Honduras Missions

The Ritchie Family / Children's Lighthouse

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bumpy roads

I would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all our ministering saints of the LORD Jesus Christ. Thank you for being so close to our Saviour that you hear his desires and help on His behalf as the Spirit has led. It has been a long and bumpy road this year, but many blessing came out of the battles. Souls saved and baptized, church buildings built, new places evangelized, the seed of future churches sprouting and new children accepted into the Children‘s Lighthouse.
My wife and I went out for our traditional Chinese meal for our 29th wedding anniversary yesterday (started because this was the only place open on Christmas eve 29 years ago). It is the only time all year we are able to go out for an hour or so just by our selves. What did we do for dessert? Go to a very poor neighborhood vbs one of our preacher’s wives was doing and hand out a few toys and shoot the candy cannon. Then hear children squeal in excitement, amen. On the way home we visit a few more living in mud homes or shacks from scraps and bring smiles in a similar way. Another Amen. Lisa is in high gear trying to ready for the wedding of our son Jr. Bakeingglueingsewingprinting it is a blur to me…I am having a hard time just staying out of the way . The LORD has provided and the wedding is on track despite a major financial fault. Money is always a hindrance here but it never seems to stop what the LORD wants done. The church in the mountain is ready for the roof now, but the funds we were banking on for did not materialize as planned either. Was not in our control to make it all happen. Like all the other times we just wait on the LORD. Need $12-1500 in materials to roof the church. Must be done before the rains come back in Feb else we end up with a really big baptistery pool instead of a church.
Went up the mountain Sat for another church outing and with 30 people in the kia it broke a fan belt. No tools, no cell service, thankfully there was a little shade. The starter was bad from a few days earlier and was not even in the kia but at the electric shop. We have been push starting it. A passer by picked up most of folks to head to the church a short time later a second picked up the rest to head to the meeting. We then walked till we found a signal then no one would answer. Finally got a hold of Blanca and she offered to come out and rescue us but her car was not good for the mountain. So I got the kia turned put in neutral and began a rollercoaster ride back down, no breaks, no engine, no power steering letting it roll as fast as we dared for as long as we dared till I would catch the last momentum of the roll start it for 15-20 seconds just enough to cross the next rise and continue coasting. After 20 minutes, a few airborne moments and people walking along the road covered in dust... presto back down at the highway ready to be towed. Found a belt, got it changed and the folks picked back up. The next morning Sunday picked up folks for church only to have it overheat again because the belts were loose. Tighten them up during services then after church Lisa drives it to town and picks up needed food and supplies. Monday morning I use it and it breaks down again shredding the belts. Found a bolt was broken on the alternator mount, fix bolt, replace belts…again on Christmas eve morning. Thankfully many busnesses are in homes and you can catch someone "home" even if the shop is closed. Then take Lisa out for lunch, and you now know a little of the effort it takes to do the sweet story above. And during this time we also had a baby in the hospital being cared for and the 20+ children in the Lighthouse being cared for…And and an american visitor who brought a well specalist who dropped a camera down our well to examine it and offered to fix our unfinished well situation, that is big amen. Just like juggling, as long as you can keep the balls in the air you can hold more than you can carry, just have to keep throwing higher and higher with more and more strength. Ps 18:2 Merry Christmas. Now it is time to go spend time with the 20 something children this Christmas morning…for such is the kingdom of heaven…amen. Why do we do what we do?… Wweeell this note is my only Christmas present I received this year. I was handed it this morning from one of our children here named Patricia a true orphan…it was sufficient. Nothing you could buy could top this… Merry Christmas…

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lowliness of Mind...

