2022 Newsletter,  Ministry Matters

Our Last Day Together

Friends, in these pages I’m sharing some of Joe’s last thoughts, and some of the things he had written in the past. As I look back, I can see God’s hand answering prayer and extending His saving grace. After realizing Joe’s condition I decided to do all I could to take care of him. It was all in God’s plan. We arrived back in Honduras the last week of March and God gave us four and a half months of truly special time together.

It was that quality time that we had lacked for so many years. Joe enjoyed his time at the outpost like he had never done before. It was mango season, and every morning he would walk around the property collecting mangoes from various trees and bringing them to me. He would comment on how big the pine trees had grown and of all the beauty around.

That morning of August 17th we went for a walk, admiring the mountains and the beauty around us, talking about the blessings of God, and how big those pine trees in the driveway had gotten. We remembered buying them fifteen years ago, and Joe himself planting them. He asked me, “How long have we been here?” And I told him it was twenty-two years. He smiled and said, “That’s a long time.”

Later on that day I picked up a notebook to write some notes for future newsletter articles. I said, “Honey, we have to get a couple of newsletters out before the end of the year, so lets think of some of the things we can share with our friends. He laid back on the bed and said, “Who would have thought that God would bless this ministry so abundantly, allowing us to accomplish so much. Imagine, God has the only vegan restaurant in Honduras, a full working church that is packed every Sabbath, and two missions in other villages, a school that trains young people in true education teaching them to serve, and the only organic industry supplying lettuce and kale to the big supermarkets in Honduras; and we have survived in a third world country for more than twenty-two years. Thank you Lord!” he exclaimed.

Then he said, “We have to let our supporters know that this is THEIR ministry, that THEY are Maranatha Medical Ministries! They have been with us all along and it has been their prayers and donations of love that made it possible for us to help others and further God’s work.” Then he said, “You know Elsa, we are not getting any younger. We need to think about what is going to happen to this ministry. If other people take it over, they need to know that it’s not about money, it’s not about popularity or being recognized, but that it is all about the people, serving the people.”

And as I look back, by God’s grace that’s what we have done. We never really thought about ourselves. We never even built us our own place. When Joe came back with the beginnings of dementia, I realized that he needed a quiet place, a private place, where I could tend to him. You see, we were still living in the same room inside the clinic where we began twenty-two years ago. Our room in the front corner of the outpost is like Joe would say, ‘Grand Central Station.’ It’s where all the conversations take place, where the children still peek through the windows, where everybody calls out “Dona Elsa!!!”

My plan was to build us our own little place apart from the clinic where we could spend more private quality time together, doing exactly what we were doing that afternoon, reminiscing of God’s goodness and mercy to us over the years. I was taking notes on how we wanted to build that cabin when all of a sudden Joe jumped up! I said, “Where are you going?” He answered, “I need to do something important.” Then he came over and gave me a kiss and said, “I love you. Thank you for all you’ve done. These memories bring tears to my eyes.”

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my dear friend Kathy Haller in Decatur, Arkansas. She brought out a box of all the newsletters we had ever written. I looked through them for pictures for this newsletter, and I discovered an article that Joe had written to me back in November 2002, after our anniversary and birthday. It reminded me of what he said to me that day. I would like to share it with you.

A Tribute to Someone Special (written by Joe)

At this time of the year, I often reflect on times past; how the ministry began, what we’ve been able to accomplish, and where we are heading. This year, in addition to these things, I find myself thinking of someone very dear and special to me, someone whom I seldom tell often enough just how special she is.

That someone is my dear wife, Elsa. Being so busy with ministry business over the years, it’s not every day one gets the opportunity to say, “I appreciate you, and all that you’ve done”. I’ve done an awful lot of traveling, mostly alone going into disaster-stricken areas. All the while, my special someone has held down the fort in the mountains of La Zona, conducting crusades, teaching English and Spanish classes, giving door to door Bible studies, working with children, etc.

