What is your most favorite form of travel? Some people just love road trips in their car, windows down, music playing and wind blowing through their hair. Others think that a plane is the way to go. Get on, sit back and read or listen to your music, maybe watch a movie and suddenly – you’re at your destination. Some folks love the adventure of a train and the gentle rocking motion, the restful pace and getting to watch the countryside as it rolls past. But very few of us would choose a noisy, dirty, hot, crowded and uncomfortable bus to do most of our travel for work or pleasure.
Marta Perez is one of our missionaries who serve in the small country of Belize. Belize is a small country with roots going back to the colonial era of Britain and is now a commonwealth of Great Britain. The official language is English but there are many Spanish speakers and also a local language that is a kind of English based Creole. Marta and the rest of her team work with children and teens throughout the country in teaching Bible clubs, hosting youth events, doing special programs in schools and having summer camp. It is a valuable ministry and has far reaching impact.
Marta is a great example of someone who loves to help and serve others. She moved to Belize from Guatemala and has had to learn English. She has to be able to speak English well enough to teach in English in the schools so she has been continuing to work diligently on improving her English skills. At camp she is the one who leads the girls counselors, she helps keep things moving well in the kitchen and it seems like she is always busy helping someone. She has a great passion to help the girls of Belize understand the joy and freedom they have in Christ. She also desires to help them learn what purity can mean to them and how the Lord can help them walk in a Godly lifestyle that helps them know that they are indeed daughters of God and can live in wholesome purity.
Marta lives in the capital city of Belmopan but her ministry takes her from there to Belize City and to Orange Walk. The problem is that right now her only transportation is by way of public bus, which is noisy, crowded, often dirty and uncomfortably hot. It takes about 4 hours to travel by public transportation from Belmopan to Orange Walk, and that’s if everything goes exactly right. It might take about 2 hours to get to Belize City. That is a lot of time spent on a bus that could be used in better ways if she had better transportation. The trip to Orange Walk should only take about 2 hours by car and Belize City is about one hour away by car.
This summer we were able to spend some time with Marta while we were in Belize on a mission’s trip and she expressed how often she wished she had a better way to get to Orange Walk. It takes a full day of travel to get there and back to her home in Belmopan by way of public transportation. That limits what she is able to do with the students and with the Bible clubs once she gets there. Plus, it is very tiring. She told us that if she had a car she feels like she could do so much more with these students. Her time would be freed up to spend with them in talking, sharing, studying and counseling. A trip to Belize City would only take a little while and she could invest in the lives of the girls there who came to camp but need so much more in their lives.
We have started to raise funds in order to purchase a suitable car for her to use in her ministry there in Belize. We are hoping to get a used vehicle like a Ford Escape and then ship it to her. Fellowship Kids have been donating to this project. Their goal is to raise enough money to “buy the tires”. That is great. The Missions Team is asking others to consider giving to the Marta Car Fund so that we can get the car for her by this spring. If you are interested in helping Marta and being a part of the ministry there in Belize you can designate a gift for the Marta Car Fund and drop it in the offering or send it to the church.
- by Jim Panter