Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Model for Mission Partnership

A Model for Mission Partnership in Tegucigalpa, Honduras:
The Presbyterian Church of Honduras,
The Presbytery of Carlisle and
Presbyterian World Mission

This mission partnership is intended to promote and encourage the community outreach ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Honduras.

Since 2006 I have been leading mission teams from the Presbytery of Carlisle to Honduras to build relationships with the pastors, leaders and members of the 20 congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Honduras. One of my goals has been to help the Honduran pastors and congregations begin to understand and express a commitment to mission work. The Honduran Presbyterian Churches are all small by our standards, i.e. less than 100 people in worship and very, very poor. As I have met with and developed close relationships with the pastors, I have encouraged them to reach out with compassion and service to the members of their congregations. In many ways, this was a new idea for them although they understand the concept to be deeply biblical. Nonetheless, these churches do not have any resources for any kind of service and mission projects.

This April 10 to 17, 2010 I led my ninth mission team to Honduras for what was truly a breakthrough in our partnership. Building on conversations and planning meetings from previous mission trips and with our Presbyterian missionaries Tim and Gloria Wheeler serving as our communication link, I challenged the Honduran Presbyterian Churches to identify a mission project which our team could participate in and support. In preparation for our mission trip, the flagship congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Honduras, the Pena de Horeb Presbyterian Church in Tegucigalpa, selected a family from their congregation for whom they wanted to build a new house.

During our week in Honduras our team met with and started the construction on a new home for this family from the Pena de Horeb Presbyterian Church. What is very special about this construction project is not the construction itself; many groups do the same kind of work. What is very special is the partnership and cooperation that is behind this project. It is this partnership that is a powerful model for what I believe is the proper way to do mission work today. It is this concept of mission partnership that I am asking our Presbytery to support. This project included the full cooperation and sharing of our Presbytery of Carlisle mission team, our Presbyterian missionaries Tim and Gloria Wheeler, the leaders of the Presbytery of Honduras and specifically Pastors Rene and Juan from the Pena de Horeb Presbyterian Church, Presbyterians from other congregations who participated in the construction, the Honduran masons who were hired to lead the actual construction, and, of course, the Presbyterian family who are receiving the new home.

Specifically, I plan to repeat indefinitely the model of mission partnership which we used this month. A Presbytery of Carlisle mission team will be recruited and each member will be responsible for their own airfare and room and board in Honduras. All our logistical support in Honduras is provided by Tim and Gloria Wheeler: they provide room and board at their retreat center for $20 per day per person, they provide all transportation in Honduras for a cost of $80 per person for the week. In addition each member of the Presbytery of Carlisle team will be expected to contribute $200 toward the home project. We are seeking other congregations and members of the Presbytery of Carlisle to support the cost of the home project beyond that which is funded by the members of our mission team, in this example, $2,300. Depending on the availability of funding we may encourage the Presbyterian Church in Honduras to identify family for new homes, and begin the planning process to work with those families. My goal is for the Presbytery of Carlisle to make a commitment to fully fund ten new homes for members of the Presbyterian Churches in Honduras, a financial commitment of $23,000.

Funds needed, New Home Project
Mission Team Contribution:
One Home: 7 members X $200 each: $1,400
Ten Teams for Ten Homes: $14,000

Other contributions:
One Home: $2,300
Ten Homes: $23,000

One Home: $3,700
Ten Homes: $37,000

This project is intended to be a long term, sustainable relationship between the Presbytery of Carlisle, the Presbyterian Church of Honduras and Presbyterian World Mission. As long as the congregations in Honduras are able to identify families and organize the home projects and we are able to identify mission teams and funding this project will continue. The initial goal defined by the Presbyterian Church of Honduras is two new homes per year.

The project will directly support families of the Presbyterian Church in Honduras. These very poor people often live in substandard housing. Typically, we will be replacing very poor, wooden homes which seldom have doors, windows or floors with new concrete block homes.

The project is an expression of partnership in mission between Honduran and American Presbyterians to the glory and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ.