Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sri Lanka Trip Report

Anytime I am traveling to a place for the first time there are always a few questions I am seeking answers to during my time there. What is the spiritual climate like? What is God doing there? What is unique about the culture and how do the natives view their culture? And, what is the history of the place and its people? We did a lot of driving (about 28 hours) over the course of my 6 days in Sri Lanka, so there was a lot of time for questions and discussion with Maxi, the local Sri Lankan pastor traveling with us. Here are some of my takeaways.

The history of Sri Lanka has had a tremendous on impact on the culture and spiritual climate, so this is where we must start. I was shocked to discover that Sri Lanka had been locked in a civil war that lasted for 26 years and just ended in 2009. I had no idea! I would encourage you to read more about this online, but here is the short of it. When Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon at the time) gained their independence from Great Britain in 1948 there were, as there are now, 2 major ethnic groups, one being the Sinhalese and the other being the Tamils. Under British rule they operated harmoniously in the government, but when they gained their independence the government was taken over by the majority (about 70%) Sinhalese. This left the minority (15-20% at the time) Tamils in a vulnerable position. After years of political tension the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam formed and began rioting and fighting against the government. As in all conflicts, both sides committed atrocities and did terrible things over the next 26 years. The war resulted in an estimated 60,000-100,000 deaths with up to 40,000 Tamil civilians being killed. In addition to the deaths, the war displaced nearly 300,000 peoples. Pastor Maxi, a Tamil, was nearly blown up by a bomb on one occasion and was shot at on another, so the war had really impacted his life personally.

Eventually the Sinhalese controlled government defeated the Liberation Tigers and the war ended. However, the ethnic divide is still very strong in Sri Lanka, which is very evident in the culture. In the minds of the Tamils, they are treated as second-class citizens. Prejudice and racism are rampant. Geographically and socially the Tamils and Sinhalese do their best to not mix. This is where the church in Sri Lanka has an incredible opportunity to model unity and peace to the culture. I did see Tamil and Sinhalese pastors meeting together and fellowshipping as best as they could, although they do speak different languages, so this can be hard. This is the type of breakthrough the nation needs.

With so much war and political unrest over the last 3 decades, the church in Sri Lanka has really struggled. Any efforts to plant new churches or partner with other churches around the nation have been severely hampered by the war. But with peace comes new opportunity. There is receptivity to the gospel amongst the traditionally Hindu Tamils. The church in Sri Lanka is growing and multiplying like never before in their history. Everywhere we visited we met pastors who are planting new churches and are working together to evangelize their cities. It was very encouraging and gave our team great hope for this nation.

All in all, this was a great trip. We did SCP envisionings in 3 cities: Jaffna, Batticaloa, and Hatton. There were about 65-75 pastors present at these envisionings and they all seemed to be encouraged by the teaching. From this groups we will be selecting individuals and inviting them into a coaching relationship. Once we coach these pastors we will task them with taking ownership for seeing their cities evangelized. This will mean training and partnering with the other pastors who were part of the initial envisionings as well as the other churches in their area. In the future we are hoping to begin some new envisionings and trainings in the nation’s capitol Colombo.

As always, your prayers are so appreciated and impactful.
·      Thank you so much for your prayers for Leeza, Tripp and I while I was traveling. Everything went pretty smoothly at home and God was definitely with us as we traveled around the island.
·      Please pray for the church in Sri Lanka, especially for unity and strength to press on towards the outcome of seeing every man, woman, and child have opportunities to respond to the gospel.
·      Please pray that God would continue to draw the lost in Sri Lanka to Himself. Pray for the Buddhists and Hindus to turn from their idols and follow the one true God.
·      Lastly, we are 6 weeks into our church planting effort in Bangkok. We are making adjustments on the fly and one of those things is to really commit ourselves to the emphasis of decentralized house churches over a centralized gathering (although both are necessary). Please pray that God would give us wisdom in decision making, bless our efforts as we seek to grow our people in our 5 discipleship values, and let us see some of our unbelieving friends come to know Him.

We love you all and we cannot thank you enough for your support, love and prayers.

The Belchers

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2 Months in Thailand

We are coming up on the 2 month mark of our time in Bangkok. It is hard to believe how quickly time has gone. A lot of you have asked me if Bangkok feels like home yet. I'm not sure if it will ever fell like home, but it is definitely starting to feel normal. We have daily and weekly rhythms and patterns in place, we pretty much know how to navigate the city, and we are really enjoying our new way of life! That being said, we are still making a lot of adjustements too.

