As of today - July 29th

Thank you all for your prayers! I had a wonderful birthday, as well as a blessed ordination anniversary, and the last few weeks have gone well. The last vestiges of my flu have cleared up, and I'm hitting the ground running just about every day!

So, what's been filling my time? Well, I've been doing a lot of preaching and preparation for it. Two Sundays ago I shared God's Word at St. Andrew's and St. Hilda's, and yesterday I was privileged to return to All Saints' Church (Belize City) to lead the service, preach God's Word, and baptize an adorable little girl. It's been good to be doing so much teaching and leading, but by God's grace I've been noticing some areas where I need to improve, and I'm starting to reflect pretty heavily on them.

I have also been getting into the swing of things at St. Hilda's, focusing heavily on the village of Georgeville, with an eye however to beginning some new initiatives in the village of Central Farm. One of the local patriarchs of the village, Mr. Arthur, is coming to the end of his life, suffering from cancer and pneumonia, and I've spent a lot of time accompanying their family as we prepare for a godly passing. Additionally, there have been other deaths in families and illnesses going on that have disrupted the normal flow of life in the village.

My hope in the next few weeks is to set up the St. Hilda's Church Committee (i.e. Vestry) and begin making a few decisions together about the mission, vision, and strategic direction of the church. Though the momentum may be small, we do still have it for the moment, and I am looking forward to discerning where our heavenly Father would like our church to be in the next six to twelve months, and how best under his gracious direction to arrive at these goals.

All in all, I am excited and expectant, convinced that God is able to do what we cannot, and more determined to grow his church even than we are. Please continue to keep me and our whole team, our churches and our schools, in your constant prayer. Have a great week!

As of today - July 18th

I have some big news to share with you all this week! As many of you know, our ministry team here in Belize, headed up by Juan and Maria Marentes, is pastorally responsible for two churches, St. Andrew's in town and St. Hilda's in a rural village called Georegeville. Similarly, our team has also had chaplaincy responsibilities in three elementary schools, St. Andrew's in town and St. Hilda's and St. Barnabas' in the rural villages. This has been (as you can imagine) quite a lot of work for everyone involved.

My job for the last year has been to accompany Fr. Juan in his many activities in the two churches and three schools. It has gone well, but all of us have felt frustrated by the fact that the rural church and schools have not been getting the pastoral attention that they deserve.

For this reason and others, Fr. Juan with the approval of Bishop Wright has instructed me to take primary pastoral responsibility of the ministry of the rural mission, St. Hilda's Church, and the chaplaincy of the two corresponding rural elementary schools, St. Hilda's and St. Barnabas'. Although I will still have responsibilities in town at St. Andrew's Church and School, I have been given both more responsibility, more leadership, and more autonomy regarding the rural wing of our ministry here in Cayo.

To be honest, I am excited about this increase in responsibility, and I am eager to see what God will do in these months (and perhaps years?) to come. There is much to do, there are many to serve, and there is a great God who has told us that "the fields are white for the harvest." Please pray dilligently for me and for the people of Georgeville and Central Farm as we embrace the race before us and take new steps in evangelism, discipleship, worship, and service for the glory of God and the upbuilding of his Church!

Quickly in other news, today we celebrate the arrival of an ecumenical team of short-term missionaries, headed by Gus Calvo and Geoff Miller, who are coming to work on a range of projects and activities. We are very excited to work with them this coming week.

I am also pleased to celebrate my birthday tomorrow, Friday July 19th. I turn thirty years old, and I ask you to join with me in thanking God for his many gifts and blessings that he has continually poured upon me now for three decades. May his Name be praised!

As of today - July 8th

Hello everyone! I am mostly over my horrible, awful, no good flu and am on the path to recovery. Sunday was a particular struggle, as I think I had been exposed to yet another virus (this time a stomach something or other), and I muddled through the day and its preaching duties, but I work up today without any signs of the setback, which was a good thing since I had to go to Belmopan to pick up my new passport from the US embassy.

