Children’s ministry has big plans for new field

By December 12, 2008

Honduras (MNN) — Ruth Kramer with Mission Network News has been on location in Honduras this week with Buckner International. She wraps up her trip today, taking a look at Buckner's vision for their work in Honduras.

"State-run
orphanages in Honduras are generally overcrowded and underfunded. Though many of the children have lost both
parents, studies show that over half of the children in these facilities are ‘social
orphans' — those who come from families where a child can't be cared for due to
poverty, abuse or abandonment.

"When these children age out of
the system, they are frequently underprepared to fend for themselves as adults
and consequently succumb to the streets for survival. 
The streets are a brutal reality
for them, and their harsh teaching results in an ugly cycle that is stealing the
next generation. That's why Buckner International began working in Honduras.

"We visited
Nueva Esperanza, or New Hope Orphanage. It's a government-run facility
with around 100 children, some with special needs. Caregivers are overwhelmed
by the needs and are doing the best they can, but with limited resources, the
problems are obvious.

"As Buckner assesses the needs
throughout the country, they are thinking about how to tackle the problem — and
that starts before the kids wind up in a facility. It starts with helping the families before
they take the desperate step of leaving their children at Nueva Esperanza's
gates.

"Leslie Chace, Buckner's ministry director for the Latin American programs, says that as they build the
ministry in Honduras, they want churches in the United States to consider adopting
an orphanage and sending teams to help care for the kids. The care would translate to initiating a
relationship through humanitarian aid and Vacation Bible School.

"One key ‘foot in the door' is
through the Shoes For Orphan Souls program. Teams not only give shoes and
socks to the children in the homes, they also do Vacation Bible School and give the children their time and
their love. Their brief connection often
leaves the door open for follow up with Honduran staff that comes in after the
short-term teams go home.

"Though in the fledgling stages,
they also want to begin a transitional living program for the girls at the teenage
girls' home in San Pedro Sula. Buckner
plans expansion into foster care, foster care training, and possibly adoptions
later on.

"Like their Guatemala program, Chace
says they expect growth to be rapid because of Honduras' proximity to the
United States. That's why they're
building a network with churches for that purpose, and she says the team has
already identified a community of believers in San Pedro Sula that they want to
connect with a supporting church in the United States.

"The contrast between a facility
that has the resources they need and one that does not is as obvious as
watching a contractor build a house with a spoon. The tools are what are needed to do the job
right.

"Buckner already has seven trips
scheduled in 2009, and they're hoping to see them filled with people who want
to invest themselves for the kids' sakes. 

"For Chace, this is all about Kingdom
building. 'Being a Christian
organization, one of Buckner's main goals is to disciple the kids and to bring
Jesus into their lives. Through all the teams coming in, there are opportunities
to work with the kids and give them Jesus."

For details on how you can help
Buckner, click here.

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