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When two different sides come together


People just don't get along anymore.  It's easier to divide or argue than to unite.  Conflict is normal.  Expected.  Unavoidable. So, when two very different sides find a way to come together, we notice.

Three years ago, Living Hope ministries in Tegucigalpa, Honduras joined Lifeline's Honduras team of churches and schools, which were primarily centered in the San Pedro Sula area.  There were plenty of reasons to assume there might be conflict between two ministries with very different personalities, philosophies and cultures.  We prayed for the unity you see in a family portrait, but honestly, most of us anticipated more squabbles than siblings stuck in the car during a long trip.  

We've been pleasantly surprised.  Of course, there were moments of confusion or apprehension as leaders got to know one another and ministries were blended.  Yet, grace and patience have prevailed.

This past May, a team of pastors along with students from the Bible Institute in San Pedro Sula traveled to Living Hope to share an evangelism strategy that has been effective for Lifeline's churches.  Although they barely knew each other, our leaders wanted to build team spirit, as well as help their new friends succeed.  

seminar

The Living Hope leaders had their doubts.  Their ministry was doing fine and ...well... they'd never done it that way before. Why should they let someone else tell them what to do?  Besides, most of those coming were just students.  Swallowing their own pride, the experienced Living Hope leaders chose instead to listen.  

Each morning, the visiting pastors led classes for them at the church.  Then in the afternoons, the Bible Institute students took them out into the nearby neighborhoods to practice the strategies they were learning.  At first, the students took the lead while the local leaders watched.  Eventually, the locals began to take charge as the students offered support and encouragement.  

"There was a lot of tension at the beginning," Eduardo, the Living Hope pastor, admitted.  "Our people were nervous and didn't think it would work.  But in just a week's time, all of that changed."  By the end of the week, they had set up Bible studies in 21 homes.  

Since then, the Living Hope leaders have been on their own, holding weekly Bible studies in those original homes, as well as reaching into even more neighborhoods.  

"I showed up in Tegucigalpa in June, just one month later," explains Andy Sims, Lifeline's VP of Leadership Development, "and I wasn't sure what to expect.  The first thing I asked Eduardo was how his team felt about the visit in May."

"Oh, they're pretty excited," Eduardo told him.  "We had 18 baptisms yesterday!"

baptisms

The more discord prevails everywhere around us, we have to admit that unity -- even among Christians -- is something supernatural.  It's not impossible, just uncommon, because unity requires both sides to allow Jesus to actually transform them from the inside out.  

You may not think what's happening in Honduras is a miracle... until you read the headlines.  Pray for our Honduran leaders as they write a new story of unity, teamwork and love. 


Shared by Andy Sims, Vice President of Leadership Development