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Mission growth in Honduras

July 21, 2014 No Comment
Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel conducts baptisms in Olanchito.

Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel conducts baptisms in Olanchito.

by James Morgan

HONDURAS – Mission activity continues in Honduras, spreading the Gospel, and the grace and peace of Jesus Christ in the Central American country. Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) Director of Missions and Social Ministry, Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel says a new Vicar is serving in the city of Tegucigalpa. Tulio Mesa, a truck driver and carpenter by trade, is working closely with children and families. Dr. Neitzel was in attendance for Mesa’s installation and also notes the costs for his ministry are covered by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

In La Paz, a new missionary was formally installed May 24. Rev. Junior Martinez is serving at an orphanage called Ninos De Amor—Children of Love. The centre was started by a Honduran woman 21 years ago, with help from a LCMS congregation in Oviedo, Florida and is currently home to 21 children. 500 children connected with the orphanage have been baptized in the more than two decades since it opened, but there has not been a resident pastor until now.

Rev. Martinez will be organizing a permanent congregation that will worship at the orphanage chapel regularly. This will be done by using the many connections that exist in the local community to the 300 families that those 500 baptized children are connected to. A permanent pastor at the facility will also allow for further mission work to begin in La Paz.

Eight children were baptized in Olanchito in May.

Eight children were baptized in Olanchito in May.

On May 25, there was celebration in Olanchito when eight children were baptized. Up to 80 people are estimated to have attended the service and following festivities. Dr. Neitzel says there are groups of Lutherans who meet throughout Olanchito separately, but for this occasion, everyone gathered as one. Still, there are challenges in Olanchito. After seven years of mission activity there, there are still no permanent church properties or buildings. However, the spiritual benefits resulting from the work far outweigh the lack of material ones. “Jesus and the Holy Spirit are bringing people together through faith,” says Dr. Neitzel.

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James Morgan is a writer and former broadcaster living in Gatineau, Quebec where he is completing a Ph.D in History at the University of Ottawa. His home congregation is Trinity Lutheran near Gowanstown, Ontario, and he also worships at the Lutheran Tri-Parish of Western Quebec.