‘There are many crazy people around the world’. Martinez, Kristel and Sheryl* are some of them. Martinez looks like a world famous football player but tells me he’s not actually good at football.
He’s 18 years old and has an engaging smile and light in his eyes. ‘Many things churches do are just sticking plasters. But following the Transforma Joven (Transforming Youth) workshops we decided to do more. We developed an initiative called ‘playing for peace’. It was aimed at preventing kids from joining the maras (gangs). Every week for 3 months we’d play 2O minutes of football then have a short reflection time and something to eat and then play football again. It gave the young people an alternative.
Three churches from different denominations joined in but some pastors said they didn’t want to be involved. God was faithful and He supported us. The next year we shared this vision with others. The results were very good. With a group of friends we have now decided to bring food and supplies to people in hospital.
My area is one of the two most dangerous in the city. People are used to seeing lots of guns, gangs and violence. It’s not easy. Last year I was persecuted. One day the maras came into my house. Sometimes I’m afraid. But people are now realizing that change can happen’.
The Transforma Joven movement ‘helps us to do mission in our context. It is a space to train young people to live out the fullness of God’s good news, to find local resources, develop initiatives and plans and lobby for change’.
Kristel and Sheryl, two sisters with beautiful long black hair, join in the conversation. Kristel says ‘the challenge after we complete the training is to develop an initiative in our communities. We don’t need a lot of resources. We have resources in our churches. We just need to work as a team. My brother (in Christ) has this skill and I have another. I believe at the end of this training we’ll be like dynamite!’
‘I just finished the training last month’ says Sheryl. ‘I really liked that it brought together people from different denominations. It empowered 16 year olds like me to share ideas about what we can do to transform our communities and country. We need to be salt and light (Matthew 4v13-16).
‘We are working on a process for recycling and we want to avoid using styrofoam’. Styrofoam is the ‘disposable’ white plastic that takes 500+ years to degrade and is used everywhere in Honduras (and the US). ‘We plan to share environmental awareness in our city. We want to reach 150 teenagers in our church. It’s small steps but so exciting’.
God brings hope for this nation through young people like this.
*Names changed for privacy and safety.