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.
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!