That night Paul had a vision. He saw a man from Macedonia in northern Greece, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us”.
Acts 16:9 NLT
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the faith,
We are writing this letter to all of you that support us with prayer and with your financial donations. Our purpose in writing such a letter is to explain the reason why we are here. The purpose is to help the Honduran people:
- To help those from heading down a road that leads to prison
- To help those who are in prison not to make the same mistake
- To help those who leave prison to continue on to help their own community.
When we arrived we saw a huge imbalance and no opportunity…
…for the men, women, and children in Honduras that do not have the financial means to get a chance in life. We do understand this is not a cure-all but; it can make an impact in the many coming years to change peoples’ lives as we know it. We as Christians have been given the huge responsibility to help all of God’s children. Young or old, we are called to lead these people to Christ and to give them a chance to make something of themselves. Many that are in our classes have dreams, and have expressed their own individual dreams, but say there is no way to accomplish their dreams. This limits God and does not let him fully pour out His blessing upon them. I remember Bruce Wilkinson saying that he left for Africa with no idea what he was supposed to do. When he arrived he saw what was at hand and that was giving the people a chance, first with fighting hunger. On he went, trying to make a difference. This is what Glenda and I are trying to do; to give the people a chance. We have left our dream and life to help others find their own dreams and fulfill them in anyway they can.
We need your help in all ways.
This dream or vision by the Lord can only be accomplished by you as a family of God. Whether it is spreading the news about this vision-project, to fund raising, to helping in anyway you can. I can do everything in Him who gives me strength.(Phil. 4: 13) I would like to change the I to a we and say, “we can do everything in Him who gives us strength.” Just as all of you have loved us and trusted us to be here in Honduras knowing we are going to work hard for the Lord, we know we can trust you as a family to help with this dream. I will explain all 5 sections and pray in how we can work together in promoting this vision, that all of you as churches or individual families can participate and make this dream a part of your dream or someone else’s.
There are five sections to this Dream.
We would like to call it “increase the possibilities, decrease the prisoners”.
Section #1: God’s Way and Purpose
The most important way to help a person is through the feeding of the Spirit that resides in us. This is accomplished by:
- Purpose Driven Life Bible Studies
These studies have prompted those who attend the class to think about what truly is their purpose in life, and why they were created. This study leads the student to the acceptance of Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. What can they do for the Christ in the future when they leave prison?
- Uniting the Churches
In Honduras, getting all the different denominations to work together is hard. This has been one of my tasks since we have arrived. We have spoken to the theological community of all the pastors of Honduras. Some are on board; others are strong in not wanting to work together. If we can get them to work together, it will show the incarcerated a sense of unity. This is the second biggest question they ask. Why can’t you as different denominations work together when you believe in the same Christ? This is something we want to change.
In the USA we are going to need the cooperation of all the churches to send groups, funding, supplies, etc. This dream can be a lighter load if we work together and work towards a specific dream.
Section #2: How Can We Stop Those Entering In?
We believe by increasing the possibilities you will decrease the amount of prisoners entering in.
- Working With Local Public Schools
In Honduras the local schools do not have the proper supplies, food, uniforms, buildings etc. This doesn’t give the child growing up a chance to better themselves or to be able to keep up with those who have families with money that can afford private schools. The majority of children go to public schools and usually drop out because of a lack of resources. This is why we have sent proposals to some who have expressed in leading groups to help stop this unjust way of living. If we tackle one school at a time and continue to work our way to each school, we can make a huge difference with these children’s lives and the community.
- Working With Communities
As the groups come to work on the schools, we want each of the groups to be interactive with the communities. I want to break this section down into further detail. We want to set these smaller sections up with the communities so they can be self sufficient and responsible to each other and not dependent on you.
- Garden Farming
We have noticed many homes do not have the land area to plant vegetables to feed their own families. This is due to the homes being built on top of each other. We want to build garden boxes to show the people how to grow certain vegetables that are perennials and others that are annual. We will supply the boxes, fertilizer, plants and have those with the knowledge to teach them how to grow these plants. We also want them to grow enough to sell to their neighbors so they will have enough money to buy more plants.
- Home Bible Studies
This will enable the people to share and pray together in order for them to communicate to each other. This will also help in community awareness.
- Youth Programs
This will keep the children off the streets at night or after school.
- Workshops for Adults
Set workshops in cooking-baking class; taking care of the school and school projects; tailoring/sewing classes, family violence prevention.
Section #3: How Can You Help?
You as a family are the backbone of why we are here and how this can be achieved.
We need to take all things to the Lord and ask Him to probe our own individual hearts, asking, “What can I do?” The Lord has done so much for ourselves and our families and the church as we know it. Now the question for you is, “What am I willing to do for this Dream?”
- Promotion of the Dream
You can take on the duty of leadership and promote this dream to other people, to other churches, businesses, and the medical community. You can have this dream prayed about and written in church newsletters and web-sites.
- Short Term Mission Groups
Be a supporter of the groups that are coming. You can lead a group of your own. You can come individually or with a group to experience interaction with the community. We have a package with pictures to send to anybody who is interested in coming to Honduras. Please e-mail us or call from the information at the end of the proposal.
- Collecting Items
We need items such as: band-aides, pencils, pens, vitamins, and so much more that is hard to purchase here in Honduras.
