“Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:15
I made plans to return to California to get my yearly medical checkup; flight arrangements, making appointments, place to stay, pick up from airport and making arrangements to travel after to Salvador for the Central American Pastors/Leaders Conference. On top of all of that, making sure everything was in place at the radio station for the duration of time I’d be away; rent, bills, schedules and responsibilities. Everything was arranged and I was ready with all of the little details set when suddenly we received an alert that Hurricane Richard was in our region and heading towards Belize. Needless to say, plans changed immediately as it seemed apparent that we would be hit and had to made the necessary preparations Again, I was reminded that we can make our plans but it is ultimately God who directs our steps and fulfill His will and purposes!
At first look, the hurricane path was projected directly toward Ambergris Caye where the radio station is located and so we began to up-to-date information and instructions to our listeners with words of comfort to calm the panic which spreads so quickly through rumors. As the hours passed and the projected path of the hurricane changed it looked as if the central to southern districts would be hit and the island was going to be in the clear so I proceeded with plans the day before I was to travel. On Sunday I made the hour plus drive to the airport to find out that only one flight was leaving on that day because the hurricane was expected that evening and there were 20 people, along with myself, on the stand-by list. Unable to go to the island because all of the flights were already cancelled for the day, I drove back to the Cayo District which turned out to be in the very path of Hurricane Richard in a few hours. Having survived one of the Belize’s worst hurricane when I was five years old, I was wondering how I would react when it began and to my surprise I was enjoying the candle lit house and occasionally going outside to watch the trees dancing in the wind. I eventually went to bed and fell asleep with the sound of branches and trees snapping like pencils. We were awaken by a call from the neighbor asking if we could go get his daughter whose roof had blown off of her house then I realized the intensity of what was to be a category 2 hurricane when it made landfall with winds clocked at 92 miles an hour.
Our electricity and the water were off but the devastation of my friend’s property with fallen trees in every direction and as far as the eyes could see made it literally looked as if bombs went off and we were in a war zone. We were very thankful and fortunate that there were no damage to the house but the estimate was roughly 60 % of the trees on his property were fallen, damaged or uprooted. The work began immediately of clearing the road where more than 12 large trees had fallen making it impossible for vehicles to get in or out of the property. Reports began to pour in of the devastation as Hurricane Richard made landfall south of Belize City and traveled through the Belmopan, the nation’s capital, and surrounding villages where trees, roofs, signs and electric polls were destroyed. No deaths were caused by the hurricane but several were reported during the clean up process. It was a blessing to see Believers coming to the aide of those who needed it and hearing daily reports of many giving sacrificially of their time and energy to help with roofs, clearing of trees and in some cases building and constructing of damaged homes. Please pray that much good will come from this disaster and thanking God for protection of many during this hurricane. Hurricane season ends November 30.
Fellowship of Christian Radio Ministries in Belize:As mentioned in previous Updates, several of us in Christian media in Belize have talked and prayed about developing a Fellowship among fellow broadcasters to share, encourage and work together to truly impact the Nation of Belize. There are over 12 Christian Radio Stations in this small country and we are strategically located in every district and can literally blanket the nation with Christian broadcasting. Dan Wynia from Northwestern College/KTIS Radio and Chuck Pollak from Sharing International Ministries responded quickly to our invitation to come and join us for a Media Consultation Meeting. Both of these men have been actively involved with Christian Radio for the past 16 years in Belize and have been instrumental in the donations of almost all of the radio transmitters and provided annual Media Training with highly qualified teachers and students. On Sunday, October 17, 2010 six Christian Radio ministries and one Christian TV station directors and leaders met for a time of worship and devotion led by Louis Wade, owner of Plus Television and followed by open discussion as each person shared about their ministries from beginning to date with some of the challenges, blessings and future visions. We talked about the daily struggles and how we can be a source of encouragement to each other and a strong voice for the Gospel of Jesus Christ by forming a fellowship to do just that. It was very exciting to hear from each person in the room, a total of 20 people who traveled long distances to be there, and we all sensed that God was starting a fresh new work about Christian Broadcasters in Belize. We made plans to meet in November to follow up and proceed in forming a fellowship group to continue to foster relationship in the Lord and seeing how we can have a unified and effective witness on the airwaves as we network our nation. Please pray for our upcoming meeting on November 27!
History in the making in Spanish Lookout:
On Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm Horizon Radio FM 97.3 signed on for broadcasting and became the very first radio station ever in a Mennonite Community in Belize! Both Dan Wynia and Chuck Pollak shared at the Signing On Service about the power of Christian Radio and how honored they were to be a part of what God is doing and will do as the Word of God goes out to many through Horizon Radio. Isaac Dueck, the manager of Horizon Radio, shared with those gathered how the thought came to mind when he was with me at a National Religious Broadcasters Convention years ago about the possibility getting a license for a Christian Radio Station in Spanish Lookout in order to reach out to his people with solid Bible teaching as we have on Lighthouse Christian Radio. Isaac is on the Board of Directors for Lighthouse Christian Radio Ministry and would attend the yearly conventions with me. He recalled how we both laughed about the idea as we both knew nothing about radio broadcasting but we knew God was able to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. And we being a part of Lighthouse Christian Radio were a perfect example of that. So, when we returned to Belize, he began investigating the possibility and years later, through many amazing open doors, the license was granted and God provided the necessary funds for a small building, tower, transmitter and equipments.
