×
Grateful hearts worship in El Tablon
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
August 09, 2010

Grateful hearts worship in El Tablon

Grateful hearts worship in El Tablon
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
August 09, 2010

EL TABLON, HONDURAS — Pastor

Benjamin pulled the photo out from between the pages of his Bible and before he

could flip to the next photo the Greenes were wiping away tears. Mike and

Ginger’s daughter Stephanie is now a senior in college and she hardly recognized

herself in the eight-year-old photo, back when the Greenes (now North Carolina

Baptist Men on-site coordinators) worked with Deep Impact to build a building

for Iglesia Bautista Restauracion. The building took several years to complete,

but the congregation of about 45 has moved in and children, youth and adults

gather together each Sunday to worship.

During the Deep Impact week

in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, high school students, college students and youth

leaders made the village of El Tablon and Restauracion church a focus of

ministry. One team did Bible studies, games and crafts in a public school just

down the street from the church and another team set up a free medical clinic

at the church.

Pastor Benjamin remembers

when the spot where the church building now sits was empty.

His dad was a member of the

church that bought the property, which for 11 years sat abandoned. Finally, his

dad helped lead the charge to get a ministry started in El Tablon. When

Benjamin’s dad died last September, Benjamin stepped up to help lead the

mission church.

BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

Mike, Ginger, and Stephanie Greene look at photos with Pastor Benjamin. The Greenes went to Honduras eight years ago to work on a church that is now open. They are on-site coordinators for North Carolina Baptist Men. See photo gallery.

Benjamin lived in Choluteca

until age 18, when he moved to Tegucigalpa. His enjoys teaching the

congregation and wants to help them learn that “it’s the job of everyone” to be

on mission for God. Benjamin grew up in a Christian home and received Jesus

Christ as his personal Lord and Savior during a Vacation Bible School.

Several students at the

school in El Tablon prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and

Savior during the Vacation Bible School led by Deep Impact participants.

One day during the week the

Bible study was about prayer and the team asked the students to write down

specific prayer requests. Some students asked the team to pray that they would

have food to eat. One student prayed for his dad to come home. Other students

asked how they could know Jesus Christ.

The students at the school

don’t have much. They give their full attention to simple crafts and coloring

sheets because they rarely see them. Just listening to their excitement playing

soccer and one would never know they were playing on a cement slab full of

cracks with no nets for the soccer goals. The classrooms are simple, with white

walls, exposed wooden beams, nothing for decoration except a few faded posters

and a few vocabulary words, and no air-conditioning. One room didn’t have

lights.

If the students mind, they

certainly don’t show it. Nor does Benjamin’s congregation seem to mind

worshipping in a building without pews, or a choir loft, or stained glass

windows, or even a bathroom. None of that matters to them. They shout praises

to God and worship as if this Sunday may be their last Sunday.

The church sits at the top

of a hill, past the school with its thick black gate and wrought iron looking

bars over all the windows. The road is dirt and gravel, the homes close to the

school hardly looking like homes at all with their tin roofs and structures

that seemed to be made out of whatever material people could find.

But the landscape is

breathtaking. Walk around to the back of the church and as far as the eye can

see are lush, rolling green mountaintops. Tegucigalpa sits in the bottom of a

bowl with mountains on every side. On the way to the school, driving through

curve after curve and looking down below at the brightly colored buildings,

homes and mountains that seem to go on forever underneath the earth, it seems

unfair for such extreme poverty to exist in the midst of such beauty.

Yet, pastor Benjamin and

those who gather each week for worship in El Tablon bring a beauty to their

village that may very well surpass the grandeur of the mountainous terrain.

Brothers and sisters run and play together outside the church before service

starts. An older woman sitting in the back of the church takes the hands of a

child sitting next to her on her mother’s lap and helps her make the hand

motions to the song.

A young girl makes her way

up and down each row, shaking the hands of the Deep Impact team members joining

them for worship. When the church begins the service singing “How Great is our

God,” there is no doubt that they truly know what it means to rely on God for

even the most basic needs — and they still proclaim how great is the Lord God.

Related stories

Camp Betel: A miracle from God

Grateful hearts worship in El Tablon

Honduran pastor leads charge to change community

Guest column: Reflections on Honduras

Medical team makes Deep Impact in Honduras