By now many of have heard about our friends from Delicias and Benigno in particular. Benigno was the gentleman who gave his life to Christ during one of our services within the village. Since our visit the village has encountered episodes of persecution and no doubt public rejection. The Hike with Hope teams heart is very heavy for Beningo and other professing believers within the village. We’re thankful for the persecution as it confirms to us that God is at work. Specifically and intentionally God is at work within the hearts of this village. This is very evident through the resistance being shown and the thickness of a religion that is depending on man rather than relationship with the Father, through Jesus Christ. Our prayer here is anything. Anything it takes God for your glory to have maximum exposure in my world. That’s a tough prayer but we’re thankful for Benigno and his stand for the Gospel and glory of Jesus Christ.
We encourage and beg you to pray for Benigno. He didn’t accept Christ amidst a loving congregation that would accept, equip, and love him. He accepted Christ amidst the stares, whispers, and soon coming persecution. He’s likely to be shut out from the inner circles of the village. Maybe not allowed to walk a certain trail or share in a meal. We really don’t know the truth of it because truth is our world is different. But is it all that different? How well do we rejoice when one soul comes to Christ? How well do we come along their side to equip, accept and love? Maybe a quick hug or pat on the back and then it’s back to our usual routine? Truth is those who accept Christ often have to backslide or “calm down” before they’ll ever fit in at an average American church, and that’s sad. So this is post is both an encouragement and challenge. Be encouraged, thankful and mindful of the freedom we have here. Bondage exists within religion but freedom is there for those in Christ Jesus. Walk in that freedom! Be challenged to pray for Benigno and resist religion. Stand strong with those around you to be the hands and feet of Christ as we possess His mind.
As I pray for Benigno and the people of Delicias this is my prayer, this is my hope, and a great reminder of how specific and intentional our prayers should be for Benigno and those around this world, even within our own communities:
“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, the you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills in all.” Eph. 1:15-23
So now that we are back believe it or not there has been word from this village. I know I spent some time helping you understand how far off the map it is, which it is but we have people who are local to this area going in that are actually doing bible studies within this village(the organization who were our guides in). Which is awesome, essentially they are fighting the good fight on the beliefs side while we get the opportunity to provide for these people, while supporting the ministry that is in there. Well the week after we vacated this gracious place, those religious people who I told you about came in and they began burning the Bibles that they had and really distracted them for the whole reason we were there. Grant you believe it or not these Bibles carry a truth that is in their Bibles, but the whole point of this control is about power. These people are being told that they can’t read the scriptures on their own without someone going to God for them. So now this situation began to become complicated again. But our locals just got back from going into Delicias and they were welcomed with loving arms, because unlike what these people are being taught our faith compels us to do good not harm. While we are back in the states it is hard to not be there loving on these people. In fact it is extremely hard to see how much torment religion has brought to this place. Because unlike you and I these people are persecuted daily for what they believe, because what they believe comes with a cost.
I say all this to say Hike with Hope exist for the forgotten, the invisible, the hurt and the forsaken. We exist for the need, the provider and the story. We will never enter a battle of religion with these people because that is not what we are or what we are there for. This doesn’t mean that things don’t get messy. But we have found out, though the powers over the suppressed want to try to make this about religion, that love overcomes it all. We have been able to love more, help more and do more because it isn’t about religion to us its about relationship with the one true way, Christ.
Won’t you join our movement?
As many of you know when we began this adventure of “Hike with Hope” the directions was wide and the cause was broad. But immediately after accepting this journey we were introduced to the opportunity to venture out to Delicias, Honduras. The first thought was, why not? This is a place where people live lives trying to exist. The needs of these people were many, but a huge need was telling the story of the Lenca people. Within their story is a story about the battles in which they step into everyday in their hopes of making it to tomorrow. Knowing this about the Lenca people it was an easy decision that we would be going. Now you should know this trip was a planned trip before hand and it was one of many trips apart of an association that make their way down to Honduras yearly. But there have been few that attempt this long stroll in the mountains to make it into this village. We were going to be among the first. If you can imagine the end of the world as you know it, and then add your imagination on even greater of a distance, then add several more miles and that was our destination. The thought of hunger and thirst, poor hygiene and disease are among the many understood problems we would face. But when we arrived, there was an “elephant in the room.” And that elephant was religion. Who would have thought that a place so far separated from society could be in such bondage to religion. Honestly though all of us who attended this trip were men of faith and a faith in which drives to care for the forgotten, I never thought this would be apart of this trip, that is a battle on beliefs. Sure most people have a belief system, and when they are so disconnected from societies sometimes they even make up their own, so this was something that I figured we would run into. But not to a measurement of this extreme. Here you have several people from across the world trying to bring hope to a forgotten people and the first obstacle was that they were extremely terrified of us. The first thought is sure because we are white and they are not, but it was more than that. This was because some religious leader that happens to be tied within their government told them that people of our nature(white) would come one day to harm them. I knew that during our stay we would provide food, water and our story, but they didn’t know that and yet they were distant. So of course once they saw we were there for them and not against them, and that they didn’t have to believe in the same things as we do in order for us to serve them, they became very welcoming and very fast. We sat for many hours among their homes, played for many days with their children and infiltrated their communities with Hike with Hope Bands(which they loved to have something to call their own). It was a dream come true, we were doing life with people who have felt alone for some time. But then we had to go. The hike back was glorious knowing we would have a warm meal back at the bunk house and even maybe a cold soda. But as I laid my head down that night I was distraught over how controlling these religious forces were. This is where more layers of this story began.
To Be Continued….
These faces represent the joy in which many of you helped us bring to this nation.
The trip was nothing less than remarkable. We began this journey in hopes to locate many of the forgotten people out in this world and we are back to share their story. Over the next several weeks we will begin sharing the many photos and stories of the Lenca people in hopes to capture your attention. This journey is not over and has developed with several more diverse layers. With your help we will begin meeting the needs of these people and restoring their hope in life that exist outside of the valley in which they reside.
Let me introduce to you the Lenca people.
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I’ve heard from Chris and the guys joining Hike with Hope in Honduras. They made it safely to the village- though the hike was really difficult- and have seen 30 people accept Christ through their time sharing their testimonies and the love of Jesus! Each phone conversation was only a few minutes long, but it sounds like they all have had an incredible time! They were leaving really early this morning to hike back out to La Esperanza and will be traveling home tomorrow. They still have a lot of travel ahead of them, so please continue to pray for their endurance. Thank you everyone for your love, support, and prayers that makes this cause happen!