Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Still Finding Reasons to be Thankful

I spent Thanksgiving a little differently this year, and I am really thankful for the reasons why.  This year I was in Honduras (which you will know if you have looked at my blog and/or Facebook any time recently!).  I flew down to Honduras a few days before Thanksgiving, and after a few days in the capitol city, Tegucigalpa, I went out to Escuela El Sembrador with my field director, his wife, and one of our fellow missionaries.  

Being back at El Sembrador almost didn't feel real.  As we turned down the road to the school it felt very familiar.  As we drove through the school I saw that it was still same place, but that four years had past.  The year I was there was the beginning of a project to beautify campus, especially with plants.  Driving up to the school I saw how those tiny plants had grown and now provide shade and beauty.  School is out for the year, so most of the students were gone (a few such as the graduates were around).  

That evening was our celebration of Thanksgiving. The missionaries and volunteers went into town for a Thanksgiving feast, albeit a rather non-traditional one.  We had onion rings, French fries, plantains, salad, beef, chicken, sausage, and course, tortillas.

As I looked around the table that night I couldn't help but think of how thankful I am for the people that I will be working with.  We all come from different places, and we aren't related, but we are family.  We are all God's children, and that's the most meaningful bond I can think of.

After supper we went back to El Sembrador for dessert.  This part wasn't traditional either.  People who work at El Sembrador and their families came over to one of the houses for cake and ice cream. A lot of people have big Thanksgivings with lots of people, but this was over 80 people!  And it was cake and ice cream, not pumpkin pie.  But once again- it really felt like Thanksgiving because the spirit of the holiday was very much present!

I started a blog actually on Thanksgiving to write down just how thankful I am, but I couldn't finish it because I just couldn't put into words how much gratitude I have in my heart, and I can't even begin to count the reasons.  Words still haven't come, and the reasons remain uncountable, but I have share just how thankful I am.

I am so thankful for:

Friends and family- thankful that God has put you in my life.

Purpose and direction- I didn't know for a few years where God was leading me, and I am thankful that He has begun to show this to me.

Those of you who support me. - whether in prayer and/or financially- I couldn't follow the call to go to Honduras without you.  I will never be able to tell you "thank you" enough.

The team of people I will be working with in Honduras - both missionaries and Hondurans.  You are my friends and family too, even those who I am just getting to know or haven't even met yet.  I'm thankful for you!

God's provision-  God meets my needs.  I may not be able to go on shopping sprees, but God has certainly provided.

But what I am most thankful for is Jesus.

Over 2000 years ago God sent a tiny baby to change the course of human history.  Holding nothing back, God sent us His only Son, wrapped in human flesh to become the sacrifice needed to make us right with God.

Because of this I see Thanksgiving day as sort of an "opening day" of Thanksgiving season.  Isn't the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ the ultimate reason for thanks?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Last Full Day

I'll have a few hours here tomorrow, but my trip has pretty much come to a close.  Today I was able to see what my friend Gaby Umbaugh has been doing.  A month ago I posted a notice on Facebook that I was collecting blankets and hats to send to Honduras for a project called "My First Warm Christmas".  Today we went to hand out some of the things that were sent.

In the morning we prepared sandwhiches to bring to people in the hospital.  In the children's ward there are families who have spent their money getting to the hospital and do not having any money for food and lodging once they get there.   For families in this situation there are no choices.  They sleep outside even if it is raining and very cold.  If they have no money for food, there is no choice but to be hungry.

So we made sandwiches to hand out to the children and their families.  We handed those out, along with Christmas themed activity books and some Gospel tracts for the parents.
After that we went to the maternity ward to hand out the blankets, hats, and clothing that has been donated.  Many of the women who come to the hospital do not have things like blankets, clothing, and hats for their babies. (Yes, Honduras gets cold, especially this time of year!).  There were many women, but thanks to the generosity of many we were able to give something to help all who needed it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Last Few Days

There is SO much I am looking forward to telling you about the last few days, but right now I have so much running through my mind that I will wait until after I am back to share it with you.  However, I do want to keep you updated and share some photos with you.  I spent a few days at Escuela El Sembrador.  My time there was wonderful and I was able to be at the graduation and find out more current information about what is going on at the school.

