In one week Keagan Blancke, the volunteer missionary will be leaving Belize after 3 months of helping us out at Lighthouse Christian Radio, and what a help he has been in keeping us floating. Since his arrival and quickly being thrown into midst of the a new country, new town, new people, food, languages and everything imaginable yet with the heart and desire to serve the Lord by assisting us in our time of great need. As mentioned in the last Update, Keagan came to train Jeffrin who was to take over the operations since Elmer’s resignation. Two days before his arrival, Jeffrin left to return back home unexpectedly and Keagan was plopped into the operations of Lighthouse with about 20 minutes of orientation from Elmer. The 3 months are almost up and attempts of training six people over that period of time with none of them working out for one reason or another. My greatest encouragement over the entire time has been the faithfulness of God to provide Keagan at just the right time and trust that He will provide someone before his departure!
The time was fast approaching for the National Religious Broadcasters Convention and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be attending this year since so much was going on at the station. The Lord confirmed it by providing in every way necessary and by Keagan’s encouragement to attend and making the needs know to Christian Colleges and Universities attending. I was blessed by staying at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Nashville, Tennessee through my good friends from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, Minnesota. Each year the gathering of broadcasters is filled with encouragement by notable speakers, pastors, and musicians in communicating the glorious gospel to a world that is fast rejecting our message. The NRB celebrated 70 years as a Christian Media Association with its motto: Advancing Biblical Truth, promoting Media Excellence and defending Free Speech. I was honored to be invited to the Media Leadership Reception and Dinner and heard Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., MD who inspired us in using every opportunity to share the truth we know without assuming that our listeners know or have been told truth in every aspect of life.
The highlight of each convention is connecting with friends and partners in ministry and
updating them on what is going on at Lighthouse and hearing about their ministries. Meeting with various representatives from Christian Colleges and Universities and inquiring about future partnership in Media Interns with Lighthouse Ministry was also what took up a lot of my time. It was also a highlight to share the news with many of approval for Horizon Radio, our sister station in Spanish Lookout, to go nationwide in their broadcasting coverage. Isaac Dueck, director of Horizon and Board Member of Lighthouse accompanied me again and this years’ convention and was busy making contacts with ministry partners consulting and planning the necessary steps to take in this new venture. Isaac and I always recall that it was at an NRB some 8 years ago when he asked me what I thought about a Christian Radio Station in the Mennonite Community of Spanish Lookout and I responded, “Well, let’s start praying about it and see what God will do.” And now to see it become a reality and to think of the possibility of it going nationwide. God truly is an amazing God who works all things according to the counsel of His will and we are so honored to be apart of watching Him work!
Lives touching lives:
You might remember praying for Florencio Teck, a Mayan young man I met three years ago outside of the Belmopan Post Office who had on a Christian t-shirt and when I asked him about it made a bold stand for Christ. I’ve gotten to know him very well over the years and walked with him through some very difficult season of his life without any support from his father. I was always impressed by this young man’s determination to get an education against all odds; extremely poor with constant pull from his past gang lifestyle; yet seeing the faithfulness of God toward him as he graduated with high honors from High School and now completed his 3rd semester at the University of Belize. I found out that he did not have a laptop and couldn’t afford one even though he worked very hard on weekends cutting (chopping) grass to help make ends meet at home. I mentioned this to my friend Leon Berger, a brother and good friend in the Lord who serves as our IT for Lighthouse, and he responded immediately by donating his daughter’s laptop since he had just upgraded hers. The comical part to this story is trying to connect with Leon to get the laptop down to Belize for Florencio since he lives in Arkansas, works in Missouri, and occasionally travels to Dallas on business. Well after several months of trying, I met up with Leon curbside at DFW Airport on my way back from Nashville, Tennessee after the NRB Convention. I was so blessed to be the deliveryman and words cannot describe the emotions when seeing Florencio face when I presented it to him. If you would like to bless one of the many good students that I know who are in need of a laptop and you’ve recently upgraded or have one to donate, please contact me!
