Note: The Revs. Nelson and Kara (Thompson) Mejia head two Anglican (Episcopal) churches on the island of Roatán in Honduras. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism-dependent island very hard, and the churches’ response has been to help feed hundreds of out-of-work people each week. But money already raised is running out, and they could use your help to keep it going. Kara is the daughter of the Rev. Gordon and Bell Thompson in the Diocese of Fredericton.
Here is an update from Kara and Nelson, sent Sept. 22:
To catch you up over the last couple of weeks, we fed between 700 and 750 the week before last. Last week the number was back to more than 600.
The new-to-us stove and refrigerator are working out fabulously. We are experimenting with beans to see what we can stretch. We are also looking into pricing hot dog spaghetti (I am reserving judgment but my Honduran friends insist it is delicious). We are maintaining each serving at less than 50 cents, including the plates and forks.
Things are getting pretty bad here, with petty crime and desperation for food. People are literally standing out in the middle of the street holding out a hand for drivers to give them money. There are people walking through the grocery store asking that we buy cereal and milk powder so they can feed their kids.
There are so many people asking for money that we have started handing out uncooked rice and beans. It only helps for a couple of meals but there are so many asking, it is all we can do.
And even we are having to make difficult decisions in these difficult times. We are so grateful to those of you who have supported the mission and helped feed the hungry, but the reality is that those funds have been spent and the food has been eaten.
We are at a real crossroads here and are facing the idea that we may not be able to continue helping without some financial assistance. We have reached into our own pockets to our absolute limits.
We are almost out of money and will need to cut back unless we can gather more in. Our people have no jobs, money, or means of escape. The airport is beginning to accept international travelers but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the cruise ships that won’t be back until next year. These are the children of Christ, our brothers and sisters.
Please pray that all the resources will be found to continue with this project for the benefit of individuals and families on the Bay Islands who are impacted by COVID-19. Please consider helping us feed the people of Roatán.
To see weekly updates and to donate to the Emmanuel Community Kitchen Project, please visit this link www.tttfmicro.com and click on the ¨Donations¨ option.
Impact of COVID-19 in Honduras and Roatan
At the moment we have had 71,616 cases. There have been 2,185 deaths and 22,065 people have recovered. We in Roatán have over 1,128 cases confirmed at the moment; 151 people have recovered and there have been 17 deaths. There are 24 people at the hospital and 43 at the COVID-19 centre.
On Sept. 21 a group of nurses and doctors arrived in Roatán from the mainland to help with the impact on the Island.
Roatan Emmanuel Episcopal Church
At Emmanuel Episcopal/Anglican Church our building continues to be closed. Our Diocesan Bishop Lloyd Allen called the Episcopal Church in Honduras to be prepared with the biosecurity protocol to open our buildings when the government approves. The protocol includes all the regulations regarding being in the building and celebrating the Eucharist, Morning or Evening Prayer.
Projects at Emmanuel Church
We finished the stucco of a side wall of the church, a small project that we had to pause due to government regulations, and also stained the doors of the church, providing some work for one of the kids at the church.
We also help families pay for electricity, medications and groceries.
There is not much we can do, but we focus on the maintenance of the building until we can meet again to worship.
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, we ask that you consider sending a special offering to cover our expenses and needs.
To donate via the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton, click on the link. Under General Funds, choose Honduras Mission Fund.
If you prefer, you can write a cheque payable to “The Diocesan Synod of Fredericton” and send to: Anglican Diocesan Synod of Fredericton, 115 Church Street, Fredericton, NB E3B 4C8. All cheques should have “Honduras Mission” noted on the reference line.
You can also call the Diocesan Office and use a credit card to make a donation. Call Josh: 506-459-1801, ext. 1010.
We know that with the global impact of the pandemic, it is difficult for everyone in the world. That said, we greatly appreciate your prayer and financial support to date and trust that you will continue to support us.
Thank you to all who have faithfully prayed and given to support this incredible work of ministering to the people in our congregations.
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.
The Revs. Nelson and Kara Mejia
PHOTOS - photos show the lineup to get a meal and the people busy working at the Emmanuel Community Kitchen Project. All photos courtesy of Nelson and Kara Mejia.