Last week our seminary launched in a more official capacity. Teammate, Raul is leading 2 different groups through a biblical grammar course. And our four-year curriculum is finalized.
Also, our Monday night seminary group (of which Adam is a student) just began it's 14th and final course in a series of a Third Millennium certificate program offered through Birmingham Theological Seminary. This group has been hard at work for three years and we are nearly finished.
The last few weeks we've been gathering as a team to complete some of the finishing touches on the seminary building. Even Jacob and Asher have gotten in on the fun.
Armenia Bonito Property
With mixed emotions, we sold our ministry property in the community of Armenia Bonito. I (Adam) never imagined that I would use my past real estate experience on the mission field but it came in handy as we navigated real estate law of Honduras. A wonderful Christian ministry with an existing presence in Armenia was the purchaser. They will be able to use the property to expand their school to include more grades. We take joy and comfort in knowing that the property will be used for the same purpose we had intended and that God will be glorified there.
Launching their Christmas gift
That we would not turn our focus inward but that we would continue to have servants' hearts, counting others as more significant than ourselves.
Last month we asked for prayers for Peter Project funding. Praise God for his provision and thank you for giving. Peter Project, our team's ministry for at-risk boys now has enough in reserves for several months. Please continue to pray for on-going donations as monthly pledges are still far less than the monthly need.
For seminary students to see fruit in their own lives and in their ministries from the labor of their studies.
As we've closed out 2017 and have jumped into 2018, I am reminded just how much of this past year has been defined by change. Many things in our life and ministry have come to an end and several others are just getting started. Here are a few of the endings and beginnings in 2017:
New Honduran teammate, Oscar joined our team to handle legal and administrative work
New Honduran teammates, Raul and Alma joined our team to direct the seminary and Puerta de Esperanza, respectively
We said goodbye to teammates, the Spradleys
We said goodbye to teammate, Shannon and her family
Our home church in Arizona voted to dissolve (this recent event is deserving of much more than a bullet-point in a newsletter, perhaps a future blog-post)
Adam started a new role in the seminary started by our team
Adam and Michelle led their first full summer of planning and hosting short-term teams
Adam & Michelle began mentoring other MTW missionaries
3 babies were born on our team!
3 babies were born in our extended family!
Team La Ceiba began offering seminary courses at the church our family attends
Pastor Gregorio chose to end his work with our team
Peter Project moved to a new house
We opened a new medical clinic at the site of our dormitory facility
Seminary construction is nearing completion, and classes should start in spring of 2018
Michelle began attending a local Zumba group where she has quickly built friendships with ladies in our community
We experienced social unrest following a hotly contested and highly suspect presidential election here in Honduras
Quick Trip to the US
The Hagenbuck clan together for Will's wedding
Having relatives in Utah has its benefits!
The seminary is almost complete and classes will begin soon. Please pray for perseverance for our students.
Peter Project is in desperate need of funding. Please pray for monthly donors and considering becoming one yourself. Give here.
For the Gospel to go forth in Honduras, offering a hope greater than that of any politician
In the past two weeks of political turmoil in Honduras, God has given me fresh eyes for a familiar story. Every year, this is the season in which I chase after that "feeling." The feeling of God's presence in such a precious time. The feeling of God's presence in preparing my heart for the celebration of the birth of his Son, Jesus Christ. I know in my head and heart that it is found in the truth of the Nativity story. It is not found in commercialism, lights, a tree, presents, silly songs, or my American (or Honduran) traditions.
The whole world groans in brokenness but it is evident before my very eyes in my host country. I see our sin and brokenness in the corruption of the government, in the impulsive violence as a response, in the death and destruction that has taken place in so many cities in the past two weeks. I literally hear the groaning of creation in the protests, in the yelling, and in the pot banging; the noise made by despondence, morose, and oppression. I see how selfishness taints the conversations and effects relationships among friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. The genetics of depravity effect our thoughts, words, actions, and decisions on a daily basis. The brokenness is everywhere. A holy God would be just in turning His back on the brokenness He can not be a part of. But He didn't and He doesn't and He won't. Miraculously and mysteriously, He lavishes His sovereign grace on a rebellious people. We all are those rebellious people.
How did He lavish His grace and love upon us? He sent His Son. His Son, Jesus Christ, came into this messy rebellious world as an innocent helpless babe. A babe that would grow up, not in a palace in a mighty kingdom, but as a servant alongside his people. A babe who many would travel to meet. A babe who many would marvel then and now. A babe that grew to be a God-man that would humble himself to the point of death on a cross to save us. The story seems fundamental and imperative when suffering surrounds me on all sides. God's desire to wipe every tear away, to end all pain and affliction, to obliterate disease and death is palpable this year. The wonder of His love is ever-present on my mind. How he could love me, a sinner, is an amazing thing.
This year, I can sing, "He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove, the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love" while a parade of grumbling people march down the next street. He is coming. We need Him to come. His coming fulfills a deep need in each of us. And He does it with truth and grace and righteousness. This year, I can read, "For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will rest upon His shoulders," and find rest that the turmoil of politics here (and everywhere) is opposite of how my God reigns. He is perfectly just, merciful, and loving. He renews my mind with the reality of the sin in and around me but also the reality of His character and His love for us.
I admit, this is not how I would desire God to give me fresh eyes. I'd prefer something less dramatic, less painful than watching a people and country I love hurting. I'd prefer He just fill me with a fire to see the beautiful things anew. But God's plan is always better than my plan and He continues to reveal our ever-present need for that babe that He sent so long ago. So this year I wait in my brokenness with a renewed hope in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Update on the Honduran Presidential Election:
Today the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (election agency) began a partial recount. The votes most disputed are those that came in after the initial reports, long delays and system failure. TSE will recount vote by vote those from 4,753 (of the 18,128) polling places. This process will take multiple days.
A cold front with rain is expected to hit this weekend. Looks like it'll be a weekend of reading, movies and board games!
Political parties are discussing a possible recount of all votes.
Curfew was shortened to 8pm to 5am. This is nice but even the initial curfew didn't affect our family too much as we are usually home in the evenings.
The protest roadblocks between La Ceiba and other major cities were lifted to allow supplies through. They had been in place for over a week. Gas stations had been rationing and grocery stores were empty of produce, eggs, meat and dairy. Again, we are in great shape as we stocked up last week but most people in the country don't have the ability to do this so the cease in roadblock really helped to ease the stress within the city.
The country is peaceful and waiting. We are safe and secure.