The light from the projector flickers on the enchanted villagers’ faces. They’re huddled close together, sitting outside on the grass or in chairs. Many of the communities in the Honduran mountains don’t have electricity, so an animated movie brings much excitement. On the screen is a Man with a complexion like theirs. They gasp when He heals the sick, weep when He’s crucified, and cheer when He resurrects. He says He loves everyone so much that His death was to pay for their wrongdoings. If they worship Him as God, they can be in a relationship with Him that lasts forever, even after they die.
Missions Door Missionary Erick Sanchez watches the villagers and smiles. All of this started when he was playing soccer and a man told him about Jesus. He wouldn’t have guessed he would be ministering to the Lenca people so many years later.
Journey to Ministry
When Erick was fourteen years old, he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He lived in the capital of Honduras and would play soccer in his neighborhood with his friends, a national past-time. The man who set up the soccer games was a missionary who used the sport for evangelism purposes. After getting saved, Erick joined a local church and began assisting with Sunday School.
When Erick finished high school, he humbly asked God to guide his next steps. “What’s the best thing for me to do in college?” he inquired. Instead of an answer, he heard God ask a question back: “Do you want to serve Me?” Erick’s answer was an enthusiastic yes. He went on to graduate from Bible college with honors in theology.
Erick was attending a church planted by a Missions Door missionary. He admired Missions Door’s relationships with other churches, the way they supported their missionaries, and how they were passionate about correct biblical teaching. Most of all, he shared their zeal for indigenous missionary work, as missionaries who come from the country they serve in already know the language and culture, and therefore can make a bigger impact faster.
The Lenca People
When Erick was in seminary, he immediately saw that the Lenca were an unreached people group. The Lenca are indigenous Hondurans who live in the mountains. When Spain conquered the nation, the natives left their land and were displaced to the western side of the country. God put the Lenca on his heart, but he wasn’t sure how he could become a missionary to them. So, God introduced Erick to a Lenca woman who would become his wife. He then became a Missions Door missionary and went to live with the Lenca.
Erick had to learn a lot about the Lenca people. He learned that they’re group of around 200,000 people who speak Honduran Lenca and Spanish. They have a strong sense of community and communicate as a unit: “We eat this, we use that, etc.” They appreciate gentleness and dislike loud noises. They’re a friendly people group who get excited when they see missionaries and shower them with hugs. They enjoy stories and are open to the gospel.
The Lenca community went from having zero churches to over thirty. Every church has a Lenca pastor, made possible through the Lenca Bible Institute Erick created. The institute has almost fifty students. The villagers are given bibles to read for the first time. Because mostly only the younger generation is literate, those fifteen and older are given audio bibles. Erick’s ministry also provides the villagers with school supplies. One of the best things he’s learned about the Lenca is that they’re a joyful people who highly regard fellowship. When he plays soccer with children, he’s reminded of the missionary who brought him to Christ.
Erick saw a people that other missionaries didn’t. Because he obeyed God’s calling, the mountains of Honduras no longer have a lost civilization. They are now a thriving Christian community. If you’d like to support indigenous missionaries like Erick, making a tremendous impact in his home country, you can visit his page and donate to our Strategic Advance Fund.