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Daily Narrative from the Belize Mission Group

Date and Time Posted: Sunday August 12, 2012 - 8:20:36 am

Sunday, August 12, 2012 What a glorious time this has been with my brothers and sisters in Christ, working to help the poor, sick, and needy in Belize! We are preparing to leave Roaring Creek in a few hours, and have been blessed immensely by this week. On Saturday morning, part of the team loaded into the bus for the ride to Belize City, and the boat ride to Caye Caulker. The waters were muddy near shore, and choppy, but calmed a little when we arrived closer to the island. The group split, some shopping and walking around the island, while others ate lunch and went snorkeling in the afternoon. One of the Team, Jerry Greene, had planned on making the boat ride with the snorkelers, but didn't; this allowed him to meet Pastor Benny, and together, they took an island tour. After completing the tour, they talked to the driver, and gave him the salvation message, resulting in a new Christian! God uses our mistakes (not catching the snorkeling boat) to His glory (the island tour would not have happened). To God be all glory. Some of the Team remained at the camp to assure the clinic was open, and more than 30 people were treated on Saturday! After leaving the island, we had an uneventful boat ride and drive back to Roaring Creek compound, followed by a dinner of spaghetti, salad, bread, and deserts. Later, the Team had devotions, with the theme: "The Great Commandment-What Will You Do?" God had called Matthew to be a disciple, a reviled tax collector, and when Jesus was asked about this, He replied that He had come to save the sick and lost. The Pharisees had a religion, just as many claim Christianity, but did not show an understanding of what God expects of them. In life today, Christianity seems to be less relevant to many people, and even within the church, Christians feel as if they are not loved. It seems the "church" has left her first love, and although it is busy sponsoring missions, construction, and a multitude of activities, it has not done what Christ said is the greatest commandment - to love - God and our neighbors as ourselves! We have witnessed hands, hearts, feet, mouths, and bodies being used to show God's love this week, and the challenge was given to go back to the States, and to ask God what He would have us to do to show God's love in ALL that we do! The Team members were then blessed by the testimony of the experiences of many of the Team this week. In summary, over 500 people passed through the clinic this week, nearly 600 kids received their supplies, and at least 36 people were saved! As we prepared to board the flight to the States, we will always fondly remember how God selected the members on this Team, and how God used us in a mighty way to glorify the name of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Continue to pray for Dave, Verna, Teresa, Body and Soul Ministries, and especially for the people of Belize, that God continues to bless them as they continue their service in His name.

Posted By:Jerry McMurray

Date and Time Posted: Saturday August 11, 2012 - 12:29:05 am

Thursday and Friday, October 9th and 10th, 2012 “But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which hsall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.” Mark 9:39 Thursday had been a day of fewer kids and families coming to the clinic, and to pick up their books, and yet it was a good day for both Teams. The Book Distribution Team had a very low turnout due to the fact that many of the children had come earlier in the week to avoid the potential hurricane, and thus, the Team had processed over 65% of the total children in two days! The clinic had also had a lower turnout, but remained steadily busy through the day. Pastor Benny enjoyed the opportunity to minister to the spiritual needs of the kids and parents, and by the end of the day, he reported that more had given their lives to Christ, with a total of 35 having been saved in the past six days!!! Many of the Book Distribution team went to the Art Box to look at local Belizean souvenirs and carvings while the Medical Team remained busy. After returning to the Site, and having another delicious meal, many of the team went to Uriah for the Thursday night Spanish service. The attendees enjoyed the service, especially since it was translated into English, and the power of the Holy Spirit was evident. Friday morning started with some showers, and the Teams allowed the Belizeans to get under the tents as soon as possible. It quickly became evident that many of the children arriving were without sponsors, believing that Friday was still a “free day,” We had to tell many of the children, and parents, that we had no materials to give out as all were dedicated to the sponsored children. Many had walked miles to get “anything” that we might be giving away, and many children asked to be sponsored, or to sponsor their siblings, nephews, etc. After seeing several of these children, we went out to make an announcement to get the children without sponsors to leave as the Team members were individually turning children away. By early afternoon, the Book Distribution ceased, and backpacks were prepared for the remaining sponsored students that had not yet been to the Compound. We said our goodbyes to the locals that had assisted us in the distribution, and distributed bicycles to the few kids whose sponsors had purchased them a bike. Some of the children were delivered to their homes, and the Teams assembled in the dining hall for dinner, followed by devotions. The dinner consisted of potatoes, chicken, corn, and chocolate cake (a birthday cake – one of the helpers, and a Team member had a birthday today) with “bubble gum” ice cream (one of the unique flavors of Western Dairy). The devotions were conducted by James (Jim) White, who based his discussion on the “miracle principle” (expect a miracle, make a miracle happen). Indeed, Jim stated that we don’t see miracles because we don’t expect them to happen. Miracles happening depend upon your level of faith, and to illustrate, he told the story of Lucinda and Charles Swinson, who lived through a major hurricane and its impact. The Swinsons had stayed in their home, with their children, until the hurricane ripped off their home’s roof. The family then, with the water rising, went to a tree fifty-foot from the home - a tree that had withstood many hurricanes. The family held onto the tree limbs, with the father holding onto the two sons. As the water rise, he lost his hold on one of the boys, who fell into the swirling water. Upon the exclamation of the father that one of the boys was lost, Lucinda said: “Expect a miracle…make a miracle happen,” and within a minute, the son “popped up” out of the water into the hands of the family. Hours later, they clung to the tree as the water took them to the top of the tree, with little remaining to hold onto. The father stated that he was expecting death; she replied with the same adage, and again a third time. The next day, after holding to the tree for hours, the family was rescued; eight days later, Lucinda gave birth to her child. “Expect a miracle….make a miracle happen!” During the time that the family was clinging to a tree, Lucinda was singing a hymn of praise to God for his ability to deliver them, even through the dangers of life. Jim stated that, when he got off the plane days earlier, that he had expectations of what Belize, as a third-world country, would be like based on his military travels. However, as the mission week ends, he has realized how shallow his faith was-there are so many things that he now sees that the needs to build his faith, and to walk in God’s path and not sway the much. Jim stated that he has seen miracles each day of the week – he saw it in the workers and the Team members; he saw it in the activities, compassion, and deeds of Frank, Dave, and Verna; he saw it in the eyes and hands of the clinic workers as they treated the variety of ailments of the people. Before concluding in prayer, Jim stated that “when we get our faith right, we can expect miracles!” As an example, many had prayed for the movement of the hurricane away from Belize, and if you look at the path of the storm, there was a “loop” in the path before moved away from Belize and to the upper portion of the Yucatan. This response is the same as many of the past missionaries…..if you believe in, and look for God to provide miracles, then it will happen! Why do we not see miracles in our daily lives, and yet see them in Belize? The answer is in the statement…expect a miracle, make a miracle happen! If we ever stopped to list all the mighty acts or miracles in the Bible, we would be astounded because they cover all aspects of life…birth, personal development, salvation, healing, loving friends, etc. Look for miracles in your lives daily….and you will find God still performs miracles daily. The Team again enjoyed fellowship and ice cream before turning in for the evening. Many of the Team are looking forward to tomorrow’s trip to Caye Caulker, one of the offshore islands, for a day of relaxation, rest, and even snorkeling! Pray for the Team as they enjoy their “off day.” Please include our Team in your prayers, as some of the Team have a low-grade fever and/or congestion and symptoms of a cold. We have been blessed this week to have seen many miracles of God, and give all praise to our Savior that His servants have seen!

