July 13, 2010

June Update

Greetings from Belize,

We have had a wonderful start to a very busy summer schedule. So far this month we have hosted a youth team fro Rogers, AR who spent 10 days working in the village of More Tomorrow leading sports camps for the children. They also spent some time distributing food (team pictured at right bagging food) in More Tomorrow and Valley of Peace and even hosted a "night at the movies" showing The Passion of the Christ which made a huge impact on the villagers.

A second youth team from the same church in Rogers, AR is currently here in Belize working in the southern part of the country. They have many exciting things going on in Jalacte' for the next week and a half including sports camps for the children and building a water cistern at the church to collect rainwater since there is no running water in the village. More to come on that team in next month's newsletter as they have just begun their journey at the time this is being written.

In addition to hosting some great teams, we are very excited to report that there were sixteen students who graduated from the Children's Nest Preschool in Valley of Peace on June 12th and are now ready to start primary school in the fall. Eight additional children successfully completed their first year of preschool at the Children's Nest and all eight are planning to return in September to master their school readiness skills by the time they are old enough to move on to primary school. Congratulations students! We would also like to express our appreciation to Elba Galdamez and Mabel Franco, the two preschool teacher, who helped make this a great year and hosted a wonderful graduation ceremony. Thank you teachers for a job well done!

Regarding the Gaither family, we are doing great. Brandon's ankle is healing well. He is now off crutches and out of his walking boot...just supposed to take it easy for the next four weeks. Although he has tried to convince mom and dad that he has some sort of allergy to taking out the trash, it was determined that the walk to the trash disposal area would be great therapy for his ankle (I am sure that was written in the last progress note from the orthopedist). Now at sixteen months old, Micah has transformed into part baby and part monkey and literally climbs up anything he can reach with a knee or a toe. Look out local howler monkeys, here he comes! And by the way, if you happen to receive a strange phone call or email from our household just know it is a friendly "hello" from Micah. He is quite the wiz kid at dialing the phone and playing on the "puter" as he calls it. What will it be next week?? Sheila is busy running around after Micah trying to keep the phone hung up and the computers shut down as well as making sure Brandon does his "therapy" every other day (could washing dishes be good therapy too). Maybe those frequent power outages are a blessing when it comes to Micah's high tech tendencies. Randy is meeting himself coming and going taking care of teams along with eight churches, three graduations, and the day to day business activities. At least they were able to get the air conditioner in his truck fixed today which makes the running around a little more comfortable. All in all we are having a great time with many teams and projects lined up for the summer months.

Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah

May Update

Greetings from Belize,

It has been an incredible journey here in Belize. The ministry continues to grow as people are coming to Christ and experiencing the eternal life-changing grace, love, fellowship, and power of Jesus Christ! There is no doubt that even greater things are in store as God is moving mightily among His people as they share with others their testimonies of what the Lord has done in their lives.

Evidence of how God is moving can be seen in several of our churches. In the village of San Pablo, the congregation has already outgrown the small thatch roof building where they are currently meeting. Aside from having large numbers of folks saved in their own village, this church is also going out preaching and sharing the message of salvation in other villages, and there were over 30 people saved and baptized in just one of the communities. At Dump there have been five people saved in the past few weeks. Along with that, couples are committing to marriage as the Word of God is being taught. Currently the people in both Bella Vista and San Isidro are meeting in homes with very limited space. We are looking at the possibility of purchasing a partially constructed building in Bella Vista that can be finished for a nice church building. In San Isidro, land has been secured and they are ready to begin construction on a church building. We are believing God for the funds and the laborers to move forward with buildings for these new church developments.

The church in the village of Jalacte' held a special service last month celebrating the new sound system and instruments provided provided by a grant from the Kingdom Mission Fund. It was a tremendous time as people surrounded the church to hear the gospel in song and preaching. Pictured to the left are some of the musicians proudly displaying their new ministry equipment.

At the onset of the hot, dry season in Belize (typically April and May), we became aware of a need in the village of More Tomorrow for buckets to collect rain water. Although there is a community well in the village for he people to hand pump water for their animals, cleaning, and laundry, the water is not good to drink. The villagers rely on catching rain for cooking and drinking water. Therefore, we recently distributed 5-gallon water buckets to each family for them to use to collect rain water. Maybe one day we will be able to provide large cisterns so the families don't have to worry about running out of water during the dry season.

We would also like to thank everyone who has committed to sponsoring a child for the 2010-2011 school year. There are still approximately 30 children that need assistance in order for them to attend school. Please let us know if you would like to assist with the school scholarship program.

As far as family news, we would like to express our appreciation for all of the phone calls and prayers for Randy's mother after her recent heart attack. In lieu of her illness we returned to the states for a brief stay, and we are glad to report that she is out of the hospital and doing much better now. In other family news, Brandon FINALLY completed school for the year, and was so excited about having straight A's and an extra long summer break that he did a back flip and broke his ankle. Ok...he didn't really do a back flip, but that sounds more exciting than the real story. The truth is Brandon was chasing after Micah on the front porch of our office in Arkansas when the two of them went off the edge of the porch. Micah came out on top with only a few minor scrapes, but Brandon didn't fare so well. We are praying for a quick recovery so Brandon can still enjoy some summer fun during his break. Micah is busy naming everything he can see and chattering non-stop. He is especially concerned about Brandon's "boo boo" and can't wait for Bam Bam (his name for Brandon) to be able to play with him again soon. Randy and Sheila are also looking forward to Brandon's speedy recovery so he can get back to doing his own chores...ha.

Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah Gaither