A MISSIONARY TO LATIN AMERICA
My first stop was to the nation of Costa Rica where God had arranged for me to work with a team of 10 missionary families outside of San Jose, in the Hatillo community. I lived with a great local family, attended church and I took Spanish language and cultural immersion classes at the Hatillo School of Language and Culture which had been set up by the missionary team. I took the L.A.M.P. Program course (Language Acquisition Made Practical) which actually means the following. Arrive in country, get taken to your host family, meet them and say goodbye to your local missionary for the next 3 months. Oh and if you see anyone, including a local missionary who speaks English, you may not speak English. In addition your teacher only speaks Spanish and you will be required to go out into the community and to speak to no less than 40 people daily. It was a “sink or swim” program. Glory be to God who helped me and gifted me with the ability to quickly become fluent in Spanish and able to read, write, translate and interpret from one language to the other. I even began to dream in Spanish and to have bilingual dreams. Finally one day in church it was like a switch was thrown and I remember clearly coming to the realization that I understood every single word in every song and every word that was being preached.
But I was specifically called to Honduras and that meant that I had to go to Honduras. My support ended and I had no plane ticket to go anywhere and no funds to do anything. A friend called and wanted to come down to visit during college Fall break. I reluctantly agreed, only because I had nothing, no money, no way to pay my host family any longer, only God – who as it turns out was exceedingly abundantly enough. My friend arrived and through a seemingly miraculous set of events, came into possession of a white envelope which he summarily handed over to me along with the incredible story behind it. When I opened it, there inside was $3,000 dollars in cash. After some time planning and praying we went to Honduras by bus through war torn Nicaragua at the height of the Contra War. God saved my life on that journey, but we will leave that for another time.
Not long after my friend and I relocated to Honduras and began an export business by contracting for mahogany doors to be fabricated in Honduras and exported to the U.S. This became my “tent making” enterprise to sustain myself as a Missionary and would set in motion a lifetime of sacrificial ministry and missions work. Over the next couple of years I was blessed to help found and establish The Honduras Bible School and to sit on its board of directors.
As others joined in, together, we established two orphanages, a vocational agricultural ranch, a missions camp and helped the local church double in size and relocate to a new facility at the center of town. I also worked very closely with the churches in the remote mountain villages of San Antonio de Las Cabas, Las Delicias de Cuyamel, Las Playas, Las Casitas, Santa Cruz de Capapan, Rio Tinto and Culmi, among others.
In those years God brought down teams of people who aided to establish a Christian elementary school, a middle school and a high school. God was glorifying Himself through those who He called and those who responded by going, helping, serving and giving of their financial resources. Then to my amazement and in a totally unanticipated way God led me to Rosemary, who He had been preparing for me all the days of my life. She lived in the capital of Tegucigalpa and had been in an English language school for her entire life. We dated a couple of years across country and eventually in 1985 we were married both in Honduras and also in the U.S. We returned to the U.S. for one year and then went back to Honduras as a Missionary Team and part of the Team that helped establish Mission Predisan, which has become the largest healthcare mission to Central America.
I still hear those words as I looked into the frightened eyes of a little Hispanic girl way back in the jungles, “Who will go for us? Who will help these people?” No regrets! Dangers, perils, sicknesses, diseases, earthquakes, death threats, floods, hurricanes, lack of support- nothing can keep a Missionary from the call of God when he says, “Here am I! Send me!” The story continues over a lifetime of missions and ministry spanning more than 35 years… GOD IS CALLING YOU TO BECOME OUR PARTNERS FOR LIFE!