Posted By:Jerry McMurray

Date and Time Posted: Thursday August 9, 2012 - 8:18:06 am

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 Psalm 72:13 – He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. In our world of sin’s curse, many die daily in poverty and without salvation. God has sent the Medical and the Book Distribution Teams to Belize to help the poor and needy, and to minister to their spiritual needs. This was evident from the events of the day. The Team awoke to a good breakfast, as usual, but with trepidation concerning what was to happen in the day. Hurricane Ernesto’s path had changed overnight, with the tropical storm expected to become a hurricane before landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula. The path, originally set for the center of Belize, shifted northward, with landfall expected to occur near, or north, of the Belizean/Mexican border.The word has been circulated in the community that, instead of sticking just to the fixed school-dependent schedule, any student could come. The School Distribution team processed over 220 students during the day, working from 0800 to 1830, with only a short break for lunch. There were the usual problems, with some students having difficulty in attending due to the parents keeping them out of school to watch their siblings; this problem was addressed by counseling the parents in the church, as well as counseling the students on the value of the gift offered to them by their sponsors. The Medical team also faced a large crowd that day, and processed over 175 patients by day’s end. There were also stories – children were treated for disorders (sprained ankles, eye infections, etc.), as well as parents. Pastor Benny counseled several families, with one large family having all of the adults praying to accept Christ! There were some problems that could not be remedied easily; for example, the one boy whose arm had been injured, and had set back in a position that had limited his arm’s movement. The Teams both retired early after a hard day’s work. The men attended the Men’s Bible Study at Faith Baptist on Tuesday night, and participated in a good discussion of missions, and growth of the early Christian church, based on a reading of the last verses of Acts, Chapter 7, and the first 8 verses of Acts, Chapter 8. The early apostles faced real persecution in their lives; persecution is still real to the church today as evidenced by many examples in Muslim worlds, and the Hindu persecution of Christians in India. The book of Acts records the spread of the early church despite the persecution, and mainly due to the influence of the Holy Spirit to implement God’s plan. The mission field challenges us to “get out of our comfort zone,” as does the persecution of the early church. It is evident that many of our churches have lost their “focus,” relying on activities as stated in the Great Commission, to prove the Church’s compliance with God’s laws, but that sometimes such activities are done for the wrong reason, and not to show the Love of Christ. It is important to know that the Apostles did not flee, but kept the leadership focused on Christ. It is a distraction for any mission effort to preach any other doctrine or activities other than Chris. Philip preached Christ; people around us need to see the Christ that we preached. It is also important to know that, when Stephen was being stoned, that Paul assented to the death. In those days, the witnesses cast the first stones in the death of the guilty. We need to recognize the needs of the Holy Ghost in all that we do. In recognition of the Christian ministries in Belize, it is evident that they are vocal, and are fighting the “Gay Agenda” that is being promoted by some in the country, and being lead by individuals from the United States. Many people are trying, as in the United States, to condemn the church; the church needs to respond in words, just like Stephen he was being stoned to death – forgive even our enemies. The pastor indicated that the young lady converted on Monday had said that she had a “change inside,” but it was a change that was radiated outward, as evidenced by the smile on their face. A lot of missionaries in the world today lack the depth of knowledge in the Lord; indeed, it is strange that today the United States, once the Christian bastion of the world, has missionaries from Africa that have been sent to the States to bring them the Gospel! The church has failed to maintain the Word, and has failed to take a stand based on the Word of God, resulting in the catastrophic state of our nation. May God bless churches in Belize as they take a courageous stand against the forces of Satan! After Bible Study, the Team retired to the dining hall, where we were treated to chocolate, vanilla, and rum-raisin ice cream from Western Dairies! It was just a treat to end a hard day of labor for the Lord! Although we had some heavy downfalls earlier on Tuesday afternoon, no major flooding had occurred. The Internet indicated that the Hurricane had made landfall in Mexico late Tuesday night, and was expected to cross the peninsula in the next twenty-four hours. The prayers of many had been answered, and we were expecting a quiet night, with the potential for heavy rains. Regardless, the Teams were prepared for what God had in store, and retired with confidence in God to help us in whatever tasks that we are to face in the coming day. Wednesday, August 8, 2012 The Team awoke to a surprise – no significant downpours, and the Hurricane having moved inland north of Belize in the Mexico. The bands had resulted in a downpour that night, and late Tuesday afternoon, but it did not prevent the Team from getting rest, and preparing for another day. After erecting the two tents for the Belizeans to sit under during the rain, the Team enjoyed a breakfast of sausage links, biscuits, eggs, and fruit. Promptly at 0800, the doors to the Compound and Clinic were opened to the children. The day progressed well, with nearly 80 children having received their books by mid-day. In addition, each child was questioned on their spiritual