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.