Things have been rocking and rolling for our family over the last month. Now we are in the States, back at home with family and friends and RESTING….well, sort of. Resting as much as our family does!
Before I get to our post for this week, I wanted to share a couple of other related posts that our family had a hand in.
First of all, we wrote about our favorite gifts to bring home from Belize as part of the PPM Staff’s Blog series “Gifts we bring home”. You can read that post here.
Also, we were featured in the Praying Pelican Missions Blog “A Bucket List Mission Trip Turns into Full-Time Missions.”
Praying Pelican Missions is founded upon three pillars of ministry. Those pillars are genuine partnership, long-term relationship and sustainable ministry. About a year ago, I was praying through how to improve sustainable ministry in Belize. I was wrestling with “how can we meet physical needs in a tangible continuous way?” We were doing food ministry and that was AWESOME. But we could do more.
On a trip earlier in our time in Belize, I saw and took this picture.
Sleeping baby in Southern Belize
A child sleeping in a hammock, tied up and without a bed. I was shocked through my American eyes. But I gained cultural eyes. I knew this was just life, a way to do things. Then as I went on more and more home visits in 2012 and 2013, I met more and more kids, teenagers, some of our own staff and ministry partners that slept on the floor. I met parents who hadn’t ever had a bed to sleep in for their own, always sharing the bed with 2, 3, 4 kids. I met kids who slept on what couldn’t even be called a floor. The same floor with termite-infested boards or worse. The privileged ones slept wrapped in hammocks or on egg-crate foam that some of us had on top of our beds in college to make them softer! I was taken aback.
I came home and shared with Amy, God is showing us this so we can do something I feel but what. How can meeting this need lead more people into a relationship with Him?
Amy agreed and reminded me of building bunk beds with the Hope For Belize teams serving in Sandhill in 2009, 2010, 2011. It was a EUREKA moment for me!
Hope for Belize Team – delivering a bunk bed constructed for a local family in 2009
I started researching bunk bed plans, material costs, tool requirements, etc. For those who know me, THIS was a HUGE deal! For us in our relationship I came up with the ideas and Amy executed them. She owned the power tools. In fact once we tried to install a ceiling fan together and well for the sake of our marriage, we decided NOT to do that again. Power tools = NOT Josh’s thing!
Fast forward to my first mission trip leading experience for Praying Pelican Missions. I remember sitting in a restaurant in Belize City with Rob and Tony thinking about everything that was before me for the next week. I was comfortable with the spiritual leading, the speaking, the logistics, the relationships. One thing I was NOT comfortable with was the project! We were building pews that week for the church and I was afraid. Rob told me the Lord will provide the workers if that is the project He wants to get done and of course HE DID! The team was awesome and we got a lot more than those benches done!
Now here I was with a burden from the Lord and a potential solution and no discernible skills to accomplish the task. How was The Lord to use me to create a bunk bed plan, an estimate, a materials list? Who was going to teach people how to build them? So I went into Madeline’s room and looked at her bunk beds and started praying! And praying….and praying. I kept coming back to Rob’s statement to me about 3 years ago, The Lord will provide to get done what he wants to get done. Moses had the same question in building the Tent of Meeting and He provided the Workers in Exodus.
After some laboring and one prototype that Jojo now sleeps in I was ready to lead our first team in bunk bed construction. And it was AWESOME.
In one week, we built 12 bunk bed sets. That’s beds for 24 kids in the States but in Belize, one could estimate about 3 kids per set so that’s 30 kids who could sleep in their own space, out of mom and dad’s bed, off the floor. That’s over 30 kids who now had a place to lay their head at night. Those are moms who can now sleep comfortably not worrying about who is in their bed, not smashed against each other in the bed, not worried about what is crawling on their kids at night. It’s peace. It’s comfort. It’s joy.
Bunk bed sets in the middle of construction!
Completed Bunk bed set, ready for delivery and in house assembly.
We stopped in one house during the week and delivered a bag of grocery staples (rice, beans, sugar, flour, etc). The mom was obviously intoxicated and in this small 10×12 house, I couldn’t fully understand who all lived there. That Thursday we stopped back to deliver a bunk bed set. It was home to the mom, a youth, another youth with 2 kids, and Lawrence. Lawrence has cerebral palsy and was sleeping on the floor. When we learned what the situation was I was almost sick to my stomach, literally. I couldn’t imagine this boy whose muscles were so rigid already was forced to sleep on this rotted floor. We got the bed in after removing the old materials and a full litter of puppies, not even two weeks old. And here was Lawrence was squealing in delight.
We set up the bed with the mattresses, the pillows, the new sheets and then were on our way out but Lawrence stopped us. He motioned for us to come back in and he wanted to show us him sitting on the top bunk of his new bed. He was BEAMING. A sense of true joy. A sense of true value. One bed set, one family changed forever.
Stories like that we repeated over and over again at each house as our delivery team delivered and set up these bunk beds. It was a joy, a blessing to be a part of such hope. But each time we were asked “why us? Whose this from?” We answered plainly and clearly.
“God loves you. and We at Galilee Baptist Church in Belize City Love you. This is from God to show his love and meet your needs”
So what’s the big deal? Why make beds? The answer in my mind is that it’s what Jesus would have done. Our savior met needs everywhere and anywhere no matter what they were and it was a HUGE blessing to work with a local church and partner team to do the same in Belize.
Rob said “If it is the Lord’s project. He will provide the skills in the people, the tools, and the resources.” God most certainly did. Praise God! Sustainable ministry in this instance was meeting a physical need in a local community continuously, permanently. Sustainable ministry…one of the pillars of healthy ministry at Praying Pelican Missions. Sustainable ministry – now those kids lay their heads down to sleep on comfortable beds, many for the first time in their lives. Wow!
Lawrence after climbing down from the Top Bunk to get a picture!
Praises and Prayer Requests
- In the States – Amy, kids, and I are in the States. We arrived last Wednesday and have enjoyed yogurt, salads, deli meat sandwiches, family, friends, and Frozen on Ice so far! Continue to pray that this time is RESTFUL and we can come back refreshed and ready for a new season of ministry at the start of the year!
- Visit to Ohio – Today, Monday, Amy and I are off to visit our GREAT FRIENDS Matt and Faith in Ohio. Pray for us that it is a much needed and awesome time away from the kids, pray for my parents who are keeping all three kids! Pray for this time just to enrich our friendship with Matt and Faith significantly!
- Speaking Engagements – Amy and I have the awesome opportunity to share how the Lord is moving in Belize while we are back in the States. Be in Prayer for these times, that we can clearly communicate to people how God is moving and accurately CELEBRATE all the amazing things He has done!
- If you are interested in hearing us speak, we will be at the following locations.
- Dec 14 – College Park Baptist Church – Ruth Sunday School Class around 9:30AM
- Dec. 21st – The Point Church – Apex Campus, off Highway 55
- Dec. 26 – Dec 30th – in and around Raleigh – message us to link up. We would love to see you!
- Jan 4th – REVO CHURCH – NORTH Campus – Both services, Rural Hall, NC.
- Praise – Medical Team at Omega – In Mid November we had a medical team serve at Omega, Paula’s church, in Western Belize. I was sitting with Pastor Elizabeth, Paula’s mom, and she shared with me that over 25 people had surrendered their lives to Christ! PRAISE HIM FOR LIVES CHANGED!
As you sit at home and life slows down this Christmas season, know that our family is praying for you all. We love each and every one of you who sacrifice for our family. You are cherished by us and it is a honor to partner with you all in The Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Richest Blessings this beautiful Monday Morning,