School Distribution 2015


                    Even the youngest helped

"Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord"

loading containers for shipment

2014 Preparing to ship school sponsorship supplies

Unloading school sponsorship supplies in Belize


2014 Sponsored Students' Graduation Celebration

School supplies by the boxes and bins

Preparing rice and beans for village distribution

                         A generous man will himself be blessed,

                            for he shares his food with the poor.

                                      Proverbs 22:9 NIV



Thursday and Friday, August 1 and 2, 2013

"Wherefore receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear."


- Hebrews 12:28

Why do men and women pack a suitcase(s), board a plane, and dedicate a week, or more sometimes years, to go on a mission trip or on a mission assignment. Yes, it is true that people have many reasons to go on mission trips - because they want a vacation thats more than a vacation, but a trip that has some value; they go; because they want to feel good doing something good for someone else; some go because they hope to garner favor with God and with men by being a "do-gooder; and even some go because it is another opportunity to have things done their way; some go to practice their skills, medical or otherwise, or to influence what a mission organization is doing. Regardless of the motivating factors, and there are many, there is a single, acceptable, Godly reason that each Team member should have for being on a mission trip TO SERVE in whatever way, whenever asked, and whatsoever way that God wants them to serve. You see, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, lowered Himself from Heaven on High, the greatest position of power, prestige, and exaltation in the universe, to give his life on a cross, and in the process, He served mankind by paying the price for our sins, and granting us the right to have eternal salvation through faith in Him, and in doing so, giving us an example of selfless service.


On Thursday morning, August 1, the members of the 2013 Book Distribution Team traveled from their homes Charlotte, the Tri-Cities, Alabama, etc. to Belize to be a
member of a 2013 mission team. The Team met in the Atlanta airport, and then flew to Belize City, Belize, before riding the bus to the compound. For this Team, there is going to be a lot of work - unpacking materials to prepare for distribution, bagging rice and beans for distribution to the poor, and to serve in many ways. After lunch at Cheers, and arriving at the compound, work started by unpacking the shipping container which held the distribution supplies. The members of this team showed tha that they were here to SERVE GOD, for it was evident that all pitch-in and work in any job asked. After unpacking the materials, and placing them in the buildings, the Team had a good meal before retiring early.


Friday, August 2 - The day began with a good breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, watermelon, and biscuits with jam. The Team was divided into a number of groups, working simultaneously on separating the shoes, dividing the supplies into groups, and completing the preparations for the 600-plus kids that will be here next week. The Team worked quickly, and efficiently, finishing many of the tasks by lunch. After lunch, which consisted of taco salad and cookies, the group went several ways. Dave Almen, Jim White, and Jerry McMurray went to purchase beans and rice for distribution; several went to western Belize to purchase supplies for the graduation event (scheduled for Sunday afternoon), and others went to visit Josephina, the grandmother who was assisted by the ministry years ago, and who lifted up our spirits in by her joy and spirit of praise. Several team members worked to finish the separation of the shoes and socks for distribution, while others bagged the beans, rice, and powdered milk for distribution in the coming days.


After a short period of rest, the Team was treated to a supper of spaghetti, garlic
bread, and brownies. Many of the Team members were very hungry, after having worked long andhard during the humid, warm day to do God's work. 

Jim White then provided the devotional for the evening. Introducing it as the "first of
a two-parter," Jim provided to tell the true-life story of Gene "Red" Erwin. Gene was born in Alabama, and had attained the rank of staff sergeant when he was seriously injured in a bombing incident in 1945. On this particular day, he was acting staff sergeant and radio operator on bombing run above Koriyama, Japan. The mission was to bomb a chemical plant in the city, located about 120 miles from Tokyo, as well as some phosphorus grenades, which were "smoke bombs" to alert and guide subsequent planes. The phosphorus grenades burn with intense heat - over 1100 degrees - and on this particular day, April 12, the bombing went completely wrong. "Red," so-called due to his auburn hair, was charged to drop the grenade, but when he pulled the fuse, the grenade ignited prematurely, and flew back up the drop-chute into his face, blinding him, and shearing off an ear and damaging his nose. The grenade was in the plane, and he grappled to find it to drop it from another chute located behind the copilot's
chair. A navigation table was between him and the chute, and was locked in
place; it took two hands to unhook it, and placing the canister under his arm
and holding it to his body, he unlocked the table while the phosphorus burned
through his clothing, his skin, and into the bone of his chest. Unlocking the
table, he dropped it through the chute, collapsing onto the floor with his body
still burning from the hot phosphorus.

