Episcopal Diocese of Albany, NY
Business Office: 68 South Swan Street - Albany, NY 12210 - (518) 465-4737
Christ the King Spiritual Life Center: 575 Burton Road - Greenwich, NY 12834 - (518) 692-9550

Honduras 2006

by Rev. Gus Calvo, FHC

"The Spirit is given to begin the work of making God’s future
real in the present." N.T. Wright

In his book Simply Christian, Bishop Wright talks about God’s Spirit and God’s Future, a future that is not on some far horizon but is tangibly real and concrete in the present. He talks about "a world waiting to be born," a world that is hungry for the true bread we so desire. It is precisely into this hungry world, starving for God’s love that the Spirit of the Lord motivated a group of us to go to Honduras and extend God’s love providing comfort to the comfortless, reviving the weary in reaching out with the heart of Jesus, revealed and true. How do we allow this same Spirit at work in the body of God’s people to grab a hold of us, have its way with us and move us into action to make a difference in the lives of others?

Located in Honduras, San Juan is the center of the Siguatepeque Deanery. San Juan Apostol is a vibrant and fast growing church within the deanery. For the last four years an ecumenical group of brothers and sisters, young and old have faithfully made the four and a half hour plane flight to this area. Teams comprising of ordained and laity have given one to two weeks of their lives to come together in a time of collaboration to make this love of God something real. Honduras is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. Most of its national income comes in the form of foreign aide. Although trapped in poverty the poor of Honduras are able to teach us about faith. They are unashamed of the gospel and are willing to show unencumbered generosity and love in so far as they are able.

The project that we have been working on revolves mostly around building a school to provide adequate education to those economically poor. In Honduras there are primarily two education systems: public and private. The public schools are of low quality where the average school teacher spends 90 days in actual classroom setting and while they are free, they receive minimal financial support from the government. The private school systems are the better schools and are staffed with bi-lingual educators, allowing students more of a comprehensive learning exposure to enhance student creativity and marketability for the future.

The project we had been working on involved a great deal of labor and sacrifice from all members who went and sweated beneath the hot searing sun. Beneath this sun we were able to dig ditches for walls, mix cement, carry the cement, build a wall, build a school with one big classroom, set windows, and install bathrooms. As we left this year we became overjoyed in knowing that we finished this phase of the vision for missions. Who would have thought this was ever possible when it was first being conceived of several years ago? It reminds me of when Jesus fed the multitude. Faced with an incredible challenge the disciples brought to Jesus a young boy who was willing to give what he had to feed the vast number of people. What an awesome experience that must have been when the disciples said to Jesus "we only have....."

"We only have....?"

Jesus said, good let’s eat! How frequently do we quench the Spirit of the Lord with skepticism and doubt? Erwin McManus points out in his book Unleash The Untamed Faith Within, "One danger of civilized faith is that we become so domesticated, we begin to live as shrewd as the dove. We become blind to the spiritual nature of life and the unseen reality in which we reside." For the people of Honduras the reality in which they reside can be overwhelming to the industrialized world. As one of the members on the of the team noted, "No prior training could ever have prepared me for the extent of abject poverty I observed - It’s amazing how people live under these conditions."

Even still, the people of Honduras echo Christ’s own words, "In this world you will have trials and tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

The next phase of this partnership with the people of Honduras is to assist in sending school supplies and possibly, prayerfully considering sponsoring of a child’s education. This school will allow for 30-35 children who normally would not be able to receive an education to have one. While the school will cost 900 lempiras ($45) a month -Comparatively inexpensive to other private schools-scholarships will be available. Imagine what would happen if a string of churches or one church pledged to give that amount on a monthly basis....yeah, that’s right, the education would be free to the students while forming a deep bond with the people of Honduras. It costs approximately 1200 lempiras a day to feed 30 children, so as you can see if you do the math 900 x 30 = 27,000 lempiras collected for each student. To feed 30 students a day, 1200 x 20 school days a month = 24,000 lempiras. That means the remaining 3000 lempiras ($150) gets redistributed towards purchasing school supplies for 30 students, upkeep of school, paying for a full-time and part-time teacher and other things needed to operate the school. Father Hector, Rector of San Juan Apostol is prayerfully hopeful that the Lord will provide a full-time bi-lingual teacher to teach and assist with curriculum development.

On our second to last day in Honduras Father Hector was able to show us the seven churches that comprise the Siguatepeque deanery and two of those churches are home churches where believers gather in each other’s homes to break bread and be taught by God’s Word. On one of these sight seeing expeditions while we visited the church of St. Bartolomo, Father Hector in a voice of humility asked me, "Padre Gustavo, can you help us with building a parish hall next to St. Bartolomo? The church is growing and we need to have a place for the people to gather."

A part of me wondered, "Father Hector, are you asking us to continue this relationship and we use the excuse of this project to nurture the relationship?"

During our last evening at Siguatepeque, Father Hector spoke about "no man has greater love for his friends than when he lays down his life for his friends." During his speech, he alluded several times to talking about the reason we gather together, not because of the project or task at hand, for these are many and secondary - the primary emphasis of our working together is to build a relationship with one another in Christ Jesus, making God’s love something real and concrete in the present.

This is one way that we can by being open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and answering the call to missions, make a difference today and unleash within us a world of faith waiting to be born in our lives.

"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (I Thes 1:2-4)."

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