Political Crisis Affects Missions to Honduras

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Honduras is the number four destination for short-term mission teams from North America, according to a survey by missions expert Robert Priest.  But it's not number four this summer, thanks to a political crisis that's translated into front-page news in the U.S.

Since the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya many are canceling their trips. And the airlines have felt the pinch. 

Both American and Continental say demand is down.  They're now offering just one flight a day in and out of the capital, compared to two and three before. And that has the missions community concerned.

"We just came down a couple of weeks ago and our flight normally would be packed and it only had about 30  people on a plane that holds 120.  All of our friends that host groups say maybe out of 10 groups only 1 comes and even then it's only half of the people came," missions expert Dr. Kurt Ver Beek told CBN News.
   
The missions teams with youth tend to cancel the most.
 
"They're watching the events that are happening here in Honduras relating to the political crisis," said Gustavo Elicegui of Medical Ministry International. "There's fear and they're always communicating with me, 'How are things going in Honduras?'  And naturally, since we go to the rural areas, with the take-over of roads, the blockades on the roads, that affects the mobilization of the groups that come with us."
   
When a missions team cancels, the impact can be dramatic.  There are medical and dental services that don't make it and construction projects that go undone.  And all this is happening as Hondurans are already feeling the sting of a global economic crisis and international aid that's drying up.

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