Is Just One Enough?

Do you get discouraged?  Do you wonder if what you are doing in life is making any significant impact?  

Well guess what…Missionaries do too.

But let me encourage you today,  It doesn’t matter how big or small your actions may seem.  If you are acting in love and compassion then to someone, you are making an impact.

We have struggled this last year with not being able to do ministry as we have in the past.  It seems with groups of 100-200 children, or 30-40 adults in a Bible study you would have a greater impact than with just a handful of one-to-one encounters.  Churches, pastors, and missionaries often feel the pressure to produce numbers to show the impact of their ministries.  We have never been about the numbers, but it is emotionally validating to know you reached 350, 500, or even a thousand people this week.  Now that we are reaching just a handful at a time, it can feel like the impact of the ministry is somehow less than it had been before.  But we are seeing that ministry to the one is just as valuable as to the thousands.

“Since you have been coming here I am not sad anymore”

7 year old girl in an orphanage

Jesus gave the example of one-on-one ministry, very small groups, the 12, the 70 and the multitude; each one had its own dynamic, its own challenges, and its own rewards.  We are now seeing the rewards of the more personal one-on-one ministry in this season.

“I am thankful for you two, I am grateful for the food to help me, but mostly I am thankful for your friendship, your encouragement and advice.”

Young, single island woman in our community

Through this season, thanks to the wonderful technology at our disposal, we have not only been ministering here in the island, but with people on mainland Honduras, the USA, Guatemala, and other parts of the world. Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp have been tools of ministry during this time.

We are experiencing how ministry to the one has a farther reaching impact than we may have considered:

Joy is working with a Pastora to develop a study on “Your Identity in Christ” that will be presented in at least two churches in the near future.  This came about through Joy’s one-on-one ministry with this Pastora.  After experiencing first hand through Joy’s ministry, teaching and council what it’s like to be set free from past traumas, vanquishing the lies of the enemy and accepting the Love of Jesus unhindered, this Pastora was able to begin to see who she is in Christ and through her testimony has already seen more women set free.  Now, with this new study, we hope to see more women released to complete the work to which God has called them.

This ministry to the one, will now affect over 100 women in the next few months and likely many more in months and years to come as this course is used and as these women share their testimonies with others as this Pastora has done.

“I am celebrating you this Mother’s Day because you have been like a mother to me.  You have given accountability and counsel and helped me.  You have been a Spiritual Mother to me.”

Island Pastora

We shared a couple months ago how a “chance” meeting in the grocery store and one-on-one conversation, along with Jen’s obedience to the Holy Spirit saved a man’s life.  Recently, while taking a prayer drive, Jen met Oscar from the department of Jutiapa, Honduras.

He is a lovely 60s-something man who was walking around the east part of the island a few weeks back, ministering to people. He was on foot and travels by faith for assistance along the way (food, water, bus fare, rides)…” Initially, he came up to Jen at the Oakridge wharf asking for transportation. But she wasn’t going the way he was going and doesn’t carry anyone for safety reasons. As she chatted with him, she knew he was the real deal and was able to share some bus fare, gave him a clean mask, and a fresh, cool tumbler full of clean water.  Had there been food in the truck that would have been offered too. He was amazed she stopped to talk with him. But that’s just what missionaries usually do…get to know people, talk with them about Jesus. “We both got to encourage one another toward the ministry work that day.  He began to evangelize because that’s what he does…he is a traveling evangelist!  When he can gather enough boat fare, he plans to get a ride one-way to mainland La Ceiba from one of the wharfs on the island, then catch a bus to see his family in Jutiapa. For now, he’s working, telling people to get right with God because Jesus is coming back very soon for His Church.

These are what we call “divine appointments” and we love them!  

“Before attending your Bible School I had read my Bible and didn’t understand it.  I lived as I chose to live and didn’t serve God.  Your classes opened my eyes and I can now understand when I read the Bible and my relationship with God has been restored.”

Man who now helps pastor in his village

We do consider the numbers we reach, but we are not defined by them.  We are defined by our obedience and our love for the people. During this strange time of limited contact, we have questioned ourselves again, as we have on many occasions in the past…”Are we being effective in ministry, are we making an impact?” As you likely know, we don’t always know the answer to that because much of what happens in ministry with people is in the heart and the outward manifestation of that impact may not be seen right away. But we got a note from a young Honduran lady that used to volunteer with us in the city.

“You accepted me, I felt part of a family, you scolded me if necessary, you taught me many things, I did not feel alone or belittled.  Truly you two are very special and full of the love of God.  Nobody has done for me all that you have done.”

A Honduran Young Woman, Volunteer, Friend

This note encouraged us and reminded us of other such encouragements through the years just when we needed them. Some of those quotes you have been reading throughout this page.

Just the other day, we were talking to a lady that we used to spend time with when we were ministering at the port. She had a souvenir shop next to our Ministry Booth in Coxen Hole just outside the Port of Roatan. She told us that if her daughter were to have another baby and it’s a girl, they will name her Jennifer Joy after the two of us because we have meant so much to her and her family.

“If it’s a girl we will name her Jennifer Joy”

Island Woman with souvenir booth at Port of Roatan

WOW – We never realized how much our weekly conversations and prayer meant to her. She also watched us as we ministered to the various people that would come to us, from drug addicts and beggars on the street to cruise ship tourists, we loved and ministered to them all. She would even encourage anyone she knew that passed by to come and have us pray for them.

We are also excited that we are in the planning stages to bring teams back to Honduras beginning 2022. This is one way that we help other believers make an impact in missions and with some we have been a part of kindling a passion for missions and ministry. Short-Term missions teams always have a great impact on us as well. They encourage us. We get to see our mission with refreshed eyes as team members engage in new and different experiences and as we see the passion for ministry grow in them.

“ Love you guys! Six years later and the fire for seeing the lost and hurting on every continent and every soil burns hotter in us then ever before. This was also a defining trip for me!”

2015 Short-Term Trip Member

So remember, though we may not see right away the impact of what we do to the Glory of God, be assured someone is being blessed by your love, your acts of kindness, and your obedience to Christ. If you are partnered with us in ministry, the impact of Joy To The Nations to lives in Honduras and around the world are also credited to you. We share all these things to show you the fruit your part in this ministry has and is producing. We can’t be here and do all that we do without you, so be assured your impact is great!

“We can’t thank you enough for your help. God has been good to provide and always just on time.”

Community neighbor/family

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Galatians 6:9-10

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