Trips brings missions to life for father and son
Aden Stoltzfus and his son, Dylan, have a pretty unique answer to the ‘What did you do this summer?’ question.
The Triad Baptist members can say they took the light of Jesus Christ to the Honduran city dubbed ‘the murder capital of the world’ for its gang violence — giving missionary Sam Conover’s church in San Pedro Sula an extreme makeover Triad Baptist style.
Led by Missions Committee member Tony Krofchik, who has taken eight groups overseas since 2005, the group of eight men from Triad spent 10-hour days July 23-30 transforming Iglesia Bautista Fuente de Luz (Source of Light Baptist Church).
They removed, replaced and insulated a metal roof, built a stage in the front of the sanctuary, replaced a rusted door, built a storage shed, and repainted walls throughout the campus to cover over graffiti and give the location Conover had purchased a fresh new look.
“It’s so much more impactful than seeing someone’s picture on a postcard,” Aden says of his first overseas missions trip. “I got to know Sam and his family personally, and it really brought missions to home. There is nothing like going down there, and seeing a work in person and being a part of it.”
“I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone, and encourage others to take a trip in the future.”
Dylan agreed. “When I thought about missions,” he says, “I had thought about places like Africa with no running water but Honduras wasn’t like that although you did see everything from shacks to country clubs with Olympic-sized pools. Meeting the teen-agers there reminded me how much they are just like teen-agers here in America.”
Krofchik said the trip began to take shape in June 2015 when member Jay Tyner, who went to junior high school with Conover, first made him aware of the opportunity.
Conover has served in Honduras since 2000 with Baptist Mid-Missions. In addition to Source of Light, which has 30 members, he also oversees Iglesia Bautista Faro de Luz (Lighthouse Baptist Church), and its 75-member congregation.
While their workdays were full, Krofchik said that the group attended services in both locations, and witnessed to the large crowd of Hondurans that passed by the work site, handing out about 200 curved gospel tract cards that feature an attention-grabbing illusion.
“Whenever we go to a country, there are always three purposes in mind for me,” he says. “First, we want to encourage the missionary, and just go and be a blessing to them and help them out and bring a taste of the U.S. to them for a week. Secondly, we want to expose church members to foreign missions and foreign cultures and give them a glimpse of what God is doing there.
“And we want to do some kind of direct evangelism and share the gospel and help people become more comfortable with sharing their faith.”
He says the Triad team, which also included another father/son pair in Eddie Hawley and his son, Griffin, accomplished all three.
“Through the work we did on the church and the physical condition we left it in, it’s now a better place to have a worship service or revival,” Krofchik said. “Steve Kluk, who has his own carpentry business, was a huge asset to have in our group, and Nathaniel Long lent his artistic skills to recreate the TBC logo we put under the stage on the floor (third photo at right below) and signed and sketched a possible logo Conover could use for the church.”
Conover says the team’s impact has already been felt.
“Just yesterday morning a neighbor and his wife from a Catholic church walked by the property and pointed inside and commented approvingly at the huge makeover,” Conover said. “They have a religious service and group that meets regularly right behind us. We have visitors attending on a regular basis and almost all who walk by in front of the church during services are curious.
“Four people were baptized a week after the team left. All the brethren are excited about the new roof, insulation, new platform, new shed, air conditioning, and painting inside and out. Triad's mission team is one of three teams we hosted this year so far, and their hard work and positive spirit were great examples.”
Dylan says he left Honduras with two particularly treasured memories, going back to Source of Light after much of the work was done and worshipping and the surprise ‘thank you’ meal Conover’s church members prepared for the team.
‘The night before we left one of the families went to the store invited us into their home and fixed a meal for all of us and all the members of both churches. We enjoyed a wonderful meal of tortillas with beef, cheese, and pork and with people who appreciated what we did and who, like us, love Jesus.’