George & Stann Creek District pastors BCS
Dear friends & supporters,
At the crossroads of decision I attended a leaders’ conference it Belize City which became both an answer to prayer and an invitation to much greater things. The main speaker, Fernando Villalobos, was instrumental in the great revival in Bolivia in the 70s, one of the most resistant countries to the gospel at that time. In the first four months of the revival, the vast majority of that nation, 8 million people, prayed to receive Jesus as Lord. Even the president provided the stadium and resources for mass evangelism. All this was the result of church leaders gathering in prayer. But over the next several years they fought over this harvest and became deeply divided. We prayed together that the coming harvest in Belize would be multiplied instead. Fernando and others prayed specifically for me to be a national networker. It is time to make strong ties in relationships between leaders and intercessors that will hold us together in both success and persecution. No matter which way I turn at this point, I plan to stay involved both in Caye Caulker and in God’s wider purposes for His people in Belize! (See photos of recent connections I’ve made with leaders & intercessors).
Pastor Robert Palacio, San Pedro HCB
SIGNS AT THE CROSSROADS. I’ve found myself at the crossroads with two clear opportunities. One, the prospect of reopening our mission high school. Two, the prospect of expanding Belize City House of Prayer into a prayer network reaching across the whole nation. Two weeks ago the school looked like the stronger prospect. Parents of eighth graders were responding positively to initial consultations about our high school. Four US teacher candidates were planning to visit Caye Caulker in April.
And two good friends who are seasoned Belizean teachers came here Mar. 9-15. We discussed what God was doing in our lives, and what kind of school it would take to win the spiritual battles on Caye Caulker. We came to a good understanding of how teachers could grow together in right relationships with God, with one another and with the students, parents, churches & nonbelievers here. Though we liked the idea of working together, it could not happen this year, since one of the teachers found out that the government was requiring her to teach at least one more year at government schools. The second teacher is being discipled by the first, and wanted to wait until the first is free.
A third teacher has run into difficulty raising support. A fourth teacher, who had hoped to visit in April, could not get free from work till June. The fifth and sixth teachers—a married missionary couple already living in Belize—planned to visit in March. But due to a lease misunderstanding, they had to make a sudden time-consuming temporary move just before their scheduled trip to the US. This would leave them no time to visit Caye Caulker till mid-May. So I cannot confirm any of these teachers till May at the earliest, when most parents will have already enrolled their students at other schools.
All this I learned in the space of a few days. But God started to open other doors. Just after the first two teachers visited, I went to a three-day Leadership Conference in Belize City. On the first day one of the visiting speakers—who knew nothing about me—called me out of the crowd. He said he had a vision of a heavy rope on my shoulder, and said I would use it for a multitude of purposes. The more I used it, the more it would grow in length and strength. Like Moses’ staff—which turned into a snake and back again—the rope was a sign that God would release His power in many ways. Its main purpose was to make connections between Christians and churches and national leaders.
WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS UNITE. This word started to become reality on the second day of the conference. There I met an intercessory team from Hattieville composed of women of different churches (see photo) who pray together monthly at places God assigns. They had prayed at a media outlet where relationships and finances were on the rocks. In response God sent waves of grace to improve personal communication and restore funding. This team also prays at schools, prisons and other strategic sites, personalizing their prayers, and keeping records of God’s answers. They were eager to start sharing prayers & praise reports with our network, as fellow watchmen on the walls of the nation’s churches
On the third day of the conference I met leaders of the Stann Creek Ministerial Association (photo). Recently they’ve gotten immersed in the battle against the foreign gay lobby which is now targeting Belize. Now they see a need to increase their focus on prayer. They realize that the more we unite to fight our battles in the heavenlies, the more victories we will win on earth.
On the boat back to Caye Caulker, I had another divine appointment. Pastor Robert Palacio of Faith Bible Church on Ambergris Caye sat next to me (photo). He shared how that island’s pastors were reuniting for prayer and ready to join with a national movement. That made three additions to our prayer network in two days!
At this point there is more potential for extending our prayer network across the nation than for growing the Belize City House of Prayer. We do want to keep having prayer sessions at BC-HOP—God keeps answering in many amazing ways! But at this time many people who care enough to pray are already too over-scheduled with their families, workplaces, churches and prayer groups to commit to another habitual time and place for prayer. It’s a familiar story, that faithful people in Belize are so rare that they end up getting overburdened with other people’s responsibilities.
Stage with Eugene Crawford, Belize Action crowd and courthouse crop3 SBC
Hattieville intercessors with George BCS
BELIZE PRAYER NETWORK. That’s why we need prayer so badly! No one can take these burdens for long without realizing they need to cast them on the Lord. The result is prayer teams. If we focus on networking existing prayer teams, we won’t compete for intercessors but instead work together for greater effect. I have seen prayer sessions with 5-30 people multiply God’s power many times what we usually experience in individual prayer. Now take that multiplied power, and multiply it by 5-30 teams agreeing together in earnest prayer. The results will be exponential!
The key elements are seeing and agreeing in the Holy Spirit. I ask each team, what is God showing you? Then I can share that with other prayer teams, and we can all see the bigger picture of what God is saying to the churches in Belize. I also ask, what is God leading you to pray for? I can then share that with other prayer teams, and we can release great power in the prayer of agreement (Mt. 19:19).
Beyond that, we can periodically submit timely words we are receiving from God for the coming season to the spiritual leaders of Belize—specifically to the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches, which commissioned BC-HOP. As it turns out, I saw BAEC President Eugene Crawford (see photo of him at Belize Action rally) at the conference. He approved of expanding BC-HOP into a nationwide Belize Prayer Network. He also said I could share our timely words with BAEC members at the next tri-annual meeting, for confirmation. Once we agree on the words, we can speak them out as declarations for the coming season in Belize!
Imagine spiritual leaders in Belize declaring together, before heaven and earth, what God is about to do! “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:19). Imagine us doing this three times a year for the nation! And once a year, at the Global Day of Prayer, for the world! There is no limit to what God can do with leaders united in prayer.
FILLING THE GAPS. In the meantime, ask God to add faithful intercessors to our national network until every gap is filled. Nehemiah’s wall was successful because every team did its part for all God’s people. When one part is attacked, we must rally to its aid. Just yesterday an intercessor in our network called me about an attack on her head, neck, lungs and stomach. She was finding it difficult to breathe and sleep, and impossible to eat. Her prayer team had just been interceding for a key church which was refusing outside fellowship—and suffering physically and spiritually as a result. We realized God was using her body to show what they need—a hunger so great that they would give up their resistance and receive freely from the rest of His body. As we prayed, God removed every pain from her head to her stomach, and restored her health and peace. We took it as a sign that He’d do the same for that church.
I’m still waiting for conclusive signs at this particular crossroads. If God suddenly pulls teachers together—and shows us that this is the right team, and the right time—our school is ready to open. I can still do my part in the Belize Prayer Network, though not the leading part. If this is not God’s timing for the school, there is much to do in preparing the way, through concerted prayer, for greater and greater moves of God over all the schools, churches, and arenas of influence in this nation. We will surely not miss anything God wants to do with us if we persevere with Him in obedience and prayer!
Yours in Christ,
Hattieville intercessors at lunch with George