I came back to Tegucigalpa (the capitol city which has been my "home base" for the trip) yesterday afternoon.  This morning we visited a ministry to children in Tatumbla.  The kids sang, recited Bible verses, played a game, and then they had Sunday school.  And they had a meal after Sunday school.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day 3: Los Pinares and Roca Fuerte Kids Club

The first place we visited is a school called Academia Los Pinares.  The mission of Los Pinares is "The mission of Academia Los Pinares is to inspire and prepare students to be responsible to God in heart and mind through authentic, oustanding, bilingual education offering U.S. and Honduran accredited curricula from a Christian Biblical perspective.”  WGM is one of five missions who are involved with Los Pinares.  Many of the students of go to Los Pinares do not come from Christian homes, but their families send them to Los Pinares because of the excellent education.  This creates a wonderful opportunity for ministry!

In the afternoon we visited the Kids Club at Roca Fuerte Church. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 2: Project Manuelito

Today we went to Project Manuelito in Talanga:

Project Manuelito is a ministry of Amor y Vida (Love and Life) Church. It works with children who live on the streets of Tegucigalpa, and provides them with a home and an education, but more than that: teaches them about God's love for them.  

I spent time out there in 2009 (about a week if I remember) and I visited there more briefly in 2010. It was wonderful to see the ways the ministry has grown and to see many of the same children.  The Honduran school year has ended, but they were having review sessions, so I was able to peek in on a couple of those, and one of the girls gave me a really good tour.   

I may not have felt particularly tired yesterday, but today the wave of exhaustion has hit.  At least it did so on the ride back from Manuelito!  I have already heard and spoken more Spanish in the last day and a half than I have in the last four years!  I can certainly tell that I am rusty, but I have been able to understand and communicate all that I have really needed to so far.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 1:Arrival

Arrival might not seem like much for a day, but trust me...it is.  My day began at 2:15am when my alarm woke me.  By 1:00pm I was in Honduras.  Thank you all so much for your prayers!  My travel went without a hitch!  Both flights were on time, and immigration and customs were a breeze.  I even met a couple of interesting people on the way.  God has really blessed me.

I was picked up by David and Debbie Hawk, Laura Griffin, and Kelly Solheim.  I spent most of the day talking and laughing and catching up.  Supper was typical Honduran food- beans, rice, tortillas and cheese (Yum!).

I am still running on adrenaline, but I need to get to sleep soon because tomorrow I will have a full day- we willl be visiting the Manuelito Project!  My plans for the trip are mostly the same, but they have changed a little, so things will be a bit different than I had previously written.

Learn more about where I will be visiting tomorrow: The Manuelito Project

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In Less Than Two Weeks....

The closer I get to going, the more excited I get!  Even though it's still too early to pack I've been trying to get things together so that when it comes time to pack I won't forget anything or be running around like mad trying to get everything together.  I wrote a letter telling you more about my trip, and it should be on it's way to you in a day or two.  I've also been working on a special letter that I will try to get back to you as soon as I can after I get back.

And I've been looking for ways I can share my trip with you, both while it's happening and when I get back.  Check back here soon because I'll be telling you how you can keep up to date with what is going on!

3 Fun Facts About my Trip
1) I'll be flying into and out of Toncontin International Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  The runways are shorter than most international airports, and surrounded by mountains, which makes landing their quite difficult (and often impossible if it's been raining hard).  Here is a video someone took of it.

2)  There could be 50 degree temperature difference!  It's hard to say what the weather will be like in two weeks but right now it's 25 degrees Farenheight here in Oklahoma, but it's 72F in Honduras.  

3) It is just over 1600 miles between Tulsa, OK to Tegucigalpa.  Looking at my schedule, I will be travelling 450 miles in Honduras (and in reality I think it will definitely be more because that only accounts for the major trips to visit ministries, not for day trips to visit ministries in Tegucigalpa.  So....that's  1600 miles each way, and 451 miles in Honduras...and that means that I will be travelling 3850 miles in 8 days.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Need to Find a Good Book?

