September was a month of celebrations in the country of Belize so much so that the entire month is called September Celebration month; the Battle of St. George’s Caye, National Service Day, Independence Day for Mexico and other Central American Countries and of course Belize’s Independence Day on September 21 making us 32 years old. It was also a month of celebration for me as well as I celebrated 19 years since returning back to Belize after leaving as a boy at age eleven. Many memories of that first trip back on September 27, 1994 flashed through my mind and I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams all that the Lord has done in me and through me since that day!
He Intends Victory Team:
Bruce Sonnenberg, president of the He Intends Victory International, an HIV/AIDS Christian ministry along with Board Members Joanie Yorba Gray, Ron Magna and Dan Davis arrived on September 8 for a week of ministry in San Pedro Town. The He Intends Victory ministry have made annual trips to Belize since their first visit in 1999, around the same time when Belize became number one in Central America of those who are infected with HIV/AIDS. Due to lack of funding and finances, it has been awhile since they’ve been to Belize and this was their first trip where they came exclusively to San Pedro Town. Joanie and Dan, both have full blown AIDS and Ron is HIV positive; all three shared their stories to students at the Roman Catholic Primary School, Holy Cross Primary School, the San Pedro Junior College, the San Pedro Night High School and a couple day classes at the High School. They boldly share the gospel of Jesus Christ as their only hope as they each shared testimonies, answered questions about the disease and gave stern warnings about consequences of sexual sin. Donna from Florida and Frosty from Louisiana joined the team and shared their powerful testimony of how God rescued them from a life of destruction; drug & alcohol addition, and lesbianism. While Dan and Ron shared about them contracting the HIV virus through bad choices. Joanie’s case was through an unfaithful husband’s choice yet the power of God gave them all hope, a living hope; and they travel the world to share that hope. The students all listened attentively and asked matured questions, and heard the answer of a committed live to Christ.
The churches involved in the Evangelical Alliance met at the Shalom Church to hear the He Intends Victory team’s testimony and we had arranged with the National AIDS Commission Island Committee to do a free HIV test starting with the Pastors. We thought it would be a good example to the churches if the pastors lead the way in taking the HIV test. Most people are very hesitant to take the test so we felt it was important use this time to encourage everyone to be tested especially for new believers whose lives were in the high risk prior to coming to the Lord. I was the first to take the test and over 32 others followed. We were told later that one person who took the test that night was tested HIV positive. Due to privacy and confidentiality, that person was asked to go to the clinic the next day to begin treatment. This confirms the need to form a Support Group for those infected and affected with trained individuals so that in a situation like this someone would immediately be able to minister to them. The team was a living example of people who are living with AIDS and allowing God to use their lives!
A Light to the Community:
With the ever increasing challenges of the radio ministry; being shorthanded and seeking to develop more community oriented programs, there seems to be more and more opportunities opening up to be salt and light personally. As mentioned earlier, the month was filled with celebrations and I was asked to participate in several ceremonies by giving the opening prayer or as a guest speaker. One such event was the opening prayer for the Official Opening of the September Celebrations and the Eve of Mexico and Central American countries Independence Day ceremonies. As the Mayor of San Pedro Town walked from the platform after giving the Opening Welcome he asked me if I was ready to give the opening prayer in Spanish. I chuckled at what I thought was a joke and reminded him that I didn’t know Spanish and prayed in English. With Belize being the only English speaking country in Central America and most people do speak and understand English, but a lot of residents of San Pedro are from the various neighboring Spanish countries. Yet it seems as if I’m sought out to pray and I’m both honored and grateful, however I think I will give one of my Spanish speaking pastor friend the honors next time!
In a tribute to George Price, the father of democracy and the first Prime Minister of Belize who died several years, the National Service Day was established. The San Pedro Junior College held an evening Assembly and asked various community leaders to share on the topic of Community Service. Again, I was truly honored to be asked to speak and to give a Christian’s perspective on serving. What a topic! I spoke on the motive for Christian service being the core of the gospel message as Jesus Christ came to earth to do the will of His Father and to give Himself for us and our response is to freely give as He freely gave us. Paul the Apostle using the term ‘bondservant of Jesus Christ’ and defining for them the word ‘slave by choice’ drove the truth home and gave my life as a missionary to my birth country as a personal and practical example. What a fresh reminder it was for me for why I am here and why I do what I do; the love of Christ being my motivator!
Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro:
There are now 8 Churches and 2 Christian ministries represented in the Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro and we continue to meet regularly to fellowship and plan. Some of the fruits of the Alliance has been a monthly joint prayer meeting of all churches and pastor in the Alliance, gathering at a different church each month. Another blessing that has come out of the Alliance is a monthly meeting with the Mayor of San Pedro Town, Danny Guerrero for the sole purpose of praying for him. Pastor Marin Gomez, president of the Alliance and I met with him and after praying for him, the Mayor asked us if the churches can assist with the youth in San Pedro Town as he sees the need for spiritual help. We see this as a great opportunity to reach the young people who are dealing with drugs, alcohol, and immorality and presenting Jesus as Savior. The Mayor asked us to meet with the Education Officer who was very excited about this opportunity as we began planning an event to show the important place that God has in all aspects of our lives. The suggestion was made for us to do a Youth Encounter/Rally on the afternoon of Children Day coming up in November. Please pray for these opening doors of opportunities to reach both the children and youth of San Pedro Town with the gospel of Jesus Christ!
The Calvary Chapel Ladies Retreat:
The Women’s Ministry of Amazing Grace Christian Fellowship was given the responsibility of planning this years’ Woman’s Retreat. Debbie Douglass, the wife Trent Douglass Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Saving Grace was invited to be the speaker. There are now 5 Calvary Chapel churches in the country of Belize and the ladies had a great time of teaching, fellowship and fun over the last weekend of the month. Debbie was accompanied by her good friend Sarah Vincent, missionary to Rosarito, Mexico who also shared the teaching. The ladies had a great and marveled at the varied cultures and customs represented at the retreat as well as their love and passion for Jesus. Great reports have been heard and many remarked that this was the best of all retreats they have ever had. Debbie and Sarah came over to Ambergris Caye at the end of their short trip for a visit and to see the work of Lighthouse Christian Radio. It was good seeing them and getting caught up on what is going on in Rosarito, Mexico and Yorba Linda, California!
New Staff at the Lighthouse:
Since the last Update and requesting prayers for a helpers at the radio station, I’d like to report that God has answered our prayers. Jeff Usher, a Belizean from near the City of Belmopan submitted a resume after being referred to us by a recent volunteer. After an extensive interview, not wanting a repeat the last situation, he came on board and is still in training but catching on very quickly and will be onsite living in the Staff Apartment. Guillermo Rodriguez, a recent graduate of San Pedro High who did his student internship, has also joined the Lighthouse crew while he determines what college or school he will attend to further his education. So, Elmer has been busy training the new guys in hopes that they will be ready before he plans on moving back to the mainland at the end of the year. Please pray for these two young men that they would learn well and be a blessing to the ministry and our listeners!
Prayer & Praise:
Thanking God for an uneventful Hurricane Season, praying it will continue!
Please pray for healing for the children of Spanish Lookout as whooping-cough has swept through the community!
Praising God for Jeff & Guillermo, our new staff and answers to prayers!
Please pray for Jeff’s spiritual life!
Thankful for Debbie Douglass and Sarah Vincent; speakers at Ladies Retreat.
Physical healing of my knee and overall health!
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Clive Welsh or Lighthouse Christian Radio FM 101.3
Contact Information in Belize:
PO Box 653
Lighthouse Christian Radio FM 101.3
PO Box 166
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye
Belize, Central America
Contact Information in US:
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Saving Grace World Mission
17451 Bastanchury Rd. #203
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
In Memo: Welsh or Belize General
Online donation: www.sgwm.com/welsh
With a heart of gratitude and thanks to you all for your faithful support, earnest prayers and continual friendship and fellowship in the gospel!
In His grace and love,