How many dreams take 25 years to come to completion? On Friday, July 28th, several LAM leaders participated in the dedication and inauguration of a leadership training center for pastors and laypersons. The vision for this project began over twenty years ago. After much prayer, effort, and the abatement of COVID, we finally fulfilled this dream in an area that is one of the poorest in Latin America.
For several years, we held introductory-level theological training sessions for pastors in this very remote area of Honduras. We worked with Benjamin and Isabel Martinez, a local pastor and his wife, who have faithfully served a community of small churches. These congregations have an average attendance of 40 people. Benjamin and Isabel have discipled and cared for them in this barren and harsh environment.
This area is referred to as La Moskitia; it is populated by peoples of African origin who were physically taken from Africa to Jamaica, and later fled to the North-East coast of Honduras. They speak their own language (Miskito) as well as the national language of Honduras (Spanish). These people are ostracized by the native Hondurans because of their skin color, ethnicity, language, and lifestyle.
This remote area is accessible only by boat or small plane. There are no roads connecting this community with the outside world. Because of the difficulty of access, the area has become a haven for drug traffickers from Venezuela and Colombia to use this as a "safe" distribution hub for sending drugs North into Mexico and the US.
Over the years, we have held several theological training sessions for the area pastors. There is a deep need for theological training and mentorship throughout Latin America, especially in remote rural areas like Puerto Lempira. Thankfully we have and continue to see lives changed through the power of the gospel. Because churches are small with minimal resources, the pastors must also be able to secure some other form of income if they can serve their churches and provide for themselves and their families.
By John R. Steinmann