Family 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).
Men’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.
2019 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.
The 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.
Youth 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.
Central 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
Abbey 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.