~ By Joy Dodd and Jen Cook ~
What does chaos or complete disorder and confusion look like in this day and age from our vantage point?
Honduras closed its borders on March 14th and the islands closed to the outside world, including its own mainland, as of March 16th. The US Embassy encouraged US citizens to return home due to the severe nature of lockdowns in Honduras and because of increasing crime and violence, as well as the fragile medical system. But some of us weren’t called by Him to return home. We stayed and are riding out the pandemic, ministering to people and practically helping where we can do so.
In Roatan, there are around 80 hospital beds available for COVID patients for a population of about 100,000 people. The medical staff is limited, and they are getting sick (26 have COVID at the time of this blog around 200 total workers). In spite of that we remain, because frankly, again, the Lord told us to stay. And even though it is very difficult at times, He gives us the grace and peace to stay in place; the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.”When we are at peace, we can hear the Holy Spirit’s voice and understand His promptings. Peace leads to joy & His joy is our strength.
We are currently in our 14th week of lockdown and are allowed to leave our homes just once every two weeks according to the last number of our identification cards. Curfew only allows us to circulate on the roads from 7 am to 5 pm on those days. Honduras mainland had it’s first cases of Covid-19 on March 10th, but our little island just had it’s first confirmed case on May 16th. As of now, 84 cases are confirmed with 137 more tests pending confirmation.
Because of the lengthy lockdown with no confirmed cases for 10 weeks, along with soaring electricity costs, internal demonstrations occurred; on a few occasions, the people have risen up and blocked the roadways for half a day to “encourage” the local authorities to permit the island to open internally, to allow their family members stranded on the mainland and in other countries to come home, and to protest unusually high utility bills. Crime has increased as most people have not worked in over three months. The majority of the population is facing hunger, children are dealing with malnutrition and many wonder if the island which is largely dependent on tourism, will ever recover. On top of the financial hit, they now face a potentially debilitating health emergency.
In the middle of it all, unless it is their numbered day, no one can leave their homes and drive legally for anything but emergencies. Saturdays and Sundays there is no circulation of any kind. Church services have been cancelled and hope seems lost to many.
But God makes all things possible!!
Despite the chaos, the loss of many freedoms and mobility, God keeps making ways for us to continue having an impact! We have been able to network with other missionaries and local organizations to help ensure that each community is being reached with food, to help bring the Message of Hope where we can do so and to be salt and light in our communities. If you are a financial partner, this is how you have made an impact through Joy To The Nations from the start of this pandemic time:
- 12 families are learning from our ‘Foundations of Faith’ course in a home church
- 150 + families have received grocery bags with basic meal supplies
- 12 Blessing Bags (we carry on our days out) given to those on the street in immediate need
- 10 families blessed with cooking gas for their stoves
- 15–20 children blessed with masks
- 1 pizza party for a children’s ministry
- 25 babies and toddlers given formula and cereal
- Provided hot meals for the elderly
- Life saving medication purchased for a 12 year old boy with tetanus
- One-on-one ministry done regularly through phone, Facebook and/or WhatsApp with folks both on the island and Honduran mainland as well as in the US
- Helped contribute for building supplies to rebuild a home that burned down (one of the families from the dump ministry).
- Counting and preparing dosage packs for COVID-19 treatments for a local clinic ministry.
Most of all, we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in all that we do. Here is a short testimony of how He leads us as individuals to help Him meet the prayers of others:
A couple weeks ago while doing personal shopping, we found a rare supply of ‘Alive’ by Nature’s Way gummy vitamins. We asked God who He would like to bless with vitamins and immediately a family in our community came to mind. We bought enough for both parents and their two daughters. We got home and got the vitamins ready to give away and asked God for the perfect timing to deliver them. We had planned the next Thursday evening, but something happened and it didn’t work out accordingly. Just the other day the perfect opportunity arose to hand off the vitamins to the father. When the mom got home from work, she texted how excited she was because she had just told a friend earlier in the day that she wished she could get some Alive vitamins for her family, and that God had answered her prayer and desire!!
This is the very reason we are here. And this is why we appreciate our partners so much! You are our testimony of love for the people, how God meets our prayers and the petitions of others through your generosity and faithfulness into this ministry!!
We are regularly calling in revival to hit this earth and the nations. And we pray very regularly for the USA with everything transpiring in our beloved nation that we call home. It is hard to watch it all take place as we read about the events happening from Honduras. God is showing us how to intercede more strategically and He does have a plan and purpose in it all. We all need to pray that His will be done on the earth as it is done in Heaven, do what we can in our corner of the world and maintain the faith that things will work out for our good and for His glory in due time.
Love and Blessings from Roatan Bay Islands, Honduras!
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