This week is the calm week before the arrival of two new short-term teams from the US, and I'll be keeping it low key as I continue to recover. There are some new exciting things in the works around here that I hope to fill you in on next week but, for now, let me say that this week I will be preparing to serve at the newly replanted Iglesia Anglicana "La Anunciación". Please pray for me as I get ready to preach God's Word and assist in services.

That's about it for this week! I am so grateful for your prayers: have a wonderful week!

As of today - July 4th

To all of my amigos estadounidenses, Happy Fourth of July!

This week has been miserable for me: I came down with an intense flu-like fever on Monday, and though I tried to make it through the first day of VBS, I was coming up short. After going home that afternoon, I have been more-or-less housebound until this afternoon. I am still feeling very weak, but the fever has passed for the most part, and I think I'm on the mend.

Please pray for my continued recovery, and my preaching this weekend!

As of today - June 24th

Hello everyone! The last couple of weeks have been good but busy! My parents returned home well, thanks be to God, and my second weekend of serving at All Saints' Church in Belize City also went well despite a couple of dicey moments on the streets. But I digress.

Over the last week we have been enjoying the visit of a team from Mosaic Anglican Fellowship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tuesday they put on a graduation retreat for our exiting Standard 6 class at St. Andrew's school, and Thursday and Friday they did the same for the Standard 6 classes of St. Barnabas' and St. Hilda's schools. We were incredibly blessed to have them with us, not only for the benefit of our graduates, but for the strong relationships they built with our six older youth who helped lead the retreats with them. Please pray that God would use the many seeds planted this week to grow his Kingdom and increase his glory.

Please, please please keep in your prayers the start of our youth group Bible Study. We're planning on holding it every Tuesday evening at 5:30 PM at the home of one of the youth. I think that this will be a major step forward for discipleship with our youth, so please pray that God will empower us to lead and draw many to come and participate!

This is our last week of classes for our three schools here, and we hold graduation ceremonies on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. We are so tremendously proud of our students and wish them all the best as they continue on to high school or other vocations. Saturday another team from Trinity Anglican Church in Thomasville, Georgia arrives to offer a Vacation Bible School to our children in Georgeville next week. Please pray for us as we prepare for their arrival and coordinate for the VBS and other activities with which they will be involved!

In other news, my computer has been diagnosed and has experienced a "catastrophic hard drive failure." As I type, it is on its way back to the United States for repair: hopefully the Macbook Pro is still under the extended 3 year warranty (worth every penny, if you ask me). Please pray for safe passage, inexpensive repair, and swift return to Belize!

As of today - June 10th

Hello everyone! It's been so long since I've posted an update, and I really apologize! Things have been busy here in Belize, and I need to fill you in on much of what has been going on!

As I type, my parents are in town visiting me! We've spent most of the last week or so simply involved in the normal activities of life and ministry in Cayo, but on occasion we've been able to branch out and see a few "touristy" places like Caye Caulker. It's been a blessing to have them with me, and I will miss them a lot when they leave on Wednesday.

This past Sunday I was honored to visit All Saints' Church in Belize City, a church the Bishop describes as a progressive, urban parish. He was not wrong. It was a pleasure to see old friends and new faces, and I was well-received as I lead the service and preached. I cannot wait to be back again at All Saints' this coming Sunday as we celebrate Father's Day and worship the Lord again in song and word and sacrament.

There are a few immediate requests for prayer on my agenda for the coming week. First, please pray for my computer: it's been a week and a half now since it has booted up, and I am at a loss as to how to get it working safely in Belize. Second, please pray for us this week as we prepare for a short-term mission group coming from the United States next Monday. They will be leading retreats for our graduating Standard Six classes from the three Anglican schools in the area, and we are hoping to have a genuine spirit of teamwork and cooperation as we serve God and pray to be used by him in the lives of these students.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support: it means the world to me. May the Lord richly bless you all!

