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Some Background

I thought it might be wise to elaborate on exactly what I will be doing while I am in Honduras. To do so I may have to back up a bit, please bear with me.

In the Spring of '06 my church, Frazer Mennonite, announced that we would begin exploring a partnership with a church in Honduras, and as part of that we would be sending a group of people to visit in July - I was immediately moved and without hesitation, signed up to go. Concurrent to this, was my budding interest in serving with Eastern Mennonite Missions somewhere in Latin America. I had applied, been initially accepted and began to look into an assignment. The amiable Steve Shank, EMM representative to Latin America and my future "boss", was very enthusiastic about the possibility of Chile for my assignment, but already I was beginning to feel the tug of Honduras. He advised that while I was down there I should keep my eyes open, be observant and see if I could picture myself serving there; if I could not, then perhaps Chile was where I should be. I agreed and in mid-July I flew out of Newark with 15 other Frazerites bound for San Pedro Sula.

Our time there was amazing and I would love to go into detail about it, but this is not the forum for that, nor is there enough space in this blog to do so. To be honest, initially I could not see myself returning there with EMM. How could I be used? The Mennonite Church there was so dynamic and was growing so rapidly that I was quite sure I had little to offer. To be sure, there were bilingual schools that could use teachers, but I didn't want my assignment to be centered around teaching English - I could do that anywhere. I wanted the opportunity to share Christ, to really help people and to be actively involved in the ministries of the Church - I wanted to know that I was supposed to be in Honduras.

That moment of epiphany came towards the end of our stay in Honduras. We were back in La Ceiba, visiting La Central's Peace and Justice Program. I was by this time fairly convinced that Chile and Steve Shank would win out. It was about halfway through the Peace & Justice presentation, when I felt my heart racing, could feel the joy and excitement welling up inside me, that I realized that I had been shown my assignment. In this program trained members of the church go out into the streets and into the prisons and befriend "gangsters" - real relationships are built, founded on trust and compassion.
The gang members are slowly introduced to the Church; there they learn about Christ, they go through detox, they're taught useful skills, their tattoos are removed and they become part of the Church family. When I arrive, I will be actively involved in the program and in teaching the gang members English.

I am scheduled to leave in September for 9 months of language school in Costa Rica - more details to follow on that. Immediately after that I will head to La Ceiba. That means then that I have a little over 4 months to get support raised and take care of other loose ends like commissioning services, training, immunizations etc. I really value your prayers at this time.
Blessings.

- matt




Comments

Emily Moberly said…
Hey! Not sure if you check this .... or if you're still in Honduras, but I also live in La Ceiba and I'm looking for info about the mennonite organization Peace and Justice (i think...) ...they do work with former gang members. Anyway, if you have any info about it I would LOVE to hear about it. I would love to find out if they need any volunteers... anyways, best of luck with everything! Thanks!
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