It was three years ago, almost to the very day, when the He Intend Victory team arrived to minister to the people of Belize regarding HIV/AIDS. Since then a lot has changed in Belize except the fact that we are still #1 in Central America with the highest infection rate of HIV. When planning this years’ visit of the He Intends Victory team, I felt the urgent need to make students mindful of our Country’s status because of late, at least over the past 3 years, not much has been said about HIV in Belize. So, the determination was made to speak to as many High School students as possible and to cover as much ground as possible. On October 1, the Director of He Intends Victory (HIV) Bruce Sonnenberg along with Board Members and AIDS Educators Dan Davis and Ron Magno arrived and was driven to Belmopan where we would begin, He Intends Victory Belize High School Tour 2018. Tuesday morning, we were up early for a Television interview on “Rise & Shine” Morning Show hosted by Louis Wade Jr. where Dan shared his story of living a double life through which he contracted the disease and was given 6 months to live. He shared the very emotional moment when he found out that his wife and 3 children were tested and was ‘negative’ and how coming back into a relationship with Jesus Christ led to him desiring to share his story wherever and whenever possible.
Then we drove a few minutes away to the Belmopan Baptist High School where we addressed the entire student body and teachers at their weekly Chapel Service and met later with the upper classmen and answered questions and again shared the importance of living in the God given boundaries which was designed to protect us and give us the very best life possible. Then in the afternoon we drove to Santa Elena and spoke in several classes at the Eden Seventh Day Adventist School and after a early dinner, we drove back to Belmopan Baptist for the Evening Adult Education Classes. During the end of our presentation I received a text message from a young man who expressed a desire to urgently to speak with me and sent his cell number for me to call him. On our drive to the place where we were staying, we stopped to pick up some evening snacks and as the team left the vehicle, a young man jumped into the front seat weeping uncontrollably and mumbling, “God sent you guys tonight because the man who shared his story was talking about me.” He was the person who texted me earlier and followed us to the grocery store where he took the opportunity to talk to me. Dan, Ron & I met with him for several hours where we shared the life changing, powerful of the gospel of Jesus Christ and he left a changed man. That was indeed a long, full and powerful first day of ministry to start our HIV Belize High School Tour!
Wednesday, we spoke to 3rd & 4th Form Students going from one class to another at Belmopan Comprehensive High School from 8 AM to Noon. Then it was off to Cayo Christian Academy where we spoke at their Chapel Service and after every speaking sessions the students were given an opportunity to ask questions. Early Thursday morning we took the long drive to the southern district of Stann Creek to speak at the Independence High School assembly where the students were divided in two sessions because of the school size of 900 students. We then visited the classrooms for the older grades to answered questions and have a more personal one on one. Georgetown Technical High School was the next school on the list for the afternoon where we spoke to seniors and again took time to answer questions. As the country director, I was first introduced to the audience and I would then share how I got involved with the HIV Ministry back in 1999 when I first found out that Belize became #1 in Central America for those infected with HIV. I would then mention that we are still #1 and the students would gasped in unbelief. I would then introduce Bruce Sonnenberg, director and founder of HIV Ministry and he would then introduce Dan and then Ron who would share their powerful testimonies. Bruce shared his heart as a pastor and grandfather when he encouraged students to stay within the boundaries that God has designed for them and HIV will not be an issue they will have to deal with.
We then headed down to the Toledo District, the furthest district in the south and the very first time that we’ve gone that far with the message of hope. We shared at two of the largest high school; Julian Cho Technical High School in the morning and Toledo Community College in the afternoon to an all school assembly of over 900 students. That evening, we spoke at Youth Group and the next morning we took the long drive to Belize City and headed over to San Pedro for two days of speaking; 3 Primary School of 5th & 6th graders and then various Life Skills Classes at the San Pedro High School. Over all we estimated speaking to over 4,500 students where they were warmed, educated, heard real stories of those who did not stay in the boundaries God designed for them but the power of the gospel to bring new life and hope.
I cannot express the emotions that rushed through my head and heart as I stood before so many Belizean young people sharing on this topic knowing that so many are at risk due to the accepted lies, culture and lifestyles. But I pray that something that Bruce, Ron, Dan or I shared will have an impact at just the right time. After sharing with 3 Primary/Elementary School I felt that there is such a need for more students to be warned, educated and told the truth rather than the current silence that seemed so prevalent over the last 4 to 5 years.
One of the highlight of this past outreach was hearing a good friend opened up to Dan & Ron about him having AIDS, they were the first apart from myself that knows. The way they gently and compassionately ministered to him moved me deeply and we both saw first- hand the power and purpose of having a support group or others to share with openly. This is not going away and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any solutions in Belize and forgetting it existence seems to be prevalent. A student went home and told his mom about the statistic we gave in her class about San Pedro having the highest infection rate in the entire country. I was called about this statistic and where we received our information because they didn’t was there to be a hysteria. After thinking about this for awhile, it dawned on me that the current infection rate and Belize still being #1 in Central America should cause some form of hysteria; enough for us to do something about bringing a change. Our recent radio campaign says it best, “We’ve gotta change this!”
After some time since the recent He Intends Victory tour and team, much thoughts were giving as to what should be the next or upcoming plans for HIV Belize. A need to meet with those infected and offer hope and compassion is a definite must even if it is with only my one friend. Next, I sense the need to inform, educate, and share with as many young people as possible about God’s design for relationship and sex and a series by a friend, Pastor Levi Lusko keeps coming to mind. Also, I would like to do a follow-up at the schools that we visited and keep the conversation about HIV/AIDS in the forefront of the minds of those who heard us.
After reading this Update and you were somehow touched, impacted or moved in anyway and you desire to join us in the battle in getting truth and hope to those infected and don’t even know it. Please pray about getting involved in one way or another; financially is definitely needed as we aid those who need it for doctor visits, housing and care, traveling and support. There’s also a need for those with a heart of compassion to be the hands and feet, heart and hugs of Jesus to physically give of your time here for short or long terms. Please contact me and see what God might have in store!
In His Hope & Life-given love,
He Intends Victory Belize
P.O. Box 166
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye
Belize, Central America
Contact Information in US:
He Intends Victory
P.O. Box 53534
Irvine, CA 92619
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