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Minda Kleman

Retired Missionary to Honduras
"What a Joy"
By Kateland Vernon, Staff Writer, June 2020

It was at an orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico, that Minda Kleman first fell in love with missions. She was visiting the ministry location as a high schooler at the encouragement of her Sunday school teacher, who was a WGM secretary, and when Minda saw the young children at the orphanage starving not just for food but for love, her heart broke for them. Upon witnessing the passion with which the missionaries shared the Gospel with those around them, Minda knew God was calling her to join their ranks.

A few years after returning home from this visit, Minda met Paul Kleman, a young man who was also being called into life as a missionary. After Paul graduated, the two were married and Minda finished her education. They were able to serve in ministry for a while, gaining some valuable experience while beginning a family, and in 1979, WGM appointed them to serve as missionaries in Honduras.

Their time as missionaries was fulfilling, but it wasn’t without its challenges. During the first term, especially, Minda had to work extremely hard just to care for her family’s daily needs. Tasks that had been simple in the States, such as cooking, now had extra steps such as making ingredients from scratch that they would have previously purchased at the store. They also faced threats to their family’s safety that left Minda nervous about their housing situation. God provided another home for them, though, and continued to reassure them through each challenge that they were doing what He had called them to do. The Klemans had truly fallen in love with the Hondurans they had come to serve and share the Gospel with, just as the missionaries Minda had visited years earlier had fallen in love with those they served in Mexico. As a result, the Klemans were able to respond to the hardships they faced by becoming even more dedicated to the people and sharing God’s love with them.

One more hardship awaited the Kleman family. In November of 2002, Paul passed away. Minda struggled to figure out how she would continue her ministry without him. For years, they had relied on each other as they served in pastoral, discipleship, and youth ministries. They were currently serving as the pastors of a church while they trained two people in the same vein of ministry. Minda didn’t see how she could continue in these roles alone, not to mention raise their children. She says, “I was thankful for a wise field director (Tim Hawk) who advised me to stay put, to keep on doing what I was doing unless the Lord led me to do something else.” So she stayed in Honduras until her son Chris’s current school year was finished, and then the two of them returned to the States for Homeland Ministry Assignment—Kim and Kevin, Minda’s other children, were grown at this point. Raising support seemed like an insurmountable task without Paul’s help, but God provided. The Klemans had opportunities to share at churches throughout the year, and people were moved to give in response to seeing how God was changing lives and hearts in Honduras. Minda watched as God proved Himself to be faithful in every circumstance.

The Kleman family soon found themselves back at home in Honduras, and, Minda says, “The Lord opened all kinds of opportunities for me to work with women’s ministries as well as to prepare a pastoral counseling manual that was printed and distribute among hundreds of church leaders in Honduras. Having lost my husband helped me to identify with the needs of so many single moms.”

Minda looks back over her years as a missionary with fondness. She loves to remember the Honduran youth she and Paul were blessed to teach and mentor during their time in pastoral and youth ministry. She watched her children develop friendships with them and rejoiced with them as they grew up to sing in the music group, teach Sunday school, and even serve in church ministry through youth, pastoral, or other service. “They are my first disciples,” Minda states. “I love knowing that so many of my spiritual kids are also serving the Lord.” She has seen the same thrilling life changes in many she has served, most recently in the women’s groups she’s been able to lead. “What a joy to have just a small part in what God is doing in their lives!” Minda exclaims.

In 2019, Minda officially retired from missionary service. She plans to continue living and ministering in Honduras, spending time with the two of her children and three grandchildren who live there. She also plans to visit her family in the States, including a fourth grandchild. Minda’s life, which has been full of rich service to the Lord, can be summed up by Psalm 27:4, a verse she memorized at age twelve: “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple” (KJV). Minda has devoted her life to this pursuit and impacted many Hondurans—who have become her “forever friends”—along the way.

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