Karen and David Rhodes, founders of Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus (KK4J) are “’on mission” in the country of Belize. This long term focused ministry is all about “konnections” and growing meaningful relationships between US/Canadian Churches and Belizean villages in a true partnership setting. Working alongside the people in the southern part of Belize, KK4J shares the Love of Jesus by implementing children and student ministry into schools and churches, establishing free feeding and food distribution programs, organizing and providing quarterly medical treatment with free medicine and vitamins, providing leadership development and training programs and also assisting with a variety of basic physical needs. KK4J also organizes Family Impact Journeys for partners whereby families can come, develop relationships and “do life” with their partners.
Plywood People: How are you impacting students in Belize?
David Rhodes: We are impacting lives by sharing Jesus in a practical manner. We are improving the overall quality of life, health and welfare of students through feeding programs, medical treatment, nutritional and hygiene and improved learning. We also are giving them HOPE via compassion and love.
Plywood People: You dreamed up a unique fundraising model for your students. What are you doing?
David: Using the bags as the “centerpiece”, we sell “Messenger Bags of Hope” for $20 that are filled with the good news of Jesus, various school supplies and dental products (see photo). 1/3rd of the total proceeds goes to the feeding programs in the Belize schools. Local church youth groups do the actual packing of the bags that are boxed, palletized and then shipped to Belize via boat. We get 360 filled bags on a single pallet.
Plywood People: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in doing the work you do?
David: Stay focused, stay committed and don’t get ahead of God’s plan.
Plywood People: What has been the most challenging part of your work in Belize?
David: Working with a country of children! Also overcoming the stereotype of how American’s view Belize as a wonderful tourist and vacation spot and not seeing it as the Third World country that it really is with extreme poverty and hunger.
Plywood People: Will you share a story of how your work has changed you?
David: We like so many, were caught up and living the “American Dream”, while pretending that suffering and hunger don’t exist. We have learned how to be BOLD. To really stop, look and take action…to really make a difference in a deep, meaningful way. This has been accomplished by understanding what really matters and developing relationships… that matter. Anybody and everybody can make a difference…one life at a time.