Fernanda, 7 years old, has breakfast at the kitchen table
in the same house as above.
These are the people that we come know and seek to be their friends.
We start with the children and their education. Although the schools are public, there are additional costs, which their parents cannot afford. Without help they would stay at home.
We start with the children, because they the best chance for the family to enter the middle class.
In addition to the children, we try to help their families, when in need, for example for medical expenses, food, shelter, or unforeseen emergencies. We provide pastoral care, such as prayers for the sick and bereavement counseling. And we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially the Good News that they are children of God and important in His eyes.
Typical adobe house in the Honduran countryside.
Our work among the poor is called the Ministry of Presence.
It is a term used by the Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen, when he was considering a vocation in Latin American. It means living with the poor and helping them as the needs present themselves.
One soon discovers their needs are tremendous. In Honduras 60% of the population lives below the poverty line. Families live in adobe houses with tin roofs; they gather wood to cook from in poorly ventilated wood stove; and three or more often share a bed. Work is scarce, income low, and their food, when available, consists primarily of beans, rice, and tortillas.