Lisa Armstrong is a registered nurse and the administrator
of the Fellow Man International project. She founded
the project in 2000 with the help of many generous
donors including churches, Rotary clubs and interested
individuals in the United States who believed that
the greatest expression of love for one's fellow
man is charitable work aimed toward self-sufficiency
and development for the benefit of the poor. She
represents the interests of both the Fellow Man
International Foundation and the Honduran non-government
organization Projimos Internationalistas.
I first became familiar with Honduras in 1988 after
having become acquainted with some very fine Latin
American students who were working toward advanced
degrees at Kansas State University. After a life-altering
experience in Honduras, I returned home sure that
something had to be done for the many nameless and
faceless people living beneath the shadow of an
unbelievable oppressive poverty. I remember asking
my Honduran friends what they would do if only they
had the resources to change their country. They
had many answers, but little hope that there would
ever be sufficient financial assistance to make
a real difference. I dedicate this work to the glory
of God and pray that my dear Honduran friends might
be pleased when they find I truly listened to their
thoughts and ideas all those many years ago. This
project is the realization of their dreams.
Autonomy and Self-Sufficiency Only
when the project is self-sufficient will the dream
be fully realized. I was devastated to see a great
"brain drain" among the best and brightest
Honduras had to offer. Because of lack of living
wages, opportunity and insecurity many of those
who could truly help their country were forced to
find residence in other countries. It is my most
cherished desire to provide competitive wages for
qualified Honduran professionals that they might
be afforded the opportunity to help their own people.
This goal is an ambitious one, but with the help
of the Fellow Man International Foundation, development
projects such as Green Parrot Coffee and the cooperation
of professionals within Honduras I believe it is
possible. Above all things, my hope is to achieve
self-sufficiency for the project. At such time,
I will wave goodbye with much joy in my heart, leaving
this work of God in the hands of those Honduran
professionals who have the heart and vision to ensure
the sick always have access to quality medical care
and the hungry a bite of bread.
"What so ever you do to the least of these
my brothers and sister, you did unto me."
I can hardly believe it has been nearly 18 years since I stepped onto that airplane in search of God's will for my life. I was seeking to experience the love of Christ, but found it only when I began to try to love others in the way Jesus loved. To experience and know the flesh and blood Jesus through service has been the greatest gift of my life. It has literally saved me. This gift would never have been possible were it not for all of you who made the "dream" a reality by giving so generously. Thank you so much.
When I reflect on the many blessings that have been bestowed upon the Honduran people in the name of faith through works, I feel more convinced than ever that Christ's true message was one of profound hope. It is a hope born out of His love that transcends all circumstance and momentary suffering. It is a hope that never fails, refusing to give in to the worldly pains of hunger, sicknes and the illusion of loneliness. I can say with all confidence there are thousands of people living in those mountains who have come to also know the flesh and blood Jesus who loved so much He felt compelled to give His life. We may never be able to solve the problems of poverty in Honduras. But, to continue to proclaim the message of Christ's love through works to all who seek refuge through the mission reminds me that where there is love, there is hope!
"And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
As often as possible, I will try
to write about my experiences in this place. Perhaps it will help you to understand our struggles. Perhaps
it will help me to know that I am not alone in those
struggles. It is my belief that the face of Christ
is visible on a daily basis in the eyes of the poor.
I would pray that these short stories and observations
bless you as the experiences have blessed me.