state, with those not being Christians being given the plan of salvation before they received their books. There were, as usual, heartbreaking stories presented to the Team, such as the young man who had failed because he did not go to class after being repeatedly bullied by other students at the school, and being suspended for fighting in defense. This student is going to be moved to a different school to allow him to succeed in life. There were some disappointments, with some of the children professing failure in their lessons the last year; all were counseled on the need to improve, and that they should seek help from Verna and Dave at the camp if they have difficulty in their lessons. Over 100 children passed through the clinic today, bringing the total to over 450 kids thus far. The clinic also experienced a good attendance today, with a number of issues. One of the heartbreaking events of the day was the young child, only three years old, suffering from terminal cancer that was brought to the clinic. This child’s condition had already deteriorated to the point where the child had lost his sight, and was observed to be crying for his mother, looking up to the ceiling, but not seeing anything. One of the thoughts through my mind was that God had not created this world in this condition, and that disease, death, and suffering was the consequence of sin in the world. We prayed for the child, knowing that its days in this world were nearing an end, and that his heavenly father would soon be calling him home! The evening service at Faith Baptist this evening began at 0700 p.m., with Pastor Benny Woods bringing the message. The service began with Prayer lead by Brother Frank Waldo, and then singing by several of the congregation (in groups or as singles). Pastor Woods brought a message entitled “7 Things Included in True Repentance,” and took a variety of Scriptures as references: 1. Genesis 3: 1-4: 1-Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord Go d had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden? 2-And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3-but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hat h said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4-And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. 2. 2 Samuel 11:1-4: “And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when the kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass at eventide that David arose from off his bed, and walked on the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3-And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said: Is this not Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah-the Hittite? 4-And David sent messengers, and took her, and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness, and she returned unto her house.” 3. James 1:13-15: 13-Let no man say when he is tempted I am tempted of god: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14l-but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15-Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 4. Psalm 51:1-4: 1-Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2-Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3-For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. 4-Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightiest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Pastor Benny pointed out that the Scriptures show the effect of “sin’s temptations” and the “deadly progression. The question that exists, then, is how to “reverse the progression” of sin to condemnation by God? The answer to this question is given in 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The answer to the questions is true repentance. Seven things are given in the Psalms concerning true repentance: 1. Responding with Godly sorrow for personal sin; no true repentance occurs unless there is contrition, and sorrow for what we have done against God. The example given in the Scripture is the Apostle Peter, for he wept “bitterly” after the cock crowed the third time, and it was brought to his mind how Jesus had foretold Peter’s betrayal of Him. 2. Readiness to confess that sin. David acknowledged his sin with Bathsheba; for believers, God keeps our sin before us, and brings it to our remembrance. It is necessary that we be ready to ready to confess our sins, and ask for forgiveness. 3. Turn from your ways. It is necessary that we accept that we have sinned, and to turn from the practices that are sin. In the New Testament, the word is “metanoia,” meaning to turn; in the Old Testament, the word used is “shuia.” 4. Receiving God’s forgiveness. It is necessary to be receptive to the forgiveness that God has offered, and that is a difficult thing for many people to do. Pastor stated that, over the 40+ years of his ministry, he has found many people that cannot accept God’s forgiveness for their past sins, and are constantly blaming themselves. 5. Being restored to a right relationship with God. Once there is repentance, true repentance, the relationship between you and God is restored, a relationship that is broken by sin. 6. We rejoice over the restoration. We feel emotion, as God feels emotion, when we see that the relationship has been restored with God. 7. We have a readiness to witness to others. David wanted to teach others about God’s love, and about the truth. David stated, in Psalm 139:23, that he desired God to search his heart, and try his ways, to see if there were any wicked thoughts. Each month in the world over 1 million people die in their sins! God is in the saving business through us, for we are his mouthpiece in the world. The process of salvation is very simple, with only three steps: 1) Realize you are lost; 2) Feel truly sorry for what you have done; and 3) Be willing to turn from your sins, and to accept Christ as Savior, and to follow Him. The team enjoyed a short period of fellowship, and some ice cream, before retiring for the day. We praise God for his blessings, and giving us the strength to do His will in serving the people of Belize, and in spreading the Gospel of Christ in Belize!

