The month of October was by far one of the most life changing, heart molding, emotionally, physically draining and at the same time one of the most awe inspiring month. After much planning and preparation, October 1 finally arrived and the He Intends Victory team arrived once again in Belize which was to become the most effective 9 days of ministry like never before. I scheduled a very busy nine days having no idea who would make up the team this year and as always, God had handpicked each person with a story to tell and a heart to minister to the people of Belize. Our very first event was a radio interview at a Catholic Radio Station in Belize City just hours after landing and it was evident that God ordained this team. Ron a rebel; who forsook the Lord and went into world and became infected. Dan lived a double life; husband and father during the day and the gay lifestyle by night and became infected. And Shane a victim, being raped at age 20 and ten yours later found out he was infected. The Rebel, the Double Life and the Victim; God used each one of these guys in powerful ways and I’d like to share in details about the entire trip but will only be able to share a few in this Update for now.
According to Bruce Sonnenberg, President of He Intends Victory:
“In the 9 days we served in Belize City, Belmopan, Santa Elena, San Ignacio, and San Pedro, we spoke and ministered 37 different times. We came home to the US exhausted but blessed to have shared the hope of Jesus with well over 2,500 students and churches, hospitals, HIV/AIDS support groups, TV, and radio.”
Heart Rocked & Wrenched: As mentioned in the previous Update, I’ve been reflection on the years of ministry in Belize; vision, accomplishment, impact and the future. Some intense times of discouragement, mission support at all time low, grieving many losses and heartbroken over bad decisions some that I’ve poured my life into for several years are making. With all of this going on along with the daily ministry responsibilities, I was off to meet the HIV Team for a week of traveling and ministry in the Belize & Cayo Districts. My first time attending a HIV/AIDS Support Group in Belize City, I had no idea what to expect except that I was going to be greatly impacted. Belize City is where the highest population of those living with HIV/AIDS live and where many go to be tested and received medical attention. While getting ready for the group meeting to start, I heard a voice calling my name and asking if this was indeed Clive Welsh. As I looked toward the voice, it was Edward, a young man that I had met 21 years ago at a Youth Institution in Belize City on my very first trip back to Belize. As I glanced at him, his name came to mind immediately and my heart sunk because he was here because he had HIV or AIDS. I fought back the tears and listened to his story and couldn’t help to think back of the kid I knew and the choices made since then to lead him here today. He rehearsed the past 18 years of gangs, prison, addition, a couple children, bad living and now HIV. We’ve spoken several times by phone since the reunion of that day and he expressed a desire to keep in touch. Pray for Edward please!
Tip of the Iceberg: After a Chapel Service at a High School, I was asked to follow up with a student that spoke to one of the speakers. He was very moved by the presentation and yet was very fearful to speak openly so I made arrangements to meet with him after school with the school counselor. He had reached out to his counselor before and after hearing Shane speak about being raped by 4 men when he was 20 years old and that is how he was infected with HIV, he knew that it was time to seek help. He was raped by youth leader in a church years ago and have feared the that he had HIV. My heart was flooded with compassion and great grace toward him and after an hour of sharing with him, he received the Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I promised him that I’d walk with him through the uncertainties ahead as I urged him to take an HIV test right away. After some time of going back and forth and reasoning with him, he decided to take the test and the counselor was happy to take him the following day. The results was negative and he was greatly relieved, he will be going back to the doctors in a few months for a follow up; I was able to meet with him recently to follow up on his spiritual growth. The school counselor contacted me recently asking if I would meet with another young man with a similar story and he also will be tested soon. I saw the Hand of God in allowing Shane to share his story, his first time doing so publically, because there’s a large percentage of young boy who were rapped or molested by men in Belize. In a recent conversation with a Magistrate she told me that this was just the tip of the iceberg and a very sad plight for children and young people of Belize!
