The Monterroso missionary family, working in the jungles of Honduras.
Arrived in LaCeiba by plane. Mike Awe and his wife Judy, with Sam Bass and I, met up with other missionaries John Taylor and Ean (from Scotland). We all hopped in the truck at the mission and headed into town for dinner. On the way, we all jumped by the sound of what appeared to be a large stone that slammed against the truck. When we stopped at a service station, Ean motioned for us all to come look at the hood. The front end of the truck had 4 bullet holes, which appeared to be a single shot from a shotgun. Each hole was big enough to put your finger through although only one actually penetrated the metal fender as the other 3 ricocheted off the hood. Praise the Lord for his goodness and protection.
Bullet holes from attempted robbery.
We went shopping for our needs in the Jungle and then passed out about 800 plus gospel tracts in the city park.
Judy passing out tracts in the park in LaCeiba. Mike in the park with a shoe shiner.
Flew to Palacios and took the boat to Belen. We broke the propeller on a submerged tree and had a very long and slow trip.
Megan and Sam in front of our plane at arrival in Palacios. View from airport in LaCeiba.
Worked around the mission and went out to buy gas for tomorrows boat trip to Las Marias up the Rio Platano river. Gas out here is $3.50 - $4.00 per gallon.
Took the long boat ride to Las Marias. The river was shallow and on many occasions, we had to get out of the boat to push it through the shallow places and continue the trip. It was well after dark when we arrived to this village. They had never had a Christian group from the States come there to visit with them, and the whole church in the village came to greet us on the steep 30 foot river banks and help us carry our luggage to the church house where we slept for the night.
Boat ride along the Rio Platano to Las Marias
I preached a salvation message for the morning service. After the service, Fred and I went through the village to witness and pass out tracts, the others went to the other side of the village to do the same. Fred is a local Pastor who is one of the indigenous Meskitio people and he speaks English, Meskitio and Spanish and was to become a true friend and helper to me this trip. We visited several homes where 3 people prayed with us to receive Christ as Lord. I later found that this trip had hit me with one of my worst enemies out here… Chiggars, hundreds of bites! Up to my arms my body was covered with these bugs which are like a week long mosquito bite!
The church in Las Marias
Before leaving Las Marias, we walked for about an hour to a house along the river where they wanted to build a church so we all gathered to pray and dedicate this land to a church. Then we took the long boat ride home.
Mike, Sam and I worked together to rebuild a trailer for Frank to pull behind his only land transportation, a Honda ATV 4 wheeler given to them by Christian Motorcycle Association and bearing their insignia. The vehicle is a blessing and the trailer is needed to transport the heavy equipment used to install wells for clean water through the villages.
In the past, Frank had been putting in hand pumps for water in various places. But they break often and the need for clean water is great. Frank has finally found a wonderful system of getting water to the people of these villages. He has a water faucet at every house in the village, and a $600 Honda water pump in which a local resident turns on several times each day. The people all collect the clean, fresh water in buckets and bottles and anything else they can use to collect it for use during the day between operations of the pump. It works great and every home now has water. So far, Frank has installed the operation in 7 villages feeding about 250 homes.
ATV and newly built trailer for transporting plumbing equipment.
Pastor Fred and I traveled to Cocobila. I met an English speaking Jamaican who was living here to preserve his life. He had killed 3 men in vengeance for their previous attack on him by which he bears the scar of a knife cut across his face. He is now hiding from their vigilantes. He prayed with me to receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
New brother in Christ. Murderer now converted to Jesus!
At another home, the family was in mourning over the death of the father. Fred and I ministered to the family and prayed for them. I had Fred read them the scripture in 1 Thess. Chapter 4 dealing with the death of a Christian loved one. They all seemed joyful that we had come to comfort them in their time of need.
Fred took us to his uncle's house to preach to the man. He was backslidden but recently had come back to Christ. But his 7 daughters were not living for Jesus and he asked us to come in the house and preach to them, which we did. Fred liked the gospel tract we brought with us by “Chick” publications that is entitled “This was your life.” Everywhere we went, Fred would pass out these tracts and read the whole tract to the people in the Miskitio language, explaining it in detail. It produced much fruit. We then prayed with the girls and another man from Jamaica that was present in the home. On the way home, we met a man on the roadside who also prayed to receive Christ!