I said to many of you before we came here that Bangkok is one of the darkest places on earth and that I could not think of a more spiritually lost place in the world to move my family to. Well it is one thing to say, it is an entirely different thing to live in it. In many ways it is downright depressing. There have been days where it overwhelms me. I look around and all I see is lostness, idolatry, and sin. It breaks our hearts, but it is also a daily reminder of why we are here. I am more motivated to see the gospel break through this darkness each and every day. We will continue to trust God's heart and will for this nation and its people. The other major adjustment for us has been dealing with loneliness. We miss our family and friends back in Florida. Again, we are not surprised by this. We knew this would be difficult. We are developing new friendships here in Bangkok and seeking satisfaction in the Lord, but we would appreciate your prayers as well.

We are now 3 weeks into this church/vision plant and there is much to be excited about. We have had some great times of worship, teaching and prayer; we had 22 kids, 15 of whom were unchurched, come to a youth gathering on a Saturday night, and we are making friends with other ministries, churches, and Christians all around the city. So attendance on Sundays isn't really growing yet, but we still feel as if we are making a lot of progress towards the vision of having gospel representation in all 51 districts of Bangkok. We are going to have to be patient, but the potential that we see in this city is really exciting. Please pray that God would continue to bring us people; specifically Christians who are disconnected and isolated, church and ministry partners, and lost people who are open to the Gospel and want to learn more about Jesus.

Well, this week I am off to Sri Lanka for a week to meet some of our partners and friends there. While we are there we will be sharing the vision to reach every man, woman and child with groups of pastors in 2 different cities. This will be my first trip since we moved, so I know Leeza would appreciate your prayers. She is going to do great, but it is never easy when one of us is traveling. I also ask for you to pray that the trip is an effective and productive one and that God would give us wisdom and safety.

Thank you for following our journey, for praying for us, and for you support. We are so blessed by you all. Don't hesitate to drop us a facebook message or an email. We miss you all and would love to hear how you are doing and how we can pray for you as well.

God bless you,

Carl, Leeza, and Tripp Belcher

Saturday, September 5, 2015

3,2,1, LAUNCH!!!

Hello everyone,

I hope life stateside is going well for you. We miss being home with our family and friends, but we are more excited than ever to see what God is going to do here in Bangkok. This week I invited many of you to like the SCP Bangkok page, so I want to take this opportunity to share with you all a little more about who/what SCP Bangkok is. 

SCP Bangkok is an international church, but more than that it is a vision to reach every man, woman, and child in Bangkok, Thailand, and Asia. The international community in Bangkok is comprised of over 3 million people from all over the world. We believe that by starting with an international church we will have the opportunity to provide facilitation for an easily multiplied, decentralized church model to the indigenous Thai church and the other 23 nationalities represented in Bangkok. We are asking and believing in God in the next 20 years for strategic gospel presence in all 298 sub districts of Bangkok, in all 76 provinces in Thailand, and in 1 pivot nation in each of Asia's 5 divisions.

We are launching the vision on September 6th (just a couple more days!!!) with our first Sunday Gathering, where we will worship together with the 30+ families and individuals who are already committed to joining us in this effort. We will simultaneously be launching 3 Church Fellowships, 3 Women’s Fellowships, and a Youth Fellowship. These Fellowships will serve as the primary vehicle for discipleship and mission; modeled after the New Testament church we see in the book of Acts.

Church planting is quite the experience so far. We have a small team (4 families) so it is all hands on deck. There's is lots to do and we don't have specialists on our team or the resources to pay someone else to do it. From web design, to creating Info Guides and Conncection Cards, to even leading worship (I only know how to play 3 songs on the guitar, so picking the music set was easy!!! LOL); I am being asked to do things that I never thought I would be doing. But God is growing me and stretching me in ways I couldn't have ever imagined. I knew I would be getting pushed out of my comfort zone, but WOW! Leeza is stepping up and leading the children's ministry too, so needless to say she will have her hands full as well.

