‘Raise the Roof’ mission a success

By April Heddleston

Special to the Rappahannock News

Well, we did it again! A team from Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church in Sperryville was able to play a significant part in building a small church in Belize — for the second time. This latest project involved helping put up the support beams for the new roof of an expanded church building.

The team of 10 members had two goals in this summer’s mission to Belize: The first was to lead a Vacation Bible School in Belize City.

They returned to a church building where in 2006 a similar mission team from Reynolds added doors, window grates and painted. So, the first joy of this trip was reacquainting ourselves with the pastor, his wife and five sons. The sons, several now married, enjoyed seeing a photo album from 2006, and even seeing their church in the Rappahannock News from that time. One of the pastor’s sons, seven years old at the time of the first trip, is now a youth leader and musician at the Iglesia Bautista de Galilea (Baptist Church of Galilee.) The reunion was a high point for all involved.

The second goal was to help with a roof needed for a second church in Franks Eddy, Belize, near the jungle. We had learned that the church’s addition, begun three years ago, was in need of a tin roof. The poverty in this area crippled the church members from taking on the task themselves. Reynolds members, with the help of the Shiloh Baptist Association, was able to raise $7,000 to get the needed materials and hire some professionals to plan and help lead the project in Belize. Four team members from Reynolds — Jon and Bret Heddleston, Richard Smith, and Joshua Kleppinger — helped with the actual job of raising a 64-foot ridge pole to the top of the building.

Bret Heddleston helps hold the roof beam for a church expansion near the Belize jungle.
Bret Heddleston helps hold the roof beam for a church expansion near the Belize jungle. Courtesy photo

Meanwhile, the other six members of the team taught Vacation Bible School, with Bible lessons, music and games to children in Belize City. Greg and Cindy Sanders, Carolyn Smith, and April Heddleston focused on the children’s programs. Greg Sanders, a sound technician at Reynolds, assisted musicians at Belize City with new music equipment donated by Reynolds and taught them new methods for using the equipment. Youth members of the team, Danielle Dallow and Gage Russell, enhanced their teaching one day by dressing as “Belle” (of Beauty and the Beast fame) and “Spiderman” to help encourage kids to come to the Bible classes. The children were both entranced and a little overwhelmed.

By all accounts the mission was very successful, although the funds were a little short for the completion of the entire roof project. Team members continue to hope we will be able to raise the $4,000 to $5,000 needed to help the church finish its expansion. We appreciate all the efforts and donations made by church and community members.

Contributions can be sent to Reynolds at 3748 Sperryville Pike, P.O. Box 208, Sperryville, VA., 22740. This is a church that you could visit someday and know that you had a part in building. For the members of the 2006 team who returned to a beautiful church that they helped build and saw the vibrant ministry there, there’s few things that are more exhilarating.

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