Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

ASI - Yorito

Tonight somewhere in Honduras a baby will be born nearby a manger to a set of parents with little option but to settle down in their hometown. Present at her commencement ceremony will be the “Three Kings” of the 2/3 world: crippling poverty, malnutrition, and little social mobility. She may become a Queen of Queens, or she may be prevented from reaching her full potential as a human being due to the same inequalities against which Jesus spoke. She might unwillingly become a prisoner to human trafficking, or she could become the future Honduran leader capable of both liberating and ecumenical transformation in Honduras. 

One factor in determining the course of most individuals' lives revolves around the options available to them. About three years ago A.H.M.E.N. (Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network) began investing in a partnership “option” with an organization called S.I.F.A.T. (Servants in Faith and Technology). What I have come to call the A.H.M.E.N. - S.I.F.A.T.Initiative, a partnership between both groups, seeks to train local community leaders across Honduras in appropriate technology and social productivity in order to help Honduran families shape their own futures.

Today, the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative is going strong.  The health promoters in Cusuna graduated to their second year in the three-year program this past August, and they have already begun the next cycle of training. Additionally, a new workshop is opening in Belaire to serve our partners, nearer La Ceiba, who are unable to attend the Cusuna workshops. Additional workshops cast a wider net of accessibility to our united efforts, and the workshop opening in Yorito awaits an already united class of community health promoters.

As Byron Morales awaits the opening of his second community development workshop in Honduras (the first in Yorito), many strong and independent community leaders stand at the ready. Peace Corps volunteer, Nina Pfeiffer, whose position is in our prayers, has been working with a local community leader named Fanny Aviles to help start two area HCSKs – Health Center Soup Kitchens. During a recent Christmas dinner, the soup kitchens served around 160 children a bountiful and nutritious dinner featuring two HUGE turkeys, rice, lots of veggies, potatoes, juice, tortillas, and of course CAKE!! Now we know Byron loves his cake, but I imagine the type of energy encouraging volunteerism like this is what is REALLY on Byron's Christmas wish list...!

Who's been good for Santa???
Which one will end infanticide and femicide in Honduras?
What seems like a blessing, in the fact that the communities of Yorito and Pacayal enjoyed a much-deserved Christmas dinner, is truly a miracle in the united efforts of both communities weekly addressing the effects of malnutrition on young families' development. In Fanny and Nina's words “with some mothers bringing veggies, others tortillas, others cheese, etc AND helping to cook the meals ~ well, this is such a community effort!” 

Much-Needed Vegetables
Who needs meat when you have this??

Fanny was part of the Yorito-based contingent of fifteen students who attended the innagural AHMEN-SIFAT workshop in Cusuna. This January she, and many other local community agents seeking to lead their communities into a post-colonialist future, will become the first class in Byron's ASI – Yorito. What a cool Christmas present this is for everyone involved to consider where Fanny and her future health promoter colleagues may be a year....two year....three years from tonight! 

Please consider joining A.H.M.E.N. and S.I.F.A.T. as we work to build partnerships for prosperity across Honduras. Feel free to leave your questions and comments below. For extra info visit honduranmissions.com and sifat.org If you have questions, including how to donate, Dr. Tom Camp, Cristin Farrington, Mary Guffy, and I are waiting to hear from you at ahmen.info@gmail.com

I can't wait to join Fanny in the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative!!

Happy Holidays To All!!

What do you mean you aren't going to donate to ASI??

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Will the REAL American Please Stand Up?

Almost a year ago several AHMEN members got together to talk about increasing our organization's web presence.  Since then, some of us have started a blogging campaign.  Others have joined ongoing email conversations.  The AHMEN web page is evolving into something more functional, and Facebook has helped centralize AHMEN's mission statement as a part of our daily consciousness.  With the Internet we are all starting to realize that working with AHMEN is not confined to a single yearly visit to Honduras.  With the communication tools available to us we can mobilize a perpetual conversation between everyone involved in building Honduras' stable bridge to the future.  As we begin talking, though, what we say counts.  As we spread the good news, we must consider our word choices.  Using some words can impede the development of the type of constructive relationships AHMEN seeks to build.  As missionaries we may need to be more careful using some of the following words and phrases:


On our final evening in Copan for the 2011 Project Honduras Conference, the AHMEN contingency and our new friend, Raquel, sat down to a delicious meal and a lively conversation.  In the midst of a monsoon of epic proportions, we visited one of the locally-run restaurants and ordered a "meat party" for the table.  This particular meat party came with grilled steak, pork, chicken, and sausage, but one would have thought it was full of lengua the way everyone began discussing their perception of the term “American.” With such an assorted group at the table (1 ex-military from the US, 1 ex-military who grew up in Honduras as a US citizen, 1 Honduran-born US citizen who worked for the World Bank, 1 doctor from US, 1 teacher from US, and 1 Brazillian volunteering in Honduras), we heard an array of opinions...and not a few strong feelings.

