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Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day According to a Christian Ecofeminist Honduran Missionary

We have but one home planet to inhabit.  We have but a single space in the universe to explore all that is positive about life as we know it.  God asked the first humans in Genesis 1:28 to  “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!" in regards to the earth, and in heeding this first commandment, the earth's health is central concern.  The earth is our pallet for positive human free will; our canvas of conservation.  Yes, the first page of the Bible asks human beings to be green.  In God's first communication with humans, he/she/it begs we homo sapiens maintain the earth's homeostasis.

God demands this of us all and none more than others.  Prosperous, unpolluted land is a gift from God to us all.  Money is not mentioned on that first page of the Bible.  Despite what some disillusioned might say, corporations are not people and have no right to dictate how the earth and its inhabitants should be treated.  The responsibility of being good shepherds of the planet is the duty of poor and rich, L&G&B&T&Q, Western and Eastern, Southern & Northern, Dark & Light, Men & Women, etc.  In fact, our shared responsibility to the maintenance of our planet to give forth and support all life is also what binds us.  God's love built a home for life to flourish, and it was God's love that entrusted humans with the task of protecting it!

With this in mind, why don't Christian missionaries incorporate environmental activism into their outreach?  Why wouldn't we include deliberate social/political/economic activism into our daily schedules while in the mission field?  Because Christians are called to save souls, we have to have a planet on which to do so!

In Honduras, environmental activists are under fire.  As Christians, do we ignore the assassination of those advocating on behalf of God's original commandment, or do we take up their mantle? Is the health of our planet a Christian cross to bare? Jesus asked us in Matthew 25:40 to love God by working for justice on behalf of what society judges to be "the least."  But who are "the least?"

"The least" is not a who but a what.  Jesus is asking us to fight the either/or mentality causing humans to pit the priorities of the greedy over those of the needy.  It is the mentality that says it is okay to tear down families' homes and gardens to convert mighty currents, dig dark coal, pump thick petroleum, and trade the earth's other sacred treasures for cash.  It is the mindset that permits the purification of drinking water for those who can afford it and the pollution of water for those who can't.  It is the mindset that fools our politicians into thinking health care is a business instead of a right.  When Jesus says "the least," he is talking about the whales, lions, and yes, even mice and cockroaches being slaughtered.  "The least" are those whose true survival is out of their hands.  In this way, all earth inhabitants are bonded too.  Our shared survival depends on the implementation of true justice and peace within our shared space. We are all "the least" and equally deserve self-determination within our interplanetary home.

Everlasting life, salvation if you will, through Jesus is the core message of Christianity.  More than words or self-preservation, though, salvation inherently requires an active struggle against climate collapse for the planet's survival.  Saved by Jesus, the Christian Ecofeminist Missionary's own salvation depends on the salvation of all other living and nonliving earth inhabitants.  In this way, we do live forever in the life cycle's continued rotation.

There is no time for bias against earthly division.  God's first creation welcomes you with open arms into both the salvation of humans and our planet.

Glory be to God
and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost,
as it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen, amen.

Together, we are the difference.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Gathering Resources for Continued Development

The AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative's Byron Morales continues to live and work in Honduras, and he had a busy February.  Read below to learn about his ongoing development work in Honduras with AHMEN.



By: Byron Morales
ASI Initiative Coordinator


During February our initiative has concentrated on follow up with medicine donations, follow up to building relationships with Union Biblica about potential partnership with AHMEN and the organization and execution of the Jutiapa Workshop.
New projections are being proposed this month to AHMEN and the continuation of community work after ending the training in Jutipa.


After distributing all the initial donations we continue with the MAP-CONSEDE-ASI coordination to get more medicines especially for Cusuna and La Musquitia. We have confidence in our partnership with Lucia Caceres, CONSEDE representative, that we can obtain more donations for the Rio Team coming to La Musquitia next June to use as part of a community development training.

