Grace Presbyterian Church sent their first team to Honduras in July, 2000 in the hopes that they would find a place for Grace to participate in hands-on mission work in the international community. The team loved their experience with Honduras Outreach Inc. and the people they met in the Agalta Valley. After just one trip they were hooked to the simplicity of life in the Agalta Valley, the lush green landscape, glittering night sky, and the humble residents who willingly invited us into their lives. Over the years the missionaries have developed close relationships with those in the Agalta Valley and consider those they have worked with to be family. The value and importance of the mission trip was perfectly explained by a resident of El Quebrachal as, "Christmas and Easter rolled into one!" There is no doubt that each mission trip is a life changing experience.
After the 2001 mission team returned from their trip Grace decided to raise money for a water project in the village of El Quebrachal. Over the course of the year Grace raised a total of $20,000 to be used towards a well. However, they had to move to Plan B after it was reported that there was a possibility of getting salt water in the well since someone dug a well across the river and the end result was a salt water well. Plan B included trekking up into the mountains and finding a water source that could be piped down to the village. The water source ended up being nearly 17 miles from the village and the price of the project rose drastically. Over the years the villagers have shoveled and laid pipe, without the help of machinery, to connect the source to the village water tank. In 2008 we saw the water tank being built and helped lay some of the. The project required the expertise of an engineer and the installation of piping under a riverbed. This added $100,000 to the cost of the project. The project stalled. The Church was built in the village in 2010 and this lead to electricity being provided to the village. With electricity in the village, the well option was reviewed again and it was decided to drill a well on this side of the river. The results were spectacular. Not only was the water perfectly clear and clean, the flow capacity was extremely high and with the newly supplied electricity, electric pumps were available to supply water to the village. God truly provides!!! The water project became a success after many years of prayers!
Our 2002 mission team had the pleasure of working with the villagers to build a kindergarten in El Quebrachal. At the, time the village had a one room school house and a small abandoned house used as a kindergarten. Grace’s support for the construction of the kindergarten had long term effects on the education of the youth in the village. As parents saw missionaries’ enthusiasm for education and the building of the kindergarten, more children began to attend school. The teacher has continually expressed her gratitude for our work with the children and has told us that we have, “Taught the children to have confidence in themselves and shown them that there is hope for their future.” When we returned the following year we saw a completed kindergarten adorned with paper decorations and drawings hanging on the walls. We watched as the kindergarteners entered their classroom, knowing that they had a place to foster a love for learning. In 2004 we returned to find that another school room had been built for the growing number of students. El Quebrachal now participates in a program that allows students to complete their secondary education through remote study and has at least 15 students enrolled. As the interest in education grows we are able to see the fruits of our labor and hard-work truly pay off.
During our 2006 mission trip we took a detour to visit a village that had been recently hit by a hurricane. Although numerous homes and the school had been washed away, no one was lost in the storm. However, seeing the children without a school was heartbreaking, and missionary Jason Miller decided to work with HOI to have a new school built the following year. During the 2010 mission trip Jason was finally able to see the school and meet some of the students. The team was delighted to see the kids running to school, eager to start the day. We were overjoyed to see one student in particular. When we had visited the village in 2006 we met a young mother with her infant living in a home that a church had donated to her village. Many of the team members were concerned that the child was sick and worried for his health. When we returned in 2010 we were overjoyed to see that he was in good health and attending the school! What a blessing for us all to be able to reunite and for such a joyous occasion.
In 2009 Grace began the church project in El Quebrachal. Missionaries worked alongside villagers to lay the foundation for the church. Our team returned in 2010 to see a majority of the church completed. The name of the church is San Miguel (Saint Michael) and will serve El Quebrachal and surrounding villages. During the 2010 mission Greta Miller was especially touched to discover that long time friend, Graciela, had become a Christian since the building of the church. She ran up to share the great news, Bible in hand and kids in tow, eager to tell Greta that they were now sisters in Christ. Moments like these let us know that we are indeed doing His work and we are humbled that we have been called to witness the Holy Spirit working in the Agalta Valley.