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Programs funded by the United States are helping
transform Honduras. Who says American power is dead?
by SONIA NAZARIO AUG. 11, 2016
San Pedro Sula, Honduras — Three years ago, Honduras had the highest homicide rate in the world. The city of San Pedro Sula had the highest homicide rate in the country. And the Rivera Hernández neighborhood, where 194 people were killed or hacked to death in 2013, had the highest homicide rate in the city. Tens of thousands of young Hondurans traveled to the United States to plead for asylum from the drug gangs’ violence.
This summer I returned to Rivera Hernández to find a remarkable reduction in violence, much of it thanks to programs funded by the United States that have helped community leaders tackle crime. By treating violence as if it were a communicable disease and changing the environment in which it propagates, the United States has not only helped to make these places safer, but has also reduced the strain on our own country.
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“The missionary heart: Care more than some think is wise. Risk more than some think is safe. Dream more than some think is practical. Expect more than some think is possible. I was called not to comfort or success but to obedience….There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving him.”
—Karen Watson, martyr, March 15, 2004
Saige and Yeni.
Today (originally posted November 6, 2015) was a hard day for Yeni and she was not in good spirits most of the day for obvious reasons. She was admitted to the hospital for an infection which is super dangerous based on her weak immune system.
So the initial prognosis was a 4 day stay in the hospital which would mean missing her big party tomorrow. 😔😔😔. Thankfully though the doctors seem to think she will be able to leave the hospital, if only for a short time, to enjoy the party. We are super excited about the chances of going ahead with the party!! That explains the big smiles in the photo.
This was actually the first time Yeni smiled all day. She had been looking for Saige but she was at school for the first half of the day. After Saige got out of school we explained the situation to her and she immediately said we need to go take Yeni lunch, be with her, and make sure she can still go to her party. Saige also decided to give Yeni a small, portable DVD player that had been given to her as a gift and two new movies so Yeni has something to occupy her mind while in the hospital.
All in all, today was a long, heart wrenching day watching Yeni suffer and not being able to do much more than just be present.
Yeni is a brave young girl fighting a nasty disease and yet still took time today to insist that she could stay at the hospital alone if it meant her younger siblings wouldn't have to be left alone for any amount of time during her treatment.
Being in close proximity to the suffering of kids like Yeni and others we've met this year has really broken my heart in so many ways.
I don't understand the place that suffering of this magnitude has in this world. I don't know what makes one kid out of a family of four have cancer while the other three just watch her suffer.
I only know that we are each placed here on earth to help ease the suffering of others in any way we can. We are here to be the reason someone can smile at the end of a day like this. We are here to love others in the way Jesus would. Fully and without prejudice. We are here to mend the broken hearted and bandage their wounds.
Pastor Fredy Ventura is a very dedicated servant to the people of La Ceiba.
He is a man that holds in very high regard the responsibility God has bestowed upon him. His work is run on Faith in God alone.
7 days a week and 24 hours a day, people in La Ceiba can come to the Comedor de JesuCristo and receive a meal.
There are three designated meal times set aside to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, however, because of a rotation of volunteer pastors and church leaders, they will serve a meal to someone in need at any time of day or night.
The location is centrally located and easy to access. There are no forms to sign, or agreements between those serving and those eating. They have stripped everything down to a basic service of feeding the hungry. At each meal the word of God is preached, and food is served. They do so based on a belief of biblical scriptures instructing them to do so. People wishing to get a meal do not need to do anything except show up.
Pastor Fredy has told us of numerous times when this community kitchen was out of food with no resources left to purchase food as well.
Serving up to three hundred meals each day is a huge task to undertake and being without food in the pantry is a major problem. Pastor Fredy described one such occasion when one of the volunteer cooks called him and told him the pantry was completely empty. Being a man of great faith, and conviction, he instructed her to put the pots and pans on the stove and to begin boiling water. She did as he said, while Freddy drove up to the kitchen. When he arrived he circled up all of the volunteers to pray for provisions. As they concluded their prayers, a vehicle approached, and out stepped a person no one had ever met offering a trunk load of food to be donated to the feeding program.
