We are thrilled to welcome three new teenagers to our property, Cindy, Fili, and Leslie. They contacted us about needing a place to live. We were able to get Leslie into school locally in 8th grade and the others are planning to study in a college next semester. Right now they are helping with the cooking and cleaning of the property and we also have Cindy helping out another local family each weekday. Please pray that God gives us wisdom with who to bring in to our home and who to decline. I am dealing with requests from other teenagers that want to come live here. It is not an easy decision. No matter what I do some will not understand and I need God’s help with this.
With these new additions we now have 16 people living on the property including our family. That equals 48 meals a day, 336 meals a week, 120 eggs and who knows how many cups of coffee! The cost of daily operation is definitely on the rise. Please pray that God provides the extra finances needed as we continue to grow.
We were blessed to have Pastor Ben Oesterling and his wife Kelly visit with us for a few days last week. He is the pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Prospect and has been a great friend to us as we serve in Honduras.
The church here, Iglesia Bautista Lejamani, has been steadily growing. Transportation is becoming more and more challenging. We often have the 15 passenger van loaded to around 30 people and then turn around to get the rest. We are exploring options to start a second route. Please pray for the church to be faithful, this will help us know when is the right time to step out and pay a van to drive a second route for us. We are thankful for two people that accepted Christ on Saturday visitation. Amen!
The church here was able to purchase a sound system with their money. I am thrilled by this for two reasons. First, it was needed for music and preaching, and second, it is something they paid for and they can take ownership of, not something just given to them by an American. We have several people that would like to learn to play the piano and could start scheduling lessons immediately if there was a way for the kids to practice here. We would like to purchase a good full size electric piano for the property. It would be used in the church as well. If that is something you would like to help with just send me a FB message.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. We are honored for the privilege to represent your church missions program here in Honduras.
To view photos since the last letter, click here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/TqHjRWBhX8I31WAV2]]>
In order to make a place for these girls, we need to divide a dorm into three rooms, install electricity and ceilings, and purchase beds, towels, and bedding. We estimate this one-time cost to be about $5000. This will allow us room for 8 more people on our property. We need to raise this money within a week and start construction in the next few days. Would you be willing to help these girls and others by giving towards this urgent need?
Please make on-time donations through the following link. This will ensure funds are available to us immediately. paypal.me/chrisbirk1]]>
The ministry here is growing and expanding quickly. Things are happening so quickly I wanted to write a more lengthy update this month and bring you all up to date.
Groups: Over the last few months we have had the great privilege to have groups and individuals visit from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Tennessee. This has enabled us to develop a stronger relationship with some of our wonderful supporters. It has also allowed us to build a shower-house, paint the church exterior, paint the dorm exterior and begin the foundation work on three houses we are building for future expansion. We are just finishing up all three foundations. With these groups we have been able to pass out thousands of John and Romans and visit and minister with several families in our area. We have also been able to get into one of the local schools and the door is open for further ministry in that school in the future.
Children’s Home: The children’s home is growing as we have funds and room to hold people. We have been able to take in children, teenagers, and two adults. We currently have 8 Hondurans living on the property. They have been an incredible blessing. Things get a little crazy when we are getting them all to school at different times, but we are slowly finding our rhythm. We have a number of people that want to come, and we are always needing God’s wisdom to make right choices regarding these requests. The names of those living in our home are Yessica, Itza, Eisa, Nury, Cinthia, Joba, Gerson and Luwin. Please pray for these Hondurans. We are excited to watch God work in their lives!
Church: The church has been growing. We have seen people saved and baptized since we have been here, but more recently we have seen some of the church people start inviting their friends and family. Most of our church comes on our 15-passenger van. It is not unusual to pack this van with 30 or more people and we are starting to have to take two trips to pick up everyone. It is exciting to have the church building filling up. I have always loved hearing Honduran believers raise their voices in song and in worship to God. Nothing like a full building for this!
