What does Belize have to do with this Fork In The Road series? There isn’t a single answer! But our work there is coming to a fork in the road. And that is really how it began. So let me share what is happening.
Belize: Five Years Ago
Five years ago (this month!) I got an email from ROW’s home office. It was about a pastor in Belize who had requested help. I didn’t know him but God made his name and his needs a burden on my heart. This story is one I have recited often when speaking to various groups. And it’s easy to see that from the beginning my relationship with this pastor was a God thing.
I sent email to friends and supporters asking them to pray for a pastor in Belize. The funny thing was I didn’t even get his name right when I asked. It took several months for me to learn that his correct name had not survived several forwards in the email world. Anyway….
God knew who we were praying for. And in the Fall of 2012 I took a solo trip to Belize to meet this pastor and do an onsite assessment of needs. That was a fork in the road for me. And all the actions taken were consistent with principles I’ve discussed in the two previous posts. So this series on navigating the forks in life’s roads isn’t some academic exercise.
Belize: Lives Intersecting
Ministry is about people. We often think of it terms of tasks. And there were plenty of tasks in Belize. Teams did construction, evangelism, medical, education, and water purification projects to name a few. But those tasks were just the means to an end. The end is people. And our great task is to equip others to do the work of Kingdom ministry.
My life has been enriched by sharing life with brothers and sisters in Belize. Leading teams and working with the incredible people on those teams has been equally rewarding. But a good mission has an important element no one really likes to talk about.
Belize: An Exit
As I read back over my work I realize it sounds a bit nostalgic. That’s not my goal but I don’t know how to avoid it. Good mission work is meant to equip and empower. It is not intended to create, or foster, dependency. And when we reach the inevitable fork at the end of the road one would think things would be easy. They might be. But in this case they have been challenging and difficult. And what follows will give you some insight on those challenges.
Belize: Helping Hands
Helping hands is how we engage with one another in missions. You will notice that in the menu icons and the donation tab to the upper right. We are expecting to graduate our Belize pastors next month. There are needs in churches that only helping hands can meet. And this all sounds a bit routine, right? Well, it has been anything but that. Please note the following items.
- Today we are one month from departure. Our team is still lacking one person to round it out. Will you please pray about that (and all the things that follow)?
- Graduation – Each year we have taught and trained pastors. That is a usual-and-normal expense. But this is our graduation year. We need about $150/pastor for the graduation and reception. At the graduation we want to have gifts for the pastors and their wives to help them celebrate. The number expected is only 10-12 but it’s a bigger obligation than it appears. Each pastor will have family and church members present. The number of people at the event/reception turns a handful of graduates into a fairly big event.
- Construction – We have project needs for churches. One has a construction need. Another needs a generator. And I have received a request to help a church that had some sound equipment stolen. Two other churches have construction needs beyond their abilities. We can help but dollars are needed.
This description is very much a bird’s eye view! Just let me say that this effort needs significant funding. But prayer is equally necessary. The more I’ve tried to speak with people and address these needs the more I am convinced that spiritual warfare is at hand. Why would that be?
Belize: The Mission
As stated the mission is about people. The Book of Acts records that Paul went about strengthening and encouraging the churches. That is our mission in Belize. There are tasks, but those are not the mission. They are important and that’s where prayers and funding come in. But our time is going to focus on encouraging God’s people. We want to:
- Affirm them
- Pray with them
- Pray for them
- Instruct them
And all of that will encourage them. Do I have to ask how you respond if people do those things for you? Our friends in Belize will react the same way. And I just have to believe the enemy doesn’t want that to happen. Will you pray? Will you help? Please do. And if you never saw, or don’t remember, our work over the past 5 years just type Belize into the search box in the right-hand menu.