Ready to Train Pastors on the Coco River / Listo Para Capacitar Pastores en el Rio Coco

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My Notes and Work on CASKET EMPTY Curriculum

Our pastoral team is making final preparations to return to the Coco River area to continue our training of Baptist and Evangelical pastors.  This will take us to Waspan, Nicaragua, and Suhi, Honduras.  We have been preparing biblical messages and lessons to continue the training God called us to do with these precious people last year in May.

Nuestro equipo pastoral esta haciendo las últimas preparaciones para regresar a la area del Rio Coco para continuar nuestra capacitación de pastores bautistas y evangélicos. Esto nos llevará a Waspan, Nicaragua, y a Suji, Honduras.  Hemos estado preparando mensajes y enseñansas bíblicas para continuar el entrenamiento de estas preciosas gentes, las cuales empezamos en mayo del año pasado.  

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This year we will surprise our brothers and sisters with a complete survey of the Old Testament using a presentation created and written by Dr. Carol Kaminsky of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  It has recently been translated to Spanish and I will be one of the first missionaries to make such a presentation in Latin America using her Casket Empty Study Guide.  The acronym CASKET allows us to present an entire overview of the Old Testament.  Casket stands for:  Creation, Abraham, Sinai, Kings, Exile, and Temple. Six major periods.

Este año vamos a sorprender a nuestros hermanos y hermanas con un repaso completo del Antiguo Testamento usando una presentacion creada y escrita por la Dra. Carol Kaminsky del Seminario Teológico de Gordon-Conwell.  Recientemente fue traducida al español y yo seré uno de los primeros misioneros que la presentará en Latinoamérica usando el Guía de Estudio Casket Empty (Ataud Vacio).  El acrónimo CASKET nos permite hacer un resumen completo del Antiguo Testamento.  Casket significa: Creación, Abraham, Sinaí, Reyes (Kings), Exilio, y Templo.  Se dan cuenta que el acrónimo no es perfecto en español, pero es fácil de memorizar.  Seis periodos mayores.

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Dr. Kaminsky recently decided to partner with Missionary Air Group and our Pastoral Team by generously making most of the Spanish resources available to us free of charge.  Casket Empty has provided well over $1000.00 in free literature and resources.  Every pastor will receive a complete outline for the training sessions, plus an OT timeline.  Not to mention that our team will share about 12 hours of teaching to cover all six major periods.

La Dra. Kaminsky recientemente decidió asociarse con Missionary Air Group y con nuestro Equipo Pastoral y nos regaló casi todos los recursos en esta linda idioma. Casket Empty nos ha dado gratuitamente mas de mil dolares en recursos bíblicos.   Cada pastor va a recivir un guión amplio para tomar notas, ademas de un guía completo del AT.  No olviden que también les vamos a presentar como 12 horas de eseñansa para completar los seis periodos bíblicos.  

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With Dr. Carol Kaminsky at Recent Training in Salem, Mass

In the photo below you see four of my grandchildren holding the 3 foot by 17 foot long banner demonstrating the six major Old Testament periods.  My grandchildren’s parents, Todd and Lauren Becker, had the privilege of studying with Dr. Kaminsky at Gordon-Conwell when they attended seminary.

En la foto que sigue pueden ver a mis cuatro nietos deteniendo la bandera de 3 pies for 17 pies de largo demostrando los seis mayores periodos del Antiguo Testamento.  Los padres de mis nietos, Todd y Lauren Becker, tuvieron el privilegio de haber estudiado con la Dra. Kaminsky cuando ellos asistieron el seminario.

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We have Bentley on the left followed by Gavin, Avery, and William Becker

Pastor Roman Lopez Chow will also be sharing doctrinal lessons on the Deity of Christ, a biblical teaching on marriage, and a session on preparing a biblical message.  Roman will also assist me in sharing the Old Testament presentation.

El Pastor Román Lopez Chow tambien va a compartir una enseñansa doctrinal sobre la Deidad de Cristo, una enseñansa bíblica sobre matrimonio, y una sobre la preparación de un mensaje bíblico.  Román también me va a ayudar a compartir la presentación del Antiguo Testamento.

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Pastor Román Lopez Chow

Pastor Esaú Nuñez Sosa will be responsible for teaching on the doctrine of the Humanity of Christ, and a teaching on Law and Grace.  He will also assist me in teaching the Old Testament.

Pastor Esaú Nuñez Sosa será responsable de comunicar la doctrina de la Humanidad de Cristo, y una enseñansa sobre la Ley y Gracia.  Esaú tambien me ayudará en la enseñansa del Antiguo Testamento.  

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Pastor Esaú Nuñez Sosa

Why an overview of the Old Testament to so many pastors?  Because when I asked pastors in May of 2015 how many of them had read through the entire Bible, only a few older pastors said that they had.  So it became apparent to our team that we needed to train these humble people at a basic level and build from there.  Besides, every seminarian in most countries is required to take a Survey of the OT as part of their degree requirement.

Por qué un repaso del Antiguo Testamento para tantos pastores?   Porque cuando les hice la pregunta, en mayo de 2015, a los pastores, que cuántos de ellos habían leído el Antiguo Testamento, solo unos pocos pastores dijeron que lo habían hecho.  Así es que se me hizo aparente de que necesitábamos capacitar a esta gente humilde a un nivel más básico and continuar de allí.  Además, a los seminaristas se les requiere que tomen un Resumen del AT como requisito para graduarse.  

For me it has been a real blessing to immerse myself in the study of the Old Testament in Spanish; something that I had  never done before.  I am grateful to God for the last two months he has allowed me time to prepare and to pray for my brothers and sisters who will be receiving this training.  It is my prayer that they will be as excited as I have been as we together discover God’s Plan of Redemption through History.

Para mí ha sido una bendición sumegirme en el estudio del Antiguo Testamento en español; algo que nunca me había tocado antes.  Estoy muy agradecido a Dios por los dos meses que me ha permitido tiempo para prepararme y orar por los hermanos y hermanas que van a recivir esta capacitación.  Es mi oración también que ellos se puedan emocionar como yo me he emociondado al descubrir juntos El Plan de Dios a través de la Historia.

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Nicaragua Training Event on the Coco River – July 2017

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The Coco River in Suhi, Honduras

It is with much anticipation that the MAG Pastors Team traveled up river to the town of San Carlos, Nicaragua.  This key town is located right smack on the Coco River, which makes up the border of Eastern Nicaragua and Eastern Honduras.  Here is the view of the river from the town of Suhi, Honduras.  Suhi is where I often minister to a small baptist church.  And it is my second home away from the Rus Rus mission base.  The river bank on the right hand side is Honduras and the left side is Nicaragua.  I am standing on Honduran soil looking at a high river.  A closer look would reveal the brown muddy color of a high and fairly fast moving river.  The week before the river would have been too dangerous for us to travel due to heavy debris from homes destroyed by the high crested river and fallen trees swallowed up by the same.

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On July 24th our team of three members, plus a couple other leaders from Rus Rus got ready to head down this long steep set of stairs to get into our batu (river boat).  The following is the good pic of our batu.  It is the green one.

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Our Long Green Batu in San Carlos, Nicaragua

It would be this green batu that we traveled on.  It is about 35 to 40 feet in length.  I forgot to measure it this time.  Larger and deeper than the one we used two years ago when we last traveled to San Carlos.  Here it is parked in San Carlos.  It is a quiet and beautiful scene.  Reminds me that Jesus invited me to follow Him to this part of the world seven years ago.  And He was calling me then to a great adventure.  The beauty and neediness of the area helps me to be reminded that I am on a journey.

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Here you can see several of the pastors we picked up along the river.  This is the pier in the town of Esperanza, Nicaragua.  They were not all from Esperanza, but this was the town nearest to their own village.  They knew to meet us on the river by hearing a message on AM radio sent by their regional leader, the Rev. Orlando Marquez Mendez.

