There are always so many questions when you step on a plane to minister in a foreign land. Those questions are compounded when you’ve not been to that country or region before. Then there are the expected obstacles that come with the cultural and language barriers.
What will the conditions be like? Will the people there understand how we are trying to help them? Will the interpreters do justice to the essence of our teaching and ministry approach? What happens after we leave? Is San Pedro Sulu really one of the most dangerous cities in the world? And do any of the toilets in Honduras actually flush?
CrossCounsel has invested in several trips to House of Hope in Nicaragua. Our first visit was in 2012. April Havlin, the mission’s director, now also runs Women of Hope in Honduras. The main focus of her ministry is offering women a way out of a life of prostitution.
It is imperative that these ministries of “Esperanza” (hope) offer practical ways out of prostitution. Meals are provided on a regular basis. Micro-businesses are cultivated when there is commitment. Opportunities to make and sell hand-crafted jewelry is a staple of the ministry.
Mission teams are very welcomed there. They come to repair things, teach basic bible truths and spend time with children. These are all great, but our team always operates in our unique niche - Transformational Prayer Ministry (TPM). “You can take these women out of prostitution, but you must get the prostitution out of these women,” according to April.
That’s why she calls on us. The Lord has given us a gift - and we’re excited to take it wherever it is welcomed. Mary Cummings laid the groundwork two years ago in Honduras. For Steve Freitag and Cindy Nawrocki, this was their first trip to Honduras.
Our aim was three-fold. 1) Provide enough basic teaching to the staff in order to lay a groundwork for TPM. 2) Minister TPM to the staff - all who have a brutal history. 3) Provide coaching and oversight during sessions while staff minister to women.
We spent the first three mornings teaching the staff about the basics of TPM. It took a while to have our translator get in her rhythm, but we eventually worked through a ton of material. In those three afternoons, each staff person was able to receive ministry twice.
The final two days were dedicated to ministry for the women coming off the street. Here’s one example of what happened:
Carla is fairly new to Women of Hope and only recently trusted Christ. She, like every woman we ministered to coming out of prostitution, has a childhood history of verbal, emotional and sexual abuse.
She was willing to quickly touch upon some of those abuses. I (Steve) had a picture of these women talking about their sexual abuse like people quickly walking across hot coals. They touch on the pain, but they won’t stay there. Understandable, right?
The Lord seems to do His deepest healing IN OUR PAIN. Carla was not at all interested in that. We told her we weren’t going to force her to do anything, but that it would be most helpful if she pressed into one of the pain-filled memories she brought up.
“No.” “No.” “No.” The resistance continued. I was about to let her go, but said, “Would you be willing to let me pray for you?” I asked the Lord what He wanted her to know at this point. She agreed! We were shocked.
We later discover that when I prayed, she physically felt Someone touch her arm and say, “Let’s go. I’ll be with you.”
That touch and promise made all the difference. Needless to say, she was able to walk through the pain and KNOW Jesus was there, too. She was a new person. She no longer felt used and worthless in that memory. Those beliefs are the ubiquitous lies that keep the prostitution in these women.
Layer by layer, these women are being set free. We can see it in the faces of those who continue to open up to the Lord in their pain.
Jesus has no pre-qualifications for biblical knowledge or spiritual maturity to experience His love, grace, truth and freedom. He looks for those willing to be vulnerable and open-hearted as He sets the captives free (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18). We’re thrilled to be a part of it and to have your prayers and support.
There were unexpected additional costs for our trip, so any additional funds would truly be appreciated. You can send a check or click on the yellow "Donate" button below.
A typical neighborhood of poverty in Honduras
The temporary “Women of Hope” ministry center (no, the toilet does not flush there and there is no A/C).
Mary and one of our translators, Fabiola. She spent many horrible years in an orphanage and was extremely excited about TPM.
Cindy exercises her grandma skills while this child’s mother receives ministry.
Steve after a session with Rosalinda, Fabby and Women of Hope leader, Mercedes.
Carla glowing after her session.