By Tessie Chavez, Samaritan’s Purse agronomist for animal and agriculture programs in Honduras
There is a big division between city and village life in Honduras. Cities are becoming very modern, while life in the villages is still very traditional and marginalized. There is almost no investment being made in public services like schools, infrastructure, and even basic services like electricity and waste management. The people living in these villages feel that they are forgotten and that they are not valuable to society.
Samaritan’s Purse is one of the few organizations helping these communities through animal distributions, agriculture projects, and evangelistic activities. These projects open doors for us to build relationships with community members and to share the Gospel with them.
As we train the people in how to take care of the animals, we always include Bible lessons with topics related to animals and agriculture to explain the Gospel in ways they can understand. We use lessons from the Bible covering health, food, warehouses, and animals.
One of the lessons we often use to demonstrate God’s great love for us is from Mark 5—the story of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man. The story happens in a town of pig farmers.
When Jesus came to the community, he found a man possessed by demons living in a cemetery. He was totally rejected by the community. Not even his family wanted him, and he was chained like an animal.
Jesus looked with compassion on the man and cast out the demons into 2,000 pigs on a nearby hillside, which went crazy and drowned in a nearby lake.
In Honduras, a pig costs about $250 U.S. dollars, so we tell the community members to multiply that by 2,000 to find out how much money the people of the town lost as a
result of what Jesus did for one crazy man that no one cared about. The story gives us an idea about how valuable one soul must be to God.
The man’s life was completely changed as a result of Jesus’ love, and he had a powerful testimony for his community. We use this story to illustrate how precious we are to God, as well as how the story also looks forward to an even bigger expression of God’s love for us in sending His son to die on a cross.
We are all like the possessed man. We are captive to sin until Jesus comes into our lives and sets us free. From that moment on, we become a testimony to other people.
For us as Samaritan’s Purse agronomists, one animal means one opportunity to change a person’s life in many ways.