Future Staff: We are excited that Nathan Riddick and his family will be joining us to direct the children’s home. They are currently on deputation and are making good progress. If you can have them into your church and help them get here it will be a huge blessing to them and to us! Carol Carney is in language school and is planning on joining us here this year. We are excited to watch how God uses her and medical missions to reach people with the Gospel here in this area.
Family: Our family is doing great here, and we are hoping to finish up our residency process this week! Charlotte has been learning how to read and is loving her “school.” She goes every weekday over to another family’s house and is tutored by the wife. Clara is happy just wandering around and playing with anyone she can find. She is a talker, and everybody loves her blonde hair! Blake is getting better at sleeping through the night which is a really big help for Beth and me. We love the culture, the people and the coffee and are so thankful for the privilege we have to be here and to be doing what we love.
Needs: With all of these blessings, come some very big needs. The weight of them feels insurmountable occasionally. We have paid all the first phase to purchase this property. Over the next 2.5 years, we need to pay the second phase. We need to raise $95,000 over that time. More immediately we are facing some significant vehicle repairs on both our pick up and the ministry van. We are in the process of building three houses for expansion and will need to pay for the block for the exterior walls. We are taking care of the expenses of more and more people, which also adds to our monthly costs. It has been amazing how God has provided every step of the way. God has proven Himself over and over to us. If you or your church would like to partner with any of these needs, please let us know.
We would love to have you come down and see for yourself what God is doing here. If you are interested in scheduling a missions trip, send me an email or a text message. Thank you all for your faithful support of our family. We are so blessed by your partnership with us!]]>
We are thankful to be working closely with the Riddick family who will be joining us in 2018. Nathan Riddick will be the director of the children’s home in the future. We are currently supporting six Hondurans on the property with the possibility of more in the near future. We are making some changes and adding some space to be able to expand the home as the Lord provides. This month we will begin the construction of three, two-bedroom houses to be used for this purpose as well as for some of the Honduran staff.
Carol Carney will be joining us this year. She will be an on-site nurse and use her abilities in medical evangelism here in the area. She is currently studying Spanish and we are thrilled to have her joining our team!
As we look ahead, we have quite a lot of large mountains to cross. Thank you so much for your prayers for our family. God has been good and we are so thankful to be serving the Lord here in Honduras. If you would like to contact us for any reason I can still receive text messages at 860-484-9680.
Many of you prayed for Alan and the problems with his back. He went to have surgery done, but the doctor, at the last minute, decided against surgery and is treating Alan differently. It seems to be working and Alan is back to a full schedule. We are thankful for a church who gave to help the cost of some of these medical bills. Also a church helped us replace the guitar that Karina had stolen when the church was robbed a few months ago. We have a few more Hondurans moving to the property this month. This is intimidating as the responsibility seems to grow exponentially at times. We will introduce you to some other Hondurans living here in our next letter.
Would you pray with me for Heirson? He has been helping us on the property and has been staying here as well. He has a religious background that is confusing him to the simplicity of the Gospel. I had the opportunity to witness to him and we talked a lot about some of this. He was very receptive, but is stumbling over the idea that salvation is NOT of works. I would love to see him accept Christ!
I made a very quick trip back to the states to wrap up some details. In two weeks I drove 3500 miles and was in 14 different states. Thank the Lord for a profitable time and a safe journey.
We have some very exciting news to announce! As you may remember, we have three main areas of focus in our ministry here in Honduras, church planting, medical evangelism and orphan caring. We are happy to report, not only do we have Carol Carney preparing to be our staff nurse, but we have a new family that will be joining us as the director of the children’s home. We are happy to introduce to you Bro. Nathan Riddick and family. Nathan has had a heart for children for many years and he and his wife, have adopted three children from the foster care system in the States. He also has been developing a heart for missions and specifically Honduras for the past number of years. He has been to Honduras on multiple mission trips and has seen the needs here first hand. He and his family will be a welcome addition to our staff. Please pray they are able to raise their support quickly.
