Cynthia lives with her parents in the San Ramón neighbourhood of Siguatepeque, in Honduras. She is 22, works as a financial assistant and attends the Episcopal Church. Cynthia is keen to serve others in her community, but would one day like to be a missionary and travel to new places to help people in need.
Before taking part in the Transforma Joven (Transform Youth) programme, Cynthia had never had an opportunity to see integral mission in action. The programme provides young leaders within the church with the theological and practical tools to respond to the needs of the community. Cynthia was one of four people from her church who were invited to take part. Unlike the other three, she has continued to follow the programme and has now become a facilitator. ‘I was inspired and encouraged by a programme that saw the transformation of people and communities from the perspective of the kingdom of God,’ says Cynthia.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Two-thirds of its nine million people live in poverty, according to the World Bank. In rural areas, one person in five lives in extreme poverty. Cynthia used to think that if all was well at home, then it didn't matter what was happening to others. ‘Now I’m able to see things more clearly through other people’s eyes. And God has shown me that there are many people in need.’
The programme has been a rewarding experience for Cynthia and she is keen for others to experience it. ‘This will allow more people to know that there is hope for them too. They will know that God is interested in their whole being and wellbeing. And that we are not only here to preach, but also to meet the needs of others.’
‘Today, I can say that the key element to transforming communities, countries and the world is living in unity.’
Serving the community
At the start of the programme, Cynthia felt strange among people from different church denominations. ‘But I understood that the important thing was that we united around God and became a single group ready to serve our neighbours.’
Through Transform Youth, Cynthia and her group were trained to identify and diagnose the problems facing their community. At the same time, supported by her church, she gained the tools and knowledge to develop proposals for community projects involving young people.
Watch a video about Transform Youth’s programme to bring the power of the Gospel into everyday situations and all areas of life in Honduras.
‘Using our training, several of us carry out activities in the community,’ says Cynthia. ‘These include organising groups of young people to collect rubbish, fixing access roads, building recreation areas for children, providing tutoring in school, and other activities that are planned according to the identified needs of each context.
‘We live in a society divided by many different factors. This is not God’s intention – the Bible says to be one in Him. I feel happy to know that I’m not alone. There are other young people who also dream of seeing our families, churches and communities transformed by the power of God.’
You can read more about Transforma Joven’s work in Footsteps 109