Valarie Englert, Senior Pastor

A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. – Jeremiah 31.15


This word has been on the minds of many in our group as we’ve been doing our work in Honduras. 

Why are so many Central Americans leaving their homes – especially Hondurans – and undertaking dangerous journeys to other countries? In particular, why do so many try to make the dangerous trek to the southern border of the United States?

As Rev. Andy Lewis, Director of the Center for Missions Outreach and Assistant to the Bishop in our conference, made preparations for this exploratory trip to Honduras, he posed questions like these to the leadership of the Honduran Methodist Missional office. 

They responded by putting together a panel of knowledgeable people to share with us about their research and experiences related to the issue of Honduran migration. A Q&A followed. 

The statistics alone are staggering. Honduras has a population of approximately nine million. Of these nine million, one million live outside the country. 

Even more staggering: 85 percent of Hondurans have family members who have migrated. 

The reasons stated for this – by both the panelists and by pastors and church members with whom we spoke – are gang violence, economic stagnation and lack of employment opportunities. Government corruption adds to this crisis, as well as the effects of climate change. 

The overwhelming majority of those who decide to leave come from four departments (or provinces) who are experiencing extreme effects of climate change. Because of an extended drought, Honduras’ main crops – corn, beans and coffee – have failed in the last two growing seasons. The situation is expected to worsen. 

The demographic of those who migrate has also changed. In 2009, mostly young men migrated, in search of work and to escape gang extortion and violence. But that began to change in 2014, with young women making up 50 percent of those who left. Now the overwhelming majority of those who migrate are children and youth. These are the ones who comprise the ‘caravans.’

Over and over again, we heard stories of the disintegration of families, the rise among Hondurans of anxiety and depression, and increased incidents of suicide. 

We noticed discomfort, reticence and sadness among church members when asked if they had experienced the effects of migration. The gravity and pain of the situation was, and is, palpable. 

Some steps have been taken by our fellow Honduran Methodists to address the challenge. A Migration Task Force has been formed, and pastors seek to provide pastoral care and counsel to those who voice the possibility of migration and their families. 

Our fellow Methodists in Honduras also ask that we pray for them. We can do this. 

On our side of the border, we can explore and engage in opportunities for advocacy and witness. We can do this, too. 

We can step up, open our eyes and look around. God has work for us to do. 

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: