By Brian Blackwell, Message staff writer
LA ESPERANZA, Honduras (LBM) –Verona Langford felt humbled and privileged to witness new converts step into the local river for baptism as part of a multi-church worship service in Honduras.
One by one, eight individuals came in and out of the water and were greeted with applause and hugs from the 60 Hondurans in attendance for the occasion. Langford, who has taken multiple trips to the country with her husband, Marlyn, said the service that took place in 2017 signifies the fruits of the labor reaped from a multi-church, multi-state partnership that frequently sends teams to share Christ in La Esperanza.
“The people were so excited to gather for what was, at the time, a rare thing,” Langford, a member of Woodridge Baptist Church in Shreveport, told the Baptist Message. “You could just see the excitement on the faces of those baptized and the gathered crowd. Another team witnessed 27 new believers baptized this spring. We return year after year there, and this was a blessing to see a visual picture of the harvest from the seeds that have been sown.”
Woodridge Baptist, joined by First Baptist Church, Dry Prong, Forest Hill Baptist Church and Sweetwater Baptist Church, Quitman, are among 12 churches in six states who, since 1999, have taken mission teams to La Esperanza, a city of more than 30,000 Hondurans. The teams, through the organization Honduras Ministries Incorporated, assist four full-time missionaries that the churches support through funding annual salaries and other living expenses.
Since they began taking mission trips to the area, the teams have constructed five church buildings, operated dental, medical and sports clinics, held Vacation Bible Schools, conducted street evangelism, distributed food to households, installed a water purification system and rebuilt a bridge. The teams also have constructed a lodge where teams reside when they take mission trips to the community.
Ray Ford, worship pastor at First Baptist Church, Dry Prong, said the Hondurans are appreciative of the support and encouragement by the teams that return each year to spread Christ’s love. He also said he did imagine that the partnership would span several decades.
“The ultimate goal is to see people saved,” To be a part of that just feels you up with blessings. It was such a blessing to be a part of that.”
Monty Huckaby, a member of Sweetwater Baptist, said those Hondurans who accept Christ inspire him to return annually to the country.
He referenced an incident where two Hondurans were led to Christ after inquiring about the team’s motivation for building a church.
“As the interpreter shared Jesus with these men, one could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit,” Huckaby said. “We quit our work and allowed Dario Delarca, our Honduran minister, to share the Gospel message. The two old men accepted Jesus as their Savior. This event stirred my heart so much that I have been returning year after year. The Honduran people are so hungry for the message of Jesus.”