For the past 25 years, we have been active members of First Baptist Church, Arlington, TX (http://fbca.org/).
Karin felt called to missions when she was a teenager. Then, life happened, we were married and had five children. During all these years, she never really felt God calling her anywhere specific. That is, until about three years ago, when He slowly started putting Honduras on her heart…and He never let up.
For the past couple of years, we have felt strongly that God has been leading us to make some serious changes. We have been doing our best to give more through every facet of our lives, specifically toward being the hands and feet of Jesus.
A key turning point in my Christian walk occurred when I was strongly influenced by reading Radical, by David Platt, a book I simply “happened upon” one day. Despite being a “faithful” Christian for most of my life, Radical opened my eyes and encouraged me to pause when reading God’s Word and ask myself, “Do I truly believe that? Do I truly believe what I just read?” Through this “awakening”, and by repeatedly asking myself this question during all of my subsequent scripture reading, I recognized that something about my life truly had to change, and not in some small way.
About this same time, one day Karin “just so happened” to text me about a specific scripture that she felt compelled to share. That scripture was 2 Chronicles 16:9, which says, “God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him.” (The Message) Ever since that day, a burning, recurring question in my heart has been, “What does that look like?” What does it look like to be totally committed to God?
It is with this backdrop that we are now fervently striving to be totally and radically committed to Him.
Through a series of what we consider nothing less than God ordained events and circumstances, we have been led to move our family to Roatan, Honduras. God kept opening doors that seemed so out of the ordinary. He kept putting people in our paths that we felt could not have gotten there any other way, except through His divine hand.
We own a small computer consulting business that we previously operated out of our house. There are five people in our company, including Karin, two of our sons, one family friend and myself. Our business is called For Him Consulting (http://www.forhimconsulting.com/about-us), and we are firmly convinced that God provided a business we could do over the Internet specifically for a time such as this…that we could move and respond to His call.
There is absolutely no market for our business or services in Roatan, but we feel God has provided us the flexibility to make this move such that we can live in Roatan, being involved in a variety of ongoing missions and ministry efforts, and continue to operate our business back in America. (Yes, the Internet truly is a wonderful thing.)
Before making the full commitment to move to Roatan, we actually visited for four weeks back in November/December 2012. Our intent with this visit was multi-faceted.
- We wanted to make sure we could truly operate our business from afar. We researched and knew Internet connectivity was not the best on the island AND you often have to go without power.
From this perspective, the visit was a huge success. We confirmed, even under less than ideal circumstances, we could still function sufficiently from the island.
- Karin and I went through a Bible study back in the late 90s by Henry Blackaby called, “Experiencing God”. In that study, Henry suggests that Christians seeking to honor God with their lives need to look around, see where God is at work and join in.
Therefore, by visiting Roatan for four weeks, we hoped to seek out where God was at work, and see if there was opportunity to join in.
With reference to this latter reason behind our visit…WOW! God absolutely opened the flood gates. We met many people here and found there is both a lot actively going on, in regards to missions work, AND that there is a tremendous need for help.
The need is so great, I compare it to encountering someone trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon, and then our asking, “Do you need help?”
I didn’t initially share Karin’s feelings in regards to Honduras, or any specific calling, for a long time. She wondered why God would allow her to feel this was something she had to do but not put me on board with her? About the third week of our exploratory visit back in 2012, my heart was won over and God once again proved He is faithful in ALL things, in His time. It became clear to us that we simply could not say, “No.” How could we possibly have followed God’s prompting this far, just to then say, “Nah, I don’t think we’re interested.”?
During our exploratory visit, we were “blessed” with having to take one of our daughters to the clinic “Clinica Esperanza” (better known as “Ms. Peggy’s Clinic”). During our visit, I shared why we were on the island with one of the American volunteers that was helping my daughter. She recommended a church that we ended up visiting twice. It was at this church that we met the Morin family, which only helped to affirm our call to move to Roatan. It was here that we also met Ms. Peggy herself. Ms. Peggy was quick to smile and acknowledge the “need” whenever we shared the reason for our visit.
During the time of our stay in Roatan, our oldest daughter became energized and excited about the opportunity. Upon returning to Texas, she even posted the following on her Facebook:
If you were to see me on the street you would probably think that I’m just another teenage girl. Head-over heels for some jock, smart student, active in my school and church, member of choir or band, normal. But I’m not. I’m torn between two different lives; the one I’m in love with and the one I’ve always known. This spring I will move to a new country where I only know a few people. I will probably live next door to a poor person without money to put food on the table. I may even fall in love. In summer I’ll start my freshman year of high school in a class of maybe 15 kids. I’ll speak Spanish to everyone I meet. I’ll pay 100 lempiras for a bag of chips. I’ll walk 2.6 miles to the grocery store on those days when we need to conserve electricity. I’ll sit on the couch reading while I wait on the water and electricity to come back on so I can take a shower. I’ll leave all my friends and family behind to start anew. I’ll probably cry myself to sleep for months as the weight of it all crushes me. I’ll spend hours on my phone looking at old pictures before I can actually fall asleep. I’ll probably be miserable most days. The thing is though, while this may bother some people, I wouldn’t trade a normal life at a normal school with all my friends for this. I’d rather leave all that’s comfortable to me behind and start fresh. I want to help the people of my new home. Even back in the states again I feel like I’m just visiting until I can go home. Even as I try and convince my big brothers to come with us so that I can go to sleep some nights without having even more pictures to cry over. My brothers mean the world to me and I don’t want to leave them behind. But I will. If I can’t get them to come with me I will have to settle for flashlight-lit video calls and phone calls with bad reception or the occasional visit back to the states. I want to do this because I know this is where God wants me and I’m happy to do what he asks. ~I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18~
All this from a 13 year old. It made her Daddy cry!
Unfortunately, during our previous visit, our youngest daughter was not in agreement. She did not want to make the move. In discussing with our newfound friends, the Morin family, and asking how their kids came on board, Tish Morin suggested we get and read Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis.
Upon getting back to Texas, we got a copy of this book and read it as a family. There wasn’t a single reading session that there weren’t tears in the room. This book played a phenomenal role in AFFIRMING our decision to be obedient and move to Roatan. I am so thankful God led us to it after we had already decided to make the move.
Further, on the afternoon before the night that we finished reading Kisses from Katie, our youngest daughter (the one showing resistance) told me, “Dad, I’m kind of getting excited about moving to Roatan.” That night, we finished the book, and she is now fully in agreement.
Therefore, as of July 2013, John, Karin, Hannah and Rebekah now call Roatan, Honduras home.
God is oh so very good.
Once again, it is truly our prayer that God will be honored and glorified by our sharing this information and our current adventure.