Horizon Radio had its grand opening this past Friday, November 5 as many from the Community came out for the dedication of the station and a time of celebration. It is a twenty four hours, seven days a week Bible Teaching and Christian Worship Music station and already many reports are coming in from listeners saying how blessed they are for the radio station with coverage of over 50 miles in some areas! Please continue to pray for wisdom, direction, trained staff, and blessings upon the Word as it goes over the airwaves, also please rejoice with us and give thanks for answers to prayers!
(Pastor Rudy Plett, Clive Welsh, Isaac Dueck, Dan Wynia and Dr. Chuck Pollak enjoying fellowship after the signing-on)
Lighthouse Christian Radio Ministry, San Pedro Town:
We rejoice greatly for the work that God has done through Lighthouse Christian Radio and the influence it has had on Horizon Radio and we pray that together we can be an example to other radio ministries, both Christian and secular, in Belize, Central America and to the world of the beauty of working together to shine an even brighter light of God’s love and Word through Christian Radio. I recently received a call from a pastor friend of mine from Belize City asking me what it would take to get our signal from the Island to Belize City. He mentioned that there was not a radio station with Bible teaching programs in the City and that there is such a great need for God’s Word as played on Lighthouse. I was stirred once again to that endeavor as that was our original intention when we got the 40 foot tower and 4 bays antenna 2 years ago.
Our signal only reached a very limited portion of Belize City and it’s not a very clear signal, I was told that the antenna would have to be realigned and we would need to replace our guide-wires with fiberglass so that it would not interfere with the signal. That would be costly but it is something that is doable and on my recent visit to Galcom International in Canada, they knew exactly what would be needed and the manpower to do it. Would you please begin to pray with that Belize City pastor and us at Lighthouse to see what God has in mind for us to extend our signal reach into Belize City!
We continue to distribute bread and baked goods that are donated to us nightly by The Baker, a German bakery in town. It blesses me to see the poor and needy receiving very good quality bread for free through the generosity of these people who have no idea how the bread that they would throw away daily is feeding those who would go without. I’ve developed a good relationship with the owners and would share with them about those that receive the bread. The owner once commented with a smile, “A slow and bad day for us is a good and busy one for you!” Which is true because this has been the slow tourist season and businesses has been very slow for all on the island. We would send out several texts to the various pastors who had needy folks in their churches once we received the daily give-a-way from the bakery and then divide them into bags giving each a variety. The pastors come or someone to pick up the bags and distribute them to those in need. We also distribute some in our neighborhood where Roger, our little helper would assist either me or Barry with nightly runs. Thanking God for this opportunity to truly see one man’s trash can truly become another’s treasure!
A greater need continues to prevail and that is the need for many to partake of the Living Bread, Jesus Christ! As many of you have known and have been praying for some time now, a great desire of my heart to provide fellowship with those hungry of it. With every attempt so much would come up and as you’ve read my Monthly Updates you are aware of some of the things that always ‘pop-up’ or ‘unexpected’ and they are non-stop as we seem to always be short-handed with staff, this time more than ever, and always too much for us to do to stay afloat. Well, recently I have concluded that these things will always be there and to even expect more because there is great need to provide a healthy fellowship environment for those needing it just like providing physical bread for the poor and needy. I think of the many people that I talk with on a daily basis, either those I meet with on a regular basis, those I get in conversation with on the streets, at the park, in stores or those who call the radio station. We all need fellowship with other Believers or many who need to hear the Gospel as it is; real, relevant and powerful. So we are going to begin to meet with those who are asking and even those who have not yet ask because they don’t know such a thing exists. So please pray for us as we venture out to see what the Lord will do!
Upcoming Events and Schedule:
Update from the Calvary Chapel Central American Pastors/Leaders Conference, next Newsletter.
November 5 Horizon Radio has its Grand Opening and Dedication Service, Spanish Lookout.
Nov.25 – 27 Samaritan Purse Prescription of Hope: Conference on HIV/AIDS in Belize City
November 27 Media Meeting with Christian Radio & Television Stations in Belmopan
November 30 Edler Blas finishes first year of Bible College, C.C. Salvador, El Salvador
Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving:
Pray for provisions and cleanup for those affected by Hurricane Richard in hard hit areas.
Praise God for protection of lives and properties during the peak hurricane season.
Thankful for 4 years of being cancer clean; has a recent check up and doctor’s visit.
Pray for laborers, missionaries, media missionaries, local and international for Lighthouse.
Praise God for Horizon Radio: broadcasting 24/7 and being a blessing to many listeners!
Thankful for the Pastors/Leaders Conference in Salvador and a great time of fellowship.
Pray for our Christmas Greetings Campaign to raise funds for radio license fee for 2011.
Praise God for the family and friends who are a great source of encouragement to me.
Thankful for John, just became a believer; Roger for helping out on the bread-run!
Pray for provision to re-aligning of antennas and fiberglass guide-wires for signal extension.
Would love to hear from you……..in Belize:
PO Box 653
Lighthouse Christian Radio FM 101.3
PO Box 166
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye
Belize, Central America
Would love to hear from you…….via Social Network:
Facebook: Lighthouse Caribbean Christian Ministry
Website: http://www.lighthouseradio.org/ (updating shortly)
Would love to hear from you……… in US:
Saving Grace World Mission
17451 Bastanchury Rd. #203
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
In Memo: Welsh/Belize or Belize General.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update and for being a vital part of lives touching lives in Belize and beyond. To God be all the glory for all that He has done, is doing and will do!