IHF Update – Spring 2020

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IHF Update – Spring 2020

What a Difference Our Banker Makes!

Last week Thursday night, Karen and I connected with our IHF ministry leaders in Belize to see how our high school students were weathering this Covid 19 storm. As they went down the list, we became increasingly burdened by some being raised by mothers where dads have abandoned them, parents who lost jobs and now face mounting debts at village stores. Others live remotely in back hills without power and running water. All  worry because closed schools are trying to continue online. This is impossible because they have no computers and unaffordable internet access.

We were moved to tears and knew that something had to be done. So, we prayed, “Father, IHF is Your ministry, not ours. You are also its banker who has faithfully provided over the past thirteen years. We release this desperate situation into Your care. Let Your will alone unfold!”

Over the next few days, the flood gates burst open as thousands of dollars poured in. In all my years of doing this, I have never seen anything like it. Such overwhelming generosity in the midst of financial stress, witnesses to an abiding faith in His providence even when challenged to give.

And as our Belizean pastor Frankie proclaimed upon hearing about your love offering, “May He return His favour upon you ten fold plus more!”

Greetings to you all! Happy Easter!

My name is Lazarus Pop, and I am the director of In His Footprints Ministries in Armenia, Belize.

I would like to extend my appreciation of gratitude on behalf of IHF and our high school    students and their families. Never in my whole life have I experienced such a huge disease like what we are going through right now.

Last week my wife and I shared the situation here in our village and about our high school families with Mr. Wil and Ms.Karen. The things we discussed that were most needed were food, water, and medical. We decided that IHF would to setup a way help our students and their families to get through this challenging time.

The situation in the village is going from bad to worse. There are a lot of very poor people in real need of basic things. A lot of parents don’t have work now, so they have no money to buy rice, beans, corn, flour and clean water.

There is a lot of worry about getting sick also. In Belize, we do not have really good hospitals, and it is expensive to buy medication. So my wife and I would be very happy to start a food bank where we buy bulk and share it in smaller portions as needed.

We want to really thank you, our brothers and sisters in Christ, for all the money that you have blessed us with to better care for our families. May God bless you back in double.

Please keep us in your prayers for God to end this invisible enemy. May you all have a blessed Easter, and remember to love and have fun with your families.

Thank you once again!

– Lazarus Pop

Taking the Pulse of Our IHF Students

“I am feeling nervous and anxious because I don’t want this happening to the people in the world or to my loved ones. I am praying that this virus which has become into my nightmare ends as soon as possible. I am afraid of the reactions and effects that it is having to my country. Belize is a very small country that has a very small degree in science and medicine. We just know and have the basic knowledge of how to care for people. The doctors are worried if we begin to have Covid 19 cases here that we cannot help them cure.”  – Evelyn

“I am really worried when Covid 19 comes to Belize and we don’t have the medicine. I pray to God every night with my family to help us and bless us.” Susana

“About Covid 19, God is now giving those people who do not accept Him the opportunity to give themselves to be saved and to be covered with the blood of Jesus. I pray for all the people around the world to commit their lives to Jesus because He is at the door.” – Breanie

“Since we are coming to the Easter break, we know that this is the month that Jesus died for us. He died for our sin. I know that I am a sinner, but God has forgiven our sins when Jesus died for our name sake. So this is the right month to ask to God to protect our country so that Covid 19 does not come here.” – Carlos

“Things are getting harder here in Belize. Now if you want to buy 15 pounds of flour, they will only sell you 10 lbs and that is very hard. We worry that soon there may not be enough food or that the prices will be higher. Thais will make it even more harder for us because it is hard already.”  – Joanna

Rubbing Shoulders with the Kingdom of Heaven

The Emmanuel Christian School (Montreal) has a rich tradition of requiring all grade nine students to serve beyond the building’s walls. Over the years Youth for Christ, under the capable leadership of David Tracy, was asked to place them locally throughout the city or in far off Belize. To date, he has trained up and taken six teams to bless IHF and our local ministry partners. Sadly, due to the Corona situation, this year’s team was forced to cancel only days before leaving.

What follows is an interview with Dave reflecting on his years of  doing missions:

  1. After committing many years to missions, what would you suggest are the most effective ways of doing it?

What immediately comes to mind is Proverbs 11:25: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

Always start by focusing on others by asking them questions. Take the time to listen carefully to their dreams and struggles. Don’t assume that you know who they are or what they need. Recognize that God is interested both in you and others. Therefore, be mindful and open to a change or direction He may be pointing you on as you serve and love others.

  1. What are the special benefits of establishing a long term relation with IHF and Armenia village?

Developing deep friendships with Lazarus and Alicia Pop and their family, with Erminda Pop, Ms. Romero and Mr. Rosado at the village school, Ms. Susanna at the girl’s home, Pastor Frankie at Global Outreach, and Pastor Philberto at our village church.

I now have two homes…at home with my family and friends in Montreal, and also with my brothers and sisters in Christ in Belize.

Also, having journeyed there many times has allowed me to better prepare new teams to be most effective while serving there. I know the people they will meet, the volunteer opportunities we have established, the food, life on the base, etc. Brothers and sisters from previous teams also share their experiences with younger siblings now going.

  1. Can you share some impacting moments along the way?

Two that come quickly are sunrises and the village school. There is nothing more beautiful than sitting up on the Loforna balcony surrounded by jungle enjoying a good cup of coffee as darkness transitions into the freshness of dawn. Everything simply comes alive as lush beauty greets the morning sun.

The second is Ms. Romero introducing her school to our last team. Instead of the usual ‘…another team from Canada’, it was ‘…our special friends from Canada’. Considering that our first team was only asked to go out and play frisbee with the students, and now we are invited in to teach classes, that is an amazing honour.

I would also add that there is a great sense of joy in seeing young people come to a place of deeper understanding and relationship with Jesus. This happens around the table at a meal, when Lazarus and  Alicia share their stories and passions for missions, when the youth at IHF and Armenia connect with our   students to learn and play together, and when our team members discover a piece of God’s purpose and plan for their lives.                                                       

In summary, let me say that we are closest to the Kingdom of God when we rub shoulders with it by loving and caring for those surrounding us. What a sweet aroma of His presence comes forth when doing so. 

Patience and Prayer!

Over the years, I have had the great blessing of placing Canadian students in long term service opportunities in Belize and Peru. Placements include schools, homes for abused girls and orphans, hospitals and medical centers, ranching, and construction. Our latest student was Rachel Kampen, a grade twelve students from Guido Christian High School.

“This past February, I was given opportunity to do an international high school co-op in Belize. During my time there I worked in an  elementary school, Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Primary School, in Belmopan. My position was very similar to a teacher’s assistant. I worked with some students in Infant 2 who were behind in their learning.

Although this trip wasn’t directly through In His Footprints, Wil Kamphuis advised and encouraged me through the planning and implementation of my co-op. Shenny McKoy, my amazing host, also did a huge amount of work in setting up my placement and making me feel very much at home.        

Throughout this co-op I found myself waiting to experience one moment that would change me. I was waiting for this big moment that would completely turn my life around. You hear of people who go on long term mission trips and have a crazy experience. But it never came. It wasn’t until the last couple weeks of the co-op that I really realized it wasn’t going to be one crazy moment. God had been slowly changing me, teaching me throughout the whole experience. He had been teaching me to wait for His voice in my life. To be patient, and wait for His timing.

I had to learn a lot of patience throughout the first couple weeks, patience with the students and with myself. I also learned how important prayer is. Not just prayer in devotions or at the dinner table, but prayer through every step of the day. While you’re driving to work, while you’re washing the dishes.                                                                                                                 

We are taught to pray without ceasing and to not quench the spirit. He is alive, but we need to listen to His voice!”

– Rachel

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