The Hope Dealers of Honduras
Right now, drug lords and their trafficking networks hold the upper hand in Honduran politics. Ver Beek said, "Drug traffickers often get involved with human trafficking, arms trafficking, kidnapping, and bank robberies. It will be a long, hard effort to [first] clean up the police force and attorney general, and [then] get the violence and corruption under control."
Several years ago, Christians associated with AJS created Transformemos Honduras (Let's Transform Honduras) to reform the justice system, long corrupted by drug money. In 2008, hundreds of Christians joined a 38-day hunger strike demanding the government prosecute officials charged with corruption.
The strike was part of a larger social movement that in 2009 resulted in the military removing then-president Manuel Zelaya from office. Prominent Honduran evangelicals supported his ouster.
As Honduras's November presidential election draws near, more Christians are connecting their quest for nationwide reform with their neighborhood-level ministry.
In 2010, Micah Project launched a street evangelism team and hired Wheaton College graduate Kusmer, 24, to run it. He said many so-called runaways are in reality abandoned or "thrown away" by their parents.
"A generation of lost youth is being raised up here in Honduras," Kusmer said. "Sadly, they are finding a place of purpose in gangs and the drug trade."
Most drug-addicted boys are hooked on yellow glue, a cheap gateway to harder drugs. "I walk the city streets where boys tuck themselves into bed on lonely street corners to the backdrop lullaby of gunshots," said Kusmer. "Nine-year-olds find refuge in the numbing effects of inhaling yellow glue.
"Kids can't afford to dream any further into their future than their next meal. Fatherlessness and childhood abuse have left unforgiving scars on young hearts."
While Kusmer, Miller, Hake, and countless other Christians attempt to restore individuals to health and wholeness, Ver Beek is working to foster quality of education in the city and improve the criminal justice system. (Only 2 percent of criminal cases in Honduras end in a conviction.)
"It's long, hard work trying to reform the system," said Ver Beek. "The Honduran people need to trust again."