The cultural conditions of marriages and families in Belize have declined with every generation. Eighty percent of all children born in Belize today are born to unwed parents. Fifty percent of those children will never even know who their father is. Sadly, as the culture has declined spiritually, morally, socially, and economically, even the church in Belize has suffered. Many professing believers are choosing to reject marriage altogether.
The Glendora Community Church in Glendora, California, has seen some of these problems firsthand. Their mission team has been active in Belize for nine years through annual building projects. This time, instead of building houses and other structures, they invited FamilyLife staff, Randy and Nedra Sharp, to join them in building marriages and families through a training event featuring The Art of Marriage®. The Sharps agreed to act as the hosts and trainers for the event held in Chetumal, Mexico, for Belize pastors and their wives.
The seminar was an incredible success with all the couples rating the event very highly. A gala was held on Saturday night with a special banquet and time of sharing. The open forum sharing time began with Pastor Keith Joseph, District Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene in Belize, confessing that he has not prayed regularly with his wife, Judy, and committing to pray with her moving forward. His sharing opened the gates for others to publically confess and share how God has moved in their lives. This time of sharing continued for two and a half hours. The Holy Spirit clearly was moving among these couples as they shared from their hearts what God had done through the weekend.
On Sunday morning following The Art of Marriage event/training, Randy went over the instructions of how to use the follow-up studies, The Art of Marriage Connect couples series. This also was well received and encouraged all who were present to engage fully in marriage and family ministry in their churches and their sphere of influence.
By the end of the weekend, several of the pastors or leaders committed to hosting The Art of Marriage in their churches or starting a small group using The Art of Marriage Connect. “We are praying about how FamilyLife can best serve this initiative in Belize long term,” says Randy. “There are no easy roads to changing a culture which is so deprived of biblical or spiritual conviction. Only a prayerful, collaborative, concerted effort will make a difference in changing lives and legacies for generations to come!”