Dear LMI Friends and Family,
Most days, before I start the admin tasks that often pile up faster than Candida’s corn tortillas, I spend a few minutes grounding myself in the reality of this great mission we pursue together.
As I pray, I imagine the prayers of others who join me – sometimes donors, staff members, board members, students and graduates, friends of the organization. But most often, the images that fill my mind are of little abuelitas – grandmothers – in the mountains and hills of rural Honduras. I imagine a force of women who, through sweat and challenge and unresolved injustice, have raised daughters, who have then raised their own daughters … and have carried in their hearts, and in their waking prayers before long hours of tedious work, a hope and a dream that the daughters of their daughters will have a chance at a better life.
This image drives so much of the work that we do: a true belief that it has been the prayers of generations of abuelitas that has empowered our mission and fueled the energy and drive of each of the young women who join us at The Leadership Center.
Many of us are more than aware of the statistics in Honduras; it feels like almost common knowledge by now that Honduras has the fifth-highest rate of violence against women in the world; that every 18 hours in Honduras, a woman is a victim of a violent death. It feels almost common by now that Honduras has the highest youth homicide rate in the world, and that a child living in Honduras is 10 times more likely to be killed than a child who lives in the United States (AJS-US.org). The commonality of that news does not erase its horror.
It intersects, at a profound level, the aching hearts of abuelitas desiring a better life for their granddaughters. It profoundly drives our mission. The ache of that injustice is what gave birth to The Leadership Center campus, sprawled out in the mountains of rural Honduras. It’s what drives our 78 graduates and counting, now spread through most departments of Honduras leading community development efforts with their families and neighbors and churches and municipalities. It’s what motivates a powerful and faithful leadership team on campus, Mizraim and his family and Karla and hers, as well as a handful of devoted and dedicated teachers and cooks and agricultural workers. It’s what inspires our sponsors, church partners, hundreds of campus visitors, and volunteers of all shapes and sizes. Our hearts are interconnected by the work that we join together to do.
We believe and see that God is doing great work in our students and graduates during a year when The Wall Street Journal expressed “few countries embody the multiple challenges facing the developing world [as a result of the pandemic] more than Honduras” due to crime, corruption, extreme poverty, health-care system collapse, and two devastating hurricanes. This great work is why LMI is taking a leap to grow our impact by committing in 2021 to house and train 30 young women in Cohort 12, reflecting a 25% growth in our student body.
Mizraim and I, countless days on our calls, sit back and give thanks for all the great work that we see God doing. It is clearly not the work of any one individual – it is all of us together, each one of you reading this now, who God has brought together in a response to his own heart – his own ear arched towards those little abuelitas pressing tortillas over stone fire stoves in the dark, early hours of morning before their work has even started for the day.
We give thanks to God for inviting us into this great work.
Abrazos fuertes a la distancia,