So… this little story started about 30 years ago when Poppy (AKA Israel Gonzalez– the CCH leader in Honduras – who earned his nickname because of his father-like love for any and everyone he meets) was working in the youth ministry as a traveling pastor. He first visited Trujillo in the early 80’s to help with a week-long revival of sorts. But weeks turned into months, and months into years, and it was almost a decade before He finally moved his ministry on to a different region.
Now Poppy was the motorcycle riding type of pastor, and one day he happened to roll up to a tiny, gated community on the outskirts of the town. Most commonly known as “the Pech Indian village.” This community was much like the myriad of others in the area: (poor, agriculturally-sustained, underdeveloped). Yet there was something rather distinct about this one. First, they were a more-or-less pure Native American group that had managed to retain a complete language of its own. Second, they had been infiltrated by the catholic church at some point in the past and had tacked a few christian beliefs onto their assortment of knowledge about witchcraft and shamanism. And third, over the years they had developed a distinct distaste for all things evangelical.
So when Poppy came knocking on their gate asking to preach a simple sermon, He was quickly refused and told that he could look all he wanted, but he could never, ever touch the ears of these people with The Good News. So Poppy shook the dust under his feet off and moved on, but God didn’t let him forget about these lost people on the other side of his country.
Now fast-forward almost 25 years.
Every March, Christian Community in Honduras does this *little thing where they hand out over 5000 shoe-boxes to the children of the surrounding villages. This particular year, the team was rather short on pre-made boxes. So before each day began, they formed an assembly line in the motel lobby (incidentally, the same one we stayed in this year), and filled hundreds of boxes with all manner of crayons, toothbrushes, toys and candies for the children of that day’s individual villages.
Unbeknownst to Poppy, but well beknown to God, there just so happened to be a little, old man from the Pech village on guard duty at the hotel that day almost 4 years ago. Upon seeing all of the good things that the missionaries were handing out at other villages, He returned to His people and had the leaders of the Pech village sign a paper inviting CCH to come to the village and share both the shoe-boxes, and a bible-story with the people.
Regardless to say, The entire group of Americans and Hondurans serving at the time were amazed at God’s ability to work His plans out in His own time. As we sat in a circle and listened to Poppy tell about God’s history in that village- I could still see the light of joy in God’s providence and hope for these lost people burning in his eyes just as strongly as it had the day he first walked into that little village.
Now, 4 years later, our group stood in the shade of a thatched-roof hut, looking out over the village after a long day of teaching and serving. In the exhausted state I was in that afternoon, the only words that could crossed my mind were those of praise for all the chains that Jesus had broken in the last few hours. Almost 50 people had called on His blood that day to wash their dirt and their sin away. And in all of the crowd, the only face I saw that was happier that Poppy’s was that of a 99-year-old woman who basically had one foot in the grave. Yet, God had pursued her and redeemed her weary soul! Satan had no victory that day and their was great rejoicing in the presence of the angelic host!
My simple hope is that you would read this and be encouraged by God’s work both in your own heart, and on the other side of the world in this Pech Indian village htat is a prick of light surrounded by the darkness of this lost world. Pray that more would be sent to spread this hope we have in Him, and that more ears would be opened by the power of the Spirit.