December 4, 2012

December Newsletter


There is nothing more powerful than a personal testimony when telling others about Christ.  In recent months we have seen many lives in Belize changed through the love and labor of our churches and teams sharing the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.  A few people filled with the love of our Savior taking a few moments to share that love has had a tremendous impact on several villages throughout Belize as well as the Kingdom of God.  There have been so many great things taking place that in our last newsletter we literally ran out of space to print everything.
River of Life Church at Santa Rosa
River of Life Church at Maya Mopan
As more and more people are coming to know Christ, the requests for churches continue to grow.  In the United States we no longer think much about having a neighborhood church within walking distance from our homes.  However, in a country where roads and vehicles are limited and in villages where the primary mode of transportation is walking, a “neighborhood church” becomes very important.   It is a place where Christians can learn, grow, mature in their faith, and reach others.  In response to some of these requests we have recently started two new churches.  One of these is located in Santa Rosa in the central part of Belize and it is primarily a Kekchi congregation.  The other church is located in Maya Mopan just outside the capitol city of Belmopan and is a multicultural congregation including Maya, Kekchi, and Spanish. 

Speaking of new churches, we are excited to share with everyone that we now have a church building in Hope Creek.  The congregation has been meeting in homes for over a year now since we did not have a building.  We were able to acquire some land and God put it on the hearts of the people of Hopewell Baptist Church in Parsons, TN to provide the funds and build a building.  The Hopewell team has dubbed their project “Hope to Hope” as they are working in Hope Creek, Belize.  The Hope to Hope team completed the foundation and walls of the new building in the summer of 2011.  In July of this year, the team returned to Belize to put the roof on the building and we have since added the windows and doors.  The team actually finished the roof just in time to have a huge celebration service during the Thursday night service of that week and the crowd was so large it was standing room only with many people standing outside the building just to hear the Word of God and rejoice in the new building He provided.

In August we were privileged to host a first-time team from Milan CP Church in Milan, TN.  This team was comprised of physicians, nurses, ministers, and several other professionals who volunteered their services providing much needed medical care in remote villages in the southern part of Belize.  These guys did a fantastic job and we are looking forward already to them being back in Belize in the summer of 2013.

In this season of giving we would like to take a moment to express our gratitude to all of you who have given and those of you who continue to give faithfully to the ministry in Belize.  Your prayers and financial support have helped in making so many great things possible.  The ministry and work is growing so rapidly that now more than ever we are in need of your continued financial support to reach as many people as possible for Christ.  There are a number of villages we are reaching with the gospel that are waiting for us to start a church.  We are also asking that if you have not already done so, you would prayerfully consider being a part of the ministry through monthly support or a one-time gift.  It is because of you and your heart for missions that we are able to carry on the work to which God has called us.    

As far as family news, the Gaither family has been buried under boxes.  Not Christmas boxes…moving boxes.  With Sheila, Brandon, and Micah remaining in the states for the duration of the school year, we have moved our home office to Bismarck, AR.  This location puts us much closer to family as well as an airport Randy can fly in and out of on his trips back and forth between the US and Belize without an overnight stay in Miami or Dallas as he continues the work in Belize.  Please note that our new office mailing address is PO Box 348, Bismarck, AR  71929 and our new phone number is 501-865-2257. 

Otherwise in the Gaither household we are getting ready for Christmas and trying to figure out how to stay warm when the mercury drops below 70° F.  Brrrrrrrrr…..  Though the four of us prefer to believe that living in a tropical climate for several years caused our bodies to be altered physically so that we are unable to withstand colder temperatures, the common comment from the rest of the world is that we are just wimps.  Nevertheless, we are enjoying the changing seasons and Micah is hoping to see snow for the first time in his life.      

Merry Christmas!
from the Gaithers            

September 18, 2012

September Newsletter


It has been a wonderfully busy summer!  As we are just stopping long enough to catch our breath, we realized that we haven’t sent out a newsletter since June.  Wow!  So much to share…where do we start?

The summer began with a team from Fellowship in NW Arkansas.  This group ministered in the village of Otoxha which is in the southern part of Belize near the Guatemala border.  Not only did they minister to the folks in the village through food distribution and door to door evangelism, but they really put their backs into their work and dug the footing and poured the cement to prepare for a concrete slab for the construction of a new church building.  This team is so excited about the work in Otoxha that they have already scheduled a date to return early in 2013 to work on the next stage of the building.

The village of More Tomorrow was really a buzz this summer too with several teams and lots of work taking place.  A team from 1st Baptist Albertville in Alabama ministered to the children through VBS activities and built a playground for the new preschool complete with swings and a really cool slide.  As you can see from the picture (right), the equipment has been thoroughly Micah inspected and approved.  In addition, Grace Community Methodist Church in Arkansas decided to make the preschool in More Tomorrow their project for VBS.  This wonderful group of youngsters did not travel to Belize, but they raised enough money to furnish the preschool with tables and chairs… children helping children.  To top it off, an individual from Tennessee graciously donated the funds to complete the final construction and furnishings for the preschool and bathrooms.  With all of these folks working together to help us, we were finally able to open the preschool in More Tomorrow.  The preschool opened on August 31st with a total of fourteen students enrolled.  We have been working on this project for about two years and are so excited to finally have it open!  Through the efforts of many of you over the course of two years we are now able to provide preschool education through a Christian curriculum at absolutely no cost to the students/parents.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!