We need your prayers. There are battles we face that will never make it into a prayer letter. Whenever you try and accomplish anything for God the Devil always brings opposition. God has been providing in some miraculous ways, yet we look ahead at some of the needs and expenses and it quite honestly overwhelming. I don’t see how it will all work out. I am trying to learn every day to take these burdens to the “Burden-bearer!” There is, however, such an incredible peace in following the leading of God and being in His will. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone!
I can recieve calls and texts on my Connecticut number at 860-484-9680. This forwards to my cell phone and office. Please feel free to contact us anytime!
Because He Lives,
We mentioned before, Alan has been struggling with tremendous pain in his back and leg. This is mostly caused by a pinched nerve caused by a slipped disk in his back. We have helped Alan see multiple doctors, get and MRI, meet with a specialist, and consult with a doctor in the states. At this time we believe that Alan needs to have an operation/procedure done to repair the damage. Normally this is thousands of dollars even here in Honduras. God has allowed us to find a doctor who will do this procedure for free in a town about 6 hours away. He is doing this as a gift to Alan and the ministry. This is a tremendous answer to prayer.
Alan and I will be traveling to Santa Rosa at the beginning of next week to have this procedure done. We are writing this note to specifically to ask for your prayers for safety travelling and for no complications. The trip will be made by bus and Alan and me. Alan may be in the hospital for a short time after the doctors are finished… All of the doctor bills have added up and we are excited that this doctor is able to help with the cost. We will also have to cover transportation costs and hotels for a day or two. This month is proving to be challenging financially. We know God is in control and will provide as He is faithful to do.
We have some of the greatest prayer warriors praying for us and we wanted you to know what God is doing here. We are excited to tell you about some great blessings in our next prayer letter!
Please pray for Alan and Karina!
The last month has been an incredible time in our ministry. It is difficult to know where to begin. A few weeks ago, I (Chris) had the opportunity to move down to Honduras and begin setting things up for our new ministry in Lejamani, Comayagua, Honduras. Beth and the kids remain in the states with plans to join me September 4th. SO many of you have been faithfully praying and interceding on our behalf and we are beyond grateful! This month we asked you for help with the cost of our airline tickets and within a few days our supporters had raised the amount needed. God provides and often uses His people as the means. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A few months ago a young married couple who had worked with us in Copan asked about joining us in Comayagua. We had grown to love these people very much, but wanted to be very ethical in how we handled there move to Comayagua. I asked this young man, Alan, to talk with the missionary in Copan first and I would follow up after. We are thankful for the response, “If that’s where God wants you, that’s where I want you.” I followed up with a phone call to ask the missionary in Copan how I could best handle the move and was given the utmost graciousness. Alan and Karina were able to leave Copan with a great testimony and believe that God has called them to join our staff here. Many of you know Alan and Karina and we are thrilled to have them on our staff!
Please pray for Alan as he is dealing with some health problems involving a pinched sciatic nerve. This is causing him great pain and we have been seeking medical professionals in the area. The local doctor asked Alan to have an MRI done. After looking at the results, we decided we needed to see a specialist as the pinched nerve is the result of a slipped disk in his back. Currently Alan is not able to do much and is praying the inflammation goes down, He has a number of prescriptions that may help over time. If his situation does not improve he will be needing surgery. Would you join us in praying that God heals his back and nerve without the need for any additional procedures?
I have taken over as pastor the church here, Iglesia Bautista Lejamani. Right now the attendance ranges from 20-30. We had a Wednesday night recently with 37! Praise the Lord. We had 28 people inside a 15 passenger van. Please pray for me as I preach, that God would use me. It is still a challenge for me to preach effectively in Spanish. We also began a Saturday visitation program. I wasn’t sure who would come, but we had four people meet and go to invite people and pass out John and Romans. We have very few people coming from the area right around the church, and this will be our focus for the time being.
