Grace Extended to “Least of These”
Melodie Francis has been working with Fellowship International in Honduras for five years. Her background as a missionary and pastor’s kid in Spain and Quebec gave her a head start towards learning Spanish and understanding different cultures. Training in social work was also good preparation for her future ministry.
In 1998 Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras, killing five thousand people and causing two billion dollars in damage. According to the Honduran President, the disaster set the country back fifty years. Sex trafficking and forced labor in urban and tourist centers is rampant, and the absence of men in many homes is striking.
Against this backdrop, a beacon of light and grace is found in the Casa Hogar just outside of Siguatapeque. Melodie is part of the leadership team that directs this home for abandoned children. Founded by a Spanish mission, the home provides a safe place for children from two months to 19 years. They receive food, clothing, education, and a demonstration of God’s love and grace in action. I saw the love these children were experiencing.
As a young woman, Melodie is a ‘mother’ to many. Many situations arose in this large extended family that required special wisdom, including the love and care I saw demonstrated for a girl with Down’s syndrome.
Fellowship International missionaries, John and Lise Francis (Melodie’s parents), work with LeadersFor, training church leaders in Central America. Based in Honduras, they volunteer at the home to be ‘grandpa and grandma’ to the kids. Melodie, John and Lise have been quietly advocating for and organizing monthly sponsorships in Canada to pay for the children’s needs. On weekends John and Lise invite the children to their home for a taste of home cooking and hang out time with a nuclear family – a real treat for the kids! The ministry of intercession on behalf of the kids was notable.
Fellowship Baptist Church in Fort McMurray has been instrumental in providing resources and expertise for a generator and a security wall. Great Village Church in Nova Scotia raised money and then sent a team to repair the roof and minister to the children.
I was touched and encouraged by the many demonstrations of grace that are quietly and effectively making an eternal difference in the lives of ‘the least of these’.
—Dan Baetz is Director of Fellowship International.