A mission made possible

The pastor training center as it stands in Sabá, Honduras after the Upper Valley Community Church team helped to build the center.

Pictured are the Upper Valley Community Church team that participated in building a pastor training center in Sabá, Honduras.

SABÁ, HONDURAS — Some days as a privileged U.S. citizen seem awful until one is exposed to those who live in worse, underserved conditions. As for church members of the Upper Valley Community Church (UVCC), they realized Honduras was one of those places.

UVCC, of Piqua, sent 25 church members to Sabá, Honduras from June 27 to July 5 as part of a 10-year project with the goal to build five churches and a pastor training center in the village to spread the teachings of the Christian faith. A pastor training center was built 20 years ago, but resources ran out to follow the dream through.

“You gotta develop leaders if you want to make an impact on a country,” said Rob Alexander, UVCC member and project leader. “It’s a real God thing to be a part of (project) and realize these are the same people serving the same God.”

The church has been doing work in southern Honduras prior to this project, but were sent to work north in Sabá due to having too many church teams in the southern area. The UVCC team at the time brought back the project idea to the church and it was voted on and passed by the congregation to provide resources.

By this time next year, the church hopes to have the training center completed. The goal of the project is to raise $100,000 in 10 years and they have already raised $60,000 this year alone, according to UVCC lead Pastor Andy Monnin.

“It’s neat how when you get started, other resources come in and it almost goes viral,” Monnin said. “(The project) has been nothing short of amazing.”

In Sabá, the village is a rural area in extreme poverty, living in very simple conditions. There is no clean or running water, with most people not having electricity. The power goes out about four times a day, Alexander said.

“You are frantically trying to get things done before the power goes out,” Alexander said. “Until you experience it, it’s hard to capture it in pictures and videos.”

Even with the struggles in the village, the residents were still seen with smiles on their faces and willing to give the little that they have. UVCC member Jessica Larson shared a special moment with an 8-year-old boy of Sabá.

Larson gave the boy a Dayton Dragons hat as a gift, while he ran home to get Larson a fresh bag of bread.

“With that high (rate) of poverty, fresh bread means a lot and to come from an 8-year-old boy wanting to give something in return to show gratitude, that is something you don’t see too much here (in Piqua),” Larson said. “It meant the world to him to bring food to me to say thank you.”

For Larson, this trip brought on many new experiences for her; it was her first time seeing the ocean, going on a mission, and flying in an airplane.

“It was beyond my expectations,” she said. “A lot of people take things for granted. When you go to a Third World country, you see the things we take for granted. It was definitely an eye-opening experience, I would go back in a heartbeat if I can.”

“It’s just amazing how much got done,” said Tabitha Varney, UVCC member a part of the building project. “If anyone has the opportunity to try it, they should … very humbling experience.”

Varney said Hondurans are “very resourceful” and recycled all of the materials left over from the project such as wood, nails, or concrete.

“Compared to (Hondurans), we are just so blessed,” she said. “You don’t realize in the States what we have.”