Monday, February 14, 2011

You Wouldn't last 2 blocks

Below is a blog posted from a couple who are in Belize for a few weeks working with Basil at the mission. I thought you'd be interested in reading his blog and what it's really like in Belize! Enjoy, I'll post more as he posts! Love you Mary and Brian for your heart that follows God! You are an awesome couple! Vera


You Wouldn't Last Two Blocks

Our early arrival to Belize City on January 31st was not only perfectly timed for helping our team arrive together, but also for ministry.
After being picked up at the airport by Basil DeKlerk, Founder and Director of Belize Mission and Retreat (BM&R) and Gales Point Village Pastor Kenny Welch, we joined John and Mel Bjorgen, BM&R missionary staff, for supper. Afterward, Pastor Kenny had arranged for me to meet 5 of the 11 young men who would be attending the men’s retreat Mark Gold would be leading for us the coming weekend.
After a short drive through the streets of Belize City, we came to Miss Myrna’s home, an elderly woman who offers her home as a refuge to the young men and women from the Brethren Church they all attend. Basil, Kenny and I enjoyed a time of fellowship with the 5 young men and I was able to explain the importance of our upcoming retreat. I liked these guys right off!
When I finished my retreat overview, I asked them if they had any questions to which one immediately replied, “is it unacceptable for a Christian man to wear his hair long?” I thought he was kidding until the next guy followed up with another similar question. These guys wanted to start the retreat right then and there!
During this Q&A session, Pastor Kenny slipped me a cell phone with the text message, “the guys are hungry. Can you feed them?” Absolutely, I thought! So, we spent the next hour watching the 5 men demolish several pounds of fried chicken before bringing them to their respective home “areas”. I say areas, because none of the guys wanted to be dropped off in front of their homes! I will never forget each guy slipping away into the darkness after I gave them a hug outside of the van.
After dropping off the last guy I asked Pastor Kenny why we couldn’t at least walk with them to their homes and he said, “Brian, you wouldn’t last two blocks before you would be robbed”. All these streets this side of town are dangerous, but especially for white guys. I thought about that for a moment and then asked, “was it bad that I stepped out of the van and gave the guys a hug in full view of whoever was around”? Kenny said, “no, but it will be more likely that they will be confronted by some of the gang members in the area and asked if they received any money from the white guys”.
“Two blocks, Kenny. Really, two blocks?” “Yep, two blocks, Brian, if you’re lucky”. The upcoming retreat just took on a whole new level of importance as we drove out of their neighborhood and back to the safe and comfortable Best Western Hotel.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010



by Belize Mission and Retreat on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 11:04am
Here is an update of all the damage that the hurricane did to the village. The first half of the hurricane took down about 20% of the trees in the village and it also took out a couple roofs from some houses. The second half did the most damage to the village. After the second half about 25-30% more trees were blown down and torn apart. At lease 15 houses in the village lost their roof or half of their roof. Marie and Milly’s house were broken. Boards and plywood from the sides were ripped off. The tall house across from Mr. Curl’s house was blown off the posts but received minimal damage. The red house across from the football field that belongs to John Moore (but is not the one he is living in) was blown off the post and received other structural damage. The outdoor classroom at the school was blown away and mashed up. Ismea’s house was blown off the posts and ripped apart. The only found three sides for the house and is still looking for the fourth side. A house besides Ismae’s house that belong to Mrs. Ionie’s son was blown into pieces. Mrs. Esteline’s house is leaning almost at a 45 degree angle. There are trees laying down all over the village. Sheets of zincs are wrapped around trees like pieces of paper. The roof of the Jenkins house was found almost a hundred yards away from the building. A tree fell on the parsonage but didn’t do any damage. The Lord was protecting it. The church and parsonage only rceived water damage from the rain that was blown inside by the 90+ mph winds.

The mission base buildings received some damage, until John can go out to assess the situation thoroughly we'll have to update this after that visit. No main roofs were blown off . Our water tanks from the cabanas were blown away  and are not reusable. Almost everything in the main lodge & kitchen was wet and blown around. Only one window in the lodge was broken.  Almost half the pavement that leads to the beachside was moved. The boat trailer and ramp is destroyed. This is major need to be replaced as we can't leave our boat in the village area because of the loss or theft of 3 engines in the past. 50% of the trees are gone. The roof from the sistern is gone. The generator house is broken into pieces. We do not know the status of the generator.

Mel and John Bjorgen returned to their apt. in Belize City to find it had 4' of water and a foot of sludge in it.  All of their appliances and furniture has been destroyed.  They have several who have donated to replace their belongings but they need your prayers.  They have a newborn baby, they are staying upstairs with their land lady for now, which is a blessing.  However, Mel feels she should be helping but she can't as she is recovering from the c-section when she delivered and she has a 20 month old to take care of too.  John is trying to handle everything with his family and at the base and village.  He's running thin on energy and they are both feeling very overwhelmed.  Fortunately we have a new staff member arriving Sunday that will be working with us full time. He will be able to assist John during this disaster.

The good news is that no one was hurt in the hurricane and no lives were lost. Those who lost their house and roofs are taking shelter inside the community center or staying with relatives. My guess is that it will be 2 weeks to a month before the government will be able to give the supplies to repair and rebuild. The government is just starting to do damage assessment. That is if the government even comes thru with the replacement and help needed in the village. Times in the past have shown they don't follow thru with their promises and our ministry has filled the gap.

