The Belize Experience

You will recall in last week’s Ministerial Weekly that I referred to an exchange arrangement that led me to Belize to conduct an evangelistic campaign. However, this week I wish to share with you my experience prior to going to Belize, during and following the Belize revival. I refer to the total occurrence as the Belize Experience, a unique one.

Initial Challenge

Prior to leaving the Bahamas for Belize on Friday, February 15 for a same Friday evening crusade start, I began to experience flu-like symptoms. On the very morning of the travel, I remarked to my wife, “I am feeling flu-ish; however if God wants me to go, He will work it out.” As I traveled to the airport from my home, an unusual body fever coupled with a sore throat only served to dissuade me from going to Belize. Nevertheless, with a strong conviction that God wanted me in Belize, I said goodbye to my wife and continued the journey, arriving in Belize City around 12-noon local time.

Going Through

Following my arrival, I was warmly greeted by the Union president, Pastor Dennis Slusher, Executive Secretary, Pastor Luis Jessie, and host Pastor, Angelo Dominguez. We had lunch, and then it was off to Belmopan where I would stay and conduct the crusade. I was anxious to get there, as I desired to rest in preparation for the opening of the crusade. Feeling a little better but still a bit warm, I preached that night and continued the crusade Sabbath morning but rested Sabbath afternoon. On Sunday, the flu had abated somewhat, but by Monday I felt an uneasiness in my stomach. I wondered what I had eaten. Later I learnt that it was the local water in a drink. Well I need not tell you that vomiting and diarrhea resulted, but having used charcoal to remedy my situation, I was determined to preach Monday night and Tuesday night. Praise God it worked! And by Wednesday, I was feeling fine - except that I felt as though I was losing my voice. By this time, I was even more resolved to forge ahead, still convinced that God brought me to Belize to do the crusade. Each night I wore my cap and a scarf to protect my throat prior to and following the preaching. Amazingly, my voice started weak but about 10 to 15 minutes into the message, I would gain strength and preach with much power. At the end of the sermon, I thanked God remarking, “Lord, just one meeting at a time.” I felt as though this was a test, for my voice was strong during the day. Nevertheless, I was determined that God did not take me to Belize to stay in bed. I was in Belize to speak for Him.

The Break Through

Friday, February 22 came, and I was still challenged by the problem with my voice. Also, my wife who had joined me in Belize the day before began to experience an uneasiness in her stomach. It was clear to me that this was not the norm. It seemed as if I was fighting a demoniac force, but I forged ahead. That Friday, I preached with every once of energy. When I appealed, several persons responded to a call for acceptance of Jesus and baptism.

However, I could not help but notice individuals with issues who had responded, especially when Pastor Dominguez came after me to pray and extended the call. It became clearer to me why the many challenges. On Sabbath morning it became even clearer, as individuals overcame struggles and responded to the appeal following a message on Saul who became Paul in Acts 9. At the end, 31 persons were baptized -more than what I actually saw at the altar. Yes they showed up at the river.

Looking back, I can only exclaim, “To God be the Glory!” I am so happy that I did not allow sickness to deter me one meeting, but in the strength of God, I preached by faith. Of course, I must pay tribute to the Dominguez family for their hospitality and their tremendous support. And to Elder Correa, translator, along with those who baked, cooked and encouraged, etc., I shall forever be indebted. The lesson I have taken from the crusade entitled “Lessons FromThe Past” is that no victory in Christ comes without challenges from the enemy, but we must persevere. I thought to myself, “What if I had decided not to go on this mission? I would have missed out on the Belize experience and failed to add to my repertoire of friends.” Again to God be the glory!