Lately I’ve had so many reminders of my first trip back to Belize in 1994, this year marking the 20th anniversary, and the immediate impact the Lord made on my heart when introducing me to an institution for troubled kids. The Princess Royal Youth Hostel was in the heart of Belize City at the time and it was for young offenders who experienced parental neglect, abandonment, abuse and petty crimes. Twenty years later I still run into a few of these guys, now in their thirties, who remembered me from the clothes I would bring from the US for them while they were in the Hostel and later the Prison. They tell me their heart wrenching stories of the things they had endured in prison or on the streets and also updated me of the guys that I knew who were either still in prison or killed. One of those guys, Thurman surfaced in San Pedro recently after being released from yet again another Prison term. He approached me very ashamed and regretful of the many opportunity that he was give for a better life, the last one being spent to 4 months discipleship program at Machaca Outreach Center in Southern Belize. After a brief update on his life and sharing about his in and out of prison and desiring to make a better life for himself again, I thought and prayed if I was to give him another chance. I know I wasn’t in a situation where I could take him in due to extreme need for station staff and was already overloaded trying to do it all alone. To make a long story short, I decided to give Thurman another opportunity and because I knew of his experience with computers and his ability to learn quickly, I asked Keagan to train him on some basic computer operations to see if he would be able to help us in our need at Lighthouse. After 2 days of training and catching on very quickly, he failed to show up to work and never came by with an explanation. I saw him several days later on the street and he told him he was pick up and placed in jail in San Pedro for a few days because of his past record to make sure he had no outstanding warrants. My heart went out to him because it was obvious that he was categorized and would have to prove himself in order to clear his past reputation. Unfortunately and painfully, I am not equipped to provide for his needs and killed me to not be about to do something. Having to say, NO is not easy for me yet I know that it would take more specialize assistance as half of his life has been institutionalize. Please, please pray for Thurman that he would come back to Lord and allow Him to break that vicious cycle!
Growing in Grace:
On the second Tuesday of each month, the elders of Amazing Grace Christian Fellowship meet for a Board Meeting. After a brief time in the Word led by Pastor Rudy and a time of sharing, we covered various points of interest and affairs of the church. I look forward to this time very much and would usually make the journey to the mainland the day before the meeting in order to get my monthly Lighthouse business done, meeting up with and connecting with various folks and appointments. I miss being a part of the Amazing Grace Church family very much since the lack of staff at the radio station has demanded my time in San Pedro Town. The main topic of discussion at our last meeting were the plans for remodeling the church building that will commence in the next few week. As Rudy was sharing how many more people the new sanctuary would accommodate, I found myself rejoicing in the Lord in my heart when I thought back about all that He has done with a handful of believers who simply wanted to know God and make Him known to their family, friends and neighbors in the Mennonite Community of Spanish Lookout. I often joke with Rudy about the church growing from within as over half of the congregation is made up of their children. What a thrill to know that the upcoming generation will have a solid foundation of God’s Word upon which to build. Please pray for the wisdom and direction in the work and that it would finish before the rainy season begins!
Footprint for Peace:
Over the past months there has been numerous shootings and killings in San Pedro Town which has cause great concerns its residents. Ambergris Caye was voted the #1 Island in the World for the second year by Trip Advisors and brings in the country’s largest revenue as the center of tourism. Several well known families have lost loved one recently which the recent ‘Footprint for Peace Rally & March’. My heart was gripped by the hearing the news or of shots being heard in the nights. It being a small community where and everyone knows each other or knows members of the families of those who were killed. As I heard the various speeches at the rally, I thought about the pain and grieving of the families and the entire community. I was also taken by the fact that no mention was made to the footprint of Jesus that led Him to a cruel Cross that brought peace with God thus peace with self and peace with others. I thought about the many people who, without God’s invention in their lives, would have caused death and destruction to others and themselves but today are productive citizens in San Pedro because of the power of the gospel.
The Gang Suppression Unit was recently sent out to the island and many arrests and drugs were confiscated by this very aggressive move by the government to squelcher the violence. At our monthly meeting of the Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro, the pastors and ministry leaders agreed to meet with all of the believers involved in their churches for a night of prayer which was a very powerful time of crying out to God for our island. I was asked to pray for the Community leaders; Mayor and his Councilors, Police department, Government officials and educators. Please pray that Jesus, the Prince of Peace would invade the hearts of men and women in San Pedro Town and that His light would shine in the darkness!
Prayer Request & Reasons to Rejoice:
Thanking God for the many who prayed for during the past month and sent encouragement via emails and Facebook.
Please pray for God’s provision; staff for Lighthouse Christian Radio.
Thanking Jesus for sending Keagan Blancke to assist us for 3 months.
Please pray for Keagan, transitioning back to US and next steps in life.
Thankful for ministry partners and broadcasters in Christian Radio.
Please pray for outpouring of God’s Spirit on believers in San Pedro Town.
Thankful for Charles Murphy who diligently edit weekly radio programs.
Please pray for Ian, Lyndon, Henry, Irvin & Melissa; the seed of the gospel will take root in their hearts!
Thankful for the opportunities open the various Community Events with prayers!
Please pray for the building project at Amazing Grace new sanctuary and thankful for the work God is doing in the lives of His people through the teaching of the Word.
Thankful for Horizon Radio granted license for nationwide broadcast.
Once again, thank you all for your constant love and support in prayers, financially, encouragement and taking the time to read this Update. I appreciate greatly your fellowship and partnership in the gospel and very thankful for you!
Constrained by His grace,