The Lord gave us an amazing ministry opportunity to host Christafari, the #1 Christian reggae group in the world, for a Friday night concert here on Oak Ridge Point where we live. Christafari are musicinaries which means they travel to over 80 different countries a year using their gifts of music to share the gospel and they raise their own support as missionaries. This end of the island had never had a concert like this before so it was a huge event for everyone!
We were asked to coordinate all the logistics and event planning for this concert in Oak Ridge and we also had the privilege of hosting the band in our home for the day as well. We had an amazing day with the band and enjoyed getting to know them personally, fellowshipping and having fun with them at our house, praying over them before the concert and then worshipping with them at the concert that night.
They did 3 concerts across the island over the weekend but our concert in Oak Ridge was the largest crowd of the 3! On Saturday, the band invited us to come to the music festival where they were performing that night. They invited Abbey to join them at our friends house where they were staying that day. She got to spend several hours having fun with them, playing music together, they talked to her in great detail about life as a musicinary, and they made lots of great memories together. Then we all got to enjoy their concert that evening as a family.
Then on Sunday afternoon, Christafari gave Abbey an incredible opportunity and they asked her to be their opening act before that concert. She literally played on stage right before Christafari took the stage. She performed 2 Christian songs she had written herself and also did a few covers of Christian songs. Abbey plans to study music in college and hopes to one day be a musicinary like Christafari. The way Christafari poured into her over the weekend was such a blessing! They literally allowed her to do life right with them, answered questions and gave her lots of helpful thoughts and tools, and even gave her hands-on experience by allowing her to open for them.
On Monday morning, Christafari invited us to join them for a day of fun at the beach. We got to go snorkeling with all the band, ride kayaks and paddleboards, enjoy a delicious oceanside dinner, and just enjoy relaxing and having fun together after a very busy but extremely blessed weekend together.
Most importantly, Christafari clearly shared the gospel at each concert. Not only are all their songs Christian songs but the band members even shared their personal testimonies throughout the concert as well. Lives were changed through their concerts and it was a beautiful way to evangelize and share Christ in a unique way. There are people that we can invite to church over and over but they will never step foot inside a church building. So having unique ways to evangelize and share the gospel like was done with this concert are an incredible ministry tool. People came to this concert who have never been to church…and they heard the gospel, they heard how Jesus changed lives and redeemed and restored and broke chains of sin and bondage. Seeds were planted and God will continue to water them. We LOVED getting to know Christafari and pray that the Lord will continue to use them as mightily as He did during their time in Roatan as they travel around the world singing and sharing Christ.
If you aren’t familiar with Christafari, check out their YouTube channel. Also, the video Love Supreme was filmed here on the island of Roatan last year too!
March 9-16 we were incredibly blessed to host a youth mission team from Central Church in Bryan/College Station, TX. There were 12 youth who were all high school seniors or college students and 4 adult leaders. We had an incredible week with them and they did so much ministry to bless our community, our church and especially our family.
2 mornings they went out and did food distributions and shared their testimonies to 2 different areas in our community. 2 mornings they did painting projects at the school where we teach, 1 small group also painted and put traction on a wheelchair ramp, and every afternoon they did a 2 hour VBS for kids ages 6-12 at church. On Friday morning, we took them out for a fun day and they go to visit the Sloth & Monkey Hangout, the Iguana Park and swim in the ocean. We also took them on a boat tour of the mangroves in our area as well. We loved having them with us and they were truly a blessing in every way as they served here.
You can watch a YouTube video of their mission trip by clicking here!
School here started here on February 4. David & I were invited to opening convocation as we are both teaching at the school this year. David was given the opportunity to share a word of encouragement and pray over the kids and faculty also. David is teaching 2 Bible classes for 6th-9th grades and Gretta is teaching 3 classes (1st-3rd grades, 4th grade and 5th grade). Please pray for these students and the faculty as their school year goes from February – November.
This tree is so unique in both its roots and markings.
Iguanas are a pretty common sight here on the island. There are several different kinds of iguanas found here too. This iguana was just hanging out on the side of the road one day.
Our dog had puppies a few months ago and we decided to keep 2 of them so we have plenty of security around the house. Wyatt loves the puppies and claims them as his own. They are named Zeus and Athena. Every time Wyatt gets in his hammock on the back porch, the puppies think they are supposed to be in it with him.
