Monday, August 29, 2011

Valesca, Katarin and Angelica Return to AFE

This Sunday my worship was more joyful than usual. I had the opportunity to share the experience with someone long missed. Valesca Mondragon sat next to me at church and smiled at me as we danced together unto the Lord.

About two months ago we received news that Katarin, Valesca, and Angelica had returned to Tegucigalpa and were back living with their aunt near the garbage dump. We were not sure why this decision was made, but the girls were back at their old home, happily hanging out with their extended family. Mysteriously, the aunt who had once forced them to work in the garbage dump was no longer doing so. Perhaps this was one of the prerequisites for her taking them back. Thank God that the girls did not go back to picking garbage, but they were still not in school.

AFE needed to tread carefully.

This aunt knew that we were partly responsible for taking them away from her and moving them to Catacamas. After friendly visits the aunt began to see that AFE did not wish her any ill harm, and was only acting out of love for the children. Then a medical brigade came to AFE and the aunt found herself in need of medical attention. When she experienced the expert care from the doctors a

nd free medicine for her family, she began to think: AFE is here to bless us, full of benefits for peo

ple in need. It would be ridiculous to miss out on these things. Jesi Ordonez, AFE’s director, met with her and asked if the three girls could come back to school at AFE. The aunt agreed, but mentioned it would be difficult with the increasing costs of transportation. The girls live about 2 miles from the school, on a dangerous road, and walking to and from school was just not proving feasible. We worked out a situation in which our volunteers could

pick them up in the mornings and then AFE would provide bus fare for their way home.

Since then, the girls have come to AFE and church and quickly fallen back into their old places….the centers of our hearts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Fonseca Family Builds Their Own House...with Help!

Julio Fonseca is a construction worker in Tegucigalpa, one of thousands. Several years ago Julio could not find work so he moved his family to the country. This meant withdrawing his children from AFE. But work was also scarce in the country. With no other option, the Fonsecas came back to Tegucigalpa, this time to work in the garbage dump. Their two older children (once AFE students) came back to Tegucigalpa with children of their own.

When the Fonsecas returned, we immediately accepted the four school-age children into AFE (the young girls with babies preferred to stay home to take care of their babies). Tania, Maria, and Julio became students again and children available to sponsor. Around the same time a team from Washington Cathedral visited AFE and fell in love with the Fonseca children. Tania’s sponsor learned that the family of nine huddled together in a one-room shack susceptible to the elements.

Tania’s sponsor did not have a lot of money herself, but she did have retirement savings. She leveraged that savings to provide a house for the Fonseca family. The $5,000 cost to build a house included salaries for laborers. AFE hired Julio to build his own house, along with his oldest son. But the construction was not limited to the Fonseca family. Other fathers who had received house-help from AFE joined in. And a team of young people from Washington Cathedral came to Honduras to help as well.

The Fonseca house truly was a community-of-God endeavor…a community that stretched across several nations. It began with a church mission trip, moved to Sponsorship, then to providing the stability of a home. It was beautiful to see the Washington Cathedral teenagers taking pictures of the Fonseca children as they marveled at their “mansion” (as they called it), knowing that they would share this experience with the children’s sponsors, who are also part of the church.

Isn't it amazing what happens when we all get
together and push? Washington Cathedral has adopted the Fonseca family. If your church would like to become involved in a similar endeavor, contact

Monday, August 15, 2011

Uriel's Miracle

For the last two years, Lake City Community Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho has been sending mission teams to Tegucigalpa to work on the Learning Center for AfE’s church (see previous article). The teams have partnered with Honduran construction workers on AFE’s payroll to labor together and put up the walls, slowly but surely.

One of the construction workers they met and became fond of over the years is Ozman Uriel Medina Lagos. Uriel’s story was not unlike the stories of many other young men in Honduras.

Uriel’s father abandoned his family when Uriel was young. His mother, without skills and education, scraped by making and selling donuts, and tried her best to feed her three children. The youngest brother, William, was sometimes mock

ed in school for wearing Uriel’s old shoes, which looked like clown shoes on his feet. When Uriel was old enough, he dropped out of school so he could work in construction and help put food on his family’s table. Years went by. The Medina Lagos family became strong members of the Amor y Vida church in the Miller, where they live. Pastor Jeony learned of their situation and looked for opportunities to hire Uriel and help this family in any way he could.

Soon Uriel was a regular member of AFE’s construction staff, but he secretly dreamed of continuing his education someday. Then he encountered the members of Lake City. Another they lived in a land far way, the people from Lake City took immediately to Uriel with his cheerful disposition and humble attitude. They noticed how intelligent he was and became curious why he was not furthering his education. When Pastor Jeony relayed Uriel’s story to the team, they decided they would chip in together to provide a scholarship for him.

When Rey Diaz (AFE’s U.S. Liason) told Uriel the team from Lake City wanted to meet with him, Uriel’s first response was: “Oh no, did I do something wrong? Am I in trouble?” Rey drove him to the team’s hotel where they had dinner and Uriel was very nervous.

Pastor Jeony asked Uriel to share his story with the group and asked him if he had a life dream. Uriel replied shy, “I would love to go to a university someday , study engineering, and attain a career to better support my family.”

At this point the team shared with him: “Uriel, God wants to make your dreams come true. We would like to give you a scholarship to study at a university and a stipend to take care of your family’s living expenses while you are studying.”

Uriel did not utter a word. His mouth dropped open. The group waited in joyful expectation. But Uriel did not say anything. He looked around the room, confused, perhaps searching for the signs of a joke in the team’s faces. When he saw nothing but smiles of excitement the truth set in. Then the tears came, flowing down his face in joyful grattitude to God.

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and cloth” (Deut 10:17-19)

Thank you, Lake City, for serving as the instruments of God to make one young man’s impossible dreams come true.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Replicating AFE

The situation in the Tegucigalpa Garbage Dump is not unique. Other garbage dump communities exist in Choluteca and in San Pedro Sula, Honduras….and in many other places of Central America. If a town in poor country like Honduras does not have an organized trash dump, it still has children scavenging the streets to survive.

AFE’s success in rescuing children from the garbage dump has been tremendous and inspiring. And when God began opening doors for AFE and Pastor Jeony, the question arose: how can we replicate what God is doing at AFE in similar situations of children at risk in Latin America?
It wasn’t long before God called and formed a team for this vision. Three years ago Lake City Church in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho visited AFE and shared their heart: “We are interested in training church leaders to meet the specific needs of their contexts….especially if that context is extreme poverty.” Then Pastor Jeony was awarded the position of mission coordinator for his denomination. He began speaking about AFE at many different churches in the region and after his talk the line to speak to him was long. “How can we do what you are doing at AFE in our own communities?”

The vision for Amor y Vida’s Learning Center was born.

The idea is that pastors from poor communities without a lot of training would come to the learning center (beside AFE’s church in the Linda Miller community) to receive practical training in how to reach their communities and maybe even a trade with which to survive. (In these poor communities pastors cannot live on the offerings of their church and must be bi-vocational). The focus will be on how to manifest the transformational gospel in their community to meet the needs that arise out of extreme poverty.

The dream for the Learning Center is in the same stage and the actual building of it. The structure and frame is set-up, but it is not finished.
Would you pray for this vision, that God would guide the planning process, that He would bring the right people onto the team, and provide funds to finish the building?

$3,000 (at least) is needed to finish construction. If you would like to be part of this project in any way, please contact