In November 2010, three missionaries from Messiah Lutheran Church embarked on a journey to Honduras to visit the school that we sponsor through the Lunches For Learning Program. It was a special occasion at Escuela Benito Montoya, because it marked the graduation of 11 students from the 6th grade. Through the efforts of Messiah Lutheran Church and the Lunches For Learning Program, these children will now have a much brighter future. On this page, you can watch a video of the graduation ceremony and listen to Claire, Bob and Sarah tell the congregation about their visit to our school in Honduras.
This is the text of the temple talk as presented by Claire Strand: On November 24th, the day before thanksgiving, Bob, Sarah and I were the guests of honor at the graduation ceremony at Benito Montoya school in the village of El Barrial in southern Honduras. The school lies near the end of a 6-mile road of boulders on the west side of the Nacaome River. It takes nearly an hour to get there. The bad rainy season made the road more treacherous than usual. There had been a fatality this year. A truck slid backwards into a deep ravine. We bowed our heads when we heard this sad story. That is why we must drive so slowly and carefully. My driver is Fernando, the L4L manager. I only met him last February and have only spent a few days with him, but I have much faith and trust in him. If you can ever meet him (and you might get the chance because he finally got his visa), you will sense this trustworthiness immediately. It is his gift.
When we got to the school, my heart leaped. I saw familiar faces and a lot of changes.
The school has been painted. This picture is the school now. This picture is the school back in February. The doors have been replaced. They were rotting off the hinges. The bat problem is fixed. Bats were coming in through the deteriorating windows each night and leaving horrendous messes. The frames and slats have all been replaced. The bats can no longer get inside. The broken concrete was replaced and the cracks were repaired. This mud hut will go back to being the kitchen soon. Some Messiah Lutheran members have secured outside funding to build a kindergarten. Once the river goes down more, they can begin dredging it for the sand for the concrete. Why does all this make my heart leap? 2 reasons. Reason number one: all of this work is done by the parents and people of the community. The school has become the center of the community. It is a place where they want to be. They all take pride and ownership in it. The school gives them all hope. Ron calls the remote and poor parts of Honduras fatalistic societies. He gives this analogy: if you had an American and a Honduran together in a sinking boat, the American would bail water and look up now and then to the horizon to see if help is arriving yet. The Honduran would bail water and not look up, never thinking to hope that help will arrive. The support that L4L gives to Benito Montoya and 21
other schools gives them a hope that all the village sees and feels. Reason Number 2: All these repairs were possible because of Messiah Lutheran Church. While the hard work of the taco luncheon and the handmade market raised enough money to feed 62 children for 10 months, other contributions from you financed these repairs. The people in El Barrial and at Benito Montoya school are not alone in their poverty; they can see you on the horizon. More importantly because of you they can see their Lord and saviour on the horizon, the ultimate messenger of hope.
Here are some pictures from graduation: The ceremony began with a prayer led by Pastor Bob. Principal Mutate joyfully and enthusiastically announces that he may have 70 pupils for 2011. In 2009 there were 40. 2010, 62. Now maybe 70. More kids in school. This is the goal of L4L.
This young lady is Isis. She says to take with us the love in their hearts as it is all they have to give us in return. The leader of the parents’ association asks us to come visit more often. The next trip is planned for November. Talk to me if you are interested. Pastor Scott wrote a letter about thinking and praying for their future. The graduates received their diplomas. All graduates were given a Spanish Bible with their names embossed on the front. The Bibles were in handmade cases with their initials monogrammed on the flap.
Even the parents got in the hug line.
Muchas Gracias from Benito Montoya and from Bob, Sarah, and me. It was a blessing for us to represent you.
While in Honduras we were able to visit a church service. One of their hymns was “you have come down to the lakeshore.” We will sing this hymn in a few minutes before the sermon. We hope as you are singing you will remember the friendships we are making in Christ’s name in Honduras.
After worship, we invite you to please join us in the FH for a 22-minute video and much more about the mission to Honduras.