Will the REAL American Please Stand Up?

So what does it mean to be an "American?"  Well, the two most obvious ways to define the term are geographically and nationally.  First, any second grader can tell you that anyone living in the Western Hemisphere lives on one of the two American continents.  People living in North and South America are "Americans."  People from these two continents living elsewhere in the world are also still Americans.  On the other hand, people from the United States of America describe their nationality as American.  Many people throughout the Americas find this behavior offensive.  To many, claiming the title "American," to only signify a person from the United States revives a colonialist/imperialist mentality the 3/4 world would prefer relegated to the past.  For others, the term "American" symbolizes the freedom and opportunity for success specifically foundational to the United States.  It can be misleading for a person from the United States to speak in such a way as to suggest "Americans" are only from the United States; however, there is no other word in the English language to define a person from the United States.  People from Canada are called Canadians.  People from Mexico are called Mexicans (Mexicanos).  People from Honduras are Hondurans (Hondureños). Nonetheless, Canadians, Mexicans, and Hondurans are all "Americans."  Perhaps it is time to coin a new term to refer to people from the United States.  Some vacationers we met in Copan suggested the term "United Statians."  I have started beta testing the term with mixed results...


During our missions experience this past summer in La Esperanza and Utila, our team took part in a discussion of cultural sensitivity.  One word that kept coming up during these conversations was the word "gringo."  After asking several Hondurans about the term, our team learned that the term refers to non-Spanish Speakers, people from the United States and Canada, and Europeans.  To make the subject a little more confusing, I have also been  told by several Mexican-Americans that the term "gringo" only refers to white people.  I don't know whether this is the case in Honduras, but I feel like the term is across the board more descriptive than derogatory.  Being called a "gringo," however, can be an entirely different situation altogether. In 1788 there was a difference between being labeled an “Anti-Federalist” and one using the term to describe one's own political leanings. In missiology there is a HUGE difference between viewing one's self a “heathen” and being called such by a missionary.  Our legendary friend and taxi driver in Copan, Daniel Quintanilla, says he does not use the term "gringo" because it's bad for business.  He says "United Statians" don't like being called gringos because it singles them out in a land where they are already obviously different. Whether using the term is also bad for mission work is up for debate.  In mission work, as in life, I guess we have to be aware of our audience.

....but it might help further our shared goals in Honduras


Two summers ago I traveled to Limon with Dr. Fran Kunda's team from CarolinaHonduras Health Foundation.  This particular visit changed the way I think about what is possible in Honduras.  Dr. Fran's team has built a special relationship with Sister Leonarda's Home of Hope, a home for children who have lost their parents and caretakers due to the tough living conditions in Honduras.  Some of the 50 or so kids living there lost their parents to violence, the economic necessity of a remittance lifestyle, and health problems such as HIV-AIDS.  I was aware of the situation before ever setting foot into Sister Leonarda's home, and to be honest, I did not expect a very positive experience.  As usual, however, I was waaaay off! As I walked across the sandy, beachfront patio through the dark, sea-bitten door into Sister Leonarda's, an immense positive energy hit me like a ton of bricks, and I immediately began to weep through an emotional overload.  In the middle of nowhere, in the midst of uncertain living conditions and dire odds, these children flourish in a home where their basic human needs for worldly and spiritual bread was/is being met. Taken aback does not explain the way I felt...

