May 3, 2019

Youth GO! to Honduras this summer looking for purpose

Written by 
A Vida220 participant enjoys kayaking during her discipleship experience. A Vida220 participant enjoys kayaking during her discipleship experience. Photos by Evan Zuercher/VidaNet

PEÑA BLANCA, Honduras — For many young people, summer is a time to sit back and relax. However, this summer, several youth and young adults will have the unique opportunity to work on coffee farms high in the mountains of the Intibuca region of Honduras or minister in the urban setting of Chamalecon on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula.

Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) and VidaNet are partnering together for a four-week summer discipleship training experience called GO! Honduras.

In a team setting, individuals ages 16–21 will have two weeks of classroom and experiential discipleship training (June 21–July 4), followed by two weeks of outreach (July 5–18) in Honduras. Orientation will begin on June 21 in Akron, Pa. and participants will arrive in Honduras by June 24.

EMM Short-Term Personnel Placement Coach Sherrie Ober said, “I am very excited about this opportunity for young adults to serve with GO! Honduras because I know how much it will rock their world. It will open their minds and hearts to the work God is doing in other parts of the world, beyond what they can imagine.”

Participants will nurture their own relationships with Jesus by interacting with themes such as Christ-like relationships, Holy Spirit empowerment, intimacy with God, biblical truth, evangelism and compassion, the church and the kingdom, world missions, and dying to self and living for Christ.

VidaNet Executive Director DeLynn Hoover shared, “Growth does not happen while we stay in our comfort zones. It is necessary for us to move out of our comfort zones in order to grow and to reach others.”

Following these transformative discipleship emphases, participants will venture into outreach activities such as working with children and youth, construction, English teaching, and evangelism.

Several distinct outreaches have been developed in coordination with the Honduras Mennonite Church in both rural and urban locations.

The desire to launch the GO! Honduras program with EMM was rooted in Hoover’s summer of 1989. Preparing to enter his senior year at Lancaster Mennonite School, Hoover participated in a life-changing experience with EMM in Venezuela called STAT — Summer Training Action Teams.

Hoover shared, “I was called to missions as a very young child and maintained that call to missions through grade school and into my freshman year of high school.”

“Everyone around me was looking at what career they wanted and where they were going to attend college,” said Hoover.

Ultimately, Hoover embraced STAT as a way to discern his calling. “God turned my thoughts and vision back to what he had called me to. I always say that if it weren’t for the STAT program I wouldn’t have celebrated 16 years on the mission field.”

Thirty years later, Hoover wanted to create an experience similar to STAT. As he and VidaNet began collaborating with EMM staff it seemed like a great opportunity to encourage youth and young adults to explore their calling.

Ober echoed Hoover’s desire: “In the process, my prayer is that they will embrace a more long-term calling for an internship after high school, having experienced life in Honduras for a month.”

VidaNet is a multifaceted mission and discipleship ministry based in Heredia, Costa Rica. Founded by DeLynn and Gloria Hoover in 2003, VidaNet now includes mission opportunities, a 10-month discipleship program called Vida220, and El Nido crisis pregnancy center. EMM workers are helping with VidaNet’s programs, and EMM is actively sending youth to be discipled through Vida220.