By the Revs. Kara Thompson Mejia and Nelson Mejia
Editor’s note: The Mejias head an Anglican mission in Roatán, Honduras.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5, NIV)
We give all glory and honour to the Lord for your partnering with us. Without your support and especially your prayers, our ministry would never have been possible or impact our generation. We give our heartfelt special thanks to all of you for your sacrificial giving.
Emmanuel Community Kitchen Project
In response to the effect the pandemic has had on the people of Roatán, Emmanuel Episcopal Church/Teach Them To Fish is temporarily repurposing the glass recycling shop to be the ‘kitchen’ of a soup kitchen project. Our goal is to feed as many people as we can in the coming months until tourism can return to the island.
Since about 85 per cent of the population relies on tourism for their living, there are going to be families literally starving if we don’t pull together as a community to make sure everyone gets food for the rest of the year. According to the local authorities and the central government, local businesses will be open on May 18. Construction and churches are included in this and will be open.
We as the Episcopal Church/Teach Them to Fish are ready to set up the kitchen. Last Friday, the 15th, we began training. We used the smoker and we fed about 50 people, including 13 that are in quarantine by the Covid-19 team.
The church’s plan is to start serving lunch to the local area around Emmanuel Episcopal Church once or twice a week until we can scale up the operation to as many days per week as we can afford. Our goal is to serve meals daily for 300-500 people around the Island.
A website is being set up to publish the progress of the project and collect donations for kitchen equipment and food. It will be capable of taking not only single donations but recurring donations as well. It will also have links to other local efforts and events, and a blog.
We have already had a commercial smoker donated toward this effort. We will begin training it now that the authorities will let us circulate. The first loads of wood and ‘practice’ meats have also been donated. We are looking for a six or eight burner stove, a refrigerator, and a freezer.
We are talking with the local grocery stores to sell us food at wholesale prices. After tourism returns and people get back to work, the kitchen equipment will be retained to help feed the very poor on the island, but on a smaller scale.
Please pray that all the resources will be obtained and any obstacles overcome to establish this project to benefit individuals and families affected by the impact of Covid 19 on the Bay Islands.
Impact of COVID-19
We continue to face COVID-19 and for two months we have experienced a new way of life. To update you on Honduras, at the moment now we have 2,646 cases, 142 deaths and 289 people who have recovered.
As well, we have been under curfew until May 17, by order of the president. We in Roatán have no cases at the moment, and we hope we won’t.
As a result of this, the central government and the local authorities will let businesses open in Roatán beginning May 18 from 6 a.m. to possibly 8 p.m.; this is to support the local economy and also as a pilot project to implement in other cities and departments on the mainland.
The Island is still closed — no one can come in — and every business needs to implement all the requirements established by the government.
In response to this difficult time for our parishioners, we continued delivering bags of groceries among our congregation on May 5 and we expect to distribute more bags. Also one of the gas stations in Roatán brought groceries especially for the mothers in our church on Mother's Day.
Roatan opens churches for services
At Emmanuel Episcopal/Anglican Church we expect to open our building for services on Sunday, the 24th of May. This privilege is just in Roatán , and in the next few days we will receive the regulations we need to follow for the services.
Also we will need the approval of Bishop Lloyd Allen. We will need to use shoe disinfectant, masks and hand sanitizer. Otherwise the authorities said a person can't come into the church building.
If a congregation is bigger than 50 members, we need to hold two services to protect the people. Please pray that we can continue to be safe from the COVID-19 virus, and we pray the same for all of you.
On the financial side, we continue to be very positive and to pray and praise God with faith and thanksgiving. We also ask you to continue to pray about our finances, that for the rest of the year our support will stabilize and be sufficient to cover our needs. At the moment our balance is very low. Therefore, please consider sending a special offering to cover our expenses and needs.
To donate now, please click on the following link (or copy and paste it into your browser):
Or you can visit the Diocese of Fredericton’s website, then go to “Donate” for various ways to give online. Be sure to select “Honduras Mission Fund.”
Cheques should be made payable to “The Diocesan Synod of Fredericton” and sent to: Anglican Diocesan Synod of Fredericton, 115 Church Street, Fredericton, NB E3B 4C8; You can also donate using a credit card over the phone: (506) 459-1801.
All cheques should have “Honduras Mission” noted on the reference line. We greatly appreciate your prayer and financial support to date and trust that you will continue to support us.
Please continue to pray for Roatan and Honduras at a difficult time caused by COVID-19.
Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Your prayers and continued support enable us to continue touching people’s lives with Jesus’ love.
Nelson and Kara Mejia
1. The new kitchen set up to help feed the many who have lost their tourism jobs. The donated smoker is at left.
2. Social distancing.
3. The chickens during a try-out of the smoker.
4. The Rev. Nelson Mejia.