Lately, I’ve been posting mostly my daily Bible study comments as our church family reads through the New Testament together in 2012. (For more information, check out this link to our Facebook page.) But it’s been a while since I posted a more “personal” blog about what’s going on with me and my ministry. Specifically, I want to record some thoughts about a wonderful experience I just had with the saints that meet in a special place in the Lord’s vineyard: Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras.
Last week, Sunny and I had the chance to spend some time with these precious brothers and sisters. For the past several years, some of our dearest friends, Jon and Stacy Stacy, have been prayerfully considering God’s call on their lives. (That story is a God-inspired one in itself; check out their blog to read it in its entirety.) After much prayer and discussion, the Stacys left the States last September to worship and work in Honduras. We decided to visit them and encourage them in their work, but we had no idea what kind of blessing the Lord had in store for us in this beautiful place.
We arrived in Honduras last Friday and were immediately received by the Stacys and their precious children. We flew in to San Pedro Sula, a major city in northwest Honduras. After catching up over lunch, we drove three hours southwest to Santa Rosa de Copan, the largest city in western Honduras with a population just north of 42,000. The Stacys moved to Santa Rosa to work with Mission Upreach, an organization whose mission is to plant one church in every village in the surrounding area in this generation. That means Mission Upreach aims to plant nearly 2,500 churches to serve as a foothold for the Kingdom of God in western Honduras.
Each time I travel to a different part of the world, I’m struck by the sincerity of spirit that is shared among brothers and sisters in Christ. These dear people received us warmly and graciously and it reminded me of my brothers in Cuba, the brothers and sisters I met in South Africa in 2010, and the bond we share as believers, regardless of our nationality. I was reminded of a phrase I picked up in South Africa: ubuntu. Ubuntu is defined as a communal perspective, a way of thinking that says, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” No one can be defined in isolation, but rather in relation to others. We were all created to share a common identity as God’s image bearers. But brothers and sisters in Christ share ubuntu, a common heritage and a common Lord (Eph. 4). I’m glad that I can now add the saints in Santa Rosa to my list of ubuntu friends.
Paul is quite fond of the word “saints” — it’s one of his “go to” words to describe followers of Christ. Now, Paul is quite aware of our sinful condition; he writes extensively about sin and its power, too. But Paul is also adamant in his declaration that if we are in Christ, belonging to Him, then we experience sanctification and, therefore, can be properly classified as saints. It’s not that we have achieved holiness on our own; rather, the holy character of Christ is continually being formed in me. “Be holy as I am holy,” is a command that is fulfilled both instantaneously (at the point of belief, baptism, etc.) and progressively (over time, through discipleship). At any rate, the brothers and sisters in Santa Rosa de Copan certainly fit the bill. Their saintly spirits, warm smiles, attentive ears, and patience with poor-Spanish-speaking Americanos like myself are all proof that the character of Christ has been formed in these godly brethren.
I wish I could share all the details about my wonderful visit to this wonderful place. But it’s enough for me to say that I thank God for His church that meets in Santa Rosa. May He continue to keep His hand upon her for His namesake and for His glory both now and forevermore. Amen.