The Lord recently provided some funds for us to be able to get some much needed repairs done on our vehicle (like new brakes, new shocks, electronic dashboard repaired, new tire rods, etc.). We took the car to the mechanic on February 1st and the mechanic got the repairs completed on March 2nd (nothing happens fast around here). During the month, the mechanic sent us an “update pic” of our car. To be honest, when he sent it, we were a little scared but when we got the car back, it was in perfect condition and everything worked great. We still need to get the timing belt repaired and some new tires but we are trusting the Lord for the necessary funds for that.
We got to spend the morning with some dear friends of ours from our church in Los Fresnos, TX! They came in on a cruise ship and docked here for the day. These precious friends and their children were so special to us when we lived in Los Fresnos and it was so encouraging and exciting to get to be with them again. We also got to practice our Spanish language acquisition with them too and had lots of laughs and good times together that morning.
Abbey turned 18 years old on March 8. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital as a tiny blessing from God and learning how to be parents. She has been a gift from the start and we know that God has great things in store for her even though it’s hard for us to let her spread her wings and fly into this next season of life as she leaves for college. We are incredibly proud of everything she is and everything she is going to be as she continues to put the Lord first and follow Him.
David turned 42 years old on February 7 and I asked the ladies at church to help me throw him a surprise birthday party. These precious friends went above and beyond for him and gave him the biggest and most special surprise party ever! They wouldn’t even let me do anything to help with it other than letting people know about it. They took care of decorations, all the food, etc.
David had NO idea and was completely surprised! We were supposed to have youth Bible study that night so I asked a couple of the youth to show up for it and the rest went on to church for the party. During the Bible study, a lady from church called to tell David they were all at church for prayer meeting but the power went out and they couldn’t get it to come back on. The church had some electrical work done recently so it wasn’t super suspicious for David to hear that. He quickly headed up there and walked into a dark classroom only to be surprised by about 50+ friends from church and the community including fellow evangelical pastors and their wives from our area. .
David said it made him think of how amazing heaven is going to be and he felt so loved and special by their outpouring of love and kindness. We are incredibly blessed to be . part of such an amazing church and community here in Oak Ridge.
We (finally!) got our 5 year Honduran residency visas as religious workers. These are our temporary Honduran ID cards until the permanent ones come in 3 months. This has been a 10 month process but we know God’s timing is always perfect. Thankfully we never had to leave the country to make a “visa run” but we had to go to immigration every month, pay for monthly visa extensions (which are not cheap) and then go back to immigration 3 days later to pick up our stamped passports each month. It takes about an hour and a half (one way) for us to get to the immigration office so this was time consuming and expensive. So we give God all the praise & the glory for having this 5 year visa as it is not easy to get a 5 year visa for religious purposes.
The immigration office is not a super fun place to hang out but yesterday while we were doing our final residency papers, we met the sweetest couple who were in there also. Jordan & Desiree are sailing around the world and are currently here in Roatan. They were so much fun to talk with and get to hear about their life and experiences. They patiently answered all the kids questions and even were encouraging to them to follow their dreams and pursue their goals. We had a great time talking with them and getting to know one another. You can learn more about their adventures on their Facebook page Project Atticus and watch their videos on their YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/ProjectAtticus
We are praying for you Jordan & Desiree and look forward to following your adventures as you sail the world!
On January 26, we handed out school supplies to children in our area. A man in Corpus Christi, Texas had collected notebooks, paper, pens/pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, crayons, glue and scissors for children here. We put these items together in bags to be given out to each child. We worked with Pastor Mundy, a local pastor at a church in this community, to do this distribution. Pastor Mundy translated my gospel presentation into Spanish so that both Spanish and English speakers could hear and understand the gospel. We first shared the gospel and then shared some encouragement to the children to do their best this year in school, reminded them what a gift getting an education is and also prayed over them and their school year.
After the gospel presentation and prayer, we handed out the bags of school supplies. We invited some of the youth from our youth group to come help us with this distribution so that they learn to serve others and get the opportunity to get out there and minister to others themselves. They did a wonderful job of working together to quickly distribute these supplies.