- Medical/Dental Teams
The communities here suffer a great deal due to the lack of medical and dental attention. What is happening in Honduras is a huge strike in the local hospitals for the lack of money to pay the personnel, lack of medical supplies and so much more. Again, those Hondurans with money can afford private hospitals and receive better medical attention.
- Financial Support
If many churches would come on board and take part in a certain section of the dream, I know that the funds will be there and will not be a burden. They can become a part of someone else’s passion. This is why we need to promote to as many churches as we can. A part of our faith is to help build up the family of God, not look out for ourselves but for others in all ways.
Section #4: Exit of Prisoners: Where do they go? What do they do?
Like all countries, this is a huge problem for the incarcerated. When one leaves prison, they have know where to go. How can they find a job to gain trust, responsibility, and confidence in themselves and the community?
- Border Buddies Farm
We would like to buy enough acreage to establish a working, self-sustaining farm. This farm will offer a Christian environment, complete with counselors and teachers where we can offer education and training in vocations and life skills to men and women who want to rebuild their lives.
- Tattoo Removal
Removing tattoos is one of the biggest requests by the prisoners. This is requested more by those who walk by faith and do not want their past life to be shown nor remembered. Also, there is a tattoo law against the gangs which puts a person in prison for having tattoos with any gang signs, markings and numbers tattooed on any part of their body. We are currently working with a small team of Catholics in removing tattoos. We provide the funding to pay for their time, their machine, the medicines and all the medical supplies necessary. We use an infrared machine to burn the tattoos off, and it is a very painful process that requires many return visits (depending on the number and size of the tattoos). We have a long waiting list at this time.
- Community Awareness of a Prisoner
Raising awareness in the communities of Honduras will increase participation in helping the ex-incarcerated in any way they can. This will also enable people who are a part of a congregation to welcome them into their own church.
- Ex-gang Members Give Community Talks
We would like those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior to give talks to raise awareness. We like these talks to be given to schools, churches and orphanages. Gang activity is talked about more than politics. This is because the gangs have put such a fear in the people’s homes and hearts. We need to change this outlook and show these men, women and children they can love and be a part of the community once again.
- Groups From U.S. Can Purchase Items From the Incarcerated
We have started up a number of mini-businesses in the prisons and we could purchase hammocks, paintings, shirts, baskets, hand-woven purses, etc.
Section #5: Prisoners/Gang Members
This section deals with the inside work to done in the prisons throughout Honduras. There are over 3,000 persons incarcerated in Tamara prison where we work. There is an estimated 16,000 or more people in prison throughout Honduras. There are growing problems in the prisons, such as overcrowding, lack of rehabilitation both spiritually and vocationally, and the need of medical brigades.
Most of those who are incarcerated want to be rehabilitated in some way. Not all want a spiritual rehabilitation, but we can increase the desire for this by instituting the following 5 sections below which will be used as a witness tool to those who don’t know the Lord.
- Starting Small Businesses
We have come up with an idea to start up in small businesses in the smaller prisons so the ones who are incarcerated can have some kind of rehabilitation, work for a small amount of income which will eliminate some of the poverty you see in prison, increase the person’s self value and self esteem, and give this person an opportunity to carry on this job after they leave the prison. We also want the person who has the small business to teach one or two others, to give them a skill and a small income as well. We would like to supply the needs to start up the small businesses to get them running. We figure on the average of $25.00 per business. We will also have them sell their items on their own or when teams come from the USA. We will not be intertwined into their business. We do not wish to be involved in the dealing of money. We have had the men write a proposal for their dream and how they want to pursue it in the business world. We will go over the entire proposal and coordinate with the directors of the prisons to make sure we don’t break any rules. Some have expressed hammock making, purse making, farming, cooking typical food, leather shop, and sewing shop, teaching others to finish school, English classes, and so much more.
- Bible Studies
Through the word of God we can learn accountability, growth, love, and respect for each other as people and of personal property. This is always a need of continue uplifting and support.
- Change of Atmosphere
Especially in the small prisons, it is easy to change the atmosphere by paint. Painting murals on the walls or just giving a coat of paint will change the mood. Instituting the above programs will also change the atmosphere for the prisoner and for the guards.
- Medical Mission Teams
There is a huge need for medical brigades for the prisoners and for the guards. We have taken in one brigade for a day and when we went to drop off the left over supplies we found out a shortage of medical supplies. Some common ailments include athlete’s foot, headaches, diarrhea, stomach ailments, bullet wounds, infections, sinus infections, asthma, and many others. Dental cares is also a need. We see many men with no teeth because they are rotting off. Cavities are also often not addressed, for there is no one who can come and perform these procedures. Providing medical or dental care can be a huge witness tool to those who are incarcerated.
This is the end of the five sections which the Lord has revealed to us for His purpose and dream to be fulfilled. I know it is long and a lot of reading, and it seems so overwhelming that it is too big to take on. The Lord doesn’t want us to worry about the size of the dream, but yours and our participation in watching it unfold and make a change that will be the ground work for other countries to follow. This can be done. Luke 9:62 says, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God”. We as a family of God can’t look back and say, “I wish…” But we can look forward knowing He is in control, and with time, His purpose will be fulfilled for what He wants each of us to do in our lives.
If you want any more information, explanation on the sections, or to give some ideas please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for all that you have already done and will continue to do for the kingdom of God.