Posted By:Jerry McMurray

Date and Time Posted: Tuesday August 7, 2012 - 12:03:41 am

Monday, August 06, 2012 Day 1 of Book Distribution and Medical Clinic-Body and Soul Compound “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. – 1 Corinthians 3:7 Another glorious day in Belize for the two mission teams at the Body and Soul Ministries. The day began with a good breakfast in preparation for the coming children, and families, that were going to arrive at the camp, for this was the first day of the Book Distribution and Clinic. The Teams were anxiously viewing the weather channels for updates to the current status of Tropical Storm Ernesto, looking to see if it was going to pose a change to the plans. It was a reminder that, as we all know, God is in control, and he has assembled two teams that have experienced medical personnel, disaster relief personnel, and first-aid trained personnel who are prepared for whatever happens this week. Between 0730 and 0800, the Team made the last few preparations that were required before letting the children, and adults, into the camp’s two buildings-the Book Distribution Center and the Clinic. A second tent was erected in front of the Book Center, and was tied to the nearby structures to assure that the wind would not blow the tent down during the time the children were in the tent’s shade. Although a schedule had been established that would have minimized the students that would come on Monday, word was spread that any student who had a sponsor, and a card indicating such, would be allowed to come to the camp and pick up their supplies. Each child was brought into the building, where the first activity was a review of their school record for the previous year, favorite subject, as well as a discussion of whether they were attending a church regularly, and whether they had accepted Christ as their Savior. Depending on the responses, the children were admonished to continue to do well to please their sponsors, or were told the Salvation Plan in order to at least “plant the seed of the Gospel” in their hearts. The children were then processed to confirm their sponsorship; given toys; then given their uniforms, backpacks, and book supplies, before being sent to the dining hall to have their pictures made, get shoes and socks, and to write their letters to their sponsors. As needed, the children were sent to the clinic, or a doctor was brought to the Book Distribution Center, to address any specific any medical concerns that were identified by the Distribution Team. The Medical Team worked throughout the day addressing a variety of medical issues by surrounding personnel. In addition, Pastor Benny Woods took the opportunity to spend time with the families that had visited the clinic, and to bring the Gospel message to them. In particular, the young lady that had the baby, and who had received food from the evangelism team the previous day, arrived at the clinic, and was brought the Gospel message by Pastor Benny, resulting in the young lady’s conversion, and acceptance of Christ. By the time the day was over, a total of 10 people had given their lives to Jesus! A variety of medical issues had been addressed, attesting to God’s use of the skills of this Team! The evening concluded with a dinner of chicken, rice, plantain, and chocolate cake with white icing! The Team then had a devotions presented by Adrienne Robertson, who showed a video by the group Hillsong entitled “All I Need Is You.” This video used the song as background to present a sponsorship program for the kids of African nations. Some of the points were startling – that 12 millions Aids victims live in Africa, and over 1 billion children are living in poverty today. Although the sponsorship program focused on the physical needs of the children, the common thread is that God expects us to help those in need in any way that we can, and although the needs are overwhelming at times, that is no excuse for not doing our best to help those in need. After devotions, the two teams retired to get a good night’s rest, for the rest of the week poses potential challenges for the Teams. Continue to pray for the Teams that we are used to the best of our abilities. Regardless of what besets us, we know that God will direct our paths to use our capabilities as He needs, and for the glory of Jesus Christ!