No Words Necessary

Toward the end of the week I met with Sister Leonarda to talk with her about the future AHMEN-SIFAT workshops coming to the area.  In my comically-beleaguered Spanish I opened with the phrase "Estoy impresionado con su orphanato."  As if I kicked her in the stomach, Sister Leonarda quickly corrected me by saying "Este no es un orfanato...Este es nuestro hogar!" (This is not an orphanage...This is our home!).  She went on to say that an orphanage is for people without a home, who do not have a family.  Sister Leonarda told me that none of the children living with her could be considered orphans because they have both a home and a family.  What she was telling me was that "orphan" and "orphanage" are terms used by onlookers and not by the people being judged.  In other words, "orphan" and "orphanage" are pessimistic terms; notwithstanding, the positive energy of the children, teenagers, and young adults living at Sister Leonarda's Home of Hope is anything but negative.  Their energy is an example of what a strong, caring leader and community can achieve.

Sister Leonarda and her family

The fact that these terms came to light at this year's Project Honduras Conference lets me know we need to pay attention.  On more than one occasion a speaker at the conference would use the words "orphan" or "orphanage" to describe a child or group of children living apart from one or more biological parents.  And as if in some "call and response" do-se-do, during the question and answer period an individual would stand up to say how the terms "orphan" and "orphanage" were misleading and offensive.  One of the most endearing responses came from Director of Legal Affairs with Amigos de Jesus, Suyapa Sabillon who said calling a child an orphan tears at his self-worth like the bacteria in Honduran drinking water devastates foreigners' GI tracts....WOW!  Hearing that taking offense to the terminology was not isolated to one children's home in Limon let me know that we should be very careful when using the terms "orphan" and "orphanage." AHMEN can't risk muffling a growing child's sense of self worth...

- - - - - - -

The three preceding terms are ones which have been brought to my attention.  What terms have you come across which we might need use with more discretion?  What terms should we use more freely?  AHMEN has built a special relationship with local communities across Honduras for over thirteen years now.  When we leave the United States and cross the border into Honduras we have to remember that people do pay attention to us....and it's not just the chartreuse green t-shirts!  Knowing this, we have to represent what is best about our country.  When we travel to Honduras with AHMEN we do so as ambassadors of the United States and AHMEN.  This is an issue less about political correctness than it is character. One word can make a difference when building relationships based on love, trust, and mutual respect....Let's make sure we use the most appropriate ones! 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Project Honduras and A.H.M.E.N. Part II

To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by
      -Thomas Jefferson

The "Snake Eaters"
I was talking to Dr. Tom Arnold the other day about the “Snake Eaters” – the team bringing world class medical care to isolated indigenous communities of Gracias a Dios – and their recent venture deep into the Rio Platano Bio Reserve. Tom recalled an evening this past August where, while snacking on a freshly-caught nutria deep into the backwoods of La Moskitia, the Snake Eaters came to the realization that it would be smart to attach a public health education aspect to next year's priorities. Well, at first, I didn't know what to be more excited about! Which was more exciting of a revelation...the fact that my step-dad has become a bushman, content with what food his Honduran friends provide in exchange for medical care unattainable any other time of the year...or the fact that the Snake Eaters figured out in three years what it took many of us over a decade to learn?!

In our 13th year as the diverse and united force that is the Alabama HondurasMedical Educational Network, we are striving to merge the medical and educational aspects of our mission so that both are part of a holistic approach to long-term sustainable development in Honduras. Looking back on the 2011 Project Honduras Conference, I notice similar responses from other humanitarian groups throughout the country.

5th Annual International Medical Seminar in Ciriboya

As we think about building stronger ties with other organizations in Honduras and maximizing A.H.M.E.N.'s effectiveness in helping empower Honduran communities, we cannot ignore other educational groups. Through greater communication with other NGOs and non-profits with educational foci we stand to see even greater successes come out of our woodworking schools, sewing schools, school for the deaf, library projects, and the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative. Exchanging ideas with other groups is not giving away our secrets but building on our strengths!

Education is all a matter of building bridges.”
-Ralph Ellison

The following list includes names and website information for various individuals and groups supplementing the Honduran educational system:

Michael Strong of FLOW, Inc is a professional educator, speaker, and author. He believes educational programs in hierarchical cultures should foster independent thinking, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Stanley Marrder of Honduras Weekly moved his tech firm to his native Honduras based on the fact that Honduras has been quietly exporting high tech Internet applications to the U.S. and Euopre of the past five years. He emphasizes the need for innovation throughout the Honduran educational system.

Timothy Underwood of Hope With Love, Inc. helps recruit, train, equip, and mobilize business world professionals and industries with the intent to democratize expertise and specialized skill- sets.

