November 10, 2010

October-November Update

Greetings from Belize,

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (Psalm 18:2 NIV) Of course we have always known these words to be true, but the v
ery active weather we have had this hurricane season and the apparent popularity of Belize among the tropical storms and hurricanes has caused us to recall these words of David over and over again. Through all the recent weather the Lord protected us.

Though we took a direct hit from hurricane Richard on October 24th, the good news is that no lives were lost. The Gaither four had actually just flown back to the U.S. for Randy to speak at several meetings the weekend before Richard's arrival in Belize. Randy returned to Belize right after the storm to deal with the damage and help wherever he could. He was amazed at what he found when he arrived at our house. We lost all of our trees and our fence, but it was as if God had cupped His hands around our house, according to Randy, and we only sustained some roof damage. There was also some damage to the shop building on the northern campus due to a tree on the roof.

In Valley of Peace, our facilities "weathered" the storm with some roof damage to the church and internet cafe' and a few trees down on the fence. However, the hardest hit was the village of More Tomorrow. In the entire village, Randy located only two homes that still had a roof after the storm, and some buildings were completely destroyed as you can see from the pictures. Fortunately, we were able to have the church opened for a hurricane shelter before Richard's arrival and the building stood strong. In addition to the destruction of their homes, the people in the village lost their crops to the winds and flooding. We have been distributing food door to door in More Tomorrow and are trying to raise the funds to help put roofs back on the homes.

Though the weather has dealt some pretty heavy blows, we are continuing to see people come to Jesus. Pastor Rafael Chuc at the church in Dump recently baptized four new Christians in the swollen river during the visit of tropical storm Matthew, and there are three others in Dump who will also be baptized soon. Randy just had two baptism services this past week. He baptized three in Bella Vista and one in More Tomorrow.

Speaking of growth, construction continues at our preschool in More Tomorrow. The building itself has come a long was and survived the hurricane. Now we just lack the doors, windows, and electrical before we can furnish it with furniture, equipment, and supplies. The bathroom facilities also need to be completed and a water tank built so that we can open the doors to students when the school year starts in September, 2011.

The Gaither family is doing well. Sheila and the boys have enjoyed visiting family and attending Sheila's nephew's wedding while they are in the states (congratulations Jay & Brittani), but they are definitely looking forward to all four of them being in the same country again. Randy will be returning to the states soon so they can all hit the road together for several meetings. Road trips provide for a good bit of "together" time, and it is always great to see friends stateside while taking care of business and sharing about the ministry in Belize.

Otherwise in family news, Brandon has been busy training his new puppy and trying to teach him NOT to eat everything he sees...fingers and toes included. There is quite a battle of the wits in the Gaither household these days as Micah and Hachi (the puppy) both want to be in total control of the household and the center of attention at all times. Micah loves Hachi, but he is not used to someone having him by the seat of the pants...literally. It should be interesting to see how this one shakes out.

Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah

Captain Jack: 7/11/05 - 10/06/10 Brandon & Micah with Hachi