Author Archives: Louis Deas

About Louis Deas

Louis serves as HOI's Communications Coordinator. He manages our social media, website, and newsletter development. He is a 2011 graduate of Morehouse College and is pursuing an M. Div at Mercer University.

Young Life Olancho Update

It has been three years since HOI chose to partner with Young Life to send the newlywed couple, Michael and Daniela Aguilar, to the Ranch in Honduras to begin the ministry of Young Life. Throughout that time, Young Life has worked to share the Gospel with over 200 vulnerable teens in Olancho. Mike and Dani focused their efforts on seeking out young men and women who strive to serve as agents of change in their communities, resulting in a strong peer leadership base upon which the ministry can build.

We are deeply saddened to report on Michael’s passing. He was very dedicated to his work, feeling a strong sense of God’s call to the Agalta Valley. His incredible mentorship impacted the lives of so many kids yearning for positive leadership and role models. Mike and Dani will no longer be in Olancho, but the seeds they planted in the hearts of the youth will forever remain. We confidently step out in faith that God will lift up local leaders who will provide the resources and momentum to further spread his love throughout Honduras.

2016-2017 Accomplishments

In 2016, we expanded from one club at the Ranch to an additional location in the neighboring town of San Esteban. Planting a new club in San Esteban was a strategic move since it has a larger population than the more rural club at HOI’s Ranch. This provided the ministry with greater opportunities to reach kids and share the word of God. A positive result from the club expansion is that the ministry became much more well-known in the area. The local mayor provided funding to help send kids to camp and purchased soccer balls for the new leagues that were formed.

The greatest accomplishments have come from advancing the leadership training. Leadership training takes place with significant one-on-one discipleship. Those who attend the leadership workshops learn new strategies and practices designed to deepen their relationship with Christ, ever mindful of the Gospel that compels us to reach not just more kids, but all kids. After recently traveling to Honduras and witnessing so many teenagers leading and mentoring their peers, we are assured that the ministry will continue to develop in spite of the recent tragedy.

Another success from this past year is Young Life’s week-long camp. Camp is the time when the teenagers can set aside the distractions of their home life and focus solely on themselves, building relationships with Christ and others. Camp is the most important week of the year as leaders sit and pray with kids who are wrestling with their faith. It is often during that week that kids will make the conscious decision to choose to accept Christ into their hearts. When Young Life began in Olancho, there were only 11 kids who attended camp the first year. Check out the photo below that was taken at camp in June 2017!

Young Life campers from Olancho hold up special card honoring Mike. Dani traveled back to Honduras to be a part of the students’ special week.

Honduras Mission Story: Central Presbyterian Waxachie and First Presbyterian Grapevine

Our HOI Honduras mission trip for 2016 was a heartwarming experience for us all!  This year our two churches came together to form one mission team. One member was a first-timer, and the rest of us are repeat travelers to HOI Honduras Rancho el Paraiso. Our assigned village Rio Del Loro was a long drive from the ranch, with about 45 minutes over heavily rutted dirt roads, but we enjoyed using the time to rest and reflect on the toils of the day.

Here are some of the reflections of our team:

The villagers were amazing. Working side by side, we completed a large latrine and multiple cement floors, pilas, and eco stoves! We felt such a sense of accomplishment. The villagers enjoyed showing their friends the “improvements” on their homes.

Being from the village, the schoolteacher truly cares for the school and the children. She, the kinder teacher, and several of our team provided VBS daily to 40 children! Each child received a backpack filled with school supplies, hygiene supplies and a bit of fun — indestructible tennis balls! Seeing the faces on these children, enjoying their excitement and friendship, and receiving the deep gratitude of their parents was a high point of our trip. As one of our projects, we helped the villagers paint and decorate the school inside and out! They take amazing pride in their school, and we could tell the families truly support the teachers.

The work was hard, but getting to know the villagers and seeing our HOI friends were priceless. Neighbor helped neighbor, HOI staff helped with labor and translation, and the maestros (experienced masons) were seen passing on their skill knowledge to younger villagers and to the “estudiante maestro” or student mason – one of our long-time mission team members showing his skill at leveling a latrine cover.

Our team has a long history of bringing medical supplies to the HOI Rancho el Paraiso doctor. We enjoyed the clinic tour seeing how the donations are put to good use throughout the area. We also brought school supplies, dozens of soccer balls, and hundreds of tennis balls to the village school and to the HOI schools. We also provided jerseys and soccer balls with pumps to the La Venta team, who come frequently to the ranch to play friendly matches with the staff. Some of us cannot get enough soccer!

At the end of the week, it was heartbreaking for us to leave the village. We know that we cannot solve all problems, but we can “create opportunities” with the construction materials, medical and school supplies, and most importantly with our time and friendship. It is not an experience easily forgotten. We return home with full hearts and budding plans for our next trip.

