When it comes to sending volunteers in the mission field, River of Living Water United Methodist Church in Jasper, Alabama is one of a kind. I don't think they can even count how many different volunteers the church has sent to Honduras over the last 18 years AHMEN has been up and running. Nonetheless, every volunteer from the past continues to set an example for future volunteers. In my next two blog posts I will be writing about the character and accomplishments of ROLW UMC's three volunteers who joined this year's Río de Agua Viva team.
The first individual I would like to tell you about is named Autumn Thornton. Autumn attended her first meeting to join the Río team back in January, and she immediately took to the idea of teaching a lesson on ecofeminism. While this topic is one that I have been promoting in mission work for several years now, I was elated when I heard from the community agents in Raistá that they wanted to learn more about both ecology and feminism. What a grand opportunity, I thought, to try out ecofeminism as part of Christian mission work in Honduras. What an even better stroke of luck that our team recruited a volunteer to teach it. And wouldn't you know it, another woman named Madison Lachney joined the team and wanted to partner with Autumn!
In addition to teaching the concept of ecofeminism to sixty community agents using art and history, Autumn and Madison led discussions on two Latin American feminists: Frida Kahlo and Berta Cáceres. It was an amazing sight to watch as two young white women from the southern U.S. talked about two Latin American feminist icons to Miskito women from the most-isolated parts of Honduras. Furthermore, Autumn and Madison led the group in planting moringa trees as a way to center local feminist unity around nature and combating malnutrition.
What was truly noteworthy, however, was the fact that Autumn and Madison were able to get the Miskito community agents to write letters to their governments expressing their concerns and needs. In a volatile world where the government "doesn't care" about indigenous communities like the Miskito, it is a true mark of empowerment that the ASI-Raistá community agents felt confident enough to communicate their grievances.
Below are the letters that members of ASI-Raistá wrote. (I have erased identifying information for the protection of the letters' authors.)
Autumn plans to mail the letters to the President of Honduras and the US Embassy in Honduras to help raise awareness of the needs in and around Raistá. She also plans to focus on mobilizing a specific group of women to formally meet and discuss ecofeminist issues on a regular basis.
To continue workshops like ASI-Raistá, AHMEN needs donors. Go to www.honduranmissions.com. Click the "donate" button, and describe your donation as "ASI - Byron's Workshops." Please also email me your name and information so I can thank you personally. You may also send a check made out to "AHMEN" with "ASI - Byron's Workshops" on the "For" line to:
516 Ridgeview Dr
Jasper, Al 35504
Please consider scheduling a monthly donation of as little as $10 per month. If you would like to learn more about how to join our Río de Agua Viva team, contact me today!
Together, we are the difference.