Awesome August

YCamp3August 2-4, we were blessed to have 5 of our youth attend the Baptist Association Youth Camp that is held annually here on the island. They had very primitive camp conditions at a beach near Camp Bay (sleeping directly on the sand, cooking all meals outdoors, 5 minute timed showers, etc.) but despite the conditions they had a great weekend together.  The theme this year was “Shine” from Matthew 5:15-16.  I (David) also had the opportunity to teach a session during camp on evangelism and how to share their personal testimonies.

Also, on August 3, Sidney celebrated her 16th birthday! We praise God for another year of life for her. Even though she wasn’t home she had a blessed day and everyone at camp sang happy birthday to her as well.

p1IMG_3506August 3-6, we hosted a team from Project Playground out of Conroe, TX.  We were blessed to get to partner with them, Roatan Children’s Ministry and the leadership of our Santos Guardiola Municipality to bring 5 playgrounds to communities across the island.  The Lord graciously worked everything out for us to be able to place the largest playground on the island right here on the point in Oak Ridge at our Fishers of Mens Sports Field!

Amazingly enough, the largest playground on the island was assembled in just over 12 hours. All the playground pieces were loaded from the shipping container into an empty garbage truck. Then driven into Oak Ridge and some pieces were loaded into our boat and carried across the harbor to the point and larger pieces were put in the empty “garbage boat” and carried across the harbor.  Then we worked together to hand carry each piece (including a 450 lb. rock wall) from the dock to the construction area. Project Playground brought their own construction crew and we worked alongside them for just over 12 hours straight to get the playground installed. It was hard work in the hot sun but it was actually so much fun. The playground was closed for 48 hours for the cement to set and then we held a grand opening and dedication ceremony for the new community playground.

This playground is such a blessing to families in our community as there has never been anything like this in Oak Ridge for children to enjoy.  Even the local schools are bringing their students throughout the week to enjoy playing on it also.  We are excited to have another means of evangelism and outreach too as the playground is usually pretty crowded with kids and families playing every evening.  We praise God for how He opened doors that allowed these playgrounds to be brought to Roatan!

IMG_6467August 15-17, Gretta was asked to be the speaker for the R Church Women’s Retreat in West Bay. R Church is a non-denominational church that is mostly comprised of expats. The theme of their retreat was “Soul Detox”. Gretta enjoyed making new friends as she spent time at the retreat with these ladies, enjoyed sweet times of worship and prayer, and she enjoyed sharing the messages the Lord had given her for this event.

IMG_6400I was recently asked to facilitate a men’s Bible study that would be open to men from all over the east end of the island (where we live).  The owner of Lionfish Louie’s restaurant at Beach Club Roatan is a Christian and he desired to make his restaurant available for this Bible study on Saturday mornings.  He provides free coffee and a very discounted breakfast menu for all the men who come for the study.  We enjoy a delicious breakfast and time of fellowship together, then we read a passage of scripture, then I share some teaching on this passage/subject, followed by open discussion about how to apply what we’ve studied to our everyday lives and then we close in prayer together.  We have had a great turnout each week and lots of great discussions as well.  Please pray for me as I teach and lead these men each week and also pray for them to grow spiritually and be bold witnesses for the gospel in the different communities they live in.

 

Summer Update (June/July 2019)

IMG_4902Family Mission Team from Alaska – We got to host a precious family from Alaska (Pastor Bob, his wife Kathy and their daughter Jennifer, her husband Michael and their 3 awesome kids). They hosted a super fun VBS at the church here and everyone enjoyed a great time at “Operation Arctic” VBS! We all got to enjoy the Baptist conference together and we also got to spend time with their family just hanging out together and having fun. Thanks to Michael, I even got to do 2 “first” for him here – saltwater fishing & playing golf and loved them both! All 7 of them blessed our family in so many ways during their time here and we got a taste of what it would be like to have teammates on the field too (and it sure was a great feeling)! Please pray for this dear family as they seek the Lord’s will for their future and as they all begin a new school year (Kathy, Michael & Jennifer are all teachers at a Christian school).

