Category Archives: Foreign Missions

On the Terrace …

…or terraza as the case may be.

Because things got busy as they sometimes tend to do around here I ended up stashing this note in ‘drafts’ and forgot about it. I saw the title and questioned ‘what is that?’ … it was an evening out  with ‘our’ young married couples and it is from way back but it’s worth mentioning and so, I digress to the past – like Saturday May 5th!

For well over a year and half Lowell and I have opened our home to several of the young married couples of the church here.  We’ve read books together, studied great lesson series, watched and participated in the Fireproof movie and lessons, and just had some wonderful fellowship including cook-outs around the campfire and meals around the table. In all, there’s seven couples that have participated. Now to get us all together … that’s a rare occurrence … but each have been  in and out of our home numerous times. Juan Jose and Claudia are neighbors and friends of Juan Jose and Mirty. They  were regulars at church services and our home even before they had become Christians – what a day of rejoicing when they made the decision to be baptized!

So, this Saturday night mentioned above was really very, very special –  we all gathered at the home of Juan Jose and Claudia and they and Juan Jose and Mirty hosted an asado (cook-out) on their terraza! Wow! there’s was some delicious food – chicken, beef and sausages grilled out and the usual ‘sides’ of Honduras – churros (chips), beans, grilled tortillas, and chismol  (fresh salsa). It was so neat to be sitting up on their ‘roof’ and it was the night of the ‘super moon’ with an actual break in the typical cloud coverage so we could see it! We laughed and visited and just had a perfect time – as good friends should and do. One neat thing too is that neighbors were invited that are regular attendees of the Friday night small group that meets in Juan Jose’s and Mirty’s home.

Let me say, this is a good group of folks – they are a valuable part of the church in Santa Rosa. The men are beginning to be active in worship participating in prayers and Lord’s supper and represent the future deacons and elders of the church here. The ladies – four of which have children – are wonderful Mommies and wives – they will be teaching children and ladies in years to come. Each of these couples are getting in on the ‘ground-rules’ of what makes a marriage great and are understanding the hard work, daily, that it takes. The discussions have been thought-provoking and valuable.

I love this family of God!

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Good Things

There’s been some very good things going on here …

like:

The medical brigade with the Burnt Hickory folks in Yarushin. Over 800 people were served over the four days. There are always moving stories at our clinics – and you know some stand out more than others. This time there was a lady who had lived years with a mysterious bacterial infection that now has an answer and ‘remedy’ of sorts (and definitely a better life), and a number of small children were seen that had serious anemia problems. One little girl was even taken to the hospital in Santa Rosa and had to have blood transfusions. Thank God, some of the visiting folks were not only the right blood type but were willing to share their blood so this little one could get a new lease on life. We truly saw the fingerprints of the Father in these life stories.

And, last week, Scott and Tim returned (from Atlanta) for yet another basketball clinic and this time, guess what? among others, it included kiddos from our neighborhood! yay! Remember our post on Basketball – it’s not just a game? Well, from when this started “(Lowell) Got drafted into the NBA – Niños Basketball Association. Will be helping teach basketball skills to 9 – 12 year olds but interspersing Biblical teaching. Should be fun and its always good to guide kids to the Bible.” until now, there’s been almost weekly basketball activity with at least 5 different schools. The kids are learning valuable lessons about not only sportsmanship but also, pertinent lessons from the Bible and the value and necessity of prayer. The kids are growing in valuable ways that they can take into their everyday lives.

Also,t this week, with a little different twist, a group has gone back up to Ojos de Agua (where we’d had a medical/vision clinic a month ago) and a team of young folks from CO and Atlanta are holding basketball clinic in this mountain village. Fun times, encouraging moments and definitely great contacts for the Lord’s church in that area.

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Changes … can be fun, and a little unusual … :/

When Jacob left here a number of things had to change – at least for me (Robin).

One thing was inevitable – I would no longer be walking everywhere as before. Daytime journeys out to the pulperias (little grocery stores) could still happen but not in the extent as they did with Jake around – the loads are just too heavy for me to carry on my own.  Taxis are available sometimes but not always when you need it and as often as not, we would walk all the way home with our cargo.  And too, just having a male presence made things more comfortable. There’s so much construction going on and the cat-calls and remarks (a way of life here) are a little harder to deal with on my own.  Also, I am more cautious by myself  even here at the house … for example, locking the front gate and the doors when I’m not downstairs.

Walking to church gatherings on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings is out … in the past, generally speaking, Jake and I walked by ourselves and met Lowell at the building. Well, I don’t walk anywhere by myself after dark and have kind of lost confidence even in daylight to go far afield. For example, the usual way I used to go to the building changed because of road construction.  A couple of times of being really spooked ended that a while back.

