A Season of Blessing and Thanksgiving
“Every gospel minister should be a friend to the poor, the afflicted, and the oppressed among God’s believing people. Christ was always the poor man’s friend, and the interests of the poor need to be sacredly guarded…. Love, sacred, refined love, is to be exercised in behalf of the poor and unfortunate.” Medical Ministry, 310.
Maranatha Medical Ministries (MMM) is God’s ministry; He has allowed us, Joe and Elsa, to manage the operations of this ministry, but make no mistake, God is in charge! It is He Who has sent us here to Honduras and Who has called us to be His ambassadors of love and compassion to the poor; and for more than twelve years, we have been right here where God has placed us.
Every year, during the holiday season, while most of the world is engaged in self-pleasing activities, MMM strives to draw attention to
God—to His love, His mercy and His many blessings. This year, we decided to do something a little extra special—in addition to preparing our usual “Love Baskets” for the poor in the mountains, we decided to have special services at our House of Prayer. It so happened that God arranged for Pastor Aaron Baker and a few of his members from Light Bearer’s Mission to volunteer with us during this festive time of year. They may have thought that they were coming to enjoy the warm weather, relax and enjoy the mission experience for two weeks, but God had other plans. When volunteers come to us, we take advantage of all of their skill and talent. With all of these volunteers here, our outpost was full of talent.
We began with a re-consecration and communion service on Sabbath, December 24. What a blessed time this was!
The following day, we made up lots of very beautiful “Love Baskets” for the poor. Our volunteers were so excited, they spent all day buying the needed items to put into the baskets, and they especially enjoyed adding a little something extra for the little children.
“As we see the necessities of the poor, the ignorant, the afflicted, how often our hearts sink. We question, ‘What avail our feeble strength and slender resources to supply this terrible necessity? Shall we not wait for someone of greater ability to direct the work, or for some organization to undertake it?’ Christ says, ‘Give ye them to eat.’” Ministry of Healing, 49.
When it was time for our outreach—you guessed it—we loaded up the truck, and headed up the mountain. Our first stop was the village of Mountainita. The drive up to Mountainita is always quite an experience in itself. Our American volunteers loved bouncing around on the back of our pickup truck, though. That is something they are not permitted to do in most parts of the United States.
Upon reaching the little village, we noticed that nearly all the homes, (wooden adobe shacks), were locked up and vacant. We had forgotten that this time of year is coffee picking time. Everybody was out picking coffee beans. Our hearts sank. We felt we would not be able to give anything to these people who are so much in need. Just then, a little girl came running out of one of the shacks. She greeted us with the most beautiful smile you could ever see. We then met her grandmother, who is loosing her eyesight and stays home to care for her grandchildren. We sang songs and encouraged them in the Lord. We gave the grandmother a beautiful “Love Basket,” and gave Luci and her younger sister stuffed animals. Luci was so excited—it was like giving her a million dollars, only better! The grandmother was so happy and thankful for our visit. Just knowing that someone had taken the time to come to their home and show kindness and love meant the world to them. After spending nearly an hour with them, we sadly had to go. We had more stops to make and many more “Love Baskets” to hand out.
Throughout the week, Pastor Baker conducted a week of prayer, which focused on the parables of Matthew 13. What a blessing this was! The messages brought not only a deeper understanding of God’s Word, but renewed conviction to all of us.
The following Sabbath was filled with many joyful activities, all centered on giving praise and thanksgiving to God.
Morning service began with the church choir singing a beautiful musical piece arranged by John Dysinger and his family, who have recently returned to Honduras to minister in La Zona for three months.
We are very thankful to have the Dysinger family with us. The Lord has truly blessed MMM with so many Christian volunteers dedicated to soul winning. The Dysingers are a true missionary family. It is not easy to bring a family of six into a third world country for the purpose of ministering to others, and what a blessing they have all been to the La Zona community and to the church.
“In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess worldly wealth, learning, or eloquence. He asks, ‘Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?’ God can use every person just in proportion as He can put His Spirit into the soul temple.” Ministry of Healing, 37.
One very special treat for the Sabbath service that week was children’s time. For some time, every Sabbath afternoon, Elsa and our volunteers have been going up to Cerro del Torro, giving Bible studies, singing songs and helping the little children with scripture memorization. These many trips and Elsa’s hard work have not been in vain. Four of the children have done so remarkably at memorizing the Bible that Elsa brought them to church this week for a recital. This was their first time coming to church, and they were a bit nervous, but they recited more than a dozen memory verses, with very little coaching from Elsa. We are so proud of these little ones and pray that one day soon they, too, will be part of our church family.
“In the children who were brought in contact with Him, Jesus saw the men and women who should be heirs of His grace and subjects of His kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for His sake. He knew that these children would listen to Him and accept Him as their Redeemer…. The Saviour regards with infinite tenderness the souls whom He has purchased with His blood. They are the claim of His love. He looks upon them with unutterable longing. His heart is drawn out, not only to the best-trained and most attractive children, but to those who by inheritance and through neglect have objectionable traits of character.” Ministry of Healing, 43, 44.
The Sabbath ended with a beautiful wedding ceremony and a baby dedication. One of the men we have been studying with, Emilio, since giving his heart to the Lord, had decided to make things right with God by marrying the woman he loves, the mother of his baby boy. Once again, Pastor Baker came to the charge and conducted one of the most meaningful wedding ceremonies I had ever witnessed. Times of refreshing such as these you wish would never end; but we know that God has many more blessings in store for MMM and for all who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
May God use you, dear friends, to be a blessing to someone today. Remember, you are the only Jesus some may ever see. You are the only words of life some may ever read. May others see Jesus in you. Maranatha!
By Joe Willis, Maranatha Medical Ministries, Honduras. Donations can be sent to Maranatha Medical Ministries via Paypal from their website: www.maranathamedical.org.