Donald Westra

How would you describe the mission of our partner in Honduras?

CEVER is a vocational school offering classes in Machining, Welding, Automotive Repair, Culinary Arts, Woodworking, Cosmetology, and general education. All course work relates to spiritual and moral development. Students range from 14 to 30 years of age. Currently there are 142 students, mostly young men, enrolled in the various classes.

How do you fit into their mission?

With my background as a business owner, Mechanical Engineer, and farm kid, I am using my talents for administration, fiscal responsibility and sustainable growth to augment the financial position of CEVER. Additional income for CEVER means we can offer more courses in such vocations as an electrician course, Motorcycle mechanics, and Automobile Mechanics for newer cars.

What led you to engage in this calling?

Maryjane and I have always dreamed of doing mission work someday.  After the last child graduated and left the nest, we realized someday was now.  Global Ministries helped us realize our dreams with challenges and opportunities.  The opportunities are many when you look for them.  CCD looked like a good fit for us.

Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4

“and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8

Each of these passages deals with humility.  To be effective in mission humility is almost a requirement.  

What are some of the challenges facing the people of Honduras, our partner, or yourself?

Many people in Honduras face economic hardship. Unemployment is at 40-50%. The fear is that the country’s youth will be swallowed up by the gangs. Corruption and gangs are in control in the major cities. Honduran people live in constant fear. The Police and Military are helpless against the crime and corruption. In rural areas, the problems are more related to basic needs. Finding enough to eat in the arid areas is a full time job, and clean water is hard to find in much of the country. Parents put a high value on education for their children, but paying for it is difficult. CEVER helps fill that need. CEVER’s greatest challenge is funding. Government grants and subsidies are intermittent at times and non-existent at others. I am challenged to bring sustainable income to CEVER.

On a personal level, our greatest challenge is being constantly vigilant of the level of crime on the streets. We can never let our guard down.

What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that you feel should be shared with churches in the U.S.?

The lessons are many, but here are just a couple to think about.  We should value relationships more and possessions less.  Worry less about tomorrow, and appreciate what you have today.

Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology:

Which films that have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology:

  • "Gold Fever"
  • "Garifuna in Peril"

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Donald Westra