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Hope In Time Newsletter

Today is Passover, as I write. We (Cathy and Brian) just moved back to Cerro Azul. How long we’ll be here we don’t know as we have yet to find a permanent place to lay our heads. Josh and Paulet have moved three times in the last year as well. It’s hard to believe it’s been four months since two Cat 4 and 5 Hurricanes, flooding, and derrumbes (day-room- bay -landslides) temporarily disabled our ministry and devasted Honduras as a whole. It’s been a year since COVID was projected to peak come to an end. Everything was supposed to return to “normal” after Easter. Still, COVID remains the least of most people’s concerns here. Perhaps that’s because hardship and disruption are the “normal” in Honduras and carefree prosperity downright weird. Hence COVID is just one more irritant to add to the list along with Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya, etc.  Aside from challenges with finding a permanent residence, constant terrain-related vehicle breakdowns, Josh becoming a one-armed bandit after falling off a ladder, family tragedies, and Cathy falling in the mountains rendering her right hand temporarily useless (she’s fine now); life here is going pretty darn well.

The Projects

If you follow us on Facebook then you know we have been looking into rebuilding homes starting with Jose’s and his mom’s house off the beaten path in the mountains. It was destroyed at the exact moment that ours (Brian and Cathy) was wiped out.

Jose’s mom, 76-year-old Nicola was adamant that they rebuild in the same spot.  However, we were concerned that what destroyed their home looked and sounded a lot like an earthquake.  Luckily our Honduran friend Douglas from the City of Refuge had already planned to visit us.

Douglas is a Civil engineer. He agreed that while water may have been the precipitating force, an earthquake was indeed the cause of the destruction that night.  He said it is not a question of if the hill his house was built on will slide into the valley below- but when? 

Douglas giving Jose some hard truth

Jose had another site in mind.  The only problem was an extremely violent part-time neighbor of whom Jose’s mom is terrified.  Douglas inspected and approved the second site and prayed with Jose asking God to give Jose the wisdom to make the right decision.  We let it sit for a week and then hiked in to see what he had decided. Long story short he made the right decision and hired his friend to begin excavating the site. 

This picture represents $80 worth of work.

Still, no one builds a house based on an hourly rate.

“My friend wants a contract,” Jose said.

As it turns out Alex is an experienced builder in Honduras and like most Hondurans, he is desperately in need of work.  We talked with him at the site and agreed as a team that he seemed qualified, trustworthy, and sincere.  So the next day we called him and asked him to give us a bid on the entire project. 92,000 HNL, about $3800 USD was his price.

We intend to complete this project and learn from any mistakes before taking on any others.  There is a lot to be done but we want to be certain we are working smart and properly stewarding the monetized lifetime our supporters lay down in Jesus’s name.

Relief

Beds in Alto Pino

Initially, we were buying beds along with food until suppliers in Honduras ran out of beds. Still, the bulk of our efforts went toward assisting local Honduran ministries in some of the hardest-hit areas like La Lima, San Pedro Sula, Urraco, and Santa Barbara. 

On the road through San Pedro Sula

Honduran staples namely beans, rice, cornflour, and lard were temporarily hard to find as crops in some areas were destroyed and flooding had destroyed bridges and roads.  So we purchased them in areas where they were not in shortage and transported them to ministries in need.

Pastor Roni in Urraco

Water

In addition, we found locally manufactured and lab-tested water filters for about a third of the cost of those purchased in the US. We distributed them in areas where the water supply was contaminated and or obliterated and where severe price gouging was in effect. In this case price gouging meant it was costing some families as much as day’s wages ($8-$10) for a two-day supply of bottled drinking water.

Light in the Darkness

Solar-powered lights donated by our friends in Hawaii are especially helpful here especially for the elderly, disabled, and mothers with young children.

Roofs for the Roofless

Perhaps one of the most effective interventions we have found thus far is roof and home repair.  Granted the standard mountain homes here look a lot like the forts that some of us built as kids but they are nonetheless solid and many weathered the storms better than newer more modern homes. 

Some only need a few sheets of tin to patch up holes, others need a partial rebuild.  Still, others are being rebuilt from scratch.

Suffice it to say that the skill and ingenuity it takes to fashion timbers and build a viable house with a machete and hammer is not something that should be taken lightly.  

Material poverty and spiritual wealth are often inversely proportionate.

“…He directs our paths.”

One of the most amazing and fun aspects of our Proverbs 3:5-6 lifestyle is that God often connects the dots in the most poignant and amazing ways.  We met Caesar on one of our roofing jobs when he volunteered to help carry tin roofing into a valley where we were working.  We were exhausted ourselves didn’t even notice him until he collapsed at our feet under a single sheet of tin.  What we first thought was laughter was actually Caesar having a seizure.

