Understanding that everything has God’s time helps us to achieve our goals at PEPE. For the past ten years we have been hoping in God to come to Belize and now we can be happy to say that: PEPE has arrived in Belize!
There have been many trials in this decade. But in November 2023, through contact with Brother Darío Bá, professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary of Belize, I was able to introduce PEPE to a group of fourteen pastors in a Zoom meeting. The interest in learning more about PEPE was huge and a visit was arranged. So from January 9-19, 2024, I had the joy of coming to Belize and telling my new brothers about it.
We signed the agreement with the South Baptist Association of Belize and with the support of Pastor Eustáquio Pop visited churches to present the challenge of PEPE. The result is that 5 churches have been equipped, 14 missionary educators have been prepared and certified, and more than 100 children and their families will benefited. I had the joy of participating in the inauguration of the individual units, which will also pass on Jesus Christ beyond the field of education.
Hospitality, kindness, generosity, unity, trust are words I use to describe the people of God in Belize. I have met happy and warm people. Apart from the high cost of living, everyone works hard to provide for their families. My new Christian family, which is now part of PEPE, has taken very good care of me. Getting to know the culture and praising the Lord in different languages (Kekchi, Mopán, English, Spanish) but in one Spirit was a great spiritual refreshment. Likewise, sharing PEPE songs with children in Belize and seeing the joy of Jesus on their faces was a rewarding experience.
Belize is a small country on the northern Caribbean coast of Central America with a population of 442 thousand. English is the official language, but a large part of the population also speaks Belizean Crioulo. Maia and other European languages are also spoken in the the country, for example, Spanish is spoken in the north of the country.
According to statistics, 20% of children are or have been involved in gangs and a further 10% are at high risk of becoming involved in gangs due to the influence of family, friends and/or the local community. The problem of gangs is closely linked to the problem of child labor, especially in its extreme forms, such as child prostitution and child trafficking. Due to the country’s extreme poverty, there are specific risk factors for children’s health.
The pastors, missionary educators, leaders and parents have expressed their approval of the PEPE project in answer to their prayers to God as they did not yet have a curriculum to teach children in their churches. Pray that we can continue to raise resources to support these 5 new PEPE units in Belize. Pray also for the fourteen missionary educators and for each pastor, that the love for the children will continue to grow each day.
Verónica Torrento – Coordination of the English-speaking countries in America
By: Carmen Lígia – Continental Directorate PEPE Americas
Translated by Victor Baptista