Pastor Freddy truly believes that every meal provided by this program past, present and in the future is directly from God, and he continues to feed those who come because of that faith.
He has shared with us that he has seen many people benefit from this program in their time of need so much so that he has even seen some people get off the street and return to their family and employment. They also have several "graduates' who now volunteer their time and no longer live on the streets like those they now get the chance to serve.
We are grateful to be able to support Comedor de JesuCristo, Our Team in July served here as well as donated several hundred pounds of food, and medical supplies for a free clinic that is also available.
Javier and Danielle Mendoza along with Pastor Allan Lorenzana of CCI Church in La Ceiba, visited the National Police headquarters for the state of Atlantida.
Our time was spent observing the conditions of their medical clinic. The clinic serves all of the police officers here in the state as well as their children.
We were asked to visit by our friend and Police Commissioner Luis Bustamante. He is concerned with the condition of the clinic and what they are able to do with the little resources dedicated towards police officer care.
Along with aesthetic upgrades like paint and fixtures, we plan to provide more up to date medical materials and supplies. Since this is also for the families of police officers, we want to make it something especially nice for these officers, who put their lives on the line each day.
We also plan to organize first aid and CPR training for these first responders. Very few are trained in basic CPR or first aid and when in the field and on missions, time is critical in the care and preservation of lives. Without proper training, these officers are being placed in extra danger which could be prevented.
The Commissioner told us of a recent tragedy where one of his officers died in the line of duty, because of injuries he sustained while serving on a mission outside the city limits. His injuries should not have been life threatening, but due to the distance from a hospital and the lack of training in first aid or the needed supplies, he suffered and ultimately passed before getting medical treatment.
Along with this new training initiative, we hope to outfit each company vehicle in the city with a properly equipped medic bag. In depth training combined with proper medical supplies will save lives in La Ceiba.
You can be the difference in making sure these officers come home each and every night.
"To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
◄ Isaiah 61:3 ►
Our family has now been in Honduras for 12 days. We have been getting settled in and becoming acquainted with our new town and with some really great new families.
Each time we have traveled to Honduras over the past 10 years we have been in awe of the natural beauty as well as the beauty in the love and the grace that surely abounds here.
We have chosen to focus on the beauty and not the ashes. There are families here serving others, there are business leaders improving the community, and there are churches concerned with outreach and not just warehousing believers.
Yes, there is still crime and hurt and disease but there is also peace, and love and good people willing to do what it takes for light to defeat darkness.
Our intention here is to highlight the good going on in this community and embrace solutions rather than dwell on the problems.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we integrate with this community and pray that we would be successful in our pursuit to exchange beauty for ashes.
Shared from an Article titled; Alternatives to detention leave some Honduran immigrants in "Shackles" - Latin America News Dispatch - LatinDispatch.com
When Eva left San Pedro Sula with her children this summer, she did not know what the journey would entail. A worker at a factory manufacturing shirts for Nike and Hanes, Eva had never traveled outside of Honduras. Some of her friends and family had moved to New York, but she rarely spoke to them.
Eva, Gabriel and Daria traveled to Guatemala by bus, where they stopped at a train station in the capital to beg for money. They then took a second bus to Mexico, before crossing the border into the U.S. by foot.
“I don’t like to talk about the experience,” Eva said. She was hesitant to share details about their migration, which culminated in a one-week detention at a facility in Texas before they were released and took a third bus to New York.
Pablo Blanco, a 38-year-old Garifuna who directs Elite Caribe International, a group that promotes Garifuna culture in the diaspora, said that many Garifuna women have been reluctant to open up about how and why they came to the U.S.
“A culture of fear has been instilled in these women, and now they don’t want to talk,” said Blanco, who has been attending the weekly meetings at Bronx Spanish Evangelical Church.
Garifuna from Honduras have been immigrating to the U.S. for decades. Around 1,000 women and children were part of the 88,491 Honduran migrants apprehended at the U.S. border between October 2013 and August 2014, according to Customs and Border Protection.
