BELIZE JOURNAL, Pt. 1. Our Tree of Life Ministries on Caye Caulker island is being transplanted. So are many residents of Caye Caulker. They are putting down roots in a former swamp located next to our Living Word property. That swamp was once inhabited only by mosquitos and alligators. It occupied about one sixth of the populated southern half of Caye Caulker.
Since the swamp was filled in with sand in 2003, it has also been filled in with islanders. It’s now called Bahia Puesto del Sol (“Bay of the Setting Sun”)–or more simply Bahia or the New Area. The village gave residents good deals on parcels if they built and settled there. Now about half of Caye Caulker’s population of 3300 lives in Bahia. Many people who once lived in what used to be the biggest neighborhood on Caye Caulker—right next to Tree of Life—have moved there. It’s time that we moved too.
It’s been hard to let go of our Tree of Life storefront ministry. We had low rent and lots of great meetings with God. Tree of Life was close to the center of action in Caye Caulker. It drew kids off the streets, who otherwise would have been tempted by the dark side of island nightlife. God—and your donations—blessed us with so many books and resources to grow on, that it took about a dozen trips on my bike-powered cart to move them. Along the way I gave away many books and resources that we didn’t need anymore to Tree of Life participants and to local churches. I intend to give away more to new neighbors who show that they will use them. It will be a way of finding where they are with God and helping them to know Him better.
The new location is a 4-minute bike ride from our storefront ministry, so it will be accessible to our current participants. It will be much more than a resource center. It was designed as a temporary schoolhouse and a long-term site for my mission office, as well as housing and storage. We are ready to transition it into a full-fledged miracle school at any time that God gives us that grace. At this point we’re planning to use one classroom for children’s meetings, another for youth & adult meetings, and another yet-to-be finished room for an office, and another for storage. Two more rooms are for housing. Two more are yet to be constructed, including the biggest room that can be used for our larger meetings.
We called our previous meeting place Tree of Life Outreach Center. I’ve done so much outreach that I already know a good many people throughout the Bahia neighborhood. The Word has been sown widely. Our name must now reflect an emphasis on nurturing and watering the Word. We want the Word to live and thrive in islanders. Living Word is the name of our Belizean non-profit organization. It works under, and in joint venture, with our US non-profit organization Tree of Life Ministries.
Living Word Prayer & Action Center is a fitting name for this location. Prayer is essential for overcoming the widespread witchcraft on Caye Caulker and for empowering the Word. Action—both divine and human—is what we expect and engage in once we have prayed. Action will go beyond our meetings to impact all seven mountains of influence in Caye Caulker, in Belize, and in the world.
One key mountain of influence in Belize is Family. Families are so broken that it is hard for many Belizeans to relate to a church family. Churches can unwittingly reinforce family brokenness by keeping ministries to children, youth, men and women divided. We need those separate ministries but we also need them together. To bridge the gap I’ve often visited our kids’ parents to keep them informed. I’ve given kids and parents activities to do with the whole family. Now I plan to offer use of our Living Word yard to local churches for family & church activities.
This is just one of the ways to unite God’s people. But we must do much more. The leader of a Belize City prayer group connected to Belize Prayer Network, recently shared with me a timely word on the desperate need for church unity. The whole church in Belize would do well to take it to heart…
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Tags for Caye Caulker: Belize Prayer Network, Caye Caulker, Belize, Bahia Puesto del Sol, a time to pray, house of prayer, answered prayers, Tree of Life Ministries, Living Word, Jesus
Half of the population of Caye Caulker now lives in Bahia Puesto del Sol