Sure, we’ve been busy working for the Lord, but as a result, we’ve missed a lot of quality time together. Nevertheless, God has blessed us and our marriage. When I was a young man my father would tell me, “Son, a woman will either make or break a man.” At the time, I didn’t fully understand what he was saying. But in my old age, I now know what he meant. I look back to think at where I’d be if I did not have my special someone. Maranatha Medical Ministries would still be a wonderful ministry, thanks be to God, but not nearly as wonderful without Elsa.

She is the love, the drive, and the inspiration behind all I do. So, dear friends, thank you for allowing me at this time to acknowledge my dear wife and say to her, “Thank you for being strong and faithful to me, to God, and to the work He has given us to do. May God allow us to continue working together for Him for the rest of our lives here on earth and throughout eternity.

“A prudent wife is from the Lord. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her… she will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”


My sisters, I pray that it is so, that we can be those Godly women, in these last days.

Signs of the Times 2008 (written by Joe)

Friends, I share this message which Joe wrote back in 2008, because it seems so relevant to all that is happening in our world now.

As I left the United States recently, returning to Honduras, all I could say in my mind throughout the entire trip was, “Lord, help your people.” There was such a deep feeling of urgency; an urgency that God’s people should have given heed to long ago. Now crisis is occurring in rapid succession, and we of all people should be on the forefront standing for truth, encouraging the fainthearted, caring for the poor and needy, preparing others for the critical times ahead of us. But we are found sleeping, and now we don’t know what to do and are now in need of help ourselves.

What can we do now that the crisis is upon us? Will God allow us to redeem the time? Dear friends, in
all honesty I believe that God will allow us to redeem some of the time lost in indolence and selfishness,
but His mercy will not always strive with us. Soon and very soon the doors of opportunity will be closed forever. Friends may not be informed enough to counsel you. Ministers may be afraid to tell it all. Well dear friends, we at M.M.M. love you enough to tell you the truth even if it’s unpleasant.

For decades God has been warning His children and giving us all the counsel we need. You could say that this global economic crisis is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Soon, very soon, we are going to experience times such as never were. Have you simplified your lifestyle? Do you have a place to live out in the country? Have you learned to grow your own food, make your own clothes, do without electricity, and modern conveniences? If we don’t prepare now, it will soon be too late. Too late to leave the cities at will, too late to find land in the country, plant fruit trees, and plant your garden. But God showed us the solution through the life of Enoch. He would go to the cities for the soul purpose of reaching souls and then bringing those interested to his outpost home to teach them the ways of God.

Friends, we may think that because we have a beautiful home, IRA’s, some money in the bank, 2-3 cars in the driveway, and making monthly payments on all these things… but it’s all a trap. Friends, if you’re in debt, you are in trouble. We may think that things will settle down, and go back to normalcy, and it may appear that way for a while, but I believe the next fall in the economy will be the last fall. Whatever debts you have, pay them off. If you’re unable to pay your home off, downsize, and buy with no mortgage, a smaller house that you can afford. One that you would not hesitate to leave if the Lord suddenly told you to “flee to the hills and mountains”. I know what I am saying is not pleasing to hear. There will be many who simply will not give up their lifestyle for anyone, including God. But there are those who know what is about to take place in this world and want to be on God’s side doing His will.

Are you fearful of the reports of a global economic crisis? Have you become benumbed by all the disasters taking place around the world? Oh, dear friends can’t we see that the Holy Spirit is being withdrawn from this earth, and the four winds are slowly being released? What God has instructed His people to do, now is the time to do it. It matters whether we are in pursuit of the heavenly things or the earthly. The earthly will soon pass away. In these last days there is an economic crisis, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fire, and great destruction of earthly treasures. But it is our privilege to be preparing to be members of the heavenly family, children of the Heavenly King.

I know that these are not easy words to hear, but how can we say we love you and love God if we do not warn you of the things that will soon take place.

“We are living in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. We have no time, not a moment to lose. Let us persuade men and women everywhere to flee from the wrath to come. Let us arouse them to immediate preparation, for we little know what is before us. In the great closing work we shall meet with perplexities that we know not how to deal with; but let us not forget, that the great powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His promises to pass. He will gather from the world a people that will serve Him in righteousness.”

MIT p. 342, 343

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