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Orlando Marquez Mendez in the Light Blue Cap

Missionary Pastor Orlando Marquez has become a great partner is this ministry to the spiritual leaders of the river region.  We met three years ago and have since been working very closely to ensure that the evangelical pastors of the remote area receive training from our MAG team.  According to him, no one else is willing to come into that area to train these men and women.  Apparently it is remote enough, and in some ways, costly enough, to prohibit others from going.  I think that the reason may simply be that it is not glamorous enough, or maybe looks intimidating enough, that it would cause other possible trainers to leave it alone.  In my opinion, as I have become acquainted with the area, it is NOT that dangerous, or that remote.  A beautiful, leisurely ride on a large enough batu makes the trip seem like an enjoyable tourist event.  My take mind you.

Consider how beautiful the region is….

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A Couple on Dug Out Canoe

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The beauty of the region inspires me.  I honestly felt that I was on a vacation with people I love and in a place that can easily take your breath away.  Not all ministry and remote places are dangerous.  I felt safer here in this region than I feel back home in a large city or in the more populous areas of Honduras.  My heart is eager to serve here in this area. The Spirit of God has prepared me to serve here.  And many of you make this possible. Thank you for sending me and my team to represent Jesus!

We experienced real joy; the many pastors and families, as we traveled for a few hours on this batu, on this river.

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Playing Guitar

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Happy Fermina Lacoth Montoya from Rus Rus

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The joy of being together for a special spiritual event makes life a pleasure.  The pastors expressed their excitement about what we were teaching them over three full days of training.  We covered topics like, OT Overview [CASKET EMPTY], How to Study the Bible, Spiritual Leadership, Doctrines of the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity, Grace vs Law, the Power of Christ, and discussion of pastoral ethics and best practices, as well as lessons on True Repentance, What It Means to Follow Jesus, and Taking the Gospel to the Nations. The conversations during the presentations was another great blessing for all involved.

Here are some pics of the pastors during the training sessions.

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Pastors at Training Sessions

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TD Bank Folders with Messages for Graduates

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Here I Am!

The five of us from Rus Rus stayed in very meager accommodations.  I get a laugh discovering where we are going to sleep.  I am usually more concerned about where we are going to eat and what we are going to eat.  The hotel was just less than $5.00 a night per person.  Being so cheap, I invited our batu driver to stay with us.  And we ate reasonably well at a humble but mostly clean kitchen just around the corner from our hotel.  Check out my room.

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Mosquito Nets are Essential for Survival and Adequate Sleep

We had many mosquitoes to avoid.  Due to the heavy rains and the region, mosquitoes are a premium.   I got bitten more than ever before.  Hope malaria stays away.  The kitchen as a fun place to hang out.

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Tajadas – Thin Fried Bananas

Rice and beans were served at almost every meal both in Rus Rus and on this trip to Nicaragua.  I am avoiding eating rice and beans now that I am home.  It is a good diet. But a steady diet of it makes me want to wait til October to eat them again.  Kind of like having cheerios for every meal.  I ate a hamburger the first chance I got when I got out of the region on my way home.  I do not recommend Pizza Hut or Burger King, but it was a blessing after five weeks of rice and beans.

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Yahtzee & Farkel at Nights

This event was one of the most blessed for me personally.  Out team was very cohesive, the pastors very attentive and grateful.  The discussions were rich and informative. Everyone got to share their thoughts and asked questions for clarification and further insights.  Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Check out some pics of others and our return trip.

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Missionaries Orlando Marquez and Carlos Paz

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With Batu Driver Romel Zamora

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Romel on the move….

Batu driver Romel Zamora (no relation to Nazi General Rommel), was a great blessing. Not only was he an excellent batu driver, on what was a challenging river at the time, but he participated in the training event.  He gave some of the most insightful answers.  I hope never to travel on this great river without Romel on the helm.

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Mario Alexis Lopez of Rus Rus

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Daughter to one of the pastors

This little girl traveled with her dad to the training event.  He brought her along because he had no one to leave her with.  Mom had left the family.  It was hard to cheer her up.  I gave her a whole bunch of my Maria Cookies.  She did not smile until she got home and got off the batu.  Life is hard in that area.

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My Tree in Rus Rus

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My Bed and Fan In Rus Rus

I am so grateful once again for how God is leading me.  I am grateful for how our MAG team is building men, women, and children in that part of the world.  God is good.  And all of you reading this blog and praying for us throughout our journey are the complete team that makes all this possible.  Bless you all!

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Teaching the Word of God

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Thank you all!

Teaching CASKET EMPTY in Guatemala March 2017

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Entering Guatemala

These suspicious looking characters are non other than Esau Nunez and myself just about to enter Guatemala by car.  This was my fourth visit to Guatemala, but only my first representing Missionary Air Group.  This was the second country Esau has visited with me. His first was Nicaragua two years ago, and now Guatemala.  God is allowing us to represent Him in the world of Central America.  And for that we are both deeply grateful.  It is proving to be a true joy and a great adventure as well.

We had been invited to share our Casket Empty Old Testament teaching curriculum in two areas in Guatemala: the northern department of Peten and in Guatemala City.  Our hosts were leaders of the Commission to the Americas (Comision a las Americas).  This is an evangelical ministry that has established over 40 churches in the last 30 plus years.  Upon our arrival in Guatemala City we were received by the president of the board for Commission to the Americas, Pastor Jerson Cartagena of Iglesia (Church) Jesus el Buen Pastor in Iluciones, a neighborhood in Guatemala City.  He and leaders of his church were present to give us a welcome dinner at the church site.

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Pastor Jerson and MAG Volunteer Esau Nunez

The following morning we headed out toward the Department of Peten, located in the northern most region of Guatemala, with Pastor Jerson and two other leaders, Pastor Jaime Lopez and Pastor Pedro Castillo.  The five of us hit it off in gran style and had the most fun getting to know one another.  These pastors and tour guides would prove to be the most loving and encouraging men Esau and I could ever hope to be with on mission.  Our trip consisted of traveling in a rented car for about 10 hours; mostly due to the fact that we stopped to eat, take in the sights, and to answer the call of nature.  😉

Iglesia Barrio Tikal

Upon our arrival in Flores, Peten, we settled into a humble but comfortable hotel for the night.  The next morning we visited the island of Flores for a couple of hours.  This is a most beautiful island and the center of it all in the Peten region.

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Entering Flores

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The Island of Flores

I know what you are thinking, these guys are having way too much fun. True.  Such is the life of a missionary on a world tour with Jesus.  You should consider going with Him someday.

After a brief visit around the island by boat, we headed to the neighborhood of Barrio Tikal, to the Iglesia Jesus el Buen Pastor.  Most churches have the same name; at least for the most part. Esau and I would enjoy the blessing of executing a two day (12 hour) teaching event of the the curriculum CASKET EMPTY; for 34 men and women leaders to be exact.  We would cover 6 major time periods: Creation, Abraham, Sinai, Kings, Exile, and Temple.  Esau covered Abraham and Exile.  I covered the rest.  It was truly well received.  The attendees received an Old Testament Timeline (Guide) and a full outline of the whole presentation. They were grateful and excited to receive these resources and to participate in the whole event.  It is serious work both to teach for so many hours, as well as to take in so much information over that stretch of time  as well.  But we all shared and received it with a full heart.

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Imagine this in Spanish…

Dr. Carol Kaminski would have been proud.  I let all the leaders know that Dr. Kaminski had generously contributed the Timelines and the Outlines.  Our time together also included times of worship and prayer.

