Weathering Hurricane Mitch
Marion Lewton, Retiree
When natural disasters occur, pictures help us better understand the severity of the tragedy. That was true in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras. In this reprinted article from the March/April 1999 Call to Prayer, retiree Marion Lewton shares her travel story to El Sembrador, a school for underprivileged boys in Honduras. Marion served with her late husband, Gene, in Kenya for 35 years and at WGM headquarters for seven years.
How fortunate, or unfortunate, we were to be in Honduras, Central America, with a Men With Vision work team when Hurricane Mitch hit! My husband, Gene, had been asked if he would direct the work team because the former director had not been able to go. We were glad we were free to help. Rain began falling Sunday night, October 25, and continued day and night for a week.
The pictures tell a better story than many words. Devastation was all around us. Many thousands of people lost everything—homes, belongings, and family members. What sorrow and sadness enveloped the nation of Honduras. Villages and families, homes, and possessions slid down the mountainsides, never to be seen again.
Most of the farmland along the river bottom at El Sembrador will have to be worked with a lot of fertilizer and topsoil to bring it back into production. Many trees were taken out by the roots and washed downstream. The farm lost its banana plants and cocoa trees. Yes, there will be many days, weeks, and months of hard work for everyone.
The school year usually ends the middle of November in Honduras. However, the president declared all schools closed and said there should be no graduation celebrations. A special meal was served for all of the students and staff at the farm school and the graduates were recognized, but they did not do the traditional march to receive their diplomas or have parties. All of the students understood. There was too much sorrow. Everyone had heavy hearts. This will be a year to be remembered by all.
It has been wonderful to hear of the many organizations, Christian and non-Christian, that have gone to Central America to help rebuild. Tons of beans, corn, rice, medicines, and clothing have been sent.
Rebuilding homes, bridges, and farmland will take years of work. God is at work. The churches have banded together and are helping the needy. This could be the beginning of real revival. God will bring victory and blessing out of tragedy.
El Sembrador has weathered this storm and God has truly blessed this ministry. With God’s help, more than 7,000 students have been ministered to through its programs.
GIVE: Help students continue to flourish in Honduras through the El Sembrador Sponsorship Program. Learn more about choosing a child to sponsor at www.wgm.org/elsembrador.