Thursday, May 18, 2017

The People of Belize

This summer we are endeavoring to reach the entire nation of Belize with the Gospel. Would you join me in praying for the people of this Central American nation?

Belize is located south of Mexico and next to Guatemala. Belize is a unique country. It was originally called British Honduras until they gained their independence in 1981. To this day, it is part of the British Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth’s portrait is on their currency. It is the only country in Central America where English is the official language.

Belize is a small country. According to the CIA Factbook, the population was 353,858 in 2016. The size of this nation is part of the reason we believe we can reach the entire nation with the Gospel in one day.

For centuries, Belize was the center of the Mayan civilization and Mayan ruins can be found all over the country. In the 1700’s and 1800’s, Belize was a refuge for pirates and buccaneers. They hid behind the reef and sailed out to prey on merchant ships. Today, Belize is a popular stop for cruise ships and tourists.

There are several unique language groups and cultures in Belize.

The people who speak Creole: Belize feels like a Caribbean nation because many of the people in Belize are dark-skinned and love Reggae music. About half of the people in Belize speak English mixed with a version of Creole.

The people who speak Spanish: Belize also has a Hispanic flavor. Because of its proximity to the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, the other half of the nation speaks Spanish. If Guatemala and Jamaica married and had a baby, they would name it Belize.

The Garifuna people: It is said that this people group descended from a slave ship that shipwrecked off the coast of Belize. The slaves escaped and swam to shore. They still speak a unique dialect that has been traced back to a tribe in modern day Sierra Leone. Many of the Garifuna people go to church on Sunday, but mix African tribal religions with Christianity. Pray for an end to syncretism and black magic.

The Maya people: In the south of Belize there are seventy-two Mayan villages. Some of the villages speak Kekchi Mayan and some speak Mopan Mayan. The villagers are very poor. They cook over campfires and hunt in the jungle for food. Pray for God to prosper the Maya people.

The Mennonite people: Originally, they come from Dutch and German backgrounds. For religious reasons, many of them refuse to use modern technology. Often they are seen on the roads of Belize driving a horse and wagon full of watermelons to sell at the market. They speak Plautditsch, a form of Low German. Pray for an end to religious legalism and a revelation of God’s grace to come to these people.

The Chinese people: There are about 10,000 Chinese immigrants who have settled in Belize. I saw a Shen Restaurant and a Shen Market. My wife Jessica’s maiden name is Shen. Of all the Chinese last names, Shen is uncommon and people with this family name come from one particular village area in mainland China. I am wondering if my wife is distantly related to some of the Chinese in Belize. Pray for these Buddhist people to be open to hearing about Jesus. 

Because of the diversity in Belize, we face unique challenges in reaching each group with the Gospel. Right now, we are asking God to give us the right strategies and plans to effectively present the good news to each of these language groups. Some of our services will be translated into Spanish, others will be translated into Mayan.

Nine evangelists are joining together for our outreach to Belize. Over two hundred missionaries will be part of the team. We will be doing nine outreaches simultaneously in nine different population centers. We will be giving away a 40-foot container of food to the children of Belize. We have a team of doctors and nurses who will be offering free medical care. We will give away over 30,000 Bibles. We are hosting a pastor’s conference, a businessperson’s meeting, a women’s conference, children’s fiestas, and youth concerts. The Festival of Hope will be aired on LIVE television across the nation of Belize. Our goal is to saturate the nation of Belize with the Word of God.

For an outreach of this size, we desperately need your prayers. Please pray for each of the different groups of people in Belize. Please be praying that the entire nation of Belize will turn their hearts toward God. Thank you for standing with us in prayer for this historic event.

Asking God for the Nations,

Daniel King

P.S. As you can imagine, an outreach of this size has many expenses. Your financial gift is urgently needed and much appreciated. Your giving this month will allow us to touch the entire nation of Belize. Thank you!