Newsletter- February 2003
Once again we would like to share with you some of the things going on here in Honduras. The Lord has extended his hand of mercy by blessing the work here. There were five baptisms in Las Conchas. We are expecting a few in el Ocote. We are very excited about the family retreat we had in January.
On January 3, 4, and 5 a family retreat took place on the property of Chuck and Regina Sperry. There were 70-90 people in attendance throughout the weekend. Chema and Viola (Presler) Manzanares were present as well as other brethren from the States.
Viola Manzanares and Tita Metzger helped the youth prepare a drama of King Lamoni’s conversion. We were grateful that the Lord gave Vi the inspiration to write it. The play was presented on Saturday night.
All the women worked together in the kitchen. I could make a list of all the people that were involved in helping and who had responsibilities, but this is not as important as what the Lord did during this weekend.
The Lord’s spirit was with us. It was a “shot in the arm” for many of those who attended. There is no better way to express the blessings that the Lord gave us, than to write the testimony that a dear sister shared with all of us during the retreat.
God bless you brethren. My name is Marta. I live in el Ocote, Santa Barbara. I am here today only by the grace of the Lord. In March of 2002 I began to have pain in the back of my head and shoulders. It became so intense I could do nothing except walk. I could not sit or sleep. I then lost my desire to eat. I walked about the house trying to clean and organize things. Unknown to me, I was making a wreck out of the house. After a time I became unaware of my surroundings. I could not recognize my children, husband, or family. I was what you would call a crazy woman. My husband and brother tried to feed me spoonfuls of broth. I looked like a skeleton.
My aunt and cousins came from San Pedro Sula to see me. They were shocked at my appearance. They insisted on taking me to a special clinic in San Pedro. My husband and brother had to force me into a car and literally hold me down to keep me in the vehicle.
I was in the clinic for several weeks. There they found that I had an infection in the lower part of my brain. The clinic had been giving me medication. Slowly I began to gain consciousness. I found myself strapped to a bed. “What is happening?” I thought. My husband began to cry. They told me what had happened for the past few months. Bills were piling up, Only the Lord could provide for our needs.
There was a specific medicine that was needed for my cure. The only place that had this medicine was a government hospital in Tegucigalpa. The clinic gave a referral to my husband.
I spent several more weeks in the other hospital. They drilled me with many questions in order to check my mental abilities. Finally by the grace of our Lord, I was sent home. I was scarred to go home. I was not completely well. What if I got worse? I still needed a few months to recuperate.
As time went by I still felt a burden of fear. I was not free from this sickness. The congregations of our church had a special prayer time for me. I was at home with my little boy during this prayer time. Knowing that my brothers and sisters were praying for me, I fell on my knees. I stayed there for two hours. I looked up at my little sick boy who was asleep on the bed in front of me. I asked the Lord to please give me a sign of the cure that he had for me as well as heal my son of his sickness. When I finished praying my son’s mouth opened and said, “Even as you have healed her.” The Lord healed us both in this moment. Oh, I was so full of joy! I was clean. What mercy My God has shown me and my family. I now have a renewed strength to serve my Lord Jesus Christ. I will continue to serve Him for the rest of my life. Sister Marta is a Sunday school teacher in el Ocote. She now hopes to begin a women’s group in her congregation.
What will it take for us to come before the Lord in humility and serve Him with all our hearts? Will it take the death of a loved one? A war? The destruction of our nation? God gives us trials so we can learn to depend on Him 100%. We can not rely on ourselves, a job, or a person to give us security. True security only comes through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. HEAR YE HIM.
For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Newsletter- April 2003
We greet you in the name of Christ. We miss seeing everyone. October through December 2002 we were very occupied with the family camp which we had the first week in January 2003. It was a wonderful experience.
Our family has been ministering to a church family in El Progreso near the north coast which is about a 2 hour drive from Siguatepeque. Once a month Chuck goes to El Progreso to give ministry to this family. Brother Juan and his family also come to Siguatepeque once a month to go to church with us and we help them with their transportation costs. They stay in our home for the weekend. It is very enjoyable having them visit us every month.
There are three families here in Siguatepeque that Chuck has been visiting regularly. The first family is Ismael and Maruja Bevilacqua. This is the couple from Peru that attended the 2nd Central Missouri reunion of 2002. Ismael is very open to hearing God´s word. He is meeting with resistance from some of his family members though. Please pray for them. Javier and Doris Inestroza are another couple with whom we have been sharing. Javier is the brother of Sonia Robinson who lives in Independence. They are both reading the Book of Mormon. Javier and his wife have just left for the States. We pray that they will be witnessed to while they are there.
