Visiting churches is hard work! So far we have visited four. New Beginnings Church was the first we visited. Worship service started at 8:30 am. Yes! I said, 8:30 am. As it turns out Pastor Doug is our neighbor, a very nice man from the U.S. Very nice group of people, a mix of expats and Belizeans worshipping together. Interestingly, when we searched the internet for “Baptist” churches in the area, New Beginnings appeared but is actually an Assembly of God congregation. The church meets in a refurbished warehouse with many fans placed strategically about the room for airflow to combat the heat. Two young ladies, part of a worship dance team, assisted in leading the congregation in song. Their costumes were beautiful, long white dresses with a vestment of purple and gold. The message of salvation was preached. While we were made to feel welcome during the service, after seemed like everyone was rushing to get somewhere else.
We visited the Methodist Church, started at 8:00 am, a very formal service with responsive readings. Again, the feeling was we were welcome during the service but everyone had somewhere to be after. Again, there was a mix of parishioners. The pastor was also a very nice man from the U.S. There was a gentleman actually moving people out the door so he could lock the building! We did hear the church is involved in a ministry to recovering alcoholics called Jacob’s Farm. Apparently, the service held at 8:00 in town is held again at the farm.
The Church of the Nazarene’s service started at 10:30 am. A much more civilized time in my esteemed opinion! However, I can see the advantage to an early service here before the heat of the day is upon us. The pastor is Belizean and preached a wonderful message of salvation by the blood of Christ. We were the only Caucasians in attendance. Everyone was very friendly during the service and we enjoyed meeting people. We were encouraged by the message. Again, after service was concluded, it seemed that people had to rush off.
Needless to say we started wondering if all churches were so impersonal. We felt discouraged at the lack of real engagement and our inability to engage in a meaningful way with those we met. This is probably the seeds of discontent began to be sown in my heart and I became fertile ground for the lies of Satan. Hence, my last post wondering what I have done. The deceiver loves to keep people from coming to Christ, but he also loves to keep those who belong to Christ in bondage so they are not effective for Him and stop being tools in the hands of the Creator doing the work He has set out for His people to do. It has been with much prayer we continued to seek another church to visit.
We heard about Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. Sunday school was to start at 9:30 am. The taxi came for us about 9:20 am. The driver did not know where the church was located and we spent 45 minutes driving around looking for the place. It is a fairly large building in the pictures so we were somewhat surprised when we could not find it. Actually, we almost gave up and were going to go home to try to call for directions to attend the 5:00 pm Worship service. On our way home, we stopped at the taxi office and the owner had figured out where it was! Even though we were late, we went anyway. As God would have it, Sunday school had started late so we heard the entire message. The preacher was filling in for the regular pastor who had been asked to oversee a meeting at another church in a nearby village. The lesson was on the importance of the 10 commandments. The series had started just the week prior discussing the first commandment. It was a bilingual service, preaching done in English and translated into Spanish. There was a wonderful mix of people at the service and everyone was very friendly. Garry and Anita, the pastor and his wife, offered us a ride home and a ride back should we want to attend the 5:00 service. Many people asked us lots of questions and were free with their answers to our questions. Needless to say we attended the 5:00 service and met Pastor Juan and his wife Maria. A wonderful woman, Nancy, gave us her number and stated she and her husband would love to get together with us. We were also invited to a Friday evening prayer meeting and Saturday’s outreach to the youth via a “Sports Day.”
As it happens, we met Albert, the principal of one of the local High Schools. There is a tremendous need for people with degrees in social services and psychology to work with the kids and their families. Child abuse and neglect is not a rare occurrence here and there is a substantial amount of domestic violence. A huge difference between here and the states is that extended family steps in so the children are not removed from their homes. Instead, families already stretched to the limit for space and resources go ahead and take in their nieces, nephews, grandchildren, cousins, etc. creating a huge need for those families. While teachers spend a substantial amount of time with these children, they are not equipped with the tools or the time to dig into the needs of the family. Albert was excited when he heard about Mike’s technological background and my education and background and I plan to discuss working with kids, and by extension, their families through the school.
As Mike says, we keep moving and pray for God to steer!