This past August, Manos de Dios traveled to Honduras with the purpose of planning and preparation for future visits. From August 15th through the 24th, our small team, composed of four Manos de Dios missionaries and two college professors, met with members of the community in Danlí and the surrounding areas. By sharing life and exchanging ideas with our amigos, we examined key areas of focus for our future visits. These areas were: Manos Scholarship Program activities including college tours, Club Aventura (book club) discussions, Club Intercambio/ESL exhibition fair, Brillantes/STEM program closing ceremony, community meetings, Manos de Dios church activities, community visits and mission fellowship.
Areas of Focus
Manos Scholarship Program
● College tours
○ Tours of Universidad Politécnica de Honduras & Universidad Católica de Honduras
○ For these tours, our graduating scholarship seniors received a tour which included:
■ Seminars with video presentations on what the school systems have to offer and talks from our tour guides and hosts on what it takes to be successful.
■ A look at the facilities and classrooms.
■Q&A with faculty and students.
● Club Aventura (Book club)
○ Manos de Dios hosted a series of discussions with our friends in Club Aventura to analyze our club’s latest book, La Sombra Del Viento. Club Aventura has decided to move forward with the sequel to this book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, but as a supplementary reading. The next book for Club Aventura is The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak.
● Club Intercambio (ESL Program)
○ Manos de Dios attended a couple of Club Intercambio activities including an exhibition fair where our older students presented historical and famous figures and a classroom observation with the younger children that included time for a Q&A session.
● Closing Ceremony
○ To cap off our Brillantes Program, the Manos de Dios church hosted a closing ceremony which included:
■ A college fair with 3 guest speakers.
■ Presentation from our partner professors from UTSA and Texas State.
■ A presentation of projects by the Brillantes students.
■ An award ceremony followed by a focus discussion with the parents.
● Copa Manos
○ Our Copa Manos Committee met and planned out a series of matches for the 2024 edition of Copa Manos. A youth edition of Copa Manos was also conceived, to allow the smaller children to participate.
● Visit to Centro Tecnico Vocacional Pedro Nufio
○ Manos de Dios met with the principal of this partner school on how to strengthen our alliance as well as brainstorming ideas for new programs and ways to serve.
● Pizza Night with our university level scholarship students and graduates
○ A night of fellowship and planning where our mission team and our Manos college students and graduates planned a career fair for the younger scholarship recipients
Iglesia Manos de Dios
● Sunday worship with the Community
○ Our Texas Manos team joined our friends in Danlí on Sunday afternoon for church, participating as members of the congregation.
● Tarde de Alabanza
○ Iglesia Manos de Dios hosted an “Afternoon of Praise” where members of the local community were invited to praise together with folks from different churches.
● San Lorenzo
○ Our Texas team visited the community of San Lorenzo to visit the Santa Magdalena Episcopal Church and the family whose house the Manos team helped install a roof back in January 2023.
● Santa Maria
○ Our Texas team visited our friends in Santa Maria and stopped by the church. The pastor and his family hosted our team for a lovely home-made lunch.
○ Our Texas team explored different areas of engagement and fellowship for our January team, including:
■ Hiking a “Caminata” stations of the cross trail on one of the surrounding mountains. Provides a spectacular view of the community we serve and its surroundings.
■ Visiting Cantarranas and Valle de Angeles, tourism destinations for post-work R&R opportunities.
The Future - What’s next?
Our goal during this visit was to set up work in the future. By listening to those we serve, we learned how we can help. This opportunity to let our friends lead allows them to take initiative in their own community and bring about change even when Manos is not physically present.
Our next visit in January 2024 will bring our planning into fruition.