We were able to hand out almost 80 bags of school supplies to bless children as they prepare to begin school. These supplies were such a blessing to these students and their families as buying basic school supplies can be a financial challenge to many families here.
And Gretta got to get some “baby love” while the school supplies were being handed out. This sweet little boy is one of a set of twin boys that were there with their grandmother while their older siblings were receiving school supplies.
School here begins February 4 and goes through mid-November. Please be praying for these students and their families as they begin a new year. Gretta and I also begin another year teaching Bible classes at EPB school (the Christian school here in Oak Ridge). Gretta will be teaching 3 classes on Thursday mornings for 1st-5th graders and I will be teaching 2 classes on Tuesday mornings for 6th-9th graders. We thank God for the opportunity to teach God’s Word to these students and be able to reach them and their families with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Wednesday night men’s Bible study has seen growth over the last few weeks with more men and young men faithfully attending. We finished our study on foundations and core doctrines and are about to begin a men’s DVD study called “Play the Man” by Mark Batterson.
On Sunday, January 27, one of the men in our church, Barry Gough (2nd on right) was ordained as a deacon in the church. He has faithfully attended the church here for many years and he leads the Thursday night prayer service at church each week also. He and his family also happen to be our next-door neighbors and we love them dearly too! We praise God for how He is beginning to raise up male leadership in the church and we are excited for what He has in store for the church here this year. Please continue to pray for all these men and young men as they learn, grow and become leaders of their homes, church and community.
One of the things I have been praying for is for their to be unity among the evangelical pastors and churches here in our community. On January 11, I invited the pastors from all the evangelical churches to come to a meeting at our church. The pastors came (praise God!) and we had a wonderful time of fellowship, Biblical discussions, talking about how we can work together in 2019 and spent time praying together. We committed to get together once a month and we look forward to working together to reach many people with the hope of Jesus Christ.
On January 25, these churches united for a men’s meeting and we all came together as one body of Christ (see picture above). Men from all over our area, from different walks with Christ, and from different churches came together and worshipped, prayed and fellowshipped. It was a blessing to see how God moves among us when we all come together. I was reminded of Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We rejoice that our church had 2 salvations and baptisms in January! Jeff was baptized on January 6 and Thirsten was baptized on January 20. Jeff is one of the men who has been faithfully attending our men’s Bible study each week. He is passionately on fire for Jesus and ready to get out there and reach other men and young men in his community with the gospel. On Sunday, January 27, Jeff also shared a message at our Sunday evening service.
Thirsten is one of our college age young men. He has been studying and learning and growing also. He is excited to continue discipleship and is actively involved in our youth group as well. The Lord has burdened his heart for learning how to teach others so he is meeting with me weekly to learn how to teach the Bible and share the gospel also.
We praise the Lord for these guys and their hearts to serve Him and are excited for what the Lord has in store for their future.
January 2-8, we were blessed to have a 5 person mission team from Central Church in College Station, TX come serve alongside us. Pastor Randy, his wife Karla, Mark and his wife Katy and Pastor Steve came to spend a week here in Oak Ridge and y’all, they were a HUGE blessing to us and our community!
3 mornings, they handed out bags of food in 3 different areas in our community. They gave out 700 pounds of food in total and it was a huge blessing to those in our community as some of these areas are very poverty stricken. The bags of food contained rice, beans and maseca and was enough to provide a meal to each person who received one. Before giving out the bags of food, Mark, Katy & Pastor Steve led some worship songs and then I shared the gospel with all those who were there. We also prayed over them and then handed out the food.
L: Singing with the kids at one of the food distributions
R: One of the little boys that hung out with us one day
This is the end of one of the food distribution lines. Roatan is a beautiful place to live and if you were to Google it, you would see pictures of what appears to be a paradise, beautiful beaches, lots of tourists excursions, and the beautiful MesoAmerican barrier reef that borders the island. But that is only one part of Roatan…..the reality is that most islanders and people who live here can’t afford to enjoy those places. For most of them, this would not be “paradise” and they find themselves living very difficult lives. The average days income here for a full day (often of very hard work) is just 300 lempiras and at the current exchange rate that is just $12.33 a day! Jobs here are actually difficult to find and the cost of living here is extremely expensive since everything has to be imported (groceries, propane for cooking, clothes/shoes, etc.). So most people are extremely grateful to get one meal of food and that is one reason we love doing food distributions because we can meet physical needs while sharing the gospel to help meet spiritual needs too.
