From the beginning, Calvary Church has been a part of Justin and Ashley Guest’s journey as missionaries to Honduras. During their first 2011 visit to the Manuelito Project headquarters in Talanga, Mark Mouser’s team from Calvary was there to greet them.
The Guests put down deep roots while serving with the Manuelito project. God blessed them with two children who have only known Honduras as their home. It was easy to see that God was using their little family greatly in this transformational ministry to needy Honduran kids. They began to believe over time that this was their life’s work and planned to be there forever.
God had other plans.
In the spring of 2018, God began to make it very clear that their season of ministry at the Manuelito project was coming to a close. It was a realization that was extremely hard to accept, at first. Missionaries are not immune to feelings of disappointment, sadness and even grief during big ministry transitions. Justin and Ashley felt the confusion and loss deeply.
“It was like a dark pit and it felt like there was no coming out of it,” Justin said.
The Guests began to wonder what God would have for them in their next chapter. Would they get secular jobs back in the USA? Should they start a new ministry? They couldn’t imagine doing anything they hadn’t BEEN doing and it seemed overwhelming to think of raising the kind of money that would be necessary to move and start over on a new mission field. During all this pain and uncertainty, though, God was reminding Justin and Ashley of HIS faithfulness. The same God who had carried them through many other trials would get them through these challenges.
In a conversation with one of their mission leaders, a new idea surfaced, seemingly out of nowhere. They were reminded of a mission compound that had been developed but later vacated by missionaries on the island of Roatan, a small island off the northern coast of Honduras. It was suggested they go for a time of rest to consider their future ministry.
On this trip, God revealed the deep needs of the people in the beach community of Punta Gorda. As the Guest family moved about the island, they saw the deep poverty all around them as they encountered hungry children everywhere. Eventually, they began to see deeper layers of need: broken families, widespread promiscuity, an HIV/Aids epidemic (1 in 4 are infected with the disease), and more.
As they tentatively began speaking with church leaders, they learned that an entire generation is growing up without a heart for God and that the church feels ill-equipped to reach this new generation. Every person they met with asked for direction, training and leadership to know what to do. They expressed a need for a community center that could be a hub for leadership training, English classes to help with jobs, homework assistance and a safe place for kids to gather.
The empty building and a home for missionaries was there already. The last decade of ministry had prepared the Guests for just this kind of ministry. God was confirming in the hearts of these hurting missionaries that He does, in fact, have big plans for them.
The grieving for what was left behind has diminished slowly and in its place God has given dreams for what can be.
The Guest family is now at 75% of their needed support. They plan to take a short-term team to do children’s ministry in Roatan this summer and hope to be living there permanently by January 2019.