On Monday we taught our weekly English class in Armenia Bonito. Thirty students, young and old, attended. Our weekly English classes are a wonderful way for the students to learn a skill and set themselves apart in the job market. The Honduran unemployment rate continues to hover near 30%. This means that competition for even the most menial job is high. Any skill a person has that will set them apart from other applicants is beneficial and speaking English is a coveted ability.
For us, the teachers, we are afforded the opportunity to benefit the students. But, we are also given the chance to build and strengthen dozens of relationships. As we spend time with the students we earn the right dive into their personal lives. Our familiarity with the students affords us opportunities to have personal discussions on life, future and faith.
This week we studied the days of the week, months of the year, questions (who, what, when, etc.) and we worked on reading John 4:46-54. Each student took an oral exam after class.
For nearly five years our ministry in La Ceiba, Honduras has been serving the people and glorifying the Lord. This is a team that the Lord has handpicked and put together for his glory. Here is a quick introduction of God’s servants…if you don’t know them already…from right to left along the bottom:
Kate DeFuniak runs our StreetChild ministry. Lyssa Melonakos is an intern who works in the community of La Fe. Erin Pettengill is our resident nurse and runs a medical clinic in Armenia Bonito. Mike Pettengill is our Team Leader. James Bryars is an intern working in Armenia Bonito. Jennifer Derrick is an intern working in Puerta de Esperanza. Mike Troxell and Ashley Troxell are church planters working in the community of La Fe. Lesther Ordoñez recently joined Team Honduras when he married Shannon Innes de Ordoñez who runs Puerta de Esperanza. Mandy Marcone is an intern who works with the StreetKids. Kathy Clow runs our scholarship program and coordinates our short-term teams and John Clow manages all of our construction needs. And, of course, all the kids across the top.
Our team loves and fights and appreciates and supports each other like a biological family. God has been good to all of us by brining together our team.
On Monday Mike and our teammate James taught an English class in Armenia Bonito. This was class number four of a 10-week series. The students were a little unruly and a couple got tossed out for poor behavior. Those who remained did a wonderful job.
Mike started the class with a review of a few grammar topics. Mike touched on possessives, future tense and responding to a question in the negative and positive. James then taught the students vocabulary for body parts and animals. Following instruction Mike and James administered oral exams to all 25 students.
James is getting to know some of the students better and this is allowing him to build some friendships with them. Our ESL classes regularly prove to be great relationship builders that pay great dividends in the area of evangelism and discipleship. Teaching ESL helps introduce us to new members of the community each class.
The core group of students is very committed to learning. They often get embarrassed during class, but frequently ask for clarification on definitions and pronunciation in private. They are interested in learning English to improve job opportunities.
Last week we welcomed two new long-term interns to Team Honduras. Mandy Marcone and James Bryars V joined us after six weeks of Spanish language study in Costa Rica.
Mandy is from Georgia and has a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia. She has previously done missions work in Peru, Honduras, Mexico, Ukraine and the US. Mandy will work with our StreetChild ministry serving homeless kids.
James (known lovingly as JB5) is from Alabama and has a degree in Business Administration from the University of South Alabama. He has previously done mission work in Belize, Brazil and Honduras. JB5 will work with us in Armenia Bonito.
We encourage you to bookmark their blogs and read about their experiences so you can know better how to pray for them.