IMG_4904fd82a195-4827-4fef-9dac-40e3bec4e956Men’s & Women’s Meetings – June 7 & 8 we were blessed to host a men’s meeting on Friday night at our church and a women’s meeting Saturday night at our church. There were 54 men in attendance on Friday night and 63 women attended on Saturday. I gave the message for the men’s meeting and Gretta shared a message with the women. It is such a beautiful thing to be able to come together as evangelical Christians from across the island to worship, pray and fellowship with one another.

Annual Conference 20192019 Annual Baptist Association Conference – June 12-16 was the annual Baptist Association Conference. The conference was held at First Baptist Church in Coxen Hole. They had worship services each evening at 7:00pm and the conference lasted all day on Saturday & Sunday.  I taught at one of the workshops on Sunday afternoon and Abbey, Gretta & I also did several worship songs throughout the conference.

Youth Interns – We were so honored to get to host 2 youth interns this summer also.  Alisha came from our home church (Crosshaven Church) in Alabama and she spent 2 weeks with us. She had never flown or been out of the country so this was a huge step for her.  She stepped out of her comfort zone a lot on this trip and got to experience day-to-day life on the mission field (including no air conditioning).  Makynzie came from Central Church in TX and she spent a month with us. She had previously been here back in March with the youth mission team from Central. For one week, both girls were here together at our house and it was so much fun. One night during our youth Bible study, Makynzie did oral Bible storying while Alisha drew an art piece that coordinated with the story being told. Both girls feel a calling to mission work and so it was encouraging to get to hear their hearts, see their gifts be used during their time here and be able to answer all their questions about what mission work really looks like. In August, Alisha will be starting her 2nd year of college in Alabama and Makynzie will be starting Blinn College where Abbey will also be attending. Please pray for both of these girls that the Lord will lead and guide them for His will for their lives and that they will do well in their college studies also.

IMG_5486The Mescher’s Visit from Reaching & Teaching – We enjoyed having Scott Mescher & his wife Corey with us. Scott is on staff with our mission agency, Reaching & Teaching International Ministries and serves as the Director of Short-Term Missions. He provided a weekend training seminar for pastors and church leaders and it was very encouraging to local pastors and leaders here to learn about the potential of having a training site here in Roatan. Corey was also a huge blessing to Gretta as it is so nice to have a staff wife come and spend time with Gretta sharing life together as Moms. The Mescher’s also have 3 kids who are the same ages as our kids so Gretta and Corey had lots in common. They also brought some 4th of July decorations and we did a cookout together to celebrate (even though it isn’t celebrated in Honduras). We also enjoyed showing them what the Lord is doing in Roatan and we all enjoyed a wonderful, fun week with them.

July salvationsYouth Salvations – So thankful to God that 3 of our students have given their lives to Jesus and made professions of faith! Jamir is Wyatt’s age and they have been friends since our first visit to the island in January 2016. Jamil is a senior in high school and Edwardo is a college graduate who is working as an accountant for a local company.  We are excited to see what God has in store for them as they serve God and grow spiritually. Revival is happening with the youth and college age students in Oak Ridge and it’s exciting to see God at work and changing lives here. I will begin discipling these guys soon and Gretta is going to start discipleship with one of the high school senior girls who has been a Christian for several years but has never been discipled and now she desires to be discipled. So please be praying for these students and for us as we disciple and help these students to grow spiritually.

teamCentral Church Mission Team – It was a wonderful experience getting to host a team of 26 people from Central Church in Bryan-College Station, TX and we loved getting to know all them and serve together. They had a construction crew that built a privacy fence at IPB School (the local Christian school here in Oak Ridge), a team that did a Spanish VBS in the community of First Bight and each night they did a worship concert in different communities around the east end of the island. They worked incredibly hard and put in long hours each day but did it all with smiles, joy and pure excitement. This team also became very special to us as this is the church Abbey will be part of while she is in college. We are so thankful to God for the beautiful “family of God” He has given her there at Central Church and it was great to make so many sweet friends from the team who will be loving on our girl while she is in college and so far away from her family.  You can watch a video recap of their trip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFuP2v-tsNo&t=12s

IMG_5762Abbey left for college – On July 22, Abbey flew to Bryan-College Station, TX with the mission team from Central to begin her college years. She will be starting classes at Blinn College in late August and she has already started working at her part-time job at the church. Letting her go was SO hard but this is the next step in God’s plan for her life and He has opened some incredible doors for her to even have this opportunity so we know she is right where He wants her to be. She is settling in well and staying very busy (which helps her not be homesick) and every time we video chat she is all smiles, joyful and full of stories of things she has done and new experiences. Please pray for her that she will feel at home and not be too homesick, that she will do well in her studies and that she will find her place serving in the church there as well. Pray for us here in Hondruas as we adjust to this “new normal” with her being gone because it is so hard not to have her with us.

Weekend of Rejoicing – It was a weekend of rejoicing here in Oak Ridge! On Saturday night, I was blessed to officiate the wedding of one of our college age students, Ryan and his new wife Karina. This was also my first time to officiate a bilingual wedding. I did the English and Dylan, one of the youth from our church, translated it into Spanish as the bride’s family only spoke Spanish. Please pray for Ryan & Karina as they begin their new lives together as one.

Then Sunday afternoon, I had the honor of baptizing one of our high school seniors, Jamil. It is always such a beautiful thing to see these young people giving their lives to Jesus and following Him in baptism. Keep Jamil in prayers also as he begins discipleship, starts serving in church and shares his faith with his family and friends.

 

Pandy Town Kids Krusade

On May 27-31, we were asked to help a mission team from Warrior Church of God in Warrior, AL with a week long “Kids Krusade” at the church in Pandy Town.  We took our boat over to the church each evening and some of our youth kids joined us to go help.  The 1st night we were headed over, the Lord put a beautiful rainbow in the sky above us as we traveled.

The church was full of kids each evening and the theme of the Kids Krusade was a sports theme with a focus on “being on God’s team”.  The kids got to play a sports-themed game as they arrived, they learned a Bible point for the night, they heard a Bible story and sang lots of high-energy songs too.

One of our favorite parts was toward the end when they would do the worship song and prayer.  The song was “Your Love is Deep”.  The words to it were pretty repetitive but were so powerful.  It talked about how deep, how high, how long and how wide is the love of Jesus for us. The kids quickly caught onto the motions and were singing along with us after the first day.

On Friday night, they hosted a big block party at the basketball court at Pandy Town.  There was music, food, games and each family that came got a soccer ball and a bag of clothes to take home.  Sorry we didn’t get pictures that night because we were busy playing and having fun with the kids all evening!

We enjoyed getting to know the folks on this mission team also. They are from a town not far from where David grew up so it was fun having some “folks from home” to spend the week with. Of course, hearing “Roll Tide” repeatedly was sweet too.  We had a wonderful week serving with them and thank them for taking time to come bless the kids in our community and teach them more about God!

Preaching Opportunities

On Wednesday, May 22, David was asked to preach at a men’s meeting at the French Cay Church of God.  The Lord gave him a very clear message of what to preach.  It was a call to be Godly leaders of their homes, churches and communities. There were about 42 men in attendance that evening.  They sang worship songs, prayed, David preached, they had a time of prayer and then enjoyed a delicious meal of conch soup, sandwich, rice cake and sodas.

On Sunday morning, May 26, David preached at Coxen Hole Baptist Church. Every 2 months, the Baptist Association does a “preacher swap” where you go to one of the other churches in the Association and their pastor comes to your church.  We really enjoy these times because we get to worship with other churches on a Sunday morning and see how they do their services.  It’s always interesting how each church is slightly different in their format and worship.  The church asked us to lead 3 worship songs during the service also and then David preached on “We Must Hold Fast”.

After service, Pastor Glenn and his sweet wife Aminta invited us to their home for lunch.  Pastor Glenn is the current President of the Baptist Association here on the island. We enjoyed delicious Chinese food and a wonderful cake for lunch.  Most of all, we enjoyed sweet fellowship with them.  Their home sits high up on a hill and overlooks the island with beautiful views.

