GARRETT — The Garrett Presbyterian Church will host a taco dinner, bake sale and silent auction Tuesday to raise funds to support a multipurpose building project in the village of Las Flores, Belize.
The event will take place in the church’s Heritage Hall at the corner of Franklin and Keyser streets. Dinners will be available to eat in or carry out from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Bidding on silent auction items, which include gift cards, museum passes, overnight hotel stays and dinners, decor items and more, ends at 7 p.m.
The church is one of numerous supporters of the Las Flores building project, headed by volunteer missionaries Cindy and Mark Rhonemus of Alabama.
The building will serve as a medical clinic, as well as housing for visiting doctors, nurses and volunteers. It also will serve as a place to store medical supplies and equipment, provide a community gathering space for families and house a daycare center.
“We broke ground Feb. 3, 2020. The original idea was to have group teams go down and help build the building, but when COVID hit, obviously, right after we broke ground, everything stopped,” Cindy Rhonemus said.
“We couldn’t send teams so basically just people in the village have been doing some volunteering, but we also had to pay someone to do a lot of the major work.”
Still to complete is electrical and plumbing work, she added.
The total project cost is $150,000, with $105,000 already spent, Mark Rhonemus said. Pledges from donors are spread over a three-year period. Pledges generated about $70,000 and additional fundraising has taken place, he added.
The Rhonemuses explained the relationship with the Garrett church developed after meeting two of its members, Tim and Jan McAlhany, in Tennessee and sharing their story about Las Flores.
“They went home and just were on fire to help,” Cindy Rhonemus said.
“We marvel. We think how God puts people in our lives at the most opportune times. The outpouring of support has been amazing … They have done do much.”
The goal is to have the building completed by the end of the year, with the first mission group scheduled to visit Jan. 29, 2022, when group members will build a home for a needy family over the course of a week.
The Rhonemuses thank the church and the community for the support that already has been given and believe the relationship will be ongoing.
“Once the building is done, it’s going to provide so many services to the people in the village,” Cindy Rhonemus said.