Retirees called to ministry in Honduras

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Retirees called to ministry in Honduras

July 18, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0518}

An e-Review Feature
By Steven Skelley**

The Rev. Fred Ball, pastor of Skycrest United Methodist Church in Clearwater, believes God has called his congregation to “connect people to Christ, make faithful disciples for Christ and share the love of God.”

HONDURAS — Ron and Loretta Davidson retired from their jobs in the Untied States and now work in Honduras helping coordinate the work of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission teams. Photo courtesy of Ron Davidson, Photo #06-400.

That vision for ministry has positively affected the local Clearwater community for 50 years and is now expanding internationally with help from church members Ron and Loretta Davidson.

The couple applied for early retirement from their jobs in the United States to pursue a coordinator position with the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. Ron Davidson applied for the job and was accepted, and after being training he was consecrated in 2005 as one of 11 new missionaries with The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries in New York.

“Skycrest United Methodist Church’s work area on missions recommended to our church council that our church underwrite a share in the mission work of Ron and Loretta Davidson,” Ball said. “We, therefore, have signed a faith promise covenant with The General Board of Global Ministries.”

Ball says many people in the congregation also pray daily for the Davidsons, and the church has raised funds to send care packages and supplies to them. “We also want to arrange for a mission work team to go to Honduras,” he said.

Before becoming UMVIM’s Honduras Mission coordinator, Ron worked for the Pinellas County Public Transportation Department. Loretta was a teacher at a public school in Pasco County. The Davidsons often used their yearly vacation time to volunteer with UMVIM mission teams to Honduras.

Soon after joining Skycrest United Methodist Church, the Davidsons received training from United Methodist Cooperative Ministry to teach English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and held classes three nights a week at the church to teach English to new immigrants in the Clearwater area. At one point, more than 100 people were taking the classes.  “We were sharing the love of God in all of its richness,” Ball said.

Before long, the Davidsons’ ministry expanded beyond Skycrest, recruiting other volunteers to learn to teach ESOL classes in neighboring United Methodist and Presbyterian churches. Yet, they “wanted to do more.” In 2005 the Davidsons felt led to minister in Honduras.

“My job in Honduras is to coordinate mission teams coming from all over the U.S.,” Ron said. “That involves arranging transportation, food and lodging, as well as coordinating the work that the team will be doing. My wife and I perform the work together. She is a wonderful help and support.”

Ron says the motto of UMVIM is “Christian Love in Action,” based on I John 3:18. “The goal is to give people the opportunity to be involved in mission in a hands-on way, rather than just supporting missions from the church pew with prayers and money,” he said.

HONDURAS — Construction teams work on a variety of projects, from building churches and parsonages to education buildings. Photo courtesy of Ron Davidson, Photo #06-401.

Each year the Davidsons help coordinate the work of about 50 teams, serving 12 churches that make up The United Methodist Mission Church of Honduras. The teams work on construction of new church buildings, parsonages and Sunday school buildings, as well as conducting Vacation Bible School and providing medical services.

“This year most of our work will be to continue construction of a parsonage in Subirana, a sanctuary/education building at Cuidad España and a sanctuary/education building at El Paraiso near the Nicaragua border, (as well as) site preparation and preconstruction for another sanctuary and parsonage in Talanga,” Ron said.

Medical mission teams usually arrive in the fall and winter months.

The native Hondurans have many needs, according to the Davidsons. “The greatest needs are physical in nature because Honduras is the third poorest country in this hemisphere behind only Haiti and Nicaragua,” Ron said. “Two-thirds of Hondurans are living in poverty. Of that two-thirds, a large percentage are living in extreme poverty — that is, they live on a dollar to two dollars a day.”

HONDURAS — Medical mission teams usually arrive in the fall and winter months and include doctors, dentists and other health-care professionals. Photo courtesy of Ron Davidson, Photo #06-402.

As short-term missionaries arrive in Honduras they often bring supplies with them. The Davidsons distribute them to people in need. “These are wonderful gifts of clothing, school supplies, medicines and sports equipment, such as soccer balls, uniforms and toys for the children,” Ron said.
The Davidsons feel the widespread poverty presents a great challenge for the United Methodist Mission Church of Honduras. “There is a great need for the 12 United Methodist congregations here to become self-sustaining; that is, to be able to function and minister daily without the lifeline of the General Board of Global Ministries,” Ron said. “We, as missionaries, are in essence trying to work ourselves out of a job. UMVIM in Honduras is solely committed to supporting the projects and goals of these congregations; however, we know at some point in the future, the churches will need to sustain themselves with, of course, God’s help and power.”

“We know that we are richly blessed to be a part of this work of God and to live and work here in Honduras,” Ron added.

Ron and Loretta Davidson can be reached by e-mail at


This article relates to Missions.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Skelley is a freelance writer based in Beverly Hills, Fla. His columns appear in the Naples Sun Times newspaper and Faith & Tennis magazine.

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