"Discouragement can drain us of all hope, of all vision, of all our tomorrows, and dreams." - Joanna Weaver
Have you been overwhelmed by the load of responsibilities or fateful circumstances? It is easy to get distracted in the midst of it all but distraction can be an open door for discouragement. When we get distracted from our walk with God, then discouragement and distress could be right around the corner. We ought to take the same approach that David did in 1 Samuel.
1 Samuel 30:6
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.
What are some ways that you can "encourage yourself in the Lord"?
1) Pray! (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Seek the face of the Lord. Tell him all of your troubles. Ask for His direction. If you feel as if He has become a stranger to you, then renew your relationship with Him. We cease to know Him when we cease to seek Him.
Read the Psalms. Read the stories of Bible characters who went through some discouraging times but made it through with the help of God. (Such as Job, Daniel, Esther, Ruth, and so on) Read the stories of modern day heroes that have a wonderful story of God's grace.
3) Be encouraged. (Isaiah 41:10)
Speak to someone with wisdom if you are needing counsel or guidance, such as your pastor, youth leader, parent, or a mentor. Don't try to go through your trials alone. The Lord is with you and for you.
There is so much more that could be said about the remainder of the trip to Honduras but time and current responsibilities keep us from doing so. However, we know that God must receive the glory for all that was done during our work with the Sumner families and Light of Life Youth Camp.
One cannot work with the Sumner Families and not be greatly challenged to give more time and effort in the work of God. Their ministry spans nearly the entire country of Honduras. Their outreach touches every military base in the country, and locally through their church and soup kitchen. The life of a missionary seems grand and glorious but until one has spent personal time on a field then the daily hardships and trials will not be realized. The work is of great importance but is strengthened through perseverance and faithfulness. Prayer and support is so appreciated by those who sacrificially give of themselves by serving on a foreign land.
Problem after problem seemed to hinder our journey to the camp in Tegucigalpa but once we finally arrived we knew that it was all worth the fight. Every service and class was powerful and blessed by God. It was a busy and full schedule, which made the week pass very quickly. The campers were divided into 4 groups, which were used for contests, games, and competition.
By Thursday evening, there were approx. 15 that received salvation and 2 that were filled with the Holy Ghost. Gloria Dios! 1 in particular was noticeably changed within a 2-day period. Spencer was from Roatan Island and attended the youth camp with the Trawick's. His attitude seemed arrogant and self-assured at the beginning of the week but when he stood up in front of the congregation to testify after receiving Christ on Wednesday, he couldn't speak for nearly 3 minutes from crying. It took him about 10 minutes to give God praise and paused several times to catch his falling tears. It was a very moving time. The next day his attitude and expression were totally changed. He was a completely different person. Several others stood up and testified of receiving salvation. It was a very quiet hour as they all were broken over God's grace and mercy in their lives. No words can describe that time and no pics or videos were taken because it was such a tender time.
We are witnesses of the fact that God is still working miracles in the lives of young people across this world.
Monday night service started off late since our arrival was delayed due to overheating problems with the bus.
However, that did not delay the moving of the Lord on the youth camp. There was a move towards the altars in the middle of doing service and the presence of the Lord swept through the place. I myself received a renewal in my spirit and prayed for a week of change of consecration for these teens.
The next day I made the mistake of brushing my teeth with the faucet water, forgetting that we weren't using safe water. Rhoda did the Anne thing and by the morning service we were miserable. That happened to be the morning I was told that I would be teaching my lesson on "conduct" for the girls but also would be teaching the drama class. I had brought along some skits for the camp but not with the knowledge that I was to teach them how to perform it (in Spanish) and have it practiced within 45 minutes. Phew!
That threw me for a loop but I've learned to take on challenges and do the best that I can. We did a silent skit called, "Do Not Touch!" on Tuesday and "A Cloud of Witnesses" on Wednesday. There were quite a few good actors and they did a great job performing them.
After service we went on to teach the Bible classes. Luke Shuecraft was teaching the boys on Tuesday & Wednesday. I was scheduled to teach on Tuesday while Britney Chan had Wednesday. I've never felt so ill-equipped and unprepared for an event such as this. Finding out about teaching drama along with the sickness due to the water made me feel add if I stumbled all throughout the Bible lesson. I had studied it in English and Spanish but it wasn't flowing through my mouth so great in Spanish. Halfway through I asked Tabitha to help me so that I could have a better connection with the girls by eye contact.