So, what has happened is this:   A month or so before Jacob left Lowell got a motorcycle (exactly 46 days ago- he just had the 45-day-check-up) . The purchase of the bike was due to the generosity of 2 very special families and he got it when he needed it the most – he had developed Plantar Fasciitis and was suffering with severe foot pain. The pain has greatly reduced since he’s been able to give his feet a break from all the walking. On the motorcycle Lowell was pretty much solo while Jake was here but now, I’ve hopped on board.

My rule is: if it is a combination of dark and rainy, I stay home. Otherwise, my wardrobe choice has drastically altered – this lady who has worn skirts or dresses probably 70% of the time for years and years now dons her jeans or pants for trips out.  We discovered mighty fast that side-saddle riding may have been fine on the long, straight roads of Nigeria but here on these rut-filled steep hills it is just not feasible or safe. (although… I have learned what long, full skirts I can get by with on a Sunday night – you know for riding astride yet modestly ).

Oh, just fyi, I always feel safe with Lowell’s driving and I trust his every move … not necessarily the other guy though! So anyways, we just glide along, bumpity-bumpity- BUMP, glide, slide bumpity-bumpity-BUMP, GLIDE  and move in, out and around these Honduran roads. If you’ve never rode a motorcycle on a cobblestone street, you should try it sometime!

Our helmets are bright red … we’ve been told they look happy (thanks, Richard) and like they look like ripe tomatoes. They put me in mind of the veggie tale character, Bob, the Tomato. I call us the ‘tomato heads.  Even with the bright tomato-red helmet, I think Lowell looks pretty cool on his motorcycle.

Not bad for a pair of old fogies, huh?

Blessings every one … we’re outahere!!

Zoom-, bumpity-bumpity- BUMP, glide, slide bumpity-bumpity-BUMP, GLIDE … zzooooommmmm

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Hither, Thither and Yon part 1

Literally that means ‘all over the place’ – which aptly describes our wanderings the last few weeks, or even months.

Lowell, Jacob and I wander from here to there mostly because we have brigades come in to work with us and they’re from all over the US. If I’m counting correctly I guess we’ve had at the minimum six different groups come down already this year meaning that we’ve had medical brigades, work details, seminars and great times mingling with all these super people. Honduran lives have been touched and changed in incredible ways because of these people with servant hearts.

You see, we’re (Lowell, Jacob and I) the privileged ones – more often than not, we get to participate not only in the initial encounter, the work but then too, get to see and experience the follow-up. I like that – I really like to see the impact that a short-term mission trip has on an area. We’ve been to any number of little villages – up to 3 hours away and each has its own story of people and interactions that lead to great things being accomplished for the kingdom. There’s some really cool stories going on!

For example: Las Sandias (a little village 45 or so minutes out of Santa Rosa) … we first went to hold a medical brigade with Pine Tree folks back in February. A couple of weeks later, their Youth group came back and painted the schools where that medical brigade was held, and then a little later we were able to go back and do scenery painting on that Kinder and Primary school. This was all done by so many different people!! But the connecting fiber was Jesus Christ and right now, there is some great evangelism happening in this village. A couple of the men are close ones to responding to the gospel call. Their families are being studied with on a regular basis. Their feeling after all these weeks is that ‘they matter’ – in this world, in the eyes of God …  they feel they matter because it was demonstrated by folks who are acting as the feet and hands of Jesus Christ.

I see the fingerprints of the Father all through these wonderful days …

here’s a taste of our days with Las Sandias:

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The Truth Is … I Lied :/

by: Robin Lynn

Well, I didn’t lie about anything really big and it was just to my big kids so, I think we’ll all get over it. You see I shared with them rather recently, and probably more than once, that it was going to be years before I ever went on a hike or long walk just for the ‘fun of it’. Moderate hiking in our Stateside National State Parks is something our family has always enjoyed. However, after living here and walking cardiovascular challenging hills on a daily basis it is not high on my list of leisurely past-times – until this week. What was I thinking?????

It all happened because of Jake – he keeps us young. I’m hoping after he flies away from the nest Lowell and I still have these fun adventures but, in the meantime I know it’s because he drives us … and I’m glad.  We chose to go back to Guatemala for our ‘time-out’ (90 day stamp renewal for our passports). The guys had already been but now I was along for the ride and this time we decided to include a visit to a nearby tourist site – Ipala Volcano, Crater Lake outside Chiquimula, Guatemala. According to the hotel owners, people at the desk and anyone else we mentioned the possibility of going to, well,  the walk to the top was “vale el esfuerzo” or, worth the effort. (I now really, really appreciate this expression!)

