These past few days have been tumultuous in the country, and specifically where we do the bulk of our ministry, in Belize City. It all culminates with the murder of Dwayne Gabourel at the end of last month. It was a grisly and senseless murder that sent shockwaves of consciousness throughout the country. Who’s to blame? Was the resounding sentiment. The system, the government, law enforcement, or the parents? It is easy to make camp and become defensive in your stance as to who takes the blame. But if we really ponder on the gripping violence that has our country under a strangle is nothing new.
These same questions have been asked before. The same heads have shaken in dismay; the same old sighs as a way say “what is this country coming to’. Same fingers have been pointed and yet there is no change. No solutions arising from our exhaustion or frustration, and our children keep dying in the streets.
At the end of his interview on channel 5, commissioner of Police Chester Williams says, “I could just imagine what the parents and family members of young Dwayne Gabourel may be going through but I do believe that as a nation, we need to get together and we need to pray and see we can collectively do together to address the scourge of crime within our communities”. Personally, our collective fervor should be applied to, taking action, mentoring, reaching out to the most vulnerable of this country. of course, prayer is essential but if inaction proceeds it then I think it is meaningless.
This past month we have been steaming forward at the Belize camping experience as it is the official start of a ministry year, and yes of course action. Mindful of course of the context in which we operate to carry out our ministry, vision, and mission. The grim reality of the state of the city in which we do ministry only accelerates and fuels our determination to make a difference in the city. Children need a message of hope when there is only despair. As we visited with club leaders and partners, the overall sentiment was that something needs to be done or else our children will continue falling prey to whatever is after to get them.
But the challenges are glaring. Children have been out of school for almost two years. Regulations due to covid ministry are uncertain, even with our regular partners throughout the city. And our goal is to expand the ministry and extend our reach by acquiring at least two more active partners.
But the ground has been covered. We have acquired one new partner, a connection previous club now aspiring to start their own ministry in their neighborhood. As we walked around with her in her block we witness the opportunity before our eyes children playing around idle. These same kids can be lost into a life of violence, or die not knowing hope. There and then we thought something must be done. And Its stories like these lighten the darkness surrounding the country. As we continue assisting two of our regular clubs and looking to start fresh with this new partner and remain in talks with countless other partners throughout the city, Hattievile and Ladyville of continuing our follow-up ministry with them and possibly Christmas programs with their children.
As we balance the needs of the children with our partner there is always something before us. We know that seeking to help them academically is important in these years school has not been active and our partners want to help fulfill that need too. but we are also cognizant that there is a spiritual void in our children as years of brokenness, abuse, and despair surrounding them. So we have taken the challenge to yes assist the children with school, but not dismiss these needs. With some of our partners where it is possible, we pray to continue doing the gospel hand motions, share verses, and do a bible story with them. Then afterward, we do schoolwork with them. Hopefully covering key areas that children are lacking and with the goal of making a difference in this country.
Recency Bias is something that can creep into our thinking, and seep into our motivation and misalign our emotions and intentions. The moment something big happens we become inspired anew. But how good would it be proactive rather than reactive? If we are already working to paving the way to a country filled with hope, there is no need to worry. And if we are working then we should be only pressed to extend our reach to one more partner, one more club, or one more child. Pray yes that dread of violence may stop its dreadful march, but that collective efforts of ministries like ours and those of countless others may mark a difference in this country.