Fall is finally in full swing, things are starting to cool down, and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere.  The cooler it is outside, the more I feel like reading.  Not sure what it is, but a cool day makes me feel like curling up with a mug of coffee and a good book.  Here are some of my great books on missions:

Passion for the Heart of Godby John Willis Zumwalt
I heard the author speak while attending Perspectives on the Christian World Movement, and I was really blessed by what he had to say.  He was a great speaker- humorous, passionate, and very real.  He shared about growing up as an MK in Taiwan, and about how he has been involved in missions as an adult.  I don't buy a lot of books, but I knew before his talk was done that this book would be worth it.  This book did not dissappoint.  If you want to be informed about missions and be challenged then this is a great read.  Buy it here: Passion for the Heart of God

Cross-Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting In Around the World

By Duane Elmer
I read this book for a class I took in Seminary, but it's an easy read.  The author writes in a warm, relaxed style that makes it an easy read.  The book is aimed at people who will be more or less immersed in another culture, but I think it's worth reading even if you aren't planning on leaving the country.  The advice given is helpful even with dealing with people who have different personality types.  It would be a great resource to someone who is wanting to reach out to internationals in their area.  Get it here: Cross-Cultural Connections.

Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry

by Tom Steffen, Lois McKinney Douglas, various
This is a book for anyone considering missions as a career (or perhaps for those who be going on longer short-term trips).  It is a collection of articles written by various authors, and it covers a variety of topics that effect missionary life.  I read it for the same Seminary class as I read the book above.  This book is not as easy of a read as the other two (it varies by article since there are different writers), but the information in it is food for thought if you are considering going into missions.  It covers topics such as conflict on the field, MK (missionary kid) education, and relationships (married? single?  both have their unique blessings and challenges).  Get it here: Encountering Missionary Life and Work

By the Way...The links I posted are all to Amazon.com.  I am not paid by them in any way, it just happens to be where I usually buy books.  One thing I do want to mention though is the Amazon Smile Program.  By buying things through smile.amazon.com rather than regular amazon.com 0.5% of your purchase goes to the organization of your choice- and World Gospel Mission is one of organizations you can choose.  It costs you nothing extra, and it's quick and easy to sign up.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

42 Days Until...

...my 8-day visit to Honduras!  On November 24 I will leaving Tulsa, Oklahoma for Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This trip will be an encouragement and help to me as I continue to seek partnerships.  I will be visiting a number of ministries, taking pictures, and getting stories.  It's been 4 years since I was last in Honduras and this is a great chance for me to get updated on what is going on in Honduras, particularly at Escuela El Sembrador where I will be.  These pictures and stories will not just be for me,  they will also be for the Honduras field and WGM as a whole.

I will be updating my Facebook and blog as much as I can (daily if possible) during my trip, and I plan to make a video I can send to churches.  I would love to not only visit new churches, but also re-visit some of the churches I have already been to and share with them the new, updated information.

Here is a little preview of a few of the places I will be going:

Escuela El Sembrador
(Photo taking of graduation 2009)

"Escuela El Sembrador is a Christ-centered institution dedicated to educating, discipling and challenging the future leaders of Honduras. Our goal is to help raise a generation of young people inspired and equipped to transform communities, nations and the world for Christ."Escuela El Sembrador WebsiteI will be at Escuela El Sembrador during their graduation.  This is a special time as students and their families celebrate the students' academic achievement.   While I am there I will get to see the other missionaries who serve out there, Gary and Laura Griffin and Steve, Kelly and Nick Solheim.  Since I have left the school has a number of new directors and administrators, and I am eager to meet them!

I am really excited about visiting Choluteca because because it is one of the ministries I haven't gotten to visit yet.  There is a lot of that goes on there, including church planting, a clinic, educational ministry (including both academic and vocational), economic development ministry, and there are plans to be recreation center for youth!  There are 3 couples serving at Choluteca: Larry and Angie Overholt, Tim and Aleyda Spetnagel, and Mike and Sharon Garrett.

Read an article about the vocational training here.

