July 20, 2011

June-July Update

Greetings from Belize,

We are having a fantastic summer with several teams and a lot of activities. There have been many people and a lot of exciting activities from Vacation Bible Schools, to construction projects, and Bible studies and revival services. More than the busyness of people and things going on, there is an unexplainable joy as we continue seeing people saved and experiencing the life changing presence and power of Jesus! We may never really know this side of Heaven just how many lives have been touched through the dedication and labor of those who have been obedient to God’s call and followed His leading…both those who come to Belize for a short term mission trip and those who reside in Belize.

In the six weeks since the beginning of June we have hosted eight different teams. Several teams were from Arkansas with others from Louisiana and Tennessee. These groups ministered in eight of the nine villages where we have churches. It has been very heartwarming to see folks from the US making a real connection with people in Belize through sharing of their personal testimony, activities for children, worship services, food distribution, and overall demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ.

In addition to the personal ministries that have been taking place, one team also worked on the water cistern for the church and preschool in More Tomorrow. They built a raised concrete platform for the cistern and put up guttering on the church to catch rain water. This water will service restrooms (with real flush toilets) for both the church and preschool.

On June 18th we held a graduation ceremony for the Children’s Nest Preschool in Valley of Peace. It was a great celebration and 27 students graduated ready to begin primary school (the equivalent of kindergarten in the US) in September. There were also four younger students who successfully completed the first year of preschool and plan to return to preschool in the fall since they are not old enough yet to begin primary school. We appreciate all the hard work of the students as well as the teachers: Ms. Elba, Ms. Ruth, and Ms. Olga. Congratulations to all of you!

Speaking of Valley of Peace, we would like to welcome Pastor Camilio Mas and his family to the Valley. Randy had been talking to Pastor Camilio for quite a while regarding his faith and God’s call on his life. On July 3rd Pastor Camilio was installed as the full-time pastor at the church in Valley of Peace and he moved his wife and five children from a Ketchi village in the southern part of Belize to begin serving God as part of GEM. In just two weeks the attendance has doubled and two individuals have been saved. Praise the Lord!

Celebrations continue with a special anniversary service in Bella Vista. On July 17th we celebrated the one year anniversary of our church in that village. There was standing room only inside the church and many people gathered outside to listen through the doors and windows. The building in and of itself is another reason for celebration. Until just a few months ago, the congregation was meeting under tarps. We now have a concrete floor, a thatch roof, and board siding. No more standing in the mud to praise the Lord…not at church anyway.

Just to let everyone know, the Gaither family did not fall off the face of the earth. We were without a computer and modem for about a month so we were unable to keep up with our email communications. Now that we are back online it has been a struggle in all the busyness to get to the HUGE back log of emails. We have literally been running so quickly in so many different directions for the past few weeks that we can’t keep up with each other. Randy changes hats every time the wind blows…besides being a missionary and senior pastor for nine churches; he has been a bus driver, a plumber, a tour guide, and overall errand boy. Sheila is busy trying to get all the records caught up after being without a computer for so long as well as getting school supplies, books, and uniforms together for all the students we sponsor. Brandon was able to spend several weeks in the states this summer visiting friends and family. He turned 16 the end of May and thanks to Grandpa, Nana, and a borrowed car from Aunt Shannon he now has his driver’s license…YIKES! Micah has also been working on his driving skills. A wonderful lady sent a tricycle to Belize with one of our recent teams (thank you BB!). Zeke and Hachi (our two dogs) are less than thrilled with Micah having his own set of wheels, but Micah is having a blast. He has put so many miles on that tricycle that the tires are already worn down to the tread wear indicator. With those two boys driving it’s no longer safe on the road, sidewalk, or in the yard!!


Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah