Abundant Blessings During the LAMB Board Mission to Honduras
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”––Ephesians 3:30
At the end of February, five St. Philippians who sit on the board of the LAMB Institute, one of St. Philip’s world mission partners, journeyed to Honduras: Susan Keller, Guv and Tammy Gottshalk, and my wife, Elizabeth, and I. Board member Joanna Macmurphy was involved with upcoming wedding festivities and was unable to make the trek to Tegucigalpa.
We travelled with the other board members, Joseph Klosik of St. Peter’s Mt. Pleasant and Jim McCormick from Dalton, GA, as well as Margaret Merritt, LAMB Executive Director, and Sue Cuthbert, LAMB Development Director. It was the board’s first mission to Honduras since August 2019 and the first group to visit LAMB founder Suzy McCall and the ministries since COVID struck in the spring of 2020.
We were able to visit Flor del Campo, a poverty-stricken neighborhood where LAMB runs God’s Littlest Lambs Daycare and School for children through the ninth grade. School was still remote, and we had the blessing of meeting with different teachers and administrators as they Zoomed with students. They were all anxiously awaiting an April in-person start date. We met with two neighborhood mothers who depend on the school as a lifeline and safe passage from the difficulties they encounter raising children in such an oppressive environment.
We visited the Youth in Action programs for boys and girls, which give them an alternative to gang life on the streets. We travelled to the mountains of San Buenaventura to God’s Littlest Lambs Children’s Home, an orphanage and school that includes the Joy Academy, a bilingual school for early development through fourth grade. We also visited the transition homes for older Children’s Home “graduates” who have taken the opportunity to pursue senior-level high school and college.
On Sunday, we worshipped at the Children’s Home in the beautiful Kitty Holt Chapel and shared an uplifting service with the entire Children’s Home community. The trip was a blessing for us all.
We were able to witness the fruit of a faithful community, one with no cultural or governmental safety net, and yet one filled with peace, joy, hope and promise. It is so difficult to depict the impact that the LAMB Institute has on this small community in Honduras. The only way to completely understand is to visit and witness it through the ministry of presence.
The following is an excerpt from my journal, and it is the closest way that I can reveal the power, the glory, and the blessing of how God is moving in Honduras.
We started Friday with the Joy Academy bilingual students, aged pre-K to fourth grade. The students were vibrant, expectant, nervous, and excited to see fresh faces from afar. The young adult teachers, mostly Honduran, were diligent and committed to helping these Children’s Home residents learn English. The fourth graders greeted us, three students, confident and adept in their command of a new language. We moved backwards through the classes and each preceding grade grew in number of students and lessened in confidence and competency. By the end of the tour, we understood the progression and grasped with anticipation the life-changing opportunity for these deeply loved and cared for orphans. As we walked out of the house, we took in the brilliant blue and cloudless summer day. The sun shone bright, and the fresh air in the mountain community uplifted us. Our Father’s favor and plans for these children did as well.
We ended our day in Tegucigalpa at our temporary and familiar residence, Casa Lamb. It was an evening to remember and savor. Eighteen transition kids, young adults, joined us for dinner, testimonies, and worship through song. They aged from 18 to 24, in high school and in college. In their midst were a marketing major, an interior designer, two international business majors, an architect, and more. The academic pursuits are promising, but their Christian legacy is far more impacting. Each one of these beautiful young adults are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are family with each other, with the Children’s Home leadership, and with Suzy. Tammy, Guv, and Susan were there when these young adults arrived at the Children’s Home. Margaret initially was the American intern who walked the aisles, holding them as babies and comforting them during the night.
During dinner, the conversations and interactions were familiar for those with long-term relationships, and they were inspiring for the rest of us. Guv showed a picture of Dilcia’s baptism, and she relayed her 19th birthday was this past Saturday. [Later, Tammy showed us a picture of her arriving at the Children’s Home––we thought as a baby––in Suzy’s arms. In truth, she arrived at three years old, and she could not walk. Her mother favored her sister and left Dilcia on the floor her first three years, throwing her scraps to eat.] Tonight, she sat on the couch, a beautiful and mature young lady, and quietly caught up with Guv. Like Dilcia, each of the transition kids arrived at the Children’s Home between the age of newborn and seven years old. Most were three, four, or five when they arrived. Like her, before arriving, their lives were destitute, abused, poverty-stricken, and hopeless. This night, we grasped the hope and promise for their future. They mostly displayed the peace that passes all understanding. During the testimonies, they shared their love for each other, their appreciation for landing in a safe harbor, their thankfulness for Suzy, the Children’s Home, and the LAMB Institute’s faithful support. They cried and laughed. They overcame fear of speaking and nervousness from transparency. They exposed emotions and we all celebrated their unique life stories. Both the speakers and the audience experienced joy and humility as we encountered our Lord’s faithfulness.
“Oh Lord, our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How great You are! Your Plans and Promises; so Faithful, so Good, so Life Changing! The hope and promise of this first legacy generation of the Children’s Home overwhelms me. I cannot wait to watch and see what they do and how they do it, and the impact they will make for Your Kingdom. I envision the difference they will make on the children behind them, these first-generation children now role models and inspiration for the next. A new legacy, the hope and confidence that comes from seeing success ahead. A path to emulate and mentoring relationships to sustain the younger saints. Oh Lord, it is thrilling to see what the past twenty years has harvested. I cannot wait to see what the next twenty will produce. To You all Glory, Laud, and Honor. I praise You, Lord, and thank you for the chance to experience this.