By Kevin Gallagher, Montaña de Luz Board Member
This is the fourth installment of a series of blog posts entitled “Building a Future.” We will highlight the role of Montaña de Luz in building a better future for families affected by HIV in Honduras.
Montana de Luz is a faith-based organization. What is the impact that our new direction will have on this designation, or, more importantly, what is the impact that our designation will have on our new direction?
Back in 2000, when our founders visited the hurricane-devastated Honduras and saw the need to care for the youth affected by HIV/AIDS, they had many questions and challenges ahead of them. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) The original organizers realized that they were being called by God to serve His children and that the only way to accomplish this was through Him. They had the faith that God will provide for Montana de Luz in order for Montana de Luz to provide for His children.
Through the years, hundreds of supporters have visited the mountain, have been touched by the children and caregivers, and have come to love the kids as their own. And the children have flourished, to the point that they aren’t kids any more. It’s obvious that God has blessed Montana de Luz. But have we done enough?
In the book of Micah, we are asked “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8) When Montana de Luz began, it was due to the great injustice that these children were deathly ill for no fault of their own. So we humbled ourselves and went to a poor and sometimes dangerous country. We showed mercy and provided for them, nourished them, nurtured them and tried to prepare them for a fulfilling life.
But I ask you, what about the injustice for some of their parents? Their country and communities could not provide care for their children, so they had to sacrifice their family and give up their child in order for the child to survive. Or what about the families we don’t know, that couldn’t bring themselves to give up their child, ultimately losing the child to their illness?
I cannot even fathom the heartache. So the MdL board began asking, is there more we can do to help the families of our children? Can we help them keep their child at home and survive their illnesses? We believed it was time for us to, once again, walk humbly with God, outside the familiarity and security of our mountaintop. To take the knowledge we’ve acquired over the past 18 years and serve more of God’s children. To take our love and mercy to the Honduran people right where they live.
But, oh the challenges! How do we find caregivers to carry out this mission? How can we possibly reintegrate the children back into their families? What about those children who don’t have families to return to? Can we financially afford to achieve these goals? (To name just a few) We do so by “fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). We continue to put our faith in Him, and He will help address these questions and more.
Back to Jesus’ analogy to a vineyard where he says “I am the true vine, and God is the gardener. God cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2). I believe during the past few lean and difficult years for Montana de Luz, God has been pruning us, so that we can grow and be more fruitful. As Jesus also said “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) I don’t believe it is God’s plan for us to simply continue our usual work. Now is the time for us to grow, to be God’s disciples and to make more disciples; to love more people no matter how challenging and to continue to have faith in our God to provide the means to care for His people.