Honduras, Central America, is a mountainous country in the heart of Central American isthmus. It is bordered by Guatemala on the northwest, El Salvador on the southwest, and Nicaragua on the south. The country has a long Caribbean coastline on the north and shares access to the Pacific with Nicaragua and El Salvador through the Gulf of Fonseca in the southwest.
The area of Honduras is 43,277 square miles. It is approximately the size of the state of Ohio. Much of Honduras is covered with mountains that are separated by major river valleys. In the east is a large coastal plain that has been known as the Mosquito Coast.
Although this region has a lot of bugs, its name comes from the Misquito Indian tribe that lives in this area. A few small islands known as the Bay Islands, in the Caribbean are surrounded by coral reefs and offer some of the best reef diving in the world.
The northwest corner of Honduras once formed part of the Mayan Empire. The Copan Ruins are world-famous and offer a glimpse of the engineering and mathematical abilities of the ancient peoples of Honduras. Since the time of the conquistadors, the mineral wealth of Honduras has been one of its major attractions. Now most of the gold and silver are gone but there are still prospectors in those hills.
Approximately 7.8 million people live in Honduras. The population of Honduras has a growth rate of 2.43 percent. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with an average income of $900 per year (4.3 percent of the USA average). The monetary unit is called the lempira, named for an Indian chief who made a heroic last stand against the Spanish conquistadors. The chief exports of Honduras are coffee, bananas, and shrimp.
About 97 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. The Protestant population is estimated conservatively at 2 percent, but some church leaders claim it to be as high as 20 percent.
The climate of Tegucigalpa is semitropical. Tegucigalpa is nested in a valley at an elevation of 3,000 feet. The weather can get quite warm in the center of town but at the same time be rather chilly on the mountaintops around the city. Tegucigalpa receives an average of about 36 inches of rain a year. The heaviest rainfall comes during the months of May and June. The average daytime temperature is 82, but nighttime temperatures can fall into the 50s.
The business of Tegucigalpa is politics. Almost all government offices are here, as well as the majority of the embassies and consulates. Most of the government offices have relocated from the center of town to try to escape the congestion of the narrow downtown streets. Tegucigalpa's streets were designed for the oxcart and the donkey, making it difficult for today's buses and cars to maneuver.
San Pedro Sula is the second largest city in Honduras. The population is around 500,000. It is often called the industrial capital of the country. The climate of San Pedro Sula is quite warm. The city is only about 200 feet about sea level. Average daytime temperatures are in the 80s to mid-90s, and nighttime temperatures are not much cooler. Since the Caribbean is only 40 miles away, a pleasant breeze at night usually cools things off a little bit.
Much of the banana production of the country is centered in the nearby town of La Lima. Coffee harvested from mountain slopes in central Honduras is processed and shipped from Puerto Cortes, the largest Caribbean seaport in Central America. American and Korean factories that assemble clothing for the North American market are located in tariff-free zones.
The history of the work that would later become the responsibility of World Gospel Mission in cooperation with the Honduran Holiness Church (IESH) can be traced back to the turn of the century. In 1901, two young men set out from California to distribute Bibles and evangelize in the country of Honduras. These young men were members of the California Yearly Meeting of Friends. Yellow Fever, the white man's scourge, is the most likely culprit for the deaths of Thomas Kelley and Clark Buckley in the first few years of the century. Clark was found on the trail in the mountains of Honduras, and by his side was a pack that still contained many of the Bibles he had hoped to sell.
From these less than auspicious beginnings, the work took a giant leap forward with the arrival of Hubert and Dorothy Cammack in the little town of Chiquimula, Guatemala, in 1901. Chiquimula was the center of activity for the newly arrived missionaries of the California Yearly Meeting. In 1914 Hubert and Dorothy felt God's call to the neighboring country of Honduras. They landed in the mangrove swamps of San Lorenzo, and their belongings were hauled to Tegucigalpa by oxcart. The Central American Mission had begun work in this area in 1897 and reported 33 believers by the year 1912.
The Cammacks were faithful in the face of terrible opposition by the Catholic hierarchy. The political system was somewhat more open to the new religious influence.
