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Honduras, Ho!

6 March 2022

¡Buen Viaje!

Dear Friend,

A family dinner One nice thing about returning to Honduras annually is nurturing relationships. Here’s a pre-birthday-party dinner to which I was invited in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (The honoree is the young lady in polka dots at the far corner of the table, a youth leader in the church.) The folks were sheepish about asking me to the actual party afterwards, but were very pleased when I accepted the invitation.1

Buen viaje is the Spanish equivalent of bon voyage. The clock is ticking down to my “o’dark thirty” departure on Thursday this week (3/10/22). Destination: Honduras! When I last left Honduras, almost exactly two years ago, the borders were closed just a few days later because of COVID restrictions. This is my first going “anywhere” outside the States since those lockdown measures went into effect.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that Denise and I had just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. It’s a happy, heavenly “coincidence,” then, that the requested subject of the pastors’ teaching seminars (three in two places) will be the challenges of husband-wife ministry.

We certainly aren’t the be-all, know-all experts in this area, but after 50 years of marriage together, the Lord has given us helpful things we can share.

Teaching and Learning

Interior or a humble church building in Honduras(Click on the photo for a larger image.) Pastor Angel in the La Cuesta church in 2020. Those dots of light on the walls are holes. Those dots of light on the floor are from holes in the ceiling! But I'm told that the building has been upgraded since my last visit.

But I’m also going in order to learn. One of the many pitfalls in cross-cultural ministry is that we Americans assume that everyone’s experience is like ours. I’m guessing that on some levels regarding pastoral ministry in marriage, the challenges are different in Latin America. (And they probably even vary from country to country!) So some of our seminar time will be devoted to hearing from the pastors and their wives in order to see the world from their perspective. I expect to have a more enlightened and useful teaching module for future sessions after the first one, and I have time to mull over the questions and scenarios I’ve encountered.

The schedule is set through Tuesday 3/15. I’m told that the visit will also include preaching an evangelistic service at a new church-plant in a more remote village, and a visit to Iglesia La Cuesta (the “Cliff” Church, and, yes, it really is on a plot all but carved out of a cliffside).

The rest of the schedule is taking shape. When ministering abroad flexibility and availability are the keys to usefulness (and survival!). My return is slated for late on Monday 3/21. Prayer requests for the trip will follow below, and your prayer support is so much appreciated and needed.

Good Progress on The John the Baptist Experience

Image of John the Baptist from an old paintingCompare my “placeholder” artwork…2

In the midst of trip preparation and all the unexpected activities of the last five weeks, we’ve been making surprisingly good progress on bringing the chapters of The John the Baptist Experience together, specifically the first three chapters of Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger. Those include (so far):

I mentioned those two in our last newsletter. Since then we’ve made two more parts available:

Painting of John baptizing in the Jordan River…with a cover-art concept
from our friend Murry Whiteman.3

What’s a “Deeper Dive”? It’s material tangential to The John the Baptist Experience study. The chapter with which it’s associated could survive without it; but (to me, anyhow) the material is “too cool” to omit, yet too long to carry along in a small-print footnote or endnote. “Deeper Dives” were born in order to provide even more helpful resources to readers who teach, preach, counsel, and facilitate meetings, as well as those who want to dive in deeper in their own Bible reading. “DDs” are standalone Bible studies in their own right, but they also amplify the John the Baptist material.

Further portions of the book are queued to appear in March on our website:

We hope you’re blessed and edified by these new offerings! If we keep our proposed monthly schedule, the entire first book will be available on our website by the end of June, and available in print by mid-summer.

Honduras Prayer Coverage

Leaders meeting in Yoro, Honduras The leaders gather before a teaching session in Yoro, Honduras in 2020.
Two men with banners in Trojes, Honduras
In Trojes, Honduras:
The brother on the left has a graphics business and he created these banners, which say:
Our Mission:
Pray for the Harvest,
Give Generously,
Raise Up Missionaries,
Plant New Churches.
You can pray with them for those things, too!

Getting back to the subject of Honduras: We go on these teaching trips abroad because the Lord calls us to do so. But we’re enabled to go because the gifts you share with us provide the means. And the trips are successful because of how many of you provide prayer coverage for me, especially in the days leading up to a trip as well as while I’m away teaching. That said, here are some prayer pointers for this month’s trip:

  • Keen “spiritual hearing” and a sensitivity both to the Holy Spirit and to Hondurans and their culture
  • Health and energy: If that sounds “too generic,” consider:
    • I had my annual physical last week and the doc says (to use a phrase from Dr. Seuss), “You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you’re in.” But I am pushing 70 this year. For the sake of my back, I’ve had to lighten my “classroom in a backpack” with a smaller laptop and by changing out my 5-pound wireless microphone rig for a <1-pound featherweight system.
    • I’ve had my shots and a booster for COVID, as well as COVID itself. Praise God, no biggie for any of it. But I need to test negative for COVID the day before my return trip or I can’t board the plane home. That’s just how life is right now. I’m not really keen on spending an extra, unscheduled week away from home, or on being sick in a country with minimal medical resources.
  • Traveling mercies, both in the air and on the ground. In country, vehicles aren’t always in the best of repair. There’ll be more than one road that’s unpaved. Fording bridgeless rivers is just a normal part of traveling to remote locations. Hey, after all, it’s missions!
  • Full provision for the trip, including enough to leave behind when special needs are discovered.

Lord willing, I’ll fill you in next month on the blessings you prayed down for this trip. Meanwhile may the Lord fill you with the blessing of His presence!

Much love in Jesus,

Jim

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  1. All photos by Jim Kerwin
  2. Cover: Detail from Mathias Grünewald's altarpiece Crucifixion-scene painting for a church in Isenheim, France (c. 1515). Courtesy of Wikipedia, but copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. The Latin phrase in the “crook” of John's arm declares, “Illum oportet crescere me autem minui,” the Vulgate reading of John 3:30 — “He must increase, I must decrease.”
  3. Painting copyright Murry Whiteman. All rights reserved.
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