They were given a handout to follow along with the lesson and answer questions about their own character so I'm praying that even with my failure God can still speak to then through His Word.
The morning went pretty smooth for us girls as we packed up all clothes, cleaning supplies, and game activities for the week. We left the church at 1:30 then began to run into problem within the first half hour. The bus was overheating!
The guys had already headed into Teguc with the truck and didn't experience any more problems. The bus was trailed by the ministry's van and Prado. There were several mountainous roads which made travel more difficult for the bus. We began praying. We knew this was a way for Satan to try to keep these young people from going to camp and receiving a blessing and/or change in their lives. At one time we stopped along the road for nearly an hour as the men struggled to work with the broken fan that was causing the engine to overheat.
The journey that should've taken less than 2 hours took over 4 hours. We finally arrived to the camp ground with an hour to spare before church began. The Spirit of the Lord began moving in the song service as the young people began worshipping the Lord then they moved towards the altars. What a wonderful way to begin youth camp! -Sonia
Awesome. These past eight days have been the one of the most memorable days of my life. This being my first trip out of the country on a mission's trip , I didn't know what to expect. I had heard great things about the Sumners and the ministry that they have been doing for the Lord. We were welcomed cheerfully and treated with great hospitality. The Sumners are a great family.I love how they just enjoy doing the work of God. The day after we arrived Bro. Alan Sumner and I drove all over town running errands. First we filled part of the trailer with cans and bottles. Then drove to the house of a Church member to pick up some scrap metal to take to the junk yard in exchange for money. This money would go toward the youth camp fund. After that we stopped at several stores to buy some things for the camp.The next day Bro.Scott Sumner and his wife, Sarah, Sonia, Mayra, and I went to the soup kitchen to serve meals to the poor children in the area. Both Sumner families have inspired to try to do more to reach out in my community. Every time we went somewhere they would always point out someone on the street and almost tell me their life story in 10 seconds. It makes sense that they would know a lot of people because they have been working in Honduras for 25 years. God has given the Sumner families a special talent for ministering and witnessing to military and police members. Not only military and police members, but anyone they can witness to and share the gospel with. The last half of the trip was my favorite. Both the Trawick family and the Sumner families have been working really hard for the past several months to put together the youth camp. Monday,the first day of youth camp, was a busy day. We woke up at about 7 am,ate breakfast,and then started loading the vehicles.The truck was loaded with a golf cart, ping-pong table, corn hole boards, and sound equipment. The other vehicles were loaded with luggage and food supplies.
While Bro.Allen, Luke, and Titus went to the airport to pick up Bro.Abdias I went with Bro.Scott on the bus to pick up campers amd adults. As we we were on the way to the camp,the bus overheated.We stopped for about 45min, Bro.Scott and a few other young men made a temporary fix on the bus until they could find out exactly what the problem was.We arrived at the camp around 5, unloaded the vehicles, took our luggage to the dorms,ate dinner,and then went to the evening service.Youth camp started in the best way possible.Bro.Trawick started off the service with an introduction, then Bro.Scott led the congregation in singing. As everyone was singing the Holy Spirit started to move, and before long everyome was in the alter. There was no preaching, just praying. Although it seemed that we would have a rough day it finished well because the Holy Spirit had moved.Day 2 of youth camp. We all woke up at 7 am, got dressed,and then ate breakfast at 8. After breakfast the guys and the girls headed to their own dorms for devotions which were lead by one of the dorm counselors. After dorm clean up and devotions we all headed for the sanctuary for the morning service. Bro.Abdias preached all the morning services and boy did he do a great job. God moved in each and every service. About 13 people were saved and at least 1 person was filled with the Holy Ghost. I could really see the difference in peoples' faces. One young man in particular that I remember getting saved was a 17 year old teen named Spencer. It was the Wednesday night service when Spencer asked Jesus to come into his life. The Trawicks and others had been praying that Spencer would surrender his heart and life to Jesus Christ,and that night their prayer was answered. Later on in the in the the service Spencer gave his testimony. There was no preaching that night , just singing. The choir was singing a song and then people just started to come to the alters and pray. Part of the choir song said i want to drink more of you i want to praise you more and i need you more (you-reffering to God). In Spencer's testimony he said that after the choir had finished their song he had walked outside for a minute. While he was outside he had heard a voice saying come and drink of me. A minute later Bro.Trawick walked over to Spencer and talked with to him,then Spencer made his way down to the alter and gave his life to God. After that you could tell that there had been a change in Spencer's life. He had a better attitude, he was more friendlier, and just poured his heart out to God in the rest of the services.