First of all let me clue you in on the transportation we used in Guatemala … all our travel from La Entrada, Honduras and throughout Guatemala was via rapidito vans – some of them supposedly can seat up to 21 but on one, we were truly loaded with 48 people  – ridiculous! We were always moderately comfortable and never felt endangered – but yes, crowded as all get-out! So, for this day … March 29, 2012 – we headed to Ipala in a rapidito, changed to another in a little town up the highway to get to the base of the mountain and then caught a ride in the back of a truck to the tiny village below the actual trail.

Oh my! Let me say here that labeling this as a rigorous walk is an understatement! We started climbing up this long, hot, rocky, dry & dusty trail – and it took an hour and a half and it was a long, hard trek.

This is Ipala Volcano from the highway.

Lowell in back of truck we headed up in.

The trail is dusty and

rocky and hot and steep

But, the there were million dollar views 🙂

We're at the top and first view of the lake!!

Love it!

Jake at Crater Lake

Crystal blue loveliness! Isn't this amazing! Lowell and Jake took this from up on the edge ...

after a good fun time it was all about getting down .... ugh!!

Here are some cool, interesting links about Ipala Volcano and Crater Lake and people even camping there – we felt safe and of course, there were oodles of people there because, even though it was a Thursday, school groups had come because of being close to vacation time and their Easter holidays – everyone is up for an outing. I think there were only 2 others that actually swam but they played ball and had a good time – like us …

Yep, another adventure under our belts and it was definitely “vale el esfuerzo”.

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2012 Support Letter

Robin, Jacob and I began working with Phil and Donna Waldron and René Rosa in September of 2010.  We moved to Santa Rosa de Copán in the western part of Honduras after having worked in Santa Ana for seven months.  We are excited about what is being done here and we feel our prayers have been answered that an offer was made to us about joining this team.

We are working with a team of fourteen. We are three North American couples and the rest Latino couples or singles plus two single North American interns. Most of us attend and work in conjunction with the church at Santa Rosa de Copán.  This team has vision, excitement and they have a PLAN!  That plan is to plant churches and teach them to plant more churches with an emphasis on the six “states” in western Honduras called “Occidente.”  The movement that begins here may very well continue throughout Honduras.  At least, this is the dream and prayer.

These are not just dreams, though, the team has worked together to plan how this will happen.  There is now a strong and active church in Santa Rosa.  We have worshiped with them for a year now.  The church has caught the same vision as the team.  We haven’t seen a church more excited about what God is going to accomplish than this one is.  There is something going on four or five nights of the week.  They are growing and reaching out to others with the gospel.  There are regularly 185 in attendance any given Sunday.

Part of the strategy involves C.R.E.O., a school to train men to carry the gospel and the vision back to their home congregations.  Seven young men attend at present.  They will attend classes during the week but are expected to return to their home congregation each weekend.  This is done for two reasons – to help the local church but also to encourage the student to return to his home when he graduates.

Another method to train preachers and leaders is intensive weeks – a time when Christians from rural areas come and attend classes for six straight days. The most recent one was a study of the Sermon on the Mount. There are six sessions planned for this year. This has been shown to be an excellent method of preparing leaders for rural congregations.

The following is one area in which we, the Whites, fit into this plan.  Robin and I noticed even before we moved to Honduras what a terrible problem exists here in relation to marriages.  There are very few people married.  The culture has developed into a mentality that living together without marriage is normal.  Men do not want to make the commitment and women don’t expect them to do so.  Infidelity is rampant.  The team and we understand what an impediment this is to the maturity and growth of the church.  Add to that the promiscuity of the youth and you have a recipe for failure as far as the church is concerned.  Our task, not an easy one, is to begin a program of teaching to change this.  We will concentrate on teaching the church membership but hopefully will branch out to those not yet in the church.  We will teach the sanctity of marriage through the use of preaching, seminars, pre-marital counseling sessions and any other means which proves valuable.

Phil and Donna have already identified a couple of programs that have been successful elsewhere that they believe can be adapted and translated into the Latino context.  Robin and I feel we have the experience and knowledge, with the help of the team, to build several programs that will bring glory to God by changing the minds and hearts of both young and old in Honduras.  We do not presume to think it will be an easy task.  We are daunted by the thought of making it happen and have not made the decision easily because we understand how difficult it will be to change a culture of thinking that has been molded by the world and the evil one who influences it.  But it must be done if the church is going to successfully grow in this country and we believe the Lord will be leading us and supporting us and helping us all along the way.