Hubert became a fixture at the National Congress as he left tracts at each desk. The Cammacks preached boldly in the Central Plaza of Tegucigalpa. Trips to the western border and to the rough "outback" of Olancho, Honduras resulted in few converts but left indelible impressions that would shape and define the work for years to come. The work of the Friends became defined along the lines of the card roads that meandered to the west and east of Tegucigalpa. The Cammacks were joined by Miss Irma Moody in 1928. Irvin Cammack passed away after suffering a stroke in 1930 and was buried in Tegucigalpa. Arthur and Irene Schnasses and Joy Ridderhoff joined the Friends work in 1931. The mountainous terrain of Honduras made traveling a nightmare. It was often easier to travel by air than by land. The missionaries made long trips by mule as they visited church after church as a part of their ministry.
The difficulties in travel and communications coupled with the predominance of single lady missionaries in the Honduras work led to an important change in 1944. The Friends Church of California turned their work over to the National Holiness Missionary Society, now WGM. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Vesper, Mr. and Mrs. Ellery Echlin, Rev. and Mrs. David Schneider, Rev. and Mrs. Devee Brown, Miss Nellie Thum, Miss Frances Beard, and Miss Virginia Sapp were some of the missionaries who initiated this new stage in the history of the work. The Honduran Holiness Church (IESH) is the outgrowth of the World Gospel Mission's work in Honduras. The IESH now has over 180 congregations.
A small Bible training institute that had been started on Mission properties in 1935 was greatly expanded when property was purchased in 1946 in the small community of El Hatillo. The mission gradually developed the campus that would become the Tegucigalpa Bible Institute in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Bible Institute was turned over to the Honduran Holiness Church in 1985. In 1992 the school was closed and the property is now used as a retreat center for the national church and other organizations. A vocational Bible school was established in 1983 at El Sembrador and has produced a number of the present pastors in the Honduran Holiness Church.
Education has been one of the shining foundation stones of World Gospel Mission in Honduras. A grade school was started in Juticalpa, Olancho, in 1948. The school had operated in Tegucigalpa before this date, but the quarters were cramped and, as an early missionary recalls, "Classes were held in the sanctuary of the church and in every living room of the missionaries serving there."
In 1947, another milestone was passed in the history of World Gospel Mission in Honduras. A young Ohio farm couple, Don and Twana Hawk, sold their farm and moved to Honduras with their two small children to fulfill a vision they had to start a farm school for the poor, illiterate young men of the region. After living in Juticalpa and later Catacamas, they finally settled on a site in 1948. The work of clearing the land, planting, and building the first buildings was slow and arduous. In 1949, money was raised to buy the first 800 acres of land that up until then had been rented from a landowner. God's blessing was evident in the work, and in 1951 the Hawks were invited to join the work of World Gospel Mission in Honduras. Classes began in May of 1954 at El Sembrador (The Sower) farm school. The contributions that the school has made to the country of Honduras and to the Honduran Holiness Church are inestimable. More than 60 percent of the pastors of the church have studied in its programs. Countless graduates hold high positions in business, government, and social concern organizations.
The Evangelical Institute, now known as the Virginia Sapp Christian High School, was started by Miss Virginia Sapp in 1961 in Tegucigalpa. The sacrifices of the past have paid rich dividends as the graduates of the school have borne witness to the quality of education and the fire of Christian testimony they observed in the classroom. Today the school serves more than 900 students, and its graduates are all well-received in all avenues of work.
In 1984, World Gospel Mission started to work with the Garifuna people on the island of Roatan. With the help of the Honduran Holiness Church, WGM missionaries opened a medical clinic and established a church on the island. The Vacation Bible School ministry of the Roatan Church has been an effective tool in reaching the children of the island for Christ. Lay people have been trained to teach and lead Bible studies. A discipleship program has been started to lead believers into a deeper relationship with the Lord. In 2004 the clinic was leased to another organization that is working with HIV and AIDS patients and thier families in an effort to alleviate their suffering. This group is also providing AIDS prevention training in an effort to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS on the island.
