Our first really big legal hurdle in Honduras was obtaining residency. Thanks to the help by Ruach, Annette Turner and Porter Briggs, four years ago, we became residents of Honduras in under a year, which we are told is a major accomplishment. That was just a warmup.
This year Restoration Church, our home fellowship in Texas, is sending another container down. They were looking for someone to do the legal footwork on this side. Anyone that\'s ever done that knows how difficult it is and did not have the time to pursue it. We have a friend whose business is to import vehicles and semis. He drives them from the States frequently. Together we decided we could help Restoration bring the container. Unfortunately, driving the container down here is easier than navigating the legal barriers of the Honduran government.
Paula went Monday with a friend to try and start the process of getting permission to bring the container here. They were met by two agents that did everything they could to discourage legal importation of the container. In Honduras this kind of resistance invariably signifies that someone wants a bribe. Paula definitely got the feeling that the man in charge of containers definitely had his hand out.
Nevertheless, they went through the motions of figuring out how to legally bring in containers. Turns out you must become a legal non-profit of Honduras to get permission to bring in a container without paying hefty import taxes. We\'ve been told that every resident can bring in one container, presumably with their household furniture, into Honduras. We wanted to pursue that route, but the official told us he\'s never heard of that.
So the non-profit route was the only other option available. In order to become a non-profit here, you need to:
#1 - Pay a lawyer $3500 to do all the paperwork.
#2 - Drive two hours to the capital and transport an inspector to your ministry once or more annually.
#3 - Submit all of your receipts to a certified accountant and have your books ready for inspection at all times.
#4 - Meet quotas set forth by the government. In our case the agent told us that we should be housing not 8, but 18 boys in the homes we have.
#5 - Other legal steps
The above only gets you the non-profit status. It seems like a full time job just meeting the requirements. To get a container, you need the above and you also need to go through a 10 step process of legal work.
When we first moved here, we were inspected by IHNFA (child protective service of Honduras). They told us that we had not enough beds for the children we had. The very next week the same people from the same office told us we needed to take in 5 more children, including girls. We told them we still did not have enough beds, no running water and bad plumbing. They told us either take the children or they would cut off our support. We opted to cut off support and make the home a better place for the children that live here. I do not regret that choice.
Our goal here is disciple young men with the hope that they, one day, will care for others in like manner. We probably could take in 18 boys like the government would require us to, but we could not educate them all. We would be just another shelter that turned out young men unable to lead productive lives. We are doing everything we can to keep up with school expenses, food, clothing and medical for the boys we have. We also help the community by employing the parents of several needy families. I have no desire to change that in order to be a "non-profit". Our mission here is to allow and enable parents to lead responsible lives and provide for their children.
Jose recently settled on his house that his mother left as an inheritance. He sold it. He used some of the proceeds to buy a local tire repair shop. He is going to bring his brother, a brake mechanic, to run the store. David is going to begin working there tomorrow. David has been wanting a job for almost a year now. Jose\'s brother has been hoping to move his family out of the crime-ridden city of San Pedro Sula. God made a way!