Today we said farewell to a valuable member of the Latin America & Caribbean missionary team. Courtney Zalmanoff, a GEO missionary arrived in the Dominican Republic on September 30, 2019. Armed with degrees in Spanish and Psychology, she faithfully carried out her role as assistant volunteer coordinator for over two years.
More than fifteen years ago, St. John Lutheran in Ellisville, MO began sending short term mission teams to Belize. There, they established relationships that grew and eventually led to the formation of the Belize Mission Society. They sent more short term teams to Belize during the off-season months, because the rates for lodging were less, and the opportunities to serve the locals were greater. Leaders of the Belize Mission Society realized they needed a “flip flops on the ground” missionary who could foster the relationships they had established, and build a permanent presence in Belize. In partnership with the Belize Mission Society and other LCMS affiliates, the Belize Mission seeks to plant a new Lutheran church in the country and expand to other locations in Belize. Outreach includes family Bible Study, men’s and women’s Bible Study, and Vacation Bible School. Mercy ministry includes scholarships for students in Seine Bight and Belmopan, a nutrition program for students at St. Alfonsus School in Seine Bight, Griefshare and hospice programs. They also work to establish a physical therapy program for the country in general and dental and health programs for the village of Seine Bight. This new twist on church planting provides opportunity for hands-on participation by teams from the U.S. to soften areas for further evangelism, Bible training and outreach, and multiplies the efforts of our valuable missionary families.