Carol Brouwer of A Better World Canada applies an innovative school-based approach to teaching hygiene and nutrition and advancing education.

Jairo Funez runs the scholarship program at the Alison Bixby Stone School at Zamorano University. It is a non-profit bilingual elementary school working to build effective professional relationships with other non-profit schools in Honduras and Honduran public school teachers.

Alison Bixby Stone School located within Zamorano Agricultural University - the site of the 2012 Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit

Carson Rodeffer of Light and Life International incorporates educational programs into children's feeding centers while working to support other humanitarian groups.

Esther Bettney of Siguatepeque Bilingual Christian School works to develop a comprehensive English curriculum for K-11 students. She guides an international teaching staff through the hoops of working within a locally-run Honduran school.

Deborah Prieskop of Steel Pan Alley in Roatan founded a music school with the motto “The arts are what lift us above the subsistence level.”
Josh Balser of Bilingual Education for Central America in Cofradia has worked for ten years in Honduras developing effective teacher training and bilingual educational programs for low- income families.

These are but a few of the thousands of names working at the hundreds of different educational institutions across Honduras. Just because A.H.M.E.N. is not highly-concentrated in any of the areas where the preceding folks work does not mean we can't work together. We can, and there are many more partnerships to be made in and around A.H.M.E.N.'s base of operations. I challenge you to find the ones focused on your specific area of outreach!

By connecting NGOs and non-profits we can connect Hondurans. Connected Hondurans can be the transformation they hope to see in Honduras.

Educating is always a vocation rooted in hopefulness.”
-bell hooks

Together, we are the change.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Project Honduras and A.H.M.E.N.

Four months ago when I registered to attend the Project Honduras Conference in Copan Ruinas, Honduras I asked myself if spending $600 on a plane ticket, $100 for Conference fees, and the additional money for food and lodging would be worth it. Since getting on this"kick" of contemplating appropriate and effective methods for mission work, I have become more concerned about how we spend our money in Honduras. Could the money my support network and I spent on our attending the Conference have been better spent on next year's short-term mission teams or one of the various long-term projects in which A.H.M.E.N. is involved? Certainly my investment could have gone toward feeding bellies, installing solar panels, or teaching clean water technology; nonetheless, our investment in Project Honduras is also an investment in A.H.M.E.N.

Marco Caceres, of Honduras Weekly, began hosting the Project Honduras Conference twelve years ago to help humanitarian groups working in Honduras better communicate. Although Honduran President Porfirio Lobo did not return this year, the energy surrounding the Conference was unlike anything I have experienced. Over 150 people from five different continents, completely addicted to their own special project in Honduras, came to interact with other like-minded organizations in an attempt to learn to better serve alongside the people of Honduras. In addition to the US Ambassador to Honduras, a representative from the Honduran National Congress, and representatives from USAID in Honduras, volunteers from schools, churches, children's homes, medical clinics and developmental groups showed up to learn what other groups are doing in Honduras. It doesn't get much better than that!

I originally anticipated that in the process of networking we would come across several groups working in many of the same areas in which A.H.M.E.N. focuses its attention, but we were literally the only group in attendance specifically working along the Garifuna coast. Whether this was because other humanitarian groups along Honduras' North Coast directly spend their money on Honduran communities rather than conferences or not, the lack of attention given to Garifuna and other indigenous cultures at the Project Honduras Conference demands groups like A.H.M.E.N. and CHIMES cast wider our network of communication across Honduras.

Below is a list of A.H.M.E.N. project areas with contact info for similarly-focused organizations working in Honduras. Let's begin building bridges today! Each contact overlaps into other areas...just pick one and I will send you contact info. You may find the answer to a question you didn't know how to ask!


  • Valerie Nelson of Familias Saludables in Roatan uses a therapeutic tool called “Life Books” to help children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Her technique teaches Hondurans to create personal histories which they can look on with pride.
  • Jeff Ernst of Children's Villages of Honduras works through “Positive Youth Development” and the important role that community involvement plays in a child's growth.
  • Olga Alvarado of the Ministry of Youth in Tegucigalpa specializes in microenterprise programs to empower young women in Honduras.
  • Suyapa Sabillon works as the director of legal affairs for Amigos de Jesus works to empower the next generation of Honduras. 

