Belize teaches church members about faith. For one thing, says Rev. Howard Storm, the people of Belize have a strong faith, and they're not embarrassed to show it.


The Rev. Howard Storm painted this mural on a recent trip to Belize.

Rev. Howard Storm



January 20, 2002 Reported in the [] - Belize teaches church members about faith. Each time the Rev. Howard Storm, pastor of Zion UCC in Norwood, Ohio, takes a group on a mission trip to Belize, in northeastern Central America, there is always work to be done. Hurricanes occur several times a year in the sugarcane-economy country, so there are shelters to build, roofs to fix, windows to repair. An accompanying team of doctors from a local hospital provides health clinics and, occasionally, a healing touch.

Last year, Storm, a former art professor, painted a 40-by-18-foot mural of Jesus Christ looking over the village of San Victor. Next on the agenda will be starting computer labs in about a dozen schools and building four new houses. But any gifts of time, elbow grease or finances are small compared to the lessons in love the mission trip workers receive.

For one thing, says Storm, the people of Belize have a strong faith, and they're not embarrassed to show it. And their generosity can be overwhelming. "If they have three chickens, they'll slaughter one just to make you feel welcome," he says. "They want to feed you until you burst with the best they have. They care more about relationships than they do about things. It sounds corny, but we have more to learn from them than they have to learn from us."

Many people Storm encounters are only familiar with its tourism. Storm says he and his fellow mission workers see a different Belize than will ever appear on a travel brochure.Forever imprinted on Storm's heart is the day he visited a school in Belize. A little boy approached him and earnestly asked if Storm would buy him some shoes. "I looked around," says Storm, "and there were 208 children at this school. I thought, how could I buy him shoes, and not buy them for the other kids?" The memory brings back a flood of tears. "I knew I couldn't buy him the shoes. There's only so much you can do."

Rev. Howard Storm had a near-death experience. He documented his near-death experience in a book titled "My Descent into Death and the Message of Love which Brought Me Back," published in 2000. [Learn] more about Howard Storm's story.