variety of issues from hydration to hygiene. Most importantly, these women have realized they have the ability in Christ to change the future health of their community. Norma, Argelia, and Doris have teamed up to form a health advocacy committee in their village. Their newly discovered God-given resources, gifts and talents play key roles. The three women meet together to study the best and most current health practices. They share their findings with their women’s group, doing pre and post home visits, noting changes in practices and in health. Today, they are the ones helping their neighbors, even praying for them. The women are no longer dependent on the foreign “expert” because they have learned Christ is their guide and strength. Norma is a leader in the group of fifteen community women who meet once a week to study God’s Word. She uses her leadership abilities to encourage those same women to not only “clean up” their spiritual lives, but to also “clean up” their physical lives. She says, “We need to see a change and not continue in our accustomed way of life, waiting for a hand out. We can do something about our health.”
Argelia cannot read or write, yet she is one of the best communicators in her community. For years she was very quiet and would not speak up during meetings. Since she began attending the local church in 2014, however, she has been empowered to speak up frequently both in the church and in the health committee. Once she learns something and practices it, she becomes very confident and is able to share it with others. She not only teaches but she also sets a good example, walking with others on their journey to better health practices. Doris can be described as faithful. She is all about being punctual (yes they do exist in Latin America!). She is instrumental in organizing the committee to meet, plan, share, and make home visits. She has given of her own time and money to make things happen. She is the mother of four children and many times happily carries along her youngest, still nursing, son. This beautiful team of women has ups and downs, frustrations and setbacks, but that process is development. Through the process, they have grown spiritually, intellectually, and socially. To HTH, that is success! We believe true sustainable change only comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our role is to become acquainted with God’s people, learn with them through discipleship, and empower them to transform their world. Through Christ, Norma, Argelia, and Doris are hallmarks of success.
Giving the Gift of Giving Special occasions almost always involve gifts, and Leah and Mark Maurer’s 15th wedding anniversary was no different. After a lovely dinner, Mark handed an envelope to Leah. “When I opened it up, it was the gift of a project in Honduras.” Leah was delighted. Mark gave Leah a Heart to Honduras project entitled A House for Filomena. Filomena’s house is located in Caliche, Honduras. Through this gift, the Maurers provided the financing and the house was built, in part, by a team from Upper Arlington Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio. It was completed by Filomena’s family and a local contractor. “I see just how much goes into the project. There’s a lot of community involvement and I love that,” exclaims Mark. For him, it is thrilling to partner with so many others who are willing to give their time, skills, and resources to genuinely help someone in their community. Leah first traveled to Honduras with her youth group from Vero Beach Church of God. “My youth pastor told me we were going to Honduras over spring break my junior year of high school. I thought it would be fun and inspirational. But the trip was life-changing.” She returned a year later, again with her youth group. At that time, they still had to cross rivers and ride donkeys to get to the community. She recalls having to stop in the middle of a river to move big rocks so the truck could move on. In the difficulties of Honduras, Leah realized joy is not a result of circumstances; rather it comes from knowing the Lord.
Although Mark has never been to Honduras, he has clearly caught the vision. He and Leah continue to give the gift of giving as their love for Honduras spills into all parts of their lives. “We gave my mother a Mother’s Day gift of medical supplies for a mother in Honduras. My mother loves to hear updates and pray for that mother.” It is clear God has laid the people of Honduras on the hearts of Mark and Leah. Leah hopes someone will read this story and be inspired to give the gift of giving. She knows it is easy to get bogged down in materialism and she longs for generous people to refocus on others. Giving the gift of giving is an exciting way to connect or even reconnect with the ministry that is impacting lives in Honduras. If you would like to give the gift of a project or give a donation through Heart to Honduras, contact us or visit www.hth.org.
2016 Project Updates
Let there be light… Last year Heart to Honduras announced the Light for Canchias project to bring electricity to the people in the village of Canchias. In this collaborative project the local mayor provided 38% of the total purchase necessary and the local community provided 9% of the total purchase. This included 55 insulators, 1925 feet of cable, and two transformers in addition to the cost of labor. Fifty-three percent of the project cost, including payment for the electrical contractor, was provided by generous donors. Truly, the best things in life come through partnership! Imagine the excitement as the village was electrified! In June, the work was completed and the lights were turned on. The people of Canchias now have access to electricity in their community and in their homes. We rejoice in this fulfillment of a long-awaited dream.
Jon and Lorna Kardatzke Community Center
It’s been a year of transformation on the Santa Elena Campground property. As the Campamento Extremo ministry continues to grow, so does the infrastructure. Ground was broken for a new dining hall/community center this past November, and construction is now complete. The building serves as a gathering place for hungry young people to be nourished both physically and spiritually. On October 23, 2016, a celebration and dedication ceremony will take place on the property in Honduras. At this time, the community center will be named in honor of longtime HTH partners, Dr. Jon and Lorna Kardatzke (Lorna is HTH founder Charlie Smith’s sister). We will also dedicate two new camper cabins and will look forward to proclaiming God’s goodness, faithfulness, and purposes in our midst. We would love for you to join us for this time of celebration. Contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 372-3503 for more information.
PO Box 38 Xenia, Ohio 45385
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO RELEASE THE POTENTIAL IN THE PEOPLE OF HONDURAS. WOULD YOU CONSIDER A GIFT THROUGH HEART TO HONDURAS THIS YEAR? Your gifts support the ongoing work of Heart to Honduras for community development, discipleship training, capacity creation, and mission with Hondurans. This year 28 teams will work side by side with Honduran partners. Many Hondurans will start new businesses. Hundreds of youth will be discipled through Campamento Extremo Internacional camp ministry. All of this and much more release the potential of Hondurans to change their world, but it is only possible because of you.
GIVE AND PRAY THIS YEAR TO RELEASE THE POTENTIAL WITHIN YOU!