Our First Church experience in Thailand
Thank you so much to those of you who have been faithfully praying for us. It means the world to us and we really can't say thank you enough.
  • Please pray for the launch of SCP Bangkok. For God's favor, for open doors, and for His Spirit to show up and move in the lives of the people there so that they can go and be salt and light in this dark city.
  • The closing of our house had to be pushed back to September 9th, so please pray that we will finally close and have that burden lifted.
  • Pray for our health. Living in a foreign country and especially in a big city means being introduced to lots of new germs. Tripp has been sick again and now Leeza and I are fighting off some infections of our own. 
So many of you have already sacrificed so much to support Leeza and I that I hesitate to even ask, but although we are confident that as God builds this fellowship it will not only be able to provide for itself but will be a blessing for this whole area of the world, right now we need a team of people who believe in what we are doing to help get this off the ground. If you are interested in learning more about SCP or even possible becoming a financial partner please go to 
Grace and Peace,

Carl, Leeza and Tripp Belcher

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


My crazy 6th grade class
Hello All!

{Warm welcomes and hugs} we have been in Bangkok for nearly 4 weeks now and have some definite peaks and pits to share about our life here.

Peak, Carl and I are loving our new jobs. international schools are awesome! No state mandated testing, no discipline issues, no cell phone problems- are you jealous yet? But better than that is the awesome staff that Carl and I are getting to know. Also teaching all of the subjects in 6th grade has been a fun change.... More to come about my new school, Berkeley International School in the coming posts.

Peak, we found a nanny. For those of you who aren't familiar with the culture here, it is standard to have a nanny to take care of your home while we are at work- so don't judge 😉.  Though I wasn't keen on the idea at first, God yet again was faithful to bring a young Christian Filipino named Jen, who we all love! This will free up Carl, who has been staying home with Tripp the last couple of weeks, to start getting involved in the early stages of church planting.

Peak, You! Thank you so much for all of your support. Last post we shared with you our financial need and God used you all to care for us and meet our needs. We have had new people join our support team and it looks like our budget is in a really healthy place now. Thank you for all of your prayers!

Pit, a couple nights ago my cell phone dropped from my pocket and was left in a taxi. After utilizing "iPhone Finder" we have determined the phone is gone. A hard lesson to learn, but I can promise it won't happen again. We are on the lookout for a cheap used iPhone (not sure if those really exist, but we are going to try) so if you have any ideas we are open to suggestions.

Overall God has been using this transition to slow us down and reflect on our family's mission before we launch the church plant. Carl and I could not be more grateful for this season where we can simplify our lives and focus on the purpose that God created us for, to Glorify Him as we participate in His redemptive mission for every man, woman, and child.


Leeza, Carl and Tripp

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Our “Thai”venture has Begun

When we committed to moving to Thailand and joining the SCPI team we knew the most difficult aspect of this move would be living so far away from our families. So we said our goodbyes and shed a few tears, knowing no matter how hard it seemed, we were doing what God desires for us. If it wasn’t for this confidence in our call I’m not sure we would have been able to board the plane last Monday morning.

Speaking of planes, our journey to Thailand was long and tiring, but God was very gracious. If you have children then I’m sure you can imagine how terrible 28 hours of plane travel could be with a 1 year old. That being said, it really wasn’t all that bad. Tripp made lots of friends on the plane, including all the flight attendants. They had a lot of fun carrying him up and down the aisles showing him off to everyone on the plane, while Leeza and I benefited from the special attention and very attentive service. (Yay for having a cute and outgoing kid!)

Our first week in Bangkok has been very busy, but we are really enjoying exploring the city and discovering all that the city has to offer. This week we have had 2 major priorities, getting Leeza integrated at her school and finding a place to live. We spent most days this week looking at apartments all around the city. Bangkok is pretty easy to navigate, but we did a lot of walking and it is very hot here. Needless to say, we are exhausted, but it all paid off. We moved into our apartment on Wednesday. It is going to be a great little home for us this next year and is located in a quiet and safe neighborhood that is very close to both Leeza’s school and the area where we will be launching the church plant. I know I say this time and time again, but God’s provision blows me away! He gives us more than we could imagine and we are so grateful for that.

One really cool thing about our apartment is our neighbors. A couple that work with Leeza live right down the hall from us. One of the things we are praising God for this week is all the connections and relationships we are developing with many of the other new teachers at Leeza’s school. We have met some great people from all walks of life and from many parts of the world and we look forward to the opportunities to bless and serve these wonderful people.

Over the next weeks we will continue to get settled in and adjust to life in Bangkok. School will officially start for Leeza and I will begin meeting with the rest of the SCPI team to begin preparing for the launch of the church plant. Thank you for your love, prayers and support. We have been so encouraged by the many texts, emails, and Facebook comments! We serve an awesome God and we are blessed that He has given us this wonderful opportunity.