When the smoke cleared, his fellow crewmen scrambled to put the fire out, which was
difficult in that the flames restarted when the phosphorus was exposed to air.
Through it, all, he managed to survive - to father four children; be
grandfather to 7 grandkids; retired from the U. S. Government as a Regional
Administrator of benefits for the Veterans Hospital Administration in
Birmingham, AL. He regained eyesight, but suffered major loss - requiring 41
surgeries, losing the use of his left arm, three fingers on his right hand, resulting in permanent disabilities. During the event, Gene had three possible options: 1) let the grenade burn through the floor to the explosives in the belly of the plane, exploding the plane and killing all aboard; 2) have the pilot dump the plane into the ocean, putting the fire out, but potentially killing all onboard; or 3) take action by himself, find the grenade, and get it out of the plane. What decision do you think that he made?

Needless to say, when the smoke cleared, the pilot pulled the plane up even though, as he stated, if it had occurred only a few seconds later, and 100 feet closer to the water, he would have never pulled the plane out of its dive. Gene was awarded the Medal of Honor just 9 hours after the incident - only 9 hours!!! Word had spread quickly of his courage, and his heroism in saving the plane and its crew; the medal was flown to Guam so that
he might get it "before he died" (as it was expected that he would not survive due to the extent of his injuries). What word describes this behavior?


Courage is what all Christian Missionaries are about. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, had similar options on the cross: 1) the DO NOTHING option - Jesus could have simply said "NO,' and would not have been in the place of being persecuted and nailed to a cross (we would be a people of "No Hope" as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our eternal life, and our hope beyond this world); OR 2) He could have allowed God to bring Him down from the cross. He could have called 10,000 angels "to destroy the world, and be set free" (as the lyrics of that song said).
What a sight it must have been - millions of angels ready to just hear Him call for deliverance, and they would have instantly obeyed to assist their Creator, and to deliver Him. They stood by, probably in complete AWE of what He was doing - not understanding the love that God had for fallen man; OR 3) He could simply do what He DID - to die on the cross. Why? John 3:16 says it all - "For God SO LOVED the world that HE GAVE His only begotten SON that WHOSOEVER will believe in Him should NOT PERISH but have everlasting Life."

We should remember that, whatever words are between the covers of the Bible, is the truth - REAL TRUTH, the only everlasting truth that we need. What we need today is
COURAGE to speak out about Jesus Christ. Jim was proud of his grandson, who was
recently a witness to his fellow Scout members recently at a Boy Scout Camp.
Two years later when the reporters interviewed "Red," and asked him why he did what he did, he responded that it was "because my Lord did it for me." There are a lot of
people today who are blind to the truth - who are misguided, and misinformed,
about the important issues of life. They are not aware of the TRUTH because
those who know the TRUTH do not have the COURAGE to stand up, and to tell the
world - their neighbors, friends, and those in a strange country - the truth
that God loves them. The fiery flame of God's love burns the heart, searing it and our minds with the truth, when we come in contact with the truth of salvation.

Jim concluded his lesson with prayer (paraphrasing): "We thank God for the
greatness and love that is shown to our families; we thank you for the right to
lift your Word up to a lost world, and to help our fellow men see and
understand the TRUTH. We understand that we don't have to fear man, and that
you, Father God, allowed Jesus to lay down his life for us and all men. We
thank you for the right to lift up your love to people who we do not know in
another country, and to show them the love of Jesus. We thank God who allowed
his Son to give up his life for our salvation."

The Team then concluded the day with ice cream (two flavors - Oreo Cookie and Vanilla). Plans were reviewed for tomorrow-some will go to Belize City to pick-up the
members of the medical team, and many others will go to the country side to
distribute beans and rice, and to spread the message of God's love. What a
great day of service it has been, to see the Team work diligently, with vigor,
and love, preparing for the long week known as "Book Distribution."
Continue to pray for those who are here that we minister to each other's needs,
as well as the needs of the people, and to show the love of Jesus, not by just
words, but by our actions.


