San Pedro Sula, Honduras
April 28 - May 13, 2000
I was invited by OCI to work with them in planning 154 concurrent Campaigns in the Central American country of Honduras and to conduct one myself in the northern industrial capital of San Pedro Sula. But, mine was just one of fifteen Campaigns held in this city of 1 million people. At the right is the lovely auditorium in which the meetings were held.
Charles Cleveland, of Wildwood, planned nine Health Fairs, one of which was in San Pedro Sula. Yuchi Pines Institute provided staffing for this location. At least 400 and up to 700 people lined up each night for consultations. Though the heat was unmerciful and the humidity oppressive, many arrived four to eight hours ahead of time for this program.
It was thrilling to see virtually all those who came to the health fair stay and attend the evangelistic meetings each night. There is no question in my mind that following the counsel weve been given and using our health message as the primary point of contact makes a very positive impact.
For the first week Dr. Frank McNiel (left), a physician from Knoxville who served at our hospital in Nicaragua for five years and at hospital in Valley of the Angels (Honduras) for 10 years, presented a 15-minute health nugget every evening.
Since Dr. McNiel could only spend one week with us, the second week, Mrs. Aracely Gonzalez de Gomez (right, in the blue dress), a nurse from Panama who speaks flawless Spanish, continued presenting nightly health messages.
With a seating capacity of about 1,200, the Health Fair as well as the Campaign was held in an auditorium owned by the National Association of Engineers.
Since the auditorium was at the edge of town where regular bus service concluded early in the evening, we arranged for buses to transport interests and members from each of the seven participating churches to the auditorium and back. I counted 85 people disembarking from one bus (right).
Our total attendance is varying from 800-1200. Of these weve never had less than 210 non-SDAs in attendance. At our first call over 100 turned in cards requesting baptism.
One of the joys of this Campaign was seeing old friends. It in 1972 that I tried something considered a bit non-standard. Anxious to accelerate the rate of establishing congregations in unentered areas, I asked the committee to employee a group of laymen who had been successful both in business and in personal soul-winning. They approved this initiative and these laymen established 54 new congregations in the next two years! Several of these laymen were so successful they were hired as full-time pastors. Among these was Eliseo Euceda Santos (left), now 91 years old and still active in soul-winning. During our visit he told me again some of the stories of how God protected his life while he raising up congregations in very difficult areas.
May 1, a major Central American holiday honoring laborers, throngs crowded the central plaza in front of the cathedral. Loud speakers blared with protest as speakers condemned unsympathetic politicians while on the other side of the plaza (right) a group of communists marched behind their red banners and burned symbols in effigy.
I couldn't help but get a chuckle as I watched the "walking flower market" go by in front of me. It added just a touch to the festivities.
We had a baptism at almost every meeting. The portable "baptistery" was set up just outside the building and live scene projected onto the screen for all the attendees to enjoy. By the close of the meetings well over 400 had been baptized, a number that increased to 761 within two months. As an additional blessing two new congregations were organized as a result of the Campaign.
|At the close of the meetings it was painful to bid the North Honduras Mission President, Xavier Mejia and his lovely family (left) farewell. We reveled in the friendship, love and energy of so many new friends. And there is nothing like the joy one experiences watching the Holy Spirit convict and draw a soul to Him and then see the thrill on their faces when they come up out of their watery grave knowing with full assurance that their names are written on the book of life. There is nothing like this. So, after one more "abrazo" (hug) we journey homeward leaving a bit of our hearts in Honduras, again.|
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