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Barrio Tikal Training Event

The two day event took place on a Saturday afternoon into the evening, and the following Sunday, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.  What a blessing these folks were.  They worked hard to take in all the teaching, and they enjoyed wonderful meals with us over the two days. That Sunday night we went over to have dinner at a church building in Libertad, the church led by the area leader, Pastor Oseas Venturaescobar.

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Pastor Oseas Venturaescobar

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Beautiful New Temple in Libertad

Following another wonderful meal with more loving and generous people, we headed back to Flores and drove around on the Island of Flores.  It is so impressive at night as well; as you can see.

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The Island of Flores at Night

You can most definitely tell that I did not take this photo.  But mine is not as impressive or as clear.  And now you can take in some of the sites of the Ruins of Tikal, which we visited for a few hours on Monday morning before heading back to the Capital of Guatemala City.

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View from another temple

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Suffering for the Lord.  Some one has to do it.  Might as well be Esau and I.  The trip home on Monday around noon took another whole day in a small car.  But we enjoyed the fellowship more than should be allowed.  The time in Guatemala, as beautiful as it is, and the time with these precious Guatemalan leaders, made the 5 plus weeks away from home not so long.

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Our Hosts – The Cartagena Family

Upon our return to Guatemala City, Esau and I settled into the home of Pastor Jerson and his gracious family.  We spent a week in their home, participated in a couple of evening services, and got ready for the big event of teaching over 100 leaders at the Seminario de Comision a las Americas.  But before the big weekend arrived, Esau and I were invited to take part in the Fifteenth Year Anniversary of a church in the neighborhood of Rosario. Come to find out, I had helped to build their church building many years before.  So it was quite special that I should be asked to preach the sermon for that occasion.  I felt blessed by the Spirit to be in that very place, with those precious people, in a place familiar to me.

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Anniversary Service in Rosario

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Praying Over People

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Esau Praying for Children

The following day was Saturday, March 18th, and the time had come to teach the CASKET EMPTY curriculum once again.  But this time it would be for 111 men and women leaders. And could they ever worship and pray with unequaled enthusiasm.  It seemed like heaven had come down.  Praise God.  Esau and I were both deeply moved.  They received the teaching well and participated fully.

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Carlos teaching the Old Testament

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People in Prayer

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There were several moments when the worship was so strong and the presence of the Spirit so obvious that I did not ever want to leave this place and these people.  Praise God for the blessings He so richly bestows upon us.

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A Joyful Ending

I am so thankful to God once again.  He has called me into so many blessed events these last six years of my life.  I could not be more grateful for all that the Spirit of God has shown me and for how He has led me.  Bless your Holy Name Lord God!

THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!

 

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February 2017 Mission Event – Medicine and The Word of God

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My Home Tree

This small and simple tree is one of my favorites in the world.  Yes, in the world.  Why could such a humble tree be so huge in my estimation?  Because, though seemingly insignificant, it reminds me of the place God has called me to in Rus Rus and the region of La Mosquitia.  I took this photo some years ago. Now the tree is larger and even more beautiful.  I enjoy it most in this foggy state. I love how it reaches out some.  Notice the wind sock to the right of it in the background; it serves as a reminder that there is an airfield just a few feet beyond.  We who serve in this place are members of the Missionary Air Group team.

This February event allowed me to serve as a medical interpreter once again.  Now six years, at this time of the year, and counting.  It also allowed me to reach out to hundreds of Honduran and Nicaraguan patients from the area with the Gospel.  And God had planned that I should also join many others in ministering to a family who had just suffered the death of their two year old son, Mark Anthony Salomon.  He died the Sunday I arrived from asthma complications.    Alfredo and Berdina, parents to this precious child, received our love and support.

MEDICAL EVENT

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My God Child in the Yellow Dress – Carla Maria

The medical event allowed me to interpret for three nurses who took turns doing consults with patients while I chimed-in in English and Spanish.  I am not yet sure how many patients a team of twelve medical professionals  and three dental professionals saw over a nine day period. But it was over a thousand for sure.  This family is a local family from Rus Rus.  Yomari, the woman on the right, is the mother of my god child Carla Maria on the far left in the yellow dress.  Carla Maria is what the locals call her because I gave her the name. I simply named her Carla, after me.  Hahaha.  Truly original.

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Colorful Happy Nicaraguan Woman

I share this photo just to bless you all.  This woman could tell I was happy to see her.  She has seen me several times over the years.  I wish I knew her name.  I do not.  Sadly so, since I am so good at names.  I believe she walked in from Nicaragua once again.  We know each other only by sight, and only by the years of her visiting the Rus Rus Hospital during this crucial annual medical brigade.  I know we gave her parasite medicine, pain medicine, and vitamins.  I am sure of that.  How sure?  We give this and more to almost everyone we see.  And if we did not give her such basic care and medicine, surely her life would be more difficult.  Does she not look big time grateful?   Colorful?  Loving?

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Young Nicaraguan Patients

These kids shown here above were all from Nicaragua.  They walked in from up river – the Coco River.  Imagine going to the doctor and having to walk for two days or more just to make sure the parasites in your belly don’t rob you of your health and quality of life. You too would do it.  You would have to.  For them, it is our hospital that offers them the basic care that allows them to endure.  I also had a chance to get them all riled up yelling “Ajua” in Spanish, Mexican style.  They seemed to like it as much as I did.

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Future Red Sox Fan

I have the simple pleasure of caring for babies often while their moms are somewhere else being examined by a doctor for some infection or the other. This little girl, unbeknownst to her became a member of Red Sox Nation.  Does she not look like someone God would create on His best day?  This is also why I serve Jesus in the world.

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Maria y Gabriela – Las Dentistas

Let us not forget that this year’s medical brigade included dentists; three young women form Honduras.  Zaide, Maria, and Gabriela.  Gabriela is from Roatan, and Zaide and Maria are from San Pedro Sula.  They filled cavities, extracted teeth and molars, and they cleaned teeth.  They even cleaned mine when all the people had been cared for.

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Gabriela working and Marvin Valle helping…

Once in awhile a patient will walk into a consult and surprise you with their amazing life and potential.  The child below is Jesly Coleman.  He is from Puerto Lempira.  And he is a truly intelligent person.  When he sat down and looked over at me, I knew he was going to be clear and precise in his description of his own medical needs.  He went to work like some experienced and competent person would do.  He was detailed and confident about what he was dealing with regarding his health.  He was articulate.  He was impressive.  He was a breath of fresh air.  He was memorable.  I will not soon forget him.  In fact, I hope I run into him many times in the future.  I am always looking for a few good men and women of God.

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The Most Promising Jesly Coleman

MINISTRY OF THE WORD

This February 2017 allowed me to share the Word of God in preaching opportunities and during the vigil of the two year old who died, Mark Anthony.  But I was especially blessed to have baptized six believers.  They are seen here below.  They are from left to right: Benigno, Eloida, Kevin, Aracely, Silvia, and Felencia.  I have been working in the lives of most of them now for some years.  What a joy it is to see them take this step of faith and obedience.  May they become dynamic and faithful men and women of Christ

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Baptisms on The Rus Rus River

 

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Sean Donnelly Challenging Baptismal Candidates

 

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Teenager  Aracely Being Baptized

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Felencia’s Baptism

I praise God for how His Spirit draws people to himself.  I rejoice in how he awakens in them the desire to follow Jesus.  I just get to be there to see how great and powerful our God truly is.

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Honduran & Nicaraguan

One of these two boys took one of our hats.  I wonder witch one it was.  It looks better on him.  Adonis.  Little brother to Adonai.  Thank you for all you do to make it possible for me to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the world.  Bless you.  Thank you for your support and for your prayers.  To God be all the glory.

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Heading for Guatemala Next

There is nothing more adventurous, more fulfilling, and more joy-giving than following Jesus…..

