Back to Belize to ‘raise the roof’

Talent show, dinner this Saturday in Sperryville

By April Heddleston
Special to the Rappahannock News

For years the phone call, in a deep Belizean dialect, would end with the question, “When you coming back?”

Finally, 12 years after the initial visit, the answer is now, “Very soon” for a team of 10 from Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church in Sperryville, to once again help with the construction of a church in Belize.

Four members of the Reynolds Baptist mission team heading soon to Belize are (left to right) April Heddleston, Carolyn Smith, Cindy Sanders, and “Spiderman” Gage Russell, a teenager from Marshall also making the trip. Courtesy photo

It all started when a 14-member mission team from Reynolds answered a request for help to finish a church building. The Belizean congregation had been meeting in the pastor’s home for 5 years, after their church burnt down. The new church construction had been started by two other mission groups, but was waiting for doors, window grates, paint, and the funds to finish the building.

The team from Reynolds was able to complete the church and Rev. Jon Heddleston delivered the dedication service on the last evening before the team left Belize. For years after that, Vacation Bible School offerings were sent to the small congregation in Belize City, and the pastor in Belize and the Heddlestons kept in touch.

Yet there was a longing to return to see the gracious people they had met there, tempered by an uncertainty of the goal of the trip, other than to visit.

After 11 years though, an email was sent, asking what mission a team could help with at the Iglesia Bautista Galilea (Baptist Church of Galilee). In communication over the next few months, it was determined that a team would lead a Vacation Bible School with between 35-150 children, with attendance building up as the week progressed.

The other request was for help, both financial and physical, to put a roof on the new addition to a church the group had visited in Frank’s Eddy, Belize, about 40 miles outside of Belize City. The team decided to attempt to raise the $16,000 required to put a tin roof on a now roofless church, and to physically help with the construction of the roof. So far, $5,000 has been raised and sent in advance to Belize so materials can be bought and ready when the team arrives.

The last big fundraiser will be held this Saturday, June 23, at Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church (3748 Sperryville Pike, Sperryville, Va 22740). The car wash from 2-6 p.m. is the first event and appointments can be made by calling 540-987-8137. The Talent Show, combined with a delicious Italian dinner, will follow from 6 to 8 p.m., also at Reynolds. Tickets can be reserved in advance for $10 a person by calling 540-987-8137, emailing, or purchased at the door for $12 per person.

An exciting dessert, art, and finer items’ silent auction will also be held. Or, if anybody would simply like to contribute to this needy church project, which includes teenagers involved in extraordinarily worthwhile activities, please send contributions to Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church at the above address, marked “Belize.” The church appreciates all the help to “Raise the Roof!”

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