Special Belize Update: Lives Touching Lives

The He Intends Victory Team 2015 just a couple hours after arriving in Belize City!
The He Intends Victory Team 2015 just a couple hours after arriving in Belize City!

The plans and schedule were all in place for this year’s He Intend Victory team to arrive on what was to be the busiest and most intense 10 days of ministry in the Belize and Cayo Districts of the country of Belize. On the third day of ministry, October 3, 2015 we arrived at the Hand in Hand Ministry (a Catholic Ministry working with HIV/AIDS children) in Belize City for their support group. In setting up the schedule for the team a few weeks previously and finding out about this support group for teenagers and given an invitation to attend. In the 22 years of being back to Belize and the 17 years of being involved He Intends Victory, I’ve never been in a group setting with Belizean youth who have HIV/AIDS. I wondered what my reaction and response would so with anticipation and uncertainty that day arrived and I remember praying under my breathe as we entered the building that God would cover me emotionally as I sensed my heart breaking at just the thought of kids/young people with this HIV.

 

My very first time seeing Mike at the Support Group!
My very first time seeing Mike at the Support Group!

As each person introduced themselves and the team began sharing their stories of hope, I scanned the room at each face and wondered what their story was with the reality that each was either HIV or had AIDS and with that thought my eyes began to fill up with tears as I struggled to suppress them. A young man sitting across the room caught my eye and at the same time something grabbed my heart so I causally pointed my camera toward him and took a picture. Mike was his name, I introduced myself to him the very first opportunity I had and before long I was engaged in conversation with him. Trying to be very sensitive, I asked if he lived with both parents and he quietly blurted out that his mother passed away and that he was living with a stepfather. A lump developed in my throat and I can tell he was dealing with one as well, so I quickly responded with condolences. There was a long silence and I couldn’t handle all the thoughts rushing through my head so I asked if he wouldn’t mind if I asked how she died. He responded, “She had AIDS”! My heart stopped as he stared into my eyes to see my response but all he could see was the tears fighting to not fall out. I gave all of the nine kids in attendance my card and told them to call me whenever they wanted to talk or needed prayers and I left that meeting forever changed and had no idea how true that statement would become in the hours, days, weeks and months ahead.

 

Thoughts of Mike, a 16 year old Belizean with HIV, ran through my mind as I fell asleep and continued the next morning as I was preparing for the two Sunday morning church services in the Belize City we were scheduled to speak. While showering, I was praying for Mike and my cell phone rang and to my surprise it was him. I told him that I was just thinking about him and couldn’t believe that he called. I invited him to the churches we were going to be sharing and he said he would try to make it but found out later that he had no money for bus fare as it was too far for him to walk. That afternoon, after two very powerful church services where Ron Magno, Dan Davis and Shane Curfman shared their stories of hope in Christ living with HIV/AIDS, I went on a search for Mike. He lived in a squatting community just outside the Belize City limits and I met him alongside the main road where we sat in my vehicle and he began sharing his story with me. He received the virus through his mother at birth and recalls the many times he had blood drawn as a child and times of getting sick. He lived with a 28 year old man he calls his stepfather who cared of him the best he could as a night watchman while Mike worked road construction or climbing coconut trees to pick off the coconuts for coconut water to sell. I met his stepfather who was excited to hear about the He Intends Victory team sharing with Mike at the Support Group the previous day. I wanted to have Mike join us as we traveled and ministered in the schools, churches, support groups and TV interviews but it would put him in a questionable situations regarding his status that I didn’t think he was prepared for.

 

Mike began opening up to me and shared that he was a run-a-way from a Children Home where he was placed by the Social Service Department after his mother passed away and that he ran away from there when word got out of his status. I asked him why did he leave the comforts of the Home and the care he was receiving and he responding with the harsh reality of being shun by some of the kids there and he just couldn’t take it. He lived on his own for most of that year and also moved in with his stepfather but during this time he stopped taking his medication. As it turned out, he got very sick and went to the Hand in Hand Office just a few days before we met him where he was

A few days after arriving at Lighthouse with an eagerness to learn about Christ.
A few days after arriving at Lighthouse with an eagerness to learn about Christ.

examined and was placed back on medication. He was very paled and skinny when I met him and working road construction in that state was not good for his health.  Speaking to his stepdad about his health and the need for him to be taken care of, I told him that with his permission I would seek a place for Mike to stay where he can receive the daily necessities. He was so appreciative of anything that could be done to help him as he knew he was not able to provide for him. Mike was adamant about not going back to the ridicule of the Children Home and the only other possibility would not be ready for several months. As I was praying and wondering what I was to do about his situation, the questions flashed to mind, ‘It not you, then who; if not now, when?’ I don’t know if that was a song I heard or from a book I read but it continued to echoed in my heart and head. “I’m an overworked missionary who is shorthanded as it, my monthly support is at it’s all time lowest to nonexistent at the time. What in the world am I thinking?” And again, that phrase would echo loudly in my head. So on October 30, 2015 Mike ventured over to San Pedro Town as the ‘who’ became me and the ‘when’ was now. Keeping in mind that at this point, I had not known Mike a full month as yet and I was already going through some very difficult heart breaking situations with a young man that I was previously helping who began to make very bad choices. The first week of having Mike was one of

