Friday, June 23, 2017

Two Graduations Offer a Similar Message

By Brad Phillips, the Samaritan’s Purse country director in Honduras

Two graduations from two different types of Samaritan’s Purse projects were held on the same day in Honduras. One of the graduations was held in Pizza Hut; the other was in a church.

The first graduation was for 19 students ages 14 to 17 who have someone in their families with HIV. The students attended three months of classes. While the young women participated in beauty school training, the men took automotive training classes. Although the students typically wouldn’t have the means to pay for these classes, Samaritan’s Purse helped them. Two of the girls had not graduated from sixth grade, so this was their first diploma. Two of the other girls are already mothers, but they see this graduation as hope for an opportunity for a better life.

Honduras Graduation

Without help from Samaritan’s Purse, these young adults wouldn’t have had the tools to complete their courses of study to create better lives for themselves.

Upon graduating, the students received a Bible and a kit to start them in their new professions. During the closing ceremony, a local pastor shared with them how they need not be afraid or faint but should have confidence that Christ will be with them. They just need to decide if they want to be with Him.

Later in the day, after more than an hour of driving, we were at a church where we had presented the idea of a discipleship program 16 months earlier. That afternoon, 25 people showed for the presentation. Sixteen months later, 250 people graduated from the five book series. Youth, adults, and senior citizens all participated in the program. The pastor already has people wanting to know what more they can study to be a part of the Grand Commission and better know their Bibles. The same church feeds 115 children from the poor community five days per week. The program is partially supported by chicken project that Samaritan’s Purse is involved in.

What I saw in common between the two graduations was hope. Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and hope is often hard to come by. (While at the evening service a staff member got a call that a neighbor and good friend had just been assaulted and robbed in his home.) Everyone in both programs heard the Gospel message. Many people came to Christ (more than 35 just at the church). In both programs, young and old saw tomorrow with more possibilities.