Project Manuelito

"The Manuelito Project is a non-profit Christian Organization that is overseen by the "Amor y Vida" (Love and Life) Evangelical Holiness Church of Honduras, different local churches and many friends residing in and outside of our country."Project Manuelito Website

Project Manuelito works with children who live on the streets of Tegucigalpa.  What they offer is much more than a place to sleep and food to eat.  They offer a home, education, and best of all- a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The man Project Manuelito site is right outside Talanga, which is on the way tout to Escuela El Sembrador, so my visit there will be made on my out there.  WGM missionaries, Justin and Asheley Guest serve there, but I won't get to meet them this time since they are back in the States.

I will also be visiting other ministries such as the kids club at Roca Fuerte Church in Tegucigalpa, and AFE, a ministry that works with the people living in and around the city dump in Tegucigalpa.  I am excited to see what God is doing at these ministries!

It will be hard to leave, but I will leave refreshed and better equipped to continue onward. Someday I will be announcing that I only have 42 days left until I leave for two years, but until then I pray, I work, and I get excited for the blessings along the way (such as this trip)!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5 Creative Ways to Bless Missionaries

Over the last year I have found that there are more ways to bless a missionary than I had previously realized. Prayer and financial support are wonderful (and prayers and financial support are necessary!), but they are not the only ways to bless missionaries.

1)  Put together a prayer meeting
 It could be something that meets on a regular basis or maybe a special one time thing, but either way, it's special.  If the missionary is not able to attend, send an email asking for special prayer requests.  It might not sound too different from the prayer you do everyday, but trust me, it would be a huge encouragement to know that there are people gathered together to pray.

2) Host a Visiting Missionary
Missionaries travel quite a bit, and the costs of hotels and eating out really adds up.   Offering to host a missionary is a great way to be a blessing!  Whether it's for a meal or for the night, this is a great way to not only provide food/a place to sleep, but also to get to know them.  Let your church (and maybe a few neighboring ones) know that you are willing to host missionaries when they come.

3) Transportation
Speaking of travelling expenses...sometimes missionaries need transport.  If a missionary is flying in they may need a ride to a from the airport.  Do you have an extra vehicle or one that you could get by without?  A friend who is a missionary in Senegal had someone lend her a car for a year and a half while she was in the States speaking to churches and going to seminary.  That's a pretty cool! 

4) Offer Your Professional Services
Here is where an hour or so of your time can be like a $100+ donation!  Is there something you do that a missionary might need?  What you do for a living (or as a hobby) might just translate into a huge answer to prayer.  After coming back from Honduras I decided that if I took photos of missionaries (WGM or not) for their prayer cards, I would not charge them anything.  Anything from free health checkups to fixing their computer to helping them make a really cool video...the possibilities are pretty much endless.

5) Be Their Champion
This is the big one. The huge one really.  A champion comes alongside the missionary, and works with them to see that the ministry is funded and prayed for.  They pray for them and support them financially, but they take it deeper.  They tell their church and their friends.  They share what they know about the ministry with who they know, and they get others on board.   They get creative and do things like have a dinner for some friends and invite the missionary over to share with their friends.  Being a champion doesn't mean being a superhero.  It means being someone who is moved to action.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The BEST Reason, the REAL Reason, the ONLY Reason


This is the reason I am going to Honduras.  As compelling as the other reasons are, they pale in comparison with this one. Yes, education, economic matters, and helping street children  are all great causes.  But the Gospel is what gives it eternal value.  And that's the best Reason.

More Good Reasons


This is a huge percentage.  Compare that with the number of people living in poverty in your community to get a better picture.


Once again, compare this to your community.  Extreme poverty means that you have trouble providing even the most basic of needs.  Food, shelter, etc...


A number of bloggers have tried living on $1.00 a day.  They found it extremely challenging, and they were only trying to provide their food for that- forget about the housing and other needs.



Education is free (and compulsary) until 7th grade, but even before then the cost of things such as school uniforms and transportation to and from school are too much for families.  After sixth grade the dropout rate grows greatly as seventh grade and up are no longer free to attend.


Some families no only cannot afford the money to send their child to school, they also cannot afford to not have the child work.  The family may need help on the family farm or perhaps someone to go into the town/city and sell things like homemade sweets.


In rural areas the options are especially limited.  

While having an education does not guarantee employment, it is certainly a huge advantage.  Possessing computer skills or being bilingual open up job possibilities.  Having a highschool degree (not to mention a college one) can be the road to a much better life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

For the Kids

Reason #10

While I was in Honduras I met children who live on the streets.  Words cannot describe the feeling of looking into their eyes, talking to them, and seeing their situation.  It's impossible to not be changed by it. And impossible to not do something.