Mike is good with his hands and quickly found things to do around the Lighthouse.
Mike is good with his hands and quickly found things to do around the Lighthouse.

many tears, heart wrenching moments and hours of prayers and ministry as he was still grieving the lost of his mother and had never had a safe place to do that. He quickly adjusted to the island, the Staff Apartment where he was staying and jumped right in with daily chores and helping out around the radio station. He was now eating 3 meals a day, back on his medication and sleeping soundly each night. Upon taking him back to the Hand in Hand Ministry a few weeks later, they were surprised to see him happy, healthy and stabilized. I notified the Social Services of his whereabouts, his health situation and preparations in place for him to begin evening classes in January. Miguel began reading his Bible daily and developing friendships with several of the neighborhood guys who work around the radio station on the weekends.

 

Watching Mike's life transform before my eyes daily is amazing!
Watching Mike’s life transform before my eyes daily is amazing!

I’ve been involved with He Intends Victory for many years, actually from their very first trip to Belize in1999 and recently became the Country Director of Belize. I’ve heard the life changing stories of many from the ministry as they pour out their soul to the residents of Belize and I’ve watched hearts break, eyes opened and heard the stories of many who’ve attended seminars, lectures, chapels, classroom discussions and TV/Radio interviews. But it’s a whole different story when you are the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus to those who are literally dying from hopelessness and the desperate need to be loved. When Mike was asked why he wants to live at the Lighthouse, he would look straight in the eyes of the person asking and respond, “Because I am love and accepted for who I am here.” That brings tears to my eyes every time I hear those words and even now because that is exactly what the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ does for anyone and everyone; He accepts and loves those who are living with HIV or AIDS. Who are we not to do as Our Lord when we have the opportunity to be His heart, His Feet, and His Hands!

 

Mike & Allan working around the Lighthouse on Saturday mornings.
Mike & Allan working around the Lighthouse on Saturday mornings.

It is coming up on 4 months since Mike has been in custody and I never would have imagined my heart’s capacity to love and care for him, though not easy but getting such a fresh perspective of God’s love and care for me. He is attending night classes from 6 pm – 10 pm and doing well considering he had been out of school for over 3 years. He is liked by all of our guests/visitors as he assist in cleaning, greeting and assisting with our Guest Apartment. I’m slowly teaching him aspects of the radio station and he oversees the facilities when I’m away. He is truly a God-sent and a blessing and I’ve never met a more appreciative and well mannered young man to which he credits his mom for his upbringing. After complaining about toothaches, we found out that he was in need of an extraction of a tooth and ingrown baby tooth, a root canal/crown, and several fillings. We’ve had to make several trips to Belize City for the dental work and only one more trip to make to get his permanent crown installed. A few days ago when we were discussing the end of the back and forth trips on the Water Taxi, he looked at me with eyes filled with tears and asked,” Mr. Clive, why are you doing all this for me?” I immediately responded, “Mike from the first day you came into my life, my heart’s desire was for you to know the love that God has for you personally and that He chose me as an instrument of that love. He loves us with a practical love and does for us what we could never do for ourselves. That type of love is what motivates us to love Him and gladly serve Him knowing we could never ever  repay Him!”

Excited about getting massive dental work done....no more toothache!
Excited about getting massive dental work done….no more toothache!

I wanted to share Mike’s brief story with you so that you can see the affect your prayers and financial support is having a life changing effect on lives in Belize. My motto for life has always been, “Lives touching Lives” and I want to personally thank you for touching my life and allow me to touch lives like Mike. Please pray for me that I might have all that I need to faithfully serve the Lord in the life of this young man and when the time comes that He will work through Mike to share the grace, hope, love and mercy to so many who are desperately in need in San Pedro and Belize!

The smile says it all, living hope and living with hope in Jesus!
The smile says it all, living hope and living with hope in Jesus!

Please do not share or forward this to anyone in Belize in order to protect his privacy or in anyway reveal his status. Thank you for your understanding in this area; this is solely to encourage and inform you of the great things God is doing through your prayers, love and support for the lost, last, least and little!

If you’d like to encourage Mike with a letter or email or assist with his dental bill, school fee, travel expenses for his monthly travel to Belize City, and living expenses, please contact us at:

He Intends Victory Belize

Lighthouse Christian Radio Ministry

P.O. Box 166

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye

Belize, Central America

Office: 011-501-226-4673

Cell : 011-501-605-6123

Email: clivewelsh@gmail.com

 

Contact Information in US:

He Intends Victory

P.O. Box 399

Irvine, CA 92650

1-800-HIV-HOPE

Please indicate: Welsh/HIV-Belize on your checks or online at:

https://hivictory.wpengine.com/lighthouseradio/

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