TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS —
Outside during play time, Cristian held both ends of the string and tried to
make the green button spin around fast on the string. Most of the children got
the hang of it and Christian did too, with a little help.
When a Deep Impact
participant gently moved Cristian’s hands close to the left side of his face,
up next to his left eye, his spinning got faster.
Cristian usually stood
outside his house as the Deep Impact teams drove out from camp each day down
the long windy road covered in so many bumps that even a seat belt didn’t do a
thing to stop the rocking and swaying and jerking down the mountain.
At home Cristian didn’t wear
his bandana, exposing the tumor that caused discoloration on his face, the
right side of his face around the eye to swell and his right eye to remain
shut. Regardless, with a little extra care, Cristian participated in the fun
just as did the other children.
Cristian is one of about 30
children who attend a preschool hosted at Camp Betel and who came to a week of
Vacation Bible School led by Deep Impact students and leaders.
The VBS at Betel was one of
six mission projects during the weeklong mission trip in Tegucigalpa.
The children learned Bible
stories and did arts and crafts. Perhaps some of the most fun they had all week
came when the leaders made balloon animals.
Once the children discovered
that rubbing their finger up and down on the balloon produced a loud squeaking
sound they proceeded to keep it up the rest of the morning, laughing
hysterically every time.
While one team led VBS,
another team worked with the children’s mothers and grandmothers.
The mothers and grandmothers
also heard Bible stories and did crafts, their project for the week being
Although many of the ladies
had never cross-stitched and learned for the first time, by the end of the week
they arrived early to start work on their projects and worked until the
children came by after VBS.
Some of the older ladies
couldn’t see as well as the younger ladies, so they helped keep the babies
entertained while the younger ladies cross-stitched their bookmarks.
Deep Impact is hoping the
ladies can sell their bookmarks and use their new skill to earn money to help
A Deep Impact construction
team also worked at Camp Betel all week, hauling cinder blocks and sand and
laying mezcala in order to build a new preschool building. The building
replaces the current rundown building being used for children’s ministry and
the feeding program run by Elva and Ignacio.
For two days a medical team
set up a free clinic at Betel before moving to El Tablon.
The husband and wife team of
Elva and Ignacio own and operate Camp Betel.
“It was a vision God gave
us,” Elva said.
Twenty-six years ago they
began the camp as a place to train pastors and leaders, and as a place for
pastors to meet and fellowship.
Many pastors who come to
retreats at Betel serve in areas where they are the only pastor and the
loneliness can become hard to overcome.
Camp Betel is what it is
because Elva and Ignacio practiced tremendous faith.
“We prayed,” Elva said very
matter-of-factly, as if that’s all that was necessary for vision to become
Within three months of
deciding to buy the property, an anonymous donor from the United States gave
Elva and Ignacio the money they needed.
Every other building on the
property was built the same way — they prayed, God supplied donors and
volunteers and funds.
“Everything we started here
was out of nothing,” Elva said.
Camp Betel runs a feeding
program for children and their mothers five days a week.
They also teach the children
Bible stories, celebrate birthdays and teach good habits, such as saying “good
morning” and washing their hands before they eat.
Elva also reaches out to the
mothers on Mother’s Day by providing a food basket with basic items such as
beans and sugar.
Elva and Ignacio and their
son, Sonny, used to live in the city, but moved out to the rural area to be
closer to the camp.
While Elva grew up in a
Christian home, Ignacio did not. Ignacio lived with his grandmother awhile
before turning to life on the streets. Eventually he moved in with his sister
and her husband, who is a pastor.
In their home Ignacio
learned about God and through the pastor’s mentoring God changed his heart and
he came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.
Ignacio enjoys working with
the pastors who come to Betel.
Pastors and leaders often
invite friends who are not believers and when they come to Betel, they hear the
Word of God.
“When they come here,
something happens,” Elva said. “That’s a blessing to us.”