Letters From Belize (Part 1)

Greetings Mrs. Bev,

It has truly been a while since we communicated. I must apologize for lack of communication. There have been so many challenges this year that for some time it became overwhelming. By God’s grace we finished our first term and are looking forward to the rest of the school year. We begin classes on January 3rd. Our vacation was cut short in order to make up time that was lost during the strike in October.
I pray that all is well with you and yours. Season greetings to you and the church family. I pray God’s continued provisions and guidance to your ministry for the new year.
I just wanted to greet you and say thanks once again for your support of St. Hilda’s Anglican School. Have a blessed and enjoyable New Year!!
Best Regards,
Jane Martinez
(Prinicipal of St. Hilda’s School)

Update for the Congregation on the Belize Mission – Dec.11/16

As many of you know, our congregation has been sending mission teams to Belize since 2005. Since then we have developed a very meaningful relationship with our Anglican friends in the small village of Georgeville. In particular, we have been supportive of the teachers and students at St. Hilda’s elementary school, which has about 200 students and is run by the Anglican Church.  We have been supporting St. Hilda’s in many ways:

  • We have sent 5 mission teams since 2005 to work directly with the students and teachers at St. Hilda’s and continue to foster our relationship together.
  • Prayer. Each week during our worship services, and also personally, we continue to offer prayers for them (as they do for us!)
  • We send about $2000 each year ($1000 per semester)  to assist with the education program and the upkeep of St. Hilda’s school, and
  • Thanks to some faithful givers, we annually provide as much as $4000 in scholarships to up to four needy students so they can continue their education through high school, and in a couple of exceptional cases, to a St. Hilda’s graduate who has gone on to university

The basis of our relationship with the people of Belize lies in Christ’s call to us as Christians. God expects us to be a mission-driven church, to know and help our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our relationship with Belize has been a strong and loving one for over 11 years.  Letters of appreciation from the both the students and teachers, graduation pictures and updates from the principal have reminded us of how important this relationship is.  You can see some of these letters, pictures and updates on the missions page of our Cathedral website. We have learned much from them and they from us.  Most importantly we have all learned that we share our faith and our belief in God – we are all members of Christ’s family.

The last team to go to St. Hilda’s School was in 2013.  An attempt was made to send a team in 2016 but we learned that our plan was not necessarily God’s plan, and that mission had to be postponed. The Missions Committee has expressed support for future missions to Belize and we are asking you today to pray about this and share your thoughts with us. Beverly Morell has been a key person in organizing all four missions, but she has told us that although she remains involved with our ongoing mission she won’t be leading the next mission trip.  So if we are to start making plans for our next mission trip, we will need a team leader AND we need congregation members who feel a call to mission-work and are willing to go.

We have always remained in contact with our friends in Belize, regardless of whether it is a year we send a team or not. That being said, it is still very important to renew that personal connection whenever we get the opportunity. Sending another team to Belize will help us build on our ongoing relationship with the people there and enable us to financially support them for many more years. It will also open the eyes and, more importantly – the hearts, of the missioners from the Cathedral. Today we are inviting every member of the congregation to prayerfully ask yourself if you are being called to this ministry. If you believe you are, or if you would like to explore the possibility further, please speak to me or any member of the Missions Committee or to Dean Geoffrey or leave your contact information with Fran at the office. We will be happy to discuss with you.

In the meantime, we are anxious to continue our support of St. Hilda’s. I am happy to announce that on Saturday evening, Feb.25, the Missions committee will be hosting a Belize fundraiser. MARK YOUR CALENDARS! It should be a fun evening  to raise awareness of our mission there and to generate some much-needed funds for the students and the school. This fundraiser may have a different feel to it than previous years but we are hoping to bring together the entire congregation as in years past. This event can only happen with your support. If you are willing to volunteer in any way, please let Beverly Morell, Kirsten McKnight, myself or any member of the missions committee know.

Thank you for listening, and may I conclude with the suggestion that we all add the children and teachers of St. Hilda’s School to our daily prayer lists.

Thank you.

