“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
A few days ago a friend told me that the faith that we are exhibiting in our current ministry reminded her of Sadie Vernon. Sadie was the founder of the ministry that we were a part of our first 5+ years in Belize. She passed into eternity just before we got to Belize and although we didn’t know her personally we knew about her testimony. We took this comment as a great compliment but at the same time it was very humbling. I’ve been thinking a bunch about God’s faithfulness and how we recognize and reflect it in our lives. Those who know me (Becky) know that I don’t think or meditate too long before music enters my head. The old hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” describes so much of God’s greatness but it only begins to scratch the surface of who He is and the immenseness of his faithfulness towards us. We are then called to display faithfulness. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit and it is often an overwhelming one at that.
I know the comfort of making a plan and knowing exactly how it will work out. However, the older I get the more I come to this conclusion; although God places eternity in our hearts He doesn’t expect us to understand it all. (Ecc. 3:11 paraphrased). We know we are called to Belize for such a time as this and He is faithfully guiding us into many new avenues of ministry. In response to His faithfulness all that we can do is respond with our imperfect, usually wretched attempt to reflect the perfection of God. As I contemplate reflecting faithfulness I think of yet another song, which is admittedly pretty old now, by Steve Green, “Find Us Faithful”. The beginning of the chorus is, “Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful. May the fire of our devotion light their way.”
Our faith journey is just that; a journey that we are still traveling. We are feeble, imperfect and clumsy. As I look at the ‘faithful’ roll call in Hebrews 11, I see great names like Abraham, Enoch, Noah, Moses, Gideon, Samson, David and Samuel and all have great faith stories. Each of them also has clumsy, awkward imperfections; for example, out of fear rather than faith Abraham lied more than once about his marriage to his wife, Sarah. These imperfections give me hope that I too can remain faithful even among my fears. And I can sing, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” (Oceans Where Feet May Fail by Hillsong United)
We are involved in several ministries that God has lead us to and we would love more prayer partners and supporters. First, God has directed us to develop a ministry based on our experiences and successes here in Belize. We developed a program that we call T.I.D.E. (Tutorial Instruction and Disciplined Enrichment). We are partnering in and with a government, Christian school of about 250 students. We assess students that are falling behind and fill in the missing academic gaps for those students. So they can once again have hope through education. Furthermore, because it is a Christian school we have freedom to do this accelerated learning with the Light of Christ fully intact. Second, we have been blessed with a two flat house for less than what we budgeted for 3 bedroom apartment. Since we feel that this was a gift from God, we live in the upper flat with 4 bedrooms and have the lower flat for ministry. Out of lower level we have several things happening that we call F.L.A.T. (Faithfully Living Authentic Testimonies) ministries. The following is a list of the current weekly or monthly events that we coordinate and direct as part of FLAT ministries: a) Thursday community Bible study, b) youth gatherings/retreats, c) family quality time outreach, d) small group fellowship and e) occasional hospitality and mission group hosting. Third, besides the T.I.D.E. and F.L.A.T. ministries, we are teaching 2 age groups of children’s worship on Sunday mornings. Our cups are full and running over and God is increasing our energies.
We know that our faithful God will continue to provide for His ministry that he has called us to and that He is and will continue to call partners to this ministry. There are now 2 ways to contribute. First, direct gifts go 100% to us but are not tax-deductible at Sam & Becky Barber, C/O Betty Kaufman, PO Box 318, University Park, IA, 52595. These gifts will be deposited into an account that we use for expenses of the ministry here in Belize. Second, we have a new sponsoring ministry. Impact Ministries International (IMI) will provide tax-deductable status to your gifts which can be sent to IMI with “Belize Barbers” in the memo. These gifts should be sent to Impact Ministries, PO Box 102, Lonsdale, MN, 55046-0102. IMI does take a flat 5% fee for accounting proposes. As always, please feel free to make copies of this letter, disperse it and respond as God leads. Please fill out the bottom section and send it to either of the addresses above. May God be glorified!