Sam, Mike and Frank went to a night service in a home where another 3 people were saved.
Worked on trailer for ATV.
Children fishing, and Mike welding together the trailer built from scratch.
I carried the cross through the village of Cocobela alone. Passed out many tracts. People would come and ask me why I carried the cross and I would read them, in Spanish from the Bible, Mark 8:34
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Others asked for Bibles, and others wanted eye glasses. I eventually had a large group of children walking with me as I sang gospel songs to them and carried the cross. I had some fake $20 bill gospel tracts, which I let drop out of my pocket at certain times. As I walked along the trail, I dropped one of these tracts and the teen on his bicycle passing me, nearly went over his handlebars when he tried to stop and grab it. He had no intent of returning it to me, as these people have a grand reputation of being thieves. So the tract was exposing the intent of their hearts although I only had a few to “drop” as I walked.
Stopped to talk with the Jamaican brother who accepted Christ!
With the cross, I crossed the path of two women from Holland who were tourists. Europeans are very hard to reach, as their hearts are very hard.
Another group from the States came to distribute medicine. Dennis and Janie Paulk from Mississippi. Mike, Sam and I walked to Ibans to pass out tracts. We stepped into an open bar and passed tracts to the drunks. One spoke English and interpreted as we preached the gospel to the 5 drunken men. This village has a reputation of much crime and few Christians so we covered the large population with many thousands of tracts which the people received openly. With my broken Spanish, I preached to one man who prayed with me to repent and receive Christ as Lord. We passed by a soccer game and walked onto the field and gave most every man a gospel tract as they played. A few were rebellious and avoided getting a tract. At several homes, Mike would play his trumpet and children and people would come running to see him play.
Our trip to Ibans with tracts. Hondurian children.
The group traveled to the village called Currie to preach, while I went further to preach the Sunday morning sermon at Fred's church.
Worked on 3 water pumps at houses that could not be included in the water system project.
Children play in the water after well is dug and pump is pulling clean, drinking water! The right photos shows the water faucet that is being placed at each home.
Traveled to Currie again to give worm medicine to the children at the school. The teachers allowed us to preach the gospel to each class, and then we distributed the medicine to each child with a toy as a present afterwards. We went to another school in another village later in the day. In the evening, Frank, Mike and I preached at a house meeting where one man surrendered to Christ.
Several homes in Cocobela could not be added to the water system so we put in hand pumps today. At one of the homes, the woman said that her daughter had a baby yesterday and she invited me in to see the child laying by her mothers side. The woman told me in Spanish that the child did not have a father and she had no name. The woman then asked me if I would give the child a name. So I got the Bible and noted the name Sarah and said “Sarah” showing her the Bible. She then asked for a second name, so I found “Anna”, and we named the child “Sarah Anna”! Dennis Paulk and his group went to several more schools today, giving medicine and preaching the gospel.
The group with Dennis went to some more villages giving medicine and in the night, they showed the “Jesus” movie outdoors in the starlit blackness with a movie projector. Fred and I traveled to Ibans to witness the gospel and hand out tracts. We met a married couple at a store where you can buy soda pop. The husband was backslidden and the wife was unsaved. We ministered the gospel for about an hour and they both prayed with us to accept Christ. At another house, we met another backslider who prayed with us to restore his walk with Jesus. And then, there was a young man who was an alcoholic and he too prayed to turn his life over to Jesus. A dark storm had threatened us all afternoon, but it had rained out before reaching us as we walked home.
Lone Hondurian on beach with storm clouds in distance. A house along the river.
I took a Spanish Bible to a woman in Cocobela whom had requested one. The group rested today to prepare for tomorrows trip.
We took a boat trip up the Rio Platino and stopped at homes along the way to give out medicine and preach the gospel. Farmers live along the river to protect and watch over their crops of bananas and other crops. At every house, we saw people give their hearts to Jesus as our group ministered to their needs. At the first home, a woman wept tears of joy and repentance as she surrendered her heart to the Lord. Jannie Paulk had been sick since she arrived, but today, she was truly fruitful as she practiced her Spanish with an 18-year-old mother who was not a Christian and eventually prayed with her to receive Christ. Out here, I do believe that there were children between 14-18 years old who are mothers with their own children. At another home, a woman was very resistant to the gospel but Jannie persuaded her to come to Christ. When she prayed, this young mother seemed to have the world lifted from her shoulders as she began to shine and smile with joy after asking the Lord Jesus Christ into her heart. Through the day, we would climb into the 30 foot long, 3 foot wide wooden boat which is a carved out tree, and travel up the river, climbing the steep, muddy banks to get to each house, as the rain came and went with 30 minute showers. The neighbors all around would come across the river and join us for the gathering for medicine and gospel message.