Feeding Centers

  • Carson Rodeffer of Light and Life International works to incorporate education programs into children's feeding centers.
  • Carol Brouwer of A Better World Canada uses an innovative school-based approach to teaching hygiene and nutrition and advancing education. Brouwer also helped advance a community owned and operated chicken project.
  • Genevieve Ross of the Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program works to sponsor a nutritious breakfast program for students at the Luisa Trundle School.
  • Blair Quinius of Urban Promise Honduras helps provide a holistic support network for children and youth through after-school programs, summer camps, and youth leadership training.


  • Christine Frederick of Walking With Children in Tegucigalpa pushes the Honduran public health system to work for Hondurans. Her organization works to channel patients through established routes so as to make government more accountable to parent-less and vulnerable children.
  • Phil Drake and Douglas Barahona of Providence World Ministries encourages children's homes to function as centers of community, family, top-level education and medical care, proper nutrition, and long-term self-sustainability.
  • Melody and Jacob Cherian of Honduras Fundacaion and Hogar Miques spoke about how to raise abandoned, neglected, and abused children with the love, care, education, and Christian values they need to lead future generations of Honduras.
  • Lauren and Steven Hosack are looking to refer at-risk and exceptional education students from Puerto Lempira to the Deaf School in Plan de Flores and Shalom in La Ceiba.
  • Tara and Jorge Garcia of R.O.O.M. work with children's homes in Puerto Lempira and Ahuas.
  • Edwin Mejia of Ministrerio para Niños y Familias ARROW in Tegucigalpa provides training and assistance to the staff of child protection institutions in order to strengthen their childcare services.

Medical Clinics

  • Dr. Medina from Honduras Global can help supply Honduran medical staff for volunteer teams.
  • Operation Smile Honduras can help supply Honduran medical staff for volunteer teams.
  • Phil Drake of Providence World Ministries helps run a clinic in Comayagua meeting dental, vision, and surgical needs.
  • Karla Posantes and Kyle Huhtanen of PREDISAN in Catacamas works to confront the drug addiction problem in Honduras through the Center for Rehabilitation of Addict Patients, or CEREPA. They are also interested in discussing eye care programs in Olancho and affordable international shipping methods
  • Patrick Connell, Krista Brucker, Paola Garcia, and Karla Reyes of Clinica Esperanza in Roatan work to meet community medical needs by providing affordable medical care, coordinating volunteer groups, and collecting localized epidemiological data for HIV and other infectious diseases.
  • Rolando Lopez of Studio Rel would like to discuss extending medical and eye teams up the Rio Platano in Wampusirpi and into the Valley of Seco.

Strengthening Social Cohesion

  • Carlos Roberto Romero of Zamorano University focuses on strengthening Honduran national identity through cultural richness
  • Arturo Sosa of Honduras Tips Magazine helps document the Honduran people and natural resources as a professional photographer
  • Deborah Prieskop of Steel Pan Alley in Roatan has developed a music school instructing Honduran youth in Honduran music.
  • Johnny Pons and Pastor Alex Montoya of New Life Fellowship help train men to defeat the machismo mentality through community and Christ-centered devotion.
  • Jo Ann Swahn of Honduras Good Works spoke about establishing microfinance opportunities for single mothers in the community of El Paraiso.
  • Deborah Matherne of El Camino a la Superacion helps facilitate the running of a sewing cooperative for Honduran families throughout the Copan valley.
  • Robert Sutton of La Asociacion Nuestros Ahijados would like to discuss ways to identify, eliminate, and prevent human trafficking.


  • Glen Evans of Art for Humanity shared helpful insights for small non-profit groups looking to expand their base of individual supporters.
  • Otoniel Manley of MENTORS Honduras would like to work with A.H.M.E.N. to develop sustainable microenterprise.
  • Kellie Stewart of USAID in Tegucigalpa emphasized non-profit coordination of public/private partnerships in order to earn grant money.

Networking with partners across Honduras connects, rather than separates, the Honduran people via relief and development projects. Working with other groups does not mean abandoning A.H.M.E.N. It means sharing resources to make A.H.M.E.N. stronger! Greater communication stands to help eliminate fundraising dilemmas. Sharing best practices and comprehensive ideas will limit waste of resources. Finally, as a united voluntary force, we can help encourage local, departmental, and national government workers to be more honest and open about working toward universally beneficial development in Honduras. Through communication we can help Hondurans achieve the maximum quality of life all humans deserve.


