Small cornerstone logo

April 2019 Newsletter

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.   –Ephesians 2:10

           Suspended on the sea-to-land breeze, a solitary Man-o’-War bird hangs almost motionless a thousand meters above the borderland between the kingdom of the sea and the kingdom of the shore.

           Barely moving his head or shifting a vane of his long, forked tail trailing in the wind, he silently scans the reef and bay for signs of a shoal. He finds none. He senses the storm, the storm which will bring up the food from the depths, but it is still miles out to sea. Here, it is still sun and wind, wind and sun. So he slips back into a torpid state, to sleep upon the wind. But wait, what was that? In some sixth plane of perception, he senses that he is being watched. He turns his head slightly to look toward the source and can see that it is only the man on the bicycle, the man 1,200 meters down and to the west, down on the coast road. The man is watching him definitely, yes, but he is no threat. He is much farther away than the man can leap, and, of course, the man cannot fly.

           Down on that coast road, Miguel is on his way home from work. He has pushed up the hill at La Quinta and paused at the top to look out over the sea. Sometimes a man needs to stare off into the deep. At first he just breathes in the distance, the greatness, the relentless sleeping power of the sea. His conscious thoughts are still sorting and planning the things and events and people bound here on the earth with him. He thinks of the steps necessary to complete this job he is on… and how to begin the next. He thinks about his wife and his daughters, where each one should be right now, which brings him to think of his youngest, Lizabet, who should soon be waiting for him at the colegio, waiting to ride home with him or for him to ride home with her, depending upon one’s perspective. He smiles and thinks, “Who could say at this point who is escorting whom?” But, no doubt, she will do most of the talking. He glances at his watch and puts his left foot back on the pedal, but pauses, looking up. There is a Man-o’-War bird, the “Magnificent Frigatebird,” just to the east and a thousand meters up over the beach. As all things that fly connect deeply in Miguel’s soul, he watches the Frigatebird keenly with equal parts admiration and yearning. Paused there for a moment with his foot on the bike pedal he thinks, Fregata magnificens.

Fregata magnificens

          They can fly up to 4,000 meters above the ocean, higher than the highest mountains in Honduras. They can stay aloft for 2 months at a time and travel more than 300 miles in a day, the only bird known to intentionally fly into storm clouds to use the updrafts….. Then Miguel sighs and drops his eyes to the dirt road beneath his bicycle wheels, and pushes on toward Balfate to ride Lizabet home to their little house in Lis Lis.  

           Though Miguel might easily be mistaken for a more simple campesino in his work clothes and rubber boots riding home on his well-maintained but well-worn bicycle, he is not, and he is not from this place originally. He grew up on the outskirts of El Porvenir, Departamento de Atlantida. El Porvenir, of course means “The Future,” one of those overly hopeful names of new towns which rarely work out to live up to their name. Located on the edge of the vast, dusty pineapple fields of the narrow coastal plain in the shadow of the mountains of the Cordillera Nombre de Dios, unless you are just dying to be a lifetime pineapple worker, or already dead from involvement in the drug cartels that moved out from La Ceiba, El Porvenir is a good place to be from, as in, “used to live there but somehow got out.” But there is one more thing worth telling about El Porvenir. The pineapple fields to the south of it are directly in the landing and takeoff flight path of both the Civil and the Military Airfields. When Miguel was a boy, he often found a way to make a few lempiras as a recadero, an errand boy, for the men working the pineapple fields. Since a soft drink in C.A. Spanish is un fresco, and since Coke in C.A. is The Fresco, and since mostly what they had Miguel run and fetch was Coca-Cola for the mid-morning breakfast, the field workers all used the tired old joke, and Miguel was known as “Frescadero.” Miguel, didn’t really mind, since on almost every errand in the fields he would watch the planes. From as far back as he can remember he had wanted to fly. From birds to bats to biplanes, from flying foxes to flying fortresses, Miguel read and remembered everything he could find about anything that could fly. And, though earthbound as he still was in this life, he had come very close.

            Miguel happened to be exceptionally bright, and he took the best path he could find out of El Porvenir, service in the Honduran Armed Forces. He was always at the top of every class, so that, by the time he had just turned 20, he had applied to and been accepted in the Academia Militar de Aviación. But “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”  Two weeks before flight school was to begin, Miguel was in the back of a deuce and a half (the M35 2½-ton cargo truck used by militaries the world over). The deuce unfortunately missed a culvert and rolled. Miguel was thrown from the deuce and unfortunately didn’t miss the culvert.  The culvert broke his fall and broke his femur in a couple of places. …. Miguel landed in traction in Hospital Mario Caterino Rivas in San Pedro Sula, the largest public health hospital in the country.

