Category Archives: Agriculture

More Access to Water Coming to the Agalta Valley

HOI is partnering with the Government of Honduras to build a reservoir in the Agalta Valley.  The project, which is currently under construction will bring huge benefits to both our Ranch and surrounding communities.

The lack of water supply for irrigation in the valley has been a major constraint for farmers in the valley for decades. With a new reservoir in place, farmers in these rural communities will be able to use water irrigation for their crops –which is currently not available. The water supply from the reservoir to these new water irrigation systems will allow farmers to learn how to grow higher harvest quantities, prevent loss during the dry season, provide opportunities for growing non-traditional crops, and reduce the number of livestock and domestic animal deaths, particularly during the dry season.

The project, which began early last year, is a substantial step forward for HOI in strengthening local communities over the long-term. New farming opportunities produced by the reservoir will lead to increases in agricultural production in the region and generate employment opportunities for families.

As part of this new partnership, HOI will host local farming trainings in drip irrigation, and techniques for planting and harvesting new crops.  We are super excited about this new project, as it represents the beginning of new era in economic development for the Agalta Valley.

HOI plans to use the revenue generated from this partnership to reach our development goals for expanding our program areas. Look out for our annual report outlining these priorities soon!

Investments in Opportunity Lead to Transformation

Sometimes transformative change can only be sensed, but other times one is blessed to witness and experience the dramatic difference a change makes in a person’s life firsthand. Thanks to partnerships with U.S. churches, individuals and civic groups as well as our corporate partners and communities in Central America, we are sensing and seeing transformation!

Here are three examples of how HOI staff in Honduras and Nicaragua worked in 2016 to engage families and communities in making significant steps toward an improved quality of life:

• Over 7,000 people now have access to clean drinking water because of the installation of water filters in homes and schools. Clean water provides better health for adults and children, resulting in less school and work-place absenteeism. This translates to more learning days and increased household income. HOI continues to partner with U.S. churches in 2017 to offer the life changing gift of water filters in another 13 villages.

• HOI’s Spiritual Development Ministry offered marriage seminar training to local pastors and communities. The goal was to strengthen the family unit by creating core values for improving relationships with a focus on keeping Christ at the center of marriage. The response from other communities has been encouraging and exciting, as they are requesting this program in their villages.

• Our Agriculture staff works with local farmers and ranchers, demonstrating techniques which will lead to increased harvests and production. Most notable improvements have come from silage production to feed the cattle in the dry months when pastures fade. Training local ranchers about silage storage means better health for their herds and increased income from sales.

As family relationships strengthen and confidence grows with education and improved income, we sense where the real change is happening: in the hearts and minds of the people. What once seemed to be unattainable dreams is now becoming life changing opportunities; children and adults share the common desire to learn. God continues to guide and bless HOI’s endeavors. The transformation is not only taking place in the people of Central America but also in all of us who are a part of His great plan.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Laurie Willing
Executive Director

Meet Santos Pacheco from Cerro Chele

Meet Santos Pacheco. He is a farmer from the Cerro Chele community in Olancho and is a participant of HOI’s family garden program.

The family garden program has positively impacted residents of the Agalta Valley, like Santos and his family, through the production of fresh, quality healthy foods. This partnership between HOI’s Agriculture Ministry and local residents supports food security, improves health, and provides better nutrition.

As you can tell from the photos, Santos’ vegetables are looking great. They’re fit for a plate at a Thanksgiving feast!

Dr. Dan Lohnes Leads Training at the Ranch


Dr. Dan Lohnes, HOI’s newest board member, is wrapping up a great week of training with local ranchers and farmers in the Agalta Valley. The techniques taught during the week will help increase area cattle reproduction. Once Dr. Dan returns to the States, our Agriculture and Family Gardens Director, Nelson Echeverría, will still be on the ground helping to implement these sustainable practices in the community.

Thanks Dr. Dan for your expertise, and thank you Nelson for facilitating change in the area of agriculture!