We thank God for the ways He uses David to spread the gospel and especially encourage men to be leaders of this island.  David feels called to work with youth/children and raise up Godly male leadership in homes, churches and communities here on Roatan.  We thank God for every opportunity He gives us to do those things.

Mother’s Day 2019

Mother’s Day began a day early for us because Sunday’s at church are always super busy. So David and the kids took me out for a Mother’s Day dinner on Saturday.  We went to Creole Rotisserie Chicken in West End and enjoyed a most delicious meal and a tropical carrot cake for dessert. On the way back to the car after dinner, we couldn’t help but take a few pics with the beautiful sunset.

On Sunday morning, the church held their traditional Mother’s Day program where the kids and youth all recite poems or sing songs for their Moms.  Abbey did a song with some of the youth guys and Wyatt and Abbey both recited a poem. Sidney did not want to participate in the program this year and we told her we would not make her do it.
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After the kids said their parts, they presented their Mom with roses and a daisy.  Daisies are my favorite flowers and of course, the roses smelled really good also.

After the program, the church hosted a Mother’s Day luncheon of BBQ chicken, rice, macaroni and cheese and a roll with a piece of cake for desert.  2 ladies at church had also decorated a wall of the church so beautifully with handmade flowers to make a photo spot for families.  It was a blessed and very special Mother’s Day weekend!

Eco Caribbean Culture Park

We were invited to go for a private tour of the newly opened Eco Caribbean Culture Park in Hottest Sparrow here on the island.  John Nelson is a fellow Pastor with the Baptist Association and he and his sweet wife recently opened this new tourist spot.

It was not only an extremely beautiful place to visit but also very educational.  John was a wonderful tour guide as he walked us through the park and taught us so much about the flora and fauna of the plants and flowers that are native to this island.  He also told us how some of them were used medicinally and how you could cook with others.

He even gave us “samples” of some of the things we got to see such as cashews (picture above in the top middle and top right pictures).  We also got to eat “miracle berries” that are from China (bottom left picture).  It was all delicious too!  One of the other interesting things found in the park is the rock carvings.  Men here on the island sculpted rocks to tell stories of the history not only of Roatan but also of mainland Honduras as well.  All throughout the park, you can find various rock carvings and every rock tells a story!

We enjoyed such a wonderful morning touring this amazing Eco Cultural Park and highly recommend it if you are visiting Roatan because not only will you be amazed at the beauty of it but you also will learn so much too.  Thank you John & Sandra for treating our family to such a blessed time at your new place!

Easter 2019

IMG_3916We were blessed to enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend here in Honduras.  Gretta and Abbey flew back in late Thursday evening and we were all happy to be all together again just in time for Easter.
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On Friday, the church held their yearly Good Friday worship service from 10:00AM – Noon.  They sang songs and David preached a message on the cross.
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Sunday Morning began with sunrise service at 4:30AM (yes, you read that correctly…4:30AM).  10 people gathered to sing praise songs, read scripture and pray as the sun came up on Easter Sunday.

During the children’s Sunday school class, they told the story of Easter and how it’s not about the Easter bunny but about Jesus Christ, our living Savior.  Then they hosted an egg/candy hunt for the kids.  They filled the front yard of the church with candy and plastic eggs filled with candy for the kids to hunt.

At the worship service, the kids did their traditional Easter program.  The kids and youth all said poems and Bible verses and David shared a short message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gospel message.

That afternoon at 4:30PM, we hosted an Easter egg hunt and fellowship for the youth group.  We hid 8 prize eggs with cash prizes of lempiras ranging from 1 lempira to 500 lempiras.  There was also candy bags of “American candy”, chips, sodas and Gretta made jelly bean cupcakes. They also played several games and enjoyed being together.
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We had a very blessed Easter this year and thank God for such a beautiful weekend remembering that the grave was not the final destination of Jesus and that we serve a living Savior and have an eternal hope of heaven!
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