He recovered as we prayed for him and then helped him to his house nearby which is also in need of repairs.  That’s when we learned that  Caesar is a proverbial renaissance man who recites poetry from memory, draws murals, paints, and carves plaques with a single $5 chisel. Could Cesar start his own business?  We think so. But we need to find a doctor that can prescribe the right meds to control his epilepsy. That will be challenging but not impossible.  Stay tuned.

Education

As we often say, “Jesus is our only hope in eternity. Education is a Honduran’s only hope in this world.” If COVID made educating a kid in the first world hard, doing the same in Honduras is exponentially harder. While the government is allegedly looking for ways to reopen schools, most Honduran children remain limited to online classes.  Of course, families that can barely feed their children can not afford the internet let alone a platform that supports it. Therefore we started a pilot program where bye we purchase phones and loan them to qualified children and also supply internet for about $20 per month.

The idea is to facilitate personal responsibility and accountability even though they will probably keep the phones. “Qualified” is defined as being serious about school as evidenced by a continually improving (no matter how small) GPA, a signed student agreement that the phone will not be used for social media and games, etc., and a signed parental agreement that they will enforce these rules in their homes.

Keisy (Kasey) and Pedro are our beta test kids and received brand new phones for $65 each.  Our friend Ann Bowers on Kauai Hawaii also found six tablets on eBay that should be here in the next several weeks.

Coffee

If you follow our newsletters then you know that previous to Hurricanes Eta and Iota we were exploring ways to assist coffee growers in getting a fair wage for their labor.  What many first-world coffee enthusiasts do not realize is that the coffee business at its point of origin frequently amounts to a form of indentured servitude. Our friend Seth Barnes, founder of the Adventures In Missions World Race has been helping to connect us with knowledgeable people with a heart to help.  Recently we invited one of our friends who is a coffee grower to join us in a meeting with David Paparelli of mcultivo.com

Alex is a former primary caregiver at the City of Refuge and electrician and coffee grower who loves Jesus and entrepreneurship.

A universal problem in Latin America is that “Coyotes” buy coffee from growers and then turn around and sell it to mills.  They often use one scale that “under weighs” the product when they purchase the coffee and another “overweighs” it when they sell it.  Still, the root of the problem is communication. Coffee growers and mill owners rarely have real-time access to the daily global market prices.  The answer?  A little education and collaboration that is as simple as creating a WhatsApp group.  Someone could publish the daily going rate so that all growers would know how much their coffee is worth and mill owners would know how much they should be paying for the coffee beans. Coyotes would not be able to marginalize growers who challenge their prices if everyone involved has the same real-time information. The concept is simple.  Getting everyone on board is the challenge Given the sheer number of coffee growers in our area, our strategy is to have Alex begin by soliciting a “buy-in” from mill owners first. We need to be wise and keep the communication between Hondurans as much as possible lest a rumor gets started that the gringos are trying to leverage the market and steal from everyone.

Our Alpha and Omega

As valuable and important as all these humanitarian projects may be.  The alpha and omega of our ministry is the Alpha and Omega Himself. That said transactional guerrilla-style street evangelism is really not our calling.  “Low and slow” is what you’ll always hear us say. Our end game is a relationship that begins with a conversation that itself begins with people noticing or hearing what we are doing and then asking us “why?”. People are beginning to notice and wonder why we haven’t quit especially when so many Hondurans are fleeing for the border themselves. I recently had a conversation with a man whom I have known since we first moved to Cerro Azul that concluded with me explaining that true freedom is found in complete and total dependency on Jesus.  Previously he had politely dismissed any attempt to breach his opposition to the subject of God. This was the first time he looked me straight in the eye, held my gaze, and listened in a way that leads me to believe the wall of opposition had been breached. Missions are about intimacy with God that is expressed through intimacy with those we serve. That takes time and patience especially in a culture where “today” can mean today or next week.  Our patience is starting to pay off.

Cathy has been biting at the bit to go into the bush and show The Passion of the Christ since we first arrived in Cerro Azul. Yet there was always an obstacle that prevented it be it Covid itself, storms, shipping issues, or other technical problems. But we finally got a portable, battery-powered projector with all the right cables. Cathy is doing a test run as I write.

So far it looks like all systems “are go” for launch. We plan to show it at least once sometime between now and Easter Sunday.

Thank you so much to all who have and do support us. Please keep us in prayer.