The church on the mountain will be ready for a roof next week… The mom and her baby who we rushed off the mountain from that church last week are doing fine. The mom asked me for a copy of a photo because they have never taken a picture of family. It cost too much for them. They are as poor as you find on the mountain, living in a mud home with nothing in it but a hammock to sleep in. Even the clothes for the baby are borrowed. As I was leaving the mom was talking to the baby saying “say goodbye to grandpa Barry” humbling… Thanks to the LORD we have touched many lives here. But one must rely heavily on the Holy Spirit for guidance. I was sitting in a restaurant/bank parking lot a while back and two little boys were begging for food and money at the door. I had seen them many times before and talked to them. They learned this from parents who often were in the background somewhere watching, directing. My words were words of truth that if heeded would correct the situation but uncomfortable to hear. A lady exiting the restaurant heard me and gave me a face of scorn as she handed the boy the equivalent of 10 cents. She was self justified and cleared her conscience all the while condemning me for not helping the poor little boy…not knowing the 15 or so children I had with me were all under my care for everything, not just 10 cents worth of conscience comfort. All I could do is smile and say a small prayer. Our kids need clothes shoes bedding ect ect. Our bucket of provision has so many holes and leaks in it, even when someone does give a nice size donation it is gone the moment it clears the bank. Whether for food, lights, emergencies, medical or help ect… the needs far outweigh the supply. Our pastor up north is still stranded there without the funds to return. I am hoping to send him enough for tickets to return. Our ministering Saints have answered the LORD time and time again. I am so grateful they have a heart and an ear near to our Saviour to hear His desires. Our Son is getting married in 2 weeks. We have a group visiting from the states at that time as well as another group a couple of weeks later. Pray the LORD’s will is done and we accomplish all He has for us to do. VBS in another mountain is going well with lots of preaching teaching time and Marc Antonio’s wife not content with just one VBS opted to do a neighborhood bible time VBS around her house this week as well. Amen! I read a quote that seemed poignant. “Most Christians date the church and God because they don’t want the commitment” …. Telling sign of our society. What would the world really be like if all Christians just wanted to be like Christ?… I do believe things would be different. Try making Christmas about being more christlike this year… we would all well do with more of that… Less me and mine and more thine… Help a missionary or maybe pick a family in your church or area to surprise with a Christmas visit. Make a meal, give presents, witness in a self sacrificing way. If it hurts a bit to do it… you might be doing it right. If it doesn’t hurt or is easy to do…it’s not sacrifice. Make a difference in someone don’t just appease your conscience..

Phil 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A little bit of much...

The world is an odd place, full of blessing everywhere for those that seek them, and full of curses for those that don’t. This update will be a bunch of little to do’s about much. Any one of which could fill a page. The church on the mountain is still going up. The blocks are now at the top of the windows. Hoping to have a service in the building for Christmas…I don’t know, it will be a photo finish if we do. Need a lot more $ for roof about $1200 and need money for chairs ect. Need 100 chairs at about $5 each. After unloading more blocks on the mountain we got a mountain cell call. What’s that? Someone yelling to wait from the top of one mountain to the folks on the other. Turns out one of the church ladies was 9+ months pregnant and needed a ride quick to town. She was alone at the time and had no family around. We raced her to the hospital and she delivered an 8 lb boy just a couple of hours later. She insisted to our kids on the trip down she was having a girl… ops. Mom and baby are doing well. Amen!
The second VBS also went well, Loaded the kia 2x bringing kids in, had 140 in services. Our church service at the Lighthouse was packed again. What a blessing. And we had a couple of special visitors- Iris and Bessy. Received a sweet, very repentant phone call this week and them begging to come to church. We talked and wept for a couple of hours. I was basically preaching hard at her, yet she responded positive to all I said. Iris had not read a bible(nor had one) in near a year, nor had she prayed or gone to church even once. Her spirit was starving. Her and Bessy repeated more times than I could count I’m sorry daddy, I’m sorry. I love you. She texted me 20-30 times similar messages saying thank you for not closing your heart to me. She felt alone in the world and abandoned by God. She said the only place she learned to do right was with us. They came to church Sunday visited some with the family and literally skipped down the path with them all the way to church. It was a freedom she had not had in a long time. Those that know what happened about a year ago understand the significance of this. All I could do is bow my head in thanks under the mighty hand of God. Another highlight this week was a faithful young teen girl named Glenda. She comes to church with her sister and has done so since we started. She is also in our school. About a year and a half ago the Lord burdened me to help her smile. At only 13 her teeth had mostly rotted out. She would never smile and was very timid. I told her my desire to help and to start praying how. It took more than a year but we arranged and paid for a set of dentures. One of our church ladies is a dentist and did it for cost. Really really cheap by US standards. So after several weeks of dental work she now has a proud smile and a lot more confidence. I asked Patricia to take a few photos of her smiling before church, they took off and did so. She climbed a tree in her dress and smiled as big as she could for the world. I had to laugh when I saw the pictures. When I was taking everyone back home Glenda did not want to get out of the truck for a moment…tearfully she said “thank you” then added something very humbling. She said “Your family are the only ones who love me, You’re the only dad I have ever had” … I was speechless. Our pastor who was robbed up north is having a hard time. No funds to live up there and no funds to return with. Not sure what to do at this point because we are always short and already gave him what we could. The demands of our resources are always more than we have… but never more than our Father has. Amen! Keep us in prayer we use them all,.. many times more than once!