In the time since Hurricane Mitch in October of 1998, Larry and Angie Overholt, working with the Honduran Holiness Church, have established a strong dynamic, and vital church in the southern region Honduras, initiating in the city of Choluteca. There are now three congregations. The El Limon de la Cerca church has a worship center in El Limon. The Amigos por Siempre church, located in Choluteca, began in a rented house. The church has grown and now meets in a building that seats 800 people. This church is on the property that will eventually serve as a regional ministry center. The San Jeronimo church, formed in 2004, meets in a small adobe building that already cannot hold the congregation.
Our ministry in La Esperanza is exciting. This is where our first churches were established many years ago. We have several churches in the area, the newest one being Mas que Vencedores that was dedicated in 2003 in the new multipurpose building. There is also a ministry of teaching Bible Classes in the bilingual primary and secondary schools. It is an open door to reach the youth and upper-class people of La Esperanza.
Tegucigalpa serves as the headquarters for the Honduras Field. Our field director and field treasurer work our of our office in the city. It is the hub of all our mission business.
We also have a mission guesthouse in Tegucigalpa. The guesthouse is for missionaries who need to come into the city to do business and also for work teams and Honduran nationals who need lodging. It is usually staffed by volunteers or retired missionaries and is a real ministry to the missionaries.
We would like to share some information that should be of great help to you as you plan for travel and your arrival in Honduras. We have all experienced nervousness about visiting new places, so we hope this will alleviate some of the apprehension you may have.
You should not get a visa to come to Honduras. Honduran Customs will give a free 90-day tourist visa (yellow paper stapled into your passport) to you upon your arrival. If you are planning to stay longer, the field office will help you apply for a longer visa later in your trip.
Immunizations are not required to enter Honduras; however, we recommend that you update your typhoid and tetanus shots. We also recommend a hepatitis A vaccination. Check with your doctor or local health department for further suggestions. Any shots should be completed a month prior to departure and recorded in a yellow International Certificate of Vaccination Booklet.
You may be in a malaria-infested area in Honduras. It is recommended that you take a preventative medicine for your own protection. Aralen with Chloroquine, Nivequine, Maloprim, or Lariam may be used. Your doctor can write you a prescription for one of these or one that he or she may prefer.
Note: Some types of malaria are Chloroquine-resistant. Your doctor should be aware of this when he or she prescribes your medication.
Be sure to let both the home office and the field know well in advance of your travel plans and arrival dates. It can be frustrating for you and embarrassing for us if we are not at the airport to meet you.
What to Bring
It is advisable to carry some money with you in American dollars. Dollars are readily accepted here. Travelers checks are accepted in only a very few places in Honduras. Use your judgment as to how much to carry, but a minimum might be $100 per person, including children.
Be sure to bring at least one pair of each of the following: dress shows, work shoes, and casual shoes.
We are in the tropics with temperatures during the day around 80-85 and night temperatures in the 70's. Plan your clothing for this variation-bring a jacket. What you choose to bring with you should be wash-and-wear as much as possible.
Generally, we are more conservative here in dress styles and overall appearance than many are in the United States. Modesty of dress is essential. All clothing should be modestly cut. Be willing to adjust to styles, customs, and cultures different from your own!
For church services, men will need slacks and collared shirts, and women will need dresses or skirts and blouses. For most occasions, casual-type clothing is recommended. Include clothes for various work projects and sportswear for recreation. If you have a question, consult with the missionaries on what would be best.
Tools, if the field requests you to bring them.
Medical and nutritional items, only if you have special needs.
American Stamps! Many times we send mail back to the States with either work team members or missionaries going on furlough. They can mail it in the U.S. and it is often faster and safer.
Most importantly, keep very close track of your documents. Passports are worth a fortune in many countries. Keep them and your tickets, along with other documents, close to you at all times. Do not put them in your luggage.
It is a good policy to take a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage. Sometimes not all the luggage arrives until a day or two later, so the extras can be helpful.
