April 19, 2011

March-April Update

Greetings from Belize,

It is such a joy and privilege to be a part of what God is doing here in Belize. The ministry is growing and expanding so much faster than we had ever imagined. There is no greater joy than seeing lives changed as people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Not only are we getting to see people coming to know the Lord, we are getting to see them grow up in the Lord. As the people grow, our churches grow and reach a point of independence. Much like our children graduate and leave “the nest” to go out on their own, we have seen the church on the main northern campus graduate to an independent church. An inauguration service was held on February 26th to celebrate their independence as Living Waters Fellowship.

As some grow up, new churches are being birthed. God has opened the doors and expanded the ministry into two additional villages in the past few weeks. On March 16th we established a church in the village of Hope Creek which is being led by Pastor Rigobeuto Rodrigues. We have also begun a church in Otoxha, and Pastor Thomas Ack is leading that congregation. This is especially exciting as there are no other churches in Otoxha. We now have a total of nine churches with these two new additions. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support that make this possible. (Pictured top right: Pastor Rigobeuto and family at Hope Creek. Pictured bottom right: Randy with Pastor Thomas Ack at Otoxha.)

We have also been blessed with some great teams over the past few weeks…surprisingly four teams all from different churches in Arkansas. The first team worked in More Tomorrow repainting the government school and leading Bible studies. They also helped Sheila out a great deal with several projects around our house including setting up a new computer accounting system which will save her a great deal of time in keeping all of our financial records.

In addition, this team worked on fixing up the staff house on the northern campus so someone can live in it again. We are very anxious to get the renovations completed as God is sending a family to help us with the ministry. Jason and Ashley Hancock, along with their two children Jacob and Kristen, from Mansfield, AR have answered God’s call to serve Him here in Belize. That will be a tremendous blessing to us and the ministry and will free up some time for Randy to focus more on church planting, leadership training and mentoring our pastors. Please pray with us that God will send a buyer for the Hancock’s house in AR and that He will provide the means for us to complete the staff house soon.

The preschool in More Tomorrow is coming along nicely and we hope to have it open when school starts in September. The building itself is almost complete. The second team from Arkansas installed the doors and windows and painted the building inside and out. Bathroom facilities that will service both the preschool and the church have been started but are not yet finished. We also need a water tank to collect rain water for the bathrooms. Otherwise, we only lack electricity and furnishings for the preschool building.

During the same week another team from Arkansas worked in Bella Vista with a focus on evangelism. They visited house to house and shared the Gospel in the village school. They also provided some basic teaching to the church leaders.

April begins the hot, dry season here in Belize so the Gaither crew has been busy trying to come up with ways to beat the heat. Of course the top pick with all four is a thirty minute ride to Spanish Lookout in an air-conditioned vehicle to get ice cream. However, that option is not always practical and Micah’s little wading pool becomes overcrowded quickly, so water guns and a lawn sprinkler have to suffice. Otherwise, Brandon is on the home stretch toward finishing school for the year with only about two weeks left before summer break…yee haw! It’s unclear who is happier about the end of the school year – Brandon or Sheila. Micah, on the other hand, is not putting his education on hold. He practices his overly abundant language skills constantly while also counting and naming the color of virtually everything he encounters. Randy recently had a weekend tour of three different Belizean hospitals due to several kidney stones, but after spending the night in a ward with five strangers he decided there’s really no place like home. Fortunately he is doing much better now and he has reclaimed the water hose as his weapon of choice (since the water supply is endless) in the family battle to stay cool.


Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah