Mission Field: Honduras
Years of Service: 29
Home Church: Calvery Baptist Church
Grand Prarie, Texas
Missions Agency: World Baptist Fellowship Missions
Our Missionary for 28 years
My Dear Family in the Lord,
At midnight, on April 1, I arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The next day, I made the 4-hour trip to Tegucigalpa, where I met up with Missionary Jason Tate who was with my son, Brandon, Pastor Mark Smith, Associate Pastor Dan Kirchner, and Bus Ministry Minister Tom Tilton. This ministry team from Faith Baptist in Tacoma, Washington had just arrived in Tegucigalpa and was on their way to Danli where about 60 pastors from Honduras and other Central American countries would be attending a training conference. What a joy it was to see Hotir and five of our men from the mountain works in attendance! To read more about that fantastic conference and see all the photos you can go to:
On April 9th, when the conference was over, my son, Brandon, Bro. Tate, Pastor Smith, and I traveled to my home in La Esperanza. This was my first visit home since Mike’s death last August. To say I was somewhat nervous is an understatement. I knew that it would probably be an emotional rollercoaster ride, and in addition, there would be much to try to accomplish in a very short amount of time.
I had tried not to think too much before hand about what it would be like to be home again because I just knew that, when the time came, my Heavenly Father would be there to hold my hand and get me through it. And He was! Sure, there were tears and a flood of emotions as I saw the home that we had made together. Everything there had a memory attached to it, had “Mike” or “Us” stamped on top with in invisible, yet indelible, ink. At first, it was sad, but then… it was comforting. What we had built together was good. It was lasting. Mike was gone… and yet.. he wasn’t! Everything he loved and stood for was still there! What he had preached and taught was still there! The lives he touch with the precious Gospel were still there! (Except for those that went before him and met him at Heaven’s gates as he entered!) Yes, Mike still was there. He would always be there! And that was a comfort to me!
The night I arrived home was the same night that The Daughters of the King were celebrating their one year anniversary. There were more tears as the pastors’ wives and I saw one another. The girls gave testimonies as to how the meetings of the past year had touched their lives and encouraged them to live for Christ and to keep themselves pure until marriage. What a joy to know that they are going forward to try to make a change in the “cultural norm” of the lives of these young women!
Sunday morning at New Hope Baptist was also a flurry of hugs, and smiles, and tears! What a joy it was to see our precious people, all my sweet children… my Honduran family… to see their faithfulness, their growth. Pastor Smith preached the morning message with Bro. Tate interpreting. I sat in on the children’s class (which has grown!) and where two of my precious young women have taken over my teaching duties.
Right after church, we jumped in the truck and made the 2 hour trip to the In Christ Baptist Church in Narranjitos, one of our Lenca works. I cannot describe the thrill of seeing that small group of people who have been so faithful. And Hotir preached a wonderfully powerful message, just confirming in my heart that he is God’s man to fill Mike’s shoes.
After that service, we made it back to La Esperanza just in time for the evening service at New Hope, where my son stood and preached where his dad had preached for so many years. It was so good see him behind that pulpit, and it seemed so right somehow. I could just imagine Mike calling over angels and saints to look over Heaven’s banisters, pointing at Brandon, and with pride saying, “Look! See that! That’s my boy preaching the Gospel to the Honduran people!” I could imagine it because that’s exactly how I felt!
I was also pleasantly surprised when the congregation of one of our sister churches showed up to visit with me and join our service. But best of all, after the service I got to lead one of our young teen girls to Christ!
On Monday, I had hoped to visit our dear people in Ojo de Agua and San Lorenzo, but that was not to be. After visiting the lawyer on Monday morning, the rest of my time in Honduras was spent running all over La Esperanza and other parts of the country just trying to finalize all the legalities so I can take ownership of our belongings. To make a long story short: Nothing was finalized! Nothing except to give the the lawyer the power of attorney over everything so she could continue to work in my absence.
I was not even able to get Mike’s autopsy report. However, the medical examinar did come out and talk to me and gave me some very surprising news! She said that there was absolutely no evidence that Mike died of a heart attack! She said his death was due to a brain aneurysm caused by high blood pressure! I was so surprised! Whatever the cause, I am just glad that he went peacefully in his sleep and did not suffer.