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ORALE

2017 MAG/Common Ground Mission Team Blesses Children in Eastern Honduras

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2017 MAG/Common Ground Mission Team

It is always a joy to minister to the children of the villages of Rus Rus and Mahbita.  These one hundred or so kids have been blessed to receive Bible lessons and encouragement now for four straight years by teams that have traveled far to love on them and to grow with them.  This year’s team was made up of 9 members plus myself.  Here in this photo there are six of us.  Myself on the left, Amanda Pierce, Pastor Frank Jewett in the back, Corinne Hennessey, Ron Mills, and Angel Vargas.  The four  others were Felicia Dowling, who led the Vacation Bible School, Jeremy Tejada from the Bronx in New York, Carmen Garrigan from MAG, and Esau Nunez from Honduras, a member of the MAG Honduras Pastoral Team.  Here below you see some of their photos serving the children.

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Felicia Dowling, VBS Leader, from Central Congregational Church, Derry, NH

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Jeremy Tejada from Redeemer Presbyterian Church, in New York City

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Carmen Garrigan, of Missionary Air Group, North Carolina

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Esau Nunez from MAG Pastoral Team, Honduras

It would be hard to decide who was happier on any given day; the kids or the team members.  What a joy it was to see them so engaged day after day. They spent their time giving affection, coloring, singing in Spanish when they could, helping with crafts and projects, teaching lessons in Spanish and Misquito, and playing baseball, jump rope, dodge ball, and all other manner of craziness.  Oh yeah, and there was this dancing to Misquito children’s songs.

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You saw it here first.  Hahaha.

But these ten did not make up our whole dream team.  We also had those we recruited in Rus Rus to make us twice as effective and impressive.  We had Fermina Lacuth Montoya, and Tirza Lopez, and Naomi Chow Coleman.

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Tirza, Fermina, & Naomi

We formed a beautiful bond right out of the gate.  And all thirteen of us were together Monday morning in Rus Rus all the way to Friday.  And the two teen girls were glued to us on our mission to Suhi the afternoons of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Tirza and Naomi sang worship songs all the way to Suhi and back; all three times we traveled there. What a joy it was to serve with this dream team.  Praise God for the love that is shed abroad in our hearts.

Now for some great pics of the children we served in Rus Rus and Suhi.

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Some Rus Rus Faithfuls

The Rus Rus bunch were made up of kids from Rus Rus, a handful from Mahbita, and several Nicaraguan refugees settling down in Rus Rus for now.  We are getting to know the kids from Nicaragua much better over time.  They understand Misquito more than Spanish, and for that reason we interpreted our messages to that language every day.

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The Six Regulars from Mahbita

I have seen these six girls from Mahbita grow over the years.  What a joy to minister to them as well.  They walked five straight days to get to us at Rus Rus.  Fifty five minutes on a very muddy footpath to RR, and fifty five minutes back to Mahbita.  All for the passion of learning more about Jesus.  This effort on their part will result in a better life for them; a life lived in love for Jesus Christ.  Look at them.  Are they not precious?  This is what life is all about.  Coming through for the children of the world.

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Two Happy Cowboys in Rus Rus

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Eliezer and the Best Smile in Town

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That was a solid sampling of boys.  And these guys are getting better and better at baseball. They may be hard to beat someday when they travel to some Nicaraguan town to show their strength.  But the girls have been learning to play ball right alongside of them.  I hope to provide a Christian based Baseball Camp for all of them some day soon.  Just a dream for now.

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We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  God’s kids seeking Him out.  These last two girls from Suhi may have wondered if I would really bring a team as far as their very remote village of Suhi along the Coco River and the border to Eastern Nicaragua.  They beamed when they saw our KIA vehicle pull up to the church.  Some day maybe many of these children will help me reach more and more people for the Kingdom of God.  And showing up time after time will make all the difference.  Many of you make this possible.  Thank you!

So we took that step to get to Suhi with a MAG/Common Ground Mission Team.  And the kids literally came out of the woodwork.

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We met in the baptist church, called Iglesia Bautista Galilea.  I have had the joy of being a part of this church now for about 2 and half years.  They have embraced me and I can feel their love every time I am with them.  Pastor Durlin Dixon is now their pastor.  He served as a deacon for several years leading up to this.  He is steady and a true joy to know.

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Pastor Durlin Dixon

Pastor Durlin’s wife, Alicia, hosted our visit since he was away to Managua, Nicaragua for a pastors event.  We were able to leave a good amount of resources in her hand to help this church with their children’s ministry.

This team was also blessed to have spent some time with the Honduran soldiers in Rus Rus.  They belong to the 5th Battalion of the Honduran Army.  I had the privilege of doing a Bible distribution with the soldiers once again.  I have mostly given them New Testaments in the past.  This time our team gave them a complete NIV Bible in Spanish.  Ten in total. Nine men, and a young woman who was the wife of one of the men, received a Bible.  And they were so grateful and formal about this.  Next time I will need to dress the part and act a bit more formal in this endeavor.  If they consider it so special, so should I. Check it out.

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It is not only a great joy to put God’s Word in the hands of military men, but it is a greater blessing to give the Scriptures to men who take it so seriously.  Praise God for these men.  I have been ministering to them now for four years.  They have come to trust me over the years.  Esau and I have had the joy of teaching several platoons.

But this mission team included Pastor Frank Jewett of the Advent Christian Church of Haverhill, Mass.  He was so excited to share with them on discipleship and baptism.  They listened with respect and had to do some serious soul searching after Pastor Frank was done teaching.  I trust that in the days to come that message will bear much fruit.

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Sgt. Rolan Garcia & Pastor Frank Jewett

Sgt. Garcia has been a loyal partner in helping his men study with us over the years.  Thank you, Pastor Frank, for pouring your heart out to these men.  They will long remember you!

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All Business

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Trying to Be Mexicans like Me!  Ajua!

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My Favorite Pic This Trip

This pic is of a young girl from Suhi.  She was baptized the last time I taught in Suhi.  But here she is shown arriving for the event with her special needs little brother.  God impressed upon me to hand over her kid brother to one of our team members so that she could participate more fully in the event, and so that her brother could be loved on by one of us.  I thank God for children such as these.  They are the reason we serve.  It is so plainly obvious that Jesus loves them beyond description.  And that being the case, how could we not show up for them.

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Here she is being baptized in July of 2016

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This is how you build their lives.  You form relationships of love and sincerity, and you keep showing up when you say you will.  So I thank my God for allowing me to serve these children.  And I thank Him all the more for allowing me to do so with teams like the one that just visited them.

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Carmen Garrigan  and Felicia Dowling on the road to Suhi

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Amanda Pierce on the Move

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Kids arriving at Suhi Church

I thank all of you who make this possible by your prayers and financial support.  Thank you for sending your family members to serve Jesus far away.  The kids thank you, I thank you, the team thanks you, and God loves it when we trust Him with his kids.

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Gracias hermanos!

May God receive all the glory He deserves for all that He does and for how deep and long distance is his love.  Yes, I meant “long distance” this time.

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And the Coffee is Good!

You really should come to Honduras with me someday.  It would do you a world of good!  And you can go around yelling “Ajua” with me everywhere.

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July 2016 Pastors’ Training Event in Nicaragua and Honduras

I personally want to thank all of you who have supported and prayed for the work God has called me to do in the eastern most parts of Honduras and Nicaragua.  As most of you know, the work I have taken on has been determined I believe in great part by the leadership the Holy Spirit has given me and the work he has introduced me into.  I strongly believe that a follower of Jesus Christ is just that, a follower.  That means the Holy Spirit of God gets to lead and call us into the work he desires to do through us, or for that matter, me in this case. That begs the question, can a man (believer) truly be led of God? Most definitely, yes! Am I such a man?  Am I being led by God’s Spirit?  Not so sure all of the time.  But he knows my heart, and he knows I beg to be led.  In fact, I am afraid not to be led by him.