Let me quickly share some of the other things we and the team are doing. I (Lowell) am in charge of the Tuesday night children’s classes. The men teach these classes – something out of the ordinary in the Latino context.  Robin teaches a children’s class almost every Sunday. She and I have a weekly Bible study in our home on Friday. Each Saturday night the couples who have been recently legally married attend a class and discussion on marriage issues in our home. Most recently we’ve been studying lessons based on the Fireproof movie. Tuesday nights we attend praise and worship. Thursday nights we attend disciples classes. Saturday nights Jacob, our son, attends youth meetings. Robin has a group of children in our home on Wednesdays to work on crafts. Every other Monday night is a men’s meeting with the brothers of the congregation.

The team works with short-term missions groups who come to hold medical, dental and eyeglass brigades. Some brigades will work on other projects like painting a kindergarten, painting murals, holding volleyball clinics and conducting VBS. We expect over two hundred people here this year. And to give an example of what they accomplish, there were 900 people seen at a medical, dental and eyeglass clinic this month. Plus, we try to hold these in villages where we plan to plant a church soon or where one already exists. Donna Waldron is the coordinator for these but she enlists the help of most of the team. It’s a big effort.

The team also has a work called DESEO. This is an effort to enter primary schools and teach classes with the goal to “impact the children in a way that forms their character and helps develop an intimate relationship with their creator”. Last year there were team members working in four schools. This year several more schools will be added. In conjunction with this the team is starting a program based on the Upward basketball program in the States which also works on developing character and a relationship with God, but in addition, works to impact the parents as well. We’ve already had one training camp and a brother is returning this week to continue the training of those who will be involved.

Did I mention that the team would like to plant 12 new congregations this year? I’m not as optimistic as others on the team about the possibilities of accomplishing that but even if we are able to do half and instill in them the desire to plant other churches, the year will end well.

We believe the work in Santa Rosa fits our gifts, personalities and experiences because there is:

A Team – A group of missionaries and Latinos with one goal.

A Vision – A restoration-type movement concentrating on the six states of western Honduras.

A Plan – To plant churches and grow mature Christians who want to plant churches.

An Excitement – Young people and old, new converts and older Christians are filled with excitement.

A Need – Our purpose will be to build Godly marriages and encourage lives of purity to make the churches strong.

May God continue to bless each of you as you seek for and find the will of God for your life,

Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

If you would like to help, please contact me at lowellwhite@post.com

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Whites End of Year 2011 Honduras Newsletter

We praise God and lift you up in Thanksgiving for allowing us to have another great year here in Honduras!

2011 was full to the brim with wonderful work in God’s kingdom – it was indeed, a very good year. We started the year in the US and enjoyed visiting not only our precious family but also, most of the congregations and people who support us here. We loved the fellowship of God’s family and as a special bonus, got to enjoy at least 3 hefty, beautiful snowfalls! We knew we had to raise additional support in order to come back to Santa Rosa to continue our work here – at the 11th hour this was accomplished and we were able to return!

We arrived back to full-scale busyness in January with first an area-wide preachers’ meeting and then the first medical brigade. The folks from V-COM University in Virginia had everything planned out. They’ve done medical clinics before and knew what they were doing. The month ended with a great seminar on Conflict Resolution.

In February we had a wonderful church bonfire up on a mountain near our house and were also able to attend a wedding in San Marcos for a couple dear to the church here. Our house stayed pretty busy with young people coming over and the usual small group meetings. We ended the month with a 4-day medical/dental/vision clinic – hundreds of people were blessed in this mountain village of Yarushin with many people walked in from the countryside – the love of Jesus was overflowing!

March was busy again with youth gatherings, small group and the newly marrieds meeting at the house but also, there was a very productive church planting seminar that was conducted by brothers René Rosa and Joshué Molina. Wonderful spiritual growth was evident in our local congregation and the fathers were honored in a Father’s Day program put on by the children – it was precious! We also had our first Let’s Start Talking team of teachers come in – what a terrific ministry!

In April, Angie and Karol started the D.E.S.E.O. program (teaching values and principles and basic good health) at 3 of the local elementary schools; Jeremias, Harrison, Lowell, Jorge or Jose usually start the day with a joint devotional for the kiddos. We witnessed 25 graduates from the L.S.T. Program – and a good number of these continued into a Monday night Bible study conducted in English. The month ended with Jake attending a congregational encampment – fun for all ages! Lowell and Robin spent four days meeting with some brothers and sisters in 3 different congregations in the San Pedro Sula area with Bob and Leah Davis and Nathaniel Green. It was good to hear the various things these churches are doing in their communities and its always great to make new friends – Gringos and Hondurans.