While Eva declined to discuss the reasons behind leaving, broad patterns affecting the Garifuna are clear. The Garifuna are not only fleeing violence in a country with the highest per capita homicide rate in the world, but also a government that has long marginalized their Afro-indigenous community.
Human traffickers known as “coyotes” facilitate the Garifuna migration, Garcia said, telling the women that if they travel to the U.S. with their children they will be allowed to stay in the country and work.
Carla Garcia addresses Garifuna during a community meeting at the Bronx Spanish Evangelical Church.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez acknowledged the problem of coyotes in a July press release, and U.S. authorities have tried to counter the use of human traffickers through a Danger Awareness Campaign that includes billboards and radio announcements throughout Central America that explain that new arrivals will not be exempt from deportation.
Blanco said, however, that the Honduran government also helps perpetuate the problems that push the Garifuna to leave their homes. In Honduras, he said, the Garifuna occupy an “invisible” status, and the government routinely displaces members of the community who live on pristine coastal lands ideal for tourism projects. In one recent example, 400 Garifuna from the Barra Vieja community were evicted by members of Honduras National Police in September in order to clear territory for an Indura Beach and Resort development.
“In Honduras it’s like we’re discriminated twice,” Blanco said. “We’re black and indigenous.”
“The Garifuna came here because they thought it would be different and that they would be safe,” Garcia, the activist, said. “And instead they are treated like criminals.”
This is is an excerpt from an article published by the Latin America News Dispatch To read full article please Click Here
My adult life has been characterised by international moves. While I won't even begin to pretend this is not awesome, the first weeks and months in a new country can be disorienting at best, completely depressing at rrworse. I am facing another international move come autumn, so I thought I would take this opportunity to share "Katie's Top 10 Tips for Moving Abroad without Jumping off a Ledge."
- Pick one or two items (preferably light ones) and take them with you — no matter where you live. I take a pillow my mother bought me before I left for college and a little dog my uncle gave me one year. No matter where I am living these two objects live with me and remind me that I am at home.
- Sign up for a language class. If you already speak the language join a book club. Language classes are helpful because you'll not only develop ever-so-important linguistic skills, you'll also have a chance to meet other new arrivals — people who are probably just as desperate for company as you are.
- Figure out where the locals buy their groceries and go there. This will save you tons of money and make you feel so much more at home. Plus, it will expand your culinary palate in ways you can't predict!
- Throw down the dollars for a rental service when shopping for your first flat. It might cost a bit extra but you will find a better place to live and save yourself a significant amount of unnecessary stress.
- Download Skype. Buy Skype credit. Love Skype.
- Get a mobile phone. I know this sounds weird, but the sooner you have a local number the better. For one thing, it makes it WAY easier to make friends.
- Go for a wander, get lost, and find your way home. This is the best way to learn any new place, foreign or not.
- Make an appointment you cannot miss on the third day you are there. This will force you to get with the programme, get in the right time zone, and get a life. Sooner than three days is too soon. Later than three days is too late.
- Give yourself permission to be homesick. I happily left Denver, CO when I was 18 years old after a countdown that had begun when I was about seven. The fact is ,however, every time I move to a new place, I want to go home — home, home — to Denver. I embrace this feeling. When you feel homesick, recognize that the feeling connects you to the place in which you were born or grew up and to the people you love still living there. Heck, book your holiday ticket home during this period. It soothes the soul and you might save some money buying in advance.
- Be grateful. The first few months in any new place, especially a foreign place, is going to be stressful. The fact is that most people live and die very close to the place they are born. You are experiencing something wonderful and unique — no matter how much it makes you want to cry, scream, or rip your hair out.
Via - 10 tips on moving to a new country and being happy there -
What’s stopping you from going on a mission trip?
You don’t have enough time. You don’t have enough money. You don’t have enough support. You haven’t been a Christian long enough. “Enough” is a limiting word. And chances are, it’s stopping you from going on a mission trip. However, is “enough” a good enough reason not to go?