For some, the word “work” carries a negative connotation. For those old enough to remember the show “Dobie Gillis,” the character Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver) had a sort of allergy to the word “work.” Whenever the word was mentioned he would echo it in a sort of shocked high-pitched voice, “Work?” Hopefully we all see a need to work and don’t shudder at the idea. (2 Thess. 3:10)
When I was more able, I always enjoyed hard/physical work as it accomplished two tasks; the results of the job the work centered on and good healthy exercise. I’ve never been one to enjoy exercise for the sake of exercise, I find it boring. But with some good physical work, you get the exercise you need along with accomplishing a tangible task. Take that and add to it that you are blessing someone in the name of the Lord and now with a threefold benefit, you have what most will experience in mission “work.”
Mission work is rewarding. It blesses the person in mission, the missionary. It blesses the people who support the missions through prayer and offerings as they know they are a part of something bigger. It blesses the people who are the object of the mission. (Mark 16:15)
With a very diverse group of workers we were able to achieve many tasks in Seine Bight. There were folks who were witnessing in general among folks that we passed by or met. Some of our folks were doing construction, painting, leading Bible studies, providing childcare. Some were tending to medical needs, some in tutoring children at the school, another was ministering to children with emotional struggles, some were going from place to place checking on folks who were out and around the village just to be certain they were all o.k. We had folks taking pictures, making balloon animals for the kids, reading to children, speaking with youth about possible scholarships to attend school (everyone in school, no matter the age has to pay to attend). Financial support for scholarships is essential if we are to help these children have a brighter future. (Matt. 25:34-40)
During the V.B.S. week, most folks were divided into pairs to lead groups of kids. Again there were also Bible study leaders, caregivers, folks playing games or sports with kids, some did construction and some attended to medical needs, a few took care of serving the lunches to the masses, some swept-mopped-cleaned the facilities. There were so many children that were starved for attention or just to be held. (Matt. 19:14) Indeed no one had a Grinch’s heart, but like his, everyone’s heart had to grow three sizes to accommodate the need.
There truly is something for everyone to do. Every member of the body is valuable and essential for Christ’s mission to be complete. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside the great church families from both Immanuel Belvidere and St. John’s Ellisville. There were 15 year old youth, their parents and even a couple of grandparents who were all there for the same purpose, to join our part of the body of Christ to theirs.
Seine Bight is mostly the Garifuna people, but one area to the west is all Spanish folk mostly from Guatemala. There are also few Mayans in this area. These people truly reflect to flag of Belize in representing the mix of ethnicities working “alongside” each other. Sadly however, they are not often working “together” as prejudices and racism are as real there as here in North America. But, we were able to minister to all, even if we had to divide the times where we cared for one people group or another. (Heb. 8:11)
There are so many lessons for them to learn from God’s Holy Word. Many deal with issues of extra marital relationships, having children out of wedlock, drunkenness, splitting their devotion for God with “idols” in their midst, racist ideals, constant lying to get what they want, a lack of respect for others… wow, it actually sounds like I could be saying our mission trip took place right here where we live in the USA. No, we are not very different when it comes down to what matters most, we are as Martin Luther put it, “Simul justus et peccator” at the same time both Saint and Sinner.
There are so many hungry for the Word in Seine Bight, many wanting to talk of Jesus and open to receiving His Word and love. This is a place that is ripe for the harvest. Being a part of God’s work where people have such a great need helps us to return home and understand even better the needs around us and with our hearts being enlarged, can carry over when we come home to minister among and work with the people where we live. It’s as if we are going away to school to learn more about the work of God and then returning home and do even more of the work of Christ where we live. Being a missionary among other people, even for only short experiences once a year can be life changing to the point where we are better missionaries in our own neighborhoods and cities.
Join us Sunday, September 13th at 6:30 to hear more about Belize and Seine Bight. Here about future plans and how you can be a part of this wonderful mission and ministry.