Since 2011 the Restore community has been developing a relationship with a pastor and his family who are native to Roatan, Honduras. Through our relationship with a locally established ministry, His Island Outreach, Restore is partnering to build a five-acre self-sustaining farm with housing and a community center for the local population. Roatan is a small island off the coast of Honduras with a population of about 50,000, most of whom are Spanish-speaking. Rampant drug use has caused parts of Roatan to become impoverished, while tourism has dominated other parts of the island. The issues of physical and spiritual poverty that are prevalent on the island are similar to the issues that plague Stockton, making a partnership with Roatan natural for Restore. The Cicileos began taking regular trips to Pandytown, Roatan in 2011 with the purpose of becoming attuned to the vision of parallel ministries; in return, Hank and Kathy Stanley of His Island Outreach have visited Stockton several times, and a beautiful partnership has been established as the leaders realized how much they have to offer one another. In 2012 a piece of land was purchased on the outskirts of Pandytown accompanied by grand visions for local outreach. The property, known as the Glory Land Farm, will be used to house missionary teams as well as local families in need of housing and work. The land is being prepared to farm local crops to support families in Pandytown and give them access to affordable, healthy food. In addition, there are plans to build a community center and church on the property to foster mentoring and discipleship relationships. In July 2014 Restore took 10 missionaries to Roatan to begin establishing the farm. David Cicileo and Gerardo Gallegos also led a team of men in March 2015 for nine days to work on construction projects on the farm.
As Restore’s partnership with the people and the ministries of Pandytown developed through several previous trips, it paved the way for the youth mentors in our after-school programs to travel to Roatan. During spring break of 2015 Restore led the first Restore Roatan youth service trip, traveling with six high school students from Health Careers Academy in Stockton to Pandytown, Roatan. On this week-long service trip, the students, many of whom left the country for the first time, were exposed to a new culture and their eyes were opened to the reality of life in an impoverished area. They had the opportunity to host hygiene clinics in the local schools and volunteer at the health clinic in Pandytown for two days. While on the island, the students focused on passing on the leadership lessons they have learned through G.E.T. Mentoring by engaging the youth in Pandytown in reading clubs and hygiene clinics. They also worked with the youth in the community medical clinics, and identified leaders who they could engage, equip, and empower to run a mentoring program for the at-risk youth in the local Roatan community. In April 2016 Restore led the second youth service trip to Roatan, deepening the connections between the two ministries and once again enabling our mentors to apply their leadership skills in a unique context. The Restore Roatan youth service trip has been an incredible way to further build a bridge between the work in Stockton and Roatan, and we eagerly look forward to all that will come from this partnership.