“Oh, they must be waving to me” Keila returned the greeting to a family outside a typical clapboard shanty in Santa Martha as she drove by. It is not unusual in Belize for people to wave at passing strangers. The waving continued however, and Keila realized the family was not saying hello, but beckoning her to stop. They offered her some mangoes, and made conversation, and Keila discovered they were new to the village.

“We just moved here a couple months ago.” they said. “By the way, how is Jeff doing?” The man wanted to know.

“You know Jeff?” Keila was surprised.

“Yes, we met him a couple years ago.” The chatting continued, and before Keila left, the family readily agreed to receive more visits in the near future. And that’s how Keila met Luis and his wife Glenda with their four children, Alberto, Roberto, Esmeralda and baby Eliseo. By her second visit she was praying and studying the Bible with them.

“Keila, could you help us out of a bind?” Luis asked her during her third visit. “My truck broke down and I don’t have the money to fix it” he explained. Luis’s little red Mazda is as patchy as the roads it frequents making runs for the Mennonites who often hire drivers to transport them and their goods since their community rules forbid them from owning or driving vehicles. Keila loaned Luis the money for the repairs so he could get back in business, knowing that the investment was more of a heavenly nature. The crushing COVID crisis .

After taking Luis and Glenda all over Orange Walk looking for nearly $400 worth of parts on Thursday, Keila could have felt that her Christian obligations to go the second mile had been more than met. But Luis asked for more miles on Friday as he needed to look for a few more parts and then take them out to the mechanic shop in Shipyard, a 40-minute drive from MOVE.

“I’m sorry, I can’t take you today” Keila answered, “But I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll loan you one of our trucks, but under one condition. You must have it back here before the beginning of the Sabbath at sundown at 6:30 this evening.”  If the strangers within our gates shall not work on the Sabbath, neither shall the strangers within our vehicle!

Luis thought that it would be impossible to finish everything by that time, but promised to try.

“I am going to pray that you get done with everything early,” Keila promised. But she got busy and promptly forgot to pray all day until about 5:00 pm. Less than half an hour later, Luis called, his voice full of excitement:

“I can’t believe it, but everything is finished! My truck is ready, and I am on my way back! I will be there before 6:30! God answered your prayers!”

As she listened, Keila felt impressed that she needed to speak to him more directly about the Sabbath. But how? When?

How about now. God seemed to speak to her heart. Write him a letter. Yes! That’s exactly what I’ll do! Keila thought. She grabbed her laptop

and sat down immediately. The words and the Bible texts flowed and she was just hitting the print button for the four-page letter as Luis and Glenda rolled in.

 Lord, may that letter hit home. Send your Spirit to convict! We prayed when Keila shared the story with us during our worship service on the last Sabbath in July.

In August, COVID cases began to break out in several communities in northern Belize. From one day to the next, Santa Martha and two other villages were put under total lockdown: no one could go in or out. Many families, including Luis and Glenda’s, quickly began to feel pinching necessity. MOVE responded with food baskets, all of which were also loaded with a copy of The Great Controversy.

When the lockdown was over, Luis and Glenda came to visit.

“We are now keeping the seventh day Sabbath!” Luis announced. “Oh, and we love that book you put in our food basket! We have been staying up until eleven or twelve every night to read it!”

 In September the whole family came to stay at MOVE for a week, and Luis helped work in agriculture and he and Glenda took morning and evening Bible studies every day, besides attending the regular morning worship. The week extended into nearly a month, and the family was soaking up everything we could share, and even participated in mission outreach. On Sabbaths Luis picked up friends and family from the village to join us for worship.

Luis and Glenda left MOVE at the beginning of October to go work and save money, as they plan to return for the next class session which begins in February, Lord willing. Please pray for this precious family, that they will continue to grow and persevere and be powerful witnesses to announce Present Truth and the imminent advent of our Lord Jesus Christ!

“Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my mouse of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar’ for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”

 Isaiah 56:6-7

Kody & Lyli Kostenko