Honduras (MNN) ― Ousted ex-Honduran President Manuel Zelaya inked an accord Sunday with the country's current president that will allow him to return to Honduras after almost two years in exile. The move is a closing remark in the story of Honduras' more turbulent times that ended in a coup in 2009.
While things seem to have settled, there are still problems that present themselves as obstacles to ministry. Daniel Sandoval with Spanish World Ministries explains. "Although this chapter in Honduras seems to be closed, the truth is that people in this country deal with enormous social problems such as the high unemployment rate and corruption at every level of the government."
Crime also hampers a more traditional Gospel approach--specifically, insecurity on the streets due to the gang wars. "At a certain time in the evening, in many places of the country people cannot be out in the streets. Other serious problem that Honduras is dealing with is something similar to what is taking place in countries like Guatemala and Mexico: the strong presence of the drug cartels that are fighting for the control of the distribution of drugs on its way to the North."
As if poverty, crime, and drugs weren't enough of a challenge, there are obstacles from within the Church itself. "Just as anywhere in Latin America, most of the people are Romans Catholics. It means that many people keep thinking that they must earn their salvation, and that salvation is obtain through a church, not through Christ."
Sandoval goes on to say that heresy is a real problem, too. "There's an alarming increase in the number of cults--so-called 'Christians' that offer false teachings. Miracles, prosperity, and healings are usually the ways offered by this type of groups to attract the attention of desperate people."
The message is attractive and one that counterfeits the Gospel. Sandoval says that people are taught "either through salvation by works, or by hearing false teachings from so-called prophets and apostles. Satan is darkening the hearts of the Honduran people. Also a strong materialism philosophy which is offered through movies, music, TV programs keeps the people away from considering God's ways."
That's a big problem in scope. However, Spanish World Ministries has found effective ways to offset the prevalent problems. One way is through radio. Their programs are reaching hearts in every country of Central America through over 500 stations (mostly secular) that broadcast them.
By using radio, the message can go out even if people physically cannot. Sandoval says their team is ready to disciple, when the need arises. He shares this story:
A few weeks ago, a man called our missionary and shared that he was in total despair since his former girlfriend had died. Under his circumstances, he thought about committing suicide. As he was fighting with this thought, our program was aired in a local radio station. Impacted by the Bible teaching that this man heard, he decided to dial the phone number given at the end of the program. It was around 11:30 in the night when our missionary received the call. As he answered the call, he realized that this man was troubled by his thoughts. The Lord used the radio program and the counseling given by our missionary to help this man to surrender his sadness to Christ.
The relationships developed between the team and the listeners are key to training more missionaries.
Nixon, a young man who lives in the mountains, far from any contact with a church, heard the programs and eventually opened his heart to Christ. A time later, Nixon contacted our missionary to share his desire to grow more in his spiritual life. Our missionary visited him, and since that time, Nixon not only grew spiritually but expressed his desire to serve the Lord.
Radio isn't the only way Spanish World Ministries is working in Honduras. Many of their programs are available on CD for listeners who might have missed the airing of a message. Not only does that allow people to listen at their leisure, it also allows them to share the Gospel with others who might not have heard otherwise.
For example, a believer plays the CD through the audio system of a large factory where she works. Yet another enterprising believer drives a public bus and plays the programs in the CD player. Two local food markets play them through a vendor-sponsored radio station. As a result, hundreds are hearing the Gospel while they take their breaks, ride the bus, or shop for food.
The ministry has a physical presence in Guatemala and Honduras, but doors have also opened in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, and El Salvador, and Belize.
Sandoval says the growth means they could use some help. "We need prayer warriors willing to pray for each program that is transmitted through the radio. Every week the Gospel is proclaimed 12,000 times through the stations that broadcast our programs. Pray that the Lord would touch the hearts of people that need to find the real peace and hope that only Christ can give."
This kind of rapid growth costs money. Spanish World Ministries continues to ask God for provision. "Right now a prayer and goal before the Lord for this year is to have 60 new donors giving $30 dollars monthly."