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 firstname.lastname@example.org