Jose & Celida Penate-Aceves
Ana Beatriz Venegas
Honduras is located in the heart of the Americas. It is rich in natural resources, many of which are exploited by foreign companies that take the wealth out of the country. As a result the Honduran people are left with high levels of poverty, which are only exacerbated by acts of political corruption within institutions and the government. Lamentably, people in the government structure don’t fight against corruption; on the contrary, they become a part of it.
Currently, Honduras lives under oppressive conditions that are tacitly condoned by major players in the international diplomatic corps. Its citizens are extremely politically polarized. Honduras also experiences high levels of violence and is ranked as one of the five most dangerous countries in the world without a war. Because of these realities, the Honduran people have grown to accept assassinations, extortion and domestic violence as the daily bread. Poverty and violence have also created massive waves of immigration. Looking for more job opportunities and a better life, Honduran immigrants suffer many human right violations along their journeys.
The country also suffers from a poor education system that does not respond to the basic needs of the Honduran people. Education levels across the country are very low as well, and many families living in poverty do not emphasize the importance of education for their children.
Despite – or perhaps because of – these hardships, Honduran Christians live a deep and vibrant faith that is rooted in their experience of survival. Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are the majority, followed by the Catholic Church. Christian communities really appreciate missionaries, but don’t see the missionary life as an option for themselves because of their self-perceived lens of inferiority. Honduras is, indeed, a huge mission territory.
Our InnerCHANGE team is settled in the neighborhood of La Nueva Capital, in the sector of La Guzmán. This neighborhood is located in the periphery of the Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital city. It is considered one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa. People here live in extreme poverty. This neighborhood was once the headquarters for organized crime, and in that time, La Nueva Capital gained its reputation as one of the most violent and dangerous neighborhoods in the city. Gang activity, drug trafficking, waves of violence and common delinquency still exist in the neighborhood, but the stigma over this area is larger than the reality. People from this neighborhood must work hard, not only to survive their extreme poverty, but also put up with the heavy cross of rejection and marginalization due to the stigma of being from La Nueva Capital. In church life, the missionary - God’s kingdom worker – is deeply appreciated. Among the community in La Guzmán, solidarity and community work are highly valued by the people.
The InnerCHANGE Honduras team, inspired by Mathew 24, works in different ministries in our community. You are invited to come and participate in the following:
Every Tuesday we pray for InnerCHANGE missionaries around the world. Join us in participating in the different forms of prayer that our host community offers every week.
Dinner for Children - Nutritional Program
Many of the children in our community do not get enough of the nutritious food that they need at home. Twice a week, we participate in meal preparation, cleaning before and after the activity, an evangelization program and a values education program with the children, helping to give them physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment.
Once a week, we participate in the adolescents meeting, helping with presentations and reinforcing teachings. We also participate in a variety of activities with and for them.
We are beginning to build our youth group, and are able to accompany the youth as this group forms. We’re specifically helping them to be conscious about its identity as a church group, where they can continue to grow and learn about God while spending time with each other. Along with this, we have the opportunity to accompany as many youth as we can in the youth outreach center (helping to give youth alternatives to gangs) and participate in some activities that the center has for them.
Participate in the Bible studies we already have, and create and lead new ones.
Host Parish’s Major Events
Participate in the major celebrations that our host parish has during the year.
Once a week, visit our brothers who are deprived of their freedom in the men’s prison in Tamara town with our sister Ana Beatriz.