Rachel Hockman from Mountain Park United Methodist Church took her first trip to Honduras back in 2015. Although she had never met these girls before, they welcomed her into their lives. She in turn welcomed them into her heart.
If Honduras’ future is anything like our students’ smiles…we can rest assured that it’s very bright. 🙂
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.
It’s safe to say that Rancho el Paraiso has become a community staple in the Agalta Valley region of San Esteban. Villagers travel near and far to receive much needed services from our on-site specialists. Ranchers come to learn the latest techniques on cattle reproduction, educators may come for a weekend seminar on the best methods for teaching elementary aged children, and families come to learn about growing healthy and sustainable food sources.
But if you’ve ever been to the Ranch, you know that our clinic is by far the busiest and most visited site on the property. Mothers bring their sick children to get much needed medicines, husbands bring their pregnant wives for check ups, and thankfully some community members drop by for preventive care. We pride ourselves on operating a community clinic that serves the needs of the people with a degree of excellence and at an affordable cost. But we don’t want families to simply come to us. We enjoy meeting them where they are.
Recently, Dr. German, the lead physician at the Ranch, and his team traveled to the community of El Pedrero to issue vaccinations. As you may know, vaccines are critical to preventive and long-term health. We often take vaccines for granted; however, they are potentially life saving for individuals and communities as a whole.
If you’d like to learn more about HOI’s ongoing health initiatives in Central America you can read more about it here. We encourage you to join us in our efforts to help strengthen the health of communities in Honduras and Nicaragua by becoming a Family Health Partner. Through this partnership, you will help Dr. German and the HOI medical team reach many more families to deliver quality healthcare to those in need.
2016 promises to be a year full of exciting new initiatives and the continuation of ongoing effective ministries. Here is a sneak preview of what’s ahead:
Clean Water at Point of Consumption
There’s a tsunami of clean life-giving water coming! Following the initiatives of the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Dunedin, FL) in Honduras and Comunidad Connect in Nicaragua, HOI has validated that the implementation of in-home water filter systems has a dramatic effect on the reduction of water-borne illnesses in our areas of operation. In response to this acquired knowledge, HOI has launched a major initiative partnering with groups and villages to implement a comprehensive hygiene education and filtered water program for hundreds of families in Honduras and Nicaragua. This effort will be jump-started by a generous grant from GlobalX, funded by the annual North Point Community Church “Be Rich” Campaign. Additional financial support will come from the recently launched Family Health Partnership program ($39 per month if you’d like to join) at HOI, and also from group community development support. The plan is to work with select mission teams to help provide education and materials for this effort. Local participants will commit financial resources and also invest time in training to learn the value of good hygiene, clean water consumption, and care and maintenance of their filters. Teams will help construct support tables and also assemble the filters and buckets for delivery. Our goal in 2016 is to install point of consumption filtration systems in at least 1000 homes. We have enlisted support from public health experts and the CDC to advise and monitor our program and results.
HOI has executed a third corporate partnership in southern Honduras, joining forces with another outstanding corporate organization that wishes to help improve the lives of the people living in that area of the country. An agreement of mutual support was signed with the Chorotega Foundation, the faith based philanthropic arm of the Chorotega Credit Union in Choluteca that is dedicated to helping start and nurture small businesses in Honduras. Chorotega will assist HOI teams with the logistics of working in the South, and will help our local staff build relationships and partnerships with the people we’ll serve. We hope to send a few teams with our new partner in 2016, so if you’d like to be an early adopter, just let us know. These are wonderful people to work with, as are our initial two partners Agrolibano and LUFUSSA, so we know you will have very rewarding and impactful experiences. We still have room for about 7 more teams with our partners in southern Honduras for 2016 if you’d like to help us in that area.
One of our medical team partners will be making a trip to San Lorenzo and Choluteca in 2016. In addition to these professionals, HOI would like to increase its logistical support to the two major hospitals in the area, Hospital San Lorenzo (HSL), and The Hospital of the South (Hospital del Sur, HDS). HSL is a smaller, well run institution that is becoming a model for the country, due in large part to of the efforts of our partner Agrolibano Foundation and other corporate sponsors.
HDS, on the other hand, is a very large public hospital that is underfunded and in desperate need of additional resources and support. Although the corporate partners are also helping this large organization, they are in need of significantly more resources. Upon a recent visit the massive over-crowding, lack of supplies, and equipment were heartbreaking to witness. The maternity ward, for example, delivers on average about 6,600 babies per year. As a result of the hospital’s poor conditions, it has become the norm for two women and their new born babies to share a bed with no sheets or pillows. There is also no potable water in the 250 bed hospital. HOI would like to play a catalytic role with local and international resources to help continue improvements at HDS so the health care professionals on staff can be much more effective serving the people of Choluteca.
