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Jul 24, 2015

Beaumont Church Brings Spirit to SE Honduras

Honduras Mission St Stephens1


Marking a fifth year of mission to southeast Honduras, a group of six from St. Stephen’s, Beaumont joined Honduras Good Works team members to bring better health, education and a bit of the spirit to the small village of El Zarzal in the El Paraiso district in July.


According to their website, Honduras Good Works, who sponsored the mission trip, “ministers to the people of Honduras so they can break the cycle of poverty and alter the destiny of their country … through medical mission trips, scholarship programs and micro-finance for small businesses.” They are headquartered at St. Christopher’s, Killeen. The organization gathers team members from all over Central Texas and from as far away as New Mexico.


The mission team has been building a church in the village, La Iglesia de la Epiphania, which includes a parish hall and sacristy/office. This year’s additions included preparation for a bathroom and small kitchen. St. Stephen’s provided funds for materials and a building foreman. “We only work one week a year,” said the Rev. Pat Ritchie, “but the work continues each year as long as the funds last. The work is nearly complete.” Ritchie said the floor tiles and the front door were delivered while the mission team was in El Zarzal.


“We provided the funds and the inspiration for this very tiny village,” Ritchie said, “but they have done the work. Each year when we are there the teenagers and young adults come out and do the hard work investing their own sweat equity into their church.”


The mission team led a Bible study for the women and children of the village. Over the years, she said, “We’ve watched children grow up, graduate school, some of them go off to university or settle down in the village. We have formed deep relationships with the women and some of the young and older men.” Ritchie said the team joins in the village’s weekly Eucharist, which always has “lively music and a great sermon. The local priest, the Rev. Dagoberto Chacon, is dean of the Yuscaran convocation and always “welcomes us with open arms and a loving heart and calls us his family,” she said.


The theme of this year’s Bible school was Aqua Viva, or Living Water. In this drought stricken area of Honduras, Richie said, the team feels they are the ones who have received the “Living Water.”


“This mission is a time of spiritual formation for team members,” Ritchie explained. “We worship together morning and evening and have a time set aside for small group reflection of our day,” she said, adding, “Everyone’s first job is to make friends, interact with all ages, spread the grace and love of Christ, and teach the Gospel.”  


St. Stephen’s team included Ritchie, who coordinates the mission trip; Elizabeth Miller who did the teaching; Susan Monroe, musician; Bruce Murphree, construction; Lisa Wolf, art and decorations; and Jenni and Ali Egan, who were in charge of games.