Valarie Englert, Senior Pastor
The North Texas Conference exploratory contingent returned from Honduras around midnight Friday night/Saturday morning. We were travel-weary, but joyful in the events of the week.
We began processing the experiences of our visit almost as soon as we landed in Tegucigalpa on Monday: first impressions of the city, the surroundings, the people.
Our shared musings and wonderings increased as the week went on. We talked over breakfast, in the vans as we traveled from church to church, over lunch, over dinner.
We wondered about the shape our partnerships might take. We asked each other, ‘How can we be partners to Honduran Methodists without patronizing them? Without making our well-intended ‘help’ turn into hurt? What are the gifts and assets that Honduran Methodists can offer us?’
So much to ponder and discern, so much to prayerfully consider. So many takeaways.
It seems to me, however, that there is a danger in jumping to the weighing and sifting of takeaways and ‘what-ifs,’ to making plans and coming to decisions and conclusions too soon. There will be time for that in the coming weeks and months.
Today, I want to savor the experiences themselves.
In the village of Quisgualagua (‘Kees-wah-la-wah’), we visited with Pastor Jamileth, who had been a member of the Danli Central UMC.
She shared that getting to church for worship on Sundays was a challenge because of the distance between her home in Quisgualagua and the central Methodist church in Danli.
After discussions with the pastor of Danli Central, Roberto Pena (who is also the District Superintendent of the Honduran Methodist Mission), she became a church planter. Her village of around 500 now has its own Methodist congregation with her as their shepherd.
The day we visited Danli and Quisgualagua, we heard about a baked specialty called ‘rosquetes.’ When we asked what they were, Pastor Jamileth shared that two women in her congregation bake these little ‘breads’ to raise funds for the congregation, and that we would be able to taste them when we visited her church later in the afternoon.
When we arrived, there was fresh Honduran coffee, and a large basket full of rosquetes baked that morning. I purchased two packages, knowing that the proceeds would go to the ministry and well-being of this sister congregation.
The cookies made the trip back home quite well, nestled in a safe corner of my backpack.
This morning, my husband and I brewed a pot of Honduran coffee (a gift from the mission staff) and opened a package of rosquetes. More cookie-like than bread-like, the first bite was light and crisp, not too sweet, with a hint of cinnamon.
The faces of our fellow Honduran Methodists came to mind, and I offered thanks for the Spirit of God who connects us to them.
It was like having communion.