Friday, December 7, 2012

..all things to all men, that I might by all means save some

Yesterdays outreach was full of pleasantries. Loaded our gear on the kia, packed lunches for the 10 going with us. We arrive to find one of the families going to the bible study insisting on feeding us. It was a Honduran beef soup, bones, banana peels and all. Quite humbling having the poor blind man’s family feeding you(orange shirt). But was a great time of fellowship. Our preacher has made 6 months worth of inroads in just a months time. Amazing by just showing you love and care and you are willing to sacrifice, you can work into the heart and a place at the table, so that your words of Christ do not fall to the ground… I think soul winning in the USA could use a lot of that. A teen that goes to mow a neighbor’s lawn for free will have a louder voice in a world of confusion than an unknown preacher in a suit knocking on the door… In these last days, I think our efforts must go back to the basics of the Bible truths and double or triple the effort. Something to think about. He knew all the men, women and children’s names, the various conditions of the families, he counseled the man with aids, he helped mend fences and lightened loads as he could. Anything offered to him he graciously accepts, but works doing some chore to give equity so none feel slighted. It was like he had always lived among them. He had been welcomed. A beautiful thing to watch. Now go read Matthew 10:10-13 and compare it to the soul winning you know… Gives me a deeper understanding of the verse all things to all men… We brought out the bounce house to share in the road and families came from all around. After a time, we put it away and preached a bit in the middle of the road. Inviting them to watch a short evangelistic movie. About 100 people showed up. Afterwards it was time for more pointed preaching. Numerous raised hands wanting salvation and the preacher promised to deal with each of them in their homes… Amen. As we loaded in the dark several asked when are we coming back because it was the first time anyone has done this kind of thing there…

There is a good groundwork for a small, poor church here grounded in the riches and grandness of God …Amen!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A trowel in one hand a Bible in the other

Just a quick update. It is amazing we still burn even when there seems to be no oil in the lamp. The construction is still ongoing even though the funds I inherited from my mom have all been spent on materials. It should be ready for a roof in 2 more weeks Amen! Have not bought that yet just waiting for a miracle. Been 7 years waiting for this project. I use to be the only one going up there because the road was so bad. It is where most of the damage on the kia came from. The government dozed a road a while back and now there is a bit more activity on the mountain. Mormons make regular visits and the catholic church just finished a new building near by…Paid for by the local Honduran government… and building a second just a ½ mile farther away… I often feel very outnumbered… At least I know the truth wins in the end… The view is from the back of the church down the mountain. The arrow is the second church building in Colonia (VBS Saturday) We want to start construction in January if the LORD allows. Most of the materials are there in place just waiting for us and a wee bit more $$. There is no love of money in this guy, I hate it. It gets in the way of all we want to do here… :-) Oh well… Amen!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I got nothing....

