March 2021 Update from St Hilda’s Anglican School in Belize

The following is a letter sent March 11/21 by Ms. Jane Martinez, Principal at St. Hilda’s Anglican School, to Kelley Hall of the Belize Mission Committee.

Good Afternoon Kelley,

I pray all is well with you and your family. I wanted to send you an update so that you know what is going on at St. Hilda’s Anglican. Due to the Covid19 situation, we are only at school Monday and Tuesday. We are still doing distance learning. Teachers print packages every week for students and they also do online sessions twice a week. It has been truly challenging because both teachers and students have to adapt to a new way of teaching and learning. My staff has been very vigilant in this exercise and I must commend their efforts. 
It is being said that the vaccine will be given to teachers soon and classes will resume in April. I’m not sure if that will work out. Some people are hesitant about getting the vaccine because much controversy surrounding it. There has been no Education or information given to the public and people are hesitant. 
The high school students have gotten some reports so I will forward that to you as well.  I’m still waiting for two more students to send theirs. They have also been doing online learning and receiving packages. 
I am including pictures of some repairs that we were able to get done in one classroom as well as the signs that we set up. I also bought folders for teachers to create a portfolio with lessons and packages that are sent out.  Overall,  I must say that we are blessed because we have all been able to cope and have stayed healthy. 
I continue to express sincere gratitude to our Friends of St. Hilda’s family. You all have truly blessed us. I keep seeing God working through your sponsorship. When we were at our lowest, that’s when the funds came through. We are truly thankful. Prayers for you all during this time. God’s continued blessing on your ministry. 

News from St Hilda’s Anglican School in Belize

I pray that this email reaches you in good health. It has been some time since I contacted you but We have been keeping you all in prayer just as I know you have done for us. Our little Belize is battling the pandemic. 

In August we were out of school for two weeks because one of our staff members had to get swabbed because she was displaying symptoms. We waited for almost two weeks for her results. Thankfully, the test came back negative. We have to be at school everyday but the students are at home. Some teachers are doing online classes via Google Classroom or WhatsApp. We also prepare learning packages each week for all students.

It has been a very difficult time trying to cope with everything that is happening and staying focused. The funds that you sent were very helpful in preparing for the reopening. Registration has been very slow and we usually get our funds from fundraising activities but unfortunately, we can’t do anything at this time. We were able to purchase cleaning and sanitation supplies as well as garbage bins, masks and gloves for teachers. Teachers were also given a stipend to assist with preparation of classrooms. We had to arrange our furniture to cater for social distancing.

I will be sending you some pictures of the classrooms and other arrangements that were made during this time. I am also attaching receipts from students. They started their sessions on October 5th, Some of them are doing online sessions while others are receiving printed materials as well. So far they are all engaged and have started working. I will keep you updated as the time goes by. We will continue to ask God’s blessings on you all. we love you and pray the best for all our Friends of St. Hilda’s. Be safe.

Jane (Principal at St. Hilda’s)

Ten Years A Missionary – David Alenskis (February 2021)

Dear friends and partners in ministry,

I want to take this time to wish you a very blessed Ash Wednesday, and to thank you for all the support that you have generously given us over the past few months! It has been a joy to know you are praying for us, and to receive your notes of encouragement since our last update in December.
This year certainly does not feel like any Lent Mary Beth and I have experienced recently: in Belize by this point in the liturgical calendar we are usually boiling from the hot season rolling into town, but at the moment we instead have sub-zero temperatures and mounds of snow where we’re hunkered down in the Midwest. As we prepare for Easter in just over forty days, we ask you to keep our family in your prayers as we seek his strength, provision and guidance in the months ahead.
Yesterday I posted an update on how we are doing, and I invite you to give it a read:
Here is a quick brief summary of what the blog post is sharing:
  1. Academics. So far I am performing very well in my doctoral program—despite having to do everything remotely—and I am enjoying the coursework I am taking. I am still on track to defend my thesis and graduate by 2024 … it will be tough to fit in everything by then, but I am highly motivated to get it done and my track record so far is encouraging. (Read more!)
  2. Family Life. Mary Beth and the boys are doing very well. Because we were unable to proceed to Canada in time for the Winter term, we have rented a small two-bedroom place a few miles from my parents’ home in Indiana, and we are enjoying being together as a family in our own space.

    A very big development over the last few weeks is that our parish in San Ignacio, St. Andrew’s has decided to rent out the Rectory as soon as next month, so we are shipping our belongings to our home in the States—and we will probably not be returning to Belize this summer to pack out and say goodbye. We are grieving the loss of this opportunity to take an extended time to pack out and say goodbye, but at the same time we have seen God’s hand working in amazing ways. (Read more!)

  3. Finances. Shipping our belongings from Belize to the U.S. is going to be a tremendous expense (around $7,000), right at the same time that Mary Beth and I will have to take a salary cut. Our regular/pledged giving is $3,300 below our bare-bones basic SAMS budget each month, and now that we are in 2021 we will have to lower our salaries by 30–40% beginning in March. (Read more!)

    To make sure that we do not have to decrease our salaries any further, we would ask you prayerfully to consider giving a one-time donation to our missionary account to help us rebuild some margin. And if the Lord is guiding you to become a pledged supporter of our ministry, we would be deeply grateful to have you on the team.

