The start of the new year is always a good time for reflecting, analyzing and making resolves and fresh commitment in life and ministry. It is always my desire and hope to get away and do just that but as usual, the ever changing daily surprises of life happens and time seemed to slips away and before you know it we’re in the middle of the second month of the year. Once again I am so grateful to the Lord for counting me faithful putting me in the ministry and blessing me beyond my wildest dreams and expectations. In this Update I’ll do my best declare to you some of the things that the Lord has done, is doing and with great anticipation what He will do!
I never thought of the damage one popcorn kernel can cause but I soon found out after hearing the crunch and felt the tooth break in my mouth. The very next day I was scheduled to interview the founder of the Belize Mission Project, a dental mission team who have come annually to San Pedro for the past 18 years. After a very informative interview, I mentioned to the dentist about my broken tooth and he encouraged me to go check it out at the dental clinic which was finishing up that very day. I waited in line and when it was my turn I was attended to by Dr. Hammel who told me that I had broken a crown and that it was not repairable. But he said that if I was able to come to Kansas he would replace it for me for free. Plans were made as the pain was starting to get unbearable and it was off to Kansas where Dr. and Mrs. Hammel and their staff went to work and within a week, I was sporting a new crown and 2 old fillings were replaced. I met some wonderful people in Clay Center, Kansas; visited and tour a radio station, attending the Rotary Club meeting, shared at a Women’s Prayer meeting and met up with old friends. Because I fly stand-by and it was nearing Christmas along with blizzard weather in the mid-west, I was delayed getting back to Belize and made it on Christmas Eve just in time to relieved the radio station staff for their Christmas holiday.
A few weeks later I began experiencing severe toothache from the above tooth where the crown was replace. After checking with the local dentist with no relieve I decided to contact my dentist in California and it was determined that I needed immediate attention. Long story short, the broken crown trauma triggered off an infection from the upper tooth that could have been there for some time and I needed a root canal to clean out the infection. God was faithful and His timing was perfect as I needed to travel back to California for other medical reasons at the same time!
I’ve heard it said that sex, money, and pride are downfall of many in ministry and I have added ‘discouragement’ to that list as it is something that I personally feel is my most prevalent foe. The year started off with a very discouraging season as I grieved the lost of a friend and received word on Christmas Eve of her death. Along with the unexpected departure of Jeffrin from Lighthouse and the arrival of Keagan 2 days later, who was thrown in the midst of operating the radio station without anyone to orientate him. So often I’m in the thickness of the battle and not realizing it is spiritual battle until I’m overcome with great discouragement. In those times, I find great comfort from the Psalms and retreating in the Presence of the Lord uttering His very Name. I don’t struggle with loneliness, I’m seriously too busy engaged in others lives for that but I do find myself struggling with be ‘a lone’. The difference is being here at the radio station by myself and in those times my trust in the Lord increases as He is all I have and as I do my part and then commit the rest to Him. He continues to be faithful and always gives me just what I need when I need it. I’m so glad that those are just seasons which pass and leave behind a stronger character built in the midst of it all.
Sin is very deceptive because the promises it makes it cannot deliver. San Pedro has been referred to as ‘Sin City’ and I often think of what Lot might have experienced as he was ‘oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked’ and ‘tormented his righteous soul from day to day seeing and hearing their lawless deeds’. More on the spiritual state of San Pedro in upcoming Updates but the deception that is coming more and more prevalent in San Pedro is that of the cults; Mormonism and the Jehovah Witness Organization. The Mormons have just opened there first ever church in San Pedro and their missionaries have been busy peddling their bikes and their false teaching. I contacted my friend Paul Carden with Centers for Apologetics Research (CFAR) who referred me to Joel Groats of Institute of Religious Research (IRR) responded quickly to our invitation. The pastors involved in the Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro saw the need to equip their churches with the necessary tools to combat the dangers of these organizations with Biblical truth. Joel held two nights of presentation, “The Danger of Deception” which he translated in Spanish and English as he was fluent in both being a missionary kid who grew up in Venezuela. Apart from the 2 nights conference, he shared at 2 churches and was interviewed on the local Morning Show and several interviews on Lighthouse Christian Radio. We appreciated Joel’s heart for those caught up in cults and the power of the gospel truth to set the captives free!
Depressed or Determined:
I recently ran across some statistics that a friend had sent me awhile ago that stated that over 75% of the population of Belize is under 25 years old and that 73% of all children are born out of wedlock and of that number 75% will never know their father. Belize is a country made up of fatherless children who will continue to repeat the cycle unless the power of the gospel breaks that cycle. I personally was born out of wedlock, my father married my mother several years after I was born and died when I was 5 years old from heart problems complicated by alcoholism. Of all the ministries that I’ve been honored and blessed to be a part of in Belize; director of Lighthouse Christian Radio, Marriage Officer of Belize, Justice of the Peace, Country Director of He Intends Victory/AIDS and on the Board of Directors of several ministries. But of all that occupies my heart, thoughts and countless hours are ministering to those in the 75% who are fatherless. The stories are heartbreaking, the pain is deep and the need for someone to just be there with a listening ears, understanding heart from experience, and sharing the love of Jesus with them goes a very long way. By the grace of God I’ve been seen as a father-figure/example to many over the 14 years since returning back to Belize. What moves me passionately is giving back to this nation what I didn’t receive when I was growing up here without a father and all of the experiences I endured as a results. ‘Lives touching lives’ is truly what it’s all about and I’ve been blessed to see great fruits of changed lives which makes it all worth it. To the glory of God who has done it and continues to do what I could nor would ever be able to sit down and plan!