There was one other surprising thing about this trip. For some months, I was sure that when I arrived in Honduras God would give me clear direction as to my next move. However, I’m learning not to assume anything when it comes to the workings of the Almighty. All I know is that He’s doing something, He’s moving among hearts and lives. And for now, He is telling me to just “hang loose” (my words, not His), have patience, and take one day and one step at a time. And when all is in place, He will make everything absolutely clear. I wish I could tell you something more definite, but I’m just not sure of the final destination to which He is leading. And believe me, no one wants to know more than I!
All I do know is that, because of your prayers and continued mission dollars, the work in Honduras is going on! Souls are being saved and people are being baptized. We have 7 from New Hope Baptist attending the Bible Institute, video Bible Institute classes are beginning in the mountain works, the Daughters of the King meetings are going forward and growing, a church building is to be built in San Lorenzo next year, they have begun ladies meetings in the church in Ojo de Agua, and our pastors and leaders are on fire after the training conference in Danli! GOD IS FAITHFUL AND GOOD!
I covet your continued prayers as we continue to deal with all the decisions and legal hassles that still must be made and taken care of. Right now, I also need prayers concerning the care my mother, her health, and the health of Mike’s parents.
I could not get through any of this without your prayers and support! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! And a big “Thank You!” goes to Brandon, Pastor Smith, Bro. Jason Tate and Bro. Hotir for being with me through everything in Honduras! God bless you all!
For the King,
My Dear Friends and Co-Laborers in Christ,
It’s hard to believe that 2015 is over and we are now beginning 2016. As we look at the world around us it’s hard not to feel anxious. But the Father tells us: “be not terrified”, “be not troubled”, for “these things must first come to pass” before He returns for His children. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if THIS would be the year of our Savior’s return! It very well could be! But whether He returns to take us home this year or not, one thing is certain. Time is short and whatever we are going to do for Christ must be done now!
I have stayed busy, doing what I can in the church in Washington. This last month was spent helping to ready things to open the Biblical Heritage Exhibit for the church’s annual Preacher’s Delight Conference with Dr. David Gibbs, Dr. Johnny Pope, and Dr. Paul Chappell. What a blessing and encouragement that was!
The day following the conference, I flew to Texas. I will be taking care of some of the business that must be done following Mike’s death, as well as spending some time with my mother, who has been recuperating from a cracked hip, and visiting some of our supporting churches in the surrounding area. The plan is to stay a couple of months and then fly to Honduras. There, I will meet up with my son, Brandon, and a small team from Faith Baptist. Following the pastors’ conference in Honduras and the mission team’s return to the States, my son and I will go to La Esperanza and mine and Mike’s home. It will be such a joy to see our dear people again! But I also know it will be a difficult and emotional time. My prayer is that during our time there, God will make His perfect plan known to me clearly. I and my family covet your prayers for this trip.
I continue to hear from our precious people in Honduras regularly. Satan fights, but God is faithful, and our people are marching forward into battle, wielding their “Swords” as they go.
Thanks to fellow missionaries Samuel and Julie Hodges and their wonderful team, the Christian Youth Leadership Conference went on without Mike and I. They reported that more than 20 teens made some serious decisions for the Lord. Two of those teens will be beginning Bible Institute classes in the fall. How I praise God for what He is doing!
Hotir continues to stay extremely busy in the Lord’s work in La Esperanza, as well as the mountain works and other areas of the country. Before his death, Mike had discussed with Hotir his desire to start training the Lenca leaders with Bible training by videos. This would be possible now that the church in Ojo de Agua (usually) has electricity, even though the majority of the people do not. So, this next month, he plans to begin regular trips to the Lenca works to facilitate the Video Bible Institute. In the month of January, Hotir also reported that four more have accepted Christ. Two of our precious young women are now teaching my Sunday School classes, and the women’s ministry and monthly Daughters of the King meetings are faithfully continuing. And, if I am not mistaken, it is this week that he has made the four-hour trip to Danli where missionary Jason Tate is located. He will be using Mike’s equipment to dig a water well for the Bible Institute that Bro. Tate is building in Danli. Once again, I extend my deepest gratitude for your continued support for the work in Honduras. There is absolutely no way that any of this could be accomplished without your mission dollars!
I cannot convey to you how much your continued prayers, support, and your cards and letters of encouragement has meant to my children and I. God has surrounded me with His strength and has continually shown me His love… and the majority of the time it has all been made known through His people… my dear family in Christ… YOU! Thank you all! May God bless you all and MARANATHA!
For the King until He returns,
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