December 29, 2008

December Update

Greetings from Belize,

Praise the Lord for His tremendous blessings! It has been an exciting first year as we have seen so much happen in our lives and ministry here in Belize. There are no words to adequately express the joy in seeing people saved and lives changed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Both of the new church plants are doing well. The people in San Isito are continuing to meet in one of their homes, and we are already making plans for future construction of a building to accommodate the growth. The church at More Tomorrow also continues to grow as we see new faces each week both in the morning service for children as well as the evening adult service. We are still meeting in the community center, and there is a team is coming down just after the first of the year to make repairs to the roof/ceiling and install electrical wiring in the building to enable us to use a generator for lighting, sound, etc. Hopefully the repairs to the roof and ceiling will force the rat bats to move to another location as they sometimes cause unwanted distractions and entertainment during the evening services.

We are still overseeing one established preschool that is staffed with three teachers to meet the needs of the 30 students enrolled. Things are progressing well as we are moving forward in the development of the preschools in the villages of More Tomorrow and Jalacte. One teacher has already been interviewed while preparations are being made for the new schools. There is still a lot of work and time involved with the construction, furnishing, staffing, and providing basic school supplies for this to be possible.

Other aspects of the ministry that are continuing include food distribution to the various villages as well as the distribution of Bibles. The school scholarship program is also ongoing and we are looking for sponsors for children for the 2009-2010 school year.

There are some pretty amazing things taking place that we look forward to sharing with everyone in the next couple of months as there is the prospect of more churches coming under our ministry.

2009 looks to be a very exciting year with not only the ministry continuing to grow, but our family growing as well. The three of us recently flew back to the states for several meetings concerning Gaither Evangelistic Ministries and plans for 2009. Randy will be returning to Belize soon as he will hit the ground running with teams starting January 3rd. Unfortunately, Sheila and Brandon will have to stay behind until the baby is born in February (per the doctor's recommendation).

As the New Year is just around the corner, may it be one of the greatest years ever. Though there are many challenges facing our nation and each one of us, our prayer is that all of us will reach even more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have a truly blessed year.

Thank you for making this past year such a huge success in Belize with all of your prayers and support!

Randy, Sheila, and Brandon Gaither

November 12, 2008

November Update

God continues to poor out His favor here in Belize! He has blessed us with cooler temperatures and safety during the recent floods. It has been a very rainy month here with a tropical depression that came to visit and just didn't want to leave. After two weeks of continuous rain night and day the rivers and creeks could no longer be contained. Although the Belize River, along which we live, met us in our backyard we were very fortunate that it never invited itself into our home.

Many other folks in our area were not quite so fortunate. Several of the villages were completely under water with homes and crops destroyed by the flooding. Once the water receded we were able to get to a few of the nearby villages and distribute much needed food. Due to the destruction that was caused and no way in or out of the villages the people are in desperate need.

We were not able to have worship services for two weeks in More Tomorrow because of the extreme flooding. Although we had tried to reach there by boat our attempts were unsuccessful. This past Sunday we were finally able to return and had an exciting service with the largest crowd since beginning the church. That afternoon two church members accompanied us as we distributed food to every home in the village. Since this is a farming community, we will continue to assist with food as God provides while the crops are being replanted and the people get on their feet again. Through the house to house ministry, we were privileged to meet most all of the residents and several expressed a great interest in attending the church.

Due to the generous donations of many of you, the finances are now available to purchase a piece of property in the southern part of Belize in the Ketchi Indian village of Jalacte. We have begun the process of securing the property and the people are very excited about the prospect of having a preschool for their children. As this is government land set aside for the Indian people, there are a series of meetings that must be conducted before the transaction is complete. Randy has already had his first meeting this past week and will continue the process until everything is finalized.

Recently a group of men and their families requested to meet with our ministry regarding the possibility of starting a church in their village of San Isito near Bella Vista. Randy was able to meet with them a few days ago to discuss a new church development. Each of the men shared his testimony of his personal relationship with the Lord and the hunger to have someone to teach and preach the Word. Questions about the Bible and doctrine were discussed as well as the organization of a church body. Then there was a tremendous time of prayer before the Lord as a group. The presence of the Holy Spirit was overwhelming in that place. At the end of the meeting the church was organized and land was designated by the chairman of the village for future construction of a church building. The church body will begin meeting on November 8th in one of the homes. Please pray with us as we move forward with this second church plant. I know God has many exciting things in store.

With all of these things going on, we are fortunate to have a young man from Van Buren, Arkansas that has agreed to come help us here in Belize for 3 months. Ben Smith arrived on October 19th in the height of the flood. Ben was initiated to the mission field and its many adventures his first night as we had to have a large truck pull us through the swollen creek to get back home from the airport. His luggage had to be moved into the seats to keep it from getting wet as the back of the van we were driving was floating and water was coming through the doors into the vehicle. Nevertheless, Ben quickly learned to splash through the water and mud as he hit the ground running and has been a tremendous help.

On a more personal note, Sheila and the baby are doing great. We are anxiously awaiting the February due date and hoping he has a name by the time he arrives. Brandon is still surviving home school and enjoying many adventures in the caves, jungles and ruin sites. He even spotted a crocodile in our backyard when the flood waters were so high. Randy is keeping busy with many meetings and all aspects of the ministry. There are currently 5 additional villages that are requesting our assistance with starting churches so his work is just beginning.

Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support for the ministry of GEM. It is encouraging to know that you are faithfully standing with us to reach as many people as possible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May the Lord richly bless you,

Randy, Sheila, and Brandon Gaither

September 30, 2008

At Home in Belize

It's been a while since our last blog so I thought we should let everyone know what has been going on in the past few months.

Sheila and Brandon have now joined me in Belize. We were very busy all summer (until the last day of August) hosting various work teams. All of the work teams were wonderful and provided much needed work and service. Their scope of ministry ranged from medical to construction to sports camps for the children, to food distribution, to evangelism. It has been very fast paced (which is the reason for a long period between blogs) but very productive and the teams have been a great blessing to the ministry and my family personally. One team of young people from Colorado even moved all of our boxes and furniture into the house we rented while we were down in the southern part of Belize with another team.

We haven't hosted any teams so far this month, but we haven't slowed down much either. Brandon started home school the last week of August. He's not too thrilled with his teacher (his mom…ha), but seems to be surviving ok. Sheila and I are busy trying to get caught up on everything we had to put on the back burner while teams were here.

God has continued to pour out His blessings and open doors for ministry opportunities for GEM. He has made a way for us to start a church in the village of More Tomorrow which is located in the northern part of Belize. Attendance has grown from 7 our first Sunday to an average of 30 and those numbers do not include the three of us. We are currently meeting in the village community center until we can acquire the land to build a church and a preschool. That process has already begun, please pray with us for God's direction and favor in this endeavor. The community center does not have electricity although there are electric lines along the dirt road that goes through the village. Unfortunately electricity cannot be connected to the building until the roof and ceiling are repaired so as not to cause a fire hazard. We are hoping to assist the people of the village with these repairs and in turn we will be able to use the electricity to power lights, a keyboard, and hopefully a fan or two. We have been holding only morning service on Sundays, but some folks in the village have asked us to start holding services on Sunday evenings so more adults can come after they finish their work in the fields, etc. Sunday evening services will begin next Sunday, October 5th, and therefore will increase our immediate need for electricity for lights. I know God has a plan and I can't wait to see how He works it out.

We are also continuing to share the love of Christ with more personal ministry needs. Through our food distribution program we are providing beans, rice, sugar, flour, lard, etc. to approximately 200 widows, orphans and abandoned mothers. Delivering the food door to door allows us to spend a few moments with each family praying for their specific needs. With school starting in September we were made aware of a great need for financial assistance for children to attend school. Students must pay to attend public school in Belize as well as cover the cost of their books, school supplies, and uniform. Unfortunately many parents cannot afford to send their children to school. GEM is currently sponsoring 8 children for the 2008-2009 school year through very generous donations of several of our supporters. Of course there are many more children in need of sponsors (the cost averages $250 USD per child per school year) and we are praying for those sponsors in time for the 2009-2010 school year that begins the first week of September, 2009.

Last but certainly not least I wanted to share with everyone that Sheila and I are expecting another child in February, 2009. This news came as quite a surprise to us, but we are excited about the blessing of a baby on the way. I'm not sure if I can remember how to change diapers after all these years, but Sheila assures me that she will bring Brandon and me up to speed in no time.

May 12, 2008

Exciting Updates

Just wanted to bring everyone up to date on all of the exciting things have been happening in the past few months...
First of all, we have rented a house in Belize just outside Belmopan City in the Roaring Creek area.  It is a beautiful piece of property right on the Belize River.  We have also registered our ministry with the Belize government with full recognition as a non-profit ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, God has provided the funds to enable us to purchase a personal vehicle in Belize.  It is a small 4 cylinder diesel KIA which gets good fuel mileage...very important due to the high cost of fuel in Belize.  There, diesel is about half the cost of gasoline.
In a difficult housing market God orchestrated the sell of our house in the U.S. at the end of March.  Praise the Lord!  I have been spending much of my time in Belize while Sheila and Brandon have been in the states.  They will now be able to join me in Belize for full-time mission work as a family.  Brandon has approximately 2 weeks left of school to finish before he and Sheila can come to Belize. 
Regarding the work in Belize, God has opened many doors for our ministry.  We are actively involved in church plants in two different villages with several more asking us to come.  The response in the villages has been overwhelming and the excitement is high about the Lord and all that He has in store.  The people are already meeting as a congregation in one village and the work has begun to construct a church building for them.  At the second location, there will be a formal meeting with the leaders and the people of the village as a whole in a few weeks.  This village not only needs a church but also a preschool to prepare the children for the exam they must pass in order to be allowed to attend public school.  They have already set aside some land for this purpose. 
So far this year we have been involved with two medical teams and one dental team providing much needed services.  The medical teams traveled to the remote areas of the country and treated people who have no medical services available to them.  Likewise, the dental team ministered to the needs of people who in some cases had never even seen a dentist.  Each team witnessed and prayed with the people and provided Bibles for anyone who wanted one.  A lot of decisions were made for the Lord as the love of Christ was being shared.  In addition, there was an evangelistic team that ministered in several communities with a huge impact for Christ. 
The Lord has placed before us some opportunities to be able to provide Christian education from preschool children to the graduate level.  The details of those plans are being developed very quickly and we will update everyone when everything is finalized. 
God has truly opened the windows of heaven and is making the impossible not only possible but a reality!

January 18, 2008

Welcome To The Gaither Family Journal

Thank you for visiting our blog. We will be posting news and information here about what God is doing in Belize where we are missionaries.