Roatan Island, Honduras
The village of Punta Gorda on Roatan Island, Honduras, is home to an indigenous people group known as the Garifuna (pronounced gah-REE-foo-nah). The Garifuna arrived on the island over 200 years ago, bringing with them their own culture and language. Even today, the Garifuna observe the religious traditions of their African and Caribbean forefathers. WGM and the Honduran national church work to bring God’s light into the darkness of a culture steeped in superstition and spiritual bondage.
Over 20 years ago, WGM established a clinic to provide general medical care and spiritual ministry. The church in Punta Gorda is a result of that ministry. In recent years, general medical needs were being met by the government hospital and other clinics in the area, so the WGM clinic was closed.
HIV/AIDS preventative education is an integral part of ministering to Punta Gorda. Statistics estimate that one in 10 people living on the island is HIV positive. However, despite increased awareness, people continue to live unsafe lifestyles that put them at risk of becoming infected with HIV. We are convinced that change must start with teaching children moral values based on the Bible. In addition to regular outreach to children and youth through Sunday School each week and an annual Vacation Bible School, the church opened a youth center in the building that formerly housed the clinic.
Kids’ clubs are held weekly for children from 4 to 11 years of age. On Friday evenings, the youth meet in the youth center, where they can interact with each other in a safe, Christ-honoring environment. The youth can come for an evening of fun —foosball, air hockey, and ping pong are favorite activities—which includes a Bible message and worship. Even young people who are not from Christian homes enjoy coming to the center. As these children and youth are exposed to the message of Christ, we believe they will make wiser choices as they mature.
Leadership development is also important component in the church. Discipleship programs are strengthening the local congregation and preparing them for further service. The music ministry team is unique as they incorporate Garifuna songs and instruments into the worship service. We thank God for changing many lives in Punta Gorda as they respond to the gospel message.