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Greetings from Beautiful Honduras!

October 3, 2013

“….and lo I am with you always even unto the ends of the earth.”
Matthew 28:20

Greetings from beautiful Honduras!  We are settled in our apartment in Tegucigalpa and busy learning Spanish.   The big city life is quite an adjustment for us country folks, and, like most things in life, there are challenges (barking dogs, loud music, crime) and joys (church, restaurants, shopping malls).  We travel by bus to Valle de Angeles (Valley of Angels) twice a week to our language school.  We enjoy our Spanish teachers and we enjoy the safe streets and clean air outside the city.  We have feathered our nest, joined a church, done some travel and made some friends.  However, the question on everyone’s mind, including ours, is: what do you actually do there? 

In addition to making friends and attempting to learn the cultural norms, we do go to work.  We are commissioned to work alongside a Global Ministries Partner organization, Comisión Cristiana de Desarollo/Christian Commission for Development (CCD).  CCD was established thirty years ago with a mission to provide sustainable development and ecumenical theological education in addition to support and communication to rural churches and pastors.  Today the organization has expanded to include vocational training to urban at-risk youth.   In addition, they are seeking funding to expand services by developing a safe shelter for women affected by violence.  The shelter property called Monte Horeb (it sounds like Monterey) is located outside the city, will include education, vocational training, counseling and child development information.  Don and I work closely with CCD’s Executive Director, Nancy Romero.  Nancy is a dynamic, professional woman who is full of ideas and energy.  She is also extremely dedicated to the mission and to the success of the organization.  I support Nancy in the administration area; developing projects, branding, translating and hopefully adding some Bling to CCD’s outgoing communication.  In the future I hope I can assist in teaching classroom topics such as HIV/AIDS prevention, child development, relationships and marriage, etc.  I may also teach in the computer lab. 

Don’s expertise is in economic development and he comes with an eye toward sustainable, income producing projects.  He has developed contacts with experts in coffee growing and fish farming.  Monte Horeb has the infrastructure for a fish farm, including the pond.  All it takes is money.  Unfortunately, a lot of it.  That project will be on the back burner until the property is developed.  In the meantime, he will start a chicken project and maybe some corn or vegetables.  He may also teach vocational skills such as welding or machining. 

Another part of our job will be hosting visiting work groups.  In the past CCD hosted as many as 40 work groups a year.  Then came world economic recession followed by a military coup here in Honduras that brought U.S. State Department warnings against travel to Honduras.  In reality, the coup lasted about twenty minutes and not a shot was fired.  The military removed the President from office in the middle of the night, in his pajamas the media likes to say, and deposited him safe and sound in Nicaragua.  Nonetheless, the visitors stopped coming.  These groups brought materials and money to complete projects such as school rebuilding and repairs.  They also provided income and security to the retreat center owned by CCD, where the groups would be accommodated for a low cost.  Best of all, the groups brought interest, enthusiasm and goodwill to CCD and Honduras.  If you are interested in arranging or participating in a work group to Honduras, please contact Lorna Hernandez, Coordinator, People-to-People Pilgrimages, Mission Personnel Office, 317-713-2565, lhernandez@dom.disciples.org.  We’ll leave the light on! 

Don and Maryjane Westra serve in Honduras assigned to the Christian Commission for Development (CCD).

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