I have never been a missionary who embellishes stories to impress my supporters. Guess what, it is not always easy to do what we do, and it does not always work out the way we would like things to work out.  God is in control and he does not take his cues from men and women. But he does accomplish his purposes through people who look to him, who rely on his leadership, and who willingly submit to his will.  Because the fact of the matter is, that apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  Zero.  We can posture, brag, embellish, and even talk a big talk; but apart from what God actually accomplishes, nothing of spiritual substance actually happens.  God will someday make crystal clear what will endure, and that will actually be a very sobering day for some of us.  May he get all the glory that he deserves.

My most recent mission event proved to be quite challenging; in great part because it is always more difficult to move about the region of La Mosquitia without the MAG Cessna airplane.  One has to fly by commercial plane into eastern Honduras, in this case, Puerto Lempira; a not so impressive town that has a couple of gravel roads that allow access into the region.  In Puerto Lempira Esau and myself stayed with a family I have known for about four years; Aracely and Yvette Chow Coleman, daughters of Geraldina Coleman, the head nurse of Rus Rus Hospital.  We were well received and well cared for.  I bought groceries for us and for this family so that we could spend a weekend together while Esau and I awaited the arrival of our third team member, Roman Lopez Chow.

That weekend proved to be a true blessing.  I have been wanting to reconnect with Pastor Celia Ruiz of the Church of God in Puerto Lempira.  She is a sort of leader in the region and a highly respected woman of God.  She was the first pastor to welcome me as a missionary to the people of the region when I officially began to serve Missionary Air Group in September of 2012.  She was glad to get reacquainted with me and to meet Esau.  She asked us to sing and preach the Word that Sunday that we were in town.

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Children of the Church of God of Puerto Lempira

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The Joy of Being with Pastor Celia Ruiz

I sang and I preached a message from 2 Kings for the Sunday Morning Bible Study hour.  It appears to me that it was well received.  Pastor Ruiz asked if we could  return and help her train their leaders.  I told her that it would be an honor if God led us to do so.  Esau was slated to share in the evening service but a major rain storm led the church to cancel that service.  We hope to return to serve Pastor Ruiz in the not too distant future.

The Saturday we stayed with Aracely Chow’s family we had a chance to minister to her children in the Word of God; like a mini Vacation Bible School. We had a great time with the few kids that participated.

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Loving Kids in Puerto Lempira

On Monday of July 4th Roman Lopez was able to meet up with us.  We had spent most of that day awaiting his flight from Wampusirpe.  Flights in and out of Wampu are not a guarantee on any given day, so we were quite happy to see him.   We made plans to leave the next day, July 5th, for Nicaragua.  We would be traveling on a pick-up truck, full of several people, for a four hour trip to the village of Leimus, Honduras, that is located on the Coco River, just across from Nicaragua.  We crossed the river by Batu and were met on the Nicaraguan side by baptist leader Rev. Orlando Marquez Mendez.

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Batu Awaiting Our Crossing into Nicaragua

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Esau and Roman getting ready to cross the highly crested river

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Baptist Leader Orlando Marquez Mendez

Upon crossing the Coco River and meeting up with our good brother Orlando, we made our way to Waspan, Nicaragua on another pick-up truck.  This time we were met by immigration people (Nicaraguan Soldiers) and this year we were ready for them.  Esau and I had real passports and Roman had the right permission paperwork.  In Waspan we settled into a humble but clean and safe hotel; el Hotelito Piloto.  The owner received us well and we were able to have some meals there and all of our dinners.

The training of pastors in Waspan, Nicaragua turned out to be a greater blessing than last year.  There were more pastors, we were better prepared, and the lessons we shared with them we trust were enthusiastically received.  At least they said that they were.  Here are some pics of us and the pastors.

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Teaching the Old Testament in Waspan

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Pastors and Leaders holding the OT CASKET EMPTY Banner

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Omar holding up his Old Testament Guide

Leaders like Omar, shown in photo above, were very grateful for the Old Testament overview.  It consisted of 12 full hours of teaching, covered first thing in the morning for four straight days.  Other doctrines were taught in the afternoon sessions.  I did most of the OT teaching as Esau and Roman assisted me with the reading of key OT chapters that needed to be highlighted.  One pastor expressed his gratitude for this OT training and did so with tears in his eyes.  It does not get any better than that.

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The Joy of Serving God’s People in Waspan Along the Coco River

We all agreed to continue to revisit this OT teaching and to explore some sections further. They could all recite the six major periods and most of the key events in each.  That is a great start.  I am very grateful to God for blessing us all in this way.  The main leader of these Nicaraguan pastors agrees with me that it would be a solid plan to take his best pastors and to begin to train them to be able to share this OT presentation with other pastors and to individual congregations.  I hope to use our team to visit key churches at some point in the future as well.  This is just the beginning.  We are getting to know and trust each other as we develop and nurture these relationships.

A Guatemalan leader has expressed an interest in our Pastoral Team sharing this CASKET EMPTY presentation at their seminary.  God appears to be opening doors for our team to develop other leaders in other places. These group of pastors have established churches in the area of Flores in the Peten region of northern Guatemala.

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Children at Waspan Baptist Church on Sunday Morning

One of the great blessings of this ministry is that I get to know so many people; men and women of God in remote places in this world.  But I love to connect with kids to let them know how special they are and how much Jesus loves them.  There are so many little friends, and even several teens who opened up to us some.  Praise God.

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Some of the Pastors in Second Venue in Suhi, Honduras

After having trained about 40 pastors in Waspan, Nicaragua, we went on to train about 20 in Suhi, Honduras, a key village on the Coco River.  We covered that training event in three full days.  A shorter version since we were able to make more progress with less people and shorter Q&A sessions.  But we covered the whole OT teaching plus all of our doctrinal lessons.  I am truly proud of our team.  I thank God for Esau and Roman.  They are faithful men who know how to love, serve, and teach with much passion.

Before leaving Suhi, two older girls expressed their desire to be baptized.  Their faith had been challenged during some of the evening services.  What a joy it was to see them get baptized.  I could have baptized them, but it is always a joy to see their pastors do it themselves.  Praise God.

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Living the Life!

After our ministry in Suhi I felt the need to travel back to the USA since my dad had been doing poorly and I wanted to be in the States in case he became more serious.  The plan had been for Esau and I to travel for a week’s visit in Rus Rus but it was not to be this time. I plan to return to only Rus Rus sometime in October, no later than early November.  As God leads and provides.  I am missing the kids, adults, and our missionaries there.

Upon leaving for Puerto Lempira across the forest of La Mosquitia we did not go far before our pick-up truck ran into some real mechanical problems.  Almost comical.  When I booked the trip on this vehicle I assumed Esau and myself, plus another person would be traveling together.  But I did not envision three huge pigs, nine large sacks of rice or beans, nine total people, plus two large empty (thank goodness) 50 gallon drums tide together, would be our full cargo.  Too crazy to imagine let alone see it with my own eyes.  I sat in the back with my feet hanging out the side of the truck, all while trying not to fall off.  Hahaha.  Lol.

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Broken Down in the Forrest – Awaiting Help

We would eventually spend a solid eleven hours in the forest trying to get to Puerto Lempira.  We did eventually get help and a ride for all of us stranded on the side of that lonely road.  Thought for awhile that we might have to spend the night before anyone came by on that road.  But God bailed us out again.  There was a moment when one vehicle offered to take me and Esau since we looked somewhat important (Lol), but I told them we would wait til they came by later.  I did not want to be that entitled north american that got to leave while the others were left behind.  Especially when there were two little girls who would be left behind.  At least I understood that Jesus would never leave then there. Besides, I had already gotten them to smile, listen to my singing, and had taken their pics. Here they are.