May began with a 4-day regional conference pretty much conducted by René and Joshué. The themes centered around the church opening her eyes and heart to its community and begin making an impact on the social and cultural ills in this country. Lowell was responsible for some of the morning devotionals in local schools, besides preaching at Santa Rosa once for the congregation. Also, 21 ladies came to our house for a great ladies study plus. There was a wonderful Mothers’ Day celebration to honor the ladies of the church. Our crowds were getting larger at our services (up to 192) so there was a day for an ‘usher workshop’ and in addition, a good number of our men were able to attend the Lectureship at Baxter Institute.

April into May saw Lilian Molina and Robin conducting sewing classes “Cosiendo Para Cristo”. During the 5 weeks we studied some great Bible lessons and each of the 6 girls made a dress for themselves, and an additional 3 were made for neighborhood children.

June began with two different planning sessions with the youth of the church – there are great activities in store for them. Lowell was put in charge of and began an educational program with the men teaching the children on our Tuesday evenings. There was a second congregational bonfire that turned into a deluge. It was fun while it lasted. Folks came from W. Virginia and Colorado giving new glasses to kids who need them at the schools where DESEO is taught. The month ended with over 900 people in La Jigua being served by a group from Ft. Worth.

Robin and Jake were in the States for a month June 18 – July 18 with Jake being able to attend Carolina Bible Camp and spend time in VA with friends. Robin was able to enjoy time with all 3 big kids and families. Mean-while, Lowell stayed busy with brigades with medical students from VCOM (Virginia). Baxter students came and held an evangelistic campaign. A good number of brothers and sisters were added to the Body.

Life on the mission field is filled with ups and downs and sometimes – at the very same time they are moments of excellence intertwined with times of grief and sadness – June was such a time … we learned of the death of Lowell’s brother, Wendell.

July saw Terry Reeves’ TORCH intern group conducting a great VBS and too, our sponsoring church from Wilkesboro along with a group from Burnt Hickory, Georgia came down to join us in an eyeglasses clinic – what a terrific, blessed time! Near the end of the month, 21 men met for an all-day, week-long “boot-camp” course in the Bible. Another way to prepare men to be leaders in their respective congregations. There were also two more Lets Start Talking groups here in July.

August saw Lowell continuing with morning devotionals. We had a church building dedication ceremony in Las Crucitas. Lowell and Josue had some good studies in Ojo de Agua, a future church plant. There were five couples who had a ceremony to legalize their marriages – very beautiful and meaningful! And Glorisel, a student from the LST ministry, was baptized. Robin had a group of 14 ladies into the home for a wonderful study/workshop on prayer.

In September we helped paint the building in Yarushin with others on the team and some of the members from there – it was a fun day! Continued with Bible studies here and there and the youth group was able to attend the annual Youth Conference at Baxter Institute. Also, a new LST group came in continuing that good work.

October was a busy month with our regular activities, Lowell helping with home Bible studies in the neighboring villages and busy too, with getting our 90 day extensions – Robin and Jake to El Salvador and Lowell to Guatemala. It was Jake’s birthday month – the big 18 – and we also did an over-night trip to San Pedro Sula for him to be able to take the ACT exam.

November began with a three-day seminar on HIV/AIDS. Lots of information given to about twenty-two of the preachers and leaders of churches of Christ in western Honduras. Mid-month, the church had an amazing youth retreat … we had a guest speaker come in from Mexico with his family; the time was filled with the best of all that could have been hoped for. Great singing, prayers, excellent lessons – tears, laughter, and newly made convictions. The best part – 8 new Christian brothers and sisters!

We started our December with twenty-seven men who came for 6 1/2 days of intensive study on the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5 – 7 – they left refreshed, renewed and with enough material for a year’s worth of lessons and sermons! Went straight into a week-long fabulous Upward Basketball Clinic put on by some men from the States – Lowell had a blast helping with that! Robin had weekly holiday crafts for the kids in our neighborhood and had so much fun they want to continue it on an on-going basis with 7-8 boys and girls. Had a nice Christmas Eve get-together at church. Kids sang some songs, adults put on a play and about 225 of us ate chicken, rice and salad. The 3 of us headed to Belize for our 90-day extensions and enjoyed a few delightful days coming back in time for bringing in the New Year here at home.

Wow! It was indeed a full, rewarding year’s work for the Lord. Please continue to pray for all the new Christians, for the various ministries that are touching and changing so many lives and for our part in all of it.

We are grateful to each of you for your prayers and financial support. We pray for each of you as well, that the Father will shower you with blessings, and adventure during this new year of 2012!

– Lowell, Robin and Jacob White

 

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