December 26, 2014

December Newsletter

 Christmas greetings,

“Christmas is not a time for shopping.  It is a time for being thankful, sharing, and giving to others.”  These words came that out of the mouth of our 5 year old (who is wise beyond his years) continue to resonate over and over.  Rather than getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we are reminded to stop and give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the greatest gift of all times…His son.  We also want to express what a great joy and privilege it is share the love of Jesus Christ with others and share with all of you the wonderful blessings God has bestowed upon us and the ministry in Belize.  The giving of time and resources that we have witnessed taking place this past year is beyond words.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of our Lord…basking in His love!

One of our primary focuses this year has been on teaching and training the pastors and leaders of the churches who are part of GEM.  Randy has been spending a significant amount of one on one time with the different pastors mentoring them in their walk with God and their service as a pastor.  In addition to the individual time, we had another amazing weekend conference in October with an even greater number in attendance than we had at the July conference.  There was literally no vacant bed in our dorms and the team assisting had to stay off campus.  What a dramatic change from the complacency often experienced stateside to see the almost desperate hunger for more and more of God’s Word!  What an exciting weekend of fellowship and spiritual feasting.  Special thanks to First Baptist Albertville, AL for sponsoring this event and making it all possible. 

We have hosted many, many wonderful teams over the past 7 years and 18 teams in 2014 alone.  However, not much has been said about one man’s burden and dream for the people in one particular village in Belize.  GEM has a church and a preschool in the village of More Tomorrow.  Although we have been able to bring villagers to the saving knowledge of the Living Water, we have not been able to provide water to sustain life on this earth…until now.  An engineering student from the University of Arkansas visited Belize with a team of fellow engineering students.  This group took water samples and found that the water people were drinking in More Tomorrow was literally poisoning them.  With no clean drinking water, the villagers relied on rain water collected in buckets or water drawn from the river.  Though this student soon graduated, he had a vision that went beyond just “testing the waters” both literally and figuratively.  He continued to press forward, developed plans, and raised the funds necessary to provide clean drinking water to this village.  As a result, a water well was drilled and a tower with a 2500 gallon tank was constructed and erected onsite in October. Thank you Father for giving this man the vision and providing the means to accomplish the goal!

All in all, 2014 has been our greatest year yet regarding the number of people we have seen give their lives to Christ.  Randy has baptized approximately 50 people recently with at least that many more still waiting to be baptized.  September begins the rainy season in Belize and the rivers became so swollen that we had to suspend baptisms until the waters recede to a safe level.  What an issue with which to be faced…look out crocs, here we come!

We are also thrilled about a weekend training workshop hosted by a team from Alabama for all of our preschool teachers.  The teachers received great instruction and materials to use to carry out the new ideas and techniques they were taught.  Not only were our teachers equipped with knowledge, they were provided with many much needed tools of the trade.

The Gaither family is also excited to be back together for this Christmas season as Randy, Sheila, and Micah are currently stateside.  As a matter of fact, we are trying to stay very close together in order to deal with these chilly temperatures.  To go from 91° to 19° in 48 hours is a bit of a shock to bodies which have developed very thin blood after living in Belize.  As previously mentioned, Micah is trying very hard to keep us all in line and we are desperately attempting to stay off the “naughty list” while Brandon is trying to survive another semester of finals.  All joking aside, we are so very thankful for all of God’s blessings and for such a wonderful year.  We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Merry Christmas!
from Randy, Sheila, and Micah

Tax deductible contributions may be made to GEM at PO Box 348, Bismarck, AR 71929