‘It is easy to worship God inside the walls of a church. But, as Christians, we are called to something much bigger than this,’ says Pastor Arnold in Honduras.
He continues, ‘Our church is in the city of San Pedro Sula where every day three, four or five young people are killed. We are losing a generation of young people to the violence and gangs that surround us.’
Years of military rule, corruption, inequality and violent crime mean Honduras is now one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Unemployment is high and two out of three Hondurans are living in poverty. Many young people are choosing to leave the country in search of work.
In a growing number of neighbourhoods, gangs and drug traffickers rule the streets. They use violence and threats to intimidate and control the population.
The Transforma Joven (Transform Youth) programme provides young church leaders with the theological and practical tools they need to ‘maintain justice and do what is right’ (Isaiah 56:1). After training, the young people inspire their churches to work with the communities around them, bringing about positive change.
Erick, 23, says, ‘In my community we have many gangs and problems with drugs, alcohol and violence. There are also a lot of neglected children. In 2016 I started attending conferences and events run by Transforma Joven, and for the first time I had the chance to speak about the problems I saw in my community. I was able to discuss these problems from the perspective of the Bible and God’s love. It was a really amazing and emotional experience.’