“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:16
Like so many wonderful things, the journey that led me to this Belize short-term ministry opportunity began with a prayer. I had just returned from a mission trip to Kenya, and the Church at Brook Hills small group I had been a member of for two years had disbanded. It was no surprise, as a matter of fact, when I had met with the widows at the World Reach Centre in Kenya, (For you awesome people following this blog, those widows from Kenya Blog Post #6) I had requested they pray about it. These widows are great prayer warriors, and they fulfilled my prayer request with passion, and then proceeded to pray about me finding a wife… which will not be covered in this blog post but you can watch that part of the prayer here. My prayer during the trip, and my prayer request for them was for a new small group to study the Bible with, but little did I know that God had much greater plans. As I said, these widows are great prayer warriors, and our God is an awesome God.
When I returned to the States, I continued to pray about this search for a new small group, and in my prayers a friend who I hadn’t spoken to in months, named Jessy, kept coming to my mind. I didn’t know why, but I felt as if I had to reach out. Now, if anyone knows my introverted nature, contacting someone I hadn’t spoken to in a long time felt incredibly awkward and difficult, but at least I had Kenya to talk about. So I reached out, and she welcomed me with open arms. Within the first conversation, the invitation to what I thought would be a new small group was given. This group met at a house very near my work, two doors down from where one of my bosses lived, so it was a perfect location, and with Jessy’s description of the group and its welcoming nature, I jumped at the opportunity. When I went to the address she gave me, and entered that house, I was in search of a small group to join. What I found was far more than I could have ever expected God to provide.
When I entered the house at 6:15 that night, I was welcomed not only by my friend Jessy, but by a room of Christ-followers ranging from young children and their parents to young adults, both single and married, a community of believers I eventually learned was called the Grace Klein Community. Dinner was being served, and I spoke with an old friend in fellow international missionary, Kristin who runs the God Bless These Feet page (By the way, if you’d like to help her bring the Gospel to South Asia this Fall and Winter Click Here!). Then, I met new friends with so many interesting backgrounds. We were led in worship by two talented musicians. One was a missionary named Natalie, a talented singer and guitarist who came all the way from her home in South Africa to raise funding and prayer support for the Kwathu Children’s Home, a project partnering with Grace Klein Community. Natalie also helps Grace Klein in many other ways, as well. The other musician, Cameron, is an excellent guitarist, percussionist, and vocalist who also serves with the Grace Klein Community, and in a funny coincidence, I eventually learned was once friends with my best friend in college! We joined in a passionate and God-glorifying worship session, and then followed it up with the testimony of a brother in Christ I can say I’m incredibly blessed to have met and now call a friend, Vince. Friends, if you ever get the chance to meet Vince, ask about his testimony, and also prepare to enjoy his boisterous, inviting, and humorous personality! We followed his testimony up with a time of group prayer that was as God-focused and passionate as any I had been a part of since Kenya, and ended the night in fellowship, as I left around 10 PM. I began attending Monday after Monday, meeting new friends every time I attended and in a matter of weeks had even shared my own testimony with the group. These Monday prayer nights were all I had asked God for and more, and yet God wasn’t done. God has a way of blowing away your expectations, and I was soon to learn Monday prayer nights were only the tip of the iceberg.
As I grew to become more and more a part of this community I started receiving invitations to various events they held, from an Agape Feast (which I HIGHLY recommend checking out if you’re in the Birmingham area), to various fundraisers, parties celebrating accomplishments of community members, and even service opportunities for the Birmingham community. One particular event was a campout in Oak Mountain State Park. There I met the brother in Christ who will soon be my ministry partner in Belize, Jon Womack. Jon and I hit it off pretty quick with conversations in Information Technology, and though I had no idea at the time, these conversations would eventually lead to Grace Klein’s inquiry about me pursuing a short-term mission to Belize. A couple weeks later, Grace Klein’s Director of Ministry and Business Development Scott Elliott would ask me during prayer night about going on the mission to help upgrade computer facilities at a Christian college in the Belize jungle, King’s College. I was excited to get the opportunity, but prayed and spoke with family about the decision. In my prayers, God only affirmed my desires to join in this ministry, and after meeting Jon Womack and his family for dinner, my decision, and God’s call for me to Belize next week, was confirmed.
And so it was… Like so many wonderful things, the journey that led me to this Belize short-term ministry opportunity began with a prayer. God used that prayer to lead me to a friend, who would open the door to a community, that would open doors to worship and glorify God in incredible, new, and wonderful ways. Isn’t it amazing what a prayer can do? So here is my first prayer request as I prepare for this journey: Pray for the Grace Klein Community, not only in Birmingham and Belize, but their partnering projects such as the Kwathu Children’s Home in Zambia, the Library Dreams Project in South Africa (led by two very awesome missionaries I met a few weeks ago, Cornelius and Prima Ngosa), and their ministries in Guatemala. Pray that this community will help its members grow as followers of Christ, and spiritual leaders in their communities. Pray that this community will, as its mission states, “create authentic community (Koinonia) by uniting diverse individuals, businesses, ministries, and churches to work together by sharing what they have in order to meet physical and spiritual needs both locally and globally.” And pray that all of the wonderful friends in this community who are playing such important roles in my life and ministry will see God’s will blossom in their lives.
God used the Grace Klein community and the people in it to facilitate this short-term team’s service to Him in Belize through the aid we provide to the school and missionaries in a jungle community. Some of the Grace Klein community members who have helped me and encouraged me in this trip and in my life aren’t mentioned in this article, due to length, but all of them deserve our prayer, and all of them deserve and have definitely gained my thanks.
Thanks and Blessings,
The Missions & Media Guy