Posted By:Jerry McMurray

Date and Time Posted: Monday August 6, 2012 - 1:30:43 am

This narrative covers Thursday-Sunday of both Teams. Saturday, August 04, 2012 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not as with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ , doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free” – Ephesians 6:5-8 Greetings from Body and Soul Ministries in Belize! The Book Distribution Team, and now the Medical Team, have arrived at the camp in Roaring Creek, and thank God for His blessing to allow us to come to Belize to serve the people of Belize in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! In life, all men serve something, or someone, as a master; indeed, we may have many “masters,” whether they be friends, family, spouses, wealth, fame, bosses in our jobs, etc. The Apostle Paul exhorts us to do our best in all that we do, doing our work as unto the Lord, and not for vainglory. In reality, all that matters in our lives is what we do for Christ, in His name, as His servants, and not those things that we do for “eyeservice,” to be seen of men, or as menpleasers, to gain respect from men. We must be obedient to the only master that matters to God’s servants - our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. We appreciate the opportunity to serve God from our hearts, our bodies, and our minds as we are once again in Belize at the Body and Soul Compound. The Book Distribution team arrived safely on Thursday of this week, unpacked, and rested from the trip on Thursday evening. Brother Dave Almen lead the Team in devotions, emphasizing the need to not just help the children by distributing books and materials, but by also ministering to their spiritual needs. Friday was also a very busy day for the Team, starting work early Friday morning. Our focus was on preparing the materials for distribution-sorting book bags, separating the supplies into stacks, opening the paper, counting paper to put into over 600 folders, etc. The work was performed quickly and efficiently, as the Team worked as a group to see that the work was efficiently done. Indeed, many jobs were done such that the Team was offered an opportunity to take Saturday morning to go to Mayan ruins. Friday concluded with a first for the Book Distribution Team – a celebration of the graduation of 18 of the sponsored students. Eight of the invited graduates, along with their families, arrived at the compound by 08:00 P. M. for a time of picture taking, cake and ice cream, but more importantly, to celebrate the accomplishment that our graduates have made in reaching this life milestone. Teresa Hayden inspired them to not just go forth to work, but to be something even above their goals – to be “GREAT.” Indeed, it is the hope and desire of the Body and Soul organization, and the Team members, that the graduates become leaders in the country by doing great things. The Team awoke on Saturday to another hot, humid day, but were refreshed with a good breakfast of toast, jam, eggs, bacon, plantain, and pineapple. Dave and Frank prepared the two vans for the drive to Xunantunich, a large collection of Mayan ruins located near the Guatemalan border. One of the vans was leaking water from the cooling system, but managed to make the drive without requiring a stop to refill the system. Xunantunich is the modern name for an ancient Mayan site located atop a ridge above the Mopan River, a mere 1 kilometer from the border with Guatemala. The name means “Stone Woman” in the Maya language, but is a modern name; the ancient name is unknown. The guide for our excursion explained that the name was given to the site based on a story about a ghost of a woman claimed by several people to inhabit the Site, beginning in 1892. She is reportedly dressed in white, and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of the largest temple in the ruins, known as “El Castillo, and ascends the stone steps, disappearing into the wall. The structure is the second-tallest structure in Belize at 130 feet in height. It is dated to have existed 40 B.C. (by carbon dating, with the temples being located within a radius of 6 kilometers from the main structure). The two vans were loaded onboard a ferry to cross the Mopan River, The Team members were also excited to see several iguanas and howler monkeys, but did not see any spider monkeys (which are known to be in the region). The Team then loaded into the vans for the trip across the river, and stopped for a few minutes at the shops along the river before proceeding to Spanish Lookout for lunch, and ice cream! Returning to the compound, we found that our fellow missionaries of the Medical Team had arrived, with exception of two team members which were hindered from making the trip today. The Book Distribution Team, after a short break, proceeded to bring all of the “sponsor’s gifts” to the main dining hall. Each of the recipient kids was identified, with the sponsor’s name; the type of gift, identification number, and were then sorted by the day that the child was to arrive at the camp to receive their School Supplies. Both Team members ate a delicious dinner of chicken, rice, and cake leftover from the previous night’s graduation ceremony. God then blessed us with devotions being lead by Dr. Joe Smiddy, who read a brief Scripture