Family on the river banks.
Homes along the Lagoon at Ibans, Belen and Cocobela.
I preached at the “Pentecostal Moravian” church in Belen. Before 1930, this part of the world was totally pagan and these people were naked and without God, worshipping trees and things. Some Moravian missionaries came here and proclaimed the gospel and the church began to thrive. But after they left, the Moravian church lost its fire and sank back into dead religion similar to the Catholic Church. Later, the Catholic Church tried to evangelize this territory, but only managed to get a few converts to their idol worship and today, there are only a few Catholic Church's out here. But in the last 5 years or so, there has been a fire of the Holy Spirit lit in some of the Moravians and eventually, the old Moravian church made them leave. But a thriving church has begun to grow and multiply in this “Pentecostal” movement in the Moravian church and they are building their own churches and increasing in size. So now, there is resistance by the Old church to accept the new church. I preached a message on the purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:8, to receive the power to evangelize and win souls to Jesus. One man in the church was moved by the message and went home and won his 17-year-old son to Jesus that same day. The boy is dying of AIDS.
A Hondurian house and the type oven they use to cook upon.
Dennis Paulk and his group left to return to the States. Mike, Sam and I met with Fred in Taspapauni, the village where Fred Pastors a “Pentecostal Moravian” church. Fred had the symptoms of Malaria and asked for prayer. The first hut was near to falling over from the rotted wood. Inside, we met a young woman with her child, standing in a mud puddle in the small, cramped room. The child screamed in fear, grabbing her mother's leg as these white strangers from another land had entered their home. Fred interpreted into Miskitio the gospel message. The woman accepted Christ with us and prayed to surrender to Jesus. In the next house, we met 2 young men in their teens or early 20's, a wife of one of them, and several children. One of the men agreed to pray to receive Christ. In the next home, a 39-year-old man who is not married, but living with a woman who bore his 8 children, also agreed to accept Christ. He asked what he should do about his living situation and Mike Awe counseled the man that he should marry the woman and care for the children. He was very thankful for our visit. After eating some pre-packed sandwiches, we had a night meeting at the house of one of Fred's church members house. In the black room with no light, we worshipped the Lord and encouraged the saints here.
Mike, Sam and I continued to distribute the worm medicine as we traveled to the village of Ibans to treat the school children and preach the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ in each class. We then traveled to Cocobela and did the same at the school there. Mike testified that over 40 children had prayed the salvation prayer for the first time.
In a predominantly Catholic village called New Jerusalem, we traveled there to preach in some homes. Frank has wanted to get the church to meet in homes for Bible studies and services, which has proved to be extremely fruitful as there were people getting saved at nearly every home we visited. The first home had a mother with about 10 children all sitting against the wall. We shared the gospel message to the children. The woman shared that she had left the traditional Moravian church because they refused to let her partake in the communion meal because her daughter was living with a man she was not married to. Like the Catholic Church, the Traditional Moravian church was controlling the lives of the sheep by admitting or refusing them a part in the Communion meal. I gave her the scripture:
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
This verse freed her from the guilt and condemnation of bearing the sin of her daughter imposed by the traditional church. She was clearly depressed and after Mike played his trumpet, and we sang, her smile showed that she was clearly entering the joy of the Lord. At the next house, we distributed medicine outside of the hut and about 20-30 people gathered for the medicine. I said to Pastor David, “Lets preach now”! So I shared a message how the medicine is to kill the worms that are eating our bodies and make us tired, sick and can even kill us. In the same way, Jesus is our medicine to cure us of the worm of sin, which is eating away at our soul and God will throw the worm (sin) infested soul into the lake of fire. But even as we have the choice to accept or refuse to drink the medicine that will kill the worms and restore our health, we can also choose to accept Jesus for the healing of our soul, or refuse him, letting the worm of sin to eat away at our soul, which will then be destined to be cast into hell. Some younger men listened with conviction and over 12 people prayed to receive the healing medicine of Jesus Christ. In the next few homes we preached at, more came to Jesus.
