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Reflections: Almost seven years ago, an off-handed remark in a conversation I was having with Charlotte Shaw got the wheels turning for God to bring me (albeit not too willingly) to Roatan. About 18 months later, God began hitting me over the … Continue reading

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about foundations.  Probably because we’re starting an exciting new phase of the ministry here in Roatan – building a permanent school building.

ImageFoundations. Do we use wood posts or concrete posts?  Wood is much less expensive. Concrete is much stronger and will hold up better over time. I can hear my Dad saying, “A strong foundation is essential. Not just in building but in life.” We decided to go with concrete. Better to spend money on the foundation than on embellishments.IMGP5713IMGP5725 Image 10

Foundations.  Not too aesthetically pleasing.  Not something you think about until there’s a problem.  Sometimes, while building a foundation you have to dig deeper than anticipated. But, the digging deeper now will prevent problems later.


Jesus used the analogy and we sing about it quite frequently at school. Remember “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock”? The physical foundations are important. The spiritual foundations have eternal value.


Oh what foundation is my life built? What foundation are we helping our students build? On what foundation is this ministry built?



How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord.

Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

What more can He say than to you He hath said,

To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

*How Firm a Foundation — John Rippon! !

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Look! The Fish are Flying!

This quarter we challenged the afternoon students to reach certain academic goals in order to achieve honor roll.  They had to complete a prescribed amount of work with a 90% average.  We told them the reward would be big – and it was.  Through the generosity of the owner of the West Bay Glass Bottom boat and donors from the U.S. we were able to take the entire afternoon class (as they all earned honor roll) on a ride to enjoy God’s underwater creations.

IMGP5195The day was really windy and the seas were really choppy.   We weren’t sure we’d be able to make the trip on the day scheduled.  However, the boat was repositioned to another part of the island, Flowers Bay, and all was well.

Upon arrival at the dock, Mason told me that he’d been praying all day that we’d get to go.  He had been checking in with me all morning to make sure we were going as he knew the sea was really choppy that day.  His face just lit up when we pulled into the dock.

After descending into the viewing chamber it was obvious that all the students were fascinated.  Jolee turned to me and with awe in her voice said,  “Ms. Deborah, isn’t God’s world just beautiful!”  It was a very touching moment.

On the other end of the boat, Mr. Freddie was surrounded by the boys.  Kenney exclaimed, “Look, Mr. Freddie!  The fish are flying!”IMGP5191

What a joy it was to teach the children that hard work has rewards and to share some of the incredible underwater beauty their island has.

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May Those Who Come Behind Us, Find Us Faithful

Getting keys to the house

Getting keys to the house

Praying at the build site for the new school building

Praying at the build site for the new school building

Deeanna volunteered at school

Deeanna volunteered at school

Bobbie volunteered at the clinic

Bobbie volunteered at the clinic

Spelling Test

Spelling Test

Houston Airport

Houston Airport

English Class English Class

English Clas

English Class

Teaching Anna to tell time

Teaching Anna to tell time


Old house is coming down

Old house is coming down

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

Aaron gets his own bed

Aaron gets his own bed

Moving In

Moving In

May Those Who Come Behind Us, Find Us Faithful

My parents were an incredible pair of individuals.  My mom still is.  More on that in a minute.  My dad was the most intelligent, well-read, versatile individual I’ve ever met.  Yet, he never flaunted his knowledge.  He was also one hard-working man.  I remember being told that when Dad was a young, country pastor he won the hearts of those in the community because “when you shook his hand, you knew those were the hands of a hard-working man.”  His incredible combination of ingenuity and hard-work was born on a farm in northeastern Colorado during the Great Depression.

The end of Dad’s life was tragic.  Shortly after retiring from thirty years of service as a missionary, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  We watched as the disease robbed him of the pleasure of books, then of speech, and finally of even being able to walk.  Yet two things stand out when I think of the end of Dad’s life.

One, was a conversation I had with him about eight years before he died.  He was at that horrible stage of the disease when he knew there were things he used to be able to comprehend and do and now he simply couldn’t.  He looked at me with clear eyes and a strong voice and said, “Deborah, I’ve accepted that I can’t beat this disease.  But that’s OK because I’ve lived a good life and it’s been in the service of the Lord.”   Well, I know that I cried.  It is my hope that at the end of my life I can say the same.

The other thing that stands out is the way Gospel music never ceased to comfort him.  We were blessed that even as his mind was ravaged, his personality did not change  (other than the silliness we always saw at home becoming more evident to all).  One night in particular stands out.  I was staying with Dad while Mom was at work.  We were watching a Gaither Homecoming video and the song, “Where No On Stands Alone” came on.  I looked over to where Dad was lying on the couch and I saw his hands raised to Heaven and a longing was on his face.  He was no longer able to speak, but he was humming along with all his might.