So, to conclude this day's blog, I have to ask anyone that reads this message - DO YOU HAVE COURAGE?



Book Distribution Team - August 3, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Due to the fact that the Medical Team had a long day, devotions was scheduled for 0700 p.m. Jim White again provided the second part of his devotional message on COURAGE. He began with reading a few Scriptures:


Deuteronomy 31:6 -  "Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them:
for The Lord thy God, it is He that doth goeth with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."


Joshua 1:5 - "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."


 Jim said that Christians should read John, Chapter 16, for more information on "Courageous" Christians. Jim then summarized the story concerning the April 12, 1945, mission of Gene "Red" Erwin. Gene had been the radio man on the lead plane on a bombing run in Japan, and on this particular day as they were dropping bombs and phosphorus grenades from the B-29 Super Fortress. This was a night mission, radio silence, and the lead plane was to drop a phosphorus grenade as a signal. These grenades burn at 1100 degrees F, and when he dropped the grenade, it detonated prematurely, blowing back into the plane, blinding him and filling the plane with smoke. There were three options available to Gene:  to allow it to burn through the floor, into bomb storage to explode; have plane dive into ocean to put the
flames out; or he could find the bomb and see that it was dropped through a chute to allow it to drop outside the plane. Gene took the latter option, scrambling to pick up the grenade as it was burning. White phosphorus is a metal that, when you contact it, burns quickly into your skin, muscle, and bone; this happened to Gene's hands as he held the grenade, and attempted to get to the discharge chute. The path was blocked by a table that had to be moved; he then placed the grenade under his left arm to free his hands to move the table. The grenade burned into his side, through his muscle, and into the bones of his ribcage. Through the smoke filled room, he managed to find the chute, and drop the grenade outside the plane.


As the smoke cleared, the plane was 300 feet from the water - if the plane had made it 100 feet lower, it would not have made back up. He loved his fellow men on the plane, and drove himself to save the men on the plane. Christ had the same options - to not go to the cross; to go to the cross and have God bring him down; OR to go to the cross, give up his life, and rise again to save all men. Christ chose the third option, just like Gene did, and  chose to save mankind by dying on the cross. Through his courage and sacrifice, he established a way for each one of us to be accepted by God, and be forgiven of our sins, so that each one of could be called a child of God, a term that means something eternally. The term "child of God" is used erroneously in America today - unless you have the faith to believe in Christ as Savior, and have been born again, you are not a child of God. 

In America, it takes courage to stand up and say that you are a child of God in your community. It takes less courage to say that in Belize because we are not confronting our family, our neighbors, and our friends - our "home personnel" - who don't see what we do on a mission trip.  It takes courage to stand up and tell others about Christ because we live with them every day. It is difficult too approach the young people today because they have so much on their minds.....material possessions, activities, etc. Jim stated that, if there ever was a way to become "humbled," it was to do what part of the Team had done today - to go to a remote village, and to see the villagers in their homes. The feeding showed that those
people who have less material possessions are closer to God, for most of the familities encountered where Christians. As Jim, and other Teams, handed out those two small portions of beans, and a bag of rice, he thought of the excess that we had in America. It reminded him that we need to start to stand up, and tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jim stated that he had been in the military over 30 years. He saw, in Vietnam, men, women, and children shot in the head because they lost something - freedom- one of the things that we take for ganted in our country. He pointed out that it is not the Billy Grahams, the David Jeremiahs, or the Ron Gilberts of this world - that are going to spread the word, for they are just individuals, but it is us - we are the hands, eyes, feet, and mouths of Christ. If we talk to only three people about Christ in this world,  and if all Christians would do so, we would tell 86 million people. Jim went to a poster to talk about what being a Christian is about, an analogy that a Christian had given to him years earlier. Before he was "born again" Christian, it was like he was walking through life  
and  daily falling off the cliff into the canyon or ditch below. We can not do what Christ can do - we cannot repair ourselves or others. nor can we rise out of the ditches that we fall into. One day we are to meet "death," and if we are at the bottom of the ditch, we are not going to come back up. The analogy is that God can lift him up, and provide a "bridge" that would span across the canyon below. If he depended on GOd, this "bridge' would allow him to walk through life and never falling down the cliff into the canyon below. When we get to the other side of the canyon, we are to meet God, and he will either be our friend or our enemy depending on what choices we make in life.