Keagan Blanke, the graduate of University of Northwestern has completed a month and a half of service at Lighthouse Christian Radio and has been a great blessing to us. He arrived January 2 and was thrown in the ‘fire’ since no one was here for him to train as planned. It has truly been a refreshing blessing serving alongside of him and the fellowship that I so longed for with staff members. With his prior radio experience, he jumped in and figured out what was to be done after researching and experimenting. His return date to Minnesota is March 31 where he plans to pursue radio as his heart and passion was stirred while serving with us. So with a month and a half left with no one trained or even any prospects, I continually remind myself that just as God was faithful to bring Keagan to us, and it was not my doing, so He will be faithful to provide!
Each month I receive an invitation from the National AIDS Commission: Island Committee and unfortunately because of my workload and sever lack of staff at the radio station, I have declined. But I made it a priority to attend the last meeting as a representative of both the Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro, the He Intends Victory International Ministry and Lighthouse Christian Radio. The meeting this month was a presentation on “Quality of Care in Comprehensive Health Services for PLHIV (People Living with HIV), and the Risk Profile Survey. The presenter did a great and thorough job explaining the results of the survey conducted at the various hospitals, clinics and visiting with those who are infected with HIV. With Belize still being #1 in Central America with the most people living with HIV/AIDS per capa, it was startling the results of the survey in the area of Risk Profile. A comment was made that Belize has one of the largest percentage of alcohol consumption in our region and someone blurted out, “It’s because we are all so depressed.” That comment was met with many laughter but it struck my heart deeply and the Holy Spirit impressed very deeply the need for Jesus, not just to those who are infected with this deadly virus but to the hopelessness and unfilled lives of so many in Belize. It was explained the increase of risk that drugs and alcohol plays among those infected in both spreading the virus or re-infections. “There are no lack of information or education regarding HIV/AIDS in Belize but rather the lack of behavior changes.” The disheartening statics show that the age group at highest growing rates are the 18-24. Please pray for God inspired ways to share the living hope that is in Christ to those in San Pedro living with HIV/AIDS and for a radical move of God’s Spirit to fill the thirsty hearts with the life of Jesus!!
Determined & Dedicated:
As you might have sensed while reading the Update that it has been a very difficult few months for me and I feel it is so important for you to know both the good times of blessings as well as the hard times of life so that you can be specific in your prayers for me. I have experienced just about every form of attack, emotions, discouragements and conflict from within and without yet I am even more determined to run the race set before me with all intentions of crossing the finish line. Whatever will come my way in the next month or so as Keagan goes back with no one in view to take his place and with the overwhelming demands of everyday life in Belize and life in San Pedro specifically. I’m dedicated to the Lord to serve Him wholeheartedly and finish the work He has called me here to accomplish. Thank you for journeying with me through it all and please know that I appreciate your trust in Lord for me in allowing me the honor of spending and being spent for the people of this small nation and place of my birth. May you sense His prompting and guidance in your prayers as He would bring me to your minds in the coming days and weeks.
With sincere gratitude and thanks,
Please join me in prayer for:
– Wisdom as to what to alleviate from my plate; to say NO to all that is not directed by the Lord.
– To be led and directed to fulfilling His plans and purposes for my life and ministry.
– Provision of likeminded, dedicated workers and co-laborers for the radio ministry and an assistance in the day to day responsibilities and administration.
– Patience, understanding, wisdom and discernment in dealing with the various needs of the fatherless, the lost, the least, and the last.
– To be a true and faithful witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please join me in giving thanks to the Lord for:
– The Hammel who so graciously took me in their home and replaced the broken crown in my mouth. For the many who assisted in priceless ways in Kansas and Texas.
– So thankful for those who faithful provided rides to and from airports, provided places for me to stay while traveling and extends such Christ-like hospitality unrelentingly.
– Very thankful for Charles Murphy who comes in faithfully to do the audio edits at the radio station of our daily devotions and interviews.
– So thankful to be entrusted with the hearts and lives of so many and most thankful to the Lord who counted me faithful putting me in the ministry.
Upcoming Event: National Religious Broadcasters Convention; February 21 – 25:
Please pray for a productive trip with many divine appointments and a refreshing time in the Word and fellowship with fellow broadcasters!
Please pray for Keagan as he works at the radio station by himself in my absence as well as direction for his future when he leaves on March 31!