A.H.M.E.N. and CHIMES strongly cater to the most underserverd sectors of the Honduran population. With this in mind, communication with other humanitarian groups throughout Honduras stands to teach us more effective techniques to serve alongside our Honduran sisters and brothers in the most appropriate and effective manners. Reach out to one of the people or groups mentioned above and help increase our productivity as A.H.M.E.N.

See you at next year's Project Honduras Conference in Copan Ruinas October 18-20, 2012.

Together we are the change!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sustainable Discipleship in Honduras

Whether the next statement will cost or earn this blog new readers is just a risk I will have to take.  I am a huge fan of the hit sitcom "Seinfeld."  I have seen every episode and can pick up on subtleties connecting conversations originally aired seasons apart.  And when I recently learned of a new project Leisha Boulware is starting with AHMEN, I was reminded of both the balancing act of life and a quote from "Seinfeld."  In one episode Mr. Pitt, Elaine's future boss, suggests she has some grace (a reference to an earlier scene where she is told a person either has grace or doesn't have grace).  Elaine responds "Just some?" and Mr. Pitt says "Well, you don't want too much grace or your won't be able to stand."  I know..I know..what point am I trying to make with an obscure "Seinfeld" reference?  Without balance we will fall over too, and I imagine Leisha's idea can provide just what AHMEN needs in order to balance commitments to supporting communities in physical sustainability with a similarly-guided focus on spiritual sustainability.  I hope you are as eager to take the risk to see what develops as I am.

I have a vision for developing sustainable discipleship for children in Honduras. I traveled to Honduras three times in the last year focusing on three separate communities: La Union, Oak Ridge, Roatan and La Ceiba. On my March journey to Honduras, I spent the entire trip simply listening to the people who directly work with children, youth and adults. This was a life changing experience and confirmed my God-given vision to strive for sustainable ministry.  Most of the leaders I met with in Honduras made the same or similar comment, “no one had ever asked them and spent time listening to their perspective. This may or may not be completely accurate, but I do believe we have a tendency to “go and do” instead of embracing the importance of “ the ministry of presence.”
Believing people can be the change..

On my last trip in June, we brought backpacks full of supplies and curriculum and spent time with community leaders teaching them how to use the materials after we left. It is my hope to send lockable chests on the AHMEN containers for each church filled with supplies for 6 months to a year. We were limited to bringing only 6 of the 15 backpacks needed (luggage and weight limitations). Additionally, we found the churches needed a locked container to keep things from walking off.
After much prayer, my current thought is to create the mission organization entitled, Heartprints 4 Honduras.”  For me, the bottom line is: developing sustainable discipleship programs for children through prayer, equipping, encouragement and follow-up. Another way to simply say this-strive for maximize Kingdom building, transformation and “being the intimate hands and feet of Christ” through relational education and support.
Looking from a purely Kingdom building perspective and effectiveness, it seems logical to not limit oneself to one local congregation, but be available to partner with any church or secular mission organization.

Heartprints 4 Honduras Functions Through:
     ·       Working long term with communities in Honduras holistically to build relationships and assess environment for life-change.
     ·       Developing an effective training program to equip, prepare and train Heartprints team members in the United States for partnering with communities in Honduras.
     ·       Equipping leaders in Honduras for sustainable humanitarian programs and discipleship. Provide on-going prayer, encouragement, support and resources.
     ·       Paradigm shift from old school concept of rescuing and enabling to giving Hondurans ownership, equipping and multiplying skills.
     ·       Paint handprint murals-I named our unique mission group “Heartprints 4 Honduras.” One big surprise during our last mission trip was the response to painting handprint murals on the walls. Just a little paint, some sweat, and lots of laughter seem to kick start relationships, produce God excitement and leave lasting impressions of hope and love.
Arboles de Vida

I know that right now I am in a season of prayer, something I’ve never really stopped long enough to do. What I believe God has put on my heart, will not happen overnight, it will need numerous hours just seeking God and his wisdom.  Having said that, I also sense urgency to go to the next level of commitment to God and to those in need (here-Honduras-where ever they are)..
In order to raise funds for this project, I have additionally started JUNK 4 JESUS."  I take junk and refashion (upcycle) it into new and beautiful items for sale. On every tag and business card, I have  II Corinthians 5:17 displayed, “we are a new creation, the old is gone, the new is here.” I have tested some of my items at local craft fairs and have initially been amazed at the conversations the booth has created about missions.
At this point, I am not in a position to be an independent non-profit organization. Therefore, I think the specialized knowledge I can bring to an already dynamic mission organization would be beneficial to us both. I would be interested in your comments and feedback.
Humbly Serving,
Leisha Boulware


Since presenting her plans, AHMEN has decided to allow Leisha to operate independently under AHMEN's umbrella for one year.  I have also asked Leisha to pray on how "Heartprints 4 Honduras" and "Junk 4 Jesus" might join forces with the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative.  

