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Stunned By The Tolupan’s Request

"We like the way you serve God,” the unbelieving Tolupan chief stated. “Others are interested in who water baptized which people, or they take advantage of us. Over all these years, you have honored us and respected our ways—will you start a Frontline Missions church here?”

 

Stunned at this answer to prayer, my mind flashed back some ten years ago when Alan had stopped trips up to Flower Mountain for eighteen months due to the sudden appearance of machine guns. Upon his return, the previously timid chief who had never even shaken Alan’s hand sought him out, insisting upon an explanation for his absence. Hearing Alan’s reluctance to take others into such violence, the chief was taken aback. He reminded Alan of how God dropped the river level following an overnight downpour in full view of the Tolupan, which allowed the team to cross the swollen river into the community. The chief returned, “Your God lowers the rivers; why are you afraid of AK-47s?”

 

In our absence, his faith had soared—he recognized God’s power over nature and mankind. Then, breaking generations of distrust of outsiders, the chief reached out for a handshake, “I’m so glad you’re back.” The two men worked together, and the community eradicated the violence because they valued the American believers’ presence.

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Will you start a Frontline Missions church here?” the chief repeated. “No,” I answered, “we will not start a Frontline Missions church, because we are not here to establish our own name. But we will help you start an Indigenous church of your own.”

Traditional Tolupan Attire on Tolupan Elderly Man

Traditional Tolupan Attire: Tolupan Elderly Man

Months later a Tolupan representative repeated the request, observing that as a teacher himself who required years of training, it would require years to raise up spiritual Indigenous leaders. This spring a Honduran couple temporarily moved to Flower Mountain to begin the discipleship process, and the baton will soon be passed longer term to another pioneering family to honor the requests of the Tolupan, who are donating land for the family’s home.

 

Additionally, the Tolupan Council requested that we help preserve their language. Thankfully, a Tolupan believer, Ricardo, who had been instrumental in the translation of the Bible stories years ago was willing to assist again, teaching between the two Tolupan communities of La Ceibita and San Juan. Our desire is to consistently promote unity, dignity, and collaboration in the name of Christ.

 

In God’s typical style of exceeding our expectations, this past spring, the chief gave approval for his eight children to be water baptized, marking the first time a Tolupan chief’s family made a public declaration of their faith. Moving beyond acknowledging God’s power over creation, a Tolupan chief is now embracing Christ within his own family and culture.

Timid Tolupan Children Leaning into Pastor Luis Following Water Baptism

Timid Tolupan Children Lean In To A Beaming
Pastor Luis Following Water Baptism

Landmark Missions Team with Flower Mountain tribe
Part of the Landmark Team
Landmark Returns: Baptisms Follow

During spring break, Landmark Christian School was excited to resume their twenty-year tradition of serving in Flower Mountain after a three-year halt. Unique to this trip, none of the participants had previously visited Honduras. The students, led by Fred Gilkeson and Meily Garrido, hiked mountain trails, distributed handwritten letters and school supplies, and served alongside a medical team. The team served from dawn to dusk, finding innumerable opportunities to lend a helping hand to the local community.

 

Watching the Lord take their offering of service transformed the students as much as those they came to serve. Their lives were further joined in the bond of faith with the tribe as some students and a handful of the Tolupan entered the waters of baptism together.

Before the Landmark team departed, they made plans to return again during summer break. We rejoice that these students and Tolupan have chosen to publicly declare their journey of faith.

 

Proverbs 11:25 “The generous soul will be rich, and he who waters will also be watered.”

One Wish Bracelet
One Wish Bracelet
Jeimy: The Tolupan Child Evangelist

Mattie, an American teenage missionary, leaned in to listen as twelve-year-old Jeimy, a beautiful Tolupan girl, shared her fresh faith in Jesus Christ with a friend using her new One Wish bracelet. Although Mattie could not understand Tol, it was clear Jeimy was sharing the Gospel using the four pictures displayed on her new bracelet.

 

She pointed to the first picture, a diamond, showing how her friend was a treasure to God, and He wanted her to be His child. With the second picture, she explained God is Light and that our sins bring darkness, separating us from Him. Using the third picture of Jesus’ pierced hand, she told her friend that Jesus had taken her sins on the cross so she could be forgiven. Using the fourth picture of two hands grasping the other, she then explained how her friend could now take the Hand of God and be His child if she accepted His gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Jeimy’s friend responded to the story with a resounding, “Yes!” Jeimy gladly gave her own bracelet to her friend.

 

Mattie was touched by Jeimy’s love for Jesus and for her friend. Using a Honduran translator, Mattie told Jeimy that she had shared the Gospel beautifully and that Mattie wanted to give her four more bracelets. “You can share these with your other friends,” Mattie explained. Excitedly, Jeimy pressed, “Can I give them away right now?” Sure enough, the next time Mattie saw this young Tolupan evangelist, her bracelets were already given away!       One Wish Bracelets can be ordered from onewish4u.com.

Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me… For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those
who are like these children.” - Matthew 19:14

FMUSA Summer 2023 Newsletter Cover

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