Central and East Africa Trip: First Update

We made it! After spending a few hours in Entebbe, this morning, we took a charter to fly into a dirt strip in Arua. For a few of us, it was our first time both flying on such a small plane and flying into a rural airport.

When we landed, we were greeted with joy and welcome which we quickly discovered was a beautiful marker of the South Sudanese and Ugandan people. Our team was able to visit one of our partners – TAG, Targeted Aquaponic Growth, and got to hear stories of God’s miraculous intervention and the richness of obedience to Christ’s call. Many times, it was not easy, but God always showed up.

We were also struck by the power of prayer in faith. TAG partners with Calvary Chapel Church to house their aquaponic system which in turn blesses abandoned boys housed on the church compound. Not only was their generosity profound, but their prayer in faith was inspiring. As we met Pastor David, he walked us through a building still under construction. He shared that 9 months ago, the land we were standing on was just dirt. They realized they wanted to create a building space for their children, but they had no money. So in an act of faith, they gathered their church to pray on that ground and ask God to show up. In response, not only did God show up, but he showed up in abundance. Over the past nine months, they’ve not only built out most of the space, but it’s also already funded. God responds to the prayers of his people!

Pray for us as we jump into day two on the ground. We will begin teaching at a trauma conference hosted by ALARM in the refugee camp. Pray for wisdom to teach comprehensively and concisely. Pray also for the other half of the team as they teach about sanitation to the community.

Lebanon Mission Trip: Third Update

Today we toured the home a learned more about how the staff of Home of Hope loves on the kids and tries to ensure that their traumatic background does not dictate their future. The work they are doing with these children is a beautiful picture of the gospel. 

We helped them today by organizing a storage area that they have been wanting to get organized for a long time. We also enjoyed a lovely dinner and fellowship at Brady and Amber’s house with some of the Home of Hope team. 

One theme we have been reminded of repeatedly in our time here so far is the importance of trusting God with our future. We may not know the whole plan but we need to take the next step he is asking of us and trust that he has our future in his hands.

Pray for our time tomorrow painting with the kids. Pray for good connection with the kids and that we can show them God’s love while we are working with them. 

Written by Karrie Cox

Honduras: Day 4

Hi everybody! I am so excited to tell you about some really amazing things that happened today. We accomplished so many things, and the longer I think about it, the more I appreciate and absorb just how incredible God is. 

I’ll start with breakfast. Was I awake? Was I asleep? Was that actually something that happened today, or was that a week ago? All I know is that everyone was tired but still had so much excitement about finishing the house we had been working on for the Guevarras. We stopped at EduCafe to get coffee, then went to the house.

We started by putting up the last wall, then really got going on the inside. Together we built some walls for privacy, screwed in sheet rock, and finished some final touches. We built the porch, finished the roof, and watched as a part of that final wall became a door. We even put up an awning to go over the porch. 

I have never seen a group of people work so diligently in my life. It got hotter and we got more tired, but I didn’t hear a single complaint. Seeing the children running through their future home made us forget about any irritation or stress that we had. I saw pure joy in Jeferson and Lisa as we lifted them to touch the ceiling and they climbed through the windows. Seriously, I’ve never seen smiles or heard laughs like that in my whole life. 
After working all day (besides our lunch break- shout out to chicken and rice), we finished the house around four o’clock. Everyone gathered on the front porch to present the finished house to the Guevarras. Together we sang “This is Amazing Grace” and celebrated how good God really is. How amazing His grace is, how His love is unfailing, how He laid down His life so that we could be set free! 

Olga, the mother of the Guevarra family, spoke to all of us. She told us how thankful they were and even called us angels that God sent. A woman from her church told us about how they had been praying for a house for so long, and that we were making their dreams come true. God! Answers! Prayers!!!!

Amber and Jared spoke and prayed over the family as well as the house. We prayed that the house would be a part of their testimony, that it would be a place where they share the gospel with other people. We prayed that it would be full of safety, comfort, and laughter. We told them that they are so special and that God has an amazing plan for them. 

It is so amazing that this house will truly change their lives and become a way for them to tell other people about Jesus. I know that we built the house with our hands, but none of that strength came from us alone. Building that house was only possible with the strength of God, and the unity felt on that porch can only be described as the Holy Spirit. 

After we finished the house, we went and got ice cream with the Guevarras and the EduCafe students that had been helping build the house. Shout out to them because they worked so hard, especially on the roof. We could not have done it without them. Also, the ice cream was so good and so refreshing. Ice cream is always good.

After that, we came back to the hotel and started to prepare for the evening, which also ended up being so insanely special and impactful. 
Seven EduCafe teachers came to our hotel so that we could eat dinner with them and celebrate all of the incredible things they do. Teachers, especially here in Honduras, do not receive enough recognition or appreciation. We wanted to show them that their hard work does not go unnoticed!
We ate dinner with them, heard their stories, and spent a lot of time laughing about the word snickerdoodle. This was all so great, but the very best part was when we washed their feet.

I’m going to get really real. When I heard we were going to wash their feet, I was like uhhhhh no sorry. It made me uncomfortable. 

At some point, something shifted. Jesus had the humility to wash his disciple’s feet. Who am I to let my own discomfort stop me from showing that same love to other people? The awkwardness turned into something completely beautiful. The nervous laughs turned into tears flowing down the teacher’s faces. Washing someone’s feet is so much more than just that.

It’s love, it’s humility, it’s respect, it’s vulnerability. It’s a symbol that we are all equal and deserve to love and serve one another just as Jesus did. 

