Thursday, 21 March 2013 05:59

Platos retiring after 18 years of organizing Mexico mission

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It must have been a slightly different feeling for Harold and Pearl Plato March 3 at the Hope Evangelical Missionary Church in Burstall.

They, along with at least 100 people, celebrated the 2013 edition of the Homes of Hope initiative which has a group of people from across southwest Sask. and some from southeastern Alberta take a bus down to a poverty-stricken area of Mexico and build a house, school or daycare for a needy community. This year, 29 made the trek.  
They’re feeling might be different because after 18 years, the philanthropic and active couple from Burstall are retiring from organizing the Homes of Hope, which is an led by the Hope Church.
“It was amazing to hear some of the stories from this year,” explained Pearl who noted it didn’t feel strange to know it was the last time as an official organizer. “It felt complete, for me, it felt kinda good.”
The couple have enjoyed organizing the humanitarian work, but want to take a step back and let someone else take the reins.
Pearl said there was nothing specific which led to the decision, it was just time for someone else to do it. Her and her husband plan to help the mission, but only in a much more limited fashion or at least a different capacity
“I’m confident people will be stepping up,” said Plato, who said she and Harold had been thinking about it for a while. “For me, Harold and I could’ve stayed on, but it would have meant resisting change and development of the program ... As long as we’re there, there’s no reason for anyone else to take over ... nobody wants to feel like they’re pushing us out of job (if they want to take over).
“We’re hopeful the program will continue. We’re excited to see where it will go (and progress) ... God always has something for us to do.”
As for the Hope mission’s future, Dr. Shane Andrus, pastor of the Hope Mission Evangelical Missionary Church in Burstall said work is already underway to try and determine how next year’s mission will be organized.
“Hope Church Council was pleased to appoint a special committee to make recommendations about the Mexico Missions program,” explained Andrus. “The mandate of this group is to help us discover new leadership now that Harold and Pearl Plato have retired. As well, they will make recommendations about the best time of year to go; we would like a time when students are on break from their respective school divisions.
“The last opportunity the committee needs to take is examining the best mode of transportation to Mexico and back; Burstall Youth Memorial Incorporated has provided their coach in years past, but may not be able to in 2014. We are hopeful all three issues can be resolved, so we can carry on our 18-year tradition of rural churches helping the disadvantaged in Mexico.”
Andrus knows that replacing the Platos’ organizing abilities will be difficult. They are appreciated for not only how much they did, but also for how it was conducted.
The Hope Church pastor indicated the qualities needed to take on the job.
“Future leaders need to be individuals who hold high the values of the dignity of the human being, God’s love for all, and the call to express one’s Christian faith with practical action,” explained Andrus.
“Whether one person, couple, or group of key leaders, the direction of the Mexico Mission must continue to affirm inter-church cooperation. Working together, we can do more. We have more in common than what we may realize.
“Looking back, we are humbled at the dozens of structures built. These homes of hope, schools of hope, and community halls of hope, will continue to bless people for years to come. The structures are testimonies of the Savior's love for the world, and the willingness of rural people to share their wealth with the world.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor

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