Category Archives: Mission Teams

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.

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

Meet Our Interns: Jasmine Moore

We have a talented group of interns heading to Honduras in a few weeks. They’ll be working on various projects throughout the summer that will help further our mission in the Valley.

Jasmine Moore is one of those interns. She’s a graduate of Columbus State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Southern California Kent School of Medicine.

She’ll be following up with our water filtration installations to monitor the improvements we’re making in the education and design process. Her work will help improve our usage and contamination rates even more than they are now.

Let’s Keep Running for Life

Thank you to everyone that attended the HOI 5K: Miles for Medical Missions last weekend. It was a great success.
A special thank you to SR Homes, LLC and BrandBank for sponsoring the race and being a partner in our mission to bring improved health care and clean water to rural Honduras and Nicaragua!

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

A Match Made in Paraíso

Andrew and Elizabeth Thompson were married on November 12th, 2016. Without HOI, they may have never met…and nearly still didn’t. Here’s the quick version.

They grew up on opposite corners of the country, Andrew in Atlanta, GA and Elizabeth in Portland, OR. Both majored in Spanish during undergrad at Christian liberal arts schools, Andrew at Wheaton College and Elizabeth at Whitworth University.

Elizabeth pursued her dream to become a veterinarian at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. She traveled on multiple short term mission trips with Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM), including Haiti, Bolivia, and Honduras. While in Honduras for a week in 2013, Elizabeth’s team stayed on the ranch and got to know HOI.

Group Vet Photo
Andrew worked in public relations for long-time Wilderness Team leader, Bob Hope. He worked on a few projects with HOI including an event with President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Atlanta. He eventually went down to the ranch for a week in 2015 to work with MAP International. He helped coordinate the dedication ceremony of Coach Vince Dooley field, with President Hernandez as the guest of honor.

Andrew with President Hernandez
Though Elizabeth and Andrew were in Honduras two years apart, two people managed to be on both trips- Andrew’s dad Greg Thompson and Elizabeth’s roommate from vet school, Jessica Walters Wright. Greg introduced Andrew to Jess and she vetted him (pun intended) all week without him knowing. Her final test of Andrew’s character: a 5:00 a.m. wake up call to milk the cows. Smile on his tired face, Andrew made the cut and Jess set to matchmaking him with Elizabeth.

Greg with Elizabeth and two other vets
Andrew milking a cow
Despite them living 3000 miles apart, God has a way of making the improbable possible. At Jess’s persistent prompting, Andrew and Elizabeth went on their first date over Labor Day (September, 2015). The rest quickly became history. A few great phone calls convinced Andrew to fly back to Portland for a second date. They started a relationship and criss-crossed the country on flights every few weeks until they were ready to get married. In May (2016), Andrew proposed to Elizabeth in front of the Grand Teton mountain range on his move from Atlanta to Portland. She said yes.

Proposal in Jackson Hole, WY
On this Valentine’s Day, Andrew and Elizabeth Thompson are celebrating just over 3 months of marriage. Next Valentine’s Day, the two hope their adventuring hearts will have gotten to travel internationally together.

Wedding Photo

Building Bridges to Honduras | First Presbyterian Church Grapevine

HOI Mission – August 8-14, 2015 First Presbyterian Church, Grapevine, Texas

Of our nine-member team, two were making their tenth trip, several have done it a handful of times, and three of us were on our first ever mission trip. Because HOI worked so closely with our mission team leader, we arrived full of expectation and excitement, not nerves. Throughout the trip, we were in the excellent hands of the HOI team and under the watchful eye of God. It was a trip full of hard work, friendship, and exploring what the HOI ranch director called “building bridges”, between God, the villagers, and amongst ourselves.

Our assigned village, Octoal de la Contienda Gualaco, has 134 residents – including everyone from babies to elders. Of the thirty-five homes, eight needed latrines, thirteen needed pilas (water infrastructure), twenty-two needed cement floors in some rooms, and eighteen needed the new fuel-efficient eco stoves. This is not counting the number of families that were without stove chimneys. During our week, we worked along side the villagers to build two latrines, four pilas, and two eco stoves, install a metal roof, and lay more cement floors that we could count. Additionally, our team has a long history of bringing medical supplies to the ranch clinic; school supplies to the village school, church and, to the HOI schools; and dozens of soccer balls and 400+ tennis balls. Our team included a retired teacher and the educational director from our church, two wonderful women who along with several others shared stories of Christ through three afternoons of Vacation Bible School. It was hard to tell who enjoyed VBS more – the children or their families!

our family in Ocotal - comp
While the work was hard, getting to know the villagers was priceless. Neighbor helped neighbor, older children watched younger children and did family chores so the mothers and grandmothers could work on the construction projects. Elder villagers passed on cement making and construction skills to the younger generations. And, numerous teenagers showed up every day to work on projects!

TennisBalls-3Brothers
As a former HOI executive director told us on the bus from Tegucigalpa to camp, “The villagers don’t say thanks for helping them build latrines or a new roof. They say thanks for giving them hope and new friends. They know we care, we take off work to come help them, and we give our time and energy for them.”

While it was heartbreaking for us to leave the village, we know that we cannot solve all problems, but we can “create opportunities.”

FPCGV Mission Team

FPCGV Honduras Mission Team (2015)

Thank you, HOI, for creating the opportunity for us to come to Honduras, for protecting us, and for creating a wonderful ranch environment.

Submitted by: Beverly Chernoff

How Can You Make an Impact This Year?: Pray

Everyone has a part to play in the Kingdom of God. Similarly, everyone can get involved with HOI on some level and make a real difference. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

One of the easiest, most impactful ways to make a difference with HOI is through prayer. We encourage all of our supporters to pray for Honduras, Nicaragua, HOI, and our mission teams. Your prayers help sustain our organization on a spiritual level and enables us to continue on this God-inspired journey.

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This year, we’re asking you and your prayer partners to keep HOI and its mission lifted up before the Lord. Also, pray that many people, young and old alike, come to know Christ through the witness of our love.

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