Reason #9

Seeing their living situation made it plain just how at risk they are.  There is no safe place to sleep.  There is no guaranteed food supply.  Just begging and stealing.

Reason #8

Some of them are orphans, others might as well be.  Look into the eyes of your child or another you love, and think about how over in Honduras there is a child very much like the one in front of you, but who doesn't have anyone to hug them and tell them how much Jesus loves them.

So, what does this have to do with Escuela El Sembrador?  El Sembrador trains young people to be Godly leaders, and has been doing so for 60 years.  One El Sembrador Alum started the Manuelito Project which gives a home to children who live on the streets.  Not only do these children get a place to sleep and food to eat, they learn about their Heavenly Father.

I don't mean this to be manipulative and sad like one of those TV adds.  I mean it to show reality, and to ask you what part you can play in changing that reality.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What's Your Reason? Challenge

Introducing the


If you've just been challenged or you've seen someone else do it and you want to know more, you've come to the right place to find out more!

How it works
To participate in the challenge first pray about what God would have you give.  You can make your donation by going to: https://wgm.org/larson (Email me at Sarah.Larson@wgm.org if you would prefer to make a donation through the mail).  Donations can be one time gifts of any size, or a commitment to monthly support (once again, this can be any amount).  Another way to participate is to ask your church about having me come to share about the ministry in Honduras.

Then,  you make a post to Facebook containing:

2 Pictures of yourself holding signs (or you could substitute a video!).  In the first picture you hold a sign saying what you are doing.  Something like one of these two, depending on how you are giving: 

The second picture you take would be you holding a sign with your reason for giving.  What is your reason?  Check our these blogs for reason or use your own reason.

Along with the pictures include:

A link back to this blog entry so that others can see who and what you are talking about.

A challenge at least one other person to do the challenge by tagging him or her in your post.

A link to the page where donations can be made: https://wgm.org/larson

A few Other thoughts:

Be creative!  How can you grab people's attention?  A really cool sign?  Maybe get your really adorable dog to hold it?

You do not have to be challenged by someone, you can challenge yourself to do it!

Need help?  Not sure how to do something?  Questions?  I'll be happy to help.

So, why Facebook?  Why a challenge?
Social media is a great way to get people's attention these days.  It's something many people check frequently, and posts that include pictures and videos often catch a lot of attention.  Why a challenge?  Because it's fun!  And it may get the attention of someone who would  not really give much thought to participating.  

The goal is for it to spread and reach as many people as possible.  Of course larger donations are great, but don't feel like you have to have a lot of money to give in order to be a blessing! Gifts of all sizes add up. If the challenge reaches 20 people who can only give $5 each, then that's $100.  My greatest need is for monthly support, but one time gifts are great too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

PRAY -5 Resources To Help Your Pray for Honduras (And Other Countries Around the World)

It's not unusual to tell someone that you will be praying for them.  But do you find yourself forgetting to pray or only praying a sentence or two because you aren't really sure what to PRAY FOR?  Although there is certainly a place for unspoken prayer requests, I find that in general, I pray much more fervently when I know more about the prayer request.

Here are some helpful for resources to help you pray for Honduras.  Most of them have pages for pretty much every country in the World, so you can use these sites to help you as you pray for many countries around the World.

1) Prayer Cast-  Check out the short video (which is a prayer for Honduras illustrated with video clips of Honduras) and read about the country of Honduras.  There is also a list of prayer requests.


2) Operation World (Statistics and facts about the spread of the Gospel in Honduras):

3) The Joshua Project (Learn about unreached people groups in Honduras.).  http://joshuaproject.net/countries/HO

4) If It Were My Home.com Compare the US to Honduras (or any country to any other country).  Not necessarily a Christian resource, but it's really helpful in getting and idea of what life is like in Honduras.  Great for teaching kids.: http://www.ifitweremyhome.com/compare/US/HN

5) The CIA World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ho.html

World Gospel Mission (click on a ministry name to learn more):
WGM's EL Sembrador Page: