From Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division (IAD) News – 10 March 2020 | The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Honduras inaugurated its first community center for the Chinese community in Tegucigalpa this week. The new center will provide service to the thousands of Chinese families in Honduras. The inaugural event was attended by leaders from the Chinese Embassy.
“This is a dream come true,” said Adan Ramos, president of the church in Honduras. “We have been working for more than a year to establish this center to serve the Chinese community here.”
The center provides an opportunity for the church to learn more about Chinese culture and provide services like Mandarin classes for the younger generation to get reacquainted with their own culture, Spanish classes, healthy lifestyle and cooking classes. The center will provide legal assessments, serve as a recreation center, and more, church leaders said.
Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Embassy in Honduras thanked the church for its initiative to connect and support the Chinese population which numbers more than 7,000 in the country.
“Perhaps each one of us has their own faith beliefs, but what’s most important is to accept that there is a God that is helping and guiding us into the right path,” said Hsing. “Together we can do good for the community.” Ambassador Hsing assured church leaders that she and her colleagues at the embassy would be supportive of the community center and its projects.
IAD President Pastor Elie Henry spoke during the ceremony and encouraged leaders to welcome and continue to serve migrants and people groups in Honduras and the many more who populate the entire Inter-American Division territory.
“This center is an opportunity as a church to reaffirm our faith in actions, that everyone who comes in is loved, accepted and cared for and is well integrated in life here in Honduras,” said Pastor Henry.
“Just like Jesus showed His love to humanity, so He invites us to serve in showing that love flows through this new center.”
The new community center becomes the third center of influence for the Chinese community in Inter-America, said Pastor Samuel Telemaque, director of Adventist Mission for the church in Inter-America. The church in the Dominican Republic has been running a center for over three years and in Panama for six months.
“We are delighted to provide young people with language learning and health lectures in the largest Chinese Center of Learning in Inter-America,” said Telemaque.
Telemaque explained that many of the first generation of Chinese migrants emigrated to places like the Dominican Republic, Panama and many more countries, working long hours to provide for their growing families and their children. This provided an opportunity for the church to step in and assist these Chinese communities in language learning to preserve their culture, he explained.
The center will be led by Pastor Hsiang-Po Chang and his wife Mei Yu Lai who arrived in Honduras in November and will be teaching Mandarin classes, among other things.
The Chinese Community Center is operated and managed in coordination with the Adventist world church, the Inter-American Division, the Honduras Union and two of its local conferences offices.
The center is located in Tegucigalpa, in the office building owned by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Honduras. The large room has been exclusively established for the new community center.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Honduras has more than 96,000 members worshiping in 698 churches and congregations. The church also operates a hospital as well as 25 primary and secondary schools.
Adan Ramos contributed to this report.