Maranatha!    


Hope in Time Newsletter

It’s been a while but Hope In Time Ministries is back online.

Needless to say, the COVID lockdown really put a dent in our initial ministry plans. Not to mention that Josh got stuck in the USA when the borders closed. The economic impact of the COVID lockdown has been hard on an economy that had only recently begun to thrive following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. You may have seen pictures of Brian and Cathy’s kid ministry and mountain outreaches while Josh was gone.

“Feed my sheep!” continues to be a recurring motif.

Josh finally made it back from the US just in time to get sick and for Eta to hit. 

Now Iota is on its way. 

The true extent of the devastation is hard to depict or predict. Hurricanes are brutal enough in the first world where people have plenty of food, good medical care, insurance, social services, a National Guard, and FEMA, etc.

Honduras has police.

I am told it’s also never been hit by two storms back to back.

At this time the total death count remains unknown. However, it is estimated that at least 200,000 Hondurans have been displaced by Eta.

People in La Lima and San Pedro Sula had just a couple of hours notice before the government was forced to release water from bursting reservoirs into the already flooding city below. Several pastors we know told us that they and their families almost died as they watched the floodwaters rise in their homes. Some Hondurans were rescued by helicopter.

Still, others were rescued by boat only to be robbed by MS13 and 18th Street gangs as soon as they landed on dry ground. The next day the government sent dump trucks to rescue some and take them to higher ground. That meant the median on CA-5 which is the Transamerican Highway. It has since become home to hundreds if not thousands of desperate people.

Again, there’s no HUD in Honduras
The next storm is about 3-4 days out as I write.

Hope in Time is only getting started with relief efforts.

If COVID wasn’t bad enough, Honduras doesn’t have first world sewage systems. Sewage strewn mud carries its own set of health risks.

But God. Mk 16:18

Our first food delivery included 400 pounds of rice and beans, Maseka,(cornmeal for tortillas) Sugar, Manteca (lard) as well as 25 prepared bags of food donated by the City of Refuge. They all went to a Christian school housing 15 families.

The people housed there asked our permission to take the bags to 100 children from an orphanage that was destroyed in the flood.

There is a tendency in the contemporary body of Christ to always pursue Mat 17 Mount of Transfiguration type experiences. We sing “we want more”. But do we really know what we are asking? The mountain top is the place where God reveals Himself as the anchor to which we tether our faith as we venture into the muck below. The valley is where we come face to face with our own weakness and true recognition of our dependency on God. It is in the midst of our desperation that we encounter Him more.

“His strength is made perfect in weakness.” is not a metaphor. When we are weak, then we are strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Not only did Eta kill people and render them homeless. It also destroyed a large portion of crops that were due to be harvested. That’s not good. The price of corn and beans is going up fast in many areas according to their scarcity. We just spent two whole days searching for and buying supplies.

We were able to purchase six hundred pounds of beans and rice as well as beds, tarps, and other supplies. Adult clothing is desperately needed and is sold in bales. We are still looking. Right now we need to watch and see what Iota does. Its current track is further north than Eta. A fair number of missionaries got blindsided by Eta and are now in need of help. We need to avoid becoming casualties so that we continue to be a help.

We know that amidst all of this that our God is sovereign. We know better than to cry “Why Lord?!” But rather “What are you doing Lord?” We know that whatever happens, fiery trials are not strange. They refine our faith and produce patience. Furthermore, tribulation is the seed of hope and is ultimately for our good because our demonstrated endurance helps to ensure the

“manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord”… Eph 3:8-12

These will be some of the foundational scriptures in any messages we give.

We just wanted to touch base with all our prayer partners and financial supporters and let you know we are alive and kicking and will continue until the Lord says otherwise.

“If you don’t quit – you win!”

-Heidi Baker-

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to support our relief efforts click here.

Here is an approximate cost breakdown for how all donated funds are being used at this time.

  • FOOD SUPPLIES
    • Beans – $40 – $50 per 100 lbs
    • Rice – $30 -40 per 100 lbs
    • Maseka – $30 per 100 lbs
    • Manteca Lard – $40 per 100 lbs
  • ESSENTIALS
    • Tarps – $12 – $15 each
    • Cama (bed) – $30 -$50 each
    • Clothing – $200 per 100 lbs
  • TRANSPORTATION COSTS PER OUTREACH $40 -$50 PER VEHICLE.

Please Pray for Honduras

MARANATHA!

Growing Down in Honduras

There is a common tendency to believe that answering the Mat 16:24 call is most clearly evidenced by a person laying down the comforts of a first world life for the sake of the gospel in the third. While this often results in the most accolades from peers. It is only a beginning.