Arrival on the Field
Upon arrival at the Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa, you will not see "tourist" on your entrance paper. The tourist visa (yellow paper stapled into your passport) that they give you is good for 90 days.
Your bags may take a long time to get into the baggage claim area. Remember, you are now in Honduras and time may begin to take on a new meaning! If some of your suitcases do not arrive, locate the appropriate airline representative for help.
The customs official may or may not want you to open all of your bags for inspection. Simply be honest and open with them since there will surely be nothing that you will be hiding anyway! If you need further assistance, you might mention that a representative from Mision Evangelica Mundial is waiting outside and you would appreciate the representative's assistance.
In case of emergency:
If you need to call, request assistance in calling of of the following numbers:
WGM Office: 2232-1740
WGM Guesthouse: 2232-6447
WGM Office Cell 9987-3552
If you need to take a taxi, the address of the guesthouse is:
1224 Julio Lozano Diaz, Colonia Alameda (entre Radio America y Lava Car)
The mission is called Mision Evangelica Mundial. If they ask about the missin, mention the following ministries to them as they are well-known and highly looked upon: Escuela El Sembrador in Catacamas and Virginia Sapp Christian High School in Tegucigalpa.
Be assured that you will be well taken care of and that all accommodations will be worked out. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a good adjustment, since things will not always go as planned!
You will receive orientation shortly after your arrival.
We really do not anticipate that you will have many problems getting ready to come or on your trip here in Honduras. The Honduran officials you will be coming in contact with are very congenial and ready to help you. May God help you in all of the details necessary for coming. We look forward to seeing you and to sharing a good time in ministry together.
General Advice for After you Arrive on the Field
Street Behavior. Be discreet and not too boisterous in your conduct in the public. Bargaining is generally not done in the stores here in Honduras. Watch your purse or billfold. It is advised that you not wear your jewelry downtown. Be careful in the use of your camera. It is always advisable to secure permission from people when you wish to take close-ups because it may offend them.
Missionary Relationships. Be open to the advice and leadership of the missionaries, even when their suggestions may appear to be irrelevant to you. They know the people and have had time to gain experience. If you do not understand, ask questions.
Conduct in the Presence of Nationals. Be careful of the way you act because it will affect the Mission work. The missionaries will give you additional advice in this area as the situation merits. Watch your reactions, both verbal and non-verbal, concerning the people, food, their homes, etc.! Try to understand them. As much as possible, eat the food that is set before you and be willing to "rough it" if necessary. Again, the missionaries will give helpful counsel.
Personal Discipline. The most important discipline of all is the discipline of the Holy Spirit in your life, working in and through you to make you the kind of witness that will count for God. If you allow the Holy Spirit to have control in every phase of your life, your work here can be the most enjoyable and meaningful experience of your life. Plan for daily personal time with the Lord through prayer, meditation, and study of the Bible.
Values and norms of the Latin people
Because of serious violations in the history of Latin America to the trust of people, the norm is reversed here from what we are used to in North America. Here if you are suspected of doing something wrong, you must prove yourself innocent instead of being proved guilty, For that reason, friends and recommendations are very important in Honduras. It is not what you know, but who you know. This has created a system of endless red tape in taking care of official matters, since the process must be checked on along the way to make sure that someone is not taking advantage of the system. Rubber stamps and signatures are a must to have something look official. In the absence of political parties, local governments, organizations, and structures that can be trusted, friends become of utmost importance. Proper channels must be used to even gain a friend, but once you have, you have a friend for life. Because of being badly taken advantage of in the past, it will take a long time to get over the basic lack of trust that is prevalent in Latin Culture. Don't fight to criticize it, but rather work within the parameters of this norm and use the system that will eventually provide you with some of the most loyal fiends you could ever have.