So fast forward to my life here in Roatan.  Last month we were blessed to have a group from my parents’ home church, Shartel Church of God (Oklahoma City), come to the island to build a home for one of our school families.  The core members of the group ranged in age from mid 60’s to 80 years old.  My mom, fell right in the middle having her 75th birthday while here on the island.  The job was physically demanding, but they never complained.  Then after working hard all day, they joined me in my English classes in the evening.  Some of the members were retired Bible College professors, one was a retired nurse, another a retired businessman, and finally my mom.  It was an awesome privilege to worship with these Godly men and women each night.  They chose to come here to this little island to serve.  They were such an encouragement to me.  I hope that when I’m their age I’m doing the same.  Thanks for coming, for building, and for always being a light for Jesus in all you did!

We accept the challenge – “May those who come behind us, find us faithful.”

Dedication Day -- the whole crew!

Dedication Day — the whole crew!

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Happy Birthday to me.

Wow,  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve blogged.  I guess that’s a testament to my busy life.

Anyhow,  I want to share with you a very special day (that really was a three-day celebration).

Birthdays are a big deal in this culture and I was indeed spoiled on mine.  It began when my Intermediate English class declared class over so we could go out to Pizza Inn to celebrate.  Friday morning, my friend and neighbor, Debi, served me a custom-made omelette before I headed off to work. That night, my Basic I and II classes made a huge cake and brought me an amazing fruit tray for my birthday.  But the highlight had to be the kids at school.

Happy Birthday, Sharmay (complete with eggs and flour)

They decided to throw a surprise party for me.  They were incredibly cute plotting and planning how to get me out of the way so they could bring the special lunch their moms had made for us.  As I walked out the door the showered me with hibiscus.  I sure preferred that to the traditional cracking of eggs followed by a shower of flour (not flowers).


A shower of flowers.

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“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.” Galatians 5:6

By Sarah Hunnicutt

This is the third time I’ve written this. I wanted so badly to capture the experience for each of you to read about; to speak of the effects just one week of service had on the entire team and the people we met. But I can’t. I realize now that I can only share with you what happened in my heart, my mind, and my life. This trip was deeply personal for me. I am grateful to know that I serve a God who is deeply personal, too.

I think if I had to pick one moment that defined the entire trip it would be the last night of English classes. It was hot. Communicating wasn’t easy, but people were flexible. “Hello, my name is. . .  This is my new friend . . . She is single.” After about an hour of vocabulary review, conversation, and introductions, it was wrap-up time. But one-by-one, over half the students in the class stood up:

“Miss Deborah, you are so patient.”

“For the first time, I am understanding English.”

“You love us so much.”

“We love you so much.”

“I thank God for sending you to us.”

It was moving. It was a reminder of what “faith expressing itself through love” truly looks like. Love in action is sharing the gifts God has given you freely with those He has placed around you, with those He has called you to love. Faith in action is living unselfishly in the service of others for the purpose of glorifying Him. Jesus Christ was the ultimate example of this – dirtying His feet, face, hands, and heart as He walked among hurting, broken, dying people. He walked to me, stretched out His hand, and worked a miracle in my heart. And now He calls me – us – to do the same. How humbling it was to see a practical example of this in the life of my mother.

As much as I want to express to you the great feeling of accomplishment that came from completing our planned projects; as much as I want you to enjoy the pictures and the fun stories of the mishaps that took place before, during, and after the trip, I want infinitely more for you to grasp this: we serve a God who sees. He sees the people on Roatan – Leander, Jimmy, Anna, Yolanda, Doris – and He sees us. He sees our hurt. He sees our potential. He sees our greatest need – to know and experience His Love.  What a mind-blowing miracle to experience His love. What a privilege to be a part of sharing His love with others. What a blessing to be reminded of this during that one short week in Roatan.

(And in case you were wondering, here are the basics of what we tangibly accomplished: 4 high-energy days of Vacation Bible School in the Sandy Bay car wash community; 4 fun afternoons at the girls’ home; 2 amazing English classes; 1 fantastic-looking storage space for sports equipment.)

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It’s Never too Late to Grow, to Change, to Love, and to Serve

My friend (and editor of my newsletter), Julie Medina wrote this for the April newsletter and I thought I’d share it with you.

Our trip to Roatan was filled with defining moments and one was to see the warmth of the H onduran people having a genuine happiness towards life despite living in circumstances of need. Visiting the island, the school and the girl’s home was so meaningful. Our time there caused a rethinking of our priorities and to reflect on what’s really important when it comes to living in Christ. Do we really need all the things we have or things we want to be happy and fulfilled? W e returned home with a renewed sense of purpose; to give more time and resources so others can have an opportunity for a better life. W e’re so inspired and grateful

for the time we spent with Deborah, whose heart and soul are completely devoted to God’s people in Roatan. What a privilege it was to meet Fredy Lopez, who

serves with such enthusiasm, compassion and commitment! It was a joy have our son, David with us. H e stayed to volunteer and perfect his Spanish for whats ahead. God is absolutely involved in the details of our lives when we trust H im. It’s through H is love that we learn to love and to share our lives to help others, wherever we are in the world. It’s never to late to care.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

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