Wednesday, February 25, 2015

5 Fun Facts about Honduras

1)  Christopher Columbus discovered Honduras.  In fact, he gave it it's name.  When he arrived in Honduras, he said "Thank God we found these great depths!"  Honduras means "great depths"

2) Not all Honduras speak Spanish as their first language, or even speak Spanish at all.  On the islands and on the Atlantic coast Garifuna is spoken widely.  In La Moskitia,  it's Miskito.  There are other languages of smaller indigenous groups as well.  The speakers of these languages do not always speak Spanish.

3) If you are buying fruit such as bananas or pineapple, it may very well have grown in Honduras.

4) Honduras is second only to Austrailia in number of coral reefs.  The reefs make it a great destination for snorkeling and  scuba diving.

5)  The Mayan ruins in Honduras are not particularly large, but they are particularly artistic and most of what is known about Mayan hieroglyphics comes from Copan. The ruins of Copan date back over 1000 years ago.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The "In Between": Encouragement from the book of Ruth

Have you ever wondered where God was when you were in an “in between” time? I certainly do. This Sunday in church (I went to Church of the Shepherd in Grove) the pastor spoke on Ruth 2. It was part of a sermon series he is doing on the book of Ruth called “Unseen Redeemer”.

In chapter one of Ruth we get the background story. A man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi left Israel with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion because of famine. They went to Moab, where they settled down, and their sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. The Moabite people were related to the Israelites through Lot. The Moabites followed some of the Jewish traditions and had some of the same holidays, but they worshiped Chemosh the “fish god”.
Then Naomi's life went from bad to worse. Her husband died, followed by her two sons. The grief caused Naomi to changer name to Mara, which means “bitter”. Left alone in a foreign land, Naomi resolved to return to Israel.

Her two daughters-in-law didn't want to leave Naomi alone, so they started to go with her. Naomi stopped them, telling them to stay with their families. At Naomi's urging, Orpah returned to her family. Ruth, however, wouldn't budge. She decided to stick with Naomi, and resolved, “Your people will be my people, your God will be my God.” We don't know if Ruth had started following Jewish religious practices when she married into Naomi's family or not. However, this seems to be her moment of real decision.

Chapter two begins with the two of them having reached Israel. They are very poor, and women in those days women had very few options. Rather than begging or becoming a prostitute Ruth resolved to glean wheat. Gleaning is picking up wheat left behind by harvesters. It's hard work and could be dangerous. Ruth, however was determined to do what work she could. She decided to glean in the fields of Boaz, a relative of Naomi's late husband Elimelech.

Boaz noticed how hard Ruth was working and he made sure she was safe and protected. He ordered his men to drop some of the wheat intentionally. And he invited her to join him and his workers for their mid-deal meal. She was curious why he took notice of her, an impoverished foreigner.

When she returned home that night Naomi was curious about how Ruth had managed to glean so much wheat. When Ruth told her about her day Naomi seems to have her first spark of hope in quite some time. She tells Ruth to continue working in Boaz's fields.

So...that's half-way through the book of Ruth. The first chapter was a lot of bad news. In the second chapter we see that Ruth is a hard worker and Boaz is a nice guy who was taken notice of her. Where is God in this story? Is He at work? He is...but we have to wait to see it.

Are you in an “in between” time? Are you waiting for God to move? Waiting to see Him at work? Read the book of Ruth. When you read how the story ends you realize that God was with them and working for them the whole time.     Updates to come :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Financial FAQs

From time to time I get questions about the financial aspect of being a missionary.  Here are some of the questions and answers.

Which do you need more: one time gifts or monthly giving?
Both are wonderful!  Right now my greatest need is monthly giving, but one time gifts are also very helpful.

Do you currently receive a stipend/salary?
No, I do not. I've been fortunate enough to be able to keep my living expenses quite low by living with my parents, and use money I had saves previously.  I am currently working full-time at a temporary job which will give a boost to those savings.  When I return again for HMA I will receive a stipend.

Do you get money to help with ministry expenses?
Yes.  I can be reimbursed for expenses that are specifically ministry related.  For instance I can be reimbursed for travel expenses when I got to speak at a church.  When I do a prayer letter I get reimbursed for the cost of printing and postage.  I look for ways to keep these expenses down (sending prayer letters through email, staying with people when travel, etc).

What happens to monthly gifts given right now?
Monthly gifts given now add up just like one time gifts do.  This money helps with ministry expenses, one time needs (plane ticket, visa, language school), and can be divided up and added to monthly giving to meet my monthly needs when I get to Honduras. 

How are you doing on your one time cash needs? 
Really well!  Thanks to your generosity I have enough to cover my one time needs. However, one time gifts are still needed as they help cover current ministry expenses, fund future ministry expenses, and can be divided up and added to monthly giving.

What kinds of things does your monthly needs go toward once you get to Honduras?
Well, there are the really obvious needs (food, housing, phone, internet, etc).  Other basic expenses include things like insurance and paying into Social Security.  Of course it also helps with ministry needs.  It goes a variety of places, but every cent goes toward making ministry possible!

Do you have a copy of your budget?
Yes, I do.  If you would like to see it, let me know, and I can send it to you as well as answer any questions about it that you may have.  Also, I'd be happy to expand upon any of these answers or answer any additional questions that you have.