One of the major differences between the North American and the Latin culture is that we in North America are inclined to be time orientated and the Latin culture tends to be more event oriented. For many North Americans, the most important part of time is the future, then the present, and finally the past. For most Latinos, it is very different. They relish the present, treasure the past, and give little thought to the future. The emphasis on the present allows the Latino to be so absorbed by someone's company that he is not too concerned if he is keeping someone else waiting. The noon hour is a precious part of life. It is a time to relax, visit, or take a nap (siesta). It is a time to enjoy one another's company. The Latino is not concerned about arriving on time to most functions outside of his work responsibilities. They will be on time to punch the clock for work, but as for meals, church services, social engagements, or weddings, the event is the priority, not the clock. Weddings deaths, and girls' sweet 15th ( instead of 16th) birthday parties are the three most demanding social events of a Latino's life. Don't let the different attitudes and priorities toward time frustrate you to the point of affecting your attitude and ministry here in Honduras. Concentrate on the positive aspects of the "time difference" here and let go of the tyranny of the urgent that can so often drive us away from peace. You will begin to enjoy a slower pave if you let yourself, and your health will probably improve because of it.
There are three basic ethical emphases: rules, results, and responsibilities. As North Americans, we tend to combine rules and responsibilities in our ethics. This means that we go by a set of guidelines and we play by the book. We have basic rules for every situation, and if we don't, we make some. We tend to enjoy splitting hairs on issues or policies as we set down our rules and guidelines. We are then expected to be responsible enough to keep our commitment to God, country, family, and ourselves as people of integrity. Doing so conditions us to take right actions. The Honduran is more result-oriented in his ethics. Right and wrong is often determined by whether or not the result is positive or negative. If the end result is good, then the behavior was right. If the end result is bad, then the behavior was wrong. Be careful that you do not condemn those who will not stop, even when a stop sign is in view. The guidelines for actions may change from day to day and from situation to situation.
To North Americans, truth is always truth and untruth is always untruth. There is really no such thing as a white lie, right? When we ask someone a question, we expect a direct answer, whether we like what we hear or not. In Latin America, what you hear is almost always what the person speaking thinks you want to hear. Hondurans do not like to be made to look bad or to lose face. If you ask someone for directions, they will probably give them to you, even if they don't have the slightest idea where the place is. The Spanish Language structure is such that it allows for blame to be placed on things rather than people. Even laws for the country are first stated in very vague forms, with time allowed for them to be evaluated and changed several times before they are recorded as a law, so as not to make anyone look bad for a poorly written law. The subjunctive form of the language allows for tremendous ambiguity with wide boundaries. They want it this way. No one loses face and everyone approves of it in the end. Be careful not to try to be sure that blame gets put "where it belongs." That kind of attitude can destroy relationships rapidly.
As North Americans, our family ties are looked at as being very weak. We leave home sooner, move away easier, take care of our relatives and grandparents very rarely, and even prefer that others take care of our parents in their old age. You will not find that to be the norm in Latin American society. They usually do not leave home until they are married, many times the newlyweds move in with one of their parents or live very close by. We value independence and freedom and getting along on our own. Hondurans look at that very differently. They would call themselves interdependent instead of dependent or independent. Children are dependent on their parents and old folks are dependent on their children. Neither the child nor the grandparents are expected to have to make a go of things on their own. This is also one reason for having larger families. The system calls for it, for the family is needed to take care of each other. We could learn a lot about the closeness that you will see in family life in Honduras. These family ties can help or hinder the Gospel. Once a family member is saved, we need to work with the whole family.
In Latin America, death is considered a much more integral part of living than it is among North Americans. We consider Easter morning the highlight of Christianity. They look at Good Friday as being the highlight. Holy Week is a pageant of death in Honduras. Celebrations and parades will fill the streets on Good Friday, but Easter Sunday may go by almost unnoticed, especially in the non-evangelical circles. Do not be surprised if Easter hymns are not sung in the evangelical churches. They would be more likely sung on Good Friday. This is a part of the Catholic influence, and it is deeply ingrained in their values and norms. The greatest heroes are many times those who have lost their lives in defeat. We tend to want to forget those who died in defeat. Latin Americans do not look at winners in life in the same light as those who sacrificed themselves for a cause. Heroic attempts to prolong life are rarely made. "We are an ancient people. We laugh loudly, cry freely. We are proud of our past, confused with the present, unsure about the future. Only one thing is certain for each of us (death), and with this matter we have what may seem to you a strange preoccupation."
