After being here in Belize for almost two years, I have discovered there is one word that describes much of the culture. Entitlement. I say this not to talk badly about the Belizean people but to point out the damage many missions groups have made on this society. Each year, team after team flies in and brings lots of stuff…toys, candy, clothes, equipment, money, etc.
The list goes on and on.
They are very well intentioned groups, just misdirected.
Belizeans don’t just need cleaner teeth, newer clothes, a concrete floor, or big huge speakers in their churches.
They need the gospel.
Many of these teams forget that one essential ingredient.
All of these needs are real (to a certain extent) but not apart from the life saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. What does it profit a man is he gains the whole world and loses his soul?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” -Romans 1:16
After speaking with a number of Belizeans firsthand, it has become very evident that they are not happy with the disruptions some of these teams bring. It has caused their children to become “entitlement based”. It has stolen their contentment for living a simple life, and many of these teams even bypass the Saints already doing the work here, instead of coming beside them.
I praise God for recently sending us a team from Canada. Their sole purpose…come alongside the Saints here and preach the gospel.
Kevin St. John, Peter Van Waardhuizen, and Annie Giesbrecht joined us for 11 days of explosive preaching, tracting, and one-2-ones across the nation of Belize. They did not bring puppets, candy, or toys for the Belizeans but they brought something far more powerful…the gospel which has the power to Salvation.
We are thankful for these saints and their desire to see Christ exalted over Belize. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I have reposted their updates below. I know you will be very encouraged and edified in how the Lord used our combined efforts to exalt Christ these past few weeks.
Praying the Lord would continue to send us more saints with the same heart for biblical missions…
The gospel is glorious. It continues to be glorious. What it produces is glorious.
The battle is real.
However, joy has been supplied in abundance as we have seen how God is bringing His gospel to Belize through this dear missionary couple, Nate and Sheila Steuer and their Pastor, Gideon Richards.
On Friday what seemed to be our first encounter with discouragement turned out to be providential in that our flight was delayed as we sat on the tarmac in Houston for an hour and a half, which in turn caused us to miss our connecting flight from Belize City to Punta Gorda. It was in mid flight that Nate’s friend Timmy and his wife Elnora agreed to pick us up at the airport and drive us to his home in Dangriga. Along the way, we stopped for a bite to eat and were able to witness to Elnora who confessed to be confused and unsure of her salvation. This was an answer to prayer as Timmy, Nate and Pastor Gideon have been praying for her. Please pray for this lovely young gal.
The next morning (Saturday, Feb 4), Nate along with his son Bryce and Pastor Gideon picked us up and drove us to the bridge in the downtown core, one block from the ocean. There we heralded the gospel in Garifuna (by means of files downloaded on Nate’s cell phone through the 1/2 mile hailer) and in English. The response was very positive with young and old alike responding in gratitude for the most part. I even made a little friend by the name of Johnny! After witnessing for a number of hours, we then departed and made our way to the Steuer home near Punta Gorda.
On the Lord’s Day we were blessed as we fellowshipped with the believers, worshipping God in their open-air church structure. It was truly an experience of a lifetime and was even privileged with bringing the message.
Monday we engaged in bible study at the Steuer home and were pleasantly surprised as a local believer stopped on his way through, saying he had heard Nate’s witness at the park and had heard he gives out material. This man by the name of Florencio has been overseeing three separate bible studies and so Nate was able to supply him with good books, tracts and other helpful study materials supplied to him by Chapel Library for free.
It is now Tuesday that I write, the last two days also spent laboring near the church, engaging the residents with the gospel door to door.
Today, before engaging door to door, we accompanied Nate in a visit of one of Christian Life Center’s (CLC) member couples who welcomed a little baby into their home only three weeks ago. At their humble abode, we witnessed firsthand, their thatch (a homemade of posts, beams and roof covered in palm branches). I can honestly say that the simplicity of life was strangely appealing.
Today’s outreach included a run in with a false teacher from a health/wealth church nearby who after being challenged with scripture totally dismissed me in a huff and claimed he did not have time for dialogue. It also included what we believe to be a providential witness. Just as a truck full of rowdies pulling a trailer crested the hill by the church, one wheel fell off their boat trailer and ground them to a stop. Peter and I then walked up and engaged the men. One of the men, claiming the name of “Big Ben” when asked if he had a Christian background responded by saying he had been a lay minister who had even studied Greek at Moody Seminary. His testimony included him confessing that he had been hurt by “church politics” and that he had “lost” his faith. I then asked if he had indeed ever experienced true repentance from his sins. He said he had but that his pride had risen up and then cussed as he told of his condition. As he departed, in compassion for his state, I admonished him by appealing to him that I hoped he was not the man of Hebrews 6. Truly, he is in a sad state. Please pray for Big Ben.
Tonight I write after a delicious traditional meal prepared for us by Pastor Gideon’s sweet wife, Maylin. Belizean food and hospitality is certainly nearing if not at the top. (I’m thinking Annie is in agreement) 🙂
We have certainly been encouraged thus far, and have been assured that our labor here has truly been a huge help, blessing and encouragement.
For your encouragement, Peter has filmed six short videos of me interviewing Nate with several questions he answers that are sure to fulfill your curiosity.
(Interviews with Nate and some of our interaction can be seen here: https://m.facebook.com/soulwinnermissions/)
Yesterday we took to the city center of Punta Gorda where Peter, Gideon, Nate and I were used of God to thunder out the word of God by preaching from the outdoor stage at the park. Annie once again blessed us with her dedication to one on one gospel conversations and bold tracting ministry. This was such a privilege to minister at Nate’s local fishing hole. Thursday’s are especially busy as the farmers market is in full swing.