Overall, today was great. The Lord showed up in so many ways. Please be praying that we stay energetic and courageous as we go in to our last full day! Thank you so much to everyone who is supporting us! 

With love,
Grayson McGovern

Honduras: Day 3

Hola, everyone! Today was an exciting and impactful day here in Honduras. I am so thankful I get to sit here tonight outside in the beautiful Honduran rain and write to you about how God is moving this week. I personally have seen and heard so many stories just in the past 48 hours and I am excited to share some of them with you. 

This morning we woke up to the sound of birds pecking on our windows. (We have learned this is one of their favorite 5am pastimes) after which we headed straight to the Guevarra’s home and began work on their new home with the assistance of a few EduCafe students, their neighbors, and Serve Hope team members. We worked from 9-4 in the Honduran heat on the house, but made great strides towards completing the project. During a break we concluded that so far over 2500 nails have been nailed (by hand) into the structure of the house. This just accentuates the fact that we are all thankful for many hands diligently working to complete this humble families’ new home. 

The Guevarra family have really shown us what true thankfulness and gratitude consists of. When we first arrived to the construction site this morning, their youngest daughter, Lisa, greeted us by proudly showing the balloon she was given at the church yesterday, along with big hugs and a jubilant smilie. Throughout the long hot day she never failed to encourage us with her bright smile and joyful laugh. When I would run out of energy or feel like I had no strength left in my arms, taking a break and spending time with Lisa brought my perseverance and joy back.

Today the little things made the biggest impacts in my view of our work here as well as my view on our normal lives at home. As Cristian, one of the Serve Hope leaders, reminded us tonight, the Guaverra family had no hope of ever having enough money to have a home such as the one we are able to provide and construct in just a few days. However, tomorrow night they are going to be given a gift that will change their lives forever and give them new hope in their future. This brought back the realization of how blessed we are to live in the United States with a roof over our heads. My perspective and gratitude of the way I am blessed to live my life is forever changed.

To be completely honest with you, today was hard. We had a few setbacks along the way and at times the tasks at hand felt challenging or even impossible. I saw the Lord today through my teammates and the way they brought their individual and unique talents to each situation and used their personalities to relate and show love to everyone they came into contact with. A few team members dedicated their time today to serving the younger kids while we worked on their (future) home, others used their physical strength to labor tirelessly, and some pursued past the language barrier to show love through their social interactions with others. This team thrives in challenging times and one of the strengths I see in my teammates is encouragement. When I felt like I couldn’t hammer one more nail or felt like I wasn’t being helpful, they lifted me up and reminded me that we are all working for the same purpose and every little thing makes a difference.

Today specifically, I saw perseverance as well as kindness in situations that could have only been touched by the presence of the Lord. We were invited over to Christian’s house and we shared a very special homemade meal while we got the opportunity to encourage his family and his team. Later this evening we played a game of soccer with a few of the students from EduCafe and their friends which was incredibly special. Our day was long, tiring, and challenging, but I saw God in the details and through the people I was given the chance to interact with.

Continued prayers are appreciated for our team, the students we will interact with from EduCafe in the coming days, and the Serve Hope ministry. I am so thrilled to have this opportunity and we appreciate the prayers and support from our church family. God is using Honduras to change my life, the lives of my team members, and the lives of people we are blessing in his name.

In Christ,
Melissa Weaver

Honduras: Day 2

Honestly, typing this blog in English feels a little awkward considering we just spent most of the day speaking (or attempting to speak) Spanish to the people we served…

The day started off relatively early, eating breakfast at 7 a.m., not wasting any of the light God had provided for us today. Being in the winter season right now here in Honduras, the sun is up early and sets around 6:30 p.m. every night; it takes a little to adjust, but the cooler weather at night makes it more enjoyable. 

We headed out to the Serve Hope and EduCafe building to pick up supplies to go work on the house. Jared claiming we would not get sweaty, we had definitely disproved that. After 2 hours of laying foundation for the Gueverras (the family we are building the house for) it was time for church. 

Overwhelmed by affection when we got into the church, it was apparent how grateful the members of the church were for us to be there. We had learned three songs in Spanish to teach the kids, “Quién es Rey”, “Yo Tengo Gozo”, and “Alelluya, Gloria a Dios” during the service. Splitting into groups of three we were able to have a more intimate time with the kids after, doing church activities and snack with them. 

A lunch and down time after provided the nourishment and energy we needed for the second half of the day. We traveled about 45 minutes to a village near Comayagua, where we taught a family how to build the water filters for their home. Contaminated water is a big problem here in Honduras, and these water filters eliminate 99% of the bacteria to help ensure better health for the kids and adults living in the house. We also traveled down the road to check on a house that had a filter previously to make sure their filter was being taken care of properly, because if so they can last up to 20 years!

At each of the houses we went to, team members were given the opportunity to share testimonies; Grayson, Candace, Jared, and Jeff all had shared how God transformed their life and led them to the path he wants for them. 

On the way back to Casa Grande we had stopped at a roadside market where there were a lot of homemade Honduran decorations, where we were able to look around and learn more about their culture and currency. Joe, one of the Serve Hope staff who came with us on the journey today had taught us everything we learned today from the filters to why they don’t use coins anymore. 

Instead of eating dinner at Casa Grande we had a surprise stop at J&J’s restaurant where we had eaten along with the rest of the Serve Hope Crew. 

Coming back to Casa Grande, or our home for the next 4 days, we did a little reflection of our day and some watched the soccer game (go USA!) and some played cards. Everything is going great so far. 

We are asking for prayers of continued safety and provisions as we work through God, blessing each person we come in contact with.

Much love,
Alyssa Roemer