Good morning Everybody!
As I write this update, Cesar and I are back in Guatemala after a whirlwind of travel and stops in both Honduras and Guatemala. The past few days we have been in the jungle of Guatemala for our first PlayStoryEat training with a few of our Kekchi friends. After getting accustomed to the rhythms of the jungle with howling monkeys, bathing in the river, and eating strange food, I feel like I am coming out of an alternate universe!
The last time I updated you, we were in Honduras with Rick Watson and Frank Molano, but I had not shared any specifics about the happenings there. Today, I want to do just that. Note that in a couple of updates, I plan to highlight more on Rick and Frank's trip. This is just the first part!
Will the Chaos in the University Affect Us?
The past several months, the National University of Agriculture in Catacamas has been in turmoil. In November, after a student uprising and a house cleaning of the primary leaders, classes were suspended and students lost a semester of studies. In January, a few programs restarted, but the week we showed up (May 19), there were other programs just getting restarted.
In the past few years we have had great relations with everyone we have worked with, and as of last year, leaders of the extension program had asked us to create a curriculum of improving human values as well as help bring specialists in both agriculture and veterinary medicine to interact with their students and their extension programs. We had asked that you pray about this situation and for both students and faculty friends of ours.
The first morning there, we went to the University to see who we could meet. The only solid contact we had was with the current president of the student bull riding team. He told us he would get his group together, and beyond that, we had no firm appointments. We had been told that the interim committee who is now running the University would be next to impossible to have any contact with us on this trip.
The Bull Riders Faithful to Their Word
Driving onto the campus, the atmosphere was clearly more subdued than in years past. But as soon as we entered the gate, Levis, the president of the bull riders, waved at us and told us where we would meet with the others. After a few minutes, a group of about 10 guys gathered, including Omar, the past bull riders president who graduated last year, and who "just happened" to be on campus that day for his new job with an Ag company. Omar had been with us a little over two years ago in the states when a handful of the bull riders came for an exchange with Texas Tech and spent a week with me traveling to visit cowboy churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. It was on that trip that Omar and Luis, another bull rider, had ridden in a buckout at the Denton County Cowboy Church.
Rick and I enjoyed seeing Frank interact with the students as Cesar prompted him to tell his story of how he had gotten right with God. The guys listened intently as he shared how he had strayed from the ways of his father, a pastor to Mexican immigrants, but that one of the first cowboy churches (meeting at Billy Bobs, a famous bar in Fort Worth) became instrumental in getting him back on track and fostering a call to step out in faith to minister to kids and families in the high school rodeos.
In addition to being together this particular day, we got to spend parts of two other days with these guys as we shared more about how the Christian Rancher groups are developing in other places, and we introduced them to our latest tool, a 52-week Cowboy Up Guide (cowboy version of PSE Discipleship Guide) for getting groups started using some of the most compelling stories of Jesus as the primary Biblical material.
After we finished talking with the bull riders, it was about lunch time, so Cesar treated everyone to a baleada (a Honduran version of a burrito). As we listened to their stories, we were encouraged by how in several cases they felt that God had taken care of them even though they had lost a semester of school.
Divine Appointment with a University Decision Maker
We then decided to see if we could find any of our faculty friends. The main guy we were looking for wasn't at his office. We were about to leave when Ramon, another professor, popped out of his door waving frantically. Ramon was with the group who came this past summer to the Denton County Cowboy Church. After catching up with him, Cesar asked if there were any of the new leaders of the university available to talk to us.
"If we go now, we might catch one of the main leaders out in the field," Ramon answered. "I think he is reviewing plans for the use of the different pastures for the Bovine programs." Ramon hopped in the back seat of the truck, and within 5 minutes we found Leonel and his assistant out in the field. After quick introductions, Cesar told them who we were and asked if he had heard anything about us.
"Un poco," Leonel said, "But really I don´t know much of anything." Cesar reviewed how we had come to the University several years ago and how we were working to start Christian Rancher groups in the region.
"Somos muy agradecidos," Cesar said. "We are very grateful for the way that the University helped us get acquainted with leaders in the ranching and agricultural communities. At this point, we don´t depend on the University for contacts with the cattlemen´s associations and the leaders in the extension communities. However, we want you to know that we are available to serve the university in some way out of a sense of gratitude for the past relationship."
"Probably the area that we need the most help with would be in veterinary medicine," Leonel answered. "If you have friends from the United States willing to come work with us, that would be great."
Within minutes we had an agreement to keep in touch about these kinds of projects for the future. "Do you need to clear this with anyone else on the main leadership committee?" Cesar asked.
"No." Leonel said. "I have the authority to proceed without any problems."
As we walked away, Cesar and I looked at each other and smiled. "Just another day at the office," I said.
"Yep." Cesar replied.
Please ask God to prompt more Cowboy Church people like Rick and Frank to be mobilized for a continued harvest in Honduras. Continue to pray for (and thank God for) the connections at the University. Please ask God to call veterinarians to Latin America and ask God for wisdom in planning the veterinary trips in the future.
Thank you for your continued generous investment in making sure that "Every person in the Americas has a friend who loves Jesus."
Please pass the word to anyone with agriculture or veterinary skills that they better get a passport and get ready for an adventure!
If you're in the Kansas City area, please join us for the PlayStoryEat Experience June 23-24 at Open Range Fellowship. More info in the next update.
Talk to you soon!
PS...You can mail checks to:
Daybreak International, 11628 Oakmont St., Overland Park, KS 66210
On PayPal, you can give using the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On our websites, you can give at www.PlayStoryEat.com or www.DaybreakInternational.org.