Messiah Lutheran members witness graduation in HondurasPublished 3:52pm Saturday, April 27, 2013
MADISON – Members of Messiah Lutheran Church attended graduation at Benito Montoya School in Nacaome, Honduras, which the Madison church has ‘adopted.’
Each fall, Messiah’s Handmade Market benefits the Alabama-based, nonprofit Lunches for Learning organization that assists in feeding 61 students at Benito Montoya.
Messiah Lutheran’s Gerard DeJong collected donations at Bentley Systems to build a one-room kindergarten, now expanded to three classrooms for K-6 students. Dan Scroggins has brought potable water to the village. The church has provided a new kitchen roof, children’s supplies, window screens that keep out bats and a fence.
Jackie Myers, Janell Zesinger and Sue Doubleday attended graduation for eight sixth-graders and nine kindergartners. Atop the mountain, the school has beautiful vistas. “The road to the school is like a dry river,” Myers said. Teachers arrive by foot or motorcycle.” The six-mile drive from the nearest road requires an hour, Zesinger said.
Villagers normally see only one vehicle, the Lunches for Learning truck. “After sixth grade, boys work on the farm. The girls (enter) motherhood,” Myers said. “It’s so sad.”
At graduation, each student received a photograph and certificate and selected a set of godparents. After the ceremony, families danced in the hot weather. “As guests of honor, we were fed separately … very humbling to accept food when they have so little,” Zesinger said.
“Being born in Honduras, it gave me tears when I saw children all clean, dressed very nice and ready for graduation,” Myers said.
“God uses Messiah Lutheran to keep kids in Honduras in school,” director of outreach ministries Claire Strand said. Most villagers “realize the importance of a sixth-grade education in preparing their children for work outside the village,” Zesinger said. “They’re willing to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure their children graduate.”
“Watching the children graduate in person is a life-changing experience. Though the people have little, they seem content and grateful. They are rich with love for families and community,” Zesinger said.
Messiah Lutheran’s address is 7740 U.S. 72 W. Visit mlutheran.com.