The next step involves the death of our own significance and maybe our heroic self image. It is a gradual purging of pride ridden assumptions about ourselves and those we claim to serve.

Much of the focus in the contemporary first world church remains on one’s personal identity in Christ. It emphasizes the smartest and most gifted as being the most grounded in their identity and presents them as a model for others. It exalts numbers and size, profit, progress and prophets, healing, signs and wonders. The greater the oration- the bigger the project, – the flashier the show…

…the greater the authority, anointing and commission.

Some even call themselves apostles.

But the kingdom of heaven is upside down. And the apostle Paul referred to himself as the offscouring, the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 1 Cor 4:13

You’ve probably heard of Mother Teresa.

Meet Mother Maria

We hope that blessed you.

Given all the uncertainties regarding social media and censorship please consider following the Hope In Time blog.

That way regardless of what Google and Facebook do, you can stay tuned for more updates as our little ministry unfolds according to His will rather than our goals and plans.

We love you and God bless.

Brian and Cathy Gray – the elders-

Water

And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

1Cor 10:4

Water is a recurring motif in God’s word and represents different things at different times. For example, the Bible mentions water as a symbol of repentance, faith, salvation, and provision. It also represents troublesome times and enemies that must be overcome. Jeremiah likened Yahweh to springs of living water, and deep calls unto deep at the noise of His waterfalls in Psalms 42.

When we first visited Honduras as short-term missionaries in 2008, we were met with a manmade water shortage. Our host ministry had worked themselves to the bone building and preparing a new home to house children they’d rescued from the streets. Then they had to pay the fire department to truck in enough water to flush toilets because the city, we were told, refused to turn the water on. Water in one form or another is almost always an issue in Christian Missions. What we have learned along the way is that sometimes our best most impassioned efforts in the natural result in God waiting patiently on the proverbial sidelines while we wear ourselves out enough to recognize our poverty of spirit and our desperate need for Him.

One of the many paradoxes in the Christian walk is that while we are His workmanship and He created Eph 2:10 good works beforehand that we should walk in them, He is the almighty, all knowing, omnipotent God. He is sovereign. He does not need the almighty “I” or “us” to do anything. Our pride may recoil at this. Yet God’s purpose was in the beginning and still is relationship with His creation. The ways in which He facilitates relationships are as many as the number within His creation.

We began 2020 in prayer and worship at our first annual retreat near Taulabe Honduras. Our purpose and goal were simple. We were there to seek God Himself for Himself and to ask Him for His 20/20 vision for 2020. Thy will not ours be done was our theme.

Of course, we have ideas about impacting what we see as the four biggest issues that negatively impact Honduras, namely education, alcoholism, domestic violence and marital infidelity, we are nevertheless moving slowly. If Jesus only acted in accordance with what the Father was doing, we figure we probably should as well. We have seen too many ministries fall into Gal 3:3 style error whereby what begins in the spirit ultimately gives way to the flesh, then fear and pride as the ministry goes the way of fleshy humanitarianism with a lite coat of Jesus for appearance’s sake.

All of us bring different perspectives to ministry. We each have our own gifts and callings that help to shape those perspectives. We all see as in a glass darkly.  Each has their own view of non-essential 1 Cor 8 type issues and doctrines.  However, one thing about which we are uncompromising is the pursuit of Truth and the embodiment of integrity as manifested within the context of individual and organizational transparency and authenticity. Truth in our postmodern culture has become increasingly relative and rooted in narcissism such that many of the most anointed in ministry have grown complacent and completely comfortable with comprise. We understand as we grow in our ability to love God and our neighbor, that Love, and Truth can never be divorced from one another. We believe that if we can’t be transparent about our “what”, “why” and “how” then we should not be doing it at all.  Therefore, we resolve to honor our financial supporters with the sacred understanding that the money they give is nothing less than their own monetized lifetime laid down for the sake of the Gospel. We resolve to fail if necessary, rather than lie.

“Let not mercy and Truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so, find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Prov 3:3-6

We don’t know what God will do next. Suffice it to say that He came through big time during the retreat and in ways we never could have imagined or expected.  We are completly dependent on Him.  He is connecting the dots as we acknowledge Him.

We’ll update you with the details as He orders our steps to bring hope in time.

 

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!

If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will. -Mother Teresa

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Thank you for your interest. This is where you can find and read our deeper thoughts and lessons learned along the way as we serve God’s people in Honduras and venture deeper into His heart.

Please standby as this site is constructed.

May God bless you!

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