In the evening, we enjoyed coming together with the saints at the weekly prayer and praise meeting of Christian Life Center, where Peter brought us a message from Colossians 3, exhorting us to fix our minds on the things above where Christ is seated.
This morning we departed from Toledo (near Punta Gorda where Nate and Sheila reside), to enter the second leg of our mission journey.
We along with Cheyenne, Nate and Pastor Gideon will be heading north, stopping first in Dangriga to once again herald the gospel there before traveling to Belmopan, then to Spanish Lookout. We will be staying with Margaret and Abram Thiessen, friends of Nate and Sheila.
On this leg Danny, Ronald and Anton (fellows that have been doing outreach in the area since Nate provided training to them last May, 2016), will be joining us and have also invited us to their church this coming Sunday. We will then meet up with Pastor Ken Barber Sunday evening to encourage him and hear about the prison ministry he has.
Departing from the Steuer home, we did our best in the strength God provided, to encourage Sheila and the kids with hugs and admonishments to remain steadfast, looking to Christ for their strength. What a beautiful time we had with them. They will be dearly missed by the three of us.
With that, please continue to pray for us. Pray for Belize. Pray that God would thwart the plans of wicked men in this country who seek to do their father the devil’s work under the guise of “Christian mission work” as well as the “health/wealth” lie that is being propagated and is a big stronghold here.
We kicked of the third leg of our journey today with a visit to the market in San Ignacio. The local people there were friendly and received the word of God graciously. A number of Christians were really encouraged by our witness and the preaching. What a blessing to hear from a number of them personally after coming down off the bleachers from heralding a message from Psalm 1.
It was a great encouragement for our team to be able to work along other biblically minded church folk as we were joined by families from Amazing Grace Christian Fellowship in Spanish Lookout. Beside them, we handed out many tracts and Gospels of John to the scores of people there. What a joy it was for me personally to come alongside them after preaching.
Something I hope will encourage you is that while we handed out tracts and Bibles a question came to mind to ask people walking by. It was this; “Have your sins been dealt with at the cross of Jesus Christ? Please take one of these gospel cards to find out!”
After departing from San Ignacio, we stopped at the bus station to drop off Pastor Gideon so he could be back for church service tomorrow in Toledo (Christian Life Center). It was a very sad time mixed with joy knowing God is using this man as Peter prayed fervently that God would continue to use him. We will certainly miss having our brother with us as we finish the final legs of our journey.
We, along with two dear brothers from Amazing Grace fellowship are now driving into Belize City to finish off our day preaching at the bus stop. It is said that Belize City is even more openly wicked than all we have encountered so far. We will see if it tops the wickedness of Calgary/Lethbridge!
Tomorrow we will worship and fellowship with them, then Monday head off to the island of Caye Caulker with the message we preach.
That message: Christ Crucified – for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who will believe.
Thanking you in advance for your continued prayers.
Yesterday the journey continued as we “water taxied” over to the island of Caye Caulker. It was of great interest to me as I knew of a previous coworker who had moved their to start a business. A coworker whom I had shared the gospel with before yet was still in need of Christ.
Once getting to the island, it was only minutes before Nate handed a tract to a couple of police officers at the beach and started up a conversation. Two of them seemed to be sympathetic to Christianity and may certainly be Christians as they told us of the wickedness that goes on there and asked us for prayer. It was certainly a good start to our day!
We then tracted the town and finally came to the restaurant “crepes & dreams” where I immediately heard my name called and was met with big smiles and a warm greeting. We were then welcomed in, seated and enjoyed some really good crepes! During our stay there we were able to leave her with tracts and a gospel of John after hearing about how frightened she was by hurricane Earl last fall. Please pray for Carrie and Chris.
We then made our way down to an open court with a stage where we proceeded to set up and start to preach. We were then given favor from God as we preached there for a couple hours. As we took turns preaching as well as tracting and conversing with the people of Caye Caulker, a number of people sat around to listen. Christians and non-Christians alike heard the gospel of grace, many of whom were encouraged.
We then took to the streets, even into the industrial area and shipyards where we handed out bibles and tracts.
As we departed a Christian, man met us by the dock and encouraged us, thanking us for our bold witness there. This certainly gladdened our hearts.
We then boarded our boat that would ferry us back to Belize City and gave out tracts and Gospels of John once on. We watched in amazement as God used this time to have people read the materials, which certainly caused us to rejoice. Nearing the city port, God emboldened Peter to exhort the people by way of recapping the gospel and calling on them to get right with God. Many of the folks on the boat then thanked him as they off boarded. It was truly amazing to see!
We then travelled to Belmopan where we joined up with the Zeiter family (our sister Stephanie’s parents) who had invited us for dinner. It was a time of sweet fellowship and rich discussion on the things of God. It was so encouraging to here of their travels and how God by His providence brought them here through death defying trials and miraculous means.
This morning we said our goodbyes to Abram and Margaret Thiessen, who warmly opened there home during our stay up North. Truly, they have been a blessing to us.
We now will travel to Belize City, this time to board our flight home. Home where once again we will be united to our church families whom we so love and adore.
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with my final thoughts that I have already posted to the Soul Winner Facebook Page:
“This ends our first Belize journey. Our desire was first of all to see God glorified by lifting His name and word above all, while here. Second, to encourage the church as we labored beside them. Thirdly, to be vessels used to win souls to Christ.
Not by means such as dramatic skits or ways in which emotions are stirred and responses are later proven to be other than genuine. Nor to try to “fit in” with the culture. Rather, we preached Christ crucified and disseminated true gospel literature to the masses, trusting in our sovereign God to supply the increase.
A big thanks to our brothers Nate Steuer, a true missionary and ambassador of Christ as well as his pastor, Gideon Richards.”
THANK YOU for your continued support!
For His Glory ALONE-
Nate & Sheila