Grateful hearts worship in El Tablon
    August 9 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    EL TABLON, HONDURAS — Pastor Benjamin pulled the photo out from between the pages of his Bible and before he could flip to the next photo the Greenes were wiping away tears. Mike and Ginger’s daughter Stephanie is now a senior in college and she hardly recognized herself in the eight-year-old photo, back when the Greenes (now North Carolina Baptist Men on-site coordinators) worked with Deep Impact to build a building for Iglesia Bautista Restauracion. The building took several years to complete, but the congregation of about 45 has moved in and children, youth and adults gather together each Sunday to worship.

    During the Deep Impact week in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, high school students, college students and youth leaders made the village of El Tablon and Restauracion church a focus of ministry. One team did Bible studies, games and crafts in a public school just down the street from the church and another team set up a free medical clinic at the church.

    Pastor Benjamin remembers when the spot where the church building now sits was empty.

    His dad was a member of the church that bought the property, which for 11 years sat abandoned. Finally, his dad helped lead the charge to get a ministry started in El Tablon. When Benjamin’s dad died last September, Benjamin stepped up to help lead the mission church.

    BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

    Mike, Ginger, and Stephanie Greene look at photos with Pastor Benjamin. The Greenes went to Honduras eight years ago to work on a church that is now open. They are on-site coordinators for North Carolina Baptist Men. See photo gallery.

    Benjamin lived in Choluteca until age 18, when he moved to Tegucigalpa. His enjoys teaching the congregation and wants to help them learn that “it’s the job of everyone” to be on mission for God. Benjamin grew up in a Christian home and received Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior during a Vacation Bible School.

    Several students at the school in El Tablon prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior during the Vacation Bible School led by Deep Impact participants.

    One day during the week the Bible study was about prayer and the team asked the students to write down specific prayer requests. Some students asked the team to pray that they would have food to eat. One student prayed for his dad to come home. Other students asked how they could know Jesus Christ.

    The students at the school don’t have much. They give their full attention to simple crafts and coloring sheets because they rarely see them. Just listening to their excitement playing soccer and one would never know they were playing on a cement slab full of cracks with no nets for the soccer goals. The classrooms are simple, with white walls, exposed wooden beams, nothing for decoration except a few faded posters and a few vocabulary words, and no air-conditioning. One room didn’t have lights.

    If the students mind, they certainly don’t show it. Nor does Benjamin’s congregation seem to mind worshipping in a building without pews, or a choir loft, or stained glass windows, or even a bathroom. None of that matters to them. They shout praises to God and worship as if this Sunday may be their last Sunday.

    The church sits at the top of a hill, past the school with its thick black gate and wrought iron looking bars over all the windows. The road is dirt and gravel, the homes close to the school hardly looking like homes at all with their tin roofs and structures that seemed to be made out of whatever material people could find.

    But the landscape is breathtaking. Walk around to the back of the church and as far as the eye can see are lush, rolling green mountaintops. Tegucigalpa sits in the bottom of a bowl with mountains on every side. On the way to the school, driving through curve after curve and looking down below at the brightly colored buildings, homes and mountains that seem to go on forever underneath the earth, it seems unfair for such extreme poverty to exist in the midst of such beauty.

    Yet, pastor Benjamin and those who gather each week for worship in El Tablon bring a beauty to their village that may very well surpass the grandeur of the mountainous terrain. Brothers and sisters run and play together outside the church before service starts. An older woman sitting in the back of the church takes the hands of a child sitting next to her on her mother’s lap and helps her make the hand motions to the song.

    A young girl makes her way up and down each row, shaking the hands of the Deep Impact team members joining them for worship. When the church begins the service singing “How Great is our God,” there is no doubt that they truly know what it means to rely on God for even the most basic needs — and they still proclaim how great is the Lord God.

    Related stories
    Camp Betel: A miracle from God
    Grateful hearts worship in El Tablon
    Honduran pastor leads charge to change community
    Guest column: Reflections on Honduras
    Medical team makes Deep Impact in Honduras
    8/9/2010 10:30:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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