Mission Field: Honduras
Years of Service: 52
Home Church: Grace Baptist Church
Fort Worth, Texas
Missions Agency: World Baptist Fellowship Missions
Our Missionary for 25 years
VICTORIA’S SMALL CHAPEL
While visiting with Pastor Fernando Montt he requested me to ask Pastor Bobby Helm if his church could rent our church’s facilities for Sunday afternoons. La Iglesia Bautista Victoria cannot afford renovations to expand its 100 seat capacity to comfortably accommodate the attendance of 150.
As a result of our pastor’s leadership, over four acres of property on Monroe’s main highway to be purchased for $400,000.00 will enable our twelve year old home church to continue its miraculous growth beyond the present attendance of 250. In two years, when the new building is finished, La Iglesia Bautista Victoria will move into our present building as an indigenous ministry of Bright Spot Baptist Church.
SAN PABLO DE CUYANA PERU
For six years I taught seminary classes in Victoria, then for twelve months we labored to begin a Hispanic ministry in Bright Spot. None of our five converts attended. God used both endeavors to work a BIG miracle! Like similar experiences in Honduras, persistence in faith turns failures into victories.
REACHING LOST LATINOS
AND PREPARING DISCIPLES LATINO LABORERS
Pastor Esdras Ríos wrote: “Early last year we met with Dr. Philip Gagnon in Honduras for information about Landmark Seminary. Our enrollment was delayed for different reasons, but five students are now studying Hermeneutics and Doctrine I.”
Pastor Nicolas Alvarado began services in 2011 in Frontera Comalapa, Chiapas, Mexico, that has an attendance of 30. While working in Newberry, FL, he studied in Pastor Miguel Pinell’s seminary extension. Peruvian Pastor Menfis Elescano shared about travelling five hours to develop a rural church. He stated this outreach is due to zeal created by the seminary classes. The total of 69 churches due to our mutual ministry adds many jewels to your crown in Glory.
Pray about a trip to Ecuador to present the seminary program to pastors in Quito. Classes in local churches will strengthen their members. Then in June a trip is planned to dedicate Agalteca’s new temple. Asael Briones, a Hispanic missionary on deputation, requested that I advise him in choosing land for his future church. That future purchase and the building are both due to our home church’s generous giving for world missions.
P.S. I mistakenly dated our December 2019 letter as February.
REACHING LOST LATINOS
AND PREPARING DISCIPLES LATINO LABORERS
The congregation that we began in 1971 became the seedbed for over two dozen churches in Honduras. To train men called to the ministry we developed a local church seminary program. Those two foundations have produced sixty churches in five countries.
In 2012 the Holy Spirit led us to return to the States. Shortly after arriving in North Carolina help was requested to initiate seminary classes in two Hispanic churches. Twice during the following seven years the opportunity to begin a church was sought. In spite of a conversion in two different cities neither door opened.
This past February we began services in Bright Spot Baptist Church to reach the Hispanic community. Weekly we pass out tracts and flyers. Everyone is politely receptive but the world and religion has most uninterested in attending a Gospel preaching service.
The slow growth brings to mind Acts 8 where the Spirit led Philip to leave a revival in Samaria to reach one soul in the desert. The Ethiopian’s conversion that through the centuries has reaped much more fruit than the revival in Samaria encourages us.
Two who did attend a service expressed a determination to return. On visitation a total of three Hispanics have been saved. One said he had expected us, like Cornelius and Peter in Acts 8. Fellow church members who accompany me are a blessing.
The challenge to lay this church’s foundation has been the most difficult we have ever confronted. The many prayers offered for La Iglesia El Resplandor will fulfill our burden to reap a solid fruitful congregation for your account in Glory.
A burden to expand the seminary’s outreach for many years led me to visit pastors and churches in six countries. To utilize the internet David Garcia in Mexico is helping to produce a presentation for the seminary’s webpage. After my short introduction, 24 pastors in 10 countries have been asked to share how it has blessed their life and ministry. Pray their testimonies influence other pastors to also begin classes.
A missionary’s invitation to preach the organization of his church would require an expensive and very long plane trip to Ushuaia, Argentina. However, the internet enables me to send him translated seminary materials for his classes. Visits are always preferable.
Our grandson, Billy and his bride, Kaylynn, had just moved to Fort Hood, Texas, when he was deployed to Poland for nine months. Our great grandson, Hampton and Alexis, had their first child in Cannon Air Force Base. Pray for our military and police forces.