Motivated to Action: Apart from the hectic schedule and facilitating the team and seeking to keep things flowing and organized there were little time to spend with this great bunch of folks who gave of themselves so totally to ministry. I often wonder what they go through after regurgitating their story over and over again and each time I sensed the reliving of the pain and horror yet the great joy of forgiveness and hope they received that they now extend to others. This last experience I’ll share with you is intensely emotional for me even as I recall the events of a month ago. Our team met with a small support group of 7 teenagers ranging from ages 13 to 17 in Belize City. Again, this was a first for me being in a room with young Belizeans who were there because they were infected with HIV or some having AIDS. How was I going to handle this and what would my response and reaction? They all sat quietly and listened as each of the speakers shared their stories. Across from me was a young man that immediately caught my eye and my heart. After the meeting, I went over to him and we began talking, reluctantly not wanting to ask his status but knowing that he was most likely infected. I did all I could do not lose it emotionally when he told me that his mother passed away 3 years ago and that he got the virus from her through breast feeding. What do you say at that moment to a 16 year old as he stared in your eyes looking to see your response? Needless to say, I hugged him and told him I’d be praying for him and gave him my card telling him to call me whenever he needed to. The very next morning as I was getting ready for our speaking engagements in 2 churches in Belize City, Mike came to mind and I prayed for him. Just then the phone rang and it was him. I was so excited to hear his voice and invited him to church which he wasn’t able to make due to distance and not having bus fare which I later found out later. So after church, while the team did some sightseeing I tracked Mike down and met his stepfather and found out more of his sad story. Long story made very short, Mike’s recent blood count revealed that his status has changed from HIV to AIDS and started on medication once again. Upon finding out more about his living and financial situation, I felt as if I had to do something so I called around to see what temporary help and aid I could find. A thought kept running through my head, “If not YOU, then WHO….if not NOW then WHEN?” Mike’s stepfather was overjoyed when I told him that I was going to have him come to the island and stay in our Staff Apartment and provide for him his daily needs and a place to get the necessary rest. He has been here now for over a full week and eating well, so much so that he has gained weight, taking his medication regularly and walking with Jesus. He is still grieving the lost of his mother and has shared a lot with me about her while weeping. Many tears have been shed from these eyes of mine over the past months and it brings me back to the reflecting I spoke of earlier; one of which was deep heartbreak and daily weeping that I went through many years ago. I clearly remember the Lord speaking so very clear to me one of those weeping evening that I was no longer to weep for myself but that from now on I’d ‘weep for others’. I felt that was once again whispered to my heart during these past months and although it’s hard, it hurts and painful I thank God for such an honor to feel a little bit of His heart for people!
God Guides, He Provides: This has been an interesting season for me as my mission support continues its all time low for the past two months. As many of you who have known me and trucked with me through the various seasons of my life and ministry, know that money is seldom mentioned and I don’t intend to change that. I will not go into lengthy explanations and details of what is needed and for what nor do I seek to pass out guilt trip so you will give. I only want you to know the needs and if God is so leading you to be a part of giving then great. I’ve learned to live on little and very frugal in order for me to assist those that I do on a regular basis and especially now with Mike being added to that list. We are fortunate to have the Staff Apartment where he is staying and have recently housed several who were homeless or transitioning since we do not have a staff presently. If you need to know of specific needs please contact me by email or calls and I’ll be happy to explain in detail with you. Thank you very much for your partnership with me in the gospel!
A Wedding and a Concert: One of the great delight of my heart is performing weddings for those I have known and have had a relationship with over the years. I lived with Courtney’s family for over 11 years, she was eight years old when I moved in. I’ve watched her grow up into a wonderful young lady and remember clearly when she was younger she told me that when she gets married she wanted me to perform her wedding. Needless to say, this was a special treat and honor to preside over her and Austin’s special day. It was a quick trip to California and one I would not have missed for anything. This family have been a family to me over the years and one of my greatest supporter and source of encouragement and it has been a great blessing to watch all 3 of their girls grow up into successful and wonderful ladies!
Dusty Workman & Eddie Kilgallon of Evidence of Journey was once again blessed us with an inspiring Christian Concert on October 31. The Belize Mission Project, a dental ministry who have been serving the country of Belize for 23 years, sponsored these talented and blessed musician that filled the air with Christian music and the gospel proclaimed on a night when so much was happening in San Pedro Town. I’m so grateful for this ministry as they provide thousands of dollars in dental care for the residents with gifted dentists from all over the US!
November 15 – 23, On Eagles Wings Ministries team will be in San Pedro for fundraiser for SHINE Center, ministering to the new SHINE girls, various outreach to the pastors, community leaders, public servants and further developing relationships with the San Pedro community.
November 18; Women of Excellence Seminar for the all of the San Pedro High School girls, female teachers and staff with my good friends Shelly Usher, Christian Businesswoman and Alida Sharp, Child Development Foundation speaking. Please pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on this event that the 330 female students would be inspired to achieve God’s best for their lives!
November 18; The 5017 Ministry, a team of Belizean Christian Leaders who will be dealing with the issues of 50% of the Belize population is 17 years and younger and the issues facing the young men in this age group; fatherless, drugs/alcohol, sexuality and bullying. Please pray for God to do a great work at this gathering of guys!
Thank you for taking the time to read this update and I’d encourage you to pray for the various things that spoke to your heart while reading. Would you also pray about partnering with me financially for my personal needs, the needs of the ministry and the various people that we are seeking to minister to.
He Intends Victory
P.O. Box 399
Irvine, CA 92650
Please indicate: Welsh/Belize on your checks or online at:
Lighthouse Christian Radio Ministry
P.O. Box 166
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye
Belize, Central America
Cell : 011-501-605-6123
For up to date updates and pictures, join me on my Facebook at Clive Welsh or Lighthouse Christian Radio FM 101.3 or Lighthouse Christian Radio Ministry!