Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Belize Stories: Meeting Eli
During one of our team conference calls before we went to Belize, one of the women with Hearts of Christ in East Tennessee told us about Eli, a man who had been in a wheelchair for several years due to an accident, and had become a Christian this past December. He was mentioned as someone to pray for as we prepared for the trip and to let us know that he would be one of the people we'd be building a ramp for while we were in Belize.
On Wednesday morning of our trip, we headed out to the village of Ontario to meet Eli and to distribute packets of rice and beans to the people in the village. When we drove up, Eli was on the porch working on someone's bicycle tire (he repairs bikes for a living). After they finished, Korie made the introductions and the builders got to work removing the old ramp (the porch remained, but was reinforced). We saw some frogs that lived under the ramp and uncovered the hiding place of a tarantula, which caused some excitement, especially when the tarantula appeared again later in the process!
While the ramp was being built, Eli and Doug, who has also been living with a disability for many years, were able to spend time talking and getting to know each other, sharing their stories. Eli told Doug, "I've lived for 13 years since my accident and have never met another person in a wheelchair." Eli was able to see how God has worked in Doug's life through his disability, and that he can be used by God to encourage others as well.
Later, some of the Hearts of Christ team told us about when they met Eli and shared Christ with him. Eli didn't think that he could become a Christian because he didn't know anything about God. They told him that he only had to repent and believe and that he could learn more as he spent time with the Lord. Eli said, "I finally decided it was better to live for God than live for nothing."
Our team was also able to bring Eli a new manual wheelchair to use while he works and also repaired a motorized wheelchair that Eli had already owned, but needed updating. Eli was appreciative of the new "wheels" as well as the ramp and porch and the other practical items that the team brought him. There was also some places in the flooring in his house that needed to be repaired and the team was able to take care of that to make it easier for Eli to maneuver around inside.
Eli was another person we met who told us that he had prayed for God to send help and that we were an answer to his prayer. Thankfully, we have a Good Father who sees our need, and hears and answers our cries for help!