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Posted by Barbara Shippy on May 4, 2015 at 1:00 PM

It’s a long way from Janesville, Wisconsin, to Comayagua, Honduras, especially when you’re a family of four traveling with two hundred (and one) pounds—four suitcases packed to the max—of medical supplies and Spanish Arch Books, coloring books, and Bible stories.

In early March 2015, Karen Sue Murdy, her husband David, and two of their four sons—Daniel and Sam—traveled from wintery Wisconsin to lush, green, hot Honduras for a weeklong mission trip in the City of Refuge.

The City of Refuge began as an orphanage and a bilingual school for abandoned and orphaned children. The City of Refuge has grown to include accommodations for missionaries and visiting mission teams, a medical clinic, a bakery, farmland, a retail center, ponds, soccer fields, and even a water park—all of which are used to help the City of Refuge be self-sustaining. By renting out the water park and the soccer fields, using proceeds from the bakery, and teaching children how to grow food, the City of Refuge is providing hope and a future for those they serve—the children, the widows, and the poor.

Before the Murdys left for Honduras, Karen Sue reached out to the full-time missionaries at the City of Refuge to ask what materials they needed most. In addition to medicine, the greatest need was Spanish books. While the orphanage had received “tons and tons” of English books, they were in desperate need of books in the people’s native language.

There to help out in the medical clinic and to spend time with the children in the orphanage, Karen Sue and her family immediately went to work interacting with the children and treating patients, using the supplies they carried with them all the way from Janesville, Wisconsin.

The donated Spanish books from CGO
Concordia Gospel Outreach donated a variety of Spanish books, including Arch Books and coloring books, for Karen Sue and her family to use on their mission trip to Honduras in March 2015.

David, a physician, and Karen Sue, with her background in medicine as an exercise physiologist, worked together in the clinic to treat high blood pressure, pneumonia, allergies, joint ailments, and many other conditions. Daniel and Sam spent a lot of time interacting with the children in the classrooms and coloring with them in the Spanish coloring books that shared the message of Jesus Christ.

And while the Murdy family had to rely on their actions to be a witness of Christ’s love, the Spanish books donated by Concordia Gospel Outreach were essential to helping them share the Gospel message in the language the children and adults understood.

“It was a very exciting day when the books arrived from Concordia Gospel Outreach,” says Karen Sue. “Going over there, we wondered what impact we could really make not being able to speak much Spanish at all.”

But Karen Sue said the impact of the Spanish Arch books, coloring books, and Bible stories was immediate and wide-spread, among both the children and the adults. She recalls some of the most memorable moments being a forty-five-year-old woman reading the story about Jesus’ resurrection to her mother and a young girl reading stories to the other children.

Two women reading a Spanish Arch Book
A woman reads Libros Arco: Mi libro de Pascua (Arch Books: My Happy Easter Book) to her mother while waiting at the medical clinic in the City of Refuge.

Karen Sue said her boys commented on how the people they witnessed to had seemingly nothing, especially compared to life in the United States, and yet those people were so happy. She said the experience gave her children a new perspective on life and reminded them that what really matters is your faith and the importance of sharing that faith with others.

“For us, it was so awesome to have the books,” says Karen Sue. “Because even though we couldn’t speak the language, I knew the books had the message I wanted to share, and it was in the language they understood.”

Karen Sue reading to children at the orphanage
Karen Sue sits with children at the orphanage and reads through some of the Spanish books donated by Concordia Gospel Outreach.

For the City of Refuge, and for many other organizations operating in Spanish-speaking countries, there is a great need for Christ-centered Spanish materials to use in the mission field. Concordia Gospel Outreach is able to send the Gospel all over the world because of the generous support of our donors. Every donation goes toward sharing the Gospel with someone who might never know Jesus. We encourage you to partner with us in this important work.


Latin America Children's Outreach

Barbara Shippy

Written by Barbara Shippy

Barbara Shippy was an associate editor at Concordia Publishing House. She attended the University of Missouri—Columbia, where she studied journalism and French. Barbara and her husband enjoy going to baseball games, traveling, and playing on the worship team at church.