A Special Letter to Mission Teams from
The Rt. Revd. Lloyd Emmanuel Allen, D.D.
To All Short Term Mission Teams and Individuals planning on Coming to Honduras
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
For more than 30 years, short term mission teams have come to work with the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras in serving the people of Honduras. Mission Teams of all types; construction, medical, evangelistic, youth retreats and Vacation Bible Schools. These teams have been to Tegucigalpa, Danli, Yuscaran, La Ceiba, Roatan, San Pedro Sula, Tela, Santa Barbara, Corinto, San Marcos, Omoa, Puerto Cortes, and Copan just to mention a few
Honduras is a beautiful country with beautiful people living in the lifestyle of a third world. As a native son, I have witnessed a lot of changes; political, economic, educational, sociological, cultural and spiritual. Change always has its good and bad points, but most of the changes in my country, have been for the better. However, life is very hard for most of my fellow Hondurans.
Living in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula is not much different from where many of you have homes in the United States. The one issue we face here, as with everywhere else in the world, is that of the security of our home and property. Just two week ago I returned from South East Asia where security is a great concern there as well. Last week I was in Central Florida and was staying with a very good friend. He allowed me to turn on his television and watched an entire news cast about death and violence. I know that these days you will be very aware of the security issues faced by all countries because our communication ability is instant and keeps us connected. The media of today, TV, radio, cell phones, computers, newspapers, magazines, and government posted travel warnings and our friends who live in many countries throughout the world say that safe living and security is a concern worldwide!!!
Today, there is a “fear” that hinders, controls, and manipulates God’s people from being where they are called to be for Him. Thank God we have these reports so that we can pray, make wise decisions and choices, but these reports can paralyze us from ever going anywhere! The question for Christians to ask in these times is, “Is God calling me?” Is God calling you or you and a team to go and do a certain work?
If God is calling you, then you have a responsibility as a Christian to answer that call, to respond to it. “Fear” can keep you from obeying the Lord.
Mission Teams should be first called by God. Then they need to be well informed, trained and prepared to enter a different culture. The Mission Team needs to be in touch with the area authority (that is in-country Host) who will help you work out and establish the who, what, when, and where. Never should a Mission Team go to an area anywhere without an inviting Host! You have been invited to Honduras for the last 13 years of my episcopate and I pray that you will continue to come and help furthering his kingdom in Honduras.
Mission Teams should always work under the authority of their inviting Host. Teams must listen to your host’s suggestions and work alongside the local people. The reason for this is that we who invite you are very aware of the current events occurring in the area and in no way would we want to jeopardize your safety or the work. We are always concerned for your protection while you are in our country.
I cannot assure you that accidents will never happen or that difficult circumstances will never present themselves, but after all where can you go in the world and expect everything to be perfect and safe? However, we have found that if your Mission Team follows the above suggestions it will help ensure that you have a safe and productive mission experience.
The reality today for all Mission teams is that the world is dangerous. No city, no state, no country can assure you of a safe, secure trip!
I want to encourage you, your Mission Team leaders, and the Mission Team members not to be caught up in this “FEAR” trap! Be prayerful, be obedient, be responsible, be aware, and come under your host’s authority. Yet most of all, trust the Lord in and with all things and then go where you are being called! “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
In the name above all names given on earth for Salvation, Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior.
The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Emmanuel Allen D.D.
III Diocesan Bishop of Honduras