Summary: Your contributions are sought to cover the $5,000 needed for the El Cisin Electrical Access project. Donations in your church offertory envelopes or by check to Pennie Bunkers (Congregational Financial Officer) need to note that the funds are for the Honduras Project. Now here is the back-story:
Nestled in the mountains of western Honduras in the Department of Copan is the community of El Cisin. Unlike almost every other community in the world, everyone in El Cisin is a member of the Community of Christ. While this remote village has many physical needs, the largest need impacting health, economics, and education is the lack of electricity.
On March 1st, the Mission Road Community of Christ approved a resolution to provide a $5,000.00 donation to the Health Ministries Association to help the El Cisin community in funding the upfront cost of installing electricity in their village. Providing for this need addresses the Church’s Mission Initiative of Abolishing Poverty and Suffering by assisting to develop community. These funds will open doors of access that have been closed because these people are economically poor. Electricity will raise their standard of living and allow them to have a better life alleviating suffering from poor health, ignorance, and exploitation. On a very basic level, electricity will increase the productive hours of a day. Currently, the only access to electricity for meager lighting is for some of the families to use a car battery in their home with wires that lead to a single fixture with a light bulb. This arrangement is a safety hazard and dangerous for the children.
Also, since many children have asthma (not uncommon in developing countries where exposure to open fires and industrial waste etc. cause lung injuries), electricity will make nebulizing treatments available. Apostle Carlos Mejia, Who is assigned to the region, believes “developing community” to bring people out of extreme poverty is the role of the church.
The three congregations in the Department of Copan are relatively new church plants in Honduras. The Community of Christ has been working with these groups to help them identify needs and ministries as they seek to serve their communities. The Central America Mission Center President (Gonzalo Mejia) and Apostle Carlos Mejia introduced the Health Ministries Association (HMA) to these communities in November 2014. The visit was an effort to engage the resources of HMA to assist in providing medical support to these communities. During that visit, educational support was also offered in the form of three traveling box libraries of books. The local elementary school will be loaned a box of books for the school year as part of Friends of Education, Honduras program home-based out of La Buena Fe, Honduras and an organizational partner of HMA.
During this November meeting at El Cisin’s church building, representatives from each of the three communities stated physical and community needs. Electricity was the priority identified for El Cisin. It is important to note that women and men had equal voice at the meeting. Each person present stated their involvement in their community and the position held that added authority to their perspective and comments. This gender equality was also validated by the MC President who stated that several female priesthood calls have been processed for these congregations.
The current source of employment other than agriculture is to tightly roll 25 pounds of newspaper for the casing of fireworks. This one day’s worth of labor yields $1. Making fireworks is the main industry of this area. There also appears to be a higher than normal incidence of “special needs” children being born in the area as expressed by members of the group perhaps as the result of toxic exposures from this industry.
HMA is planning a medical team for June 2015 to offer three clinics in addition to investigating the health needs and current medical services available in this area.
There is an elementary school in the area; however, only three persons have attended high school. Of those three, only one lives in El Cisin because there are no employment opportunities. Educational scholarships for junior high and high school will also be investigated in June as well as an auxiliary nursing program for the one high school graduates.
There will be additional costs to bring electricity into all the homes (approximately $2,500.00. Coffee is the main cash crop and has just been harvested. With the proceeds, the 25 families are able to contribute $100 each toward their portion of costs. This amount represents a very large sacrifice for this poor area and will consume a large percentage of the coffee revenues. In addition to the $100, each family will provide labor for the project. The average family size is five persons so this project will impact 125 Community of Christ members and the church building in this community.
El Cisin community leaders will be responsible for ensuring each family contributes their labor and funds. They will also make arrangements for any family needing additional assistance. The MC President will be kept informed of project progress. The MC Financial Officer will ensure funds are properly disbursed to the electric company and that installation goals are met.