Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus is led by David and Karen Rhodes from Florence, SC. Karen is the former Director of Children’s Ministries at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Florence, SC, one of the fastest growing churches in the southeast. David spent 25 years in “big business” and now consults after graduating from Liberty Theological Seminary in 2010. He has been actively involved in men’s ministry as well as children’s ministry for many years and is also a former Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) board member. David and Karen have four grown children located in the Carolinas.
The vision of Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus was conceived in early 2006 after many hours of deep prayer and careful consideration. Following several visits to Belize on short term mission trips in 2005, David & Karen knew we were being called to do more …much more! After several years and 30+ trips to Belize, God had prepared them to implement children’s ministry throughout the country!
Below, in their own words, they share the story that God has chosen for their lives. It is one of adventure, sorrow and much joy. They cling to the hope that through thier obedience and faithfulness that countless lives will be changed by the magnificent God we love and serve.
“In 2005 we felt led to do international mission work in a third world country. After much prayer, God led us to a small country (the only English speaking country) in Central America – Belize. That spring we were able to join a short term mission team that immediately transformed our lives. In addition to the traditional construction and VBS activities, we were able to spend considerable time at one of the few children’s homes in the country. It was during this time at the children’s home that we both realized this would not be our only trip to Belize.
A few months later the Lord provided the opportunity for us to return, visiting numerous small villages all over Belize. Again, we were able to spend considerable time at the children’s home and the local village where a new Christian High School had just started. This two week trip confirmed the following: our love and desire to serve our Lord in this country; the foundational lack of biblically based churches led by trained pastors, lack of any organized children’s ministry, availability of affordable secondary (high school) education and the need for the most basic of health care. The Lord laid a heavy burden in our hearts about these issues. Without the church, the people are eternally lost. Without a basic education, the people cannot be productive and support themselves and without basic health care, children die from the simplest illnesses. We returned from this second trip and immediately began praying for direction and next steps. Karen was then invited to move to Belize for a month to teach Bible at the new start up school. During her extended time in Belize she was able to gain invaluable information and local insight. Belize is a beautiful, diverse country that borders Mexico to the north and Guatemala to west and south. English is the official language, though Spanish, Mayan and Creole dialects are common. Government sponsored education is only offered to grade 8 (4th/5th grade US education equal) thus putting most 14 and 15 year olds out on the streets. The traditional family structure is minimal and almost 50% of the total population is under the age of 18 (literally, “babies” are having babies). Living conditions in most areas are well below poverty levels and health care for most (especially children) is non existent.
During her stay, Karen watched in shock and horror as the village buried one of her student’s four year old brother who had died from intestinal worms. The most simple health care and basic medicine could have prevented this and other senseless deaths. Upon Karen’s return to the US, we prayed and were led to establish a non-profit foundation, Coastal Christian Missions of Belize. Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus was then established in 2009 as a more focused ministry. We have also been able to establish a network with local missionaries and pastors, to assist them in working together for a common cause and to support each other instead of being individual silos.”