Special Report: Honduras and Guatemala 2017

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The United Methodist Mission in Honduras was started by the Board of Global Ministries in 1997 and is the only United Methodist church in Latin America. The National Evangelical Primitive Methodist Church of Guatemala has been part of the church’s mission since 1976 when the church provided humanitarian aid and relief teams after a devastating earthquake.

A small group of United Methodist bishops from the United States, along with staff from the Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Communications, visited United Methodist churches in Honduras and Evangelical National Primitive Methodist churches in Guatemala, July 19-26. The mission education journey immersed participants in the work of the church in the two Central America countries. 

(From left) Bishop Jonathan Holston, the Rev. Carlos Cornejo, Claudete Mora, the Rev. Luis Soto and Bishop Mike McKee use body movement to pray the Lord’s Prayer as part of a devotion given by Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, at Cristo Resucitado, Ciudad España, Honduras. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert. 

Honduras, Guatemala pastors rely on power of prayer

Violence and poverty threatens to drown the communities and consume families. Pastors fight back with faith. 
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The Rev. Héctor Mauricio Rodríguez Lainez, pastor at Aposento Alto United Methodist in Fuerzas Unidas, Honduras, often goes walking around his dangerous neighborhood. 

Video: Pastor serves church in Honduras gang neighborhood

"If someone refuses to join the maras, they are given 48 hours to get out of the country or they will be killed. But really, they usually don't get 48 hours."
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United Methodist bishops and members of the Evangelica Nacional Metodista Primitiva de Guatemala church listen to an overview of Guatemala and Methodism at Santo Tomas Hotel in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS. 

Guatemala church works in shadow of gangs

Pastors joyful and committed to bringing Gospel to all parts of Guatemala, despite day-to day struggles.
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Most of the employees at the Tabacos de Oriente cigar factory in Danlí, Honduras, are women. After the tobacco leaves are cured, they are sorted by color and size.  

Chaplain brings word of God to cigar factory

The Rev. José Roberto Peña, a United Methodist pastor, has been preaching every Friday through an intercom for the past three years.
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Every Friday, the Rev.  José Roberto Peña, a United Methodist pastor in Honduras,  preaches to workers at a cigar factory. 

Video: Honduras pastor serves as chaplain to factory workers

"When I don't come, (workers) ask me, 'Why? We need you to bring the Christian message.'"
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Children sang and read scripture behind large letters spelling out Jesus as part of the celebration of placing the cornerstone for Casa de Paz United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS. 

Pastor: 'God wanted me to go through tribulations.'

The Rev.  Félix Medina, his family and community, celebrate beginning of new  church.
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Video image by Jan Snider, United Methodist Communications. 

Video: Methodism in Central America: Challenges, Faith and Hope

Video takes you into Honduras and Guatemala where the Methodist church  provides much-needed support amidst violence and poverty.
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Social Concerns
Sheila Jones (right) joins in a service of remembrance for missing and murdered indigenous women during the Native Moccasins Rock gathering in Bon Aqua, Tenn. The program is sponsored by the Committee on Native American Ministries of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference of The United Methodist Church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Weekend spotlights Native culture

An annual gathering celebrating Native American culture under the auspices of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference draws Native and non-Native Americans for dance, art and contemplation of serious issues.
Immigration
Maj. Gerardo Ortiz (left), leader of the Salvation Army in Tijuana, Mexico, and Bishop Felipe Ruiz, episcopal leader of the Northwest Annual Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico A.R., have been working collaboratively to serve immigrant communities on the border, and they are now serving refugees from Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Bishop Felipe Ruiz, Methodist Church of Mexico A.R.

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The Methodist Church of Mexico A.R., together with other churches, civil organizations and the support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is providing food and other aid to refugee applicants from Ukraine.
Church History
William Apess was the first Native American licensed to preach by American Methodists. Photo from "A Son of the Forest. The Experience of Will Apes (sic), A Native of the Forest," courtesy of Internet Archive; graphic by Laurens Glass, United Methodist Communications.

Ask The UMC: Pioneers in Methodism — William Apess

William Apess was the first Native American licensed to preach among American Methodists and the leading advocate for Native American rights in the first half of the 19th century.