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When The Rock started sending mission trips to Latin America in 2000, our strategy was to let GCLA match us up with whatever project they felt we could help with most. From 2000 to 2005, we went to a different city every year and had some amazing experiences. However, we were struggling to get students interested in the trips. Every year, the projects were different, the location was different, and recruiting was becoming a challenge. We want as many students as possible to have an overseas mission experience during college, so we decided to rethink our strategy.

In 2006, our pastor, John Drage, started scouting out possible partner churches in Honduras. In 2004, a team had gone to Choluteca. John hadn’t gone on that trip, but had heard about the way in which the church was reaching out to their community through a day care center and other ministries. He had connected with Pastor Geovanny Granera in Choluteca, and they both felt that it would be beneficial for them to meet in person and decide if a partnership would be beneficial to both churches. By the end of our trip in 2006, John and Geovanny were convinced that God was giving them a green light to go ahead with a partnership. And so, the bond between Iglesia Gran ComisiĆ³n Choluteca and The Rock was established. Since 2006, we send teams to Choluteca every January and March. We also offer Exploration trips for potential sponsors and partners. In 2011, we created an annual Leadership Training program in Choluteca during the summer.

The relationship between our two churches has been strengthened by the decisions of several Rock members deciding to take semester trips to Choluteca. We have had three Rock members serve 4, 5, and 6 month internships in Choluteca.

We have also had the opportunity to bring a few of our friends from Choluteca to Columbia to visit our church, and hope to be able to do that again. With the help of email, blogs, Internet phone and Web sites such as Facebook, the distance between us and our brothers and sisters seems much smaller. We are able to communicate frequently and stay very much connected with everything that is going on in Choluteca, and our friends there are able to share in our lives as well.

Another way in which we are able to form strong bonds with the people of Choluteca is through child sponsorship. There are opportunities to financially support children in the day care, the Nutrition Clinic and the Casa Hogar Vida program for those whose families have been affected by HIV/AIDS.

Many students who have visited Choluteca, and even some who haven’t, are sponsoring a child through these programs and are developing special relationships with those children even as they provide the basics of food, clothing, school supplies and medical needs. The children call their sponsors “padrinos” meaning “god-parents,” which gives you an idea of the closeness they feel to their sponsors. They exchange pictures and letters, and news travels through the blogs and emails of the missionaries serving in Choluteca.

It really has been amazing how God has developed such close and intimate relationships with people so distant from each other. Our differences are many, from our culture and language, to our ages and circumstances. But we are all the children of one Father. We have the Holy Spirit in common, and that is enough. The compassion He stirs in us for the lost, the vulnerable and the outcast unites us in a single mission.

Here is the Spring 2009 Rock Newsletter about our partnership in Choluteca.

2009 Rock Honduras Newsletter

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