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My Forest Buddies

Esau and I sang to everyone with guitar accompaniment.  And we prayed.  And we got wet. And we had enough time to dry out also.  Another great adventure on the road with Jesus. You would love it.  I went to a nearby creek to get us water to drink.  Tasted funky, but it was refreshing.  I wouldn’t recommend it without a water filter.  🙂

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Hooking up to a better truck!

Have you ever pulled another vehicle with a pole?  It can be done.  It keeps the rear vehicle from plowing into the good truck.  Hahaha.  A good machete can get a tree ready for pulling in a heartbeat.  Yes!  Nothing like a sharp machete.

Thank you once again for caring enough to send me and our team to those remote places in the world were people are ready to receive what God has prepared for them.  Bless you.  I thank you!  Our team thanks you!  The leaders and their people thank you!  Little girls especially thank you for sending funny missionaries to keep them company on the road to Life.

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Two Missions for One Mission Team / Dos Misiones para un Equipo Misionero

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This year’s Common Ground Mission Team consisted of 10 volunteers from different churches and even different countries; six men and four women.  Esau Nuñez is the first Honduran to join such a team.  Six men made up the construction crew that continued to work on the old guest house soon to be the new home for Westley and Denise Wiles, missionaries living in Rus Rus.  These men were Matt Pierce on the far left, myself, Carlos Paz, followed by John Colman, Jim Herrick, Esau, and Ron Mills.  The women, as well as Esau and myself, joined together to carry out our third Vacation Bible School event to date. The ladies, from left to right, were Amanda Pierce, Rhonda Pierce, Tammy White, and Mackenzie Jackson.

Este año el Grupo Misionero de Common Ground consistió de 10 voluntarios de diferentes iglesias y de diferentes paises.  Esaú Nuñez es el primer Hondureño que ha tomado parte en tal equipo. Seis hombres formaron el grupo de construcción; continuando la renovación de la casa de huéspedes, que ya pronto será la casa nueva de Westley y Denise Wiles, misioneros en Rus Rus. Estos hombres, empezando de la izquierda, fueron Matt Pierce, yo, Carlos Paz, John Colman, Jim Herrick, Esau, y Ron Mills.  Las mujeres, incluso Esau y yo mismo, nos unimos para realizar la tercera Escuela Bíblica de Niños. Las damas, de la izquierda también, fueron Amanda Pierce, Rhonda Pierce, Tammy White, y Mackenzie Jackson.

Bible School for Children – Escuela Bíblica de Niños

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One hundred thirteen children took part this year in Bible School.  The majority consisted of sixty plus refugees from Nicaragua.  An armed conflict currently taking place in Nicaragua has caused thousands of Misquito people to take refuge in towns and villages along the Coco River, on the Honduran side; including Rus Rus.  These children were delighted to participate in such an event; one that brought both fun and discovery to their lives.  They were able to hear Bible stories, share in fun crafts, participate in lively activities, as well as get to know volunteer missionaries in a personal way for a week and a half.

Ciento y trece niños participaron en la Escuela Bíblica este año.  La mayoría de los niños consistió de sesenta y más refugiados de Nicaragua.  Un conflicto armado que continua al momento en Nicaragua ha causado que miles de gente Misquito tomen refugio en aldeas y pueblos a travéz del Rio Coco, en el lado Hondureño; incluso en Rus Rus.  Estos niños estuvieron felices en poder participar en tal evento; uno que les rindió a sus preciosas vidas ambos diversión y descubrimiento. Pudieron escuchar historias bíblicas, compartir en artesanías divertidas, participar en actividades, y también poder conocer a los miembros del equipo misionero personalmente por una semana y media.

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Thanks to Tammy White for the great Bible lessons and for the Legos she and her church provided for the enthusiastic 113 children who received them.  I do not believe that any child from the village of Rus Rus has ever played with Legos, let alone owned their own set.  Thank you Christian Community Church of Santa Maria, California.  You guys were heroic in making this happen for kids who had not received any Christmas gifts this past December.  Ajua!

Gracias a Tammy White por las lecciones bíblicas y por los Legos que ella y su iglesia proveeron a estos 113 niños que se quedaron super entusiasmados.  Yo no creo que ningún niño del pueblo de Rus Rus ha jugado con tal Legos, y menos de cada uno ser dueño de un set completo.  Gracias Iglesia Comunidad Cristiana de Santa Maria, California.  Ustedes fueron heróicos en poder realizar esto para niños que ni habían recibido regalos de navidad este diciembre pasado.  Ajua!

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We are truly grateful to have had Missionary Pastor, Esaú Nuñez, a member of the MAG Pastoral Team, be a part of this year’s VBS event.  His biblical lessons in Spanish made the event more meaningful to the children.  And we thank Pastor Fermina also for her much needed interpretation of the messages to the Misquito language for those children who were best served to hear the message in their more fluent language.

Estamos muy agradecidos haber tenido la ayuda del Pastor Misionero, Esau Nuñez, del Equipo Pastoral de MAG, para esta Escuela de la Biblia.  Sus lecciones en Español hizo el evento mucho más beneficioso para los niños.  Y también le damos gracias a la Pastora Fermina por servir de intérprete Misquito para los niños que mejor entendían esa idioma.

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And I rejoice every time I get to bring God’s Word to the children of Rus Rus and Mahbita. Can you tell?   It was especially meaningful to have loved on so many Nicaraguan children as well. I hope to see them again soon if they remain in Rus Rus.  I plan to return to Rus Rus this late June if God permits.  Maybe I’ll see them again.

Yo rejocijo cada vez que puedo traer la Palabra de Dios a los niños de Rus Rus y Mahbita.  Se dan cuenta?  Fue muy especial haber amado a tantos niños de Nicaragua también.  Espero verlos de nuevo si permanecen en Rus Rus.  Tengo planes de regresar a Rus Rus a fines de junio si Dios lo permite.  Quizás los vea otra vez.

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Construction Ministry  –  Ministerio de Construcción

The second ministry that our mission team carried out consisted of tiling the kitchen and bath, putting up a new wooden ceiling throughout the whole house, and the re-screening of the porch.  The tiling looks superb, the ceiling was 95% finished, and the porch is ready for a fine screen to keep bugs out.  Some pics to highlight some of this work follow here.

El segundo ministerio que nuestro equipo realizó constia de instalar cerámic, un nuevo techo de madera, y la aplicación de una nueva cortina de metal en el porch.  La cerámica se ve fenomenal, el techo 95% terminado, y el porch listo para otra cortina más fina para no dejar entrar a esos mosquitos famosos.  Vean unas fotos de este trabajo.

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The Common Ground Mission Team returned to the USA flowing their two week visit in Rus Rus.  The people of Rus Rus and beyond thank this team for their ministry among the children.  And Missionary Air Group thanks them also for continuing to invest in the work at our mission base in Rus Rus.

El Equipo Misionero de Common Ground regresó a los Estados al terminar dos semanas de ministerio en Rus Rus.  La gente de Rus Rus agradece a este equipo por su trabajo con los niños de Rus Rus y de más allá.  Y Missionary Air Group también les agradece por invertir todavía más en esta base misionara en Rus Rus. 

Visit to Galilee Baptist Church in Suhi / Visita a La Iglesia Bautista Galilea en Sují

On my most recent trip to Honduras I felt God leading me to address two important concerns.  One was to simply spend quality time with the two men who have become a part of the MAG Pastoral Training Team; Esaú Nuñez and Román L. Chow.  I had not spent time with these two key men since May and June of 2015.  I was missing them and they were missing me.  And secondly, I felt God wanted me to visit the Baptist Church of Suhi.  Suhi is a village about 40 minutes by pick-up truck from our MAG mission base in Rus Rus.  Suhi is also on the Coco River, making all of the villages and towns along this river accessible to our team on both the Honduran and Nicaraguan border by motor boat.  It is situated right smack in the middle of all the action.  Besides, the baptist church has been without a pastor for some time now and I wanted to encourage the leaders and members of this struggling congregation.

