Category Archives: Honduras

Remembering Michael Aguilar

In 2014, Michael Aguilar and Daniela Solano stepped out in faith to begin a Young Life ministry in the Agalta Valley, Honduras. Over the last three years, God has used them to build a growing, vibrant, and fruitful ministry that has led hundreds of youth into a deeper relationship with Christ.

On Monday, Michael was fatally injured in an accident. We ask the entire HOI community to be in prayer for Michael’s wife, Daniela; his family in Nicaragua; the HOI staff in Honduras; and especially the young people of the Valley who were touched by Michael’s passionate commitment to Christ.

While Michael will truly be missed, we take comfort in knowing that he is resting in the loving arms of Jesus.

One Month Later…

Exactly one month ago, mission-minded runners gathered at Tribble Mill Park in Lawrenceville for the second annual HOI 5K: Miles for Medical Missions. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time! More importantly, however, is that together we made a difference for health in Honduras and Nicaragua.

Thanks to the HOI community’s support and participation, we raised enough money to purchase 150 water filters! That means that nearly 1,000 men, women, and children will have access to a sustainable source of clean drinking water. This summer, an additional 550 families will receive water purification systems in our service areas in southern Honduras and the Agalta Valley.

Although our teams in Honduras and Nicaragua are on the ground carrying out the day-to-day aspects of our mission, none of it would be possible without people like you. Without your partnership and support we could not reach the thousands of lives we touch every year through our health and medical programs. Thank you.

We look forward to seeing you at next year’s race!

Use Social Capital to Invest in Change

Every day, amazing things are happening in Honduras and Nicaragua. Thanks to the combined efforts of HOI and our partners in the U.S. and Central America, we are able to walk alongside and partner with developing communities in the Agalta Valley and Choluteca regions of Honduras and Los Robles in Nicaragua for a better future. Our work touches the areas of education, health and wellness, job creation, clean water, spiritual development and more. Although we are making tremendous strides towards progress, we need your help to maintain and expand these programs to have an even greater impact.

An easy way to help is to utilize your social capital and online presence to invite friends to make an impact with you. This is easy to do through Facebook’s new fundraising platform. Take a moment to reflect on HOI’s mission and Identify a cause that we are working on that you connect with. Then follow these 5 simple steps to get started:

1. Log in to HOI’s Facebook page.


OR

 

First, you’ll want to find HOI’s Facebook page. You can either click the hyperlink to the left, type the direct address (www.facebook.com/hoiinc) in your web browser’s search bar, or type in “HOI” in your Facebook search bar and look for the HOI logo icon. If you haven’t already, be sure to “Like” our page.


2. Click the “Fundraisers” tab.

 

On the left hand side of the page you’ll find a list of tabs. Click third tab listed as “Fundraisers”.


3. Click “Raise Money”. 

 

Once the you’ve clicked the “Fundraisers” a new page should appear. A “Raise Money” button should be on the right side of the page. Click it.


4. Personalize and launch fundraiser.

 

After you’ve clicked “Raise Money” a new window should appear. This window is where you will customize your fundraising campaign. The window is preset with HOI’s banner, a title, a description of our mission, and a suggested goal amount. Each of these sections can be personalized in a way that speaks to you and explains your connection with the HOI mission.

If you have any photos of yourself engaging with our mission it may help add a personal touch to your outreach efforts. In the description, in addition to or in lieu of explaining HOI’s mission and methodology, you can share your personal story of encounter and transformation through our mission. We know HOI mission trips can be life changing and we’d love for you to share that narrative with others.

You can set your fundraising goal as high or as low as you’d like to. Any amount that you raise will have a significant impact on the communities we serve and our organization as a whole. We simply appreciate you raising awareness and taking ownership for our mission.


5. Invite friends. 

 

A quick and easy way to hit your target quickly is through your friends. Once you’ve set up your fundraising page you can choose friends to share your campaign with. More likely than not they’ll want to support you and learn more about HOI. Take that opportunity to share photos, stories, and the impact that you’ve had with communities in Central America through HOI. Then invite them on a trip with you!

If a friend expresses that they would love to support you but doesn’t feel comfortable using Facebook, you can direct them to our website or invite them to donate securely through our donations page (http://hoi.org/online-donations/).


Thanks!

Thank you for partnering with HOI to help strengthen communities in Honduras and Nicaragua. The work you are doing is invaluable. Without your support our mission could not reach the thousands of lives that it does. God bless!