Thank you for praying for us and Please keep on praying for this community & ministry.


IF YOU HAVE A TEAM THAT WOULD LIKE TO COME DOWN FOR RELIEF EFFORT WE ARE DEFINITELY IN NEED OF THAT. PLEASE CONTACT VERA AT 925-200-7012 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              925-200-7012      end_of_the_skype_highlighting OR 480-268-7983 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              480-268-7983      end_of_the_skype_highlighting FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Update on Status of Hurricane Richard

We just talked w/Bjorgen's. Kenny called them from the mission base.  Everyone in the village is safe. Couple of homes were destroyed, and numerous roofs blown off.  The mission base sidewalks gone, water tanks on roofs gone, inside structures a complete mess.  Lots of water damage, still assessing the situation.  John will go tomorrow if he can get thru the coastal road. Updates will come as we get them. Continued prayers and thank you for the prayers you've sent up already!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hurricane Richard hits Gales Point and Mission Base

It is official, Hurricane Richard made landfall as a Category 1 at 90 mph at Gales Point and our Belize Mission & Retreat.  I have not been able to reach anyone in the village or at the mission base.  Everyone was to evacuate, there was a bus sent into Gales Point by the government however, the bus came back empty, as no one would leave the village because they are afraid of the looting that would take place by those who would stay behind.  The Bjorgen family are safe in San Ignacio staying with a friend of our, Margaret Mooney.

I've been trying to call everyone whose phone # I have in Gales Point, but no one answers.  We have no idea how bad or what the situation is at this time. We are praying that God's hand remained on the base and over the village of Gales Point. 

We are requesting that if you know of any churches that may be interested in helping with recovery for the village and the mission base, to please stay tuned as we find out anything we'll be posting on FB and here on our blog!

Prayers are needed for everyone in the village and throughout Belize.  Our village is a shanty village and it would not be hard for the winds at 90 mph to blow most of these homes over and destroy them totally!  Praying for God's mercy upon the people of Belize and especially Gales Point and the mission base. 

Stay tuned for updates as we get them.  Blessings, Vera

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Weddings Bells ringing soon!

There are weddings in the air in Gales Point. Come next Springtime there will be a double wedding!  Shannon and Amanda were the first to get engaged!  Shannon is one of our caretakers and our boat driver.

You may remember in the last blog I mentioned to put Una's name in the back of your mind, because you'd be hearing more about her in the future!  Well I didn't expect it to happy so soon! Last night I received a text message saying 'ENGAGED!'  We're definitely excited because the couple who will be the 2nd couple in the double wedding are none other than . . . . . . .  Kenny Welch our young Pastor and Una Galvez our newest Reading specialist and Sunday School Teacher. 

Both of these couples are very involved in the leadership of the Galilee Gospel Chapel. We're so proud of them both!  Please add them to your prayers as they are going against the village tradition of just being common law. 

April 9, 2011 is the big day at this point.  We're praying and would ask you to join us that there will be more couples coming forward to make this a 'VILLAGE WEDDING'! How awesome would that be!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Reading Specialist and Sunday School Teacher

We now have a new Reading Specialist and Sunday School Teacher, to continue Davine Gault's legacy!  Una Galves, who is one of the graduates from High School in 2009 and then continued on to College for a year.  She has decided that she wants to be a help and has been hired as the Reading Specialist at the Gales Point Government School!  Praise be to God.

Una will also be alternating with Mel Bjorgen in Sunday School teaching as well.  This is so needed.  Vera used to teach anywhere from 25 to 85 students on any given Sunday. Burn out does come about, but when you see the children's faces you can't burn out, you just keep pressing on towards the Goal. Philippians 3: 12-14.  Una is one of the goals that has been realized!  

For us this shows just how planting seeds can grow just as God tells us. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9. Una was around 9 yrs old when we first met her, she always came to our VBS and Sunday School when in the village. She was one of our Youth leaders in Belize city, when we lead Bible Studies and had a youth group for those attending High School in Belize City for 4 yrs. Vera had the joy of baptizing her in May 2008! God is so faithful, when we are obedient.  Please add Una to your prayers, as she will come under fire from those villagers who haven't caught the fire yet. Notice we say "yet" it's only a matter of time and they'll either join God or they'll leave the village!  You may want to put Una in your memory banks as you'll probably being hearing more about her soon, very soon!

Praising God again as we are pleased to let you know that today's Dr.'s visit was a HUGE SUCCESS! The Dr. was pleased with Vera's progress and took the stitches out and recommended walking with sturdy shoes; it's only been 2 weeks and 2 days! There is still Physical Therapy to come.  Thank you for your prayers and thank you Jesus!!!

Stay tuned and we'll be posting again soon!  Again thank you for the prayers!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blogger Heaven . . .hmmmm

Well we're trying to figure out the blogging media so here goes. We're posting to keep Belize Mission & Retreat supporters up to date via blogging.  We also want to reach new supporters and short term teams interested in taking a step into an Extreme Adventure in Serving Christ! We're just what you're looking for.

Please sign up to read our blogs,  we'll be updating at least weekly here.  You can always check out our website at to see what else is happening.

If you are a team interested in booking a STM, then check out the pages that have our applications. You can also contact us via the website with our phone #'s and address to send applications or answer any questions you may have!

Happy blogging. . .