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A Pastor's Story: Adonis

The Christian Reformed Church of Mangulile is perhaps the only protestant church in Honduras that borders its town’s central park, an honor usually held by the Catholic Church. Nestled next to the park and homes on the street, the church doesn’t tower over the town like many of the towering Catholic churches rooted in the centers of Central American cities, and yet, the soul of the community is very clearly pinned to the pews of the church where members have come to services five times weekly since the church opened its doors in the 1950s.

Pastor Adonis is the pastor of the church, following his father, who led it for many years. These are his words:

The most basic reason for immigration in Honduras is the economy and the lack of opportunities for employment. The other reason is delinquency in Honduras. In the US people can find work and make money faster. In Honduras, there are more opportunities to find work in cities than in small towns, because here its agriculture or nothing. In the church, it’s a battle dealing with families who lack a family member. Kids grow up without fathers in their homes, and sometimes both parents. Some people have said that it’s easier to make it across the border if you travel with a child, so there have been a ton of moms and kids crossing together.

I often counsel people thinking about going to the US because they want my input on their decision. I try to determine, “what’s the reality to help the family?” I tell them that family is more important than money and that staying is important. The journey is so dangerous. “Don’t put your lives in danger,” I tell them. If you can go in a way that isn’t dangerous, like if you go legally, that’s much better. People get their limbs cut off on the trains. There are plenty of examples of people in the community this has happened to. You have to look at the consequences of the decision to go. Sometimes, though, they don’t have anything to offer here and feel the need to go. It’s more difficult to counsel the youth against going to the States because they so often get an idea in their heads that’s impossible to get out.

There are positive and negative consequences of immigration in our community. People are making money. People here have food and a bettering of life conditions. But in a lot of ways they have money but don’t have love. Kids without parents are a little rebellious and don’t follow authorities. They make other bad decisions. People who stay are emotionally struggling. A lot of people who go don’t come back and forget their families here. In the US they have a new life with different people. There’s a disintegration of families. Many women who stay find a new man to live with. There are those as well who are happy about the changes and aren’t as sad. There are also those who go and are never heard from again-they are lost in the journey.
In the US, people culturally feel a change, it’s a different form of life. The government is different. Some feel mistreated in their work. They’re paid little and the language is different. It’s not easy to find work if you don’t know people there. And life is different there, people can ride in cars and it’s more comfortable. Coming back can be difficult. Also in the US machismo is not accepted. People who beat their wives or children are reported. When they come back here, sometimes they bring that change back.

The Bible has a lot to say about immigration. Jesus was an immigrant in Egypt, and David was one in Philistia. God is always working in the lives of the wanderers and he is with the people and defending them. God goes with people wherever they go. The role of the church is to care for the well-being of immigrants. It’s a shame when people close doors to getting to know people. People should be more open to know God, to be good to others. We know God by showing love and we are here to help the world, and the world doesn’t just have the two sides of bad and good. It’s not easy, but God is working; he’s working through the church. Taking advantage of immigrants shouldn’t be the attitude of a Christian. People need to respond to the necessity of the immigrants. The US needs them.

In our community, we’re always open and praying for a source of employment. We could grow coffee and there is copper and gold in the mountains that we could mine so the youth wouldn’t have to leave. We are praying fervently. How will these things happen? I don’t know, but God does. I hope to alleviate poverty a little here, and care for creation. I dream for people to be strong spiritually, for people to take faith in God.

The first church shared everything. Egoism makes people maltreat each other, but we as a church are working for the well-being of others by teaching, sharing, and offering love to the sick and poor. We have a granary to save food for times of drought to feed people. The church is working with families, and offering clothes to those who need it. We are also trying to change ways of thinking. Some churches sing and preach but don’t act. We want to act out the Bible because it’s how God speaks to us. The Impact Clubs are helping in the community. I can feel something different in the church, in the neighborhoods, in homes because of them. It’s a more accessible way for kids to connect who don’t go to church. We build relationships, learn about the Bible, and there’s recreation, which is so important for kids. It’s a seed, a seed which I hope sows good results for the future.

Read Miguel's story