Moms on Mission

This weekend we will honor our mothers — the women who have made a difference in our lives.  We will celebrate the one who gave us life and the countless, often selfless, women who served as scout leaders, coaches, mentors, teachers and friends.

Recently, HOI and Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, NC sent an all-female mission team to serve in Fe y Esperanza, a village located in southern Honduras. They modeled “motherhood” by caring, loving, giving, teaching and praying with the families in the community.

Community welcoming Forest Hill Mission Team

Fe y Esperanza greeted the Forest Hill mission team with a warm welcome.

Earlier this year, Forest Hill Church provided funding for a well. This all-female team installed the PVC pipe to carry water from the well to homes. As a result, 57 families in Fe y Esperanza now have water for household use and irrigating small family gardens. Prior to the well, the community had no running water. Their only viable option was to purchase bottled water in bulk, which came at a hefty cost. Now, they have access to water at a fraction of the cost.

Mothering, as these team members will tell you, is not for the faint of heart! After laboring several hours in the sun (temps in the 90’s), they held Bible School classes for children and women. As caring disciples of Christ, they took village children under their wings to share the joy and love of Jesus. They taught the women in the community about Jesus’ forgiveness and love of all people. They represented the hands and feet of Jesus as they modeled grace and compassion.

The well that the Forest Hill Church mission team and Fe y Esperanza worked together to install.

As we recognize and reflect on what it means to “mother,” let’s consider how God nurtures and cares for us. In a similar way, the women on this mission team brought life and compassion to the community. They enabled residents to receive water at their doorsteps for the first time; nurtured those who attended Bible classes; and they provided support and encouragement to one another during the week.

This weekend, as we honor those women who nurtured and encouraged us, let us remember and rejoice in those women who have made an impact in our world.

Shirley Erena Murray, a hymn lyricist from New Zealand, in her book Every Day in your Spirit, poetically asks “Who is my mother…” and tells us:

“All those who gather round Jesus Christ:
Spirit-blown people, born from the Gospel….
Bound by one vision, met for one mission,
we claim each other, round Jesus Christ,
Here is my mother…kindred in Spirit, through Jesus Christ.”

We thank you, Lord, for the women who have influenced our lives in so many ways.  We pray that we will honor them in everything we do.  Amen

Fe y Esperanza from Forest Hill Media on Vimeo.

Emily Grossman
HOI Missions Coordinator for Southern Honduras and Nicaragua

Christ is Risen!

The air is cool. The sleep was good. The smell of coffee, the anticipation of a new day and a feeling of gratitude greets you at the sun rises above the mountains of the Agalta Valley. Light pushes through mountain mist and breaks over the cross reminding you that you’re here because of him. It is sunrise in the Agalta Valley where every morning feels like Easter morning.   

Christians are often called “Easter people.” It is right that we should be called such. When Jesus rose from grave hope grew in the hearts of his followers. Jesus had kept an impossible promise and his followers began to live lives of faith, hope and love. Jesus has risen, so his promise that we will live eternally is true. Jesus has risen, so the pronouncement that our sins are forgiven is real. Jesus has risen therefore his teaching that we can have a personal relationship with God can be trusted. Jesus has risen and his vision for the way the world will one day be is now our vision. From that moment on we have dared to hope and we have built our lives around the promise, power and presence of Jesus. 

All of us at HOI want to wish all of you a faith-filled Easter. We pray that you experience his presence in worship, family and reflection. We are so grateful the opportunity to serve alongside of you and the people of Honduras and Nicaragua as we work toward God’s preferred future in our lives and theirs.   

A Time for Faith and Family

For Christians, yesterday marked the beginning of Holy Week. It is a time for us to lighten our schedules and reflect upon the betrayal, trial, death and resurrection of Jesus. Many of us attended Palm Sunday musical celebrations and will attend Easter morning services. Across the United States, children will enjoy egg hunts, visits with the Easter Bunny and new outfits. Culturally, it is as much a celebration of the spring season as it is an expression of our faith.

Holy Week in Honduras looks a little different than it does here in the United States. Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday in Central America are more reflective and subdued while Good Friday is a day of joyous celebration. Also, you won’t find egg hunts, baskets filled green plastic straw, chocolate bunnies or bright colored eggs. Department stores, restaurants, banks and government offices will close during Holy Week. Luggage packed with the best outfits will be hoisted into cars or buses, and families will travel to be with one another. Holy Week in Central America is when faith and family are inseparably bound together.

