HISTORY OF THE MISSION OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
As you probably already know, I am a Missionary, from the US, working among the Mayan, Mestizo, Garifuna and Creole in southern Belize. I work primarily with children.
And from the day that I arrived in Mango Creek, in southern Belize, I had been shocked at the plight of the street children. Some were sent out by their parents to beg coins here and there. Some were sent out to sell whatever they could. Some had parents, but many had none. But all were children, dirty, undernourished, sickly, needing care and crying out for love and attention. It literally pained my heart not to be able to do anything for them.
In the beginning I started out by giving medical care to the Children, but it turned out that the problems of the Children were not so much medical as nutritional and social. Sick Children would be cured, but two weeks later they were back again with the same symptoms. It became evident that any ministry to these poorest of the poor Children would have to be of a long term nature, covering not just physical, but also financial, spiritual and emotional problems. When I first came to southern Belize and to Mango Creek the thing that most caught my attention and excited my pity was the number of ragged, barefoot, undernourished Children who were everywhere to be seen. The homeless ones were not much worse off than those who had homes, as poor as these were. When I got to know the condition better, I often thought that the large percentage of Children who died under the age of five were better off than the rest who battles through life.
I had to do something to help. And so 13 years ago I started the Mission of the Good Shepherd to help these children. And I have been doing that ever since; helping them in any way that I can, but especially bringing them to God. And since then, my whole life, 7 days per week, is working with these children. For most of the Children, the mission of the Good Shepherd is their 2nd home. For some it is their first. If you would like to view a short video of our Mission you can view it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABJ34o03RXM
WHAT ARE THE CHILDREN LIKE?
Let me tell you a little bit about the children that the Mission of the Good Shepherd works with. Some of them are dirty, ragged, barefoot and undernourished. In fact, it was once said to me, “How can you work with these dirty, ragged, barefoot, undernourished children? Some of them look so terrible.” I must say though, that after a time of visiting the Mission, or living at the Mission, they don’t look so much like that. But working with underprivileged children is really quite simple. The children are moved by the love that they receive and it may be just a touch of my hand, it may be just a story being read to them, or providing some kind of treat that they desire. You just show a little kindness to them and they are satisfied and know that someone cares for them, someone loves them, and someone wants them. And that, in itself, is a great help to them. Because of this they believe that God must be even kinder, more generous, and so their souls are lifted up to God. I just do what I do with love, and they are touched by God’s grace. And it is really working in bringing the children to the Lord.
WHAT WE HAVE AT THE MISSION
For most of the children, the mission of the Good Shepherd is their 2nd home. But for many, it is their first and only home. Some of the things that we have at the Mission include two kitchens for feeding children. Every Sunday we feed up to 100 children who come to our Mission to attend our Sunday Worship Service, and to obtain the only nutritional meal that they might obtain all week. Through the week most of these children live on bread, noodles, and a little bit of rice, but on Sundays we feed each one of the children who comes to the Mission a nutritional meal containing meat (chicken, fish, or beef), plus nutritional vegetables. And the children really look forward to this.
We have a library with over 5000 books in which we teach children to read and learn. We also have a Dormitory for those children who live full time at the Mission. Plus we recently added a small Infirmary for sick children, plus a Medicine Dispensary which we provide free medicines for people from the village. All of which are freely given to the poor as we ourselves freely received from God. And when money is available, we have a Food Pantry in which we provide staple goods like rice, beans and flour, and other goods for children and their families in need.
We have two playgrounds for the children with swings and slides, monkey bars, teeter totters, a sand box, and play houses for the children.
We have a Church for Sunday Worship Service and a smaller Chapel set aside for Prayer. Plus a separate room for the Distribution of School Supplies to children in need who can’t afford them. If you would like to view a short video of our Mission you can view it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABJ34o03RXM
COMING TO A 3RD WORLD COUNTRY
People in the United States don’t know how blessed they are until they travel to a 3rd world country. Before coming here as a Missionary 13 years ago, I had always thought that I grew up rather poor. I found out that in comparison to the children down here, I grew up rich. There were things that I didn’t have as a child, but these children have nothing. And so I thank God every day that I was born in a country such as the United States with the things I had. These children’s only crime was being born in another country, certainly not something they could choose. I miss the United States, but I thank God every day that He has given me the opportunity to serve Him by helping these children down here