            He was, of course, devastated. On the rare occasions that he saw a doctor, they talked (to other doctors, not to him) about surgery and debated about whether he could ever fly a plane if they did operate.  They talked a lot actually. Yet what they actually did was pretty much nothing… other than leave him in traction… for 3 months. This was a black time for Miguel, the worst in his young life. But it was also a shining time for Miguel, the best of his young life. Because it was during those 3 months learning to navigate a traction bed and a bedpan, and then a walker & crutches instead of an airplane, that he met Rosita….. the love of his life, who had just begun working his ward as a Nurse’s Aide. They were married in the hospital chapel by the mayor of Rosita’s hometown (who happened to be her uncle).

           While his femur knitted together, together they awaited the news from the Academy whether Miguel would be allowed back into flight school. Together they learned that they might take him back in the next class. Together they learned that Rosita was “encinta” (which is the more gracious way to say she was pregnant).

            But it was alone that Miguel learned he had been accepted into the next flight school, the same day he learned that you could not be admitted to flight school if you had children. Alone, Miguel had a choice to make. He could lie, leave Rosita, or give up his dreams to fly. One friend advised him to just lie, which Miguel figured would not work out well in the long run. Another advised him to leave Rosita, which earned that friend a black eye. Miguel knew he would never abandon Rosita, or Elena, their first daughter on the way. So alone he made the hard choice to turn his back on his dreams to fly. He only told Rosita that he didn’t make it into flight school. He never told her why. Elena was followed by Carla, and Carla was followed by Lizabet. And, they each came to Christ in their own ways. But that’s a different story. There was the time Miguel had the opportunity to go illegally to work in the USA… but wouldn’t go. Despite what it looks like on CNN, not all Hondurans are crashing the borders to get into the US, you know. This involves less than 10 % of the population. But that is a different story too. The story is that Miguel stayed. Miguel’s story is actually a composite of stories, mostly of one guy I know, partly of another, and partly of hundreds of people I know who represent that sector of humankind that you can’t count by census, but you can count on them.  And, without those people you can count on, civilization would fall apart. I’m talking about the tribe of unsung heroes.

            I doubt that George Carlin—that perennial iconoclast—aimed to be profound, but he was when he observed, “As soon as someone is identified as an unsung hero, he no longer is.” I think he was recognizing something deeper than the fact that when someone is admired and sung about, they are no longer unsung. But, by singing the unsung hero, you’ve also taken something counterintuitively vital out of the equation. If unsung heroes are publicly acclaimed, they are not just no longer unsung, but the hero (with a small h) part is somehow diminished too. Unsung heroes and acclamation just don’t go together. Miguel stayed to be there for his wife, for his daughters. He made a couple of hard sacrificial choices. A couple of hard choices can define one kind of hero. And, if the sacrifice is to the point of laying down one’s life, I’d call that a Hero with a capital H. But to stay and be there and walk out your commitments day-in and day-out for 20 years, that is another kind of sacrifice. That is the labor of heroes, the heroes spelled with a small h, the day-to-day heroes. I believe Christians are called to be both. But, we are mostly called to be the salt, the light, the glue that holds civilization together, the hero with the small h.  

            According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a hero (the kind of hero I’m talking about, not the Demigod kind or the Sandwich kind) is “a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” OK, most of that applies. Christians are supposed to have “courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities.” It is just the “admired” part that is not supposed to apply. This is a distinction completely lost upon the modern popular culture, both east and west, which places fame with power and wealth as the trifecta of unquestioned standards of human value. And, sadly, the syncretistic church has followed suit. But this was not Christ’s hierarchy of value. Jesus affirmed and praised people’s actions, yes, freely and often, but the action, not the person. He acclaimed the Samaritan leper for his gratitude, the poor widow for her sacrificial giving, the Canaanite woman, the Roman Centurion, and the woman with the issue of blood for their uncommon faith, Nathanael for his open honesty and Mary for her sacrificial service. But of all the people Jesus praised for their actions, we know the first names of very few, and the full names of none.  A job well done should always deserve a tip of the hat. But unsung heroes should stay unsung.

Let me illustrate this another way

            This might be a guy who works weekends, stays late, and sometimes to all hours in order to get a newsletter layout completed (for which he refuses payment), while also not missing his son’s ballgame. He does this because he believes in what he’s printing, and because that’s what Dads do.

We took pains to get the photograph from behind because unsung heroes are supposed to stay unsung.

            Here is a photo of a woman who visits a nursing home and holds a church service for the faithful there… Sunday after Sunday, year-in and year-out, receiving no payment and never expecting anyone to notice.
            We took pains to get the photograph from behind because unsung heroes are supposed to stay unsung.

