We trust that you have enjoyed the Christmas season with your family and church activities. As a church, we have established a tradition of collecting a Christmas offering to make Christmas food baskets for the needy. Last year we raised $500 to ward this project and passed out 11 baskets of food. This year our goal was $750, which we reached just in time. Some of the recipients of the fifteen food baskets were families within our church who are presently in need. Other families have been recently contacted through our soulwinning outreach. In November, a mother was walking on the sidewalk in Belize City with her two sons, 4 and 6 years of age, when an impatient van driver drove up on the sidewalk to pass another vehicle in the road. He ran over the boys. The mother looked on in desperation as the van crushed her four year old. The older son’s legs were run over as well. We found out where she lives and delivered one of the food baskets to her before Christmas. She has responded asking for prayer. Our ladies are planning to visit there this Saturday. In every way we are looking for ways to reach people.
The Children’s Sunday School class put on a Christmas program for the adults in church, and on that Sunday we reached a new high attendance of 171. More importantly we saw three individuals saved that day. The last six weeks has been an exciting time of growth for our church. We have had over 100 in attendance four times in the last six Sundays, and each week we have seen adults get saved. Glory to God! The church’s theme for 2014 is “Fishers of Men.” On January 5, we had a special evening service to introduce this new year theme. I challenged each of the people of the church to make a list of five individuals that they would like to see saved this year. We are planning to post their lists on a board in the auditorium for all of the church to pray. The challenge included a commitment to pray for these names daily and see each of them personally before our second anniversary Sunday next month. We are praying for God to do some miracles in reaching these people with salvation. Several of the church ladies are greatly burdened for their unsaved husbands.
Some of them are praying for fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, etc. Please pray for our second Anniversary Sunday scheduled for February 23. Pastor Courtney Lewis from Chicago, Illinois, is planning to come to preach for us during that special service. We have a goal of 250 in overall attendance for the day, and we are asking God to reach those lists of names of our people with salvation.
Since we started the church nearly two years ago, we have seen some people come and go, but overall we are encouraged by what God has done: our Saturday visitation is growing in workers; some more of our people have reached the standards necessary to become workers in the church adding to our outreach abilities; our families are strengthening in the principles of biblical child rearing; and some of our teens are becoming very dedicated.
We are praying for an adjustment to our facilities again due to growth. Please pray for wisdom in seeking God’s will in this area. In God’s timing, He will provide. It is clear that our people are very thrilled in seeing God moving the hearts of the people of this city toward Him. With God’s help, we will be able to explain the gospel this year to most of the 75,000 people in Belize City.
Thank you again for your faithful financial support for our ministry. We continue to move forward for God trusting the needs to be met financially. At the same time, it is your faithful giving to this ministry which gives the great freedom to do God’s will in this effort. Please pray for us and the people of Independent Baptist Church of Belize City.
P.S. I have included a story written by my wife about one of the children in her Sunday School class. I hope it is a blessing to you.
Who is the worst child in your Sunday school class? Kevin’s story is one where our most misbehaved child has become one of our most loved by the church. He started to come to Sunday School at the very start of our church. I was not sure if I could “handle” his disruptions. Not that he was rebellious, but he just couldn’t seem to stay seated, and his mouth was always open while I was trying to tell the story or teach. I determined that since he was so “excited” about things, I would give him an incentive to be good, rather than to tell him that he couldn’t come back. I made a deal with Kevin that if he could go five weeks where I did not have to tell him to “be quiet,” “sit down,” “no, don’t mess with the chair next to you,” and so on, that I would take him to get a bottle of soda. That might seem small to Americans, but you see, Kevin doesn’t even have a house that he can call his own. His mother lives a used and abused life. There are a few places where you might find Kevin on a Sunday morning. Well, it seemed as if Kevin was excited about the chance of winning that bottle of soda. It didn’t happen right away, but within seven weeks, Kevin had earned it. He was a very proud boy walking out of the grocery store with his 75 cent bottle of coke!
Time has passed and, Kevin continues to be faithful in his own ways. He has become a very quiet and reserved boy in my class. That next summer, during our Vacation Bible School, Kevin accepted Christ as his personal Savior. He is not perfect, but he is a changed boy.
Recently his faithfulness to God has proven to save his future health and possibly even his life from being cut short at a young age. A couple months ago, I found out that Kevin was in the hospital. I took some crayons and a coloring book to him and was able to have the first real conversation with his mother. I found out that Kevin was having so much pain in his feet and then in his knees that he was unable to walk. I was a little confused at what the hospital was saying was wrong with him. They said he had an infection, but that he also had arthritis. I was unsure how that would correlate. They gave him a week’s worth of antibiotic and sent him home. Kevin was able to make it to our Junior’s activity shortly after that and started back to Sunday School. A couple of weeks later, Kevin came into church burning up with fever and sat through the evening service crying in his chair. He was experiencing extreme pain in his wrists. Many in the church became very concerned. One of the ladies in the church offered to anonymously take care of the expense for Kevin to go to a private doctor. Time and space do not permit me to explain how the government hospital is incompetent.
The church’s landlord is a private pediatrician, so we called him to set up an appointment. After examining him, Dr. Rosado diagnosed him with Rheumatic Fever. As you probably already know, when Rheumatic Fever is untreated, it attacks the joints of the body and then the valves of the heart. Dr. Rosado treated him free of charge and gave him more appropriate medicine. A later EKG revealed that Kevin’s heart is already seriously damaged from the fever. We are making sure he reaches his treatments on time, and he is still faithful to church. In fact, this is a case where being faithful to the services saved his physical life. We are looking forward to seeing what God will do in this boy’s future.