Ministry from Basecamp El Naranjál

A team from Simple Matters traveled to Honduras in August, grateful to be able to go and serve with our friends in Honduras after 3 years away.  Because of a weather-related ripple effect, we flew out of Charlotte rather than Raleigh on August 7 rather than August 5, shortening our trip by 2 days.  Instead of being discouraged, we were thankful that the delay did not affect our ministry days in the villages, and we were able to reschedule our ministry activities at El Naranjál at other times during our week there.

Our mission activites included construction, children’s activities, and medical clinics.  We met a new friend in ministry, Pastor Wilson, who is the pastor at Sabaneta.  The pastors in that area of Honduras have quite a ministry network, and Mario and Pastor Wilson planned intentional acitivites to further church planting work they are both involved in.

Day 1 saw the team traveling to Suyapa, doing medical clinic and bathroom construction in the morning, and children’s activities in the afternoon.  The church at Suyapa is without a pastor, and Pastor Wilson and other young men from Naranjál are preaching and teaching there.

On Day 2 and 3, the team traveled to Sabaneta, which is very close to El Naranjál, and to El Zarzal, which is a small town not too far “as the crow flies,” but much further when one must take the long way around because the river was flowing too swiftly to ford because of the recent rains.  We worked at the school at Sabaneta, seeing children and families outside the mobile clinics project that the June Health Matters team did not have time to see.  At Zarzal, we worked at a church plant that has a new pastor, Pastor Flavio.  Another new friend!

On Day 4, the team traveled to Guaricayán, our longest trip out.  This is a very remote village where Pastor Wilson has planted a church.  The open structure you see in the photos is the church structure that has been built by one of the men in the village. Again, the ministry activities with the children and the medical clinic were done to support the work of church planting that is already in progress.

Sharing the gospel, meeting needs, building relationships…these are the important tasks that were accomplished on the August mission trip.  We saw 461 patients, from just weeks old to the aged in their 90’s.  We played with and loved on many, many children. The good news about Jesus is the most important news ever, and we are grateful to share with these new friends in Honduras.  We already have our dates for 2023!  Are you willing to go and share?

Children’s Ministry at Camp Betel

Even though cases of COVID are still present throughout Honduras, as here in the United States, some things in life are beginning a return to normalcy.  Children and families at Camp Betel have been served throughout the pandemic with monthly medical care and food distributions. As children returned to in-person school earlier this year, children were helped with school supplies and other needs.

Since April of this year, schools are in session every day, Monday through Friday. In the area of Camp Betel, the children are in school 8:00-11:00 am, and in the afternoon online classes continue.  Registration in the public schools has continued to increase. The government has ordered that no documents or uniforms be required, and that has eased the burden, especially in rural areas.  There are 24 children from Camp Betel attending school, ranging from first to seventh grade.

We are so grateful for Elva and her family as they partner with us to serve these families, and to Dr. Antonio for continuing to meet their medical needs. Food bags and school supplies are regularly distributed. The group of adults meets regularly for a devotional time, and Elva is always available to them for prayer and counseling. We pray always for them all, but particularly for those who do not show any interest in the things of God, praying for God’s mercy in these situations.

Below are the 24 children from 30 families that are served every month by funds from Simple Matters. You can make a difference in a child’s life by giving monthly to Simple Matters.  Ninety-six percent of our donations go directly to impact a child’s life.  Join us today!

Medical Clinics and Church Planting?

When members of the Simple Matters Board of Directors traveled with a team from First Baptist Salisbury to Honduras in August, one of the activities we participated in was hosting a medical “brigade” in a remote village in the Department of Francisco Morazán.

We traveled to this village with our host pastor, Mario, though he had never been there before. We were helping another pastor in the area, Pastor Wilson, who has plans to plant a church in this community. A church building has been built, an open-air structure, and that was the location of the medical clinic for the day. Activities for the children who visited were held in a neighboring house, from which we borrowed tables and chairs for the clinic.

Why would we do a medical clinic for a church planter? Because Pastor Wilson knows that when we show love and care to the community, they will be more willing to listen to words he has to say about Jesus. The Bible says, “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:16)

The two doctors at our clinic saw 114 patients that day, from 3 months to 92 years old. Patients received medicines, vitamins, and parasite medicine. But more importantly, doors were opened for gospel conversations. And isn’t a relationship with Jesus the best medicine of all?