Brad McKnight (on behalf of the Cathedral Missions Committee)

SAVE THE DATE! Belize Fundraiser Saturday evening, Feb.25/17

Please mark your calendars for Saturday night, February 25, 2017. A fundraiser is in the works to help  our friends from St. Hilda’s Anglican School in Georgeville, Belize. Proceeds will be used for our continued support of the school and scholarship students. More details on this event to follow soon. Volunteers needed!  Please contact Brad and Kirsten McKnight. 454-9335 or [email protected]

Hurricane Update from Belize

The following is a follow up letter sent to Beverly Morell by Ms Jane Martinez, principal of St Hilda’s Anglican School in Georgeville, Belize.

Hi Ms. Bev:
Thank God we made it through. My family and I did not sleep on Wednesday night. It was really scary looking out at the trees fighting against nature. The hurricane caused a lot of damage mostly in the city. The water in town almost reached the Hawkesworth bridge which joins San Ignacio and Santa Elena.
The wind didn’t die down until almost ten Thursday morning. Thank God we all survived. The school buildings are intact. The office got a bit of water but the damage was minor. A lot of people in Belize city lost their homes. Some roofs got blown away. This was only a category 1 hurricane but it caused a lot of damages because it moved through the country at a slow pace. We had constant 70-75 mph winds for about five hours in Cayo.
Thanks for your prayers and concern. I will pick up the money on Monday. I have been fighting the stomach flu since Thursday. I’m feeling much better today though. Your financial assistance will be a blessing this week as teachers are buying materials to prepare their classrooms for the new school year.
I pray God’s continued blessings on you and your church family. Continue to pray for us as we also pray for you.

Blessings,
Jane

Prayers for Belize as Hurricane Earl approaches

Greetings Ms. Bev:

It’s a blessing to work with you all. Today we are preparing for a hurricane which should be passing our area later this evening or tonight. I ask for your prayers for all us us. There have been so much violence and scandal over the past few weeks. I pray that God is merciful and spare us from terrible disaster.

I continue to look forward to your emails. Be blessed!

Regards,

Jane Martinez (Principal of St. Hilda’s School, Georgeville, Belize)

A word of thanks from Amieka Myers in Belize

The following letter was sent to Beverly Morell by Amieka Myers. Amieka is the college student supported financially and in prayer by donors from our Cathedral church.  She is a graduate of St. Hilda’s School in Georgeville where we have sent mission teams to serve over the years.  During her high school years, Amieka was also supported by our church by donors to the High School Scholarship Fund established by the 2010 team which was in Georgeville.

Please continue to pray for Amieka as she enters her final year of school.  As you can tell from her letter, she is most grateful for our making it possible for her to earn a university education, which is an outstanding achievement for a student from St. Hilda’s Elementary School.

Hello Miss Bev, 

Summer classes were tiresome, and nearly took over my entire summer. I haven’t received grades as yet until this week’s Wednesday. I feel so relieved that Mr. Palma took a pinch and told you my marks are good. This is the first summer I did so much homeworks and studying for tests and quizzes. I’m glad it’s all over, and feeling accomplished for wiping two more subjects off my course sequence. My mother is proud indeed, and without a doubt,  I know you guys are as well. 

Thank you for informing me that my fees are covered. I’m grateful, and anxious to begin the new semester.  It’s correct, I’m taking five(5) classes this semester(Aug-Dec 2016), which will leave me with six courses for next semester(Jan-May 2017). I will be completing my program in 2017 with my final courses, I’m confident of that. I will keep my commitment to completing my studies in June 2017, as you guys are keeping your end of the commitment in assisting me.

For my upcoming semester, I will be using some text books due to the major courses I’m taking. However, I will still try my best to seek electronic copies because they’re much easier to carry and free of costs. 

I’m thankful for all your prayers and support. I’m lost for words at times to express my gratitude because it means so much to me and my family. Please continue to pray for me. THANK YOU so much my Canadian friends,  I hope and pray that God shower your homes with the same blessing you guys are showering my home with. Continue to pray for me, as I continue to pray for you guys. I will works hard as I can in my upcoming semester, there is no doubt. I’m determine to succeed.  