Les and Pat Wilson are the third couple. They are from the US and we have been sharing with them for 8 years. They have come a long way. Once atheists, they have now accepted Christ as their Savior. There have been a lot of trials for them in the last few years. Les just returned from the States after his second open heart surgery. Les has read "In Quest of the White God", and "He Walked the Americas". He believes that Jesus Christ probably did come here to preach to the people after His resurrection. We ask you to keep these three couples in your prayers. Pray that the Holy Spirit will minister to them and that they will accept the gospel. At times we don’t see the results of our missionary work, but like Paul wrote, one plants, one waters and another reaps, but the increase is the Lord’s.
We had a few visitors during February and March of 2003. Jim Noland was one of those who came. Chuck and Jim went to Subirana where brother Chema Manzanares’ family lives. They drove through mud that was sometimes up to the bumper of the truck. Chema had invited over 100 people to his birthday party that night, but not everyone was able to show up because of the mud caused by the heavy rains. Brother Chema asked Chuck to preach at his party about Christ restoring His gospel and the Book of Mormon to the earth. The Spirit was present and that was the first time many of them had ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will convict many of them of the truthfulness of His gospel and of the efficacy of His sacrifice. Chuck and Jim were able to visit many of the congregations here. We appreciate the ministry which Jim gave during his stay and his help in finishing the visitors’ house and goat barn. Thanks Jim.
Chuck´s mother also came from the States to visit us for two months. It was so nice to have her here. The people really enjoyed visiting with her too! We would like to invite others to come and share in the work here. Please ask the Lord if He wants you to help in the mission field.
Two new missions have opened since Jan. 2003. Beginning in May, Elder Antonio Orellana and Chuck will be working together in the newest of these missions.
As most of you know, we homeschool our children. During the past 5 months we have also had young lady by the name of Kathleen Castillo homeschooling with us. Her mother, Reina Castillo, is from Honduras. Kathleen was born and raised in the States. She and her family came to Honduras to live for a year. Many of her relatives are church members. Kathleen was baptized here in November 2002. She will be returning to Independence at the end of April. It has been a joy to share with her. I pray that they get involved in a branch in the Independence area.
Our middle son, Timothy started complaining in February about abdominal pains, but we just thought that it was probably amoebas and so dosed him for a few days with vinegar. When the pain went away we figured that had solved the problem. The pain returned though and then we noticed that he had a protrusion on his lower left side that was approximately 3½ inches long, 1 inch wide, with ½ inch protruding. We then realized that it was an inguinal hernia. One night during a church service Timothy suddenly bent over in pain and turned white. Chuck asked him if he would like to have a laying on of hands for a healing, he said he would. Chuck and elder Gerardo Tinoco laid hands on his head and the hernia immediately went back in. We thought that he had been healed and so let him run around, mix concrete, lift rocks etc. After about 3 days he began complaining again about pain in his abdomen. We checked and found a very slight protrusion about the size of a dime. We decided that it would be best for him to go to the States with Chuck for an examination and if necessary an operation. When they arrived in the States, they called Children’s Mercy Hospital for a doctor’s appointment. They were told that it would be three weeks before he could see a doctor. A week later, they visited some friends and the visit turned into a prayer and praise service. During the service, a lady who did not know them spoke under the influence of the Spirit to Timothy. She said that God had called him to share His word with many people. This agrees with the experience which we had when God told us before he was even born that his name was “Eliad” or God’s witness. Also, the elders who blessed him when he was a baby said that he would be called to share the gospel with many people. After this sister had spoken, she then went over and laid her hands on Timothy and asked the Lord to heal him. The Spirit was there in power and he was healed. During the next two weeks he ran and jumped and did whatever he wanted to with no problems. He had not been able to do this before, but had to “take it easy”. When Timothy saw the doctor a couple of weeks later, the doctor could not find the hernia. Thank you Father! Thanks also to all of you who prayed for him. The Lord sure is good! For those of you who are interested, the Scriptural precedent for a believer to lay on hands without anointing with oil for the healing of the sick is found in Mark 16:16-17, Mormon 4:87-88, DC 34:3c, DC 83:10c-11g. Only elders have the right to anoint with oil. The difference between the two is the spiritual healing (forgiveness) which can come with the elders laying on hands see James 5:16-17. With believers laying on hands for healing the sick there is only a promise of a physical healing.
The month of April has been long for some of us. Chuck and Timothy have been in the States. You women know how it is when the man of the house is gone. Things just seem to happen. The shower got stopped up, the truck broke down, 2 baby goats were born, 12 puppies and 8 chicks. The Lord sure has been good to us. Thanks to each one of you for your prayers and your help.
