APRIL 2019 – I edited this post to show photos from another addition to the library at Heart House as of December of 2017.
It was a very warm day 1,300 miles from my home, nestled within the mountains of Southwestern Virginia, (not West Virginia mind you) in December of 2012 that my idea of putting my faith in action got a supercharge. For the first time I was enjoying an opportunity to enjoy a close relationship with God in another country. Yes, God is present wherever you are, but we don’t always allow him in. Our usual day-to-day routines easily crowd him out.
Ahead of this trip I asked God to empty my heart and mind of myself as well as all the distractions that would prevent me from seeing what he wanted me to see on this trip. Basically, I wanted one on one fellowship with Him.In other words I wanted to hear God’s leading. I could feel his presence when I exited the bus and got my first view of Heart House. From within it was like God said “Here you go, pay attention now.”
When I walked into Heart House and past the mural that described what the purpose was I stopped at a nook that served as the library. Keep in mind that up to 100 kids share this space and the books within. Carol Heath was gracious enough to let me button-hole her and inquire about her wishes for a bigger space for the library.
Again God’s voice was so clear. He said you know what you must do. You must lead the effort at home to gather books to fill the new library. I asked Carol to show me the intended space for the library and began to scope out the need.
The goal was simple, enough books to give the library a start. So the matter at hand was to set a goal. I had a former pastor say if you never aim for a target you will miss every time. Enter the wildcard in the equation, the way to get children’s books from Virginia to Belize. Thankfully we were already in the process of gathering backpacks to send to the kids from Heart house. This is actually a step up from the shoe boxes like Operation Christmas Child sends around the world. So adding boxes of books was just some more work and thanks to Terry Stinson, a missionary from the USA living in Belize at the time, this was made possible.
So when we arrived at Heart House for my second trip in December of 2013 the shell of the library was complete. But a library isn’t a library without shelves and books, right? So God blessed our team with the resources to be able to but the lumber necessary to construct the shelves and the know-how of Tim Heath, Terry Stinson, Ron Gilbert and others to get it done.
This is where I must insert the funny story about the photo that follows. In order to show what the new library would look like we had to kind of stage a photo. I mean you have to understand organizing, cataloging and readying all these books just required much more time than we could devote.
So instead i enlisted the help of a Heart House kid named Ivan and asked him if he wanted to be famous. I had a pocketful of Belize coins that I could not use once I left the country so I told him I would share them with him if he would post for a photo in the library.
He was obviously pleased with the agreement, so much so he shared his good fortune with his friends when they arrive a short time later. I know because it wasn’t long before another young one came up to me and said “I want to be famous!”
Since December of 2013 Carol and the others have managed to get the books categorized and cataloged so that the children can use them. I recently got this photo of them with books enjoying their library day.
Here is another picture I took in December of 2013. The library is directly behind the white wooden doors which are the new bathrooms.
The library is not by full by any means. We continue to work on that and welcome anyone who wants to take part. I look forward to returning to Heart House this summer to see the library in person.
EDIT: In December of 2017 I got to return to see the Heart House library 4 years into its life and wow, what a difference there was.