Greetings from Belize! Our summer has flown by at an incredible rate. Our small community is bustling with the activities that go along with the beginning of a new school year. Our Alyssa is excited to be starting second grade, and Analea is ready to be a “big girl” and start kindergarten. As our summer comes to a close and the days of schedules and routine come again, we are so thankful for what God has allowed our church to experience this summer.
In June we were able to have our annual VBS. It was a joy to have a group from La Puente, California, come out and tackle the week with us. Our theme was “Christmas in July,” and it was fantastic. On the closing day of the week, we had 135 children, many of whom trusted Christ. This year we were able to use our new church bus to pick up the children. Our little Alyssa loved riding with the other children and singing all the way to church.
In July we again held our annual Fundamentalists’ Conference. Our guest speakers were Dr. Joaquin Hurtado, Pastor Hernan Castillo, Pastor Azael Cocom, and Pastor Segio Ali. Many classes were held for teenagers, married couples, children, and laymen. The goal of the conference is to encourage Christians to keep fighting the good fight of the faith and to stay strong in their marriages. This year we had a record crowd of over 170 people. Since we use generators and have only small window coolers, the heat was nearly unbearable in the auditorium. Even so, the preaching was powerful and uplifting. On the last day of the conference, many went out soul winning, and 50 souls were led to Christ.
In August we held a special baptismal service at a nearby lagoon. Two teenage girls, Oneydi and Niria, were baptized. They had been faithfully attending church for a few months and made the decision to follow the Lord in baptism. Much to our delight, our own Alyssa decided she, too, wanted to be baptized. Although she trusted Christ awhile back, we allowed the Lord to work in her heart about baptism. One Sunday night after church, she came to Tonya and said she wanted to be baptized because she wanted to obey the Lord. It was extra special that her own daddy got to baptize her.
We have some very exciting news! Our city has finally finished putting up the electric posts and running the electrical wire to our property. And for more good news, we have finished painting, installing tile, and making ready our new house ready to move into. By the next time we send a letter, we hope to be telling of our moving experience. We started construction on our house in January of 2015, and little by little, it has come together. This week we will finish the electric wiring and plumbing. Thank you so much to the churches who helped financially with the electricity and our house. We hope the pictures will bring you great joy.
Please continue to pray for our ministry here. I have recently begun preaching twice a month at the only jail in the country. Last week more than 100 men gathered in the chapel to hear the Word of God. Many trusted Christ through their tears. This opportunity came a bit unexpectedly, and we are excited to see where God may lead. Pray that the preaching would bring encouragement and open the hearts of the prisoners.
It has been said that after every great victory, there comes defeat. We have had a wonderful summer, but the Devil is hard at work with much discouragement among our church people. Our hearts are a bit heavy with spiritual battles. We know that God is in control, but sometimes it is hard to see the top of the mountain from the valley. Pray for peace and for us to continually be in the center of God’s will. Thank you for your support, and may the Lord bless you richly.
Israel Alvarez and Family