EAVEN AND HELL ON EARTH. When I returned from Kansas City’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) to Belize in late April, many neighborhood kids jumped right back into our ministry. In Children’s Church I used a lesson I learned at IHOP and asked kids to come forward and say what they liked about candy. All of them had a favorite taste or sensation or rush of joy—though some warned of rotting teeth & bloated bellies. Then I asked them to come forward and say what they liked about heaven: “Peace…joy… lots of friends…no crying…no fighting…no rotting teeth…lots of good music…everything is beautiful …nothing to be afraid of …everybody loves each other…Jesus is there…” “So who wants to be there with Him?” I asked. Everyone raised their hand. “If Jesus is Lord of your life, you can join Him there.” And they all prayed a prayer of commitment or recommitment to Him.
In Youth Church we tuned in to a portion of IHOP’s Awakening meeting. This is the Awakening that hit the youth at IHOP’s school of ministry in November and has drawn tens of thousands from around the globe ever since, reaching more through webstream. Our kids were puzzled. “You mean people go there for six hours night after night, just to pray for each other and sing?” “That’s what happens when heaven touches earth and God visits His people. They don’t want to leave,” I said, “they’re getting free from the hell of depression and self-hatred and shame over sexual abuse and addictions.”
A few nights later some of the rougher youth congregated at our storefront doorstep, on a night when no meeting was scheduled. They actually begged on their knees to come in. I reminded them that they left our last meeting early. “That’s because we were having girl problems.” They came in, and for the first time they began to confide in me about the pangs of unrequited love. One after another, these 11- and 12-year-old boys had all experienced their first romantic disappointments. They wanted to know what to do with the pain. “Maybe learn from it,” I said. “Before you trust your heart to someone, you might want to take time and get to know them better.”
WANTED: LABORERS FOR HEAVEN’S HARVEST. They admitted to some kissing, but no more. But they did say that twice recently, some boys got caught having sex with each other in parked trucks. The boys involved were 8, 9 and 10 years old! Only six months before, a room full of high school students told me how repulsed they were they were at the very idea of homosexuality, and here were little kids doing it! They once came to Children’s Church, but now they were too ashamed.
Friends, we need an awakening on Caye Caulker before a deeper darkness settles in! And we need a mission high school that will open paths of righteousness through the troubled teen years to adulthood, for every kid, no matter what sin they’re caught in. The youth are hungering for righteousness the more they see wickedness increase. But one man can’t fill that hunger. My return to Caye Caulker convinced me all the more that I must go back to the States to build a solid mission team.
I would have liked to build a team of Belizeans, just as I did with Haitians in the 90s. But as I’ve said before, Belize is a different mission field. I hear the same refrain from other missionaries and pastors who feel strained and stranded: the possibilities are great, but the laborers are few. I left one Belizean teacher candidate in charge of our high school property. But just before I returned to Belize, the death of his grandfather forced him to move to the mainland to support his extended, impoverished family.
So I had to find another caretaker before I went back to the U.S. I was relieved when a ready volunteer appeared. Call him Ernesto. Ernesto joined us in November when God was adding to our numbers and moving miraculously in healing and sudden answers to prayers. He showed himself faithful in all the tasks I gave him. Ernesto was a reformed drug addict who was eager for discipleship. In January he was lured into a ministry whose leader told him—contrary to my own counsel—that it was okay to live with his Christian fiancée provided they would not sleep together. They ended up fighting and breaking their engagement.
He was looking for another chance with our ministry when I returned in late April. The local village council chairman had just enlisted him as island Traffic Commissioner. But he still had time to help us. Ernesto admitted his wrongs and offered to look after the Schoolhouse and the watchdogs and the schoolyard—all of which he did so well earlier—in return for living there. Ernesto would also serve the Christians who would be renting our two apartments for the summer. He had already proved to be friendly and gracious with visitors. He seemed the logical choice as no other Christian was available.
MISSING IN ACTION. But two weeks later he was missing. So were five microscopes, a DVD recorder/player, dozens of Christian DVDs, a bike, two airbeds, butane gas tank, and many other items in rooms to which only he and I had keys. Sadly, Ernesto (not his real name) had secretly reverted back to his old habit. Addicts will do almost anything for drug money. Our financial loss totaled over $2000. The much greater loss was a soul snatched back into bondage to a cruel lord.
A few people have suggested I give up on this island. That would mean giving it over to more sexual immorality and perversity, more drug dealing and theft, and more children raised in the sins of their fathers. That would mean giving them hell instead of heaven. Darkness is coming in like a flood. But one can “chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight” (Dt. 32:30). If one missionary is not enough, we need more.
CALLING OUT FOR GOD’S CHOICES. For years, many of you know my top prayer request has been for a team that agrees together in the Holy Spirit. Agreement is what puts ten thousand to flight. This mission needs a solid team with steady backing and steady prayer for the battles that lie ahead. It’s possible that God has called many to this mission, but chosen a few. It’s also possible that a few have resisted His choice. Don’t resist God! Most missionaries I know suffer from understaffing due to this. Most don’t have the freedom that I now have to travel and personally seek out God’s choices. Pray for me as I do. And please spread the word about our need for faith missionary teachers.
Kansas City is right smack in the center of the U.S. and thus not unreasonably far from any U.S. teacher candidate. And Kansas City right now is the site of the only 24/7 house of prayer as well as the greatest revival I’ve ever witnessed. This summer IHOP will focus on their Awakening Teen Camps and their preteen Signs & Wonders Camps. I’ve been invited to apply to minister to these kids, yet also to participate in several prayer groups. Also, IHOP is now developing a partnership with Youth With A Mission that will link ongoing prayers with ongoing mission activities.
My priority is not to join another organization or activity but to find members of the body of Christ who belong in Belize. Here the body of Christ is being awakened to His call—for young and old—to prayer and His Great Commission. Pray for me as I seek God’s combination of seeking His kingdom first in prayer, then engaging in actions that will lead to divine appointments with His teacher choices. And with His teacher sources. We need more lights to awaken Belize to its own divine call!
Yours in Christ, George