It’s been two weeks and my heart and Belly are full. My heart is full of God’s answered prayers. My belly is full because Pastor Lloyd and I have had the wonderfully opportunity to do church a couple of times together over the last few weeks.
A digression for a moment – when I say church, I am not discussing what happens within the walls of a church building or opening the Bible and learning from the Lord. One must remember that I grew up Southern Baptist. When I say church that means Pastor Lloyd and I are sitting down in the evening over a nice, really nice plate of food, often fish. Also to note I find it interesting how one of the most godly men I know LOVES fish…just like Jesus (cooking fish for the disciples, feeding the 5000 with fish, etc.). So there you have it. Church is a meal. There is also chapel – usually lunch and much less frequently devotion which is typically breakfast or lunch on the go.
Ok, we’re back. Anyway, as I sit back and reflect on where the Lord has directed me over the last couple of weeks, I am overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction. I am overwhelmed by his goodness. My heart is full.
For example, in our last update I was calling for prayers for the churches to work together. God answered this prayer in a mighty way. Here’s what happened.
Through Pastor Ed we connected with a potential new ministry in a more remote area of Belize. After thinking that I may have to dodge poison blow darts (joking), the winding and bumpy road opened up to a beautiful Yucatec Maya village. The scenery alone was truly breath-taking. I approach the first church we see and ask for a specific pastor that we are looking for. The pastor at this church speaks the one who we are looking for’s praises. He takes us to his door step and prays for The Lord to bless our meeting. Pastor Ed and I speak for some time with this pastor and he mentions that the churches are unified in the village. They are not vying for each other’s flock but working together to reach additional people in the village for the Lord. They even mentioned that all the evangelical churches were working together to manage a primary school….UNHEARD OF IN BELIZE. I left hopefully but cynical.
I was then speaking with one of our staff for the summer who has intimate knowledge of the village and without my prompting, he goes on and on how he has never, ever seen churches work together in Belize like they do in this village. He said it literally was like there is only one church but different outposts and worship styles. Well, I called Pastor Ed right away and asked him to schedule another meeting in this village.
Yesterday, Pastor Ed and I had the opportunity to meet with a council of the 5 leaders of the evangelical churches in the community and they shared their heart for ministry, their partnership with each other, and their desire for assistance. They were looking for ideas. It was a huge blessing to let them know that this summer we have a team of 70 people ready willing and able to give ideas and time to encourage not an individual church or pastor in the village but The CHURCH of the village. The smiles and joy I saw was truly inspirational. God is up to something here.
Another story: I have been praying for some time for a couple of additional items in Belize. The first is sustainable ministry. Really I am wrestling with the balance of how do we have a team come down here and do ministry that is lasting, that goes beyond one week a year but into each week. I come back to vocational training, ministerial training, and meeting physical needs on-going. As I sat in a Catholic Parish in Western Belize, I sat with a Father and 2 leaders of schools and it was as if they saw through me into my heart and confirming and agreeing with everything that was there. We could not have been MORE EQUALLY YOKED! I am so excited to spend more time there.
Next Level: Burton, a great friend of mine, has a song called “Next Level.” It is about how as Christians we can move on to the next level. There were some growth points for me in my walk. The first was when I stopped living in habitual sin and pretending I was a Christian. The second was when I read the Bible all the way through for the first time. And so on. I have been wrestling through “what is the next level that we, that I, can be doing here in Belize. So the other day Rob and I are talking about it and we come upon the idea of a Pastor’s conference. It’s time that much like Pastor Ed gets people together for children’s ministry, that we get ministry leaders together to share transformational ideas in ministry. I have the awesome opportunity to see churches really getting after it and succeeding in specific areas of ministry, so how do we share that with The Church in Belize. This is the answer. So after speaking with some of our Belize staff, and key presenters, we are targeting having a Pastor’s conference this fall. I am so excited to see Belizean ministry leaders share with other Belizean ministry leaders ideas on social programs, how to create a generous culture in the church, children’s ministry, leadership development, and youth ministry. I ask for prayers for wisdom and discernment as we move forward in preparing for such an event!
The Lord is up to something big here in Belize. We may be part of a new church revival here in Belize, in fact I am sure of it. The next generation isn’t held back by the denominational ties that bound them before. The time is now for The Church in Belize to work together and transform ministry, transform communities, and transform this country. I am so unbelievably excited about what the Lord is doing here! Prayers are being answered in big big ways!
Things are crazy fun in our family right now. Madeline is working hard in school and things are gearing down. The garden is in full swing, especially now with the surprise appearances of potatoes and additional watermelon plants (the rain and soil with compost must be good!!). We are enjoying the spoils of okra and tomatoes and are waiting for squash and zucchini to come in. Jojo is jojo, wild and cray and a servant at heart. Madeline’s compassion still reigns in our house. Low compassion for those in her family, HIGH compassion for those on the outside….we are working on compassion within our family. Elijah is still thin (please be in prayer for his weight, he needs to gain some!). Amy and I are doing great. And we just booked a vacation for just the two of us for THREE NIGHTS at the end of the summer!! AND they gave us a 50% DISCOUNT!!!!! The Lord is with us here in Belize.
Praises / Prayer Requests:
- Praise – The Lord is answering prayers in putting people in our path who want to see The Church in Belize work together! Praise God for new genuine partnerships.
- Praise – Amy and I are booked for a vacation at the end of the summer and it was 50% discounted because we live in Belize!!! YES. Praise God for this time away already. Pray for Leah, who will be with our children for these days!
- First Trip – We are kicking off summer trips this weekend. Be in prayer for 500 people to be saved this summer. Pray for Herman and the first team serving in and around Belmopan starting this weekend!
- Staff Travel – over the next couple of weeks, we have our full-time and seasonal staff arriving in Belize. Pray for them as they leave their families for some period of time. Pray specifically for protection from the enemy and any attacks he may try and bring. I am blessed to serve with this team of world-changers. Pray that the Lord opens their ears, eyes, mouth to not only be Jesus’ hands and feet but to be Jesus mouth, eyes, ears to the people we serve this summer.
- Elijah’s weight – the boy needs to gain weight. He needs to gain 2 pounds by his next doctor’s appointment.
- Pastor Ed’s Training – Amy and I are participating in Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training this weekend. Pray for us as we are teaching some high-energy VBS songs and I am preaching Saturday morning. We are praying for 200 children’s ministry workers and 75 churches from 3 countries!
- Broken homes and broken girls – I was somewhere a few days ago and I heard stories of pre-teen girls sold by their families for very small sums of money or worse yet virtually nothing at all. Some of these very young girls even ended up pregnant and they thought there wasn’t anything wrong with the transaction. My heart aches for things like this. I have asked The Lord to reveal where the battles are. Pray for me for endurance as my eyes are opened. I do not know that I am ready for this.
- Margin – We are doing a great job of margin in our lives right now. As summer kicks off and things get busy with trips, please pray that I have the discipline to keep the margin appropriate in my life.
- Fundraising – Amy and I are in a great place with fundraising. We are however looking to on-board 6 new monthly supporters by the end of June. If you have not contributed to our ministry financially before or if you have given a one-time financial gift, we are asking you to prayerfully consider becoming a monthly supporter.
We are so thankful for your love and support of our family. Continue to write when you can. Your encouragement motivates to continue pursuing the Gospel of Jesus and making Him famous throughout Belize! We look forward to sharing with you all the miracles our Lord will do this summer! Praise God!
Because They Haven’t Heard,