Thank you, HOI, for this opportunity to serve Honduras.

by: Beverly Chernoff

Live In the Spirit of Giving

The following is a blog published by Mercer on Mission on June 2, 2017:

I decided to join Mercer on Mission to work with an underserved population as well as with an interdisciplinary team in a clinical setting. As a nursing student, we spend a great amount of time working in the hospital assessing admitted patients, administering medications based on the patients status, lab values, and/or diseases per doctors orders (sometimes requesting changes to orders), educating patients about the medications and side effects of medications as well as monitoring the patient for those side effects while in care.

I wanted to use this opportunity to expand my knowledge and patient care skills with the challenge of language being the biggest obstacle. I worked in intake for 3 days-asking people a few question about their visit or taking blood pressures and pulses. I also worked in education and distributing glasses for 3 days-teaching about Diabetes, Hypertension, Prenatal care, and Dental care. Today was the best day of all. I got to sit in with a provider and an interpreter and assess the patients for ailments and diseases. Treatment plans are also determined. This is why I came on this mission and it was awesome.

I left my home, my family & friends to spend time with 30 people-most of them I only met 2 weeks ago to volunteer in Honduras. We have been surrounded by armed guards and closely supervised for our safety while on this mission trip. Bugs also surrounded us-big, small, crawling, flying, hybrids. They are everywhere. The air conditioner while at the hotel keeps them at bay and of course 100% Deet. I was able to keep my laundry clean by handwashing my clothes. Others also did their laundry in their rooms. I was fortunate-may be it was the probiotic and antibiotics but I have been free from gastrointestinal ailments. Most meals consisted of refried beans, rice or pico de gallo, plantains & queso blanco. Sometimes it included eggs, or chicken. The staff at the hotel are nice and work long hours. I was never able to get the  shower water warmer than 90 degrees but who can complain in a country where fresh clean water is an issue. This mission was a wonderful experience & we were blessed to have our hosts Leslie & Miriam & the rest of the team who met us daily at each location.

Now the other bonus from this trip was the people of Honduras. We met some very nice people with some beautiful children in this country. They are the ones that made every hot bumpy sweaty dusty humidity filled 90+ degrees bus ride worth the while. The country is beautiful. We had many hours of riding on the bus to enjoy the beautiful mountains of Honduras.

Galatians 5:25

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Yolanda S

HOI Welcomes globalX Team!

HOI and our partner in Nicaragua, Comunidad Connect, welcome a globalX team to Finca de Peten this week. globalX travels with us through a partnership with North Point ministries in Atlanta. While the team serves in the community of Los Robles, they will work with residents to put in floors and build stoves and ovens, lead Bible School for children and women and offer prayer visits in homes before enjoying a tourist day in the colonial city of Granada.

A trip to HOI’s Ranch in Honduras is life changing. Aside from memorable experiences you just might come back home with a few new thoughts, habits, and “cravings” that you didn’t have when you left. Enjoy this fun message from Caroline Cramer, a first time traveler with HOI.

What happens when you return from Honduras:

*You take bottle of water into bathroom to brush your teeth

*You freeze at night with the A/C running

*You have a hunger for watermelon

*You miss your team buddies

*You make plans to return to Honduras

North Point Ministries cites HOI as “ideal partner”

North Point Ministries has been a tremendous partner with HOI for a number of years. They have sent teams to work in communities in all three of HOI’s locations in Central America. Jim Erickson, Director of Training and Equipping for GlobalX of North Point Ministries, writes this about his church’s experience with HOI:

“HOI is an ideal partnership for our church. We love sending our people to the locations in Honduras and Nicaragua where HOI focuses their attention because HOI encourages a good blend of practical help and spiritual emphasis in the communities they are working. They are not simply giving handouts and going home. HOI works with the communities through relationships to offer practical solutions and long-lasting impact. Those receiving help demonstrate initiative and participate in the process.

This fits in well with our vision for short-term trips because we see them as opportunities for our people to pursue spiritual growth and healthy relationships through serving. And this vision works in the HOI communities. Our people return enthused by their new cross-cultural relationships, and by serving together, their faith grows. And we’ve discovered an added benefit. Many of those tasting the joy of serving on an HOI trip return and become more engaged in their home church.”

Jim Erickson
Director of Training and Equipping, GlobalX
North Point Ministries
Atlanta, GA

Familiar Faces at HOI Ranch: St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church

We’re happy to welcome back some familiar faces to the Ranch. This week, Saint Luke’s Presbyterian Church is working with the community of La Jagua. Together, they’ll construct four latrines and five water reservoirs, pour five cement floors, paint a mural at the village school, plant fruit trees, host VBS with the children, and organize a community clean up. Talk about a busy week!

We look forward to hearing about how God moved in the team and through the community.

HOI Welcomes Decatur and Greenwood Presbyterian

HOI and Communidad Connect, our partner in Nicaragua, welcome volunteers from Decatur and Greenwood Presbyterian Churches to The Farm (Finca de Peten).  The team will spend this week in the community of Los Robles providing Children’s Bible School, assistance with new stove construction and office administration in the health clinic.  If the rain stops in time, team members with a green thumb will plant an herb garden around the clinic.