Gilbert Espinoza started listening to Rev. Juan Boonstra present La Hora de la Reforma over the airwaves in the mid-1960s.
Spanish ministry leader for Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI) from 1961 to 1991, Boonstra was host and preacher on the program. Living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Espinoza and other leaders of a small evangelical house church wanted to become affiliated with a denomination whose roots and doctrine were thoroughly Reformed.
After listening to Boonstra, they decided to write what was then The Back to God Hour in Chicago, asking for assistance and for a missionary to help them build their Reformed faith.
Eventually, the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) complied with the request, stationing a series of CRC missionaries and workers in Honduras. Ultimately a new denomination was born.
Sponsored by BTGMI and Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), Boonstra also visited and, in 1979, conducted revivals in a Tegucigalpa stadium. The revivals drew even more people to the Reformed faith. BTGMI continues to broadcast by radio and television in Honduras under the leadership of Rev. Guillermo Serrano.
“Juan Boonstra was a hero of the faith in our country,” says Espinoza, who helped to found the first CRC of Honduras (HCRC) congregation.
There always has been a close relationship between the CRCNA and the HCRC. As CRC missionaries branched out, they kept Honduran church members aware of the work they were doing.
“There is a lot of history, and a lot of different missionaries came here. They taught us a great deal,” says Espinoza.
Caspar Geisterfer, the CRWM missionary stationed in Honduras now, helps oversee theological education of church leaders, as well as the overall ministry of the HCRC.
He has done quite a bit of traveling over bumpy Honduran roads to meet with HCRC pastors and members of their congregations. He also meets with representatives of the six HCRC classes.
“I’m kind of a church consultant for World Missions,” he said. “I work with churches, and give them ideas of how to be innovative in their ministries.”
A big focus of his work, he said, is to “train CRC youth to be mentors to at-risk young people.”
Even after some time in Honduras, Geisterfer is still learning the complex nature of the history of the CRC congregations. Each has a story to tell.