Jim then gave the know ESPN (E=Eternal Life with Jesus Christ); S = Sin Forgiven - Jesus took it all, and forgives, all it takes is Faith - the example of setting into a chair; P = Personal Relationship with my God - a relationship that never changes; the Bible tells us between the covers that He cannot life, and He will not lie, and it is a fact; and N = Never Leave Me - people may leave Him, and sometimes we need to turn around more often). Jim demonstrates that it is easier to tell the salvation message if you have your own Acronym that communicates the message. Jim asked each of us to make a commitment to bring the message. Courage is what God did for us - is what we did today Courageous? They were already humble, and we had food to gain entry to a community that had such love and humbleness. Jim concluded by prayer asking God to give us the time, person, courage to share the story, and that we may lift you up tot those in the United States, a country that has slid so far. Bless this camp, the leaders, and give us the wisdom. Thank you for all that came, for Jesus, and for standing beside use so that when we meet each one, whether it is in the tables, clinic, or leaving the gate, give use the words to say and the opportunity to speak.


Each gave their own introductions - Teresa Hayden (Financial/Sponsorship Director, Body &
Soul, and she comes to help the kids), Pat Stilwell, Joe Ley (5th trip) - to help the kids, and the devil has been working to put barriers; Terri Hutto (3rd trip - blessed to be here); Judy Hamrick (NC - Joe's fault); Patsy Wise (first trip; felt like she always needed to go on a trip, and wants to make a difference); Shannon Jones (first trip - pediatrics) ; Kristy Cook (nurse
practitioner working with Joe - fifth time here); Michelle Mumpower (first time - ER at Holston Valley - has never worked out); Verna Almen (student of missions - taught us so much of people in Belize); Dave Almen (glad to have company to serve The Lord; many times humbled to see what God does; different outreaches - keep eyes and ears spiritually open for teaching and learning opportunities - expect to get a surprise from God that will change your life); Hope Guy - 8 years, husband saved and he wanted to be a missionary, comes out of respect for him, and even with health problems, and helps with school sponsorship); Ron Gilbert (director of Missions; 7th time to Belize - hadn't planned on coming - but God said to go, and God lead him here). All days are new days. Ron has been in full time ministry for over 40 years - joy and a privilege to do this work. Carnell White - retired - and went on a mission trip in Africa, had a missionary family stay in their home, and supported children on children.

She was 60 when she went on her first mission - Teresa started telling about Body & Soul, and she and Jim went to Belize. They all felt they were her family.... it felt like she had come home when she arrived here. Jerry Greene retired State Farm agent, 9th trip; hooked, and has kids. Jerry will be the photographer for the duration. Frank Waldo - director of Body & Soul - sincere prayer will lift you, and that you will be overcome with God's goodness. Jim White - God has a sense of humor, and God wants us to have fun - every one will meet a child, face them and tell them. Kelsey McNeil - 3rd trip; Kasey Strom - Knoxville, UTK, her mom found out; Karen McNeil - fifth trip, able to lead 2 groups from her church. Martha Hayes - 10th year, Tri-Cities Christian - her husband came 3 years ago.

Ralph N. Digman was the founder of Body & Soul Ministries. Early on October 16, 2017, he saw the face of Jesus and it took his breath away. He is now at the feet of his Father. Ralph touched so many people both in the U.S. and in Belize. He was a mighty servant of our Lord.  Please pray especially for the love of his life, Penny.  

If you wish to honor Ralph, Penny has asked that a donation be made in Ralph's memory to Body & Soul Ministries, P.O. Box 2339, Church Hill, TN 37642.


Rest in Peace good and faithful servant.  We all miss you!


Body and Soul Ministries is a Christian organization.  Our Statement of faith is based Upon the Bible and we consider it imperative to preach the Good News of Jesus and to live out our faith.