Board Members Travel to Honduras

Steve Doyle, a member of the Board of Directors of Simple Matters, was able to partner with Anderson Baptist Church in Anderson, Texas to travel to Honduras for mission work. Their medical team was part of a larger team of 24. The medical team itself consisted of 10 to 12 people each day. While on this trip, the medical team was able to expand the Health Matters clinics to include the current children in the program and their families.

The medical team visited four villages: Ojojona, Chiquistepek, Sabaneta, and El Naranjál. Overall we saw 116 kids from the Health Matters project, 111 non-project kids, and 143 adults for a total of 370 patients. 

Additional Simple Matters Board Members will be traveling to Honduras in August. Denise Cook and Debbie Teague will be traveling with a team from First Baptist Church Salisbury to work in the rural areas around El Naranjál.  Medical clinics, construction, and children’s activities will take place in villages where church plants are being started.  As we asked last month, please pray for this team. 

  • Pray for safety as they travel (August 5-12).
  • Please pray that all medicine and medical equipment will clear customs.
  • Pray for the clinics to be a tool for the local churches to reach people for Christ.
  • Because of COVID, the Honduran government has restrictions on how many people can gather at one time, so pray that the team makes the best use of their time and opportunities.
  • With COVID cases on the rise again in many parts of the world, please pray that no one contracts it while there.

School Restart in Honduras

Students have returned to their classrooms in Honduras, after classrooms were closed for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   The Ministry of Education in Honduras has worked together with teachers, parents, and the general educational community for several months to develop plans, make repairs at educational centers, and obtain biosafety materials.  All schools have been requested to run their regular schedules, Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 12:00 noon, but most in rural areas are not following that recommendation.

Elva, our partner at Camp Betel, has been in communication with the principal of their community school throughout the pandemic.  The plans for this school are to be in the classroom from 8:00-11:00 am on Thursdays and Fridays only, because the water system at the school has not been repaired yet. The remaining time the students and teachers will be working online. 

Our partner, Keila, in the eastern part of Francisco Morazán Department, has been in contact with 4 schools in the communities that receive care from the Health Matters mobile clinic. 

  • In El Naranjál, kindergarten through middle school students attend school from 8:00-11:00 am Tuesday and Thursday. All the children have to wear a mask at all times and are not allowed to eat in school.  Two doses of vaccine are required to be able to attend school. At this school, K-6 classes are requiring one parent per day to be in attendance to help the teachers.
  • In Sabaneta, as in El Naranjál, the children attend school two days a week for three hours.  All must be masked and are not allowed to eat in school.
  • In Ojojona, children attend school twice a week from 8:00 am-noon or 1:00-5:00 pm.  The teachers have half of the classroom in the morning and half in the afternoon in order to have more control of the children.  All must wear masks and be completely vaccinated.
  • In Chiquistepek, the school has been open and running their normal schedule throughout the pandemic. This village is very remote and the residents almost never leave the area. The teachers there didn’t want the students to miss school and get behind. At this point, the children must be vaccinated and wear masks in class.  Mothers come to the school at recess to eat with their children.

Registration in schools has diminished in the majority of schools in the country of Honduras. Many children have not returned, nor have all the teachers.  Please join us in praying for a return to normalcy in an already stressed education system. Education is so important for these children to be able to break free from the cycle of poverty. Simple Matters is an important supplementary source of support for the precious children we serve.  Won’t you join us?

Impacting the Life of a Child

He was only 4 years old when I met him…11 years ago on my first trip to Honduras.  He had the sweetest smile and big brown eyes.  I was working on the construction team, and we were building a pila for Jefferson and his family.  

It didn’t take long for Jefferson to warm up to the team.  We gave him a set of work gloves and he was so proud of them.  Each morning he was waiting for us on the road in front of his house with his gloves on.  He worked with the team and helped me to gather rocks to fill the cinder blocks.  He matched every step I took.  He worked all morning and then attended VBS with us in the afternoon.  I can still see him in my mind running down the road from his house to the community center for VBS.   

Each year after he began school, we brought school supplies for him and every year he would bring his report card to show his progress.  He was an excellent student and when I asked our on-the-ground partner, Mario, about Jefferson’s future, he told me that Jefferson was going to excel.   

We haven’t traveled to Honduras for 2 years because of the pandemic.  I recently received a picture of Jefferson in a group of students who have been chosen to receive a John Cook High School Scholarship, allowing him to continue his education.   It’s come full circle … John Cook was on the construction team that built that pila for Jefferson’s family.  John loved Jefferson and Jefferson loved John.  John would be so proud of Jefferson for so many reasons…for his academic success, but more importantly his commitment to Christ.   

