Our three schools are by far our biggest mission field!
Over 60% of Belizeans are under the age of 25, and more than ever young people in Belize are under-churched at precisely the same time that they are being exposed to violence, sexuality, and the indifference of consumerism like never before.
We are eager to reach these young people and their families with the love of Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection! Allow us to take a minute and tell you a little more about the primary schools that we serve in Western Belize.
St. Andrew's is the largest school that we work with, with over 400 students in attendance. Located in town less than a half mile from St. Andrew's Parish, the school routinely receives some of the highest academic scores in all of Belize. As a result, enrollment is highly competitive, and the school has been pushed to its physical limits in order to accommodate as many students as possible.
Working with a gifted team of lay leaders, our outreach to the school is predominantly that of providing chaplain support to the staff and students, and their families. We lead chapel services with the students (broken into three groups) every two weeks, and through song, prayer, and the Word of God we have seen children come to faith in Christ and grow in their relationship with God. We also attend devotions with the staff, counsel students when needed, and visit their families when as often as possible, and especially in the crisis situations that inevitably arise.
As the relationship between the school and the church continues to evolve, our prayer is that our ministry among the families associated with the school would have such an impact, that the Lord would open further doors for relationship, discipleship, and the building up of his kingdom.
St. Barnabas' is a historic primary school embedded in the heart of Belize's agricultural research center. Since colonial times, Central Farm has coordinated the nation's direction for farming and fishing, and to this day not only is the Ministry of Agriculture's Research and Development arm located here, but the community hosts the University of Belize's School of Agriculture, the private Galen University, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, Taiwan's ICDF Aquaculture Project, and even a military base for the Belize Defence Force. St. Barnabas' is an essential part of this ecosystem of activity, and since it moved to its current location in 1950 has been beloved by all, and especially by the families of its students.
St. Barnabas' is the smallest of our schools (not quite 100 students), with the fewest number of Anglican students and the highest number of Anglican teachers. Like St. Andrew's and St. Hilda's schools, we work hard to lead chapel services for the students and devotions for the teachers. However, in addition David became much more involved in the last year in the assisting the school's administration in leadership as acting Local Manager, giving direction at certain points of critical transition.
As St. Barnabas' looks to the future, our prayer is that the Lord will open doors for an expansion of its outreach to the broader community, especially in such a strategic location. Not only have doors opened up for us to begin weekly worship at the adjacent School of Agriculture, but we are praying that the Lord may open the door for the commencement of a new High School on St. Barnabas' campus, with a unique vocational focus on agriculture!
St. Hilda's is a booming primary school located in the crossroads community of Georgeville. Sharing a campus with St. Hilda's mission, the school has almost 200 students enrolled, mostly from the village. Though the children who attend St. Hilda's are predominantly poor, make no mistake: they are very intelligent! As its leadership team has strengthened over the last few years, St. Hilda's test scores have also risen, and the school has begun to attract students not only from the surrounding villages of Three Mile, Unitedville, and Blackman Eddy, but also from the town of San Ignacio.
Our ministry at St. Hilda's looks very much like that at St. Andrew's and St. Barnabas': chapel services with the students (broken into two or three divisions) and devotions with the staff every two weeks. However, because of the close ties between school, church, and village, we have worked together closely to visit families, counsel children, and reach those who need the help that our presence can afford. We pray that as this close relationship continues, and as connections are made within the community, that more people will come to know Christ in his fulness, and will be led to serious discipleship within his Church!