Providing Animals and Opportunity

December 2, 2012 • Honduras
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A Samaritan’s Purse livestock program gives hope to a struggling family in Honduras

As a 21-year-old mother to be, Telma Madrid felt scared and worried about her future. Her boyfriend was working miles away at a garment factory in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, because he couldn’t find work anywhere else. Her family survived on the crops her father, Jose, was able to grow and didn’t have extra money to provide for her baby.

When Samaritan’s Purse came to their community of Rio Canas with a livestock program that included not just providing animals but also training in how to care for them, the Madrid family jumped at the opportunity to take part.

Jose could not attend the training sessions, so Telma went instead. She learned how to construct animal pens, how to vaccinate chickens, sheep and pigs, and how to prepare food for the animals.

Although she enjoyed the meetings, Telma was especially emotional at that time in her life.

“I was feeling sad, lonely, and scared because I knew I needed work to raise my baby,” Telma said.

Samaritan’s Purse agronomist Mavin Paredes noticed the young lady’s depressed demeanor and decided to reach out to her. He gave Telma a Bible and encouraged her with the hope of the Gospel.

“Now that I have the Bible, I spend more time reading it instead of thinking about my problems,” Telma said. “Mavin helped me a lot. I was motivated by his words and it was nice to know that someone I had just met cared about me.”

By the time the training sessions ended the young woman had learned more about Jesus Christ, was reading her new Bible daily, and was attending a church near her village.

When our staff arrived in Rio Canas with sheep and pigs to give to the beneficiary families, Telma was waiting in joyous anticipation with her new baby and father by her side.

On a hot afternoon in July, Telma accepted our gift of two sheep and a pig. Her family had also received 10 chickens a few months before.

“Before we used to eat only tortillas, beans, and rice,” Telma said. “Now that we have chickens we have eggs, and with the pigs and sheep we’ll have meat in the house too.”

The Madrid family was one of 13 that got sheep in Rio Canas that day. Most of them still have vivid memories of Hurricane Mitch—the massive storm that hit in 1998 and killed many of their animals and crops. Samaritan’s Purse began working in Honduras immediately after that disaster.

“Hurricane Mitch was a sad time because the river water flooded our house,” Jose remembered. “I lost all of my crops. For some time we had no food. I had three small children at the time, and I was scared because there was no way for us to communicate with the other communities.”

While food, shelter, and clothing helped Hondurans with their immediate needs after the storm, there were not many programs to help people recover from the devastation. Samaritan’s Purse implemented a variety of projects, including animals and agricultural resources to replenish what farming families had lost due to the flooding.

“During Hurricane Mitch we went through a hard time,” said Ana Daisy, one of the beneficiaries. “We lost our harvest and it was hard to find food. Our home also got damaged. We’ve been trying to recover what we lost ever since. We got help, like food and clothing, but no one has helped us with animals. This is the best thing to happen to us.”

In addition to chickens, sheep, and pigs, Samaritan’s Purse is starting other programs in Rio Canas, such as honeybees. Jose’s son, Jose Jr., has great interest in becoming a honey producer.

“It’s a really good opportunity to gain knowledge of bees, and it’s a provision of God,” Jose Jr. said. “I feel this is an answer to prayer because Samaritan’s Purse is helping us.”

The Madrid family was not only impacted by the gifts from Samaritan’s Purse, but also by the way we have been working in their community.

“I like that they help poor people and they don’t ask for anything in return,” Jose said.

Jose became a Christian about 20 years ago, but he wandered away from his faith over time. Now that the Samaritan’s Purse staff has ministered to him and his family, he has been going to church again.

“The best gift Samaritan’s Purse has given is that my children are listening to the message of God through the staff,” he said.

Now Jose’s whole family is much stronger to face the trials in front of them, and they say they are looking forward to sharing their newfound hope in Jesus with their neighbors in Rio Canas.