En mi último viaje a Honduras yo sentí que Dios me estaba dirijiendo a dos cosas importantes.  La primera era de pasar un buen tiempo con mis compañeros del equipo pastoral de MAG, Esaú Nuñez y Román L. Chow. No había pasado tiempo con ellos desde mayo y junio de este año 2015. Los estaba extrañando, y ellos me estaban extrañando a mí.  Y también, sentía que Dios quería que yo visitara la Iglesia Bautista de Sují.  Sují es un Pueblo que queda como a 40 minutos por vehículo de la base misionera de MAG en Rus Rus.  Sují también está situado en el Rio Coco, haciendo esta aldea (pueblo) importante y accesible a nuestro equipo en ambas fronteras de Honduras y Nicaragua por lancha (batu o motor).  Está situada en medio de todo el acción.  Además, la iglesia bautista ha estado sin pastor por algún tiempo y yo quería animar a los líderes y miembros de esta congregación.

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Nicaraguan and Honduran Pastors and Spouses

Here you can see several of the leaders of the church, along with several pastors and spouses from Nicaragua who are currently taking refuge in this village.  They are taking refuge because they have escaped an armed conflict between Miskitos and Colones (as they call them) over long-standing land disputes.  On the far left you see Esau and Roman in the blue shirts.  

Aquí se pueden ver varios de los líderes de la iglesia, con varios pastores y sus esposas de Nicaragua quienes se están refujiando en este pueblo.  Se están refujiando porque se han escapado de un conflicto de armas entre los Misquitos y los Colones sobre desacuerdos terrenales.  En la izquierda, parados, pueden ver a Esaú y a Román en sus camisas azules.

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Misionero Carlos y Diácono Pablo

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Deacon Pablo has been ministering to this baptist congregation for over a year now.  He is a spiritually strong and faithful leader.  I value his faithful service to these precious people of God.  Pablo is one of the many leaders that our pastoral team began to train in May.  In fact, there are three such leaders from this congregation who had participated in that event.

El diácono Pablo ha servido a esta congregación bautista por más de un año.  Él es un lider espiritualmente fuerte y fiel.  Yo respeto su fiel servicio a esta preciosa gente de Dios.  Pablo es uno de los muchos líderes que nuestro equipo pastoral empezó a capacitar en mayo.  En verdad, hay tres líderes de esta congregación que habían participado en ese evento.

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Pastor Reino and His Family

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Guitars are basic to our worship together

Pastor Reino, a baptist pastor from a nearby village, was leading us in worship.  It was a blessing to meet him and his family.  He plans to join us this coming May for our pastoral training event in the Spring of 2016.

Pastor Reino, un pastor bautista de una aldea cercana, nos dirigió en el culto de adoración.  Fue una bendición conocerlo a él y a su linda familia. Él tiene planes de participar con nosotros en la capacitación de pastores y líderes esta siguiente primavera de 2016

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As you can see, children are a joy and a blessing to me.  I feel just as called to speak into their lives as I do to train their fathers and mothers. I enjoy teaching them baseball, playing soccer, or just splashing in a creek or river with them.  It is what I do at home in the States with my own grandchildren.  We play.  It helps me not to miss my own family as much. Some of these kids will be our future leaders and communicators of the Gospel in the years to come.  We had fun practicing how to baptize others.  Instead of dunking each other into the water, we would throw the child into the air as high as possible to see them splash into the water.  We are at the local creek here.

Como pueden ver, los niños son una alegría y una bendición para mí. Siento el deseo de compartir con ellos así como lo hago con sus padres.  Me encanta enseñarles béisbol, jugar fútbol, y simplemente disfrutar el crique o el rio con ellos.  Jugamos.  Es casi lo mismo que hago con mis nietos en los Estados. Me ayuda a no extrañarlos tanto.  Me imagino que muchos de estos niños serán los futuros líderes y comunicadores del Evangelio en los años que vienen.  Nos divertimos mucho practicando como bautizar a una persona. En lugar de someter a cada uno bajo el agua, tirávamos al niño en el aire lo más alto posible para verlo(a) caer en el agua.  Estamos en el crique de la comunidad.

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El Rio Coco – Nicaragua y Honduras

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Julio, Me, and the Pick-up

Here are a couple of photos taken on a precious trip to Suhi.  At the bottom you see me with my great friend and brother in the faith, Julio Valladares. It is with him and his family that I live when I am in the village.  We hope to build two rooms as an addition to his home so that I can have my own room and an office for the work that needs to be done along the river in the near future.  Besides, I love tree houses; and it would be like a tree house.  You can also see the river as it appears from the river’s edge in Suhi.

Aquí vemos dos fotos que fueron tomadas en Sují en un viaje anterior.  En la de abajo se ven yo y mi gran amigo y hermano de la fe, Julio Valladares. Es con él y su familia con quien vivo cuando estoy en el pueblo.  Esperamos construir dos cuartos en su casa para que yo pueda tener mi propia habitación y una oficina para el trabajo que se va a hacer a travéz del rio, esperamos, en el no muy distante futuro.  Además, me encantan las casas de arboles; y sería casi como una casa de arbol.  También pueden ver el rio como se ve de la orilla en Sují.

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Fun Keeps Me Calm

Can you see how much I want to be there?  That is where God has called me to serve, and I would not change it for anything in the world.  I dream of it always and I am getting ready to move out once again very soon now.  Ajua! (Enthusiastic Mexican cheer).

Se dan cuenta que tanto quiero estar allí?  Allí es a donde Dios me ha llamado a servirle, y no lo cambiaría por nada en el mundo.  Sueño de por allá siempre y ya me estoy preparando de nuevo para salir.  Ya pronto. Ajua!

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The Rio Coco and its people are waiting for our team to return.  I could not be more excited.  Praise God for His love and goodness to these people.

El Rio Coco (Segovia) y su gente está esperando que nuestro equipo regrese.  No puedo estar más emocionado.  Alabanza a Dios por su amor y bondad a esta gente.

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We are ready and the people are waiting.  Merry Christmas to you all and for the people of Nicaragua and Honduras, a Happy New Year.  And to our God be all the glory!

Estamos listos y la gente está esperando.  Feliz Navidad, y a la gente de Nicaragua y Honduras, un Prospero Año Nuevo.  Y para nuestro Dios sea toda la gloria!

 

 

 

 

Motivational Message to Olanchito Students / Mensaje Motivacional a Estudiantes de Olanchito

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Elieser Nuñez Sosa, a teacher at the Institute of Francisco J. Meja, recently invited me to challenge his high school computer class students with a motivational speech.  It proved to be very challenging for me to do so since I am not accustomed to giving such messages.  But it went well and was very well received.  I also shared about the work I do among the remote peoples of their own country and this motivated them to ask me questions of a spiritual nature.  We enjoyed one another quite a bit.  I hope to Skype with them in the near future so that we can continue our discussion.

Elieser Nuñez Sosa, un maestro del Instituto Francisco J. Meja, me invitó a dar una charla de motivación a sus estudiantes de la clase de computación.  Se me hizo como un reto para mí porque no estoy acostumbrado a dar tal mensajes.  Pero me fue bien y fue bien recibido por los estudiantes.  También compartí sobre el trabajo que hago con las gentes de su  País en lugares remotos, y esto les dio motivación para poder hacerme preguntas espirituales.  Nos llevamos bastante bien.  Espero que podamos continuar nuestra conversación por Skype en el futuro.

