In the spring of 2005, an eager Honduran completed a missionary training course at the European Bible School (EBS) in Norway. Jose Suazo felt compelled to start a similar project in Honduras.
When Jose returned to Honduras, he told his father about his dream to start a mission project. In 2007, impressed by the Holy Spirit, Jose’s father donated a guava plantation where a project could be started. Located only 75 minutes outside of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, the closest village of El Suyatal has a population of about 5,000. When the project started, there were no Seventh-day Adventists in the area, but that was soon to change.
With the help of a Bible worker, the difficult task began to share God’s truth with the people of El Suyatal. Jose invited his alma mater, Laurelbrook School & Sanitarium, to build the first Seventh-day Adventist church. Shortly afterward, the EBS held an evangelistic campaign and seven people made the decision to be baptized, including Jose’s father.
Recognizing the magnitude of this project, Jose invited his friend and former EBS student to help support the development of the project. Although he was still in the middle of his seminary studies in Austria, Jesse Zwiker did as much as he could until he was able to relocate to Honduras in the summer of 2008. God continued to open doors for more full-time missionaries to make the humble project their home.
Educational centers for training medical missionaries are few and far between, especially in Central America. The small team started the Instituto Biblico Centroamericano (IBC). With support from LIGHT (Lay Institute for Global Health Training), a one-month training course for 17 international students was hosted in the summer of 2008. This was expanded into an 11-month program that began in February 2009, providing the students with foundational knowledge about Biblical and health evangelism, as well as massage, hydrotherapy, and natural remedies to equip young people to become effective missionaries. Besides Bible, health, and leadership courses, such as business, Christian education, and psychology, IBC also offers practical training on various forms of outreach, construction, and organic agriculture.
As time passed, the team realized that it would be necessary to follow God’s guidelines precisely if they desired long-term success. They prayed that God would show them how to expand their business revenue, especially in the area of agriculture. This would allow them to financially support the entire project. A few months later, the team discussed the purchase of a tamarind plantation; however, the price was well above what they could afford. Through fasting and collective Bible study, the team sought to understand God’s leading. Trusting that God would provide, the team felt impressed to purchase the plantation without any money in their pockets. At just the right time, someone stepped forward to provide a loan for the down payment. Deeply touched, the team thanked God for His providence. They immediately began to develop the property with 1,600 tamarind trees. The product is currently being sold to large Central American companies.
While the Instituto Biblico Centroamericano provided medical missionary training for youth and adults, the team at VIDA was also convinced that God was calling them to offer a Christian education for children, too. Campos Blancos Educational Center opened its doors in February 2011 for two students. The school now has 35 students between kindergarten and first grade, and continues to grow.
The leaders of VIDA anticipate the impact of having a lifestyle center to advance the message of physical, mental, and spiritual health. In order to reach even more people in Tegucigalpa, and in an effort to make contacts for future guests of the lifestyle center, a little clinic was opened that will also serve as a health food store and restaurant in the near future. People will also receive hydrotherapy and massage treatments and health consultations at the clinic. Since VIDA Internacional is still in its beginning stages, the church, classrooms, and family housing have had first priority. The reality is that this project would not and could not exist without the prayers and support of those who desire to see Jesus return soon. VIDA Internacional is truly a testimony to God doing the impossible to further His kingdom. “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart” (I Corinthians 4:1).