In the afternoons, the team hosted a vacation Bible school for kids at our church! They had over 40 kids attend this event and everyone seemed to love it. The theme was “Designed by God, Built for a Purpose” and each day they sang fun worship songs led by Katy, learned a Bible story, made a craft that went with the lesson, played some sports games and had a snack. This was a fun way to share the gospel with the kids and also show them that coming to church can be fun.
Pastor Randy preached at our Sunday morning service and Pastor Steve, Mark & Katy led worship for us. The congregation was truly blessed by them sharing their gifts with us and we look forward to having them back soon, Lord willing! We had an incredible week serving alongside all of them and thank God for the new friendships and ministry partnership that were formed. We thank Central Church for serving and investing in what God is doing here in Oak Ridge. (…Gig Em Aggies!)
On January 1, we celebrated our 19 year wedding anniversary! We are so thankful to the Lord for all He has done in our marriage. The first few years of marriage were so difficult for us and to be honest, at one point, we almost gave up on each other and got a divorce but thanks be to God, He placed some extremely Godly folks in our lives who helped us see that our marriage was worth fighting for and gave us amazing Godly counsel and kept us prayed up big time and here we are, celebrating 19 years together and still deeply in love with each other every day. Not to say every day is a bed of roses but we try to keep Christ at the center of all we do and it sure makes marriage sweeter, especially in the tough times. We are Christians and we are missionaries but we are still very much human and in need of grace, understanding, compassion and lots of forgiveness with each other!
The day of our actual anniversary, we hadn’t planned anything because because we had a weekend getaway trip planned 2 weeks after our anniversary. But….some of our youth decided to have a “movie night” for us at our house. They brought over the movie “Bird Box” (which was funny because Gretta doesn’t like scary movies) and they pulled the “love seat” up to the front of the TV for us to have a front row view and then they sat all around us and we ate dinner together and watched a movie. These youth are so sweet and thoughtful y’all and we had a great time celebrating our anniversary with them!
Back in the States, we used to go on a monthly “date night” just the two of us but since we moved to Honduras we haven’t done that (for multiple reasons) but a local resort hosted an Instagram contest for a 3 day, 2 night giveaway and we entered it. When Gretta entered it, she said “Why not? We have just as much good a chance as anyone else!” Then lo and behold, WE WON!! A sweet couple from church (who are about to be first time grandparents themselves) kept our 3 kids so we could enjoy a “much needed” weekend away together. Our kids had SO much fun that at one point in the weekend, we told them we would be home the next day and they texted back “But we are having so much fun here!” We thank God for wonderful friends who will spoil and love on your kids so much that they don’t even miss you being gone!
We got to spend a Saturday-Monday at Paradise Beach Resort in West Bay. We had an awesome room with a king size bed & a shower that actually had great water pressure (unlike ours at home!). We enjoyed some delicious meals, walks along the beach, and just relaxing and soaking up the sun.
One morning we woke up and went snorkeling (one of our favorite things to do) at Black Rock in West Bay. We both agreed that it was one of the most spectacular places we had snorkeled since moving here. The reef was just so alive there, tons of different fish in every direction you looked, fun little swim throughs and even a small cave to see. Then it opened up into open water on the other side of the reef and that water was so crystal clear blue and deep that it was almost surreal to just float in it. We really enjoyed our morning of snorkeling and want to go back one day and take the kids out to snorkel there too.
Sunday morning we woke up to rain and we were kind of bummed because we had planned to walk to a nearby church that meets at Infinity Bay on Sunday mornings. But after a nice, hard rain, the skies cleared and God gave us the most vibrant, full rainbow to enjoy! When we saw it in the sky, we hurried down to the beach to get a better picture and it did not disappoint. It was incredible!! Then we went to breakfast and then walked to church and enjoyed a wonderful worship service with brothers and sisters in Christ at R Church Roatan.
We thank God for allowing us to have this time away together. It was refreshing, encouraging, and such a treat. Healthy couples invest in each other and in their marriage and after 15 months of life overseas, we knew it was time to invest in “us” for a few days. We pray the Lord will bless us with many, many more years together and thank God for how He has worked in our marriage and our family the last 19 years.