The expansion and growth of Protestantism in Central America has reshaped many of the worship traditions. For many Protestant congregations, and especially the Agalta Valley, Wednesday is time for families of the church to come together and share a meal. On Thursday night, families will gather in worship for the annual foot washing service. Friday will bring families back together for the Good Friday celebration which can last all day in some larger villages. On Easter Sunday, families will gather for morning worship and one final meal before everyone returns home.

If you have served in Honduras or Nicaragua, it will come as no surprise to you that in these areas family is the very cornerstone of life. In fact, most of us in North America come away from our time in Honduras with a deep appreciation for the central place family has in the hearts of the people we served.

Our prayer for you this Holy Week is that it is will be a time when your faith in God and love for family will be wonderfully woven together. That together you will reflect upon the life and ministry of Jesus and you will remember the people God has called you to serve in His name.

David Davis
Development Director

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

HOI with Delia Rivas, Honduran Minister of Health

Partnering for Impact and Sustainability

Before joining HOI last November, I spent almost 17 years with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Honduras with short-term assignments elsewhere. During that period, I was fortunate to serve in several capacities such as Education and Economic Growth Program Officer, NGO Liaison Officer, Trade and Investment Adviser, Deputy Director of Economic Growth, and Chief of Economic Growth. That experience helped me understand that poverty, malnutrition, and vulnerability are multi-causal issues and the responsibility for addressing them does not rest solely with one organization. Finding the right partners with the required capabilities and resources should always be a priority for every development organization in order to build capacity and foster sustainability.

 

HOI CEO, Eduardo Chirinos with USAID's Honduras Mission Director, James Watson

HOI CEO, Eduardo Chirinos with USAID’s Honduras Mission Director, James Watson

HOI’s target region, Central America, faces historic challenges that are forcing governments and partners to work together to deliver cost-effective, out of the box development solutions. Throughout the region, the lack of economic opportunities, deteriorating family and moral values, extreme poverty, and inequality are the main causes of critical issues such as migration and insecurity. This is exacerbated by climate change conditions, crop diseases, and price variability that dramatically impact the most vulnerable households every year. Over the last three years, more than 500,000 families in Central America have been affected by drought, and the compounded effects of coffee rust disease and low coffee prices.  No organization can address these complex issues alone.

 

HOI with Delia Rivas, Honduran Minister of Health

Pictured left to right: Honduran government aide; Eduardo Chirinos, HOI CEO; Delia Rivas, Honduran Minister of Health; Dr. German Jimenez, HOI Ranch Doctor

Engaging the private sector, central and local governments, and the communities is central to achieving HOI’s mission as a “Christ-centered organization working alongside people of developing countries who desire to implement sustainable development partnerships.” We have recognized that our integrated development goal of having prosperous, healthy, self-sufficient communities with unified families cannot be achieved without the active participation of key stakeholders from private and public sectors and the populations we serve. HOI is committed to aggressively pursuing a development model that focuses on building alliances and leveraging financial resources, knowledge, technologies, tools, and relationships. This will be critical to build long-term relationships and sustainability.

 

Pictured: Eduardo Chirinos, HOI; Jocobo Paz, Honduras Minister of Agriculture; Rob Fowler, long-time HOI supporter

Pictured: Eduardo Chirinos, HOI; Jocobo Paz, Honduras Minister of Agriculture; Rob Fowler, long-time HOI supporter

After almost three decades working hand in hand with more than 100 communities and their people in Honduras and more recently in Nicaragua, HOI has become a solid organization with an outstanding reputation and a development model that is ready to be brought to the next level. In order to do that, we will proactively engage with several partners and tap into business capacity and productive infrastructure to facilitate access to economic opportunities and jobs. We may need to make critical strategic decisions to focus our resources more effectively through partnerships that generate greater social and economic impact. It may also include focusing on geographic areas with different interventions; concentrating on activities that have faster impact and inclusion; facilitating an integrated package of services in the communities; and formalizing alliances that facilitate access to technologies, markets, and services.

Over the years, HOI’s success has been guided by talented and passionate leadership supported by thousands of enthusiastic supporters who have dedicated their time, talents, and resources to HOI’s mission. As we enter this new strategic period we are committed to finding the best partners to achieve our mission and are so grateful for your continued support and prayers.


Eduardo Chirinos
CEO