Last month we reported about the interest of Union Biblica Honduras (SCRIPTUTE UNION) to partner with AHMEN in sharing their educational materials to train teachers from the communities where AHMEN and the and Community Agents have presence. This month we met with the National Director, Orlando Japas, to design a strategy of cooperation to submit it to the AHMEN Executive Committee and explore ways of shared impact with this partnership.
Another subject with Union Biblica is an interest in involving the young Community Agent graduates and those currently in the training program to be trained by Union Biblica and Tear Fund support in Total Mission. This would be especially beneficial for those involved in youth ministries in churches. They provide the training and three days in one of their huge campus in Siguatepeque for only $10 per participant. We are preparing a proposal for AHMEN Executive Committee to consider if this could be a focus after we finished the current training community agents program.



On February 23-26, the first workshop for the Advanced Level was held in the Clinic of Jutiapa with the support of the Mayor's Office and Dr. Noe Guardado.
After some intensive weeks of follow up to the Community Agents in their communities in coordination with the Mayor's assistant and the new Coordinator, Ms. Saby Jimenez, and against one of the strongest storms of the year, we had 35 of 45 agents attend the workshop.

Because of the extraordinary storm these days, it was very difficult for the Agents to arrive, and some of them could not cross the creeks coming to Jutiapa. The Municipality has agreed with the ASI initiative to develop a 1-day supplemental workshop to update the 10 Agents who could not come.

I want to extend a special thanks to the continued work of Sonia Barahona, one of our best volunteers. We also had the presence of the firemen and police officers who were available and on alert in the case of evacuation of families from communities under flood risk. Jutiapa police officers also joined us to support the subject of how "the law" responds to child sexual abuse prevention.
This was one of the subjects developed during the workshop. It was dynamic presentations were each attendant shared several hard personal and community experiences.

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Sonia Barahona, one of the most active agents, shared her experience using her house as a refugee for abused and abandoned girls from the communities. She has been treated by abusers but her courage and the support of the policemen is saving and protecting lives.
Since the sexual abuse is a crime penalized and processed by legal actions, we counted with the support of the local police headquarter. Agent Mejia shared several real cases from the most violent to the basic situations of potential abuse and risk. The Community Agents learned how to handle denounce and how to be in contact directly with the police station. Now every agent has the direct cell phone number for a rapid answer and support from the police. This is taken as a way to make safe spaces in the communities beginning with networking against abusers.

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Officer Miglan Soto, Unit Boss of the Firemen, presenting some cases they have had also to face in his job. The same way as we trained the gents in Yorito and are now part of the Immediate Emergency and Disaster Response, we plan to have the training with Mr. Soto and his team.

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A second subject developed during the workshops was about cre of the Pregnancy woman, delivery and the new born
With the volunteer contribution of Drs. Melvin and Ana Pacheco, the Agents had some of the most real cases, video, information and all the basic for caring the pregnancy woman and support of deliver and transfer of cases in the communities to the Hospital and Clinics.

PICTURE: Drs. Melvin and Ana Pacheco, some of the most highly committed physicians and community workers

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Another important actor coordinating with the ASI initiative is the Youths Network funded but the Municipality. Some of them are registered community agents in training with us and attended the workshop.
Kenya is one of the most active young women in violence prevention and designing alternatives for the youths in the communities to avoid involving in gangs, one of the main structural rpblems in Honduras.

PICTURE: Kenya Cedillo (red shirt), secretary of the Jutiapa Youths Network from the Municipality

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PICTURE: Youths from the YOUTHS NETWORKING, active attendants to the ASI workshops.

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Among the participants we also counted with a famous woman in the communities known as Gigi, Ms. Juana Celestina Arzu (picture: right side). She is an agent protecting women’s rights who came to encourage the agents to continue serving and working for the rights of women and children in Honduras. Her presence was just inspirational.
Finally, we counted with the committed support of the new coordinator, Saby Jimenez, she is the new delegated by the Mayor to coordinate all the logistic preparation and the organization of next activities, follow up and workshops.

Gracias Sabi!

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If you would like to donate to the work Byron Morales is doing on behalf of AHMEN in Honduras, click here now.  If you would like to work with Byron's community agents in Honduras, contact me today!

Together, we are the difference.