Praying Pelican Winter Meeting

Duluth, Minnesota!

This past year we crossed the threshold of having hosted 10,000 participants on overseas missions!  Now, with that in mind, imagine this….next year alone we will have almost half that many!  Over 4,600 participants in multiple countries, so, plenty of planning going on here in Duluth this week!

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Belize is the Key

Belize is the Key to Central America

Why Belize after all?  Karen and I had a goal of taking the entire family on mission several years ago.  Through prayer, and a process of elimination, we felt sure we were supposed to take the entire family to Belize.  We did that, and the rest is history so they say.
Here’s a quick story that is part of that history.  After participating in missions to Belize for a few years, we were in prayer prior to the Summer.  During that time I felt something in my spirit that made me get a little more bold in prayer.  It went something like this, “Lord, I know you’ve placed Belize, specifically, in our hearts and that is enough, but I would like to ask you why.  Why is Belize so important to you?”  I sometimes get pictures that I feel are answers to prayer.  As I asked that question over a series of days I received an instant picture that was emotionally moving, clear, and beyond any doubt – I knew it was the answer from the Lord.
The coast of Belize is paralleled by the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world.  A picture of that reef came into my mind, and I felt the Lord say to me that, just as the barrier reef has protected the mainland of Belize from storms and such, and has “preserved it” in a sense….the Belizean people have been protected.  They possess something special, different from their neighbors.  And here was the phrase I received with full assurance it was the Lord’s voice – “Belize is the key to Central America”.
Pretty amazing right?  Well, that Summer during a mission to Libertad, Belize I was sharing a room with my son Frank and Steve Inman (from Liberty Christian Church).  One evening Steve was asking about our call to Belize, and during that conversation I spoke to him with full assurance, what the Lord had said to me.  ”Steve, the Lord has told me clearly that Belize is the key to Central America”, I said.
The next day we were in the village.  Nydia May arrived (Belizean Pastor’s wife) with an elderly woman from Oregon.  She’s been working in Belize for over 20 years. She had with her a Pastor from Asia who shared that he had left a work of over 150 house churches, to come to the Belize, because the Lord had told him Belize was important and ministers were to be trained.  Linda looked at Steve and I, interrupting the conversation, and said these words – “Gentlemen, the Lord has spoken something to me and I believe he is telling me right now that I should share it with you…….BELIZE IS THE KEY TO CENTRAL AMERICA.”
Unbelievable, if it weren’t for the fact that God is alive and well, and continuing the expansion of the Kingdom he promised to bring in these days, through the hands of the Christ, Jesus, whom we serve.
Don’t tell me God is not specific.
Don’t tell me God is not moving.
Don’t tell me God does not have a master plan!
Tell me you will pray, and join us, or at least join Him, in the mission He gives you.
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Faith and Love

Pastor Ed, from Orange Walk, Belize is becoming one of my best friends.  He’s a younger pastor than most.  He has a lovely wife (originally from Guatemala) and family.  The first time I saw Ed, he was standing outside a little dental clinic we had set up at Louisiana Government School.  When my eyes caught his, something in me said distinctly: “go talk to that man”.  As we spoke, Ed said he was there waiting for his daughter to see the dentist.  As he continued, I found out he was a pastor, and had a big heart for the children of Belize.  In fact, Ed just sent me pictures from his children’s ministry where they recently had over 300 children for services.  As the months ensued Ed and I kept in touch, largely due to his kind effort of reaching out occasionally, even when I was back in the United States.  I asked Pastor Ed to assist us on a trip in the Spring of 2011, and he was wonderful.  I will never forget one particular night, on a little hill where we had set up a night revival service with a local pastor.  I shared toward the end of the service, and truthfully, I felt the Lord speaking through me, from my heart to the people of Belize, for whom God has given me a deep and profound love.
As Belizeans streamed forward, Ed turned and collapsed into my arms, weeping, and repeating over and over, “thank you for loving my people”.  That moment showed more about the quality of Ed’s heart than mine, and it’s fair to say the Lord knitted us together as friends in that wonderful Kingdom moment.  Remembering that time, and thinking of my friendship with Ed in general – easily brings tears of joy.  Pastor Ed has a phrase he uses about Praying Pelican Missions.  He says “brother Rob, the Belizean pastors step out with vision and in faith, and you respond and come to help complete what God has begun – in love“.  Faith and Love.  Ed is a beautiful picture of the type of pastor we long to come alongside – to assist, in this case, reaching the children of Belize, ‘his people’ with the power of a life committed and following Christ.  There are dozens and dozens of stories, and I will be sharing them on this ‘blog’.

Children from Eds Ministry

I wish each of you could meet the dozens of beautiful people, pastors, teachers, families, for which the Lord has called us.    Truly the people of Belize are incredibly humble and wonderful.  In particular, the pastors, a majority of which are bi-vocational, working as teachers, fruit stand workers, cane field farmers, and a myriad of other things to scrape together a living while they love on God’s people.  Belizeans get under the skin quickly, I am reminded of my daugther’s facebook status after just a short time in Belize, which simply said “Belize is another city in my soul”.   Indeed, Annie, indeed.
Karen and I are “Belize Bound”, meaning, Karen and I are in the process of taking practical steps to be able to pick up and relocate ourselves more “full time” in Belize, Central America.  I explain more about that in the links on this blog site. Bound, yes, the word is a good one to describe us.  “Bound·ed, bound·ing, bounds”, defined as: To leap forward or upward; spring,  To progress by forward leaps or springs.  ’Bound’ can also imply a “bound-ary”, a limit.  The territory on, within, or near limiting lines: the bounds of the kingdom.   The Lord has placed Belize within our hearts as the geographic place we are called to, the ‘bounds’ of our mission is within the ‘boundary’ of Belize.

Pastor Ed

Finally, ‘bound’ can have another meaning, “in bonds or chains; tied with or as if with a rope – a bound prisoner”. We are, to use the biblical term, “bond-servants” of the Belizean people and of Christ.  In a very real sense, it is as though invisible ropes have latched us, our hearts and lives, to the people of Belize.
We were born to sing this song, and so, can you imagine our joy!?
 Thank you Lord, for your many invitations, but especially this one, late as it would seem, but timely, to love the people of Belize as you love them.  We will run to you, as we race toward them.  Order our steps, as we trust you, help us to trust you completely, in faith and love.
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