September 8, 1999
Mitch relief reaping a harvest in Honduras
___TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (BP)--"In 32 years of missionary service, this is the most unprecedented thing I have ever seen. We have people coming not asking for food or a building but asking us to bring the word of God to them," missionary Max Furr reported.
___Furr, a North Carolina native appointed to missionary service in 1967, coordinates field strategy in Honduras for the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board.
___He and his fellow Southern Baptist missionaries, along with Honduran Baptist partners, have worked tirelessly to witness and minister in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, which struck Honduras on Halloween night 1998. Scores of Southern Baptist volunteers, including many from Texas, have come to help.
___As a result, Honduras Baptist churches are reporting decisions for Christ, baptisms and new mission points in larger numbers than ever before. Many even are reporting surprising numbers of church members getting their lives straightened out.
___Mitch killed more than 5,600 people, and 40 percent of the population lost homes, jobs or family members. Furr said 70 percent of the nation's infrastructure was destroyed. Mitch wiped out most of the nation's banana crop, a major source of employment in Honduras. There will be no bananas produced for 30 months.
___Hondurans heard the gospel during relief efforts in the country, and as people began to accept Christ, Honduran Baptists and Southern Baptist missionaries set a goal of establishing 100 churches in 1999. Already, 60 congregations have been started and 1,250 people are awaiting baptism.
___Relief work and workers will be needed in Honduras for years to come, Furr said. Baptists have undertaken--with the help of volunteers from Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi and other states--to build 595 houses for families whose homes were destroyed in the hurricane. Normally a crew can build a house in one week.
___"That means about 595 teams. Divided by three states, that's about 200 weeks, which is nearly three years," he noted.
___For information on how to be part of a Texas team working in Honduras this fall or winter, call Jim Bullock at (214) 828-5353.
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