By John Robertson
Members of our sister church, Iglesia de Dios – Eben Ezer, in Tegucigalpa (Teguz), Honduras, send their enthusiastic greetings to all the members of SBCC. A close relationship between our fellowships has been ongoing since the early days of SBCC, with individuals and groups passing between Teguz and SB from time to time. In recent years, that traffic has slowed, largely because Honduras has grown more dangerous as it lies in the Central American drug corridor. Though we may be reluctant to physically pay a visit, our brothers and sisters appreciate and need our prayers more than ever. They live their lives as normally as possible, but only visit certain neighborhoods in town prayerfully, and generally exercise prudence when out and about town. My hosts advised me to only walk outside of the church campus when accompanied by an escort. They balance this careful attitude toward safety with the desire to be salt and light in their world.
There’s also the Zika virus, of which there was quite an outbreak at the end of 2015, with thousands of cases reported in Teguz, including several in the church community. Thanks to individual and government efforts to discourage mosquito breeding, however, the disease has been waning in recent months. While bugs abound, I only identified a few mosquitos.
Daily I spent time with the toddlers in the daycare room at the church facility that we as a church help support. Carol Fellers contributed enough stuffed animals for each child (about 40) to have his own to cherish (and they are cherished). Our children’s ministry also sent down various children’s toys no longer needed in our own toddler room. The vision for the daycare is to help single women with young children by providing a safe, loving environment where they can drop off their kids while they go to work. The children receive Christian nurture and teaching all day, while the moms experience the love and fellowship of Christ’s body when leaving and collecting their child. Some of these moms show up in Sunday church services, often providing dramatic testimonies of a new life found in Christ. Many church members are involved in the daily activities that occur on the Eben Ezer campus including providing childcare, teaching lessons, preparing snacks and lunch, checking the children’s health, etc.
The Eben Ezer church facility, which members of our own church helped construct over 30 years ago, is fully utilized throughout each day of the work week. The day care is only one part. Instruction for students extends through ninth grade. Especially evident are the nurturing interactions between church members whenever they come onto campus with the children who are receiving academic and spiritual instruction. In other words, the children on campus are being cared for and nurtured by the adults in their lives in a program providing a beautiful Christian witness in a setting that is financially underwritten by your church offerings. So, thanks to your generous giving, all this can happen.
I have now had the chance to witness this activity on four trips (over five years), and our ministry relationship with our friends at Eben Ezer church has become a special part of my life. I am the teacher who brings multiple copies of a book to read with a group of adults who want to refine their English. During this trip we read a simplified version of Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan’s iconic classic of the Christian life, which facilitated deep spiritual discussion and prayers – a positive and powerful experience for the participants. Thanks for the opportunity to represent you, Christ’s body in Santa Barbara, in reaching out to our siblings in Christ in this challenging part of the world.