The preschool is not the only exciting news from More Tomorrow.  Another team from Arkansas (Zion Baptist) built benches for the church.  Since the construction of the church building, the congregation has been sitting on dilapidated benches or on the concrete floor for services.  We now have beautiful new benches.  The folks were so excited when they arrived at church on Wednesday for the midweek service and saw the new furniture.  This team not only worked hard on constructing benches, but they also ministered to the children and adults alike through VBS activities both in More Tomorrow and Frank’s Eddy.  This was the first team toever conduct a VBS in Frank’s Eddy and the villagers were thrilled and truly blessed by all the activities and the love shown by this group.  The folks at Frank’s Eddy are already looking forward to “next time” (hint, hint).  In addition, this team also brought down to Belize children’s Bibles for the preschool students at both More Tomorrow and Valley of Peace that were purchased with funds raised from the VBS children at Zion.  Once again, children are ministering to children. 

Pictured left: a preschool student at More Tomorrow carrying the Bible she received the first day of school and Mr. Santos (head teacher) helping another student read his Bible.

Our “Veteran VBSers” as we call them from Corinth Baptist in Tennessee also came down again this summer.  This group has been coming down for several years ministering to children and adults alike.  This year, however, the team stayed at our southern campus and conducted VBS for children and Bible studies for adults in Dump, Jalacté, and San Pablo.  They did a great job pioneering the way as they shared the message of Jesus Christ through various activities. 

With summer coming to an end, it also means a few changes for the Gaither household.  Brandon has begun his last year of high school (where have the years gone?), and we decided it was best for him to complete his senior year of high school in the states.  So, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah have returned to the US for the duration of the school year while Randy will be traveling back and forth between Belize and the US.  It is a toss up between Sheila and Brandon as far as which one is the most thrilled about no more home school.  Micah has been enjoying spending more time with Nana and Grandpa and has quickly learned to spot the “Golden Arches” from a mile away.  Randy, on the other hand, has been busy with the wildlife that has decided to make our home their home in Belize including a black jaguar that was hanging out under Sheila’s car in the carport.  Hachi (our dog) was a bit upset about the jaguar under the car and the monkeys on the trampoline so he decided to make the welcome mat his new chew toy to remove any temptation from other wildlife. 

God has blessed tremendously and there is so much more to share, but not enough space on the paper.  More to come in the next newsletter…stay tuned.

Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah

June 18, 2012

June Newsletter


God continues to bless and grow the ministry, and in the past two months we have begun two new churches.  One church is located in the northern part of Belize in the village of Frank’s Eddy.  This is a Spanish congregation.  The other church is located in the village of Santa Rosa and is a Kekchi congregation.  This brings the total number of churches throughout Belize to eleven.  Praise the Lord for His wonderful blessings as we continue to reach people with the Word of God and disciple His followers!

As we continue to start new churches we have begun to focus more on training the pastors of the various churches regarding basic biblical principles, worship, leadership, etc.   Last month we had a fantastic meeting with the pastors of all eleven churches as well as some of the leaders in the churches.  In all there were approximately 30 people who attended the day of training.   It was a fantastic meeting, and wonderful to see so many pastors/leaders eager to study God’s Word.  Pictured here are the pastors & leaders (and some of the children) who attended.
A special evening celebration service was held at the church in San Isidro in May.  When this church began, the congregation was meeting in an individual’s home.  After outgrowing the home, they were forced to move outdoors under a tarp.  Thanks to very generous donations from two different churches in Tennessee, we were able to construct a building with wood siding, tin roof, and concrete floor.  Everyone is so excited to have a special place to worship (and not having to worry about the tarp dumping rain water is an extra bonus).  This is a picture of the new building via Randy's cell phone.
Last month we also hosted a team of engineers from the University of Arkansas.  This group came to Belize last year and conducted some water tests in several villages.  Although there are a couple of wells in the village of More Tomorrow, the water is not safe to drink and the villagers are dependent upon the rain water they catch for drinking and cooking.  As a result of their testing and assessment, the engineers decided to build a water system to provide clean drinking water for More Tomorrow.  They have been working for several months on their plans which have now been approved by the government of Belize, and the first stages of construction were begun on their most recent trip.  How wonderful it will be for the village to have clean, safe drinking water once the project is complete. 

As far as Gaither family news, we had to make a trip back to the states due to Randy having some medical issues.  The physicians in Belize initially found kidney stones and recommended that we return to the US for Randy to undergo further testing that is not available in Belize.  Through a series of tests and doctor visits it was determined that Randy had an abdominal hernia with adhesions that was causing the continued pain after he was clear of stones.  The hernia was surgically repaired a few days ago, and we plan to be back in Belize very quickly.  We appreciate everyone’s prayers and phone calls!

