New Missionaries Have Arrived
Greetings! We are Amir(nurse practitioner) and Denise(accountant) Hodge, and we are the newest full time missionaries to join the staff here at El Ayudante. We are both Michiganders born and raised but have lived in Temecula, CA the last 11 ½ years. We have been married 27 years and have two children, Alex(24) & AJ(22), who stayed behind in San Diego. If you would have told either one of us that we would become full-time missionaries to Honduras, we would have never believed you, but God had a plan and we are so thrilled that He did.
Our journey to becoming missionaries started about 6 years ago(2009). After attending a medical conference where he saw a presentation on mission work in Honduras, Amir felt a stirring in his spirit to go to Honduras. About a year later, he ran a half marathon that was fund raising for wheelchairs to be sent to Honduras. He felt the stirring again, but still had yet to act.
In January 2011, we attended a wedding in Cancun, Mexico. While we were seated in the lobby, a couple asked if they could join us. They sat down and we started to chat. Not too far into the conversation, we began to talk about our faith. The conversation quickly turned to mission work and they told us they had gone on medical mission trips to Honduras with their church in Illinois. Needless to say, we were taken off guard by the conversation! God reached us on vacation in Mexico and stirred Amir’s heart once again. We exchanged contact information with the couple and headed home.
We didn’t immediately hear anything and Amir started to doubt the encounter. The day he voiced his doubt, the emails started pouring in from the couple, their pastor and a missionary currently serving at the ministry where they served. They decided to introduce Amir to their sister church in Orange County who also serves at the same ministry so that Amir could get to know his team members before going to Honduras. He signed up to go with them in July 2011. He spent a week serving on a medical missions brigade and came home on fire!
When he was describing the trip and his excitement to take me the next time, the couple challenged him to bring me in 3 months when their church went back in October. He accepted the challenge. I can honestly say I didn’t go because I had a desire. I went out of obedience to God and my husband. How could I deny the fire that God had lit in his spirit about this? I went with trepidation but God honored my obedience and I was blessed beyond measure by the trip.
We continued to serve for the next 4 years. Amir made 8 trips down to Honduras and I made 4. Amir continued to feel called but the timing didn’t seem right. We continued to pray and seek God’s will. Amir was definitely feeling called to a rural clinic where we could live in the community but we didn’t know of any such ministry. We were introduced to El Ayundante and learned that they had a brand new community medical clinic that was about to open. Amir began to research the ministry and pray, and in October 2014, we visited El Ayudante on the tail end of our regular week of service. While visiting, we felt a peace and that it was the ministry for us, but I still had a reservation…..I needed a purpose and to not be an “extra”.
While meeting with Tristan & Beth, I shared my heart. They asked me what I “did”. I explained that I was an accountant with administration skills. It was very quiet as they absorbed what I said. They then said that they had been praying for an administrator/finance person and even had a job description prepared but had not felt released to post it just yet. So here we sat with the only two open positions being medical provider and finance/administrator. It was just the final confirmation that this was the ministry for us!
Almost one year to the day of receiving that confirmation, we are back as permanent missionaries. We saw God move in amazing ways over the past year. It has been a roller coaster ride complete with butterflies in the stomach and exhilaration as we crested the top and knew we were almost there. God is faithful….ALWAYS. If He is calling you to something, listen and be obedient. You will never be sorry that you did!