An ancient Mayan ruin

Guatemalan woman gathers jungle flora to decorate church

When you experience Belize, you’ll probably begin to understand why the Mayans chose this jungle paradise to build an empire that surpassed other brilliant and highly developed civilizations when the world was younger. Hordes of Mayan temples are buried along the scenic road to the Cayo District where determined tourists may find a pricey pristine resort owned by a Hollywood movie mogul.

The natural beauty is still here. Creeks, streams, waterfalls and rivers nourish a zillion bugs, fish, animals, plants and trees. And speaking of plants and trees, the orchids, palms and pines join forces to create a tropical rainforest like no other.

Deep, dark caves hold secrets, treasures and ancient human remains. These caverns invite friendly insects, bats, waterways and brave explorers inside for a cool retreat and an easy-to-remember adventure.

The world’s second largest barrier reef and more than 200 islands are anchored offshore with abundant sea life to beckon those few boats, skin divers and explorers from the regions beyond.

Mayans, Guatemalans, Asians, Brits, Mennonites, Mexicans and Belizeans live in social and racial tolerance here and there in this very sparsely populated Central American country.

Belize used to be called British Honduras until 1981 and was considered to be the most irrelevant corner of the British Empire. As a matter of fact, Aldous Huxley made a frequently quoted observation in 1934 that is almost true today.

“If the world had any ends, Belize would certainly be one of them. It is not on the way from anywhere to anywhere else. It has no strategic value. It is all but uninhabited.”

You get some idea of Belize’s casual laid-back attitude when you encounter villages named Black Man Eddie, Bound to Shire, Pulltrouser Swamp, Go-to-Hell Camp, Double Head Cabbage and Cowpen.

Today this little known tropical paradise, however, is not without its sinful habits. Even the Garden of Eden had its own conniving resident snake.

In recent years this small country has earned a sad reputation for being the wholesale drug capital of the world and Belize City can be risky for folks with no street smarts. Smooth-talking Rastafarians have mastered the art of parting some tourists with their cash.

There are enough churches in Belize to cause one to believe that any new mission or church would be superfluous, but the spiritual condition of a country is not to be measured by counting churches. If this were so, the U.S. would be the most Christ-like nation in the world.

Belize is a treasure trove of nature’s beauty. But the greatest and most important treasures in Belize are the children. Children that you can help discover and rescue.

Dean made friends with a hungry little boy during one trip to Belize. Lloyd was living under a small boat hull on the beach and told him why going home was mission impossible. “Mom takes all the money I can earn or steal to buy drugs and her boyfriends beat me up.” In time Lloyd very willingly received Christ and would go on to find an honest job (cleaning boats) and a safe place to live.

Other children are not so fortunate. It’s impossible to forget the hundreds of poor little ones living at a mega banana plantation called Cowpen. They are still waiting for someone to tell them about Jesus.

You can make a difference in an English-speaking country just 1,200 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas. We’re praying for few good men and women to visit Belize and meet the children in hopes that some will return to love and care for the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places.” Isaiah 45:3

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