Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Bright Future

We are excited to announce that we have begun our "Bright Beginnings Club".  We are about to embark on our 3 week journey back to the USA soon.  We have already been approved to receive children into our home when we return to Honduras.  While we do not yet know the exact age, gender, or story of the children we will receive, we have been able to estimate a budget for various ages based on our experience of raising children, the input from other ministries, and shopping for various items (formula, diaper, etc.) here in Honduras.  For every infant that is still on formula, the cost is $150 - $200 per  month.  For toddlers that are no longer on formula, the cost drops to $80 - $130 per month.  In addition to their basic care, due to undernourishment or neglect, many of these children will have chronic medical needs and the routine visits for these needs are included in this budget.  Unless there are unusual circumstances (siblings, etc.), we will begin with children under the age of 2.  The "Bright Beginnings Club" is your opportunity to sow directly into the lives of these children.  We are not looking for full sponsors of individual children, but we do want you to have an opportunity to invest anywhere from $5 per month to $50 per month, or any other amount God lays on your heart to help make it possible for us to meet the physical needs of these children.  When you join the Bright Beginnings Club you will be invited to a private Facebook Group that we have to keep you updated on the progress of the children as we cannot publicly post details about them or pictures of them.

Pastor Training

Thursday was the first day that Ben (and Austin) went to the mountain villages to study with pastors without some of the other missionaries that had been studying with them.  Okay, we cheated a little in that Melyssa went with us as a translator, but we are also working on getting a translator for us to be able to take so we can all spend more time with more pastors in more places.  We had a great time of study and fellowship with Pastor Servio and Pastor Eleuterio in El Barrio, Lempira.  After studying with them about 2 1/2 hours, they fed us an awesome lunch prepared by Eleuterio's wife and daughter.  Pastor Eleuterio was also showing us his memory stick where he has recorded every major spiritual marker since his salvation.

Studying in El Barrio

Pastor Eleuterio with memory stick

Recognition of years of service

Our meal in El Barrio

Time of Fellowship over a meal

I went to Mercedes with a translator and studied, had fellowship and dinner, and worshiped with the pastors for 8 hours yesterday.  We didn't need as much study time as we had allocated for the afternoon because the pastors were so prepared, so we had more time for fellowship before worship.  I spent hours in the homes of Melvin and his father Israel.  Israel is the supervisor of 26 churches and is using the main church here in Mercedes as a place to train his pastors and equip them better for ministry.  We were able to talk about his vision for his church and some possible ways that we can partner a U.S. church with them to help bring about that vision.  I absolutely love how valuable fellowship is to the people here in Honduras.  I was invited to bring the message during worship.

Studying in Mercedes

Worship in Mercedes

Our speaking schedule in the USA for May is pretty full at this time.  I am listing the public speaking forums below along with their locations if any of you live near these places and would like to get an in-person update.  If you would like Austin and Taylor to come share in your Church, Sunday School, Women's group, etc., in one of the slots listed as "available", please contact them directly to schedule.  We are grateful for friends who will stay in our home in Honduras to keep an eye on things while we are travelling.

In Him,
Ben Agee

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sometimes We Need a Little "Grace and Mercy"

"Meaning and purpose come not from accomplishing great things in the world, but simply from loving those who are right in front of you, doing all you can with what you have, in the place you are.  It's not doing that makes it special, it's the loving." --Katrina Kenison

On Wednesday morning, we were praying for "Grace and Mercy".  

The definition of grace--getting something undeserved.  The definition of mercy---not getting what you deserved.  

Why in the world were you praying for "Grace and Mercy" you ask?

Because this was our third attempt at a Honduran Driver's Licence. (First, in Gracias--the machine was broken, second attempt in La Esperanza-- had to take the exam in Gracias first and thirdly, in Santa Rosa)

Our Spanish is simply not good enough yet to pass the actual exam, and it doesn't help that there is not a training manual to study. 😁

But on this day we were standing in line waiting to take the test and an officer walks up and makes a speech about first time test takers. Well we understood the first few words--and that was it.  I turned to Ben and said, " I do not have a clue what he just said."  The man behind us in perfectly good English asked us if we understood.  We said, "No" and he told us that first time test takers had to practice first.  We kind of laughed it off and said, "Well I have been driving for 31 years and my husband 35 years in the states."

What happened next was a chain of events that was all above board, bribes were not only NOT given, but not even hinted at, and within about an hour we had legally obtained Honduran Driver's Licences. 

All because a man and a woman used their abilities to be used of God for the exact time that we needed their help.  They were God's servants for that moment, in that place and they showed us great love.  

Oh to be faithful to do exactly what is needed at the moment it is needed.  To be used by God in ways that we were created to be used.

Did you know that you are uniquely created for purposes that only you can fulfill?  Sometimes in our minds we think that these events have to be huge things that brings about "world peace".  But in reality, God just wants us to be faithful in the little things.

So my challenge to myself and to you for this next week is to be faithful in whatever God places right in front of you.

If you see someone struggling to open a door--use your hands and open it.  

If you hear of a family that has lost a job, drop off a bag of groceries at their house.

Be in an active mode of "looking" for how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Who knows--there may be someone out there praying for "grace and mercy" and you may have a chance to be an answer to their prayers.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Semana Santa

     This week was another busy week.  As we get down to the last 2 weeks (for Ben, Julie, Leighanne, and Hannah) and 3 weeks (for Austin, Taylor, and Emma), we continue to get things in order.  We are still working on getting the last few details ready for taking in kids.  This past Tuesday Marianne (Legacy of Hope) visited us in Gracias and gave us a days worth of training on the foster care system here in Honduras.  We went over all of the Do's and Don'ts and over different things we need to keep in mind.  We also went over the billions of forms we had to sign (ha ha, it wasn't that many), but a lot of very important information.  This certification process has us one step closer to becoming a transition home, and we are so very excited, but we still have quite a bit to accomplish before we head off to the states.

     Some other things we have accomplished this week is; we finalized our "Business Plan Summary", we also completed our short term mission team packet/application packet, we made and ordered business cards, and we designed and ordered shirts with the New Beginnings Logo.

     This week between all of the work and training we enjoyed Semana Santa (Holy week).  On good Friday we went into town where the local people have spent hours the previous night making saw dust "carpets" These carpets are beautiful intricate art.  Words can't really do them justice, so sit back and enjoy:

In Him,