Back in May of 2008 we applied with the Honduran government to form a Christian denomination. Now, almost three years later, we have an official denomination recognized by the government of Honduras.
Our denomination is…get ready for this…”The Presbyterian Church in Honduras of the City of La Ceiba, in the State of Atlantida” (Iglesia Presbiteriana en Honduras de la Ciudad de La Ceiba, Departmento de Atlantida). Yeah, kind of a mouthful. While that is our official name we will go by “The Presbyterian Church in Honduras”.
Having a recognized denomination in Honduras helps us in many ways, including taxes, legal issues, and property rights. As we continue to build churches, medical clinics and schools the government will look more favorably upon our work and give us greater freedoms.
This first step opens the door to hiring pastors and forming congregations. It is quite a technical issue and can seem trivial, but this early step in our process will open many doors.
Yesterday our very cool attorney went to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, to file our final paperwork for residency and for the forming of the Presbyterian Church in Honduras (PCH). This has been a long process with a mountain of paperwork.
The residency paperwork will give us a 3 year unrestricted residency status. No more leaving the country every 90 days. We will not be citizens, but we will no longer be tourists.
The PCH paperwork will allow us to have a legal Nongovernmental Organization (NGO). The forming of this NGO will give us a legal entity that enables us to start a church, buy property, employee staff, and much more.
Nothing is complete yet, but our part is all done and it is now up to the Government of Honduras and the will of God.
Today we are mailing off the Spanish language BCO (by-laws) for the “Presbyterian Church in Honduras” (PCH) to our attorney in Honduras. Our attorney is filling paperwork with the Honduran government to create a government recognized church. This is a very small step towards our goal of planting a church. None the less, it is our first official step towards what God has called us to do. We have no congregants, no preacher, no building, no chairs. But, the Honduran government requires us to take this step. We still must produce additional paperwork to our attorney before we can actually file with the government. So, here we go.
The best part about all this is our attorney. When I asked him three weeks ago how much it would cost to file our organizational documents for our church and residency paperwork for the three of us, his response was, “Pray for me each day and pay my actual costs, and I will charge you nothing.” To put this in perspective, we have priced legal expenses for residency and church organizational fillings. Each of the four documents usually costs $3,000 – $5,000. So, our attorney is going to charge us about $2500 for $12,000 to $20,000 worth of work. Praise God!
So, now it is your turn. Please pray for two things: 1) Pray that our attorneys (Patrick and Kiomi) are blessed for their dedication to our Lord’s work, and, 2) Pray that the Honduras government approves the forming of the “Presbyterian Church in Honduras” without any difficulty.