Category Archives: Blog

Sponsor a Student at our Schools!

The school year has just started in Honduras and this year we have 49 elementary students and 76 middle schoolers who need sponsors!

Our Highschool, middle school, and elementary schools provide children across the rural Agalta Valley a quality formal education. Our schools have many advantages over other schools in the region because we provide 1 teacher per grade level, provide all students with schools supplies, have a library and computer lab (both with Wi-Fi access!), and provide English classes, art, and music!

For less than $2 a day, you can bring opportunity to the life of a child by becoming a student sponsor. 

 

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!

Divine Appointments

It all started when I was on the way to build a pila with the Forest Hill team at  the Lopez family’s house. I didn’t really know the family, all I knew was that they truly needed it. On our way there, I looked at our team members who had traveled with me. I thought of how blessed I was to do what I do for a living — to do great work in the company of our volunteers who pay to do hard labor with us. Our volunteers have hearts of gold and they what they do all because they love Jesus and believe in the work HOI is doing for Him.

But my blessings don’t stop there. Soon, we had made it to Lopez’s house to start our work — or so I thought. As we stepped off the bus, we were greeted by a mother, Maria Exaltacion and her daughter, Elida. They were very welcoming, but I had a feeling they were going through a rough time. As I looked closer, I could almost see the tears in Elida’s eyes.

Maria Exaltacion with Leslie infront of Maria’s home.

She suddenly pulled me aside and told me that her mother, who was going to die soon had never gotten to know Christ.  I knew in that moment that God had brought us to these women. Elida said she had been asking God to send someone special to share the love of Christ with her mother, because her mother did not want to see anyone from the community. In that moment, I could feel the power of God. He had made an appointment for the HOI volunteers to be the ones to intercede and pray for Maria Exaltacion.

It was not an easy battle. We all prayed together for Maria that day, and when we left, we kept on praying. For two whole weeks we prayed that Maria Exaltacion would be left with the Lord.   

Forest Hill mission team praying with Maria.

The team left, but kept praying and about 2 weeks later Maria Exaltacion left to be with The Lord. Elida knew that God had used the HOI volunteers to bring her mother to God. Elida expressed her grief at her mother’s funeral, but spoke of her hope as she now knows that she will see her mother again one day.

At her funeral, Elida shared how God had used the HOI volunteers to bring her mother to Christ. She was sad she had lost her for a while but she is sure she will see her again.

Elida and Maria Exaltacion story serves as an example of the most important aspect of HOI’s work – strengthening communities. I love my job, not because of the construction projects which help many, but  because I work towards the goal of building communities with a sense of ownership and citizen pride. Above all, the work we do at HOI is for people to realize they can have a personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior. After all, he has promised to provide for our every need if we just seek His kingdom first!  

If you want to really be transformed by touching the lives of others and the love of Christ, please consider coming to serve at our San Lorenzo location in Southern Honduras! 

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

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

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.