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‘The Lord Connected the Dots’
Getting to know our director in Honduras, Austin South
by Whitney Williams
Posted on Thursday, March 07, 2013
Much like a child’s connect-the-dot game, a lot of stuff we go through in life seems random. At least until God draws in the lines. And so it was with Austin South, our director/coordinator in Honduras.

The second to youngest of four children, Austin, 27, grew up in Arlington, Virginia, with a heart to help others.

Though he had no specific dreams of what his future would or should look like, aside from the desire to start a family and be a good husband and provider one day, Austin spent much of his college free time working with the homeless and volunteering at a food shelter.

But it wasn’t a totally selfless life, Austin admits.

“I spent a lot of my life living for me,” he said. “Life is lonely and broken when you live for yourself and self-medicate your hurt with what the world has to offer. But God used that self-inflicted pain and the lowly places I have been in my walk to create in me an appetite, a desire for Him.”

“The passion He has given me is deeper than a passion for the poor or orphans—it’s a passion to live for Him and not for me."

We met Austin on a vision trip to Honduras in the summer of 2010, and as Austin says, “It was totally the Lord who crossed our paths.” Austin, who had been living in Honduras as a volunteer at an orphanage since November 2009, really hit if off with Orphan Outreach (OO) President Mike Douris (pictured at right with Austin and his wife Keila) when the two were introduced. They chatted a bit, Mike gave Austin his business card, and that was that. Or so they thought.

The next year, on a visit home, Austin, knowing in his heart he was to return to Honduras long-term, remembered the business card in his wallet and decided to send Mike an email to ask if Orphan Outreach needed any help in the country he’d come to love.

“The Lord connected the dots and it has been evolving ever since then,” Austin said.

In Austin’s role as director/coordinator, he takes responsibility for all of the logistical work in the country in regards to OO mission teams that come to Honduras—he takes care of transportation, coordinating translators, lodging, food, work projects, etc. He is also tasked with building relationships with our partner projects in Honduras, as well as seeking out new possible partners.

To date, Austin is working with four projects, three of which are located in Tegucigalpa: a school at the trash dump called AFE, Jubilee School for underprivileged and at-risk children, and a tutoring program and school for 11 high-risk children. In addition to those, he also works with an orphanage in La Paz.

Austin and his wife, Keila, a Honduras native whom he met and fell in love with eight months into his first year in the country, see his work with Orphan Outreach as a joint ministry, and they often visit the projects together, finding out specific needs and trying to meet them, among other things.

Outside of their work with Orphan Outreach, the couple enjoys spending time with their new baby, born December 3, 2012, and Keila’s family, with whom they share property. They all attend church together in a poor community about 20 minutes outside of the city where Austin and his wife lead the youth ministry and sometimes the entire service. Keila’s family has been active in the church for more than 20 years.

As far as Austin’s side of the family goes, though miles apart, Austin feels closer to them than ever, knowing he has their prayerful support.

“Everyone in my family is a believer and they have seen how I have let God get a hold of my life in a deep way and they love that,” Austin said. “I am grateful He has given me something bigger than myself to live for—He has given me Himself to live for.”

 



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