Valarie Englert, Senior Pastor
EDITOR’S NOTE: Senior Pastor Valarie Englert is in Honduras this week with Bishop Mike McKee and other clergy and lay representatives of the North Texas Conference to explore partnering opportunities with Mission Honduras.
What a full day it has been! Early morning travel, settling into our hotel in Tegucigalpa, and meeting our fellow Methodists at the Honduran Methodist Mission Office.
My first impressions: Tegucigalpa is beautifully situated in the highlands of Honduras at approximately 3,200 feet of elevation. The days are comfortably warm, and the nights are wonderfully cool. The surrounding hills and low mountains are beautifully green with trees and vegetation. The traffic is white-knuckle crazy (thank goodness I don’t have to drive!), and the people are warm and hospitable.
As we toured the Mission Office this evening, we learned that the main Methodist congregation in Tegucigalpa – Iglesia Metodista Unidos El Buen Pastor- also meets in the same building as the Mission office.
The congregation is in the process of constructing a new sanctuary, kitchen facilities and classrooms. Our North Texas Conference has funded a large part of the sanctuary construction through our apportionment dollars (your giving at work in another meaningful and tangible way).
As we toured the facilities, we wondered if a wedding was to take place. A white canopy was erected with small, round, decorated tables. The congregational area contained white chairs. A feast was being prepared, and a chamber ensemble began warming up.
What we discovered was that there was no wedding, but that a very special worship service was about to take place.
As we gathered to worship, the District Superintendent passed around a colorfully illustrated piece of paper among us, asking us to sign our names. As we raised our voices in singing How Great Thou Art (just as beautiful in Spanish as in English), we began the dedication of the cornerstone of the new sanctuary. The joy in the worshipping community was palpable.
And this is what made a lump rise in my throat: Pastor Carlos took that piece of paper with our names and collected it with notes from the congregation. He placed all of this in a locked ‘Time Capsule Box.’ As prayers were offered and praises sung, the box was placed into the wall of the sanctuary, and the cornerstone lifted over it. Two young men held it in place and two others drilled the screws into place.
To think that our name – lay and clergy representatives from the North Texas Annual Conference – are placed within that box of blessing for a future generation in Tecucigalpa to see is just special beyond words.
That’s the power of our Wesleyan connection, and the holy glue of the gospel.
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.