The Industrious Pastor
August, 2014

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." Matt. 25:40

Published by the Society of the Good Shepherd, P. O. Box 122, Amberson, PA 17210. (717) 349-7033

Honduras microloan Mario Rodolfo Corea is a Honduran pastor, who is also a Lenca Indian. The Lencas are the largest of eight indigenous people groups in Honduras. There are about 100,000 Lenca Indians in Honduras. The Lenca are the poorest people group in all of Honduras, as well as the least educated. The congregation that Mario pastors are all Lencas.

Mario lives with his wife and four young daughters in a community called El Ocotal. Its name comes from ocote, a type of pine tree that grows in the area. People in the area collect and sell sticks of this pine wood that are naturally impregnated with resin. These sticks are a handy way to light wood fires, as they burn as though soaked in kerosene.

Honduras microloan Two of Mario’s daughters are of high school age, but they were unable to study this year because of the family having no funds. Education in Honduras is free through eighth grade. However, to go to high school, families must pay. Mario’s only son, Celvin, who is 19 years old, went to the city of La Paz to continue his education. He will be graduating with a degree in elementary education. He received a scholarship that made this possible, plus he also works to support himself.

The area where Mario lives is very remote. To get to El Ocotal, a person first has to take a one-hour bus ride from La Paz. After getting off the bus, he then must either walk or ride horseback a couple of hours to reach El Ocotal. There is only one bus that leaves the area, and it is at 4:00 a.m. So when Mario Corea comes to La Paz, he has to leave his house at 2:00 a.m. There is no electricity in El Ocotal, so when he takes the bus, he has to find his way through the winding streets with a flashlight.

Honduras microloan When Mario heard about the Society of the Good Shepherd, he applied for a microloan to start a pulperia or small food store in El Ocotal, since there presently is not one there. Before he opened his store, the people in El Ocotal had to travel far to get basic food items and then carry them a long way on foot.

After Mario obtained his loan, the Society’s directors in La Paz, along with a group of pastors, went to El Ocotal to visit Mario and to bring supplies and many of the items for his store. They were well loaded when they got off the bus. Thankfully, Mario and several brothers from his congregation met them at the bus stop and and carried the supplies on their backs during the two-hour walk to El Ocotal.

This past spring, Mario was badly hurt on a trip to La Paz when he fell off a horse and the horse kicked him in the head. He was in the hospital for several weeks. When he got out of the hospital, our program coodinator in La Paz, Milagro Martinez, let him stay in a vacant apartment she had. She and others took care of him for several months until he was back on his feet. Hearing about this injury, I assumed that Mario’s store had probably failed. Here in the U.S., we were all praying just that Mario would live. So when Deborah and I were in La Paz just a few weeks ago, we were stunned to discover that not only had Mario totally recovered, but he had already paid off his microloan—more than a year ahead of schedule.

Honduras microloan Most Lencas are farmers. They grow such crops as corn, beans, and squash. However, recently they have been going through a severe drought, so many of the crops have withered and died. During the coffee harvest time, which is November through February, most of the Lenca families temporarily move to large coffee plantations to harvest coffee. This helps them to get by financially during the rest of the year. Mario and his family often do this.

Mario was the first in his family to know Christ as his Savior, and he had the privilege of seeing his father come to the Lord. His whole family is now Christian by the grace of God. Mario received his pastoral training at the Bible Institute in Siguatepeque.

There are 35 communities in the area of El Ocotal that have no Bible-believing church. Mario asks for prayers for workers to reach these communities with the Word. Also please pray that God will provide the resources for his daughters to finish their education.

David Bercot and Milagro Martinez

The Society of the Good Shepherd, P. O. Box 122, Amberson, PA 17210 • (717) 349-7033

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