Elieser is brother to Esau Nuñez Sosa, a member of our MAG Pastoral Team.  This family is very precious to me.  They have chosen to partner with me in the work that God has called me to do in Honduras and Central America.

Elieser es el hermano de mi compañero Esau Nuñez Sosa.   Esta familia es muy preciosa para mí.  Ellos han decidido entrar a un compañerismo conmigo en la obra a la cual Dios me ha llamado en Honduras y Centro América.

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MAG Pastoral Team Trains Nicaraguan Pastors / El Equipo Pastoral de MAG Capacita a Pastores Nicaraguenses

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Over a year ago God put on my heart to form a pastoral team of nationals to help me train pastors in Central America that need pastoral and leadership training.  And the first ever such team came together this past May to venture into Nicaragua to train our first group of pastor.  These two men who have joined me in forming the first ever MAG Pastoral Team are Rev. Román Chow Lopez, the current pastor of the Church of God in Rus Rus, and the second is a most promising baptist pastor from the Conservative Baptist Church of Olanchito, in the department of Yoro.  His name is Esau Adalberto Nuñez Sosa.

Hace como un año Dios me puso en el corazón que formara en equipo pastoral de nacioneles para ayudar en la capacitación de pastores en Centro America.  Y el primer tal grupo se reunió este mayo pasado para viajar a Nicaragua con el propósito de capacitar el primer grupo de pastores.  Estos dos hombres, que se han unido conmigo para formar el primer Equipo Pastoral de MAG, son el Rev. Román Chow Lopez de la Iglesia de Dios en Rus Rus, Gracias a Dios, y el segundo es un hombre joven de mucha promesa, Esau Adalberto Nuñez Sosa de la Iglesia Bautista Conservadora Central de Olanchito, del departamento de Yoro.   

The top left hand photo shows me on the far left, Román in the middle, and Esau on the right.  We were very glad to be together and understood the responsibility that was before in ministering to a large group of baptist pastors and leaders.  We all shared in special music and we each communicated certain biblical messages and lessons.

La foto que se encuentra arriba a la izquierda demuestra mi persona a la izquierda, Román en medio, y Esau a la derecha.  Estuvimos muy contentos de andar juntos y entendimos la gran responsabilidad que teníamos de capacitar un grupo tan grande de pastores y líderes.  Los tres compartimos en música y cada uno también comunicó ciertos mensajes y lecciones bíblicas.

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This teaching event brought us to our first of two communities.  Here we are in the Baptist Church of  Waspan training 33 pastors and leaders.  We spent four days studying together and held worship services every night for the local congregation, their guests, and the visiting pastors. The evening services were truly special.  The three of us shared in special music and in preaching the Word of God.  Those in attendance responded enthusiastically to the messages.  Many decisions were made by youth and adults.  Esau was especially effective in challenging the youth.

Este evento de capacitación nos llevó a dos comunidades.  Aquí estamos en la Iglesia Bautista de Waspan capacitando a 33 pastores y líderes.  Pasamos cuatro días estudiando juntos y tuvimos cultos de adoracíon cada noche para la congregación de esa iglesia, sus invitados, y para los pastores que estaban visitando.  Los cultos por las noches fueron muy especial.  Los tres miembros del Equipo Pastoral compartimos música especial y también nos turnamos en la prédica de la Palabra de Dios.  Los que habían asistido respondieron a los mensajes con mucho entusiasmo.  Muchos hicieron decisiones; ambos jóvenes y adultos.  Esau comunicó muy efectivamente con los jóvenes.  

At the end of our four days in Waspan we recognized all the pastors and leaders that had participated and gave them each a folder holding all the messages that we had taught them during our training together.

Al fin de los cuatro días en Waspan reconocimos a todos los pastores y líderes que habían participado y les dimos una carpeta a cada uno que contenía todos los mensajes que les habíamos enseñado durante nuestro tiempo juntos.

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During our stay in Waspan I had the privilege of singing and preaching on two radio stations on the Sunday of May 17th. Esau and Román also shared and and accompanied me on their guitars.  I was told by a young brother, Marvin, from Rus Rus, that he had heard us from that distance.  It was a special blessing to me that my home village in Honduras had heard our message on that Sunday.  Something I had not even considered would happen.  Praise God.

Durante nuestra visita a Waspan yo tuve el privilegio de cantar y predicar en dos radio emisoras el domingo del 17 de mayo.  Esaú y Román también compartieron y me acompañaron con la guitarra.  Me dijo un hermano joven, Marvin, de Rus Rus, que nos había oído de esa larga distancia.  Para mí fue una bendición saber que mi pueblo de Rus Rus pudiera oir nuestros mensajes y la prédica de esa distancia.  Algo que no había considerado que fuera posible.  Gloria a Dios.

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Here I am sitting along the shore on the Nicaraguan side of the River Coco, looking toward Honduras on the far left, awaiting our Batu (35 foot long, motorized canoe).  I try to have some fun to relieve the waiting or the stress that comes when so much looks so different and feels so challenging.

Aquí estoy sentado en la orilla del Rio Coco en el lado Nicaraguense.  Esperábamos nuestro Batu (una canoa motorizada, de como 35 pies).  Trato de divertirme un poco mientras llegaba el batu, y también porque la diversión me ayuda con el estrés que le viene a uno cuando todo se ve tan diferente y cuando se siente como gran reto.

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We traveled up river (west) for about ten hours.  We were headed to San Carlos.  We had hoped that we could have arrived early enough to hold an evening service there at 7:00 PM.  We did not reach San Carlos until around 9:30 PM.  We were in the dark for a good while trying to make progress on a river that was often too shallow to avoid getting stuck.  My good flashlight proved very helpful in helping us find our way in the dark.  It was a great adventure.  Like nothing I had ever experienced in my life.

Subimos el rio hacia el oeste como por diez horas.  Íbamos a San Carlos.  Esperábamos llegar bastante temprano para tener un culto por la noche come a las 7 PM.  Pero no llegamos a San Carlos hasta como las 9:30 de la noche.  Estuvimos en la oscuridad por algún tiempo tratando de progresar en un rio que estaba muy bajo y nos atorábamos frecuentemente.  Mi foco bueno nos ayudó a encontrar nuestro camino en la oscuridad.  Fue una gran aventura.  Fue como nada que me había tocado en toda mi vida.

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We picked up several of the pastors that had planned to attend the training.  Notice the size of the Ceiba tree in contrast to the people below it.  The beauty of the river and its people is amazing.  Praise God.

Recojimos varios pastores que tenían planes de asistir la capacitación.  Noten el tamaño del arbol Ceiba en contraste a la gente abajo del arbol.  La belleza del rio y de la gente es asombrosa.  Gloria a Dios.

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San Carlos proved to be a very challenging place be. It was not comfortable.  But God took great care of us.  We were super well received by the pastors and we studied together for four days.  They have so much to learn, and they are very willing to learn.  We hope to return to both Waspan and San Carlos next May of 2016 to continue our training of these precious leaders.  May God’s will be done.  All three of us team members returned safely to Rus Rus eight days later.

San Carlos no fue un lugar tan fácil.  No fue muy agusto.  Pero Dios nos cuidó muy bien.  Fuimos recibidos muy bien y estudiamos con los pastores por cuatro días.  Tuvimos cultos todas las noches.  Ellos tienen tanto que aprender, pero desean aprenderlo.  Esperamos regresar a ambos Waspan y San Carlos el siguiente mayo de 2016 para continuar nuestro entrenamiento con estos preciosos líderes.  Que la voluntad de Dios se cumpla.  Los tres miembros del equipo regresamos contentos y seguros a Rus Rus ocho días después de haber salido.