The Bar That Became a Church
I’m going to take down that sign, and we’re going to use this place to praise God’s name!
The village of Cotton Tree is located between mile markers 42 and 44 in the Cayo district of Belize. With no Adventist presence in the area, Ricardo wanted to reach the village’s 1,580 people with the good news of the three angels’ messages.
In November 2012 he and a friend were going door to door, reaching out to the people, assessing their needs, and offering Bible studies. While walking along the street, the two Adventists met Victor.
“Good evening, sir. We’re from the Seventh-day Adventist church, and we’re doing a survey. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” Victor indicated that he did, so the two continued. “Well, if you believe in Jesus, we would like to invite you to visit our church this coming Sabbath.”
“Sabbath? You mean on Sunday?” Victor wasn’t sure he understood correctly.
“No,” the two assured him. “We worship together on the seventh day, Saturday, because according to the Bible, it is the Lord’s day.”
Victor was interested in learning more, so on the next Sabbath he was at the Seventh-day Adventist church in St. Matthew’s Village, seven miles from Cotton Tree. He kept coming to the church week after week. It was there that he decided to recommit his life to Christ and was baptized.
One challenge he faced, however, was his business. Victor was the owner of the local bar and dance hall in Cotton Tree. After his decision to follow Jesus, Victor closed his business, but he didn’t close his influence in Cotton Tree!
Pitching His Tent
Wanting his friends and neighbors to hear the wonderful Bible truths that he had discovered, Victor helped launch a two-week series of evangelistic meetings just three weeks after his baptism. The meetings were held in a tent pitched right beside his former bar. After the series 28 more people from Cotton Tree were baptized—two of whom were women who were especially happy that Victor had closed the bar, as their husbands had been frequent patrons of the place.
Since the newly baptized group needed a church home in their own village, Victor offered part of his building as a place for worship.
“This used to be a bar and dance hall,” he told the group, “but I’m going to take down that sign, and we’re going to use this place to praise God’s name!”
The building is now divided into two separate areas—both providing food for life. On one side is Victor’s new business, a grocery shop, and on the other side is the worship hall where the Bread of Life is shared each Sabbath.
Seventh-day Adventists in Belize, especially the younger members, are very active in sharing their faith. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help fund a youth camp and and evangelistic center. Please plan to give generously to help support and nurture our brothers and sisters in this small Central American country.