Celenia and Aliana’s Story

Struggling to survive in the face of neglect and poverty, twin sisters Celenia and Aliana’s* (their real names were changed for protection) story is a testament to God’s healing power and the extreme poverty facing many kids who come to live in the City of Refuge.

Celenia and Aliana were born into a single-parent home. Their mom struggled to care for them, and after just three months, made the painful decision to abandon them to a neighbor. The neighbor brought the girls to the City of Refuge.

Celenia and Aliana were victims of the extreme poverty that exists in the neighborhoods surrounding Comayagua. Families struggle to earn enough money to pay for food, and children lack basic necessities and adequate food. 

When the girls arrived, they were severely malnourished and looked underweight and listless. They were on the verge of dying. 

Now 15 years later, they have flourished under the love and attention of Teresa, Tom, and City of Refuge staff. They are healthy teenagers and cheerful jokesters. Despite the extreme malnutrition as infants, their bodies have overcome through God’s healing power and the support of professional staff on site. They are athletic, musical, and talented at anything they set their mind to do. Their future is bright and full of potential!

Karla’s Story.

 A child of a gang member, and a survivor of violence and poverty, Karla* (her real name is changed for protection) never knew what God’s peace and protection were. Then one day that all changed, when she arrived at the City of Refuge.

Her father was a gang member, and that violence entered their house one night when a rival gang came in and killed him in front of his family and five-year-old Karla.  Karla’s mother, unable to cope with the stress of witnessing the violence, started using drugs to deaden the pain. Distraught and confused, Karla’s brothers sought revenge for their father’s death and decided to join rival gangs. Karla lived in a setting of violence and neglect until one day, in 2008, when she was brought to the City of Refuge.

“I have experienced the love of a family, and have people that protect me.” She shares. She has flourished in the security and love of Teresa and Tom, and City of Refuge staff. Not only has she grown to trust and love those around her, but she also has grown to trust and accept God’s love for her. Through this love, she is learning to heal from her past experiences and to move forward into developing into an amazing woman. She is smart, talented in athletics and music, and is friendly and inquisitive. Thanks to IMI, her future is bright and full of potential!

Luisa’s Story

Poverty and mental health are often linked. Vulnerable to her mom’s mental health problems,  Luisa* (Her real name is changed for protection) never experienced love or kindness, until she arrived at the City of Refuge.

Luisa was barely 7 years old when she and her sisters were abandoned by their mom. Her whole life up until that moment had been traumatic, as her mother regularly abused the girls physically and psychologically. They had never been properly fed or cared for. She even fed the girls feces- when they were hungry and asked their mom for food. Starving and mistreated, Luisa was forced by her mom to steal to help provide for her family. 

Since arriving at the City of Refuge, Teresa, Tom, and the staff have shown her unconditional love and kindness. She has been able to accept God’s love for her, and that love has transformed her life. She was able to forgive her mother for the abuse! No longer needing to steal and distrust people, she is full of love, and kindness, and loves to help others. She is a beautiful, smart, 18-year-old. 

Even though she has graduated from high school, IMI continues to support her as she pursues higher education. She is currently enrolled in a cosmetology program at a local college. Tom & Teresa continue to help by paying for her transportation costs, housing, and food. 

Cities of Refuge

A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Churches can be hidden, bible studies could be hidden, but cities will never be hidden. This is the birthplace of the city of refuge; the desire to shine as light for all to see and find hope. 

Originally created as an orphanage, The first City of Refuge was recently registered as a school for at risk and under-privileged children in Honduras.  Today they recruit and rescue at risk kids from extreme poverty and zero educational opportunity. Many of these children come from broken family situations, but all of them are facing issues of hunger, poverty, and lack of education. The city of refuge was created as a solution to this problem. 

The City provides housing for the children to live full time, but most children choose to return home to family during the Holidays. Families are also afforded the opportunity to visit with children weekly at the City of Refuge.

The Cities of Refuge strive to provide children and families dignity through empowerment by loving them and helping them to know their Eph. 2:10 identity and calling in Christ by providing:

-A solid academic foundation and the opportunity to continue their education at a university or trade school.  A technical High school is currently under construction.

-Art and Music education programs with an emphasis on praise and worship

-A rigorous Biblical education as part of their regular academic program, regular church services in the community, Sunday services at the City of refuge, weekly “soaking” (worship only nights) and  discipleship nights.

-Multiple athletic venues

-High-quality nutritious meals and snacks

-24hr monitoring, and mentoring by qualified child care providers.

-Fellowship and learning with missionaries from all over the world.

Hosting individual missionaries and mission groups is just one of the ways in which we support this goal.  

The City of Refuge in Honduras has become so successful, that secular colleges are sending their students to the City as a learning opportunity for rural agriculture. 

Now, the city of refuge houses a full school, a full agricultural department, licensed medical professionals and therapists, as well as a planned hospital project. The goal is, and will always continue to be to become a beacon of hope for all to see, a safe place and a refuge for a world desperate for the love of Jesus.

Stay Up to Date!

Subscribe to the Newsletter