Here’s how you can continue to pray for us…

1.     We have 2 leads on nannies for Tripp. Both of them would allow for us to share with another family, which would be ideal! Figuring out childcare is our priority for this next week.
2.     The sale of our home is scheduled to be finalized on September 1st. This is our 3rd contract though, so we know that nothing is final until those closing papers are signed. Pray that all goes well.
3.     Finally, moving to Thailand has ended up being a bit more expensive than we had originally expected. Therefore, we currently have a need to raise an additional $3500 (around $300 a month) for our first year’s budget. We are doing everything we can to cut our costs, but we would appreciate your prayers in this. Also, please share our blog posts with your friends and family. We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to invest in what God is doing here in South Asia.


Carl, Leeza, and Tripp

Friday, July 24, 2015

The "pressure cooker"

        Have you ever heard the expression that the mission field is like a pressure cooker? No? Neither had Carl and I till we had a conversation with our brother in law who is the executive director of He and my sister and their two kids live in Jeremie, Haiti on the mission field and have years of wisdom that we will be utilizing. He told us that a great misconception about missions is that people think it's like church camp, like you are going to be spiritually fed and have this gospel centered experience that's going to grow your faith and walk with Christ. While there is growth while on the missions field, it's not the type of growth one might think. You see, he stated that being a missionary is equivalent to being in a pressure cooker, the faith and truth that you already possess are going to be tested by the stress and circumstances that God allows you to experience, and the result - the true state of your heart and walk. 

    This "pressure cooker" analogy could not be more true for Carl and I in this season.  We are officially 3 days away from moving to literally, the other side of the world. Our original travel date was set for July 21st, however miscommunication and lack of information delayed our date. To make a long story short this process has not been the easiest. Two days ago we were in Tallahassee picking up documents to then drive to Coral Gables to finally process our visas.  By Gods grace we will be on the plane on Monday and in Thailand Tuesday night, and I get to start work early Wednesday morning (that's a whole different story 😉 ). At the end of the day - God is good, He wants us in Thailand , and Carl and I have began the cooking process. Thank you all for your continued love and support, we will continue to update you all as we get to Bangkok. 


Carl, Leeza and Tripp Belcher 

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Fruit of June

Hello friends! We can hardly believe it, but we are less than 3 weeks away from boarding the plane and embarking on our journey to Bangkok. June has been quite the month… we have much to celebrate, but we have also faced a setback or two as well.

            Leeza and I have been covenant members at Summit Church for over 5 years now. On Sunday, June 14th we were commissioned and prayed over by our church body as they send us out to engage in giving every man, woman, and child in South Asia access to the gospel. Summit has been such a blessing to our family over the years and we are incredibly grateful that God has allowed us to be a part of this church body for the last 8 years. What a joy it is to know that as we GO, we will always have a home and a church family back in Fort Myers. We also took this opportunity to dedicate our son Tripp. Tripp’s dedication was a time for us to publicly proclaim to God, our church, and our family and friends that we recognize that Tripp is a gift and a blessing from God and that he is ultimately God’s child. Therefore, we dedicate him back to God and commit to do all within our power to raise him up in the loving knowledge of God and to disciple him to the best of our ability. Our greatest hope as Tripp’s parents is that as he grows, his love for God would grow as well.

            We took some time this month to enjoy our family while we  still can. We spent 8 days at my uncle’s lake house in Kentucky. This was a great time of refueling and fellowship. Tripp loves to swim, so he had a blast too! One of the hardest things for us about moving to Thailand is leaving behind our family. Leeza and I have been blessed with wonderful loving and supportive families whom we love and enjoy dearly. We will miss you all so much!!! But we know God is calling us to go.

We told you in our last update that we were set to close on our house on June 23rd. Unfortunately that deal did not go through. We have sense had another contract on our home, but again, it did not go through. I will not lie. This is a huge burden for us; we really need to sell it. But we are not going to let this slow us down. We are getting on that plane whether it is sold or not and we will trust God and his timing for the sale of our home.

With that in mind, here’s how you can continue to support us in this transitional season…

1.     Would you please pray for us?

a.     Pray that we would get another good offer on our home soon and be able to sell it as soon as possible
b.     Pray for our travels (28 hours with a 1 year old is going to be very difficult)
c.      Pray for us to find an apartment & childcare for Tripp

2.     Would you continue to Share our story and our ministry with SCPI?

3.     Would you consider supporting us financially? With our home not selling as expected we have had some unexpected expenses and need to raise an additional $2000 to help with those. You can give at (