Congratulations to Jefferson and the others that are receiving John’s scholarship. Keep up the good work and we know that God has great plans for you.

Kathy Teeters has sponsored Jefferson through Simple Matters since he was 4 years old. She has been a frequent short-term missionary to Honduras.

Give what you can. Simple does matter.

Simple Matters Supports Education in Honduras

Remember March 2020 in the United States? Everything shut down because of Covid-19 – churches, schools, restaurants, salons.

Schools were closed by the Honduran government in mid-March 2020 shortly after the start of the school year, which runs from February to November, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The pandemic forced students and teachers into virtual learning in a country with low levels of technology and high rates of poverty. During 2021 classes were provided remotely, a situation that affected thousands of children in the poorest of families because they lack internet access.  Over 68% of students in Honduras did not receive any class instruction in 2021 due to the lack of a computer or online access for remote learning, according to the president of the Pedagogical College of Honduras. According to a UNICEF report, Hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020 damaged almost 81% of the nation’s schools, and repairs are still needed for many of those education centers.

Simple Matters gives financial support for the education of children in Honduras on all levels – primary, secondary, and the university level. One group of students are high schoolers at El Naranjál.   These students have been out of school for two years and will begin in-person instruction two to three days per week.  We have sent John Cook Scholarship funds for eight students for the 2022 school year for tuition and supplies.  We pray these students will continue to see the need for education rather than entering the work force without that important foundation.

John Cook High School Scholarship Recipients 2022

Another group of students is the children at Camp Betel, who range from 1st to 7th grade.  According to our ministry partner there, children will be registered during the month of February, and school buildings will be cleaned and necessary repairs made.  In-person classes are to begin in March for vaccinated children.  For the rest of the children, classes will be hybrid (in-person and online), three days per week.  Honduras’ Health Minister reported in December that two million pediatric vaccine doses were to arrive at the end of January, so we’re hopeful that most children will be able to attend classes. Our prayer is that all children will be able to return to in-person classes, and when that happens Simple Matters will be ready to assist with financial support for school supplies, uniforms, transportation, and other needs. Below is a photograph of Camp Betel children with school supplies from several years ago.

School Supplies for All

Lastly, Simple Matters and the John Cook Scholarship Fund continue to support Iris in her continued nursing studies at the university level. She has been working through all her classwork, and she started an internship in January at a public hospital called Hospital San Felipe. We are so proud of Iris for continuing to work to meet her goals.

Please pray for children and families to realize the great need for education and pray for them as they readjust to the school routine. Please pray for teachers and administrators as they navigate the impacts of Covid-19. We thank God for our donors who have given to the John Cook Scholarship Fund so these children may have the chance to learn and access opportunities to enter the work force and leave poverty behind.

Would you give so children can have these opportunities? Click the button below!

Mission Teams to Honduras in 2022!

Simple Matters Board members are planning to travel to Honduras this summer! Plans are being made for a team to do Health Matters work in June, and for a team to do VBS, construction, and outreach activities in August. We’re excited to be making plans to join in where God is at work in Honduras, reaching new villages with help and the hope of the Gospel. Please pray for these trips, that God’s mission will be accomplished. If you’d like information about either of these trips, click the link below.

Prayer Challenge for December

Growing up, my parents taught me that being nice to others meant to be kind and good. I am sure most of you were taught this principle as well. At the time we weren’t followers of Jesus, being kind and good was just the morally correct thing to do. Ultimately, I learned that to be kind and good is to be nice to other people…in Jesus’ name. Afterall, kindness and goodness are fruits of the spirit. Displaying kindness and goodness in a gospel-centered and focus-driven way gives our actions a different meaning. However, we cannot produce this with our own strength.   
Being nice to others, giving sacrificially, and doing good are meaningless if we are doing it for our own benefit. This should come out of our desire to know Jesus and make Him known. God’s word shows us some practical ways to do this:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14
I encourage you to pray during the month of December for God to reveal to you ways you can show kindness and goodness to others, specifically in your everyday life with family, neighbors, or in your workplace. 
On November 30, Giving Tuesday, we asked for your generosity with any donations going toward helping communities in Honduras that are lacking resources such as nutrition, medical care, education, and spiritual direction.

We are grateful for your support over the years and your support has made a difference in the lives of families and children in Honduras. We are thankful for you! 

Denise Teeters is President of the Board of Directors of Simple Matters, and is a wife, mother of two, and works with Odyssey Scholars at Elon University.