First day of VBS in one of the mountain churches. Our school years are different than USA. We have been meeting under the old tree for about 4 years. Time to build a meeting house. Most of the supplies are there but still need roofing and more cement. Hope to start on it in January. The walls of the other church farther up the mountain are 5 blocks high. Hoping to be in it by Christmas if funds and the welded together kia allow. Hauling up more blocks Monday. The VBS went very well. Carmon showed her teaching talent from the LORD. She took what little we had and made it into a great lesson and vbs program. Prepackaged Sunday school lessons, VBS programs ect. are sometimes ok,… but there is no substitute for folks sold out to serve the LORD. They can take whatever they are given and teach and connect with folks from the heart. I was talking to the workers on the way back down. The best teaching, the best preaching, comes from the overflow of what God is giving you, not from your supply. If the teacher/preacher is starving spiritually how can they have enough to share effectively with others?… But if they are overflowing with the knowledge of what God is teaching them … that is when the Lord works in hearts. There is a fervor of authenticity in the speaking… As one who walked with Jesus. It was a joy to see.

Woke up this morning to a bunch of boys with green marker all over their faces and them bewildered how it got there.… even the youngest 4 year old. Yet three of the boys had no markings at all…. Hmm not rocket science… Had to hold in the laughter and put on the mad face and deal with the situation. At least they are not shaving off each other eyebrows…yet. Maybe save that treat for visitors :-)

What do you do when you run out of money, have no food in the kitchen, bills due, 30 mouths to feed, and still have days to go at the end of your month? Likely not what we do…What is that you say?…
Take in another child. Why? Because our nothing is more than her nothing… Lisa went to town to drop off paperwork to child services and they begged her again to take another. Not sure of all the details but the little I know is not good. She had been repeatedly sold, she was full of head and body lice. Mom died of "cancer" (normally means aids here) when she was little. Dad is in prison. Her "step mom" worked a in a street circus. It is too early to see her real side come out but in the short time she has been here she kind of just fits in. She seems a little slow in development, speaks with a lisp and has never been to school. We think she is 11. Please keep our support in prayer. It seems our months are getting longer than the funds we have to cover expenses. Those close to us know how close to the fiscal cliff we run. Always on the edge. To give you an idea of what we do. Things here cost about the same as the USA, some more some less. If Lisa and I both worked the lowest minimum wage job with 0 overtime and 0 benefits in the USA With no government aid of any kind. We would have about a 35-40% higher income than what our support level is. Now with that in mind in the last 7 years the LORD has allowed us to plant numerous churches (currently working with 10 in various stages), and build meeting houses, built a home for orphans and abused children. Have cared for over 40 children full time including all needs and currently have 26 living with us as our own, and have no debt. How do we do it?… That is the first assumption to throw out. We don’t. The LORD does. Every month our support is short for just the hard fixed expenses, food, electric ect. And has been for the entire 7+ years we have been here. We loose support only to have another pick up the slack, but have not seen much gain. The circle of church supporters is very small but very intimate and in tune with what the LORD is doing here. Every month ministering saints listening to the Holy Spirit send what is needed. Sometimes it is a special offering in a church, sometimes a teen sends graduation funds, a business man in Honduras sees my wife in the market and buys her food, children collect a vbs offering or something similar. Living with the sensation of falling but by God's grace never quite do. Sure does keep one on their toes.

If you have not seen this video please take the time to watch it and share it with those who would pray and support the ministry here in Honduras. It is from a supporting church pastor who has visited us several times. Click below

Please keep us in prayer and your hearts on the pulse of the Holy Spirit.
Unworthy servant to a worthy Saviour,
Barry Ritchie

View Larger Map