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Loforna News – Spring 2019

Webbing Together in Jesus Name Part of Emmanuel Christian School’s (Montreal) grade nine curriculum requires

students to do community outreach for ten days. Under Montreal Youth for Christ’s oversight, some choose serving in YFC youth centres throughout the city. Others travel to Belize further developing their village outreaches including providing for the needs of elderly; partnering in various ways with village schools; hosting Loforna youth retreats; hanging out with rescued girls at a nearby ‘safe’ home; constructing playground equipment; and evangelizing through ‘Spirit’ filled presentations. Their annual investment is so highly appreciated that they are welcomed back as family. Being very intentional in what they want students to learn from the experience, team leaders Dave and Teresa Tracy’s preparations begin well in advance. This includes leading mission focused Bible classes, numerous team/parent meetings, a team retreat at their cottage in wintry Quebec, as well as the mundane duties of collecting forms and funds. Through their passionate enthusiasm, the entire school is invested be it fundraising, collecting books and school supplies, and much more.

To give deeper insight into what motivates them, here is a portion of Dave’s post on the Emmanuel Mission 2019 blog page:

“It is a blessing to be able to see how the Armenia Government School has welcomed us and appreciates the way we have committed to be partners with

them. Our students were well prepared and are clearly great ambassadors for their school and for the Lord.” It is always a challenge to help others, as I have learned that it is so critical to ask many questions before helping. So many discussions and exchanges are necessary to ensure we are working through cultural and linguistic barriers to be able to understand each other, and each other’s needs, abilities and expectations. All of this is only possible through trust, and trust is only developed through a lot of time spent journeying together.

I share with you the words of Cornelius Plantinga, in his book, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, where he describes the Old Testament concept of shalom: ‘The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets’ call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.’

This Shalom is what we are all seeking, and this description, helps in understanding our yearning for shalom. It is the way things ought to be. As we are confronted with different realities for others here in Belize, this description is what we are seeking, even though it seems out of reach. We still however strive to see it unfold, and work towards this shalom for all.”

YFC has given us permission to access their blog, so if you wish to see how things unfolds, check it out:

IHF wishes to thank all the staff and students of the Emmanuel Christian School for your precious investments in local and international communities that love and appreciate you so much.

IHF Trade Skills Program

Beginning in May, IHF will initiate its sixth trade skill session which to date has blessed over forty young people. Besides existing offerings, our newest addition is small engine repair. This one has great value because of so many two stroke motors used in chainsaws, weed eaters, generators, motorcycles, etc. As in past sessions, the age demographic is grade eight students selected by our Belize board in consultation with the village school administration. This is to ensure that those accepted are reliable, respectful of authority, have a strong desire to learn, and are from very impoverished families. IHF is also examining new ways for older teens who could not afford high school to receive learning opportunities. Besides apprentiships, two organizations under consideration are YWCA and Advant: Trades for Life located in nearby Belmopan. YWCA offers afternoon and evening courses including culinary arts, barbering, sewing, cosmetology, computer training, etc. twice a week for three months. The cost per course is $250.00 CDN. Advant is a US ministry offering six weeks of skills training taught by retirees escaping winter’s chill. Students are boarded, taught specific trades and mentored up through Bible and life skills teachings. Once again, the cost is very reasonable and well suited for older youth from our village. We’ll keep you posted as to how things progress.

High School Sponsorship Program

In September 2018, IHF initiated a new program allowing quality skills students to apply for and receive high school scholarships. Due to the chronic lack of government funding, tuition costs alone are well beyond the reach of most village families. Since this is a four year commitment, IHF is becoming very attached to them. They are bright, motivated, respectful, and ever so mindful that they are receiving the opportunity of a life time. We are also blessed to receive their ongoing love, appreciation, and involvement in IHF. All are faithfully fulfilling their contractual obligations for continued support. Through hard work, many have far exceeded the minimum 2.5 GPA. Through community fundraisers, they have already raised $600.00 of the $850.00 (BZE) allowing a new student the opportunity to go. The one hundred hours of community service are being completed through village cleanup, caring for the elderly, cleaning churches, reorganizing the village library, and much more. Sponsors are also well connected through monthly updates, cards, and letters.

With new trade skill students to consider for this year, additional sponsors will be needed. The cost is only $50.00 CDN per month with no administrative fees deducted. A new brochure profiling our new candidates for you to prayerfully consider sponsoring will be sent out at the end of May.

Check out our present student profiles, pictures and videos as well as parents expressing their deep appreciation for this precious gift of hope.

A Mayan Mother’s Deep Gratitude: A Belizean Father’s Deep Gratitude:

Parents of two IHF high school sponsorship students giving thanks to sponsors.

Making the Land Prosperous

Over the last six months, our Loforna base has been going through a rapid transformation in our quest for ministry self sustainability in Belize. Inspired by the Goud family (organic farmers from Dundas, Ontario), two kitchen gardens and numerous planter boxes are producing healthy vegetables; watercress grows hydroponically; trees planted four years ago are yielding abundant fruit; a bountiful bean crop has been harvested; and natural remedies and edibles are being gleaned from the surrounding jungle. In the upcoming rainy season over 100 saplings will be planted including cocoa, lime, and Maringa producing for local and international markets. Over the past several years, organic farming has really caught on in Belize. Besides healthy foods grown by local Mennonites, numerous expats are producing and marketing unsweetened dark chocolate, jams, cheeses, and much more. Recently, an organic market began in Belmopan generating a rich community of shared ideas, wisdom and encouragements. Our ministry directors are very excited about this new initiative and are constantly researching new things to grow within our jungle eco-system. Motivation is also out of necessity in addressing the type two diabetes epidemic among the local population. Besides exercise, making the right dietary choices is so crucial in reversing it. It also gives us the future possibility of adding nutritional cooking to our skills program.

Heads Down! 

Justin Schiele, an American friend of Lazarus and Alicia Pop, blessed us with two aerial photographs of our Loforna (love for nature) base situated in the Maya Mountains next to our village of Armenia. The main two storey building contains male and female dormitories, an eat in kitchen (also used for the baking program), a large dining area, as well as two meeting/teaching areas. It also contains a three bedroom apartment for our ministry director’s family. To the left is our carpentry – small engine repair cabana.

Situated behind it is an authentic Mayan house allowing guests to experience traditional ways of preparing and eating indigenous meals passed on for many generations. Behind the main building are numerous fruit bearing trees planted by guests, two kitchen gardens, and two hen houses. The open grass area in front of the buildings is used for sports and as a protective barrier from certain jungle critters. Surrounding it all are the pristine jungles of the Maya Mountains of Central Belize. If you wish to find out more about IHF and its numerous service opportunities, contact us at We would love to hear from you.

Sweetest Aroma

IHF wishes to thank Karen Kamphuis for creating a series of decorative plagues of the fruit of the Holy Spirit displayed in our fellowship hall. Being highly visible, they remind us that if we manifest them freely, what sweet aromas within the body of Christ we would be blessed to experience.

As we endeavor to fulfill the vision that God has laid upon our hearts, we covet your prayers for Him to have His way in all of us so He would be pleased to dwell in our midst. To all our IHF friends, may we wish you a most blessed Easter. He has risen! Yes, He has risen indeed!IHF Newsletter – Spring 2019

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