The seminary extension ministry continues to reap a rich harvest. Ramón Santander wrote from Quito, Equator, that one student has a prison ministry and another is the church’s youth director. Some thirty to forty of their 1200 church attendees are expected to enroll for the next semester.
Our missionary service began with the planting of a church in Honduras. The next phase was teaching institute classes to prepare pastors and workers. During a very trying time the building kept me from moving to another neighborhood. La Iglesia Bautista La Gracia became the seedbed for sixty churches.
That experience motivated us to apply funds from our monthly support, plus some extra offerings, to facilitate the construction of twenty buildings. We trust the Lord will provide funds to give permanence to the following new congregations.
OPEN AIR SERVICES
Juan Martínez with helpers made difficult weekly trips to hold services in rural Payaguagre. A conflict required they move a fifteen minute walk to Calpules. Unlike the previous eighteen fruitless months, they soon had seventeen new converts. Then, as a result of the first ever Vacation Bible school in that rural community, at least six children accepted Christ.
Pastors Paulino Sánchez and Sabás Martínez began weekly trips over rough mountain roads to three rural communities. In Río Colorado 33 attend, in Las Lomas de Peloncito 60 attend, and in Florito de Opatoro 80 attend.
BIBLE SCHOOL IN CALPULES
Because of severe pain that has plagued Pastor Sánchez for decades he can no longer accompany the men on those trips. His incapacitation led the church he founded in 1997 to give him a three month medical leave. Pray for this man of God, his family, and for the church as they look to the future.
In spite of gracious receptions on house to house visitation, and when we pass out tracts and flyers, the attendance in La Iglesia Bautista El Resplandor in Monroe refuses to take root. The lack of visible results emphasizes that the revival through the seeds that we planted and cultivated for over forty years in Honduras was totally of the Spirit. As we together claim the victory in this struggling Hispanic ministry, the glory will be for our Savior Jesus Christ.
Posting a weekly message on our Spanish church’s Facebook page has reached 567 people, with 335 likes and 160 engagements. Besides reaching listeners south of the border, we trust the Holy Spirit for conversions and for Hispanics in this area to begin attending. The holy God, who called us to missionary service, is graciously expanding the outreach of our ministry in the Spanish speaking world.
REACHING LOST LATINOS
AND PREPARING DISCIPLES LATINO LABORERS
Pastor David Garcia invited me to initiate faith promise mission giving in his three year old church in Monterrey, Mexico. He was astonished when he saw that the yearly total was over four times the $1,000.00 he anticipated.
“DIOS CON NOSOTROS”
Because of the very heavy traffic the Sunday services are from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM, with a break for lunch. My three consecutive messages have incredibly had over 1000 internet hits.
Also, that same day was the last service in the house they had rented for three years. Pray for them to find an affordable and spacious facility.
To present the seminary Pastor Garcia invited fellow pastors to a meeting the night after my arrival. Five pastors beginning classes will again multiply our ministry.
SEMINARY ORIENTATION ATTENDEES
Four years ago we made plans to develop a recording studio in Campeche, Mexico. Bro. David plans to make that project a reality in Monterrey. The seminary needs courses with greater depth and more extensions in Latin America.
During the flight a young woman who stated that spirits spoke through her accepted a tract, but rejected my witness about Jesus. Asking her to share her experiences enabled me to then explain how the Holy Spirit speaks to me. In the future when demons torment her soul hopefully she will seek liberty through the blood of Christ.
REACHING LOST LATINOS
AND PREPARING DISCIPLES
After almost five months attendance in our Hispanic services is still zero. Inviting people for a morning instead of an afternoon service should make a difference. On visitation they listen, but their religious beliefs and dedication to earning money are formidable barriers. As you pray we will have “Victory in Jesus.”
It was a blessing to win 15 year old Courtney Snead to Christ. She subsequently went forward an altar call. Her faithfulness and zeal to invite her friends confirm a true conversion.
There have been 47 saved as fruit of Pastors Sábas Martínez and his nephew, Paulino Martínez preaching in different communities. In Peloncito they hold services in the open because rarely are rental facilities available in rural areas. Pray God provides the finances for these new believers to have a place of worship.
Shortly after relocating to North Carolina in 2012, I sought to begin a church in either of two cities, but in neither did the door open. The Spirit always works on his timetable, not ours!