from the book of Matthew, and then entertained us with a song: “Going Up to Live in Green Pastures.” Dr. Smiddy lead the Team Members through an exercise of “making a window with your hands,” and then moving it closer to your face and eyes. As you move your hands closer, the window of opportunity seems to grow, and it is such for the Teams here in Belize this week. Our “window of opportunity” is in Belize now – here as individuals, as Teams, and for Body and Soul. More than 1000 people are expected to pass through the Compound this week, and it is incumbent on us to feel “good about what we do.” Indeed, Dr. Smiddy told us that his colleagues are amazed at what can be done in such a third world country in such a short time. Indeed, with two Band Aids, and some Tylenol tablets, any missionary can contribute to the peoples health and some way, and that offers an opportunity to ask questions about the Belizeans’ spiritual life. The lack of red tape means that patients will get more time and opportunity to work with the doctors, and to have them address their physical needs. It is an opportunity for all of the missionaries to tell others about Christ, and to show others what we can do with God on our side. Indeed, one author has stated that you can learn to do some things more efficiently and quickly in a developing nation simply due to the lack of institutional barriers. In a previous trip, Dr. Smiddy, and Team, was accosted by a Belizean that was saying “Go Home Americans!” He replied that the Team was not from America, but were there to bring Jesus to the people of Belize! This reply broke down the barriers of resistance, and allowed the Team to communicate with those that were resisting the efforts based on nationality. Indeed, we need to be encouragers, and be of good cheer ourselves, because we are ambassadors of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Dave Almen also stated that we are to “give hope” to the Belizeans by sharing Christ, not just to give them book supplies, but also to bring them the Gospel, the Message of Eternal Hope! After a quick review of tomorrow’s activities (Sunday School at 10:00 A. M., and church at 7:00 P. M. services), the group discussed the opportunity tomorrow to minister to the people through Evangelism with Feeding. Indeed, some of the Team have never been on a mission before, and it is an activity that will change the lives of the Team members. The Book Distribution Team will have one other task to perform tomorrow (sort all of the 700 pairs of shoes), but that can be accomplished quickly as a Team activity. We are keeping an eye on the weather in the Caribbean, and are praying that God’s will be done in the coming week. It is apparent that all of the Team members are flexible, and desire to do God’s will. May we be receptive to God’s calling, and to his desire for us in the days ahead. Mark’s gospel records that, after Jesus had fed the five thousand with the two fishes and the five loaves, the disciples failed later to “considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” May we be receptive to God’s miracles, expecting and looking forward to seeing God’s wonderful work in our lives. Sunday, August 05, 2012 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” – Psalm 12:5 We can see that God cares for the helpless and the poor; he promises to protect the downtrodden and comfort their oppressors. It is evident that the members of the two teams here in Belize understand their role, and are trying to identify with God’s attitude. His work is not done until we care for the needs of the poor, and the abundance of the poor was made evident to the Team members during the “Feeding with Evangelism.” During the trip to Arizona village, many members stated that they “cried” when they saw where some of the Belizeans were living, and how destitute they were. God has reminded us, in Job, Chapter 30, Verse 25, that God weeps for those that are in trouble, and is grieved by the poor. God did not create the world to have men living in this state; it is because of sin that the world is in this state. But Praise be to God----some day the world, and those in it, are going to be delivered from this state, and will live as God originally designed! Sunday started with a good breakfast of pancakes and pineapple, and then prepared for a day of worship and service. The women went to the main sanctuary of Faith Baptist to have a Sunday School class with the Church kids, while the remainder of the Team attended the adult Sunday school class in the dining hall. Pastor Rhaburn brought the lesson, with the Scripture reference of Acts 16:9-15, 16:25-31. These verses refer to Paul’s vision to go to Macedonia, and to follow God’s will to serve Him. Paul found out that obedience can result in issues and problems; Paul and Silas were thrown into jail for preaching the Gospel. As missionaries, we need to pray constantly, asking God for confirmation of His will in our lives. There are times that we are not allowed to do things, or go in directions that we want to go, but God does not allow it due to knowing what is best for us. Pastor Benny Woods told a story about preparing for a trip to India (Bangalore). God had impressed on him to sell his house, and to purchase a smaller house, an activity that he knew his wife would not want