- Tomas (age 14)
What an eventful weekend! We spent Saturday working in the soup kitchen with the Scott Sumner family. They chose an easy meal this week since there had been a lot of running around making preparations for camp and gathering the food and materials needed. The camp is in Tegucigalpa this year so they have the task of carrying sound equipment, food, clothes, other supplies, and the campers to the campground. Sunday morning was eventful as me and Mayra were asked to teach both children's Sunday School classes AND lead songs for the opening service. We were definitely willing and are grateful for the chance to practice our Spanish. However, our confidence in that language is not very high at all and our memory is blank when it comes to Spanish children's songs. Our memory also happens to leave us when we are speaking to or leading the congregation in Spanish. The Summer's are always encouraging and positive every time and tell us how wonderful it was even if we felt we stuttered through the whole thing. It's really a humbling experience and I recognize the need for it if we strive to get better at it.
There is no morning service since they focus on teaching. Luke taught the youth class and Titus taught the adults while me and Mayra had over 60 in the sanctuary. We were in the middle of teaching the Bible Verse when the youth class came in. Luke isn't long winded in teaching at all but it didn't help our nervousness when more and more people kept coming in as we were teaching. All in all it went well and the kids were excited to receive the colouring books we brought from Missionary Press.
That afternoon went quickly with lunch and cleaning and riding in the plane. We weren't expecting them to give us rides since their schedules were already so full. They never lack in giving us fun and exciting things to do, such as riding in the golf cart down the runway, or slinging plane shooters, or going on a roller coaster ride in the sky. I decided I'm still not a fan of roller coasters!
We finished with enough time to freshen up and head back into town with the bus. The bus route is along the mountain as they head to town from their house and a few stops in town. We were about halfway down the mountain when we passed Bro. Alan in the truck. It has died suddenly and refused to start. The men tried working on it to no avail. To make a long story short, we went ahead with the bus to the church since we were already running late and Sis. Paula went to town with the Prado for some tools. The truck was needed for the 1 1/2 hour journey that was to take place the next day. The Lord knew that worries and fears needed to be settled and He was powerfully evident in the service. It was a wonderful time of worship.
Bro. Alan arrived just in time to introduce Titus as the preacher for the night. The service ended on an encouraging note even though there was a question on what was needed to fix the truck (it came down the mountain by changing fuses every few yards). Bro. Alan spent half the night working on it then took off early in the morning with the guys to run errands in Danli.
It's been a great experience to be a part of this missions trip. Working in the soup kitchen on Saturday was wonderful. It's amazing what the Sumner families do for others. They reach out and serve anyone with such a loving and humble spirit. To see the joy of each child when they receive the food and even the devotion/lesson makes washing every dish worth it all. Looking forward to what the Lord is going to do in the youth camp!
We've so enjoyed our time since arriving on Thursday after a 2 hour delay in Atlanta. We arrived at the church just in time for service. Since then we've been running errands with the Sumner's, preparing for camp, and prepping for lessons we will be doing in Sunday school and the soup kitchen. Saturday Mayra and Sonia led songs and Mayra did a great job teaching a lesson on God making each one different and special. Afterwards we served all those present hot dogs and Honduran cheetos. There were able 100 in attendance. The next few days will go in a blur and I'm not sure if Internet will be readily available. This is a current update. We so appreciate all prayers and support!
In a few days, 3 members (2 GEM members) of THT will be heading to Honduras to work with 2 missionary families for a 3-day youth camp. They are anticipating around 150 youth to be in attendance. There will be classes, skits, morning and evening services. There is much excitement as time nears and preparations continues. Please keep this team in prayers as they minister and assist these missionaries.
If you'd like to read up on our experiences, keep this page saved and we will try to keep you up to date when Internet is accessible.
Sonia E. Vargas
Sonia's desire and hope is to write for the purpose of inspiring this generation, especially young woman.
Hannah Helm is a fun and outgoing young woman who loves to bring laughter and joy to anyone she comes in contact with. She is 23 years old and is a leader of Girl's Exalting the Master Ministry.
Paula is a passionate follower of Christ and loves to encourage others around her to do the same. She is 27 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014.
Kristyn is a sweet and gentle young lady from Trinity Holiness Tabernacle. She is 19 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She plays the piano and sings beautifully. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014 and Honduras team in 2016.