Amieka Myers
God Bless

A sincere thank you from Belize!

The following is from a recent letter sent by Indira Spain to Beverly Morell. Indira is the mother of Belize scholarship student, Anique Hernandez, and also a teacher at St. Hilda’s school.
Thank you so much ms. Bev.  I am eternally indebted to you and your church group. I pray showers of blessings on you now and always. You are really leaving a positive mark on my child.  Thank you once again for your support.  Anique is more than excited about writing you so I will email that letter to you sometime over the weekend. Hope that you’re having a productive trip and I’ll be praying for travelling graces for you until you return safely home. Have a pleasant night.
With love,
Indira Spain

What’s New with Belize? (Spring 2016)

What’s new with Belize?

Belize occupies not only a chunk of land in Central America, but also a special spot in the hearts of dozens of people from the cathedral who took part in mission trips there in 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2013.

“Our work as a church is to reach out and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ,” says Beverly Morell who led the four mission teams. “Belize is a wonderful example of one important way we do just that!”

Although a cathedral team has not gone south recently —  largely due to the falling Canadian dollar which made the trip much too expensive — connections between the cathedral and a tiny Anglican parish in Belize continue.

For example, approximately $2,000 is sent annually to help St. Hilda’s Anglican School. It’s an elementary school (pop. 200) in a poor area in western Belize where three of the teams volunteered. The funds pay for school supplies as well as badly needed repairs such as fixing broken toilets and gaping holes in classroom ceilings.

The money for school supplies, including books, printer ink cartridges, paper and coloured pencils, is appreciated by the teachers. For example, it meant that the children had plentiful materials to work with when creating the Earth Day posters pictured here.

Another aspect of the relationship is assistance for higher education. In Belize free education stops at Grade 8. Many families live below the poverty line and cannot afford to send their children to high school. Former missioners and other donors have helped put several St. Hilda’s graduates through high school: Ashley Jones, Amieka Myers, Anfernee Vasquez, Jamal Whitty and Tianney Lamb.

Also thanks to donors from the cathedral family, three students from St. Hilda’s are currently attending high school: Aaliyah Augustine, Paul Jones and Anique Hernandez.  Paul explains why the financial support and encouragement mean so much to him: “I come from a poor family, but I want to show other children like me that it doesn’t matter where you came from, you can still achieve the goal you set your mind on.”

Originally, it cost $700 CDN per year per student, but the decline of our dollar means that it now costs $1,000 CDN annually per student. Although the existing students will be supported until graduation, unfortunately a high school scholarship cannot be offered to a St. Hilda’s graduate in 2016.

A couple years ago other donors at the cathedral kindly pooled resources to send two of the high school graduates to college. Although Anfernee Vasquez dropped out after a year, Amieka Myers intends to graduate with an associate in education certificate in 2017.

“Education is so important for these young people as is a well-equipped school,” says Brad McKnight, treasurer of the cathedral’s Missions Committee. “Our committee is considering a fund-raiser in late fall or early winter to make sure the financial support remains solid well into the future. Stay tuned for news about specific plans and for opportunities to volunteer.”

By Ann Deveau

A word from the Principal of St. Hilda’s School in Belize

The following letter was sent by Jane Martinez, principal of St. Hilda’s Anglican School in Georgeville, Belize. As many of our young friends in Belize prepare for their year end exams this week we would also ask that you keep them in your prayers.

Greetings,

I pray that this correspondence reaches you in good health. Wow! We’re almost at the end of the school year.What a year it has been! I must say that with all the challenges, we have had even greater blessings. We are now at the end of Education Month. Things have been really hectic because we are preparing for final exams, teachers’ appraisals are being done and there are so many other activities that take up our time.
We celebrated Earth Day with a poster competition. I will send you picture of those. We also had one of our Standard 6 students representing our zone in the District Spelling Bee finals! She came in third place! Yeah!!! Our St. Hilda’s is on the Spelling Bee map.
 I am really looking forward to your next visit.I continue to pray that your ministry is blessed and you are able to continue the great work that you are doing. Be blessed my friends.
 
Best Wishes,
Jane Martinez