Written by Gregg Brekke
Since returning from Honduras after 18 months as a mission intern, Kevin Howe has been speaking to churches about the work of Global Ministries' partners there.
But during General Synod on Monday, one day after the military removed the country's democratically elected president, Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, Howe's audience interrupted him with questions about the political situation.
"It's tough to say where it's going from here," Howe told about 30 people gathered at the Global Ministries booth in the exhibit hall at the convention center.
He recounted events leading up to Zelaya's removal, including the president's efforts to change the constitution, reportedly to remove the presidential term limit. The nation's Supreme Court and Congress ruled the referendum unconstitutional. The next election is scheduled for Nov. 29.
The poll was to happen Sunday, but the military stepped in and removed the ballot boxes, Howe said. They also removed Zelaya – putting him on a plane to Costa Rica.
"There's been some dirty playing on both sides," Howe said. His concern, though, is for the people caught in the middle.
Electricity was out most of Sunday, but cell phone service was still working. "People (in Honduras) were telling me, 'There are jets flying overhead, and we can't tell whose they are'," Howe said.
Rumors are circulating that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is moving troops and trying to return Zelaya to power, Howe told his audience. Zelaya and Chavez are allies.
The biggest threat to the people of Honduras would be invasion from the outside, Howe said.
The United States condemned the coup, but has taken no further action.
Meanwhile, Global Ministries' partners — the Christian Commission for Development and the Evangelical and Reformed Church of Honduras — are continuing their operations, Howe said. Both partners focus on education, including seminaries and vocational schools, and locally driven, sustainable development. Howe served with CCD from August 2007 through December 2008.
Howe encouraged his listeners to pray for the people of Honduras and to learn more about the country, its history and its current situation.
"We have the ability as a denomination to denounce social injustices, but in order to do so, we must be educated," Howe said.