John Zeller &
His Honduras Mission
Misión El Paraíso
My first short-term mission trip was to El Salvador in March, 2006 and that experience changed my worldview. My next trip and first trip to Honduras was December, 2006 to the region called El Paraiso (The Paradise) a couple of hours east of the capital city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I have returned many times.
In the beginning: In March, 2010, 350 acres (200 manzana) of mostly undeveloped land was purchased in the remote mountains of southeast Honduras in the department of El Paraiso. This is primarily coffee country. The farm came with 8 acres (5 manzana) of old coffee and one inhabitable old home with no electricity within 10 miles and an outhouse for a toilet. Following is our mission statement.
Mission Statement: Honduras is a country where poverty and the severe lack of economic opportunity is the norm for the majority of the population including many Christians in the churches of El Paraiso, where some children still suffer from malnutrition, parents wake up many mornings hungry with no food in the house wondering how they will find something to eat, live in sub-standard houses and deal with a host of related issues. For these, God lead me to purchase the farm in La Esperanza, El Paraiso, Honduras. Our mission on this farm is:
- To create a place where families can relocate to develop a better life
- Families can live in a good home
- Fathers can have full-time work
- Children can grow into adulthood in a healthy environment
- Opportunity exists for all to learn new skills
- Family nutrition is enhanced with a community gardening effort
- Families develop into a strong Christian community that will
- Operate on an economically self-sustaining basis
- Generating profits that will permit future projects to be developed.
The farm has land good for growing coffee, a very labor intensive business where a farm laborer earns an astounding $4.23 per day, that’s per day not per hour! Plantains and bananas are grown to provide shade for the coffee. We now have 8 homes and 6 families on the farm with a goal of a minimum of 20 families. With the development of other projects like raising pigs, chickens and cattle I believe we can provide work and support perhaps 30 families. Costs for a home are modest by our standards at about $7,500 for a 3 bedroom home with running water, flush toilets, a shower and a kitchen (but no electricity nor hot water). It takes time to grow a tree and time to grow a community. Slowly, methodically the community is growing. We now have over 50 acres of coffee (100,000 coffee trees). In a country where a majority of people don’t have a car, let alone a driver’s license, we now have two licensed drivers for the farm truck. We are developing other basic skills like metal welding and wood working.