BELIZE – First Baptist Church (FBC) New Baltimore in Macomb Township had the opportunity this summer to go on a nine day international mission trip to a small village in Belize Central America. FBC partnered with a small church there in Corozal Belize called Lighthouse Baptist Church (LBC) and took on a laundry list of projects to support them in their local ministry.
Though the coast of Belize is well known for its’ tourists on vacation, beaches, and the largest coral reef in the western hemisphere, it is also one the poorest countries in the region. Belize has diverse people groups including Maya, German-Mennonites, Creoles and more. Being a former British colony until 1981, English is the official language of the people which made it an ideal country for FBC to better communicate and witness to people.
Headed up by their mission team leader Bobbie Herhuth and senior pastor Jeff Bean, FBC prayerfully planned this mission starting ten months in advance. The mission team was made up of 17 adults of all ages who spent those months in prayer for the people of Belize that they would be serving. Besides their own luggage, each member brought a large bin full of project supplies including crafts, games, soccer balls, construction tools and bar-b-que sauce for a special “American style cookout” FBC planned to do for the families at Lighthouse Baptist.
When FBC got to Belize the local mission coordinator, Lorelly Escalante, planned a full schedule for their stay. Each morning started off early, working on minor construction and improvement projects around the local church. After lunch they freshened up, and then worked on evangelistic outreach projects in the community. Some days they would deliver food and clothing to needy members of the local church, taking time to talk and pray with them. Other days, they held vacation Bible school programs and youth day camps for area children,and even a women’s ministry evening.
Participating in the “Great Commission” allowed both the church from Michigan and the church from Belize to be blessed by serving God and each other during this mission trip. For FBC and LBC lives were changed, salvations were declared, and relationships were found this summer.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Scott Hemphill is the Publicity Director and Deacon Chairman at First Baptist Church in New Baltimore, MI.