At Such A Time As This

Warmest greetings to you from the Bay Islands of Honduras!  The purpose of this update is to let you know that we are safe, well, working in creative ways from home AND are mindful of our family, support team and friends in the US.  We hold confident to the Scriptures and firmly believe in Psalm 91, praying these verses and others over you, your families and ourselves:

“If you say, “The Lord is my Refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.”  Psalm 91:9-10

We are excited to share a brief update with you over the last couple months where some of our ministry took place in a small community in Coxen Hole, Roatan. The group of children has grown quickly from just a few kids to nearly 20 two weeks ago when Jen completed a teaching series on the Battle Armor of God. The plan was to move next into the Fruit of the Spirit and then into the Gifts of the Spirit.  However, the situation surrounding the coronavirus has upset the plans as it has likely impacted yours also. We are unable to meet and be with them now for an indefinite period of time but the teachers remain connected on-line. 

Getting ready to open in prayer as children keep arriving.
Joy translating into English for two Canadian children who joined the group.

Believing in obeying the “laws of the land,” though we do not fear this “plague,” we are using the wisdom that God has given to us and are abiding by the current laws and curfews that have been put into place to protect the Honduran people, especially the island community with a delicate health-care system. On March 16th, this little island was put into a 14-day lockdown.  At that time, there were then 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Honduras mainland, but none on the islands.  To prevent any viral cases with spread coming to Roatan and the rest of the populated Bay Islands, all public transport via air and sea were cut off with the exception of supply vessels. Everything on the island was closed except for supermarkets (limited hours), hospitals, pharmacies, and fuel stations.  We were not allowed to leave our homes except for necessities like food, drinking water, cooking gas and other essentials.  Neither children aged 17 and under nor adults aged 60 and over were permitted to leave their homes at that time. Violators were subject to penalty by law.

Days later on the 21st of the month, the government declared Martial Law as the cases slowly climbed on the Honduran mainland.  Officials relaxed their wording a day later for all of the Bay Islands from martial law to “absolute curfew.” There is really little difference other than the military is not in control, however there is still a threat to arrest those that are out of compliance with the mandate. As of March 26th there were 52 cases of coronavirus on the mainland of Honduras with one death reported. As it stands now, everyone is less tempted to leave homes because all grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and gas stations have been ordered closed to the general public until further notice.  Only essential businesses are opened for taking orders, bagging supplies, and coordinating delivery day by day since the 21st, as are some restaurants and grocery store chains. Otherwise, there is no excusable reason anyone needs to leave their homes other than in an emergency situation. The governor of the Bay Islands daily reports to us any pertinent updates as we adjust ourselves to new rules or a change in an existing rule. 

In light of all of this, face-to-face ministry for missionaries and NGO’s to the nationals has come to a halt.  Before the halt, however, we were able to make one store run more for the household AND for a local food bank!  Your funds have helped to supply around five families with basic food staples. Networking with others on the island, we felt to support a couple of feeding programs already in place and operational.  

Dropping off boxes of food to RBWC food bank.
Beans, rice, flour, baby formula, soap…
pasta, sauce, cooking oil, milk, and oatmeal were part of the supplies we were able to deliver for needy families.

This island food bank was created by Roatan Because We Care (RBWC), one of the few national ministries on Roatan. The food bank was set up last week to help the already underprivileged who are now being greatly impacted by this situation.  Around 80% of the working population rely on tourism for their income.  With the Honduran border closed and the island shut down to any incoming people on planes or ships, all tourism has come to a grinding halt.  Cruise ships have cancelled their cruises with island excursions through the month of April. In the weeks before the island was shut down, thousands of people canceled their trips or would not come ashore while in port.  This means that many workers on Roatan have already been without income for weeks and will likely not have income for at least another few months. This food bank through RBWC is taking food donations and putting bags together with essentials enough to assist families managing this difficult time.

Another ministry through the local church in West Bay, has already begun setting up the ability for receiving basic food staples for those that live and work at the island dump and those at the island drug and alcohol rehab center.  Joy To The Nations plans to make donations to the ministry managing these, as well as any individuals/families we know personally that may even come to our door.  We have been keeping close tabs on our neighbors around us to be aware of any needs. Extra rice and beans are in the house in the event that this happens. We do not believe in re-creating the wheel. We must learn to work together as fellow ministers and human beings for the greater good of the whole during a time of crisis as we have going on now world-wide. Flowing together in unity, for the sake of the Call and for the Glory of God is key.  This manner of consolidating who passes out the food ensures that each family/community is getting its fair share; in this way, no one is forgotten while others get excess. If you would like to help these families and individuals at the rehab, please click the donate button and choose “General Fund.”  

JTTN will revisit the various needs in the weeks and even months to come as other expats are encouraged to step up to contribute also, adding to these food banks’ stock supply. Also, we are in touch with and will continue to evaluate the need at the Roatan drug and alcohol rehab center. 

Much administration including one-on-one cell phone and on-line ministry appointments, writing down the things we feel the Lord is downloading to us for the future and ministry strategy as we retool and regroup right now, writing blogs, writing updates, taking care of the pets, the vehicles, the house occupies most all of our time now.  Reading books, studying the Word, and putting together lessons for the kids in preparation for when this ban lifts is also on-going.  

Most church doors here also are physically closed. Pastors here are holding on-line Watch Parties on Facebook and/or are streaming through their church websites just like in the US. All over this world, they are still having to pay staff, pay rent, eat and take care of their families. The same goes for the frontline workers in ministry in the various nations.  We do not like to be kept inside – at all – and are making sure that we are finding things to keep momentum going forward.  No matter how crazy things become, we must continue trusting the Lord with our families, ourselves, our health, for protection, for finances and provision. The Word states that those that belong to Christ are blessed to be a blessing.  2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Thank you for remembering us out here in prayer and giving as we remember you. Message us anytime with prayer requests/concerns. Let’s remember that “Circumstances, no matter how stressful or bleak they appear, do not invalidate His promises!”~ author unknown (words in italics added by Jen).

“Circumstances, no matter how stressful or bleak they appear, do not invalidate His promises!”

author unknown (words in italics added by Jen).

We are praying with and for you, and encourage all of us to continue to use the wisdom God has given us and follow whatever guidelines are being given in your area of the world, though we know we need not be afraid because God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim 1:7). And, perfect Love casts out all fear (I John 4:18). So, as we take this opportunity to spend more time with God, He will fill us with His perfect love, so there will be no room for fear.  Do not be afraid, our God is faithful to deliver us (Heb 10:23, Deut 31:6). We also know and declare with you that the Blood of Jesus is all sufficient to protect and keep us at Such A Time As This.

Blessings of Love, Grace, Peace, Strength and Wisdom be yours Today and Always! 

Jen and Joy 

Jen getting a fill of hugs before “social distancing” became effective.
Hoping you feel our cyber hugs to you!!

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