Hurricane Mitch is credited for evangelism/church planting

By September 19, 2006

Honduras (MNN) — While it’s been nearly eight years since Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras, missionaries are excited about what God’s done since the storm spiritually.

World Gospel Mission was one of the first to begin long term assistance. They initially provided relief, but speaking from Honduras, Larry Overholt says that was just the beginning of what has blossomed into an incredible ministry. “We’ve been involved in five areas. Church planting is kind of the emphasis of our effort and we’ve established six congregations. We also emphasize economic development, health care, recreation and education.”

Not only have they started churches, but they’ve established a medical clinic, small businesses, they acquired a vocational school, and are looking at other ways of using the local church to change an entire community, says Overholt.

“Economic is necessary for the church. It’s extremely difficult to build a church and extend the church if we have people without jobs. It’s difficult to have jobs if you don’t have education. Recreation also brings people off the street and into our facility.”

The outreach, says Overholt, is more than just a church building. “We’re trying to reach all aspects of people’s lives instead of just having a church behind a chain linked fence and staying on that property. We’re trying to make as much of a difference in the community as we can in as many different areas as we can.”

Overholt says this is providing opportunities to share the Gospel. They come into the property to play basketball or participate in something else and that’s when they start realizing there’s something different about them.

According to Overholt, that happens a lot. “I was leading one worship service and I had a lady walk right in to the church service and she said, ‘can I accept Christ now?’ I said, ‘yeah, I think that can happen.'”

Right now WGM needs prayer, financial support and, “We need missionaries. The relationship that we have with the church in Honduras is such that the church is continually asking for missionaries. Right now, our urgent need in Choluteca, is somebody that could help us in small businesses.”

While Hurricane Mitch took the lives of 11,000 people, 8,000 more were never found. Overholt says he finds himself speechless when talking to new Christians about it. “I don’t know how to respond, sometimes, when one of our church members says he’s thankful for Hurricane Mitch, ‘I would have never heard the Gospel.'”

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