“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
God has His hands all over this mission to Honduras, and no truer evidence of His sovereignty could be seen than in the corrections He made in our plans on Wednesday evening.
After a long day of ministering to families on the hillsides, disabled children in the city and the boys at the farm, our team was looking forward to worshiping in the church at Monte Redondo last evening. Stan Nowell, founder of this ministry, returned from the U.S. to Tegucigalpa earlier in the afternoon and he was to deliver the message. Pastor Rudolpho would lead us in lively worship. We were excited.
Just a mile or so out of the city, our bus began making funny noises. Don’t ask me what happened; I just know it didn’t sound good. Our very capable bus driver, Marco Tulio, was dressed in his best white shirt for the church service, but he was out of the bus and under the chassis before anyone could suggest a change of clothes. Marco owns this bus and he is very responsible about keeping it in good running order, but too many runs on too many winding hillsides are taking their toll.
Strangers passing by offered help and suggestions, with one woman going off to find a friend who is a mechanic. In the meantime, the family of two of our interpreters provided a bus from their fleet and within half an hour, we were back on the road, too late for church and returning to the mission in the city.
Tegucigalpa is not a safe city, especially at night. By God’s providence, our bus broke down within yards of a city police station and we stopped in front of a slaughterhouse. While it was a bit disconcerting to be stuck along a busy highway, not to mention missing our evening of worship, we were grateful for the outcome. And it was interesting to notice how the famous Honduran “machismo” played out in an emergency. The young Honduran men from the mission who were riding to the church with us immediately stepped from the bus to see what they could do. And when we left the bus to board the next one, there was a line of strong young men keeping us safe in the transition.
Back at the mission, God’s plan for our evening played out in a sweet time of worshiping with and getting to know Stan. He is legendary at FCM and his story is compelling. The man has truly submitted his life to God and to this work in Honduras. Stan led the first mission to the street children of Tegucigalpa with a team from our church. The 13 boys Stan and our team picked up from the streets and bused to the farm were the beginning of Forgotten Children Ministries.
We may never know what was avoided or what impact was made by the detour God ordained for us last night, but I’ve learned to be excited and expectant when He steps in. Knowing He is in control makes it possible to rest in the knowledge that His plan is the GOOD one.
The bulk of our work is behind us, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we have more opportunities to be His hands and feet today as we travel to Valley of the Angels for shopping and dinner. Later in the day, we’ll have one last visit with the girls at Grace Shelter, and I’ll be able to hug little Nayeli and recite the names of body parts that she is teaching me in Spanish. Before we leave for the day, I want to share a photo of a young man who surprised all of us with a moving testimony last Sunday in Monte Redondo. John is on his second mission to Honduras and his story of growth from the “typical American teenager” to the committed, God-fearing young man he is today had an impact on all of us.