Next month will also mark ten years (!!!) since I left California to become a full-time SAMS missionary in Argentina. So much has happened since then. I want to thank each of you for first supporting me, and then Mary Beth, and now our whole family as we pursue the vision for mission and ministry that the Lord has given us. Please keep us in your prayers, and be in touch as together we move ahead in service to our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his name,
David+ and Mary Beth (and Austin and James)

New Horizons in Ministry – David and Mary Beth Alenskis

Dear friends, family and supporters,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Many of you have been keeping up with us regularly over the last few months, as we evacuated Belize, as we continued ministering remotely with our congregations, schools and diocese in Belize, and as we prayed urgently for our people there when cases began to climb dramatically last month. We want to thank you for your partnership with us in your prayers, in your giving, and in your words of encouragement during what has been some of the hardest six months of our lives. Again, thank you so much!
Mary Beth and I have two important things we need to share with you this week:
  1. We are beyond excited to announce that Austin has a younger brother! James Edward Alenskis was born this week, and both he and his mother are doing very well. Please join with us in expressing our joy and thanksgiving to God who kept Mary Beth and James safe throughout the length of her pregnancy!
  2. We are also excited to announce that we are entering a new season of ministry as SAMS missionaries, one during which we will be preparing ourselves to serve on the mission field in the realm of theological education and ministry development.I encourage you to watch the following video discussing these changes. In the video Mary Beth and I share the vision that God has put on our hearts for discipling and raising up leaders to serve Christ and his church … and SAMS president Stewart Wicker even has a cameo presenting his perspective on these new vistas in mission. You can check it out here: A Special Address.

    Please also read our blog update regarding our transition to a new season of ministry as SAMS missionaries: New Horizons.

    The short version is this: in order to answer God’s call to serve the church by teaching and equipping emerging leaders, and with the support of SAMS and the bishops to whom we are accountable, this month I am beginning a PhD in Theological Studies through Wycliffe College, an orthodox Anglican college that forms part of the University of Toronto. When the Canadian border actually opens to us, we will be moving to the greater Toronto area for the next 4–6 years in order to pursue this new direction for our ministry. This means that although our time in Belize will be coming to a conclusion, we will also still be serving as full-time SAMS missionaries and will still be in need of your fervent prayers and financial support.

    On that note, I should add that your continued gifts to our ministry are crucial as we anticipate a much higher cost of living in Toronto than in Belize. We have been granted some scholarship funds by Wycliffe and by SAMS, but we will be covering the majority of my tuition and school fees from out of our family’s budget. Your financial support will help ensure that we are able to rent a modest apartment, feed our family, and raise our children over the next few years, allowing us to truly focus on finishing my academic program and therefore get back on the mission field as soon as possible.

Friends, we understand that you probably have some serious questions for us, and we would love to answer them, not only via email, but through Skype or FaceTime or Zoom or even an old-fashioned phone call. So please let us know how best to touch base with you, and we’ll do our best to make it happen.
Until then, know that we are deeply grateful for your partnership and collaboration with us, for your willingness to be stakeholders in our ministry abroad. May the Lord richly bless you and everything that you are doing, not only for our growing family, but for Christ and his Kingdom!
In Christ,
David+ and Mary Beth
The last time we were in Toronto was four years ago for missionary training. Who could have guessed we would be back for so much longer?

Update from St. Hilda’s School in Belize

The Cathedral’s Belize mission team has been in touch with Ms. Jane Martinez, principal of St. Hilda’s Anglican School. Please keep the teachers and students of St. Hilda’s, and the people of Belize in your prayers!

Ms. Martinez writes:

Good evening Kelley:

You all have been on my mind as well. Things have been hectic here because they will close the schools on Friday. We have been preparing supplementary information for children to take home to ensure that the educational process is not badly disrupted. From reports that we have been getting, there has not been any confirmed case here as yet but we are taking precautions. Since Monday, we have only had half of our population. Each day the attendances is lower. We have been educating our students and parents this entire week about safety precautions.

It is a sad time for us here also because our crime rate has escalated especially in Belize City. This week alone two young children were shot to death. Altogether in 48 hours we have had about 14 deadly shootings. Most of the victims were innocent bystanders. The children were shot at home in their sleep. Someone just decided to take revenge and shot at the house. Unfortunately, children were also casualties.

We need to pray for each other and keep our focus on God in these troubled times.

Thank you so much for your concern. I will pass on the information to the staff. Please stay safe.


A Prayer Request for Belize and the Alenskis Family

While Austin, Mary Beth and Fr. David Alenskis have decided to temporarily return to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are continuing their ministry in Belize remotely as best they can.  You can follow along with their morning and evening prayers on the St. Hilda’s Facebook page.

Please click HERE for their latest update and prayer requests.

In short, please pray specifically for:
• Full funding for ministry
• Ministry team in Belize
• David’s academic research
• Ongoing health issues
• Discernment for future



The Principal writes

The following is a letter to our congregation from Jane Martinez, Principal at St. Hilda’s Anglican School in Belize.

Greetings Friends:

I pray that all is well with Friends of St. Hilda’s. Greetings from beautiful Belize.

I know it has been some time since you heard from us here at St. Hilda’s. I must apologize for the delay in response. Our school year has started out with a bang! There are so many things that need attention that some days get very frustrating. Through all that, I must say that we are blessed. The first term is usually our busiest term as we have many activities and holidays that occur during the September to November months. 
This year our enrollment went down due to relocation of some students. We presently have 127 students enrolled. We have  a full staff of ten teachers including one intern.
I have many pictures that I would like to share to give you an idea of some of the activities that have been held at our school so far this year. We have had our September celebrations, Literacy Day,and most recently, our Harvest Thanksgiving Service. 
Please greet the church on our behalf and let them know that we love them and appreciate their continued support. Have a blessed day!
Best Regards,