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