to sell their home. For missionary couples, it is important for both members to be in agreement. Being a missionary means that we are taken out of our “comfort zones:” Paul did not have to be in prison – he was highly educated, and could have made a living without being threatened, but he was obedient to God’s demands. Paul went to Macedonia by God’s plan. Pastor Rayburn pointed out that Moses wanted a spokesman – God gave him Aaron, and yet, when you read the Scriptures, and read of the main conflicts, you see that Moses did not need Aaron to do God’s will – God equipped men and women for the work they are to do in the field. The Scriptures tell that, after Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, they praised God, giving opportunity for praising Jesus for their salvation. Indeed, when problems come, many simply try to “lie” or “complain,” but God had given them an opportunity to shine in prison – to show Jesus. One of the class members stated a story about a Belizean prisoner that, after an incident at a prison has resulted in many being injured, walked twenty miles to get help. This individual had been sentenced to 20 years in prison, but upon hearing of his effort, his sentence was reduced to five years. He had the opportunity to shine. In Belizean prisons today, many prisoners are freed for bounty or bribes. The real prisoner in the story of Paul and Silas was the prison guard; Paul and Silas were spiritually free, and the guard was a prisoner to sin. The earthquake shook the prison, and the “prisoner.” It is evident that praising God is the correct way to respond to life’s difficulties. Missionaries have to face many things because they follow Christ, but we need to realize that there is only one that we can go to, for only Jesus Christ can set you free from sin. The Teams then removed material from the storage truck, and had lunch in preparation for an afternoon of feeding/evangelism. The “new” members were loaded into a van, and sent to Arizona village, a needy area west of Belmopan. These members reported that they were blessed to be able to minister to the poor in that area. One young lady had just had a baby, and was recovering from the birth; she broke down when the team presented her with milk for the baby, and food for herself. She stated that she had nothing in the house for either her, or her baby, and the Team was rewarded by the young woman’s joy. When they were returning to the bus, they were confronted by three gang members, who were “high” on substances. Although the Team was nervous, and anxious for the young kids near them, nothing happened, and the Team was allowed to leave without incident. A second group walked through the Roaring Creek community, and were blessed to meet many of the community, and to feed them spiritually and physically. One young woman was not a Christian, and the Salvation message was presented to her. Other Team members remained at the compound to separate, and label, the shoes for the distribution this week. This group accomplished this task before the evening meal. The evening church service at Faith included baptism of a member of the church, a couple of songs by Dr. Smiddy, a commitment service for Xander Lee Xol, a group song by the kids, and then Pastor Rhaburn brought the message, entitled “21 Times I Should Have Shut My Mouth!” He used a variety of Scriptural references to show how sometimes we show poor judgment, and a lack of wisdom, for the things we do. Our words sometimes have the wrong effect, and even though we would like to retract or cancel them, that cannot occur for we cannot take back what we have said. It should be our desire to ask for wisdom, for wisdom comes from God. Just a few points that were made to illustrate examples of situations where we shouldn’t have said anything: i) Words said in the heat of anger ii) Statements made when we don’t have all of the facts iii) Words said when we can’t verify the story iv) Words said that are a poor reflection on Christ v) Words that voice a promise to Almighty God, for such promises are not to be taken lightly; vi) Words that we are ashamed to let people know what we have said; vii) Words that sadden or depress others; viii) Words said that concern things that are not your concern (gossip falls into this category); ix) Words that will destroy someone’s reputation x) Words that will destroy friendship xi) Words that can’t be spoken without yelling xii) Words spoken when it is better to be listening than token xiii) Times that words are spoken when you will have to eat your words later xiv) …..and so on. The Team convened in the dining room to review the plans for tomorrow, the first day of the clinic and book distribution. We are preparing for the potential arrival of Ernesto, a tropical storm that may, or may not, be a Category 1 hurricane when it arrives in the area in two days. Please pray for our efforts, and pray that our Team, and the poor that we are serving this week, remain safe during this week. The Teams discussed this concern, and have agreed that we are here to serve God, whatever that may mean. As we approach the coming day, we give glory to God that He will be able to use for His glory in ways that we can’t yet imagine! To God be the Glory!

Posted By:Jerry McMurray

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