At our pastor’s request we will initiate La Iglesia Bautista El Resplandor (the light shineth in darkness, John 1:5) on February 3rd, three days before my 77th birthday (“later rains” harvest). The services will be held in our home church´s facilities. Satanically provoked concerns that I experienced assure me that many will be reached and nurtured.
Our first church begun in 1971 took ten years to nationalize; developing the next two simultaneously took 18 and 9 months respectively. Those churches built on the Rock still lift up Jesus in their communities. The fourth church we are establishing, the 57th under our ministry, will likewise continue long into the future under a Hispanic pastor.
Of seven seminary graduates in Merida, two have become pastors. There were thirty graduates in Oxcutzcab, both in Mexico. Jose Huerta in Teques, Venezuela wrote asking help to start classes.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
On August 25th Mary and I celebrate 50 years as missionaries. We begin Iglesia Bautista La Gracia on June 20th, 1971. The following February a satanic emissary’s direct attack caused the accidental death of a young child, my incarceration for 26 hours, and Mary spending her first night alone in a foreign country with two small children, plus having to achieve my release. Read our book that tell how God brings victories in spite of multiple adversities.
Honduras’ 2.7 million has grown to over nine million. The 40 congregations developed through our ministries reach some of them. Too few laborers; too many lost souls!
VILLA CLAUDIA CONSTRUCTION
The work on Villa Claudia’s chapel and Sunday school rooms was made possible thanks to a $13,000 offering from our home church. Of the average attendance of 30, 20 are children. There have been 3 conversions.
In rural Agalteca 22 adults and 40 children attend regularly; one soul was recently saved. The architect, a member of our first church, is drawing the plans and cost for a building. Trusting the Lord by faith our home church will underwrite this project also. Only basic structures are financed; they slowly add the finishing touches.
The congregation in Payaguagre also needs a permanent facility. The attendance averages 49; 14 children were saved in D.V.B.S. When finished, these chapels will bring the number that your generous support has enabled us to build to 21.
Victor Cu Panti, pastor of the Tabernáculo Bautista in Hopelchen, Mexico, called me excited about three men receiving an Associate of Bible Studies degree. Graduates and students strengthen their churches’ ministries; some begin churches. Our Seminary extensions continue to provide trained laborers for the Lord’s vineyard.
Our daughter, Tanya (and her parents!) is excited because her son, Wayne and his wife, Nikki, were transferred from Italy to Fort Bragg, a two hour drive from us. Grandson Billy will visit from Hawaii for ten days with his fiancée, Kaylynn Huttinger. Great grandson, Hampton Smith, who will be married on July 8th, is assigned to an Air Force base in New Mexico. Pray for our military, law officers, and emergency service personnel.
After many years of work our book is posted on Amazon for $14.99. It gives a short explanation of the contents, “Knowing only how to incorrectly pronounce ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in Spanish, Phil and Mary Gagnon travel to Honduras with their household belongings and two small children in an overloaded truck. Discover how they victoriously overcome personal hardships to help start forty-eight churches. Rejoice with them as their grace-giving God enables them to overcome physical limitations from failing health, hindrances from personal blunders, and spiritual attacks of their adversary. Delight in reading the missionary endeavors of Phil and Mary Gagnon, as they labor for God on the wings of an eagle.”
The book can also be ordered from me, saving the cost of shipping. Pray God uses it for the growth of Christ’s kingdom worldwide, and for my burden to translate it to Spanish.
MISSION IN CONCAL, MEXICO
The seminary graduates from Iglesia Bautista Israel in Mérida, México, are beginning new missions in Izamal, Tixkokob, y Concal. Other men are serving two other established churches. The funds being received due to my visit that initiated faith promise last November helps provide the needed finances. The total number of churches begun through our ministry has risen to 56.
TIGO MARIA, PERU
Eight students studying in Tigo María, Perú, were honored for having completed the first level of their seminary studies. Rodolfo Vargas shared that each student is active in the church and mission.
A special emphasis in our home church resulted in souls accepting Christ every Sunday for nine weeks, bringing the yearly total to over 50. Pastor Bobby Helms works a full-time job, plus carries the burden of a son with cerebral palsy and an autistic daughter, yet the small congregation has grown to 220 in its ten year existence. Easter Sunday 265 attended.
RESULTS: Three New Missions
Total Number of Churches – 56
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