Essential and Enduring: Honduran Pastor Testifies of Hope amid Hardship

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Global Strategy, Global Testimonies

By Sarah Hunnicutt

“I asked the congregation, ‘If we did not exist tomorrow, would La Ceiba miss us?’” When Pastor Donnie Allen posed this question to the Church of God congregation he leads in La Ceiba, Honduras, everything changed.

He explains it this way: “The church should become just as vital to the community as the electrical company or the water company…If we did not have electricity today, who would miss it? …Everybody. So we should be doing things that the day we do not do it, the whole city will begin to wonder what’s happening.”

From that one thought, several community ministries were born, among them a low-cost private school, an entrepreneurial school, a counseling center, and a dance ministry. “[Our service] flows out of the needs of the community, and they’re vast.”

The approach Pastor Donnie and the church have taken to ministry is a combination of organic opportunities, strategizing, and “following the leading of the Holy Spirit and not being boxed in.”

Donnie Allen speaking at a church in the US in 2019 (credit: Creston Community Church).

It’s not just Pastor Donnie and the leadership spearheading the church’s ministry, but the church as a whole. “God speaks to us individually because, of course, we do have an individual responsibility and task, but he also speaks to us collectively,” said Pastor Donnie. “So, if we are going to do something that involves others, then they should be involved from the very beginning of that project. We should hear what God is saying to the church…not only a person or an elite group within the church.”

For Pastor Donnie and the La Ceiba congregation, three ideas define their mission: “Formation [in the character of Christ], production, and influence—those are the things we stress. …The only way to influence the community is serving the community. That’s where the idea to start the school and the counseling center [came from]. …We do cleaning of the streets and picking up garbage. We have a Children of Promise program, [in addition] to serving kids with cancer [through our] connection with the city hospital. They all grew out of a heart to serve, believing as we serve the community, we become a vital part of the community.”

One of the greatest challenges facing Pastor Donnie and the church right now is the question of immigration. Pastor Donnie knows firsthand how difficult it can be to watch people he has loved and led make the decision to join a caravan and take the arduous journey that may or may not end with a successful border crossing. “I’m conscious that people are going through some tough [situations]. As a pastor, I visit homes sometimes and I wonder how in the world are they surviving? …I try to put myself in their position. …When people are hungry, you can tell them all the best arguments in the world, but they’ll go where they feel like they’ll be filled, even if that presents a threat of dying. …People are desperate.”

As someone who daily sees the desperate situations that drive so many people to join caravans in hopes of crossing the border, Pastor Donnie invites the American church to take this perspective on the issue of immigration: “Value mercy above law. …I think that was Jesus’ teaching when they talked to him about breaking the law. He put mercy upfront. …As church folks, I think that’s the example we should show to the world.”

To learn more about how God is working through the Church of God in Honduras, and to join in with this incredible Kingdom ministry, visit

Story produced from Episode 6 of Season 4 of A World of Good podcast. Tune in for the whole story:

Sarah Hunnicutt recently served the Church of God as a missionary for Global Strategy to Roatan, Honduras. She also serves as a freelance writer for Church of God Ministries.

Feature (top) photo: Church of God in La Ceiba (file image circa 2018).

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