HOI Receives Land Grant Adjacent to Rancho el Paraiso


The board and staff of HOI thank Rob and Jean Fowler, who have generously donated 1,200 contiguous acres between Rancho el Paraiso and the Agalta Mountains to HOI. This additional land will allow the ranch to expand its cattle herds, increasing sustainability for HOI’s ministries in Honduras. The property also includes a newly built house near the community of Santa Ana. The Fowlers have been wonderful friends and supporters through the years, and we’re very grateful for this gift that will allow for our continued expansion.

– Jerry Eickhoff, CEO

Fowler house

Fowler land_05


"Por qué estamos aqui"


Guest Post by Dr. Daniel Lohnes, DVM

As a veterinary group traveling to Honduras with HOI and Christian Veterinary Mission, my Honduras mission trip teammates and I go to a different community every day. On one particular day, we went to San Buena Ventura, Gualaco. We got there around 8:00 am and set up on the community futbol field. The people of the community brought us many animals to work on, and there were many dogs to spay and neuter and many horses to castrate. So we all got to work. This was near the end of our second week, and we were getting to be a fairly well-oiled machine.

An hour or so into our day, one of the dogs that was being neutered died for no apparent reason. Although the surgery was going well, the dog had a preexisting condition, and the anesthesia was too much for it to handle. Dr. Liz Bartlett was helping the student with the procedure, noticed the problem early on, and tried several measures to help the dog, but nothing helped. It was the first animal we had lost on this trip, and it rattled our group. Ale, our group leader and interpreter, called for all the people in the community to gather, and together we had a meeting to discuss what had happened.

As I spoke, I told them of my 30-plus years of experience and of Dr. Liz’s almost 40 years of experience in veterinary medicine. I explained that we all love animals and that losing this dog was very troubling to us also. I explained that this dog probably had a preexisting problem, and that although we tried, there was nothing we could do to save its life. Still, the people of the community were visibly saddened and even angry by the death of the dog.

Then I asked them, “Ustedes saben por qué estamos aqui?” “Do you know why we are here?” No one spoke, and most just looked confused. I told them the reason we were there was that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and that we are there as Christ’s hands and feet in the world. I also told them that God loves them, as such we love them also. I also told them that everything is in God’s hands. You could tell from the response that the words that God had put on my tongue had meaning to them, and all at once the tension between us was gone.

It was one of our busier days, and when we left we had built a good relationship with the community. Several came up to me later and thanked us for all that we were doing to help their animals.

What started as an incident and a problem, God had turned into an opportunity to share our faith and make them realize “por qué estamos aqui”.

Dr. Daniel Lohnes with Honduran children

Dr. Daniel Lohnes visits with children in the Agalta Valley

"If those of us in my country educate ourselves today, we will have a better tomorrow."


Students at HOI’s kindergarten, elementary and middle schools aren’t the only ones working hard to achieve their educational goals! Eriberto Rivera, HOI’s Agriculture Assistant, has had a busy five years.

Despite the challenges of full-time employment and fatherhood, Eriberto has remained dedicated to putting himself through college.  “I studied weekends for five years, which has been difficult because my family could not help me with my expenses,” he explained. His hard work paid off last week when he earned his college degree in Business Engineering from the Universidad Metropolitana de Honduras.

Eriberto Rivera with his son

Eriberto Rivera with his son at his graduation

The first in his family to receive a college degree, Eriberto hopes to one day obtain a Master’s degree as well. He continues to be an asset to Rancho el Paraiso, both as caretaker for the ranch animals and as a positive influence on those around him.

Throughout this journey, Eriberto has remained a strong advocate for education in Honduras. “Thanks to HOI for giving me support to work and pay for my studies. Thank you, thank you!
I’ve always said that education is fundamental to the growth of towns and countries. If those of us in my country educate ourselves today, we will have a better tomorrow.”

Please join us in congratulating Eriberto on his accomplishment by commenting below!

To learn more about HOI’s education programs, click here.