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Pastor: ‘God wanted me to go through tribulations’

Children sang and read scripture behind large letters spelling out Jesus as part of the celebration of placing the cornerstone for Casa de Paz United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS

Children sang and read scripture behind large letters spelling out Jesus as part of the celebration of placing the cornerstone for Casa de Paz United Methodist Church. 

Story and photos by Kathy L. Gilbert
Sept. 20, 2017 | SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras  (UMNS)
 

Talking about Casa de Paz United Methodist Church makes the Rev. Félix Medina cry.

Tears of joy.

Right now, Casa de Paz is a still a bit of a dream in Medina’s heart. The only part of the church that is visible to the naked eye is a granite cornerstone set in a concrete block next to a dusty street.

The only part of the church that is visible to the naked eye is a granite cornerstone set in a concrete block next to a dusty street. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.

The only part of the church that is visible to the naked eye is a granite cornerstone set in a concrete block next to a dusty street.

 

But when Medina looks at the field, he sees a three-story church with a worship center, school, cafeteria and a place to hold sporting events for children.

He believes God wouldn’t bring him this far and not finish the dream.

The Rev. Félix Medina said he grew up in the streets. “I was a homeless child and now I am serving about 400 children and young people,” he said. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.

The Rev. Félix Medina said he grew up in the streets. “I was a homeless child and now I am serving about 400 children and young people,” he said.

 

“I grew up in the streets as a child. I had a dream that I would have children. I was a homeless child and now I am serving about 400 children and young people,” he said.

It has not been an easy road for Medina. He first answered God’s call as an evangelist in a Pentecostal church. His first disappointment came when the Pentecostal pastor who had sent him out to start a new church backed out of the project.

The Rev. Félix Medina has been working for several years to obtain land to build a church that he dreams will be filled with children, young people and adults of all ages in this poor section of Honduras. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS,

The Rev. Félix Medina has been working for several years to obtain land to build a church that he dreams will be filled with children, young people and adults of all ages in this poor section of Honduras.

 

He felt he had a responsibility to the people he had started to bring in. “I didn’t know what to do, people started calling me pastor,” he said, shaking his head.

The congregation gathered for the laying of the cornerstone for Casa de Paz United Methodist Church in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The church has had many challenges to overcome on their journey to build a church. Currently they are meeting in a building that is a former bar. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.

The congregation gathered for the laying of the cornerstone for Casa de Paz United Methodist Church in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The church has had many challenges to overcome on their journey to build a church. Currently they are meeting in a building that is a former bar.

 

It was at this point that his wife urged him to think about another occupation. “She said, ‘You have been faithful but don’t continue.’ I felt in my heart I needed to try again.”

Special report: Honduras and Guatemala 2017

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Read more from United Methodist News Service's series on Honduras and Guatemala featuring the Evangelica Nacional Metodista Primitiva de Guatemala church.

A Global Migration Sunday Offering will be taken in United Methodist churches on Dec. 3, the first Sunday of Advent. The offering will be used to directly aid migrants and refugees. Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, told pastors in Honduras and Guatemala that the world will be praying with them on that day.

Then a group of women in the community said, “‘Don’t worry, we will take care of you. We will provide rent.’ It was very encouraging,” he said. He moved his family and was able to bring together 60 young people and 40 adults, but once again the funds and promises failed to come through.

That is when he met the Rev. Pablo Mora, mission superintendent of the United Methodist Mission in Honduras. Mora heard his story and told Medina he would walk with him in Christian friendship. 

“He is a great man. He gave me money out of his own pocket,” Medina said. Watching Mora convinced Medina The United Methodist Church was calling him.

Medina’s congregation currently meets in a building that was once a bar. There are lots of children and young people and the church is starting to be known in the city, he said.

On July 22, the community gathered in the field to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone. It was a happy day, filled with music and prayers.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Gualter Perdomo, the mayor of San Pedro Sula and a medical doctor, spoke to Medina and other pastors at a lunch meeting and gave his blessings to the church leaders.

“An alliance with the church is important to us; we all need spiritual guidance,” he said. “The church is our right hand.”

Medina said the first thing he was going to do is build a small shed on the property to keep all his tools. He is hoping to be in a new building by next July.

Medina says the history of this church is a beautiful story. “God wanted me to go through tribulations,” he said.

“Today we placed a cornerstone, it was very exciting,” he said. “I have no words. It is something that shows me God is with me.”

(center) Bishop Elias Galvan, director of the Honduras Mission Initiative, receives prayers and blessings from Bishop Jonathan Holston, South Carolina Area (right) and Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries (left). The Rev. Edgar Avitia Legarda, Global Area Liaison with the Board of Global Ministries (back left), translates. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.

(center) Bishop Elias Galvan, director of the Honduras Mission Initiative, receives prayers and blessings from Bishop Jonathan Holston, South Carolina Area (right) and Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries (left). The Rev. Edgar Avitia Legarda, Global Area Liaison with the Board of Global Ministries (back left), translates.

 

Members of the congregation gather around cornerstone as it is blessed by United Methodist Michael McKee, North Texas Conference. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.

Members of the congregation gather around cornerstone as it is blessed by United Methodist Michael McKee, North Texas Conference.

 

Gilbert is a multimedia reporter for United Methodist News Service. Contact her at 615-742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.