Please pray for Beth as she will be flying to Honduras in a few days with three children. She will be traveling with Carol Carney and another teenager who will be helping with the transition and living with us for a couple of months.. Carol will be joining our staff within the next year and is starting language school in September. Beth is supposed to fly through Houston, and we are not sure what the status will be at the airport there by Monday. Please pray that she has no complications.
In the last two weeks since being here on the new property, we have faced car trouble, break-ins, health problems, bug infestations, and other challenges. God has led through each challenge. This reminds me, however, how much we need your prayers. We are endeavoring to accomplish a Spiritual work and this cannot be done in the power of the flesh. The Devil will attack and discourage wherever he can get a foothold. I believe that your prayers makea difference in the lives of your missionaries more than you could ever know. Thank you for your faithfulness in parterning for the Gospel’s sake here in Honduras.
Christopher Birkholz, Missionary
If you would like to contact us for any reason, my cell phone number can still receive texts at 860-484-9680.
American pastor that was with us. This was a first for me and I am thankful for God’s grace. I did accidentally mix up the word “cow” and “mouth.” This caused me to tell people they should use their cow for the Lord!
We were able to introduce Marcos to the church family. He is a young, Honduran preacher we have been helping through Bible college. He is planning on joining our staff in the next year. It was a blessing to see his heart for the people and his burden for evangelism. Marcos helped us pass out over 1000 John and Romans.
I have purchased my ticket to return to Honduras August 7th. Beth and the kids will be coming a few weeks later. For those of you that don’t have Facebook, we also were blessed by the birth of our third child, Blake Hansen Birkholz. He was born at 10 1/2 pounds! He is a healthy tank. Thank you all for your prayers.
Please pray for the finances still needed. We are praying that we would raise an additional $20,000 by the end of August. We also will have the expenses of travel, residency, language instruction and maintenance/building costs. It can be quite overwhelming at times. God has always met our needs and we press on one day at a time. This ministry in Honduras is your ministry. You have invested, you have prayed, you have visited. We believe fully we are on a team with you to serve God. Thank you for you love for us and for the people of Honduras.
Our ministry focus is to 1. Exalt Christ 2. Equip Believers and 3. Evangelize the lost. We are working to accomplish that with three distinct priorities: 1. Church Planting, 2 Orphan Caring, 3. Medical Evangelism. As soon as we touch the ground in Honduras, we will be taking over Iglesia Bautista Lejamani. We will use our time to disciple and train the nationals and raise up leaders to continue this work. We are in the process of getting printed materials together to aid us in this church and in evangelism.
We will be adding three houses for staff to our property over the next year. We need building crews to come down for mission trips to help with this expansion. Please contact us for more information. My cell phone number can be used to reach me by text, even when I am in Honduras. 860-484-9680
Thank you for your support and prayers!
In His Service,
We are praying that you and your church will join us in our “Nation WIde” offering. We desperately need to finish the fundraising for phase 1 of our property purchase in Honduras. To date we have raised over $62,000! To God be the glory great things HE hath done. Many of you have given and have sacrificed already. We are asking your help to finish our fundraising this Sunday, June 25th. We are trying to raise $37,000 to finish off the finances needed for us to move back to Honduras in August. Would you consider a one time love offering for this cause as part of your morning service this Sunday?
If you can participate, let me know by phone call or text so that we can total up just how God provides! 860-484-9680
If you cannot help at this time, could you share this with others that you know? We believe God is at work in a big way here and we believe there are many who are looking for a ministry such as this that they can get behind.
We have a church planting, orhan caring, medical evangelism ministry in one of the fastest growing parts of Honduras. To learn more visit our website www.thebirkholzfamily.com
Thank you for your consideration in this need!
Chris Birkholz, missionary
Download a printable PDF for your church here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5t-y0pLAqfbNEkyVW45dURIM1k]]>