About this partnership
In January 2017, we visited Belize in our fourth short-term mission trip. Over the past couple of years we’ve been building relationships, establishing connections, and clarifying vision for the ministry we can do in the western Belize area called Spanish Lookout.
Spanish Lookout is a unique part of Belize. The population is a mix of fairly well-to-do white Mennonites, owners of farms and businesses, and very poor Spanish or Creole speakers living and working in the surrounding villages.
On our first trip to Belize in 2015, we connected with David and Dupe’ Adegbami, missionaries from Nigeria who have been in Belize since 2008. David and Dupe have made amazing inroads into the Spanish Lookout area as they live in one of the villages and build relational bridges among various people groups. Our partnership has come alongside to work with and support David and Dupe in their ministry.
We focus our work in Belize in healthcare, education, and church planting.
Humanitarian aid opens doors and pin-points areas for change:
In 2016, our first medical team to Spanish Lookout offered a free medical clinic. A common health issue was chronic gastrointestinal problems from drinking unfiltered river water. While most homes in the villages have some type of running water, that water is piped in directly from the river.
With research we found that the simplest and most cost effective solution in this environment is providing water filters that attach to a home’s faucet. We started a GoFundMe campaign (Clean Water for Belize) to purchase filters. For a test run in June 2016 we took a few filters to Belize, and it worked. So we took 50 more with us in January and began distributing them. We met with people in their homes, taught them how to use the filters, and prayed for them. We’ll continue taking filters down on future trips. It’s a very simple way in which we are beginning to make a huge impact in the individual lives of the villagers of Spanish Lookout.
The medical team realized that one of the best ways of improving healthcare would be to equip volunteers to provide basic health services in the villages all year long. So during our January 2017 trip, in addition to providing another free clinic, the medical team began training volunteers for this work.
Education in Belize in general is far below what is needed in today’s world, and there is no high school at all in the Spanish Lookout area. Drugs, sex, and violence are rampant among the youth of Belize, which is not surprising in a country where disillusionment and hopelessness prevails. David and Dupe are moving toward the establishment of a Christian high school in Spanish Lookout that could provide both high quality education and spiritual formation, to bring real change to the lives of these young people, and ultimately to the nation.
We have discovered that there are a lot of churches in Belize. However, what pastor after pastor has told us is that there is very little real life-change going on. Most of the churches are very small, and despite the large number of churches, less than 10% of the population is in church on any given Sunday.
Sadly, some of the missionary activity in Belize over the past century created the problems in the church there. Much of the earlier church planting was accomplished by offering free food or clothing to those who would join the church. A dependency culture emerged and church members often had little real experience of encountering Jesus. We’ve also observed that many of the churches take a highly legalistic, fear-based approach with their people.
Church-planting vision in baby steps
The potential, and the need, for planting healthy, growing Vineyard churches in Belize is tremendous. Over the past two years, our teams have begun providing leadership and spiritual formation training, both in churches and to groups of pastors and leaders. We’ve taught the 5-step prayer model in a number of churches.
We are building relationships and making connections. Our prayer is how, when, and where can we best plant a Vineyard church in Belize while avoiding the problems of past missionary efforts.
Join us in Belize
We’re excited about what God is doing in Belize! There is tremendous need and tremendous potential. We’d love to have more Vineyard churches partner with us in this work. If you think you might be interested, please get in touch!
Population: 340 thousand
Number of Vineyard Churches: 0
Primary Religion: Roman Catholicism and Protestant
Government: Parliamentary Democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Ave. Education: 14 years
Belize is a small country, with a total population of only about 340,000 people. English is the official language, although Creole and Spanish are spoken as well. The villages where we will be working initially are very poor, and are made up largely of immigrants from other Central American countries, so Spanish is their first language. While the nation has many Christian churches, which have grown out of past missionary activity, less than 10% of the population are regularly involved in those churches. Addiction, poverty, and human trafficking are major problems in Belize.
The World Fact Book: South America and Caribbean: Belize. 2015. cia.gov. Retrieved 6 July 2015
Current Church Partners
Vineyard in Grafton. WI
Great River Vineyard in LaCrosse, WI.
There is a tremendous need for healthy Vineyard churches to bring the message of God’s grace and goodness, and to provide the kind of ministry and discipleship that can bring life and freedom to the people of Belize. We would love to have more Vineyard churches join us in this work! If you would like to partner with us, or want more information, contact us.
Consider joining our partnership by clicking the link atop this page. Together we can impact Belize for generations to come.