How the Lord used me to help the Women of Belize, Then used the Women of Belize to help me

Ever since I became a Christian in 1995, I’ve dreamed of missions, but the timing was never right. On my Tres Dias weekend (Fall 2015) I was convicted to seek mission opportunities. After a few calls, I was invited to join a Belize youth team and asked to create a women’s Bible study in Belize. This was way out of my comfort zone, but I heeded the call and let God lead me.

The group was small, and I was nervous. The second night, a category 2 hurricane tore through Belize. When it ended, we were eager to help rebuild the community, and as we worked, the community saw Christ’s love through us. On our last day, the Bible study group doubled in size with both men and women attending. The Spirit prompted me to share the Bridge Diagram. The diagram shows Man on one side of a river, separated from God. Jesus creates the bridge to God, restoring the relationship.

Many souls accepted Christ that afternoon. I had never led anyone to Christ before. I know the words were not my own, and I stood humble and amazed at the change in the women of Belize. I had no idea at the time how that relationship would change me.

When I returned to Belize the following year, I learned that my sister in Christ, Elsa, had continued the study group. With the help of translation software and social media, I keep in contact with my new sisters between trips. We share struggles and achievements. Each time I return, it feels as if I had never left. More friendships grow as does our dependence on God.

My interpreter, Gloria, was struggling in her marriage. On one of my trips, I took a Spanish version of a study called Love and Respect for Couples and presented it to her. She and her husband are continuing to work on their marriage, and they share what they have learned with other couples. Our goal is to introduce Jesus, then let Him do His work through others.

This past April, a personal event exposed a long-buried trauma. I heard the Spirit tell me to share this in Belize. I did. God used the Women’s group as a can opener, allowing me to let past hurts and repressed emotions spill out. It was the first time I ever admitted to anyone besides a pastor about my childhood abuse. While God used the men and women of Belize to encourage me to speak openly, He spoke to
them through me, allowing them to expose their pain. Over the next few days, both men and women shared their past and their pain. We cried together and prayed together, and most of all we started to heal together.

By allowing myself to be vulnerable, they saw not only my heart, but also the heart of Christ. Heart- to-heart connections open the door for Jesus to walk in, helping us share the message of forgiveness, and forgive ourselves for a past that wasn’t our fault.

Missions is about allowing ourselves to be open to God’s will in whatever way He wants to use us.

Caption for the picture: Angela Peraza, Loretta J. Igo, Jahaira Ruiz and Claudia Burgos.

How Ice Cream Spoons Helped Start a Reunion Group

Sometimes the silliest palanca can become the most treasured. On Lorena Molzahn’s weekend, the reunion group speaker gave out cleverly decorated refrigerator magnets crafted from painted ice cream spoons. The words on the spoons read: Create Reunion Groups.

Lorena felt that she needed a reunion group, but she couldn’t imagine making it happen. Six months later, she served on team. Her community has a tradition in which each team member chooses a number representing an anonymous candidate, and the team member is to pray for that candidate months before the weekend and during the weekend. On Sunday morning, the match is revealed. It’s one of the high points of the women’s weekend.

She had chosen Number 31, but when the weekend started, she saw that there were only 30 candidates. “I wanted to cry,” she said. “I’d prayed for someone nonexistent for months!”

She soon discovered God’s very different plan. “After I whined my disappointment to the rector, she gave me some good advice: ‘Lorena, I think you have been praying for a Reunion Group.’”

Days later came an unexpected email — was she interested in starting a reunion group? “I hesitated to commit,” Lorena admits. “I didn’t even know this woman, but my heart ached to be in a group that understood the kind of support I had found on my weekend.”

At the last minute, she decided to show up at the coffee shop. Lorena, together with the woman who sent the message and that woman’s friend, chose a time, date and Bible study to work with, but had no central place to meet. “God kept tugging on my heart,” Lorena said, “so despite my reservations, I offered my house every other Saturday afternoon.”

And the women came. “We shared prayer and praises, sorrows and needs. We began to grow in God and in deep friendship with each other. The funny thing is, we had little in common. Some were young. Some were married, some had never been, some were divorced. We attended different churches, lived in different towns. None of it mattered. We all wanted to put into action what Tres Dias had birthed in us.”

Lorena admits that prior to Tres Dias her Christian walk was faltering. “I was not living each day wholly for God; I was not studying His word. I was not even attending church regularly. I had no accountability. The reunion group revitalized my spiritual life.”

For seven years now, Lorena has hosted her reunion group, open to anyone who wants to live a life with purpose. God is using her gift of hospitality to be a blessing to others. Her life has become an example of 1 Timothy 6:6, Fan the flames of the gift of God that is within you.

The ice cream spoon is still on her refrigerator. She smiles every time she sees it.

Editor’s note: This story is based on Lorena’s fourth-day rollo at a recent Northern California Tres Dias weekend. Jan Coleman is a member of that community and serves as secretary for the International Secretariat.

Presents from God– Evidence of the Father

t’s hard to predict what discoveries a pilgrim will make during a weekend. It was after one of the Jamaican weekends that one of the men told me his life story. He had never known his mother or father, and a woman he called Miss Myrtle raised him. As a boy, he wanted presents at birthdays and Christmas, like all the other boys. “I never got any,” he told me, “but it was okay, because Miss Myrtle, she hadn’t hardly enough to feed me.” Then, after a long pause, he sheepishly looked up with a smile and said, “You all came and cared for me these three days and you surprised me with whole heaps of presents.

You say it’s something about giving me a lift from the Holy Spirt called ‘palanca’—enough to cover my 34 years.” After some tears, he added, “Now I know that God never forgets about me. And I have a little boy. He don’t know me, but I know about him. And I’m going to look him up and tell him that I will never forget about him either, and do what I can to make up for what he has been missing all this time. I’ll do it with God’s help.” Then, after some silence, he pointed up with a gleam in his eyes and proclaimed, “What does Jesus mean to me now? He is my faithful father.”

How One Bible Study Group Changed My Life

In early 2000, I started leading a small-group Bible study as part of the men’s ministry of our church. Of the five of us, one brother had attended Tres Dias, and after getting to know me, he urged me to attend a weekend.  After several of the usual excuses for not attending, I finally made my weekend in 2003.


The Holy Spirit made it unequivocally clear that this was the ministry to men that I was to be involved with. So, on Saturday afternoon, I asked one of the team how I could take the next steps, and he introduced me to the rector for the upcoming weekend.

The rest is history.  I have served on more than 70 weekends, been a rector three times in two different countries, served on the International Secretariat, and am currently the chairman of our local community. I have some very special relationships with men from all over the world and cherish them dearly. (I don’t say all this to make it appear that I’m wearing a crown, but to point how God will use someone when that person “gets out of the way” and lets God work in his life.)

Also, I am involved in two reunion groups.  Both include a Bible study of one sort or another. My sponsor and I are still in one of those groups together!  We have walked with each other through years of single life and shared the joys and challenges of married life. We have prayed over prodigal children and held each other through the sudden illness and death of his wife. We are closer than blood relations.

I don’t believe that a gathering has to qualify in any regard to be a reunion group because piety, study, and action must include Bible study as part of growing in our Christian walk.

Editor’s note: The last sentence refers to the article in our last issue on the difference between a Bible study and a reunion group.