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