Local church members raise the roof(s) in Honduras

The mountains of western Honduras are both literally and figuratively far from Jacksonville’s Riverside-Avondale-Murray Hill-Ortega neighborhoods. But they are close by in the hearts of members at Holy Trinity Anglican Church.
Seven members of Holy Trinity, located at the corner of Eloise and Glendale, traveled to Gracias, Honduras in early August to install roofs on two churches there and help fix up an orphanage. With them were members from Anglican churches in Macclenny, Fleming Island and Orlando.
“Several church members had participated in mission trips to this area of Honduras a few years ago and we agreed Holy Trinity should send a team there,” said Rev. Dave Austell, Rector of Holy Trinity Anglican. “The needs are so great there and the poverty is just incredible, but the Gospel is being preached and accepted there and it’s our joy to help in their physical and spiritual needs.”
Working with Orlando-based Missionary Ventures International (MVI), the team coordinated with Allen Sowers, an American who is based in Gracias and assists pastors of hundreds of small churches in the mountainous western half of the Central American nation. Sowers, whose parents had been missionaries in Southeast Asia, had been a custom homebuilder in Maryland before entering the mission field and moving his family to Honduras ten years ago. Sowers and his family help oversee construction projects such as churches, roads, and bridges and assist with 300 food centers and orphanages in Honduras.
“It was an amazing, strenuous, unforgettable week,” said Eric Linden, who was joined on the mission trip by his wife Jan and son Kendall. “So much of what we did was way outside our comfort zones, but everyone pulled together and got so much work done. And, we are ready to go right back.”
Linden, who was an electrician in the Navy, oversaw the wiring of a church on which the team also installed a metal roof. While Linden and others were wiring and roofing the church outside Gracias, part of the team travelled two hours away to a small adobe brick church in a rural area to replace the leaking tile roof with a metal one with plexi-glass skylights. It was ready for worship before they returned home.
Most of the team also spent three days making repairs and painting at a girls’ orphanage in the town of Santa Rosa de Copan about an hour away. The three dozen children age 5 to 20 sang several Honduran folk songs to their American guests as a thank you and farewell for their work.
“It wasn’t all about the work, establishing relationships with the people was even more important,” said Ortega Forest resident Patrick McSweeney, who was making his second trip to Honduras. “Beyond our construction effort, it was by playing soccer or teaching kids how to throw a Frisbee, skip rope or blow bubbles, that we were able to communicate that God loves them and He sent us from the U.S. to help them.”

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