            There is a guy who can be counted on to show up to load a container (long and hot work) on his day off, or fix the roof and never brag about it or post a virtue-signaling photo on Facebook.

            We took pains to get the photograph from behind because unsung heroes are supposed to stay unsung.

            But consider for a moment this hero. I am going to leave it to your imagination what a photo of this man would look like. Yet all others are, at best, pale imitators of Him, The Word, who “was with God and was God,” through whom “all things were made… and without Him nothing was made that was made,” in whom “was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it,” the One who “became flesh, and dwelt among us full of grace and truth,” who paid the ultimate sacrifice, suffering the death of us all to defeat death, to make a way out of this burning house for the souls of all those unsung heroes, and the souls of all the rest of us.

            In the light of this Hero, in the light of this Sacrifice, in the light of this Mercy, is it not true, as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, that you are “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,” to live unsung as a hero with a small h?  Is it not true that to do so is merely our “Λογικός λατρεία,” our “Logicos latreia,” our “reasonable service”? Nothing more and nothing less.

          Now Miguel and Lizabet have just about reached home. Lizabet is still talking about her day. Miguel will be back in a couple of hours to ride home with Elena, his oldest girl when she gets off from work at the Hospital. He wonders if the Frigatebird will still be there, at home upon the wind. Miguel has never flown… yet. He gave that up to ride his girls home… because that is what Fathers do.

            From Miguel to Paul, to each of the unsung heroes mentioned, and not mentioned, even to you and me, should we not all walk this earth offering up our lives as a living sacrifice—with courage, “in outstanding achievements and with noble qualities” yet counting it merely as our “reasonable service”? Should we not all be heroes, unsung? Because that is what servants do.

En Cristo Jesus,

Jefferson C. McKenney, M.D.

News & Needs                                      

Personnel Needs:

Πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη
Go ye therefore and make learners of all the nations….. Matthew 28:19

El Camino Bilingual School needs a great teacher to commit for the school year 2019-2020.  

Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς οἰκονόμος ὁ φρόνιμος
And the Master said, Who then is that faithful and wise Steward…?       —Luke 12:42

Loma de Luz needs good and faithful business-minded missionaries for administrative positions.  

Items for El Camino and Casa Santuario:  

For those interested, both El Camino School and Casa Santuario (the Children’s Sanctuary Center) maintain lists of needed items now (updated regularly) on Amazon. These are items we can use with our children but don’t have ready access to in Honduras. If you would like to sponsor an item (or several) to El Camino or CS (Casa Santuario), we would be grateful to receive them to help meet our needs and further our goals. 

Amazon Links:

El Camino

Casa Santuario

Here are the procedures to follow for those interested:

1. Please address the package as follows: 
The Cornerstone Foundation
Lindy Hammons/*Name of Ministry it is meant for* (ie, El Camino or Casa Santuario)
9032 Woolmarket Rd
Biloxi, MS 39532

  1. Forward the email confirmation of your order to [email protected]. This is necessary for taking inventory and tracking donations.


In the December Newsletter, Dr. McKenney addressed the illegal immigration crisis in the US with a beyond-political, Christian solution. His conclusion was this: “If you want to do something positive and effective about the whole illegal immigration business, or social justice, or civil rights, or human trafficking, abortion, slavery, poverty, or any of the evils in this broken world … then act like an effective Christian where you are planted, and send and support an effective Christian missionary where you aren’t.” To put it more succinctly, make the place where the illegal immigrant is coming from a better place.  When talking about the connection between Christian Missions, and the long-range positive impact on the nations and peoples where they have served, he referenced the seminal work on the subject by Prof. Robert Woodberry. Some have asked for more information on this. Here is a link to an excellent article on Dr. Woodberry and his work for those interested in reading more: Christianity Today

Please pray for safety and protection for all in the Loma de Luz community, pray for provision for the needs of the ministry, and pray for the healing of our patients, encouragement of the teachers, and success of our students.

Frigatebirds have been found to spend more than two months aloft over the sea.  Yet they can never rest upon the sea. Their feathers would become sodden, and their wings are too long.  Because they can’t get airborne again from the surface of the sea, then, they must rest upon the wind. 

Pray that—like the Frigatebird—we will be borne by the strength of the Wind of God’s Spirit (because we are absolutely too weak without it) and that we will be carried in the right directions by that same Rushing, Mighty Wind. -Sally Mahoney for Cornerstone Foundation


[gdlr_button href=”” target=”_self” size=”medium” background=”#000000″ color=”#ffffff”]Download Printable Version of Newsletter[/gdlr_button]