For 12 years, our Santiago Project in Honduras has helped train small business owners who give back to their church and community
Irma Rojas is the coordinator of a cleaning supplies microbusiness. As a pastor’s wife, she also runs the youth activities in their church.
In February 2013, I started receiving small business training for a cleaning supplies business through the Santiago Project of Samaritan´s Purse. Since then, the business has improved.
Ladies within our church run this small business together, and a portion of the proceeds help support the children’s ministry. Our church serves 210 children, ages 3 to 15, who are economically disadvantaged. We live in one of the areas considered most violent in San Pedro Sula (the most dangerous city in the world).
Samaritan’s Purse has helped with everything we need—especially with support for legalization, as the municipal government did not provide us permission to operate because we live in such a dangerous area.
Our business has also helped open up opportunities for people who are struggling within the community.
José Ordoñez, 28, has limited financial resources and was diagnosed with cancer. He has undergone several operations and cannot work normally due to poor health. Now, José has gained employment. We consign products to him so that he and his sister can sell them and generate an income. This helps José afford travel for his medical visits. Our country has socialized medicine, so the costs for many treatments are inexpensive. However, transportation is always out of a person´s pocket. If they can´t afford the trip, they don´t get treated.
Through the Santiago Project, we have had the opportunity to start a two-year discipleship program with 60 of our youth. Samaritan’s Purse provided training for the leaders and the materials. Initially, the children were hesitant to join in. Then they received the workbooks and became interested and attentive in the classes.
Although we help the children, we do not have the ability to give a gift to all of them. Through Samaritan’s Purse, each child in our program also received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift and a Bible. Now, every child has his or her own Bible when attending church.
The shoebox gifts blessed not only our church but also neighboring areas of extreme poverty. We ministered with gift distributions of 130 in one community, 180 in another, and 350 in a third. The third community is a slum located near the river where no one—including the government—helps the people. These children had never received a gift, and I could see the joy on their faces and hear the shouts as they showed their mothers what they had received.
Because of the microbusiness growth, we have also been able to hire a young widow whose husband was killed four years ago, leaving her with three small children. The oldest, 11-year-old Josue, accepted Christ through participating in Operation Christmas Child. He attends our youth activities and is learning about computers at the church.
We thank the Lord for the Santiago Project from Samaritan´s Purse, which has been a great blessing to the children of Honduras. I pray that God continues to bless us so that we can help more children and youth in need.