The rest of the Gaither crew, on the other hand, has been enjoying some time with family and friends and good ole American food.  It is sort of a game to see if we can consume enough pizza, hamburgers, Mexican food, and Dr. Pepper to keep our cravings at bay for the next several months.  However, I don’t think Micah will ever get his “fill” of going to McDonald’s and ordering “hamburger, French fries, and a toy.”   Micah even had his first snow cone the other day which was accompanied by about 30 minutes of questions regarding how they got the snow out of the sky and it’s not on the ground…  As an extra bonus (ha) while we were in the states Brandon got to spend some of his free time studying for and taking the ACT exam as he only has one year of high school left before he is off to college (yikes!).  All in all we are doing great and getting ready for a very busy summer of teams and various activities. 

We also want to express our gratitude for your continued prayers, encouragement, and support for the ministry in Belize.  Your faithfulness in praying and giving enables the continued growth of the Kingdom of God as people are being saved and discipled.  Thank you for being a part of this ministry!

Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah

April 4, 2012

April Update

Greetings from Belize,

What a great start to the year 2012!  So far this year has been extremely busy and fast-paced as well as a bit challenging at times, but what a joy to be a part of God doing such great things.  We have hosted nine teams, attended a mission conference, and welcomed a new family to Belize since the beginning of January.

We have been blessed with some fantastic teams so far this year.  These groups have spanned the gamut from mechanical work keeping everything running around here, to construction and maintenance, to evangelism and medical.  We always look forward to January every year when all of our vehicles are serviced, repaired, and put back on the road.  Mechanical needs are never in short supply here, and we are very fortunate to have someone who makes an annual trip to literally keep us going.

New addition being sprayed with sealer
The northern campus received some much needed and long overdue TLC from several folks.  The buildings were power washed and either painted or sealed.  Lights and ceiling fans were repaired or replaced, and storage containers were cleaned out and organized.  Our road and drive way were even repaired.  The campus looks fantastic thanks to all those who worked so hard!

The construction teams worked here at the northern campus as well as out in the villages.  One group built a new room at the campus that we had initially planned to use as additional storage, but it is so nice we have decided to use it as more of a conference room when we are conducting training courses for our pastors and leaders.  These guys also provided the funding to put siding on a church building in San Isidro which should be completed this week.  Another team began construction on a house to be used as a parsonage for the pastors of our church in Valley of Peace.  They completed the frame and put the roof on the house. (pictured at right)

Two different medical teams worked in the southern part of Belize.  These two groups saw over 1400 patients in eight villages.  Many of the people in the remote villages have no access to medical care except for the visiting medical teams that volunteer their time and resources.  In addition to addressing physical needs, these individuals showed the Jesus movie and gave away over 300 Bibles. 

In the midst of all of the activity with teams, the Gaither family was privileged to attend a Missions Conference in Albertville, AL.  The weekend was filled with pampering, great food, and wonderful fellowship.  We had the opportunity to meet a number of other missionaries from various places around the world and experienced and awesome move of God during those services.  Randy was honored to preach during two very powerful Sunday morning worship services.  Sheila spoke to the RA’s and GA’s on Sunday evening, and the entire Gaither family shared with small groups on Saturday (Micah provided the comedy while Brandon did an excellent job presenting our ministry).  Special thanks to First Baptist Church Albertville for the invitation and for making it possible for us to be a part of such a great weekend!

Jason, Kristen, Ashley, & Jacob
With all the growth the ministry has experienced as well as the busy schedule, we have been praying for some help on the ground here in Belize.  The Hancocks arrived in Belize on February 12th to assist us with all the “behind the scenes” work to keep things going around here.  We are grateful to have Jason, Ashley, Jacob (12yrs), and Kristen (9yrs) as our new neighbors here at the northern campus.  Welcome to Belize and to GEM Hancock family! 

  As far as the Gaither family, in the past few weeks Randy has been busy with 23 child dedications, 4 baptisms, and 1 wedding as well as preaching and teaching throughout our churches.  Sheila is trying to keep up with the printing of all the certificates and getting the dirt stains out of Randy’s white dress shirt (the traditional attire in Belize for special occasions).  One recent Sunday after a baptism service a quash stole Randy’s shirt while he was changing clothes in a little hut.  If you have never heard of a quash, it is a furry animal in the raccoon family with a long monkey-like tail.  These little guys are typically very cute and social, but apparently Randy didn’t think so as he was running after one to reclaim his shirt.  Brandon is busy with school as usual.  In his spare time he has been trying to work on speaking English with a Spanish accent.  He has learned that when he blends in with the locals he gets better service and prices on things at market.   A driver’s license and a discount…he gets to do the shopping all the time!  Micah is working on his social skills as well…if you call ordering around his new neighbors “social skills”.  He is convinced that Jacob and Kristen are exactly his age and as an extra bonus they let him boss them around.  What are we going to do with him??

Randy, Sheila, Brandon, and Micah