Honduran pastor leads charge to change community
    August 9 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    SAN MIGUEL, HONDURAS — “Let’s roll,” said pastor Oscar to the group of students and youth leaders gathered in front of Emmanuel Baptist Church with their hygiene kits. Oscar doesn’t waste any time when it comes to getting out in the community and ministering. Oscar is pastor of Emmanuel in San Miguel. San Miguel is a municipality in Francisco Marazan, one of 18 departments that divide the country of Honduras.

    The municipality is extremely poor. Oscar said not until this year did the government start pouring cement onto some of the streets that were nothing but mud and dirt. Although the community is poor the people try to help raise funds for the work, and Emmanuel also pitches in with street repairs, street cleaning and trash pick up. Recently San Miguel has seen many cases of dengue fever, and Emmanuel members seek to reach out to those who are sick and to help with disease prevention.

    As Oscar led the team from home to home passing out the hygiene kits the poverty of his community is undeniable. He pointed out a dirt patch where a house once stood before the river washed it away. One home sits just a few feet from the edge of a cliff, overlooking a river, with tarps spread out in front of the door in attempt to keep the heavy rains from coming inside. With much more rain, the little house itself has a good chance of being gone.

    BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

    Will Young (at left, in blue), Deep Impact summer staff, works with Carlos (in red), a translator, while they talk with Oscar, right, a pastor at a local Baptist church. See photo gallery.


    Most homes the team entered consisted of one room and no electricity. Still, the houses felt like homes, as the families put pictures on the walls and had everything neat and tidy. The Hondurans are very hospitable people.

    Even if the home is so small there’s no way the entire team can fit, they still invite the team inside to sit down and pray.

    Two teams of Deep Impact participants spent their weeklong mission trip in Honduras serving in San Miguel.

    One team led basketball clinics in the morning and passed out hygiene kits in the afternoon. A second team led Vacation Bible School at Emmanuel. Other teams worked in El Tablon and at Camp Betel.

    The first afternoon of hygiene kit distribution the sun seemed to beat down unmercifully. Pastor Oscar never tired.

    The team started by winding down a mountain of steps to the bottom of a hill and from house to house, not skipping over a single one, they worked their way back to the top. An elderly woman greeted the team at the first home they visited.

    Her home sat at the bottom of the hill, out of sight until the team squeezed around a mound of rocks. She asked the team to pray for her health because she often faints.

    When Oscar first came to Emmanuel the church was a mission of another local church and met in a small wood building with few people attending. Over time the church grew and its influence in the community increased.

    Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem helped build a new building for Emmanuel and in 2001 celebrated with Oscar at the building’s inauguration.

    The impact made when believers are willing to sacrifice to help others is not easily forgotten. Oscar still has a framed photo in his office of Max Furr and his family, from Calvary Baptist, who helped with the new building.

    He also has a Bible signed by Mark Corts in 2001, on the day of the inauguration. Corts, who died in 2006, pastored Calvary Baptist from the age of 25 until he retired in 2002.

    Oscar, 50, grew up in south Honduras in Choluteca. In the 1980s, Oscar was heavily involved in drugs and alcohol. His family members were not Christians, but he had friends who were. Although he showed no interest, friends persistently stayed after Oscar to join them at church. When Oscar finally relented, a friend picked him up and they went to church together.

    Oscar showed up to church that day with long hair, baggy pants and sat in the last row. “Young people still came up to me after the service,” Oscar said. “And I liked that.” Oscar came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at that church. He also met his wife at church and they have been married 24 years. The kindness shown to a stranger that day meant more than those young people could ever have imagined.

    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 10:22:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments




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