We would also like to work with MedShare (medshare.org) for a medical supplies and equipment shipment to the Hospital of the South. We plan to work with Honduran corporate sponsors and other supporters to make this a reality. We are currently working on inventory needs, internal controls, and accountability to ensure efficient implementation.
Expanded educational and sports programs and ministries
Due to the success of our elementary and middle school programs, and growing demand for higher education and skills training in our area of influence, HOI is investigating the feasibility and advisability of developing a high school and career academy near Rancho el Paraiso. The flame of learning has been ignited in Olancho and almost 100% of our Hope Middle School graduates now desire to continue their education beyond the 9th grade. Building on our early economic development successes motivated by our catalytic agent, Smoke Rise Baptist, HOI places a high priority on job creation for the people of Olancho. To that end, our initial thought is that any additional educational offerings should include skills and career training.
As a wonderful 2015 comes to a close, and an exciting 2016 looms in the future, I wish you all a blessed Holiday Season and a healthy and happy New Year. Thank you for your continued generous support and unceasing prayers.
HOI is very proud of its newest elementary and middle school graduates! Celebration ceremonies were held this past November to honor the accomplishment of these students.
During the ceremony, students were given the opportunity to speak and share their thoughts. It was a very emotional time as they expressed their gratitude to their parents, teachers and U.S. sponsors.
This year, 98% of our graduating middle school youth are enrolling in a high school! Through the efforts of our excellent teaching staff and many education supporters in the U.S., the HOI schools are able to provide quality educational experiences that encourage the students and create a love for learning.
This graduating class now has aspirations and dreams to continue in their education process and become successful adults with opportunities for financial security.
2016 will bring new opportunities and challenges to the HOI schools. The education staff is expecting a 25% increase in enrollment! We are thankful for the opportunity that God has given us to reach so many children and pray that through these efforts they are one day able to provide a better quality of life for their families.
This is the joy and “esperanza” of Christmas, a blessed miracle of the highest order.
In the case of HOI, the appearance of the heavenly hosts wasn’t so “sudden” but they appeared nonetheless, over a period of many years, and for that we are thankful. I saw a quote stating that special education teachers are angels disguised as extraordinary human beings. I believe this to be true, and the same can be said for all those who are dedicated servants of so many ministries like HOI.
2015 has been a year of remarkable advances in the lives of thousands of people in Honduras and Nicaragua, thanks be to God. The staff and partners of HOI are feeling great humility and appreciation for all of you who were a part of making these life-changing efforts a reality.
In Light of these blessings we’ve all received, I want to reflect on the year by highlighting a few, just a few, of the many supporters who have been the angels disguised as extraordinary humans. Knowing it is dangerous to mention only a few because there are so many, gratitude to ALL compels me to take the risk of omission. I decided to identify a few sources of God’s love for our ministry and those we partner with in the villages of Honduras and Nicaragua. Our heartfelt thanks to:
• The graciousness of the people of Nicaragua and Honduras for accepting us into their homes and hearts as we struggle to discern and follow God’s will.
• The dozens of church partners and the over 1000 mission team members who are on point, on the ground, touching thousands of lives.
• All of our HOI staff members who are dedicated to spreading the light and hope of the Good News, and to helping create a path to improved health, education, and prosperity for all they encounter.
• Our quality partners: in Nicaragua, Comunidad Connect; and in Honduras, Agrolibano Foundation, LUFUSSA, and our new partner Chorotega Foundation.
• Our partnership with Young Life in Honduras, and our fantastic ministry team of Dani and Michael. What a blessing are they!
• The donors, supporters, sponsors, and participants of our events and special fundraising efforts.
• Our mentor and benevolent partner GlobalX.
• The HAVE Foundation and the Wilderness Team, our generous Education partners.
• The Peugot Center for Engineering Service at the Lipscomb University, for providing the wonderful 104 foot long pedestrian bridge that unites our two school campuses over a busy highway.
• Our specialty teams of health care and dental professionals and veterinarians who administer healing services to people and animals alike to improve the overall health of the communities.
• The musicians, dance instructors, and artists who expand the horizons of the youth and adults they encounter.
• The team of investors who provided our new tractor and farm implements to allow for expanded agriculture production improving our sustainability.
• The leadership of our HOI Chairman Scott Luttrell (I’ll hear about this, but I rarely get to publically thank our Board) and the entire team of former and current Board Members of HOI for their unbounded generosity and investment of time and talent.
We reflect on the year with hearts full of gratitude for everyone who has prayed, supported, traveled and invested with us. Thank you and God bless you all.