AHMEN is blessed to be associated with such a vision as Leisha's.  How you can help Leisha realize her vision?

Friday, August 26, 2011


When you arrive at SIFAT's Galilee Campus in Lineville, Al on September 30 for the AHMEN General Meeting you will see a new face. Don't worry, though; he isn't really new! One of AHMEN's Domestic Missionaries, Ezekiel Nichols, will be with us to talk about different approaches to raising money here at home and in Honduras. In addition to the ways we can move toward subsidizing projects in Honduras and move away from a “giving a fish” mindset, Nichols will tell us about a brand new project he is developing with AHMEN!

Ezekiel Nichols will be graduating with a Ph.D. in Economics this December, and he has come up with an idea to completely transform the La Ceiba Dump Ministry. You may remember speaking with Sister Eleanor about the Dump Ministry, or you may have even been there yourself. If not...I do not aim to dramatize the situation. There are literally hundreds of people living in the city dump, making their meals and building their homes with other people's trash. Although we cannot immediately alter the conditions contributing to such a crime against humanity, Ezekiel has come up with a plan to make sure the Dump Ministry has what it needs to provide physical and spiritual sustenance for the dump's inhabitants.

1st of many benefits to raise money for the endowment

What makes Nichols' plan so special is his understanding that fundraising, like mission work, is about a concerted, long-term approach. As a starting point, Ezekiel aims to raise $40,000 for an endowment to continually pay for the Dump Ministry preachers' salaries and a reliable supply of highly-nutritional meals produced by Stop Hunger Now for the dump inhabitants.  His creative means of raising the money is testament to the type of partnerships AHMEN can include in our fundraising efforts. Ezekiel is holding benefit concerts, producing a blues album, placing change jars at local businesses, having bingo (the legal kind) events, in addition to soliciting funds from large corporations. Planning for down the road and to meet needs now, he immediately splits money raised between direct relief to the Dump Ministry and the endowment. What a difference a long-term approach to fundraising will make for both the people living in the dump and AHMEN!

Orlin, a child with Bullous Dermatosis in Belaire, before receiving Stop Hunger Now food packets
Orlin 6 months later

Now I don't want to get too philosophical here, but Ezekiel Nichols also serves as a symbol for the way  mission work is done outside of the mission field. He is a symbol for the people who want to help out with AHMEN but don't necessarily want to or are able to go to Honduras. Nichols went to Honduras several years back, but has been unable to return because of school, work, etc. Now, he has come back full-force to tackle a single project and serve as an analyst to such other projects as the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative. By starting the Dump Endowment and holding fundraising events he also raises awareness of issues important to the Honduran people and AHMEN. By starting a blog about his ideas and efforts he raises AHMEN's web presence. Through communicating with other AHMEN folks about their projects he adds valuable input and momentum to our shared concerns. His efforts clearly show the value of teamwork, the importance of communication, and the inspiration of long-term planning. In all sense of the term, in the past few months Ezekiel Nichols has become one of AHMEN's Domestic Missionaries.

When you get a chance, track down Ezekiel Nichols to see what he's up to lately.  He is on facebook, and a link to his blog can be found here.  Hopefully we will be hearing a lot more from him!

Monday, August 8, 2011


AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative Exploratory Meeting in Yorito
Now that the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative's community agents in Cusuna have completed the first third of their training, we would like to begin exploring the possibility of bringing additional workshops to other Honduran communities. In light of its highly-motivated population and international NGO presence, Byron Morales made a trip to explore the community of Yorito as a future workshop site. The following information regarding community leaders and organizational partnerships is based on his report:

  1. ALFASIC: Fanny Aviles
Responsibility: She is the supervisor of the area. She has been our initial contact and the dynamic person who has organized the visit and meetings.
Type of Organization: Evangelical, Educational & Private
Work field: HIV Prevention, Adult Education, Microcredit, Citizenship
Level of impact: Working in 32 communities
Observations: We can count with her as our main local partner for logistic, organization and follow up. She is a member of the local Catholic Church Board.

