August 17, 2010

July - August Update

Greetings from Belize,

This summer has been flying by! It is hard to believe there are less than two weeks before school starts again. We have had a very busy summer filled with several teams and many friends. It is amazing when we look back at all the projects, ministries, and most of all lives touched during these past several weeks. We, along with the people of Belize, have been truly blessed by each person who chose to take some time out of their busy lives in the states to share the love of Jesus Christ in so many different ways.

During the latter part of June we had a team here from Rogers, AR. They set out to work in the village of Jalacte' in southern Belize but had to be evacuated to the northern campus when tropical storm Alex came through on June 26th. However, the team handled the sudden change of plans well and the children in two villages benefited as they worked in one village in the south and one in the north.

July was filled with five different groups from various parts of the U.S. and a great deal of activity. To make things a bit more interesting, the engine in our bus blew up on the way back from taking the previous team to the airport on July 1st. As Randy sat on the side of the highway watching flames coming from the bus with a non-functioning fire extinguisher in hand, a Good Samaritan with a shovel stopped and threw some dirt on the engine to put out the fire. We are also fortunate to know some wonderful people with a neighboring ministry that not only picked up our next team from the airport, but also shuttled everyone to church until we could borrow the bus from our southern campus while the other bus was being repaired.

However, if that was not enough "fun", the daily power outages and power surges finally took its toll on the freezer in the dining hall. Of course all of the grocery shopping was done on a Friday in preparation for a team arrival on Monday. Enough meats to last a large team ten days were put away in the freezer as usual. What was not usual was the awful stench coming from the kitchen by Sunday morning! The freezer had gone out completely and all the meats were ruined. Nevertheless, we were able to scurry around to get the mess cleaned up and more groceries purchased on Monday morning before the team arrived...whew!

Our first team in July was from Eaton, CO. This youth group conducted sports camps in two different villages and very generously provided a beans and rice lunch to all of the children that attended the activities. These guys also took on a variety of construction projects in three different locations. They painted the interior of the internet cafe' at Valley of Peace and began work on the septic system for our church in More Tomorrow (Sheila is so happy at the prospect of indoor plumbing). This team also worked on repairs and painting the inside of the staff house as well as the plumbing and foundation for new bathrooms (including 3 showers on each side) here at our main campus.

While the previously mentioned team was here, a second team from Albertville, Alabama worked on the new preschool in More Tomorrow. Thanks to this team, the walls are plastered inside and out and we now have a concrete floor instead of a covered pasture (the cows are less than thrilled). Now all we lack are windows, doors, and furnishings before the place can be filled with beautiful smiling faces of children ready to learn.

The next two teams were primarily focused on evangelism and God really blessed their work. A team from Darden, TN stayed at the northern campus and worked in the villages of More Tomorrow and Valley of Peace. This group conducted a women's Bible study group and a men's Bible study group while the children were attending VBS each morning, and in the evenings they held revival services. At the same time, a group from Austin, TX was at the southern campus with similar activities...VBS in the mornings and revival services in the evenings at the church in Dump. It is fantastic to know that through the efforts of these teams we have a number of people to baptize as they now know the Lord Jesus Christ.

Regarding family news, the Gaither four enjoyed being the Gaither five together for a week in July. Ben, our oldest son, made his first visit to Belize. We really enjoyed showing him the many aspects of the ministry and the sites around this country. Though Ben was fascinated with the sites around Belize, Micah was more fascinated that "Bubby" was here when he woke up in the mornings. It was wonderful to have some family time in the midst of our busy schedule!

As far as other family news, Randy and Sheila are just trying to keep up with the day to day activities and which way did Micah run now. We even enlisted help from some of the team members a few days to help keep up with know, the younger, more energetic type. Who said babysitting is not a ministry? Meanwhile Brandon spends much of his time trying to keep up with the grass. This is the rainy season here in Belize, and sometimes you can literally see the grass grow. As soon as Brandon makes his last pass with the mower and parks it, he has to start all over again. Well, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but he does mow an average of three times a week when there's a break in the rain showers. But hey, it is great for his tan! After all, it is either spending some peaceful hours on the mower or trying to figure out where Micah hid the wireless mouse. It is always an adventure around the Gaither house...

Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah