Letter from the CEO

October 30, 2013

Through the years God has blessed HOI with many dedicated and generous North American volunteers to work in partnership with our friends in Honduras and now Nicaragua. One of the great joys of my job is getting to meet and work with inspiring people of all walks of life who serve Christ with a common purpose of improving the quality of life for those in difficult situations. In my 23 years of learning how to pursue outreach, I have never encountered a more dedicated and effective servant than Matt Moore.

Matt Moore at the ranch small

My introduction to Matt came in the early 1990s when he joined us on a construction trip to Rancho el Paraiso in the Agalta Valley in Honduras. Matt was retired from his business career and wanted to spend his time helping others around the world. He signed on with Dan Pattillo to help with construction projects that were especially complicated due to the remote location and sparse conditions of the work. Already in his seventies, Matt could outwork the rest of us, even one day when the temperature hit 116 on the job site where we were building a new dining hall. Matt also helped Dan’s brother Pat with similar mission projects in Costa Rica.

Through this process and spending time with Matt on the porch of the dorm at night, I learned many things about him. He exuded leadership, although he went about his work with a servant’s presence. Even though we had “General” Pattillo heading up the construction efforts, we had a real general, Brigadier General Moore, kindly helping the rest of us do our jobs. I watched as Matt developed a love affair with the Honduran people and that was touching and instructive to watch. The depth of the many friendships Matt made while on his 50+ trips to Honduras is evident today. He personifies kindness, and we all grew to respect and love him.

General Moore also developed a fondness for the poor, downtrodden creatures around the area, especially a couple of stray dogs on the ranch. One particular mangy mutt continued to come around looking for Matt every evening. Matt affectionately and most appropriately named him “Mildew”. I don’t believe I have ever to this day seen a more pitiful or unsightly animal (I’m being kind in deference to my canine loving friends). Let’s just say I would have bet good money on Mildew in “The World’s Ugliest Dog” contest. The poor thing looked like it could give you a disease just walking by. We couldn’t understand why this pathetic creature kept hanging around after we would shoo it off, trying to minimize the fleas. That is, we couldn’t figure it out until we caught Matt secretly letting Mildew into his room at night to feed him. This romance went on for years until one year Mildew just didn’t come back to the ranch. We like to think he was rehabilitated by Matt to the point that a local family took him in. All I know is we had one sad General for a while.

MildewGlamourShot

Watching Matt’s interaction with the people of Honduras, and with Mildew, taught me some important life lessons. He gave selflessly of himself over many, many years to an entire valley of people, when he could have remained comfortably on his porch at home with his lovely bride Mary. We can all learn from this: That God calls us in all stations of life, and at unexpected times, and we’re expected to answer “yes” as Matt did over and over. It was also touching to see how his redemptive spirit brought Mildew back from the brink, even though he was at the bottom of the canine food chain. I think this must be how God looks at us. No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, He’s always there to lift us up, to care for us, and send us on our way as a healed being. I thank God for Matt Moore and for the difference he’s made in so many lives. We are honored to recognize him at our “Honduras Comes to Atlanta” event November 7, an evening where his friends in Honduras and the United States can express what he means to them. I say this even though Matt made me promise this night would “not be about him”…but Him. God bless Matt and Mary Moore.

Jerry Eickhoff, CEO
jerryeickhoff@hoi.org