Much given, much required: a reflection on Belizean visit

Posted on February 26, 2012 by VMMissions Staff

Down a street in the Central American town of Orange Walk, Belize, sits a garbage can. It’s painted bright yellow with flowers and the words “Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life.” This is the home of Nancy Marshall, joint mission worker with VMM and EMM. She devotes her time to pastoring Jesus Deaf Church and volunteering in special education classrooms at St. Peter’s School.

On the second day of my visit Nancy was busy organizing and planning a New Year’s Eve party to be held in her house later that evening. She wanted to give the young people a safe place to gather to avoid the temptation to spend the evening carousing around town. The evening was a huge success with pizza, games, lots of laughter and talking and then a drive downtown to see the fireworks.

The next day was Sunday. Nancy started her rounds to pick up people for church at 7:30. The van purchased by Penny Power, drives out one direction to pick up several people, then to another town and to another. At ten o’clock (if all goes well) a full van arrives at the Mennonite Church to begin worship. This first Sunday of the year was special. Nancy had invited 18-year-old twins to give their testimony. They testified how God had saved them from a life of gangs, drugs and prison to a joy-filled life serving God. The twins prayed for each one there. The presence of God’s Spirit was evident that morning.

Throughout the week, I was humbled and challenged. Training and counseling were given again and again. Prayers offered for the sick and sick in heart. I saw food given to needy people. The table was set for friends and new acquaintances with more plates being added for more people until we laughingly said that this should be called “Nancy’s Diner.”

Scripture says that to the person who has much given to them, much will be required. After being involved in this 24-7 ministry in Belize, I reflected, “I can speak and hear. I grew up in a stable family. I have had Christian training, my list goes on. Am I taking every opportunity to do what Christ requires of me, to serve Him and to speak for Him?”

Carol Rhodes, a member of Dayton Mennonite Church, brought unique gift bags with her to Belize. Each bag was filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, candy and a photograph. Each member of Jesus’ Deaf Church was given a picture of one of Carol’s friends who had committed to praying for them. Carol returned with photos of the Belizean recipients. God has already begun answering their prayers.

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A pre-school deaf boy benefits from Nancy's one-on-one tutoring as he learns sign language while his mother observes.

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Young women gather for Bible study, support, prayer and fellowship on Friday evenings. Nancy guides them in making good life choices and in spiritual nurture. Photos courtesy of Carol Rhodes

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