Good morning Buenos días
Good afternoon Buenas tardes
Good evening Buenas noches
Hello, Hi Hola
Please Por favor
Thank you Gracias
You're welcome De nada
What is your name? ¿Como se llama?
My name is ______ Me llamo ______ or Mi nombre es ________
I'm please to meet you Mucho gusto
How are you? ¿Como está (usted)?
Fine, thank you...and you? Muy bien gracias. ¿Y usted?
Excuse me Con permiso
pardon me Perdóname
I'm sorry Lo siento
I don't know No sé
I don't understand No entiendo
How much does it cost? ¿Cuanto vale?
Where is____? ¿Donde está ____?
Where is the bathroom? ¿Donde está el baño?
when you come upon someone eating you say Buen provecho
One kilometer = .6 miles
One mile = 1.6 kilometers
Seconds = Segundos
Minutes = Minutos
Hours = Horas
Days = Días
Weeks = Semanas
Months = Meses
Years = Años
one = uno
two = dos
three = tres
four = cuatro
five = cinco
six = seis
seven = siete
eight = ocho
nine = nueve
ten = diez
twenty = veinte
thirty = treinta
forty = cuarenta
fifty = cincuenta
sixty = sesenta
seventy = setenta
eighty = ochenta
ninety = noventa
one hundred = cien
two hundred = doscientos
Here is a short list of various church and mission organizations
that are commonly referred to by their acronyms.
IESH Iglesia Evangélica de Santidad en Honduras, known in English as the Honduran Holiness Church
ADIEEDS Asociación De Instituciónes Educativas y Evangélicas De Santidad
APOO Asociación de Pastores y Obreros de Olancho
ASISH Asociación de Salud de la Iglesia de Santidad en Honduras
FEJOCSH FEderación de JOvenesCristianos de Santidad enHonduras
FESOFEMS FEderación de SOciedadesFEMiniles de Santidad
IBT Instituto Bíblico de Tegucigalpa. (It is now "Villa Gracia," a retreat center for the national church)
IBES Instituto Biblico El Sembrador
MEM Misión Evangélica Mundial (World Gospel Mission). The official name of the Mission in Honduras is the National Holiness Missionary Society.
JUNTA ANNUAL The once-a-year meeting of the national church, usually held in January, where business, placement of pastors, and plans are discussed.
JUNTA DIRECTIVA The board of the national church that runs the day-to-day activities of the church on a national level.
That both Old and New Testaments constitute the divinely inspired Word of God, inerrant in the originals, and the final authority for life and truth.
That there is one God, eternally existent in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each with personality and deity.
That the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, manifested in the flesh through the virgin birth, died on Calvary and rose again for the redemption of the human family, all of whom may be saved from sin through faith in Him.
That man, although created by God in His own image and likeness, fell into sin through disobedience and “so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
In the salvation of the human soul, including the new birth, and in a subsequent work of God in the soul, a crisis wrought by faith, whereby the heart is cleansed from all sin and filled with the Holy Spirit. This gracious experience is retained by faith as expressed in a constant obedience to God’s revealed will, thus giving us perfect cleansing moment by moment (I John 1:7-9). We stand for the Wesleyan position.
That the Church is the body of Christ; that all who are united by faith to Christ are members of the same; and that, having thus become members one of another, it is our solemn and covenant duty to fellowship with one another in peace, and to love one another with pure and fervent hearts.
That the purpose for the Church is threefold: worship of the triune God, nurture of those within the fellowship, and planned outreach to people who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Until Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom on earth, the Church should emphasize the power of the Holy Spirit to cleanse, empower, and motivate its members to be active witnesses for Jesus both at home and to the uttermost part of the earth.
That our Lord Jesus Christ in His literal resurrection from the dead is the living guarantee of the resurrection of all human beings; the believing saved to conscious eternal joy, and the unbelieving lost to conscious eternal punishment.
That our Lord Jesus Christ, in fulfillment of His own promise, both angelically and apostolically attested, will personally return in power and great glory.
Fill out an online application from the World Gospel Mission website