United as one body (Part I)

January 18, 2018 at 6:00 AM

The hilly terrain in Honduras can make travel difficult as Dr. Jim Spindler learned in his trip to Colomoncagua . (Photo by Dan Breen)

(Editor's note: Dr. Jim Spindler of Hastings, MI, is the secretary of the Luke Society Board of Directors and is a former PMT member to Kenya and Mexico.) 

United as one body (Part I)

(This is the first one a two-part entry taken from Dr. Jim Spindler's book, "Be Still and Know that I am God." be sure to read the conclusion of the story on Jan. 19.)

By Dr. Jim Spindler 

In 1982 I visited Mesa Grande, a refugee camp filled with over 15,000 frightened peasants from El Salvador.

Mesa Grande, which means “large table” in Spanish, was one of three refugee camps in the frontier region of Honduras. The other two were to the south near San Antonio and Colomoncagua.

I witnessed crowed conditions, grieving and desperate people at Mesa Grande. I heard stories of family members persecuted, tortured and even murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ.

These refugee camps were like prisons. No one could leave without returning to their war-torn villages in El Salvador. These camps were filled with many tears and few smiles. Hate and revenge filled the hearts of those unfortunate people.

I asked myself, ‘Where is God? Where is His love in this awful place?”

Little did I know that I was about to find the answers to those questions in a most unlikely place – at the end of the road that led to Colomoncagua.

(Former Luke Society international ministry coordinator) Phil David had invited Dick and Margret Dickmeyer of Columbia City, Indiana, to meet Carol and Arturo Gomez in Honduras. Dick was a family physician and Margret a busy mother of three. Carol, a physician, and Arturo, a pastor, believed they were called by God to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the poor in Colomoncagua and surrounding villages.

After staying in a rustic, but clean hotel in La Esperanza in the foothills of the mountains, Arturo guided his antique Ford Bronco onto a steep gravel road. The road wandered across mountain ridges and through the valleys between. Large rocks slowed our progress, and dust began to collect on our clothing. The scenery was breathtaking, but it seemed to hide the poverty and suffering of the people that live in the frontier region of Honduras. People waved and smiled as we passed by abandoned military checkpoints where soldiers once searched vehicles and made arrests.

As we traveled, Arturo described the difficulties and hardships of his earlier life and how he was transformed by the love of the Lord. He told of family illnesses as well as the persecution and challenges of establishing a church and small medical clinic in Colomoncagua. For seven years, support came only from their parents and friends.

In 1997, Dr. Apolos Landa, former Latin American Regional Coordinator for the Luke Society, learned of their vision and visited them. Apolos recognized the need for the Luke Society to come alongside and help Carol and Arturo with advice and financial support.

Next story:

Cameroon through the lens