As of today - May 20th

It has been an incredibly long and busy week, and I am simply exhausted! Last Monday, I had the pleasure of receiving Andrew Osmun, a member of the SAMS board who was sent to scope out locations for the SAMS board and new missionary retreats in January. We have had a blessed time of fellowship and work together, but visiting fifteen area resorts in just a few days and scoping out project opportunities for an accompanying short-term mission has left me tuckered out! Andrew headed back today to Connecticut, and we are gearing up for a new week of ministry here.

Please pray for the week as I re-integrate back into the rhythm of school and visitations and prepare to preach this weekend: Trinity Sunday! There is much to do before the arrival of my parents early next week, and I am excited for what lies in the week ahead. Your prayers have helped sustain me so much lately: I am so grateful for your partnership with me in this ministry. Until next week!

As of today - May 13th

Good morning everyone! I am writing from the airport in Belize City, waiting to pick up a guest who will be staying with me this week. Andrew Osmun is representing the board of my missions society, SAMS-USA, and we will be trying to find retreat and conference centers for groups coming in January. I think that it will be a full (very full!) week as we work together, but I am looking forward to it.

We are so incredibly happy to have Juan and María Marentes back with us! They arrived Friday night with María's father and were greeted by a surprise party put on by our churches. It was a beautiful and tender moment, and I personally have been trying to soak up the time with them now that they have returned to be with us. Juan gave a sermon and testimony at church on Sunday, and I expect that he will be up-to-speed with an astounding acceleration. Thank you all so much for your prayers for him and us in his absence.

This week looks like it will be quite busy: Tuesday I will be giving a message at an ecumenical teacher's worship service for Education Week, and Friday we have our regularly scheduled church committee meeting, one which will be important as we prepare for short-term missions teams that are coming to visit very soon. Please keep these and other important meetings and conversations in your prayers this week. May God the Father according to his promise pour upon you the riches of his promised Holy Spirit through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord!

As of today - May 6th

Just wanted to write a quick update for you all! This past week went fairly well. In addition to the regular battery of visitations, counseling sessions, and reading/writing projects, I was privileged to perform a funeral for Ronald Waight, an elderly man of our congregation, much of whose family lives in the United States and was able to come down for the service. I was thrilled to preach on Sunday for both of our congregations, and this week looks as though it's shaping up to be a good one as well.

Please keep a few things in your prayers this week. First, please pray for Juan and María Marentes as they get ready to come back to Belize on Friday (we're ecstatic, as you can imagine!). Second, please pray as I consider whether to get a dog for the yard or not. Third, please pray for our youth group meeting on Saturday: I think it's going to be an important one. And of course, as always, please pray that Christ's love, grace, peace, and patience would reign in our hearts and between one another as we serve him together side by side.

And, in case I don't get a chance to say it to you on Thursday, Happy Feast of our Lord's Ascension! Have a wonderful week!

As of today - April 29th

Good morning, everyone! It has been a very long and intensive week, and I am so grateful to all of you for your many prayers. We could not have gotten through it all without them, and you.

The big events of this past week surrounded the burial of George, the young sixteen-year-old who was thrown out of the bed of a pickup truck and killed instantly. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances the police were unwilling to release the body until an official autopsy had been performed, yet there were enormous delays at the coroner's office in Belize City, and the post-mortem evaluation could not completed. It was agonizing to watch the family mourn as George's body stayed at the morge from Saturday until Thursday, when there was finally an opening in the coroner's schedule to view the body. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights vast crowds of people from the town who knew the boy or his family came out to hold a wake by their home, and the public mourning continued until George was put to rest in the cemetary on Friday. Nonetheless, the whole town is still reeling from the shock and pain of what has happened. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

We have had another death in the congregation this week as well, an elderly man named Ronnie who was dear to many long-time members of St. Andrew's parish. We will be holding his funeral later this week. In addition, this week I will be doing a lot of reading and writing for various "bookish" projects that I have been putting off due to the crises we have been experiencing. Wednesday here in Belize is Labour Day, and there will be May Day celebrations complete with May Poles! I am looking forward to it!

For those of you who are also interested, I have started giving Twitter a try. If any of you are interested in following me, my handle is @DavidAlenskis. That's about it for now. Have a wonderful week!