Responsibility: She represents the Government Policies for Women and Rights.
Type of Organization: Governmental
Work field: Gender and Women Rights
Level of impact: Three municipalities and 16 groups with around 150 women involved
Observations: They can support some curricula subjects for the community agents workshop.

Responsibility: She is the Library administrator.
Type of Organization: Private
Work field: HIV Prevention, Adult Education, Microcredit, Citizenship
Level of impact: Working in Yorito
Observations: The library is available for free for the eventual trainings, but they have a room for only 30 people.

Community Leaders From Left: Fanny, Melvin, Dilcia

  1. EDUCATODO: Jose Perez
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private with Norwegian funds
Work field: Formal and informal education
Level of impact: Working in 18 communities, with 18 facilitators and 185 attendants from the communities
Observations: Their facilitators could be candidates for AHMEN/SIFAT Initiative workshop.

Responsibility: Library Board President
Observations: He is also the assistant director of the High School San Pedro and invited us to visit the school because of their interest in some seminars on HIV and sexual abuse prevention.
  1. FIPAH, Melvin and Dilcia Ramirez
Responsibility: Director
Type of Organization: Private with Norwegian funds
Work field: Agricultural and Technology
Level of impact: 21 youths groups on agricultural training, environmental care, computer and English classes.
Observations: They could be one of the strongest partners and a source for community agents candidates as also for funding the project. Dilcia attended our first workshop at Cusuna as part of the group that Janet Espinosa of Peace Corps mobilized.

Variety of Beans Produced by FIPAH

  1. CDF: Juan Perez
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private and member of FIPAH
Work field: Youth leadership and microenterprise
Level of impact: 38 graduates. 10 youth groups.
Observations: They are a good source for recruiting youth for the training.

  1. PEACE CORPS: Nina Pfiffer
She has been key in the organization of our visit and is doing good work mobilizing the communities of Yorito and Pacayal.
  1. PRALEVA: Ramon Lagos & Rita Velasquez
Responsibility: Facilitators
Type of Organization: Governmental - MOE
Work field: Youth and Adult education
Level of impact: 300 students in 20 community centers
Observations: This will be an excellent source for recruiting community agents for our training program.

  1. RENACER: Gloria Avilez
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private
Work field: Promoting local culture among youth
Level of impact: 10 youth facilitators
Observations: RENACER is an outstanding partner for promoting local culture.

Byron Morales of SIFAT and Marlene Pozas of SERTEDESO

  1. SERTEDESO: Marlen Pozas
Responsibility: Coordinator
Type of Organization: Private
Work field: Technical Services on Agriculture, Environmental care, Microenterprise
Observations: They have offered support as facilitators for the trainings.

  1. ALCALDIA (Mayor Office): Manuel Hernandez
He is the second in command to the mayor.  His office is responsible for 16K people from the Municipality of Yorito, with 3 ethnic groups, in 52 communities. He has expressed the commitment of the Municipality to support our presence.

FIPAH also teaches Computer and English skills and need volunteers for both!

We also visited:
  1. San Pedro High School: Met with the Principal and she would like her school actively committed with the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative. She has requested to train their teachers in educational methodologies, HIV prevention with the students, and child sexual abuse prevention with the parents. They could reproduce the manuals.
  2. FIPAH: With them we could coordinate SIFAT trainings on appropriate technology. They have groups coming from Nourish International to support their programs.
  3. Catholic Church: They have a big conference room, kitchen and green areas for developing the workshops. We would have to sign an agreement to use the place.
  1. SIFAT will send the mentioned leaders to distribute among their organizations and prepare another meeting with us.
  2. Plan a second meeting in August or September to design the project and budget together.
  3. To look for the resources to cover SIFAT costs and the logistic for the attendants.
  4. Potential partners to develop: Peace Corps, ALFASIC and FIPAH. All of them have expressed possibilities to allocate funds to start the training program at the end of 2011 or early 2012.

With such a highly mobilized group of community leaders and organizations already in place just imagine what the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative could add to the mix!  For more information on how to get involved feel free to contact me.  With prayer and determination we can all work toward developing Yorito as a sustainable model community  in Honduras!