May God bless each of you,
Newsletter- May 2003
Newsletter- August 2003
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The work has been going fairly well here. We are averaging about 5 baptisms every 3 or 4 months and retaining about 80 or 90 per cent of those baptized. Here in Siguatepeque the church is slowly growing, mainly among the youth and children. Last Saturday night for example, we had only 3 adults at church, but we had 17 children! Church attendance for the last few Sundays has been down because the students and the directors of the Internado (church boarding house) went to their homes in other towns for school break. Our family lives between Siguatepeque and a small town called los Chaguites. We bring about 8 children and youth with us each time we go to church other than our own six. We have about 13 –20 children, 14 -15 youth, and 5 –8 adults who attend church regularly. Families here always have to leave someone at home so that thieves don’t break in and steal everything while they are at church. As a result, even though there might be 6 people in a family, usually only 4 or 5 of them attend at any one time.
Every week we visit a town called Agua Azul Sierra. We have an adult baptismal class and a children’s church school class. Our two oldest children go with me to help out. Elizabeth teaches approximately 12 children. She just turned 13 years old and has been teaching Sunday school classes by herself since she was 9. I teach the adult class with Charles´ help. Right now we have only one family in the adult class, but we hope that soon there will be others attending. The family who is attending is very interested in knowing everything they can about the restoration of the Gospel. Please pray for them.
I just returned from a mission trip to Meambar. It is a municipality about 1 ½ hours to the northeast of Siguatepeque. We have never had any members or contacts there before. Shortly after we moved to los Chaguites, I began to feel that someday the Lord would send me to Meambar to do missionary work. About 6 months ago, I began to feel the leadings of the Spirit that I should begin planning a visit. I talked with the priesthood in our last monthly national priesthood meeting about visiting there over the first weekend in August. One of the other priesthood men said that he would go with me since he had lived there many years ago before he had even heard about the church. A couple of days before we were to leave, he received a phone call that his sister would be arriving last Sunday at the San Pedro Sula airport. Because he had to pick her up at the airport, he did not go.
There are no buses to Meambar, so the only way to get there is by pick-up. I caught a ride at about noon after a wait of an hour or so. While traveling, I was able to share a little with one of the other passengers. He was not too interested though. When we arrived in Meambar, the driver of the vehicle told me where I could get a room for the night and also where there was a cheap, clean comedor (diner).
While I was eating lunch, I struck up a conversation with a man who was there. He is a professor in one of the schools and invited me to visit him after I finished eating. When I arrived at his house after lunch, he and another teacher were constructing a homemade microscope. I helped them work on it and after we finished I began sharing with them about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Neither one of them was Christian, but as I shared they became more and more interested; especially when I explained about the Book of Mormon and that it was not a Mormon book. (I have found that one of the easiest ways to prove to people that the Mormon church is a different church than ours is to just to show them a Mormon Book of Mormon and our Book of Mormon at the same time and have them read excerpts from both of them. Of course I explained that basically they are the same book, but that the Mormon Church just changed the chapters and versification in 1876. It still proves to most people though, that the two churches are different.) We talked for almost 3 hours. When we finished, they both wanted Books of Mormon and any pamphlets that I could leave with them. They also invited me to return in 2 weeks to talk with them some more. I told them that I couldn’t return until the 2nd week in September because I was visiting other places also.
After visiting with them, I walked around town a little bit getting to know the streets etc. Suddenly I realized that I was at the house of the man I had talked with on the trip to Meambar. I knocked at the gate and he invited me to come in. His wife is also a professor. We visited for a while about the gospel and he became more interested. He shared with me that he had been a pastor of the Sala Evangelica church for almost 7 years, but that he had to move and that now he was attending the Cristo Misionera church. I then shared with him about the Book of Mormon. Immediately he became quite reserved. I got out the Mormon Book of Mormon and then he was convinced that we were Mormons! …until I showed him our Book of Mormon, at which time he began to ask questions again. The visit went excellently and he invited me to come back and share more with them when I return in September.
As I was returning to my room that night, I passed by a group of about 10 young men on a street corner. One of them said something as I went by and it sounded to me like he was trying to talk to me in English. I walked back to them and asked him if he had tried to say something to me in English. We began talking about various subjects. I shared with them about Jesus Christ. None of them were Christian. I asked them what I could do to help them accept Christ as their Savior. Almost every single one of them asked me to come back and have church services with them. I told them that I would be back at that street corner the second Saturday in September and we would have a church service there. All in all, it was an excellent trip.
I will be going to Santiago de la Paz the first weekend in September with Juan Argueta. He grew up there and his parents and family still live there. He has been sharing with them occasionally. Last time, they asked him if he and I could go there for church services and have classes with them. Please pray for them.
We would like to invite you to attend a Latin American Family Camp here in los Chaguites the 19 –21 of December 2003. Please pray and ask the Lord if you should attend. The cost will be minimal. The only charge will be for food and will probably be voluntary. We, as a church, are collecting money in special offerings during the next few months to pay for most of the food costs.
Please pray for those who are having their first chance to hear about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers and support as we share with others. Que Dios les bendiga.
In Christ’s love,