Mike giving tracts to the riders of the taxi. When Mike blows his trumpet, the children come!
We returned to give medicine and preach to the high school students at Cocobela since they were not there the other day. The director of the school told Frank that he was grateful that we had come there to the school. Along the way, a man asked us to treat his family with the medicine. AS we gave the medicine, about 50 people gathered from everywhere. I tried to preach the gospel and the Jamaican whom I led to Jesus insisted on being my interpreter. He lives with one of the woman of this family, calling her his “wife”. He knows very little Spanish, and little Miskitio, so he had the funniest version of a mixture of Spanish, Miskitio and Jamaican English I had ever heard to try to translate the message to his relatives. But somehow, they seemed to understand him. I could only laugh! The family that asked me to name their daughter (Sarah Anna) also asked us to stop and treat them with the medicine. Later in the day, Mike, Sam and I tried to travel the 2 hour walk to Taspapauni to work with Fred as it was getting late in the day. Along the way, we stopped for a Coke, and with Fred interpreting; we led a young man to Jesus on the porch of the store. Further along the way, Fred had taken his bike and went ahead of us to meet us in Taspapauni, but we met a young American College Student from Kansas that was living out here to learn about the Miskitio people. We preached the gospel to her for 1-2 hours as the sun was setting. She had many questions, raised a Catholic but had little to no Bible knowledge. We left her with a Bible and decided to forfeit our trip to Tespapauni and return home. Along the way, we grabbed a ride on a nearly dead Toyota truck for about $2. About ¼ mile later, they ran out of gas so the driver sent his friend to get more fuel. In the meantime, I tried my limited knowledge of Spanish to preach to the young driver. 30 minutes later the boy returned and after fueling the truck with another gallon of gas, we were asked to help push start the truck. Five or six attempts later, the engine revived its 2 of four cylinder fire and we sputtered down the road for another 5 minutes. Then the driver pulled over to a house and said “Truck running bad, no more!”, So we walked into the sunset for home.
In Ibans with the gathering children that followed us.
Mike, Sam and I retried our effort to travel to Tespapauni and work with Fred. Fred was now very sick with Malaria so we prayed for him and then went to the homes in the village to give out medicine and tracts. Fred was avoiding taking Malaria medicine to test his faith and trust Jesus for his healing. In the evening, we went to a house meeting in New Jerusalem. A young woman asked us to pray for her husband who was backslidden but was once a very bold evangelist for Jesus. Later, this young man came from a long trip and heard us singing and preaching and joined us for the meeting. He asked for prayer to restore his walk with Jesus. His wife's prayer was answered!
Belen water project was completed today and the water pump started. Water flowed to the 40-50 homes in the village. A group from a Methodist church in Mississippi had made it their mission to put in these pumps and have bought 7 pumps to provide water to these villages. The people were so very glad to have water at their very doorsteps.
Completed pump house with a Honda pump will provide water to some 40-50 homes. A house with water faucet being installed. (The cow is not part of the work team)
Frank, Mike and I traveled to Rio Platino to preach the Sunday service. Gave worm medicine after the service and said Goodbye to my newfound friend and companion, Fred! He started taking the Malaria medicine yesterday, but was still very sick although he made it to the church service and even interpreted for part of my message but had to leave during the preaching to get relief from the fever.
Fred in Ibans, and with Mike and Judy on trip to Las Marias.
We arose at 3 AM to take a boat ride to Palacios to catch our 7 AM plane ride to LaCeiba for home. At the airport, we met up with the American College student. Her brother was killed in the collapse of a porch in Chicago, which we later saw on CNN. She was headed home for the funeral. She was mourning and angry with God and returned the Bible we gave her saying that she did not want to believe in a God if her brother was not in heaven. She new her brother was not saved! But we comforted her the best we knew how and can only hope that Jesus will be glorified through the incident and that this girl will fall in love with the King of the Universe.
Rising at 4:30 AM, we made our plane connections and I arrived home in Florida at midnight.
After returning home, Mike Awe started a program Support-a-Pastor in order to help support the Pastors in this region!